Three Cheese Roasted Red Pepper Dip

What a tasty little surprise this was!!!  Roasted red peppers, cheese, cheese and a little more cheese baked into a hot, rich, golden, bubbly serving of deliciousness!!!

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This would be great to serve at any upcoming holiday parties and family events coming up the season!!

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Here’s what you need:

2 Whole Roasted Red Peppers, diced (I used jarred)

1/2 cup Mayonnaise

1 tsp Spicy Brown Mustard

2-3 dashes of Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper and Paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

8 oz Block of Cream Cheese

1/2 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1/2 cup Shredded Colby Jack Cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Blend all ingredients by hand, pour into a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Top with a light dusting of additional shredded mozzarella cheese, or a heavy coating if you prefer.  Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly!

Serve with bread, crackers, bagel chips…….. a spoon!!!!  It’s really good!!!

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ENJOY!!!!

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Zuppa Toscana Knock-off

I fell in soup love with this soup at Olive Garden, and of course the warm garlic breadsticks that went along with it.

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But, I had to have this soup on a regular basis so I figured out how to make my own.  It’s easy and quick.  I use frozen chopped onions and frozen breakfast potatoes to make prep time moves right along!!!

I also like to make a big pot of the soup and share with anyone else that has the same soup addiction.

First thing I did was to brown 1 pound of spicy hot sausage and one cup of frozen chopped onion or use one large onion that has been chopped.  When that is done, I sprinkled in a heaping tablespoon of flour and left that cook for a minute or two.  This flour step is optional, I just like my milk based soups to have a little more creaminess/thickness to them.

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Next, pour in 4 cups of chicken stock and about 3-4 cups of the frozen breakfast potatoes (I used 4 cups but then I love potatoes).  Let this come to a very light simmer and cook gently until the potatoes are tender.

Add in 1 pint of light cream and about 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk, depending on your preferred consistency.  While the soup is heating up again, tear up about 2 handfuls of either spinach or kale.  I have used both, and surprisingly,  I think I like the spinach better.

I could hardly wait for this to finish cooking.  Serve with your favorite bread and enjoy!!

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Homemade Applesauce (Stovetop or Crockpot)

I completely forgot how much I LOVE homemade applesauce!!  AND how simple it is to make!!  When my kids were small and I was a stay at home mom I used to can (or jar depending on your location!) fruits and veggies quite often!

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I also forgot how I made it, or even if there was a recipe somewhere in my collection!!!

You really don’t need a recipe tho, it’s just apples, sugar and some spices.

AND you can make applesauce year round as apples are always available!!  Stovetop or crockpot.

There are just a few simple little things to keep in mind.  Add a little sugar at a time, the amount of sugar you will use depends on the TYPES of apples you use.  Some apples are sweeter than others, and some are….well kinda tart!

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Honestly, I don’t get hung up on the apple selection, I just buy whatever apples might be on sale or look the best.

Another thing to remember is that some apples are softer than others so if you are going to use various types of apples, you will need to know ahead of time which will cook up quicker than the others.

Again, I don’t get hung up on the apples.  I just buy a bag and cook them.

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I start with about 8 apples.

Give your apples a good wash; then core, peel and cut your apples into equal chunks. Place the cut apples in a large pot.  You can add a little water if you want, or apple cider/juice would work too.  But I like my applesauce to be thick so I may only put about 1-2 tablespoons of water in with the apples.

Add about 1/2 cup sugar and bring to a very low simmer.  You can cover the pot if you want but remember that will add a little more moisture from the trapped steam.  I do cover mine but I’m careful not to let it all run back in the apples when I check the sauce.

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Check on your apples a lot, when the apples start to get a little soft give it taste test and add more sugar if you want.  It really depends on how sweet you like your applesauce to be.

Once your apples are almost tender, add your spices.  I add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves.  It’s probably best to start out with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and if you want to add the nutmeg and cloves, try just a dash or two of one, then try the other. If you only want cinnamon, that’s fine.   I love the combination of the spices!

Just remember to start with less, you can always add more but you cannot take it out if you add too much!!

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Now, when your apples are tender enough to start smashing turn off the heat.  I use an immersion blender, one of my favorite kitchen appliances!!  If you don’t have one, that’s okay, you can use your blender, just be careful when transferring the hot apples and while blending as it can splash out of the blender!!

When the apples are completely smashed,  taste and adjust the sugar and spices while the sauce is still hot and on the stove.  As soon as I have the flavor the way I want it, I remove the pot from the stove to cool.

If you are using a crockpot, throw the cut up apples, sugar, spices and the little bit of water in the crock, cover, turn it to low and cook for about 4-6 hours.  Please check often and adjust spices and sugar to your taste preference. Then use your blender to smoosh away!!

Refrigerate when the applesauce is cool or follow the proper instructions for canning.

Enjoy the flavors of AUTUMN!!!

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Pumpkin Pie

‘Tis the season for pumpkin!  And cinnamon and apples and sweaters……  This pumpkin pie is perfect for holiday dinners with family and friends, or just because you want a good creamy pumpkin pie!

This is my FAVORITE (and only) pumpkin pie recipe.  In fact as I am typing this I think I might have to go have another slice before I go to bed!!  *sigh

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This recipe is very easy and simple, quick to prepare but the longest part is waiting for it to cool so you can EAT IT!!!

Here’s the recipe:

15 oz can of pumpkin puree

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp each of ground ginger, ground cloves and ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp salt

2 large eggs

2 T molasses

1/2 cup plus 2 T sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup milk

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Pour all ingredients into a large bowl, lightly mix with a hand held mixer until well blended and pour into an unbaked 8-9 inch pie shell.  Lightly sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until the center of the pie is cooked.  Cover lightly with foil if the crust starts to brown.

Top with plain whipped cream or cinnamon whipped cream, OR if you are a cinnamon freak like me…add an extra little sprinkle of cinnamon again!

Enjoy!!

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Spiced Apple Cider Float

If  you love a good root beer float, you might want to try a spiced apple cider float!  I posted this last Christmas season but thought I would share it again since its the best time to buy apple cider!!  Oh, and I am pretty sure if you wanted to make an “adult” float, eliminate the pumpkin pie spice and use cinnamon whiskey instead.  Enjoy!

I bought some root beer and a pork roast to make pulled pork sandwiches along with a root beer barbeque sauce; the root beer had me dreaming of a root beer float.   But I was sipping a cup of hot spiced cider, so my thoughts went down a different path, I don’t know about you but my mind is like a computer with about 100 tabs open…. Anyway,  I made an apple cider float instead.  And boy oh boy was that yummy!

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It’s not all that difficult to make, the amount of ice cream and cider you use depends mostly on the size of mug you use, you really don’t need a recipe but here is what I did.

Of course I pulled out the BIGGEST mug I had and filled it with vanilla ice cream.  I’m sort of ashamed but yet a little proud that I used about 1-1/2 cups of ice cream…well, it was actually frozen yogurt but anyway… I heated 3/4 cup of apple cider with a dash of pumpkin pie spice, it’s not just for pumpkin pie…its combination of all the spices I love so why not!!  Heating the cider is not necessary but I love that it melted the ice cream and made it so much more creamier and the heat also helps to blend the spice into the cider instead of it just floating on top.

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Then I poured the hot spiced cider over the ice cream, put on a big dollop of whipped cream and drizzled it with caramel sauce, instant heaven!  I curled myself up with a blankie on the sofa and watched a Christmas movie while enjoying my new treat!

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