Category Archives: spicy

Ham & Pickle Roll Up Dip & Spicy Taco Roll Ups

Two posts in one today people! 

By special request from a special friend, I am here to share a recipe for my delicious Ham & Pickle Roll Up Dip that I made back at Christmas time.

However, I am also going to share my Taco Roll Up recipe, because if we’re going to talk roll ups and roll up dips, these are where it’s at!

Everyone knows the class Ham & Pickle Roll Ups

*I do not own rights to this picture, it was found on Google.com images.

Well I turned this one in to a dip, and it was a hit! Serve it with some Ritz crackers and it’ll be gone in a matter of minutes! And the recipe is just as simple as the roll ups. 
Depending on how much you want to make, use equal parts Cream Cheese & Sour Cream. I like to go on the light side of things, so I usually buy the Reduced Fat Cream Cheese and Light Sour Cream. And then I just eyeball the Ham & Pickles.You want to have a little bit of both in every single bite. I suggest buying the already diced Ham in your deli section. And for pickles I use Vlasic Whole Pickles and dice them up fairly fine. It is suggested that you use Whole Pickles, as using not whole pickles can make your dip more watery (from the pickle guts/seeds and juice) once it has sat a while.

It’s that simple!

*I do not own rights to this picture, it was found on Google.com images.





Now, on to Spicy Taco Roll Ups
*I do not own rights to this picture, it was found on Google.com images.


These are equally as simple to make! Again, depending on much you need to make, buy equal parts Cream Cheese & Sour Cream. (1 8oz Cream Cheese = 1 8oz Sour Cream is going to make 2 cups of mixture, filling approximately 5 10″ tortillas). If you want to go on the lighter side of things, feel free! Mix in to Cream Cheese/Sour Cream mixture a packet of Taco Seasoning, Shredded Mexican Cheese and Diced Jalapeno. Again, you have to just eyeball the cheese and Jalapeno, there is no right or wrong way to portion it out, you simply just want cheese and heat in every bite. For assembly: I like to use the 10″ Super Soft Mission Tortillas. Spread approximately 1/4″ of your cream cheese/sour cream mixture on to one side of your tortilla, then roll up the tortilla and cut in to circles approximately 1-1 1/2″ thick. Chill them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve!

Yummmy & Enjoy!

Homemade Pizza

Pizza is one of my favorite meals … And I can’t imagine many wouldn’t agree! And what better way to enjoy pizza, than making it at home and putting exactly what you want on it!

I have tried many variations of a homemade pizza, but my favorite is junk pizza with no meat. Although I wouldn’t turn down a slice if there was meat on it, because I love pizza that much!

I recognize that homemade pizza is pretty self explanatory, and the need for a “recipe” is moot. But it’s still fun to share inspiration and a mutual love for food … after all, that’s why we’re here, right!?

Homemade Pizza

I have tried a multitude of crusts and I have so far found my two favorites. Most of the time I like a doughy pizza crust, so I go with Boboli Original Pizza Crust …

But this time I decided to go with a Thin Fire Roasted Flavor Crust made by Archer Farms, which is found at Target. (You will slowly figure out that I do a majority of my grocery shopping at Target).

I originally bought this crust when I was making pizza for a girls night and needed a few pizzas … Because this puppy comes with TWO crusts! So if you’re entertaining, you can make two different types of pizzas or set the other aside for another pizza night for yourself.

I go pretty classic with my pizza sauce and have found that Ragu’s Original Pizza Sauce is where it’s at. And when I said that I like junk pizza, I meant it … I love veggies, I love spicy and I love sweet. So I used the following …

Fresh Spinach, Red Peppers, Roma Tomato, Mushrooms, Onion, Jalapeno, Pineapple and Fresh Mozzarella.

I dice all my veggies (and fruit) up and place in layers, evenly, on top of the sauce I’ve spread on my crust. Then I slice approximately 1/4 inch slices of the fresh mozzarella and place it evenly over all the veggies. *Have no fear, upon melting, it will spread more.

Upon baking, I follow the crust packaging instructions, as to not burn the crust. For this crust, it calls for 400 degrees for approximately 12-15 minutes. When all the cheese is melted, I will usually turn off the oven and then turn on the broiler and brown the cheese for a minute or two. I like a soft melted cheese with that golden brown look.

Enjoy your pizza!!!

Spicy Chicken Gyros

Holy moly, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged! Life has been B-U-S-Y! In advance, please excuse the back to back posts that are about to happen today.

I recently made a trip to St. Cloud, MN for a three day long Emergency Medical Dispatch class which was hosted in Downtown St. Cloud at the Stearns County Law Enforcement Center. One day for lunch we found this delicious Greek restaurant (Greek Cravings, 26 5th Ave S, St Cloud, MN 56301) and I had one of thee most delicious Spicy Chicken Gyro’s I could have ever possibly imagined consuming. If I lived in St.Cloud, this place (and my diet) would be in TROUBLE! Aaand they’re open until 3 a.m. for all you bar hoppers!

It was then that, Spicy Chicken Gyro’s became a food goal. I think I nailed this one pretty good! I also made a tasty, low calorie, Tzatziki Sauce.

One of the key ingredients to make these Gyros spicy is to use jarred hot banana peppers and/or any other type of hot peppers you can find. I grilled the chicken seasoned with some Kosher salt, crushed black pepper and cayenne pepper. When I’m ready to prepare the Gyro’s I saute the banana peppers with some white onion, diced up chicken breast, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and some olive oil.

Saute until your onions are tender and your concoction is ready to put in your pita! For the Tzatztiki Sauce it couldn’t be more simple! I use Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt, Kosher salt, fresh dill, diced up cucumber and green onion. And then I just top my Gyro with some chopped up Romaine lettuce and some Roma tomatoes.

Here’s a breakdown of ingredients and instructions …

Spicy Chicken Gyro’s

Prep Time: 5 Min    Cook Time: 15 Min    Servings: 4

Ingredients

3                      Grilled Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast, Diced
1                      Medium White Onion, Sliced
3/4 Cup           Hot Banana Peppers
1/2 Cup            Franks Red Hot Sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp         Olive Oil
4 Slices             Flat Bread
2 Cups             Romaine Lettuce, Chopped
1                      Roma Tomato, Sliced & then halved              
1/2 Tsp             Kosher Salt
1/4 Tsp             Crushed Black Pepper
1/4 Tsp             Cayenne Pepper

Tzatziki Sauce

6 oz                  Plain, Fat Free Greek Yogurt
1/2 Cup            Cucumber, Finely diced
4 Tbsp              Green Onion, Finely diced
1 Tbsp               Fresh Dill, Finely chopped    

Instructions

Mix together 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper & 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper to make your seasoning for the chicken breasts. Sprinkle seasoning mixture over the chicken breasts once they are on the grill. *If you like a little more heat, feel free to add more black pepper or cayenne pepper.

In a bowl, mix together your yogurt, diced cucumber, green onion and dill. Set aside or put away in a container for later and place in refrigerator.

When your chicken is done, let it cool for about 5 minutes. Slice your white onion and add it to a skillet with your banana peppers, olive oil and franks red hot sauce. Dice up your chicken and place in skillet with your onion and peppers, medium heat. Saute until your onion has softened.

Enjoy!

*You can always make this one serving at a time and prep your onions and peppers with your cooked and diced chicken at a later time. I personally like to take these for lunches because they are filling but a super light and low calorie lunch! 
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Feel free to add more Frank’s Red Hot Sauce if you really like some heat!

Please let me know if you make these and what you think! I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment, send me a message, whatever your heart desires!

Until next time,

Crista

Sweet Heat Chicken Fajitas

With it being Cinco De Mayo weekend, Mexican inspired dishes are on the brain!

I love some heat in my meal and when it’s paired with something sweet … I cannot resist! 
This recipe was something that was whipped together while I vacationed in Palm Springs back in March and it is seriously DE-LI-CIOUS! The only thing I did differently when I made this again, was the marinade I used for the Chicken. Which ultimately just ended up enhancing this recipe! 
Taste buds, beware.
Sweet Heat Chicken Fajitas

Let’s talk chicken marinade first! You’re going to want to let your chicken breast marinade for a good couple hours. The longer the better!

                           

I used equal parts of the items pictures above for the marinade; Sriracha, Franks Red Hot Sauce & Hawaiian Marinade. I had 3 chicken breasts to marinade, so I used approximately 4 Tablespoons of each sauce. Just make sure your chicken breasts (depending on how much you’re making) is covered evenly in the marinade.

The primary components to this recipe are the Jalapeño’s & Pineapple that you add to the Fajita mixture. The rest is really quite basic.

I prefer to use Red, Yellow or Orange peppers, but feel free to use any color pepper you like. Just don’t forget your onion. I strongly recommend Yellow Onion, which has a bit of a sweet flavor. Though, some prefer White Onion (which has a stronger “onion taste”) or Red Onion (which can be a bit on the lighter “onion taste” scale, especially once sautéd).

When you start to sauté your veggies, you can start grilling your chicken. I don’t have a convenient gas or charcoal grill, so I use my stove top grill. This thing actually works quite great! Obviously you have to have a gas stove and not an electric one, if you want to use one of these. 
I add the Jalapeño and Pineapple after the peppers and onions have softened. Your Jalapeño and Pineapple don’t need to soften much, just sauté long enough to combine flavors. I usually let everything sit together on low for about 10 minutes.
                

Time to eat!

I like to use the 10″ tortillas, specifically the “super soft” ones. And then I top the my fajitas with Tapatio Hot Sauce and Low Fat Sour Cream. I will also add a little bit of Mexican Rice as a side when I bring this for lunch to work.
       
                                   

                                  

Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients and instructions …

Sweet Heat Chicken Fajitas

Prep Time: 10 Min or Less    Cook Time: 20-25 Min    Servings: 8-10

Ingredients

3                    Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts
3-4 Tbsp         Sriracha
3-4 Tbsp         Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
3-4 Tbsp         Hawaiian Marinade
2-3                Peppers (color is your choice)
1                    Medium Onion
2                  Whole Jalapeno Peppers
1 1/2 Cups      Diced, Fresh Pineapple
1 Tbsp           Olive Oil (for sauteing)

Instructions

Combining the Srirach, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and Hawaiian Marinade together in a quart size sandwich baggie, along with your chicken breasts. Let this sit overnight or for several hours before cooking.

When you’re ready to cook, slice up your peppers and onions. Using 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil in your saute pan, add your peppers and onions and turn your stove on to medium heat.

Start to grill your chicken in what ever manner you’ve chosen to do so. Each chicken breast should need about 7 min on each side to cook. Time may vary depending on your stove or if you’re using an actual charcoal or gas grill, so checking the internal temperature of your chicken is always the best way to ensure it is safe to consume. It is recommended for chicken that the internal temp be at 165 degrees.

Your vegetables should be soft after about 10 minutes. Go ahead and add your pineapple and diced jalapeno peppers (seeds removed – unless you like it REALLY hot), turn your burner down to low and let that sit for no longer than 10 minutes. Stirring every couple of minutes.

Once your chicken is done, let it cool for a couple of minutes before cutting it up in to thin long slices.

Now serve & enjoy!!

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If you’re interested in using one of these indoor smokeless grills, you can purchase one online for about $20. The device is just placed right on top of your burner, as pictured below, and then you add al little water to the base! They work great! 

Please let me know if you make these and what you think! Send me a message or post a comment! I would love to hear from you!

And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!

Until next time,

Crista

Palm Springs: Part II

Better late than never is what they say, right? Life has been majorly busy with work and family upon my return from vacation. It’s a good thing I got that vacation in when I did.

Here is Part II of the Palm Springs grub …

Stuffed Peppers

             

These are some seriously delicious stuffed peppers. The recipe comes from my friend Shenelle who has yet to dish over the exact details to these bad boys. But I got the basic ingredients down and I think one could manage to go off of just that. 
The following items are in her stuffed peppers …
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Ground Turkey
  • Jasmine White Rice
  • Diced Peppers
  • Whole Peppers (with the tops cut off)

So, what I do know about the details of the creation of Shenelle’s stuffed peppers is that it’s essentially a mixture of the Jasmine White Rice, Ground Turkey and some diced pepper. She cuts the tops of the peppers, that are to be stuffed, off. You want to soften the peppers that are to be stuffed a little bit so I think she boils them for about 10 minutes in a pot. Set aside those peppers tops and dice the remains up the best that you can. Then brown your ground turkey, cook your rice by the package instructions (I think she adds a little olive oil and salt to hers) and this is your mixture. Mostly rice, then turkey and then peppers. Stuff those ingredients in to your softened peppers and coat the top with shredded Mozzarella. Bake in oven at about 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until brown like pictured above. 
Seriously. So. Delicious. – And you don’t feel like a cow after eating them, but they are soooo satisfying!
Now on to MY feature dish …
Open Face Steak & Havarti Cheese Sandwiches

I had a house full of 8 people completely silent while indulging on these sandwiches. They are absolutely delicious! But man did I get in over my head by making 8!! It was proven to have been a bit much and I will seriously never do it again. I am going to go ahead and say that if you have to make more than 4 at one time, it’s going to be too much work. Unless you have a huge oven, or more than one stove, where you can have at least 2 baking sheets under a broiler at once.
The ingredients are as follows … 
  • French Baguette Loaf or Ciabatta Loaf
  • Steak (I’ve used both T-Bone steak & New York Strip)
  • Havarti Cheese
  • Sauteed Peppers, Onions & Mushrooms
    • Olive Oil
    • Balsamic Vinaigrette 
  • Garlic Aioli
    • Mayonnaise
    • Crushed Garlic Cloves (1-2)
    • Lemon Juice
    • Kosher Salt (to taste)
    • Ground Black Pepper (until it’s visible in your aioli after being mixed)
First, you want to get as much prepped as possible. So I start by making the garlic aioli. You just want to mix together all of the ingredients listed above (mayo, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper). Set it aside in the fridge when finished.

Next, I would suggest dicing up all of your vegetables. I usually cut up an even ratio of red, yellow and orange peppers as well as onion and mushrooms. I personally like lots of mushrooms. But I usually throw them all in to my saute pan and hold off on adding the olive oil and vinaigrette until I’m actually ready to cook them.

You want to finely shred your Havarti. Which let me tell you, is not easy. Havarti is a fairly soft cheese that does not shred easily if you are not patient and gentle. Don’t worry if you end up getting some crumbles in there though. Set that aside in the fridge also.
*It’s your lucky day if you shop at a grocery story that already has shredded Havarti – I have yet to find one.

Get your meat on the grill or start cooking it in which ever manner you plan. I would suggest cooking the meat no more than medium temperature unless you are completely against your meat being pink/red.
*If you’re grilling, feel free to split your baguette or ciabatta bread in half (the long way) and brush the insides with some olive oil and throw those on the grill for some crispy bread! 

Once you’ve started your meat, go ahead and add about about a tablespoon of Olive Oil and about 2-3 tablespoons of vinaigrette to your saute pan full of veggies and set your burner on low/medium heat, remembering to stir your veggies every couple of minutes.

Your meat should be ready or almost ready to be flipped to its other side. Once your meat is finished, slice it up in just slightly larger than bite size pieces.

Your bread should also be about crispy now. Remove it from the grill and set it aside face up on a baking sheet.

Turn your oven broiler on high. While that heats up, brush the insides of your bread with the aioli. When your veggies are finished, place a layer on top of the aioli. Then a layer of your steak. Now sprinkle a generous layer of shredded Havarti cheese on the very top.

When your broiler is ready, place your baking sheets of open face sandwiches on the rack directly underneath the flames. You want to keep a really close on eye on these, because the cheese will melt and brown very quickly (2-3 minutes tops!).

Aaaaand, enjoy!!!
*Can see you now why this would be a lot to do for 8 people!? 🙂 

Salmon Burger on a Bagel w/ Avocado Spread

These were seriously delicious! And a really easy and quick dinner idea!

We got the salmon burgers frozen from Trader Joe’s which turned out to be pretty tasty! I was however, a little disappointed when I pulled them out of their individually vacuum sealed packaging and they started to fall apart. I ended up kind of smooshing them back together by hand and cooking them in a piece of tin foil rather than just throwing them right on the grill, as I’d originally hoped.

The ingredients included, are as follows …

  • Salmon Burger
    • Added lemon juice, kosher salt and crushed black pepper for a little flavor
  • Avocado Spread
    • 1 whole Avocado, mashed
    • 1 Tbsp of Mayonnaise
    • Kosher Salt & Crushed Black Pepper to taste
  • Sauteed Mushrooms
  • Diced Pineapple
  • Everything Bagel

I threw some lemon juice, and a little bit of kosher salt and crushed black pepper in the tin foil w/ the salmon patty.

For the avocado spread I mashed up a whole avocado and added a tablespoon of mayonnaise and a little bit of kosher salt and crushed black pepper.

I also sautéed some mushrooms (I looooooove mushrooms). And I diced up some pineapple for a little sweet flavor to mix in there.

It’s a pretty basic puzzle to put together here. Spread your avocado mixture on to the top portion of your toasted bagel, add your mushrooms (or vegetable of choice) and the pineapple and then the salmon burger and place on the bottom portion of bagel.

I made this with some potato wedge fries, which I can assure you will end up making a feature in plenty more recipes to come!

Sweet Heat Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas are a classic meal and what better way to spruce them up, than with some jalapeños and pineapple! And I have to make sure to give credit to my friend Shenelle for coming up with the genius idea to throw in the pineapple.

I’m not going to indulge in this meal too much, only because I am going to make these for lunches this coming week, and I will go much more in to detail about what goes in to this delicious recipe at that time.

But for the ingredients, the basics are …

  • Bell Peppers (a variation of Red, Yellow & Orange is my favorite)
  • Onions
  • Pineapple
  • Jalapeno
  • Marinaded Chicken
  • Toppings (Salsa, sour cream, avocado, etc…) 

The rest is pretty self explanatory as far as preparation. But again, I will be posting later in the week, a little more in depth, about the recipe itself.

As usual, I would love to hear from you guys. Please send me your comments, suggestions, questions.

And if you get the chance, visit Palm Springs, California, it’s an absolutely beautiful place!! Here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure …

      
Until next time, 
Crista

Gimme Some Oven

I love food, and I like talking about food.

for the LOVE OF NOSH

I love food, and I like talking about food.