Spanikopita Chicken Meatballs

 

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Guys, meatballs are kinda my thing.  As much as I love good old fashioned Italian-style meatballs in “gravy” (if you don’t call red sauce with meat gravy in Philly you just don’t belong here), the kind of meatballs I like to make are not what your Nonna might expect.  I’ve made meatballs that are stuffed with cheese, meatballs that taste like Chinese orange chicken, and most famously, my Raspberry Chipotle Meatballs– those bad boys won me a meatball contest at work last year.  Not kidding.  I even got a trophy!

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Photo Cred: Krissy Iaci 

There are so many different types and so much you can do with meatballs.  This recipe that I’m sharing with you today was inspired by an appetizer dish from Rachael Ray.  Instead of serving them as an app, I updated the recipe a bit, added a serving of rice, and voila it was our dinner!

These Spanikopita chicken meatballs are so delish, and they are not bad for you at all!  They are jam packed with spinach and using ground chicken breast limits the fat in the meatballs too.  When I originally tried this recipe, I used real (whole fat) feta cheese, but I recommend if you’re trying to be “good” to use fat free or reduced fat feta.  The feta texture and flavor is still there, but won’t cost you as many calories (or points if you’re on Weight Watchers like me!).

Spanikopita Chicken Meatballs

Recipe Adapted from:  Rachael Ray 
Serves: 3 (18 meatballs total plus sauce)
WW Smart Points (with real feta): 7
WW Smart Points (with fat free feta):  3 (omg right)

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
  • 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry (I use cheesecloth)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese *see note*
  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
  • 3/4 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons, cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons, coriander
  • Salt

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Housewarming Party Spread

Hello again, friends.  I hope you all had a good weekend.  I’m hanging on the sofa, enjoying today’s chilly afternoon.  Dave has RedZone football on, and I’m still reeling from a wonderful party at our new house.  Yesterday, we *finally* threw our housewarming party after moving into our home in late May.  It’s been a journey and a lot of work getting the house together… buying some new furniture, painting a few of the rooms, hanging up pictures, etc.  It’s nice for everything to be coming together.  The housewarming party was a great success- lots of friends and family came to visit and we had a great time.  But, more importantly… the spread was fantastic.

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After lots of planning, stress, more planning and more stress- I landed on what I hoped to be enough food for the 60+ people we were expecting.  I wanted to share my party spread and the corresponding recipes with you, in the hopes of maybe making YOUR next open house party less stressful.

Our party was awesome, and the food was absolutely perfect.  There are a few tips I’d first like to give before diving into the yummy recipes I’m sharing.

  1. When you’re going to try and cater your own party, you can never have too much planning.  My first step of planning was for our menu.  I saved recipes with links to the original pages on an email draft, and added as I thought of more.  At the same time, I made my grocery list.  Every time I added a recipe, I would open it up and jot down the ingredients I’d need to buy for it.  I’ve found this to be SO helpful while I’m at the grocery store.
  2. For your menu, come up with a variety of options.  Finger foods are always ideal, less waste and clean up required.  A few hot items, a few cold items are nice… as well as a good combination of veggie-friendly and carnivore-friendly.
  3. Next, plan when you’re cooking EVERYTHING.  If there’s anything you can prep before hand, do it.  The less you have to do the day-of, the better.  Trust me.  Things get crazy and stressful and this will make your life so much easier.
  4. Double check your ingredients.  I had to go back to the store twice, after not remembering to save my onions, or buy extra limes.  Your prep will run smoothly if you check all of your ingredients before starting on your recipes!
  5. Map out your serving plan just as precisely as your recipe plan.  Know what serving utensils, dishes bowls, and space you’re going to use before making up your mind.
  6. Labels.  Label your food and drinks, please.  You wouldn’t want all your hard work to go to waste because someone doesn’t know what’s in the cheesy dip no one’s touched yet.  People feel more comfortable eating food when they have an idea of what it is… don’t you?
  7. Ask for help!  Grab your spouse, Mom, friend, anyone who offers to help you.  It’ll be nice to get to delegate some of the work, but also getting another opinion when you’re stuck with a last minute decision is clutch.

Now that you’re ready to plan… let me share my menu with you!

Before the madness

Before the madness

For our food spread, I wanted to go with most recipes I could make before the day of the party.  I’m a huge fan of dips, so I always have a few of those.  I also had a few cheese plates we got for our wedding that I wanted to show off, so I definitely wanted to do some fun cheeses.  Adding in a few other apps here and there, and Dave’s requested Chick Fil-A nugget platter, we came up with a great variety of food that was pretty much gone by the end of the night!  It was a huge success.

Soft Pretzels:  Being in Philly, I had to order our favorite soft pretzel tray from Philly Soft Pretzel Factory.  I like to get the full tray but only include salted pretzels and everything pretzels.  Yum.  Dave picked these up about an hour before the party started.

Cheese Plates with Crackers:  I ALWAYS try to buy my cheese from Trader Joe’s.  They have an awesome variety and great prices and if you’re not sure what to do, their staff is very helpful.  I went with a crunchy, aged sharp cheddar, a 1000-day aged Gouda, the always reliably delicious and creamy Saint Andre, a nutty Manchego, and a slightly stinky Blue Stilton.  We had a few accompaniments to go alongside the cheese and crackers- Fig Butter, Honey, Dried Cherries, and Truffle Marcona Almonds.  Nommm.

Caprese Skewers:  This is probably my new favorite entertaining snack.  It’s healthy, it’s easy, and everybody loves them.  These bad boys are simple… buy yourself some small wooden skewers, stack a grape tomato, basil leaf, and chunk of fresh mozzarella.  You can drizzle with balsamic or put a small dish in the center, like I did, for your guests to dip.  I recommend doing this day of so the tomatoes and cheese don’t dry out.

Tortellini Skewers w/ Pesto Dipping Sauce:  Another SUPER simple recipe.  I bought a huge serving of the pre-cooked tortellinis from BJ’s and cooked them up day of.  Throw two tortellini’s on each skewer and then again, either drizzle or offer a pesto dipping sauce.  I wanted to do this instead of a pasta salad, that people would probably serve themselves too much of.

Roasted Shrimp w/ Cocktail Sauce:  This was a great make-ahead snack.  Bought a giant bag of Extra-Large frozen raw, tail-on shrimp from BJ’s.  Shrimp can be expensive, so definitely try to get them in bulk!  I thawed the shrimp, then spread them in a foil-lined, pam-sprayed cookie sheet.  Then, I sprayed the shrimp with coconut oil spray (olive oil drizzle would be fine too!) salt and pepper.  Popped them in the oven at 400 for about 4-5 minutes on each side.  I put those in a tupperware until the day of, when I served with cocktail sauce.  Simple, yet these were the first snacks gone!

BBQ Salami:  Two Hebrew National Salamis- score and place in foil inside a baking dish.  Cover the salami with BBQ sauce.  Sweet Baby Ray’s is a family favorite (and gluten free!).  Bake in the oven for about 45 min or until the BBQ sauce starts getting all carmelizedy on the salami.  Cut or slice and pour any extra BBQ sauce ontop.  Serve with mustard, again, family preference is Nance’s Sharp and Creamy.  Another big hit.

In case you're like me and had no idea what kind of salami to buy :)

In case you’re like me and had no idea what kind of salami to buy 🙂

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Roasted Shrimp and Green Bean Salad

Roasted Shrimp and Green Bean Salad

Now, onto the Dips.

Caramelized Onion Dip w/ Wavy Chips:  Based off of Ina’s Pan Fried Onion Dip.  This was a new recipe to me and I’m pretty much obsessed.  This was the first thing I came to when people were leaving and it was my turn to eat.  YUM.

Recipe- 2 Large Sweet Onions, 4 T Butter, 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil, 1/4 tsp Cayenne, 1 tsp Kosher Salt, 1/2 tsp Black Pepper: Cut onions in half.  Make thin slices with the cut side-down (half moon shape).  Cook the onions for about 30-40 minutes with all other ingredients listed so far in a saucepan.  Put aside and let cool.  Meanwhile, in a mixer, combine 4oz Light Cream Cheese, 1/2 cup Fat Free Sour Cream, and 1/2 cup Olive Oil Mayo.  Once the onions are cool, add them to the mixture and combine.  I tried to remove the onions from the grease, and did not just dump them in together.  

Spinach Dip w/ Carrots and Celery:  A classic staple for us.  I make this all the time just to have for Dave and I to snack on during the week.

Recipe- One container fat free sour cream, 3/4-1 cup of Olive Oil Mayo.  Mix with one package of cooked chopped spinach (I drain mine using cheese cloth.  SO MUCH BETTER than paper towels, i promise it’s worth the small investment), one small can of diced water chestnuts, and one package of Lipton Vegetable soup (dry mix only).  Serve with raw vegg.

Buffalo Chicken Dip:  I never make this because everyone does, but it was a specific request from Dave… so of course I made it again.  Check out my fav recipe here on the blog, not too long ago.  I like to serve this with crackers or my favorite, Fritos Scoops.

Roasted Jalapeno & Honey Hummus:  Another repeat for the blog, but my favorite and really the only hummus in my life anymore.  It’s so good.  I used only 2 peppers, without seeds and it was pretty hot.  Not sure how I used 4 as I talked about in the original post, but go for it if you like heat.  I try to keep things on the less-spicy side for big parties.  Served this with Pita chips.

Cheese, Salad, Hummus, Buffalo Chicken Dip

Cheese, Salad, Hummus, Buffalo Chicken Dip

Spinach Dip and vegg

Spinach Dip and vegg

Time for the “main” dishes!  Not too heavy, I tried to still stay with finger food.

Chicken Nuggets:  I’d like to say this was for the kids we were expecting, but I’m pretty sure the adults devoured them just as much.  Saved myself some time and ordered the biggest party tray available at Chick Fil-A.  They’re the best.

Balsamic Roasted Veggies:  I like to have a healthy option and a good hearty veggie option since Rachel my sister-in-law is a vegetarian, I always try and remember that not everyone can eat meat!  During my prep day, I sliced two eggplants, a few lbs of zucchini, carrots, asparagus, and multi-colored bell peppers (keep those whole!) and threw them in the oven at 400, sprayed with some oil salt and pepper.  I roasted the veggies for about an hour, flipping every so often and turning the bell peppers.  For the bell peppers- you’ll want to get those nice and browning, then toss them in a paper bag.  Let them steam for about 10 minutes, then remove the skin and seeds once they are cool.  I placed all the veggies in a tupperware with balsamic vinegar poured overtop.  Served these room-temp day of.

Strawberry Salad w/ Lime Basil Vinaigrette:  You can make the dressing ahead, but definitely do the salad day-of.  I simplified the salad but used the dressing from this recipe.  Mixed greens, tossed with fresh strawberries, raw slivered almonds, and crumbled blue cheese worked great with this light dressing.  It looked like it wouldn’t be enough, but once I tossed the salad with the dressing, it somehow dressed the whole salad.  Don’t panic if you  make the dressing and it looks small!

Dressing- 1/4 cup Fresh Lime Juice, zest from the lime, 1/2 cup Olive Oil, 1 T Honey, 1/4 cup Fresh Basil, Salt, Pepper.  Blend in a blender or food processor.  

Italian Green Bean Salad:  This recipe is a favorite of my friend Erin’s family and was passed along to me for my party!  A great additional healthy option, and is perfect room temp.  I did make the salad day of and dressing during my prep day.

Recipe- 2lbs Fresh Green Beans, 1 pint Grape Tomatoes (cut in half), 3 T Balsamic Vinegar, 1 T Dijon Mustard, 1/2 tsp. Salt, 9 T olive oil, 1 large red onion (diced and soaked in cold water).  Drop beans in boiling water.  Cook for about 4 minutes, then drain and place into an ice water bath to stop the cooking.  Mix the dressing, then toss with the beans, tomatoes, and onions.  Serve room-temp.  

Raspberry Chipotle Meatballs:  Another staple for parties of mine.  Easy, sweet, spicy, love it.  I bought a 5lb bag of Turkey meatballs from BJ’s and doubled my original recipe I found years ago from Southern Living.  Made these during prep-day, then threw the cold balls into my crock pot a few hours before game-time.

Recipe- 2lbs meatballs, 1 28oz BBQ Sauce (again, Sweet Baby Ray’s for me), 1 15oz Jar Raspberry Preserves (I use All-Fruit brand!), 3 chipotle peppers + 1 Tablespoon of sauce from a small can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo (found near mexican food in grocery store).  Mix everything but the balls in a large pot, add 1 1/2 cups water and whisk.  Add meatballs and cook until heated through or about 45 min.  Re-heat or place in a crockpot to keep warm.

Roasted Veggie platter

Roasted Veggie platter

Pretzels, Nuggets, Salami, and Meatballs

Pretzels, Nuggets, Salami, and Meatballs

Our desserts were completely provided by our fabulous Moms!  My Mom made a decadent chocolate pizza with marshmallows ontop, chocolate covered pretzels, and her famous “White Trash” (white chocolate rolled chex mix, peanuts, and M&Ms).  Dave’s Mom brought us her famous Magic Cookie Bars, Raspberry Bars, Lemon Bars, and my favorite fall-appropriate Pumpkin Bars.  My mouth is watering again!

Dessert Area

Dessert Area

No party would be complete without the libations!  We bought beer, and provided one mixed drink option and two sangrias.  For each of the mixed drinks, I doubled the recipe.  I’ve made the red before and am a huge fan, but the favorite by far was the seasonal Apple Pie Sangria.  I’ll be making that again!  These can be made before the day of, but if you add the fruit in before, take that out day of and replace with new fruit.

Also, with any of the drinks, I’d recommend leaving out the ice and having your guests put their own ice in their cups.  That way, the ice won’t melt and water down the drinks.

Red Sangria, a Bobby Flay Recipe:  I used Spanish Red Wine, and omitted the Blackberries, as they are not in season.
Recipe- 2 Bottles Table Red, 1 cup Apricot Brandy, 1/2 cup Triple Sec, 1/2 cup Raspberry Liquor, 1 cup Orange Juice, 1 cup Pomegranate Juice, 2/4 cup simple syrup, orange slices, apple slices, blackberries, one cinnamon stick.

Apple Pie Sangria:  Followed this one exactly.  The Caramel Vodka we bought was Smirnoff brand called “Kissed Caramel”.

Recipe- 2 Bottles Reisling, 5 cups Apple Cider, 2 cups Ginger Ale, 2 cups Caramel Vodka, 3 honey crisp apples, 3 pears, 2 cinnamon sticks

Maui Moscow Mule:  Vodka, Lime, Ginger Ale, Pimms #1, Mint, Fresh Ginger and Lime Slices.  I made this one too strong at first, so I recommend tasting before serving so you can get the mixture right!  Like the sangria, I had the Ginger and Lime slices as well as mint leaves floating on top.

A pretty picture of my kitchen, where I did all this hard work :)

A pretty picture of my kitchen, where I did all this hard work 🙂

I hope this can inspire you when you’re going to make your own party next!  If you were one of the lucky ones at my party, you’re welcome ESPECIALLY for the Apple Pie Sangria recipe and thank YOU for coming!

Walnut Red Pepper Dip

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Is it me, or sometimes do you just make a recipe that you just know you can always get along with?  Like… you make it and eat it and just think that you can have this every day forever and not get sick of it?!

Maybe it’s me, but if you don’t know what this feels like, well you just haven’t tried this recipe yet.  I’ve already made it twice this month and I’m making it again this weekend.  It’s that good.

This Dip was something I wanted to try as a “healthy” option for a few things i made for our NYE party this year.  It was the first thing to go… it is SO SO yummy.  I’ll be making it again for the Puppy Bowl Superbowl and think you should too!

Here’s the recipe for all of my friends who have been bugging me all month 🙂

Walnut Red Pepper Dip

Ingredients:
2 cups Raw Walnuts (pieces or whatever is cheaper)
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1 jar (12 oz.) Roasted Red Peppers, rinsed and drained
1 Garlic Clove, minced
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Lemon Juice

Directions:
1. Pulse walnuts, cumin, sugar, and salt in a food processor until walnuts are finely ground.
2. Add peppers, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice, process until smooth.
3. Serve with veggies, crackers, chips, or even slices of crusty bread.

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Cooking Light 

Crush those nuts! :)

Crush those nuts! 🙂

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This dip has been delicious on just about everything I’ve put it on!  I have been buying the walnuts from Trader Joe’s, which the only options are for raw walnuts, but it would be just as good if you have roasted walnuts.  Also, since you’re pulverizing the nuts, don’t spend extra money on getting the whole ones either.

ENJOY!

Red Pepper Walnut Relish : BA Cleanse 2014

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It’s time to take a hop in the time machine and go back a few months to the beginning of 2014.  Remember when Dave and I did the Bon Appetit cleanse?  We started the year off with two weeks of this awesome cleanse which gave us guidelines AND recipes to follow for every meal plus snacks for every day of the cleanse.  It was awesome.  I actually sorta miss it!

I wanted to share this recipe from the cleanse with you because I love how versatile it is.  You can really use it in so many ways, as we did during our cleanse.  We used this relish on chicken (seen below), on scrambled eggs, roasted tofu, and even by itself as a snack.  It definitely felt good using a topping that was homemade and not store bought.  Yay!

Red Pepper Walnut Relish

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup Walnuts
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers (1lb)
  • 1 clove Garlic, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Mint, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) Aleppo Pepper* or ½ teaspoon Hot Smoked Paprika 
  • ½ teaspoon (or more) fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ teaspoon Pomegranate Molasses** or Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darker, 8–10 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop.  DO NOT BURN!!  (I had to re-do this step THREE times lol)
  2. Heat broiler. Broil bell peppers on a rimmed baking sheet, turning occasionally, until softened and skins are blackened in spots, 20–25 minutes. Transfer bell peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (or a brown paper bag), and let steam 15 minutes. Peel peppers, seed, and chop.
  3. Toss bell peppers, garlic, mint, oil, Aleppo pepper, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, and walnuts in a small bowl; season with salt, black pepper, and more Aleppo pepper and lemon juice, if desired.
  4. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

*Aleppo Pepper is a great spice to have handy.  See if you can find it at Whole Foods or another spice market

**Pomegranate Molasses can be found at most grocery stores, just ask someone where it is.  This is a great item to have for other mediterranean recipes.  It’s delicious.

This relish can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a week.

Recipe from:  Bon Appetit 2014

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The relish was such a delicious topping on this chicken recipe from the cleanse.  It adds a super flavorful punch and a really nice crunchy texture too.  I love the flavor that is brought to the table by the pomegranate molasses.  You can absolutely taste it and I totally recommend going out and buying it even if it’s just for this.

If you’re wondering what that gorgeous lookin’ side of white beans is, you can read about it here.  These are just a few of the recipes from the cleanse… pretty awesome right?

You can find a few of my favorite cleanse recipes here…

Multigrain Hot Cereal w/ Pomegranate & Crunch

Multigrain Hot Cereal w/ Pomegranate & Crunch

Avocado Smoothie

Avocado Smoothie

Spiced Cashew Crunch

Spiced Cashew Crunch

Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread

I am seriously SO over all of this snow!  We have now had the third snowiest winter of all time in Philadelphia… ew ew ew ew ew!!  All last week while stuck inside because of the terrible weather, all I could think about was soup.  I was looking at recipes of soup that I’ve made before and ones that I’ve saved for a rainy day.  I didn’t even care what kind… I just really wanted soup.

And honestly, what better soup to make on a snowy day than one that cooks in a crockpot and makes your house smell all sorts of delicious?!  I decided to spend some time on Sunday making a new chili recipe with Dave.  We like to experiment and try new things, so this time around, we made a lamb chili.  It was so delish!  Stay tuned because I’ll be posting about that recipe soon 🙂

We decided to make this amazing cornbread to go along with the chili, which was a fabulous idea because it was so freakin’ easy and so yummy!

I have actually always wanted to try a baking recipe in my cast iron skillet, so this was the perfect opportunity.

This recipe is from the super popular blogger, Michelle, from Brown Eyed Baker.  This is the first recipe I’ve made from her site, and I am so excited to try others… this one was great!  Check out her blog and instagram… she has two adorable Golden Retrievers and posts so many pictures of them, I just love it!

Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread

Ingredients:

1¼ cups Yellow Cornmeal
1¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons White Sugar
1½ teaspoons Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Baking Soda
1½ teaspoons Kosher Salt
1¾ cups Reduced Fat Buttermilk
1 large Egg
1/2 can Creamed Corn

4 Tablespoons Butter, cut into 4 pieces

Chives

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt.  Measure your buttermilk in a large measuring cup, then add the egg and stir.  Add the buttermilk mixture and the creamed corn to the dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula until the mixtures are completely combined.  Chop or snip some chives into the batter as well if you’d like.

2.  Put the four pieces of butter in a cast iron skillet (10-12 inches) and then place the pan in the preheated oven until the butter is melted (about 3 minutes).  Remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the pan so the butter coats the bottom and partially up the sides of the pan.  Add the batter to the skillet and smooth the top with the rubber spatula.  

3.  Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick entered into the middle comes out clean.  Let cool slightly then cover the pan with a cutting board and flip, removing the cornbread.  Slice and serve warm.

Recipe Adapted from:  Brown Eyed Baker

Ready to go in the oven...

Ready to go in the oven…

all done :)

all done 🙂

I sliced mine like a pie :)

I sliced mine like a pie 🙂

 

I was literally in shock when this recipe turned out right.  I’m not very good at baking (I rarely follow instructions the right way) and could not believe how perfect this cornbread came out of the skillet!  What a relief.

The only change I would make to this recipe for next time would be to add either a little bit more sugar or kosher salt… or even jalapeños!  The good thing about cornbread is that the opportunities are endless… you can add whatever you’d like.  This cornbread was so delicious and was the perfect accompaniment to our lamb chili!

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cornbread

 

Roasted Jalapeño & Honey Hummus

Holy Hummus.

I think I’ve discovered my favorite snack, like… ever.

This stuff is legit.

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Don’t get me wrong, my other hummus recipes are awesome.  I love making this stuff from scratch.  It’s so easy and I love being able to customize the flavors.  This recipe puts all others to shame.  It’s just so-freakin-awesome.

The idea for this hummus recipe came from one of my absolute favorite bloggers, Jessica, from How Sweet It Is.  Not only do I love reading her hilarious stories, Jessica has just the best recipes.  Her pictures are amazing too.  I knew I had to try this recipe out when I read it a week or two ago.  I love roasting peppers and adding honey to hummus was something I had never even heard of.  I’m all in.

hummus

Roasted Jalapeño & Honey Hummus

Ingredients:

1-4 Jalapeño Peppers, roasted*

2 cans Chickpeas, drained, reserving liquid

1/4 cup Tahini

1/4 cup Honey

1/4 cup Olive Oil

2 cloves Garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

1/4 teaspoon Cumin

1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Directions:

*To roast the jalapeños, you can hold them with heat-safe tongs over a gas range, or you can roast them in the oven (what I do) on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Roast at 400 checking/flipping every 5-10 minutes or so, until the peppers are soft and browning.  I used 4 peppers with seeds.  Use one at a time, tasting to see how spicy it is.  Dave and I love spicy food, this is about average spice for us.  Remove the seeds if you don’t like spice at all.*

1.  Add the chickpeas, jalapeño, and garlic to the food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  

2.  Add in the tahini, honey, and all four spices and continue to blend, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary.  With the processor turned on, slowly stream about half of the olive oil into the hummus.  Depending on how you like the consistency, add in a few tablespoons of the bean “juice” (from draining the chickpeas).  Keep processing until you get the desired consistency, adding bean juice or oil as you go.  I stop and taste often.  Serve with chips, cucumber slices, carrots, or spread on a sandwich!  MMM!

Recipe adapted from:  How Sweet It Is

Ready to whirl!

Ready to whirl!

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So while these pics might look like any old hummus… I promise you, this stuff is special.  Try it out!

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Or… try another one of my favorite dips!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Italian Hoagie Dip

Italian Hoagie Dip

Smoked Salmon Dip

Smoked Salmon Dip

White Bean & Pomegranate Salad : BA Cleanse 2014

Anyone following on Instagram knows about “the cleanse”. (and if you aren’t … go follow now!)

At the time of the last post I wrote, Dave and I were starting a little new year challenge to follow Bon Appetit’s “Food Lover’s Cleanse“.  Now that we’re almost done, I will have some time to tell you all about it!  I cannot wait to share some of the new recipes I’ve learned with you.  It’s been a week and a half full of prepping and cooking but it was worth it.  Both of us have really enjoyed the cleanse, and after the first two days and the re-discovery of clementines, we really never felt hungry.

The first cleanse recipe I want to tell you about is for an amazing side that was made by DAVE!  He has been such a big help during the cleanse since it involves so many recipes and a ton of time in the kitchen.  I had to share this side dish with you, I was SO impressed!

This bean salad is very easy to make- it’s light and fresh with the parsley and crunch of the pomegranate arils but hearty and full of fiber!

I never get a chance to make interesting sides, so this one has to get some special recognition!

White Bean & Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients:

1 (15oz) can Cannellini Beans, rinsed

1/3 cup Pomegranate Seeds*

1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/4 cup Scallions (thinly sliced whites and pale green parts only.  Cut on a diagonal)

2 Tablespoons fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

Toss beans, pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, oil, scallions, parsley, and ½ tsp. salt together in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. (Doesn’t get much easier than that, does it?!)

*Here’s some help on how to de-seed your pom!

Recipe from:  Bon Appetit

This side would be great with really anything, but we ate it on our cleanse along with some pan-roasted chicken topped with a Red Pepper-Walnut Relish- the recipes for those are found below!  I was super psyched about the chicken- the recipe called for some pan frying on the stove and for the chicken to be finished off in the oven… this meant I was able to use one of our new pans!  YAY!

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Red Pepper Walnut Relish:  Recipe Here

Pan-Roasted Chicken:  Recipe Here