Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

This is another yumm-o APPETIZER recipe perfect for Super Bowl Sunday. Now, if you don't make the same mistake I did, your "poppers" won't actually POP open like mine did (more on that in the recipe tip)! Even though mine aren't the PRETTIEST things around, they are definitely some of the TASTIEST!

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
1 package cream cheese, room temp
1/2 to 3/4 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
Dash of garlic powder
About 10 to 12 jalapenos, capped, halved, and seeded
12 slices uncooked bacon, halved

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar, and garlic powder. Spoon mixture into the jalapeno halves and then tightly wrap half a slice of bacon around each. (You may want to stick some wet toothpicks in them so the bacon stays put—I did NOT!) Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bacon is sizzling and seems done. I like to turn the broiler on the last few minutes to crisp it up a little better.

TIP: I thought I would cut some fat by only using a 1/3 piece of bacon wrapped around each popper. However, I did not use toothpicks. If you decide that 1/3 is plenty, DEFINITELY use the toothpicks or they will turn out looking like mine! :)


Cranberry Pomegranate Salsa

I WANT you to make this salsa for your next party. It. Is. Amazing. SERIOUSLY! And do it before all the FRESH cranberries and pomegranates are gone! It is not only amazing in taste, but BEAUTIFUL to look at as well. And everyone wants to eat pretty food, right?

Cranberry Pomegranate Salsa
1 cup fresh cranberries, finely chopped (I just chop it in my blender)
1 cup pomegranate seeds
2 green onions, chopped
3 or 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
Dash of ground ginger
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate a few hours before serving. Give it a good stir and serve over a block of cream cheese with Wheat Thins, Chicken in a Biscuit crackers, or some yummy salty tortilla chips. The saltier the better!

TIP: The salsa is great on tortilla chips without the cream cheese as well. If you don't have cilantro, you can use parsley in a pinch, and I think lime juice would be phenomenal in place of the lemon juice. You decide!


Pizza Bites

SUPER BOWL Sunday is coming soon. Do you have your APPETIZER recipes ready? If not, these BITES are so easy! And your KIDS will love them. Perfect, right?

Pizza Bites
8 ounces cheddar, colby jack, or mozzarella cheese
3 (10-count) cans buttermilk biscuits (Western Family is the perfect price and size)
1 bag sliced pepperoni
1 egg, beaten
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning
Parmesan cheese (the "powdery" kind)

Cut the block of cheese into 24 to 30 cubes. Flatten each dough biscuit (as you stuff them to avoid drying out) and place a pepperoni or two in the middle. Top it with a cube of cheese and another pepperoni or two. Press the dough around the filling and seal completely. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Brush each "bite" with egg and then sprinkle on the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and cheese. Bake at 425 degrees F for about 18 to 20 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve with warm marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

TIP: You can fill these little bites up with whatever pizza toppings you like! Also, if you happen to buy the "grand" size biscuits, be sure to cut the dough in half or your "bite" will be HUGE!


Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad

I've been seeing a lot of Brussels sprouts RECIPES floating around and decided to try one of my own. It ended up being a slightly DECADENT side dish. I seriously can't tell you how much I LOVED this dish. I may or may not have eaten all the LEFTOVERS for lunch the next day. (Please excuse the terrible pic—I really need a different camera!)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad
About 1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed and quartered
1/2 small sweet onion, chopped
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup gorgonzola crumbles
Crumbled cooked bacon (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the sprouts, onion, and garlic in a baking dish that has been lightly coated with olive oil. Drizzle a little oil over top and season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and then place in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until tender, and tossing after 20 minutes. When sprouts seem tender, stir in the pecans and craisins and bake a few minutes more. Remove from the oven and then stir in the cheese. Add bacon if desired. Mmmmmmm!

TIP: Again, I seriously loved this recipe! Just go easy on the salt because the cheese is very salty, as well as the bacon if you use it. I'm sure walnuts or even slivered almonds would be just as yummy in this, and a true blue cheese would be great if you like a stronger blue cheese. Either way, hope you like this as much as I do!


Chicken Cacciatore

This is another HEALTHY yet scrumptious meal that we've been enjoying the last few CHILLY weeks. It warms you up and just smells so YUMMY while it slowly cooks in your crockpot all day. When it's this cold outside, what could be better?

Chicken Cacciatore
8 or so chicken tenderloins
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped or sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped or sliced
1/2 onion, chopped or sliced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (I use flavored kinds, like sweet onion, italian, etc.)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup spaghetti sauce
Dried basil

Put the chicken and vegetables in a crockpot that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Pour the sauce over top and sprinkle with desired amount of dried basil. Cook on low heat for 8 hours or on high heat for 4 hours. Toss with cooked spaghetti and serve. Or just spoon over individual servings of spaghetti. Whatever you prefer! Oh, and we like a healthy sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese over top too. :)

TIP: This recipe changes a little each time I make it. I kind of use what I have, ya know? Sometimes I do more sauce or more vegetables or more chicken. The good thing is that it always turns out yummy!


Fish Tacos with Lime Cilantro Sauce

This is a very REFRESHING dinner that I like to throw together during my healthy eating times. I love the FLAVORS of cilantro and lime—so tangy and powerful, and the PERFECT sauce for these excellent tacos.

Fish Tacos with Lime Cilantro Sauce
Lime Cilantro Sauce
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup light or fat-free mayonnaise
1/4 cup light or fat-free sour cream
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced

Fish Tacos
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 pounds any white fish (halibut, mahi-mahi, tilapia, etc.)
Small flour tortillas (or corn tortillas if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients and then refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the tacos, combine all the seasonings and then coat your choice of fish. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until done (the fish will flake easily with a fork). When fish is done, break into pieces with a fork and then scoop in the center of your tortillas. Drizzle the sauce over top and serve. Makes about 4-6 servings.

TIP: To add some extra nutrients, top the fish with shredded cabbage or some romaine or spring mix lettuces and then drizzle with the sauce. You can also serve with lime wedges on the side so people can squeeze on extra juice.