Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Whenever I visit my daughter, we indulge in lunch at P.F. Chang's. While we have many favorites, their Chicken Lettuce Wraps are at the top of my list. Since there is no P.F. Chang's restaurant near my hometown and since I crave these things more than four times a year, it was crucial for me to find a copycat recipe so I can make these leaves of goodness at home. 

I tried a few recipes, but none truly mimicked the flavor. After much experimenting and tweaking, I think I finally found the secret to their addictive chicken lettuce wraps and I'm excited to share with you today!

These are super easy to make and are perfect for those nights when you don't want to spend much time in the kitchen. 

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound Chicken Breasts, diced
1/2 medium Yellow Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, diced
1/4 cup Hoisin Sauce
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Ginger, freshly grated
1 Tablespoon Smokey Chipotle Sauce or Sriracha
1 (8-oz) can Water Chestnuts, drained and diced
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
Pink Himalayan Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 head Butter Lettuce, washed, dried and divided into leaves (this lettuce is very fragile, so use caution when separating leaves to prevent tearing)


  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned; about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add onion and saute until translucent; about 4 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, ginger, and hot sauce. Cook 2 minutes.
  4. Add water chestnuts and green onion and stir to incorporate. Cook 2-3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.
  5. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of mixture into center of one lettuce leaf. Fold bottom leaf up toward the center and pull sides together, similar to the shape of a taco.



Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos Stuffed with BBQ Meatloaf and Cheese

When making the BBQ Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf Onion Bombs from the previous post, you'll likely have some leftover meat. Here's a way to utilize leftover meatloaf and squeeze an extra meal out of it.

Not only are these stuffed jalapenos perfect for a fast dinner, they also make fabulous appetizers. They pair well with garlic butter rice, brown rice, fries, and loaded baked potatoes. 

Bacon-wrapped-meatloaf-stuffed-jalapenos-with-cheddar-cheese-3-the-cheap-gourmetBACON WRAPPED JALAPENOS STUFFED WITH BBQ MEATLOAF AND CHEESE

Yields: 12 individual peppers
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes




6 large Jalapeno peppers, cut in half with seeds removed and stems intact (cut stems to 1/2")
1/2-cup raw BBQ meatloaf
6 slices thick Bacon
1/4-cup Cheddar Cheese, finely shredded


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Fill each jalapeno half with meatloaf mixture; about 1 Tablespoon per pepper.

3. Cut bacon in half and wrap diagonally around each pepper to cover meatloaf. (Start on the top and gently pull bacon to extend length as you wrap).


4. Place in a baking pan and bake for 15-18 minutes; until bacon is slightly crispy with brown edges. Remove from oven and carefully top each pepper with a pinch of shredded cheese.


5. Return to oven and bake for 2-3 minutes; until cheese is melted and bubbly.

6. Remove from oven and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to serving dish and enjoy.


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Super Easy Pepperoni and Mozzarella Pizza Rolls

Need a fast, yet flavorful appetizer or meal? If so, you'll love these pepperoni and mozzarella pizza rolls. With only 4 ingredients and less than 30 minutes, you can enjoy ooey-gooey pizza rolls for a fraction of the cost of delivery pizza.


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 18-20 minutes
Yield: 16 pizza rolls


1 can Pillsbury 'Original' Grands Biscuits

40 slices Pepperoni (we like Bridgford brand)

16 (1-inch) cubes Mozzarella Cheese

1/3 cup Mozzarella Cheese, grated

1/4 cup Marinara or Pizza Sauce, for dipping


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly grease 9-inch pie dish.
  3. Place biscuits on lightly floured cutting board. Cut in half and gently smash with hand palm. Carefully remove from cutting board and shape into round disc.
  4. Add 2 slices of pepperoni (side-by-side and slightly overlapped) and place cheese cube in center. Wrap excess dough around pepperoni and cheese, roll into a ball, and place in pie dish. Repeat until you have 16 pizza rolls.
  5. Place one slice of pepperoni between each roll. Top with shredded mozzarella.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown. Let rest for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to serving plate with marinara sauce and serve immediately. 


Bacon, Gorgonzola and Scallion Belgian Waffles

Ready to gourmet-up your waffle? Love eating waffles for dinner? If so, you will love this Bacon, Gorgonzola, and Scallion Belgian Waffle! This sweet and savory treat is super easy to prepare and will leave you satisfied and full.

Not only is this bacon and cheese waffle a great meal, it is also a great appetizer. Rather than serve it whole, cut into 8 slices and serve with warm maple syrup and confectioner's sugar. It's amazing!

While I prefer homemade waffle mix, you can substitute with boxed mix. One of my favs is Krusteaz brand. You can also change up this recipe by using different types of bacon and cheese. 



Servings: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4-5 minutes


4 slices Cherrywood or Applewood Bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 Scallions, thinly sliced. Reserve 2 Tablespoons for garnish
1/2 cup Gorgonzola Cheese, grated
2 cups all-purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1-1/2 teaspoons Sea Salt
2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Eggs
2 cups Buttermilk
2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
1 Tablespoon Bacon grease


1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add bacon slices and cook each side for 4-5 minutes; until crisp. Transfer bacon slices to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess grease. Reserve 1 Tablespoon of bacon grease. When cool, chop bacon into small bits.
2. Slice scallions thinly and set aside.
3. Grate cheese and set aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Whisk ingredients until well combined.
5. In a small mixing bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and bacon grease.
6. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Batter will be somewhat lumpy.
7. Fold in bacon bits, cheese, and scallions.
8. Preheat a Belgian waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions.
9. Lightly spray waffle iron with non-stick spray.
10. Add about 1 cup of batter per waffle. Close waffle iron and cook until light turns green.
11. Transfer waffles to serving plate and top with maple syrup and scallions.

Deep Fried Bacon and Cheese Biscuit Appetizers

Okay, so I know there is absolutely nothing healthy about these deep fried bacon and cheese biscuit appetizers, but sometimes a person needs a little guilty pleasure. This is one of mine. Chances are it will become one of yours too!

Not only are these bacon and cheese biscuits deliciously tasty, they are also super easy to make. You can enjoy these wicked appetizers in about 20 minutes from start to finish. Experiment with different types of bacon and cheeses to create your own flavor profile.


Yield: 20 appetizers
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3-4 minutes


6 cups vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
1 can of 5 count Buttermilk biscuits
10 slices bacon – medium to thick cut works best
20 1-inch cube Mozzarella cheese
20 toothpicks

NOTE: It's best to use a deep fryer, but if you don't have one use a large skillet.


1. Heat oil in deep fryer or skillet to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. While oil is heating, quarter each biscuit and set aside.
3. Cut Mozzarella cheese into 1-inch cubes.
4. Cut bacon slices in half.
5. Gently flatten biscuit quarters into rounds. Place cheese cube in center; fold sides over cheese; and roll into a ball. Wrap with ½ slice bacon and cover as much of the biscuit as possible. Secure with toothpick.
6. Carefully drop biscuits into hot oil and cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip. Remove from oil when bacon is crisp. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess grease. Serve and enjoy!


BBQ Turkey Crostini Appetizer

Looking for something different to make from Thanksgiving leftover turkey? Try this tangy BBQ turkey crostini. It's super easy to make and only requires a few basic ingredients. Best of all, this tasty appetizer is ready in less than 30 minutes.

The BBQ turkey crostini appetizer is perfect year-round. If you don't have leftover turkey, a good alternative is packaged turkey meat chunks, smoked turkey legs, or use chicken or pork instead.


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Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes


6 slices Farmer's Bread
1-1/2 cups Turkey meat, chopped
1/4 small Red Onion, diced
2/3 cup BBQ Sauce (try this homemade sweet and tart BBQ sauce)
4 slices cooked Bacon, chopped
6-8  slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Add turkey, onion, and BBQ sauce to a small skillet. Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until sauce begins to bubble. Stir frequently.

3. Place bread slices on ungreased baking sheet. Top each slice with 1/4 cup BBQ turkey mixture.


4. Add 1-2 tablespoons chopped bacon.


5. Top with cheddar cheese. If bread slices are long, you might need to break cheese slices into smaller pieces to cover the entire crostini.

6. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese bubbles and begins to turn brown.
7. Let sit for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to serving dish and enjoy!



Pepperoni and Cheese Crescent Roll Pizza Bites Recipe

Today, I'm happy to provide a delicious Pepperoni and Cheese Crescent Roll Pizza Bites recipe contributed by guest blogger, Brianna Collins. I'd like to take this opportunity to personally thank Brianna for taking time to supply this recipe to The Cheap Gourmet blog.

From Brianna...

As a college student, I am constantly searching for new and easy recipes to make. It's hard to fight the temptation to spend each meal in the drive thru or at happy hour with friends.

Upon browsing Pinterest I came across a picture of what looked like a crescent with pepperoni and cheese. I was instantly interested. While a commercial pizza oven would be amazing to have for any time you're craving some homemade pizza, we don't always have the luxury.

I worked on the recipe and came up with a delicious and extremely quick way to make these pizza rolls! Cheap and easy, this recipe is fun and tasty.

Servings: 8 rolls

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1 Bag of pepperonis
1 Can of refrigerated crescent rolls
2 Mozzarella string cheese
1 Can of marinara sauce
1 Bag of parmesan cheese
1 small bunch of parsley


1.  Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2.  Slowly warm marinara sauce on low heat.
3.  Unwrap the string cheese and cut each one into fourths.
4.  Unroll the crescent dough and lay out on sprayed baking sheet.
5.  Lay down around 3 pepperonis on the larger part of the crescent rolls.
6.  Place the fourth of string cheese on top of the pepperonis on each triangle crescent rolls.


7.   Roll each triangle crescent up.
8.   Sprinkle parmesan and parsley on the top of the rolled crescent.
9.   Put in oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
10. Take out of oven and let cool off.
11.  Place a spoonful of marinara sauce on each roll.


AUTHOR BIO:  I'm a Texas Longhorn with an appetite for learning new things, experiencing the world around me, and communicating with all types of people. I plan on graduating in May of 2013 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism and a minor in Sociology. Get to know me more and view my work at Follow me on twitter @BriannaCCollins

Deep Fried Parmesan Cheese Puffs

Deep-fried-parmesan-cheese-puffsIf you're looking for a delicious and easy-to-prepare appetizer you will love these deep fried parmesan cheese puffs

These bite-size parmesan cheeese puffs are light and airy with a hint of saltiness from the cheese and a crispy outer shell. They are perfect on their own or can be paired with a light dipping sauce.

The cheese puffs can be fried in a deep fryer or heavy saucepan. I prefer using peanut oil, but they can also be fried in vegetable or canola oil. They are perfect for dinner parties, BBQ's, family gatherings, holidays, and wine tasting parties.


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Yield: 24 (1-inch balls)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4-5 minutes


6 cups Peanut Oil (can substitute with vegetable or canola oil)
2 cups finely grated Parmesan Cheese (can also use Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1/4 cup all-purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
4 large Egg Whites at room temperature


1. Heat oil in a deep fryer or heavy 3-quart saucepan to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a small bowl, mix grated cheese, flour, salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. In a mixing bowl, add egg whites and beat with a hand or stand mixer until stiff peaks form.

4. Add 1/2 cup of cheese mixture and gently mix until ingredients are incorporated.

5. Add remaining cheese mixture and gently mix into a soft ball. 

6. Use a cookie scoop to form 1-inch balls. Carefully drop cheese puffs into hot oil and cook until crisp on both sides. It's recommended to fry cheese puffs in batches of 8 to 10 balls. 

7. Transfer cheese puffs to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess grease. Transfer to serving plate and devour!


Gorgonzola Cheese Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Prosciutto

I recently served these gorgonzola cheese stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto appetizers at a wedding. They were a big hit and several people asked for the recipe. Not only do the dates taste amazing, they are super simple to make and can be served warm or at room temperature; making them a great appetizer for nearly any occasion.

Another great thing about the gorgonzola cheese stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto is they can be made a day ahead. I stored them in a resealable plastic bag placed in the refrigerator overnight. I wouldn't recommend making them more than 1 day in advance to prevent the prosciutto from drying out.

You could substitute prosciutto with bacon or thin slices of maple-glazed ham. These can be baked in the oven; grilled on a flatop griddle or electric skillet; or an indoor grill. I hope you enjoy this semi-healthy-dessert-appetizers as much as we do!


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Yield: 24
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 8-10 minutes


24 whole Medjool Dates, pitted
1/2 cup Gorgonzola Cheese, crumbled
12 slices Prosciutto


1. Place 24 toothpicks in water and soak for 10 minutes to prevent burning in oven.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Slice dates in half, being careful not to slice all the way through. Remove pit.

4. Stuff each date with 1 teaspoon Gorgonzola cheese.

5. Wrap each date with 1/2 slice of Prosciutto and secure with toothpick.

6. Place dates on baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese begins to bubble and prosciutto starts to crisp up.

7. Remove from oven. Transfer to serving plate and serve immediately. Place leftovers in airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Stuffing Wrapped in Bacon Appetizers

My husband made bacon wrapped stuffing appetizers for our Super Bowl party. They were so yummy that we've added them to our 'Favorites' menu and have indulged twice since Super Bowl Sunday.

Not only do the stuffing wrapped in bacon appetizers taste great, they are super easy to make. We used packaged stuffing mix, but these appetizers could be made using homemade stuffing as well. Additionally, you can substitute bacon with prosciutto or hard meats such as salami or pepperoni. We used one-half round of sandwich pepperoni for one of the stuffing balls and it was quite tasty as well!



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Yield: 12 balls
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 15-18 minutes


 3 cups homemade stuffing or 1 box stuffing mix
6 slices Bacon, cut in half


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. If using homemade stuffing proceed to step 3. If using boxed stuffing, cook according to package directions.Remove from stove and let cool for 5 minutes.
3. Use a cookie scoop to create stuffing balls or roll 2 Tablespoons of stuffing mixl into 2-inch balls.

5. Wrap with 1/2 slice bacon and secure with a toothpick

6. Place stuffing balls on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15-18 minutes or until bacon is crisp and top of stuffing is lightly browned.
7. Transfer to serving platter and enjoy!


Black-eyed Peas Salsa Recipe

I was introduced to black-eyed peas salsa while dining at Flip Flops; a favorite local restaurant that became famous when head chef, Chef Danny Veltri won the reality TV show, Hell's Kitchen. Flip Flops serves used to serve the salsa to bar patrons and diners as they awaited their meals.

I became addicted to black-eyed peas salsa the first time it crossed my lips. One of Flip Flops bartenders, who just happens to be the brother of Executive Chef, Erik Amalfitano, shared the ingredients so I could make the salsa at home. The recipe has become a staple in our house and is the first appetizer I make for guests. Everyone loves this salsa and I hope it becomes a favorite for you as well!


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Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes


1 (15.8 oz) can Seasoned Blackeye Peas, drained
1 medium Celery stalk, sliced thin
1/4 Red Onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Drain blackeye peas and place in medium size container.
2. Add celery, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
3. Mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
4. Serve with tortilla chips or flat bread.

Cheese and Honey Phyllo Rounds

I created cheese and honey phyllo rounds for my Greek Feast for Two entry into the Foodbuzz Project Food Blog Challenge. Although, The Cheap Gourmet did not proceed to the next round, I've acquired a love for Greek food and indulge in it whenever I can. If you haven't experimented with Greek recipes, I encourage you to do so. The flavors are amazing and many of the traditional recipes are relatively easy to prepare.

The cheese and honey phyllo rounds make a great appetizer and a semi-guilt-free dessert. As with anything, moderation is the key. You can change the type of cheese, but it's best to use a semi-hard cheese for this recipe. Soft cheeses will melt too much and you'll end up with a product that's more like a mozzarella cheese stick. 

The original cheese and honey phyllo rounds recipe called for cutting the dough into rounds. I didn't have much luck with that method and cut the sheets into quarters. This dish is intended to be served at room temperature, but my husband and I liked them best straight out of the oven. 


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Yield: 16 rounds
Prep Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Bake Time: 12 to 14 minutes


8 sheets refrigerated Phyllo dough, cut into quarters
4 ounces Pecorino-Romano cheese, finely grated
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil for basting
1-1/2 Tablespoons Honey


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place phyllo dough on large cutting board. Cut sheets into quarters and stack into a pile.
3. Use two sheets of phyllo dough for each cheese-stuffed round. You will need to work quickly so the dough doesn't dry out.
4. Place two sheets of dough on cutting board and lightly brush with olive oil. Place 1/2-teaspoon of cheese near the end of the square. Gently roll and lightly baste with olive oil. Carefully roll one end toward the center to create a snail shell.
5. Place on baking sheet and lightly baste each round before placing in oven.
6. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until light golden brown.

7. Remove from oven and immediately transfer to serving platter. Drizzle with honey. Serve at room temperature.


Gado Gado: Spicy Indonesian Nut Sauce

Gado Gado is a spicy nut sauce originating in Indonesian. It is served over an arrangement of cooked or raw vegetables. This recipe uses almond butter and creates a smooth, silky sauce. Pour gado gado sauce over vegetables and garnish with apple slices, lemon or orange slices, toasted sunflower seeds or almond silvers.

Recommended vegetable selections include: steamed cabbage, shredded raw cabbage, baby carrots, celery slices, steamed broccoli, or fresh green beans.


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Serves 8
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Ready in: 55 minutes


2 tablespoons Coconut oil
1 cup Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 Bay leaf
2 teaspoons Ginger root, freshly grated
1 cup Almond Butter
1 tablespoon Maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, adjust to taste
1 Lemon, juice only
1 tablespoon organic Apple cider vinegar
3 cups Water
1 teaspoon Sea salt


1. In a saucepan, cook the onions, garlic, bay leaf and ginger in coconut oil.
2. When onion becomes translucent, add remaining ingredients; mix thoroughly.
3. Simmer on lowest possible heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Orange Almond Salad Recipe

Orange Almond Salad is refreshing and incredibly easy to prepare. It makes for a great lunch or can be served as a side with dinner. One serving equals 2 cups of salad mix and 1 tangerine. Use a combination of iceberg and romaine lettuce, if desired.


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Serves 2
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 0 minutes
Ready in: 15 minutes


1 head Lettuce, green leaf
2 Tangerine Oranges, fresh
2 tablespoons Almond slivers, toasted
1 Lemon, juice only (optional)


1. Wash, rinse and dry green leaf lettuce.
2. Chop into bite-size pieces. Place into salad bowl.
3. Peel and separate tangerine orange slices. Place on top of salad.
4. Add almond slivers.
5. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top, if desired.
6. Serve immediately.

Cooking Tip: Instead of purchasing roasted almond slivers, roast your own. Heat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange almond slivers in a single layer on baking pan. Place in oven for 5-10 minutes, depending on how brown you like them. Keep a close eye though, as almonds will burn quickly.

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Cauliflower Medley Soup Recipe

Cauliflower Medley Soup is a filling, yet light-flavored soup that is great year-round. Two cups of soup is a mere 62 calories and packed with vitamins and minerals. This cauliflower soup recipe can be made with water, vegetable or chicken broth. Personally, I prefer the added flavor of chicken broth.


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Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Ready in: 40 minutes


2 Celery stalks, chopped
1 Onion (white or yellow), chopped
2 Carrots, shredded
1 head Cauliflower, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
10-12 each Spinach leaves, freshly chopped
6 cups Water (or vegetable broth)
Sea salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste


1. In a large pan over medium heat, sauté celery, onion and carrot in water for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Steam cauliflower in a colander over boiling water or in a vegetable steamer until tender. Drain water and mash cauliflower with a fork.
3. Add the mashed cauliflower to the vegetable mixture, return to stove and cook over medium heat. Add the water or vegetable broth.
4. Add spinach leaves and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Simmer for 15 minutes or until soup is heated thoroughly.

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More Goodness from Real Simple Magazine

If you are a regular reader of The Cheap Gourmet blog, then you probably already know that the December Giveaway is a One Year subscription to Real Simple magazine. If you aren't familiar with Real Simple, check out their website at

All that is required to gain an entry for the giveaway is to submit a comment on the blog. One winner will be selected at random on December 31st. So, leave a comment and check back on Jan. 4th to see if you are the winner. The winner will also be notified via email in order to obtain your mailing address.

The December issue of Real Simple is packed with great holiday gift ideas, entertaining ideas and plenty of tasty recipes. Below is a snippet of what you will find in the magazine and on the Real Simple website.

10 Ideas for Sugar Cookie Dough: There’s no such thing as too many cookies during the holidays: from entertaining to gift-giving, these edible treats are a winter essential.  Rather than spending hours assembling several different recipes, why not use the same basic dough “dressed up” in different ways? The December issue of Real Simple has ten totally different, delectable variations for sugar cookies that originate from one easy recipe. Add dried cherries and sliced almonds for delicious drop cookies; shape the dough into twists and dust with coarse sanding sugar for sparkling sugar twists; create jam thumbprint cookies with your favorite fruit preserves and more.

Hors d’Oeuvres Made Easy: Holiday entertaining and finger-food often go hand in hand; the December issue of Real Simple shows you how to make those fussy-looking snacks without all the fuss. We provide you with 11 appetizing, inventive recipes – all of which can be made in advance – that are sure to delight guests with even the choosiest of palates. Sophisticated bites like Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Crisps with Radicchio, Prosciutto Crostini with Lemony Fennel Slaw, and Carmelized Onion Tarts with Apples will make your holiday gathering seem extra fancy (without all the work.) Best of all, most of our recipes have twenty minutes or less of hands-on time.

Super Easy Chip and Veggie Dip

The following Super Easy Chip and Veggie Dip recipe has been a family holiday favorite for as long as I can remember. My sister created this delightful dip about 30 years ago. It was a huge hit the day she served it with a bowl of chips and a veggie tray. It has become the one and only chip and veggie dip served at our family gatherings because nothing else compares to the flavor.

Super Easy Chip and Veggie Dip consists of five ingredients. The secret to this dip is a spice called Beau Monde Seasoning. Manufactured by Spice Islands, Beau Monde can be a little difficult to find, but some grocery stores do carry it.

I know Publix and Kroger are two grocers who carry the Spice Islands brand, as do some health food stores. Otherwise, you might have to order it directly from the website at Online the cost is $5.15 and, in my opinion, is worth every penny!

Beau Monde seasoning is exceptionally versatile. It is fabulous with chicken, fish, beef, potatoes, vegetables and of course, dip!

Super easy chip and veggie dip is supposed to be relatively thick. It can be thinned out by using additional milk. When using the dip with chips, add extra milk to make the dip easier to scoop. When using the dip for veggies, use less milk. The dip should have a smooth creamy consistency that can be stirred with a spoon, but not so thin that is slides off the spoon.


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Serves: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes


1 8-ounce package Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1-1/2 teaspoons Beau Monde Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt (or 1 teaspoon Table Salt)
2 - 3 Tablespoons Whole Milk or Half-and-Half (can substitute soy, almond or rice milk if desired)
1/3 cup White Onion, minced


1. Place cream cheese, beau monde seasoning, and salt in a small mixing bowl.
2. Using a hand mixer, beat ingredients together, adding 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until dip achieves desired consistency.
3. Add in minced white onion and stir by hand to incorporate.
4. Allow to chill for at least one hour before serving.
5. Serve with potato chips, corn chips or fresh vegetables including baby carrots, cucumber slices, radishes, celery sticks, broccoli or cauliflower florets, cherry tomatoes, black or green olives.



Enter to win a one year subscription to Real Simple magazine.

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Thanksgiving Menu Ideas, Recipes, Cooking Tips and How-To Video Resources

Tired of the same ole' Thanksgiving menu? Ready to venture out and try new and exciting recipes? In need of cooking tips or searching for how-to videos that provide step-by-step cooking instructions? If so, you'll love the following Thanksgiving menu ideas and cooking resources!

For years, our family Thanksgiving menu consisted of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, noodles, the infamous green bean casserole, freshly baked rolls along with at least one pumpkin pie and one pecan pie.

This year we are joining friends for a Thanksgiving feast and I have been searching for unique dessert and side dish recipes. The following holiday cooking resources have helped me locate a variety of delicious, nutritious and healthy recipes. My biggest problem now is deciding which ones to prepare! I hope these resources help you locate recipes to complement and enhance your Thanksgiving meal!

Thanksgiving Menu Ideas, Recipes, Cooking Tips and How-To Video Resources

Every Day with Rachel Ray
– Rachel Ray is infamous for creating recipes suited for home cooks who don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Her website is packed with recipes for all occasions and includes a special section devoted to Thanksgiving.

At Every Day with Rachel Ray you'll find recipes for starters, sides, turkey, stuffing, soups, desserts and drinks. How-to videos are available and include: How to prep a turkey for roasting; how to carve a turkey; how to make stuffing; how to make gravy; how to make easy mashed potatoes; how to make an easy lattice pie; and much more! – Here you will discover a vast database of recipes for every occasion. From breakfast, lunch and dinner to party planning and holiday fare, is a one-stop resource for recipes, cooking tips, kitchen gadgets and more!

Click on the Holidays and Parties link to locate complete menu planners or individual recipes. Wow your guests with unique pumpkin recipes such as Pumpkin Maple Crème Brulée, Pumpkin Walnut Cake or Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake. Go beyond traditional Thanksgiving casserole dishes by whipping up Pear and Red Onion Gratin, Whipped Sweet Potato Bake, or Canadian Bacon, Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin.

Campbell's Kitchen – Manufacturer of America's favorite soups, Campbell's Kitchen provides 115 holiday recipes certain to please even the pickiest eaters. From Skinny Mashed Potatoes to Sausage Walnut Stuffing and Herb Roasted Turkey to Brie en Croute, Cambell's Kitchen offers affordable and easy-to-prepare recipes practically guaranteed to make your Thanksgiving feast memorable.

Be certain to download Campbell's Kitchen Free Holiday Planner which includes all the recipes you'll need for the holidays and the leftovers to follow!

Eat Better America – Locating healthy holiday recipes can be challenging, but Eat Better America provides a vast assortment of great tasting, nutritious recipes that are low in calories while bursting with flavor.

Indulge in French classics such as Turkey Ratatouille or Italian favorites such as Turkey and Spinach Manicotti. Savor the intoxicating flavors of Thyme-Roasted Turkey Breast or save time by preparing the Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Stuffed with Rice.

Eat Better America recipe selections include: breakfast and brunch, appetizers and snacks, dinner, sides, breads, desserts and drinks. Take a moment to subscribe to their newsletter and receive diet, nutrition and fitness tips; discover simple ways to eat healthy; and obtain a variety of money saving coupons.


Planning on having holiday events catered? If so, check out Angie's List to obtain unbiased reviews and company ratings. Don't leave catered events to chance. Find out who is the best in your area by contacting Angie's List TODAY!

Try Angie's List!

Thanksgiving Healthy Holiday Cooking Menu Planner

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is only six days away! If you are looking for healthy alternatives to traditional holiday fare, I'd like to share The Cheap Gourmet Thanksgiving Healthy Holiday Cooking Menu Planner.

The Thanksgiving Healthy Holiday Cooking Menu Planner includes recipes fit for a feast. Recipes range from appetizers to desserts and include family favorites such as oven roasted turkey and mashed sweet potatoes.

Thanksgiving Healthy Holiday Cooking includes something for everyone - from carnivores to vegetarians and vegans. You're certain to find recipes that will tantalize your tastebuds and impress your guests.

Download The Cheap Gourmet Presents Healthy Holiday Cooking Thanksgiving Recipe Collection 2009

Recipes include:

Artichoke and White Bean Dip
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

The Great Pumpkin Soup
Quinoa Soup with Greens and Potatoes

Quinoa Apple Salad
Persimmon Mesculin Salad

Roasted Turkey
Baked Cod Fillets

Side Dishes:
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Quinoa Stuffing
Roasted Beets
Couscous Stuffed Artichokes

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Orange Coconut Frost

Creamy Pumpkin Pudding
Rice Pudding with Cranberries

Feel free to pass along the Thanksgiving Healthy Holiday Menu Planner to health-conscious friends and family.

In closing, I'd like to thank each and everyone of you for supporting The Cheap Gourmet and wish you a bountiful holiday season!

Please support our affliates during the holiday season by visiting our Gourmet Foods Catalog. Discover unique gourmet gifts for all your food lover friends! Purchasing gifts through our carefully selected food purveyors and affiliate programs allows us to continue providing free recipes, menu planners, and great gift ideas.

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P.S.Don't forget to leave a comment on any blog post to be entered into our fun November Giveaway!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Winner of Alouette Gourmet Fall Cheese Giveaway

Drumroll please.... The winner of the Alouette Cheese: "Let's Slow Down and Savor Life Wine and Cheese Giveaway is.... Samantha Lim.

Samantha's suggestion to slow down and savor life is "When taking the bus home, get off a few stops earlier and enjoy the walk".

I couldn't agree more with Samantha's suggestion. It's amazing the wonderful things you can see, smell and hear when taking a leisurely stroll. Not to mention, walking is great exercise that increases endorphin production and makes you feel good!

Congratulations Samantha. Please check your email for instructions to confirm your mailing address. Once you have confirmed your address, I will submit to Corrinne, the marketing director of Alouette. Your prize package will be sent directly from Alouette.

May your gift help you create many slow down and savor life moments for years to come! Congratulations!

To those who entered, but did not win, don't worry. The Cheap Gourmet will continue to offer a variety of contests and prizes throughout the year.

In case you missed the previous post, I have created a wonderful Wine and Cheese menu planner complete with recipes for finger foods, fruit and veggie trays, dips and desserts. The menu is in PDF format and requires Adobe Reader to view.

Download Gourmet Wine and Cheese Party Menu

Alouette Cheese Gourmet Fall Cheese Party Giveaway

It's not too late to enter the Alouette Cheese Gourmet Fall Cheese Party Giveaway. But, you better hurry because the winner will be selected at midnight on Halloween night, October 31st. My dear friend, Maeme, was gracious enough to open her home and host The Cheap Gourmet's wine and cheese party. It was a huge success and tons of fun. Here's Maeme enjoying one of Alouette's spreadable cheeses.

Maeme enjoying alouette cheese spread

Kim, shown below, brought two bottles of Chocolate Wine, which was a big hit. After all, who doesn't love chocolate? The chocolate wine is definitely more of an after-dinner dessert wine. A small glass or two is the perfect accompaniment with a piece of dark chocolate and a slice of brie cheese. Thanks for the chocolate wine Kim. It was delightful!

Kim enjoying alouette cheese spread

We indulged in a bounty of finger foods, salads, veggie tray, fruit platter, nuts, candies, crackers, breads and cheeses. As you can see, everyone loved the luscious Alouette cheeses and were extremely impressed by the gorgeous cheeseboard that's part of the Gourmet Fall Cheese Party giveaway.

Delane enjoying alouette cheese

Delane loved Alouette's spreadable spinach and artichoke dip.

Diane alouette cheese

Bonnie's favorites included the spreadable Sundried Tomato and Basil and and Creme de Brie.

I have compiled a Wine and Cheese menu which includes several of the dishes served at The Cheap Gourmet's Wine and Cheese party. I hope you enjoy the recipes and wish you the best of luck in the drawing. 

Click here to download The Cheap Gourmet Wine and Cheese Party Menu

The winner of Alouette's Slow Down and Savor Life Gourmet Cheese giveaway will be announced on the blog on Monday, November 2nd, 2009. The winner will be notified via email to confirm the mailing address for their prize. If the winner does not respond within three days, a new winner will be selected at random. Be sure to check the blog and your email to see if you win!

Alouette Cheese and Cheese Board

Rock Shrimp Stuffed with Asiago Cheese and Jalapenos

Rock shrimp stuffed with asiago cheese and jalapenos is the perfect summertime food. This delightful seafood dish can be cooked on the grill, under the broiler, on a flat top griddle or in a skillet. Talk about versatile!

Rock shrimp stuffed with asiago cheese and jalapenos makes a great appetizer and is perfect for entertaining. It also makes a great entree and can be paired with red potatoes, corn on the cob, baked beans, potato salad, green beans, seasoned rice or anything else you enjoy combining with shrimp.

Rock shrimp are deep water crustaceans, harvested in 120 to 240 feet of water. They have a hard exoskelton and taste similar to lobster. When preparing this recipe, you will need to remove the shell by using a pair of sharp kitchen scissors to snip the back of the shell away from the body and tail. Rock shrimp have a sand vein which can be removed by rinsing under cold running water.

NOTE: Prior to preparing the rock shrimp recipe, place 12 toothpicks in a small container filled with water. Soaking the toothpicks prevents them from burning and makes them easier to remove when the shrimp is cooked.You can also use wooden or metal skewers if desired. Place 3 to 4 shrimp per skewer and cook as directed below.


Print Friendly and PDF

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes

24 Rock Shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 ounces Asiago Cheese, shredded
1 medium Jalapeno Pepper, seeds removed and minced
12 slices Bacon


1. Place 12 toothpicks or wooden skewers in a container filled halfway with water.
2. Wash shrimp in cold running water. Remove shell and butterfly shrimp by cutting lengthwise along the back, leaving tail section intact. Be careful not to cut all the way through. Pat dry with paper towel.
3. Finely grate asiago cheese.
4. Mince jalapeno pepper and mix with cheese.


5. Cut bacon slices in half.
6. Stuff each shrimp with 1 teaspoon of cheese mixture.


7. Wrap each shrimp with 1/2 slice of bacon and secure with toothpick or place on skewer.


8. Place shrimp on a broiler pan or grill and cook until bacon begins to crisp; about 4 minutes.
9. Turn shrimp and cook until bacon is done; about 4 minutes.
10. Transfer to plate and serve immediately.


Philly Cheese Steak Quesadilla Recipe - The Cheap Gourmet Original

I am excited to share this Philly Cheese Steak Quesadilla recipe with you. A few weeks ago I saw a commercial for a local restaurant offering two new cheese steak sandwiches; one of which was a quesadilla. What was ironic about it was my husband and I had been discussing the concept a few nights before.

To us, a philly cheese steak quesadilla seemed like a perfect fit. It also seemed less messy. I LOVE philly cheese steaks, but always end up wearing half of it. Do you have that problem too?

A few nights ago, my husband was attending an event and I had to fend for myself come dinner time. We had all the makings for cheese steaks sandwiches except for bread.

The light bulb went on and I decided to give the quesadilla concept a try. I am happy to report it was an incredible success. Even better, this recipe is super simple to make. The icing on top is you can make personal quesadillas to accomodate everyone's taste buds.

I love mushrooms on my philly cheesesteaks. My husband isn't too fond of those. I added fresh diced tomoatoes in the quesadilla and it added a nice flavor contrast. We've had cheese steak quesadillas three times in four days -- that's how addicting these things are!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Philly Cheese Steak Quesadilla Recipe

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Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

2 medium flour Tortilla wraps
4 slices frozen Philly Cheese Steaks
1/2 green Bell Pepper, diced
1/3 cup Red Onion, diced
1/3 cup fresh Tomatoes, diced (optional)
4 Tablespoons Ragu Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Chop bell pepper, onions and tomatoes.
  3. Preheat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Remove frozen Philly Cheesesteak meat from package. Break into bite-size pieces and add to skillet.
  5. Add pepper and onion, stirring frequently.
  6. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until beef is thoroughly cooked.
  7. Cover each quesadilla with 2 Tablespoons Ragu Cheddar Cheese Sauce. Spread cheese evenly and all the way to the edges.
  8. Place half the meat mixture on one half of each quesadilla.
  9. Top with fresh tomatoes, if desired.
  10. Fold the other half over meat mixture and seal edges using the cheese sauce.
  11. Place on baking stone or baking sheet.
  12. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until tortillas begins to turn light brown.
  13. Remove from oven, transfer to plates and serve immediately.

Philly Cheese Steak Quesadilla

Super Simple Sunday Snack: Gourmet Snuggle Dogs

Around my house, Sunday is a day reserved for simple snacks and a down-home Sunday dinner. Today, my husband decided to try something new in the snack department. I must confess, if I'm not careful he could very well pass me in the culinary arts game! Of course, I could always claim his improved cooking skills are a direct result of my impeccable food coaching ;-)

This afternoon he treated me to a super simple Sunday snack which can be served for many events. In a sense, this recipe is our version of Pigs in a Blanket, but much simpler and definitely tastier. Just for fun, we'll call them Gourmet Snuggle Dogs.

If you aren't familiar with Toufayan products, you're missing out. Toufayan Bakeries sell a wide range of products including: tortilla wraps, pita breads, bagels, bread sticks, lavash and these amazing hot dogs rolls called Snuggles.

We used Johnsonville New Orleans Smoked Sausage, but you could substitute with any type of sausage or hot dog you desire.

As a side we used Mrs. T's Pierogies; a delightful pocket of whipped potatoes encased in pasta.

Here's the recipe for creating a super simple Sunday snack that feeds four in under 10 minutes:

Gourmet Snuggle Dogs

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Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes


4 Toufayan Snuggle Buns
4 Johnsonville New Orleans Smoked Sausage
Mustard, (optional)
Ragu Cheddar Cheese Sauce (optional)


1. Preheat grill to 350 degrees or turn oven to 'Broil' setting.
2. Remove Johnsonville Sausage from package.
3. Place dogs on grill, turning frequently and cooking until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. During final minutes, place Toufayan Snuggle Buns on grill to warm.
5. Place Sausage inside Snuggle buns.
6. Using a cutting board, slice snuggle buns in 2-inch slices and secure bun with toothpick.

While dogs are cooking, preheat cooking oil to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Gently place Pierogies into hot oil. Cook for approximately 4 minutes until light golden brown.

Remove from oil and place on paper towel lined plate to absorb excess grease.

Transfer snuggle dogs and pierogies to individual plates. Serve with sides of mustard for dipping the dogs and cheese sauce for dipping pierogies.

This super simple snack is great for tailgate parties, girls-night out, pool parties, and family gatherings. It's perfect finger food and guaranteed to bring a smile to everyone who enjoys sausage and potatoes!


Lowfat Mock Guacamole Dip and Tortilla Chips

Perfectly seasoned, this lowfat mock Guacamole Dip made from frozen peas tastes just as good as the "real" thing, but without the fat or the guilt! Serve with a basket of homemade low-fat Tortilla Chips and your guests will be raving about your spectacular snack for weeks to come.

Consider creating individual recipe cards for low-fat mock Guacamole Dip and Tortilla Chips and provide a copy to each of your guests. Insert inside their holiday card or leave a stack on the table. Chances are the recipe cards will disappear as quickly as this guilt-free healthy holiday snack!










Low-fat Mock Guacamole Dip
Print Friendly and PDF

Yield: 1-3/4 cups
Serves: 14
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours


2 cups frozen tender-sweet Peas
1/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons fat-free Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon fresh Lime juice (or use bottled, if desired)
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Garlic Pepper Hot Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Plum Tomato, seeded and chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh Cilantro, finely chopped


  1. Cook peas according to package directions; drain.
  2. Finely chop peas and onion.
  3. Mince garlic using a garlic press.
  4. In a 2-quart bowl, combine peas, onion, garlic, sour cream, lime juice, Tabasco sauce and salt and mix well.
  5. Chop tomato and cilantro, then gently stir into pea mixture.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  7. Serve with homemade low-fat Tortilla Chips

Homemade Low-fat Tortilla Chips
Yield: 80 chips
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 6-8 minutes

10 8-inch fat-free flour Tortillas


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges using a pizza cutter or sharp knife.
  3. Arrange wedges on a baking stone or pizza pan.
  4. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Remove from oven and transfer chips to a cooling rack or large piece of aluminum foil and allow to cool completely.
  6. Store in airtight container until ready to serve.

Transfer pea guacamole into serving bowl and place in center of serving tray. Arrange chips on serving tray and let the party begin!

Banana Split Brownie Pizza

It's that time of year where holiday desserts are offered at office parties, home parties, school parties and family gatherings. The next few weeks, The Cheap Gourmet will focus on providing a variety of recipes that you can serve or take to holiday gatherings. No worries, I'll also be including low-fat, low-calorie desserts along with appetizers and a variety of healthy party foods!

Today, I'd like to share one of my favorite holiday dessert recipes with you - the Banana Split Brownie Pizza. This recipe is super easy to make and perfect for any party. You can take it to the office, serve it at parties or give it as a gift. It tastes so yummy that you might want to make an extra just for YOU!

This recipe requires the use of Parchment paper and a baking stone. If you don't have a baking stone, you can use a regular pizza pan. However, do not attempt to make this without the use of parchment paper or you'll end up with a big mess in your oven. You can purchase parchment paper in most grocery stores at a cost of around $3.50. Once you use parchment paper in your baking endeavors, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it! It makes things slide right off and eliminates sticking so you'll always have perfect desserts!

Banana Split Brownie Pizza
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Serves: 16
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 15-20 minutes


1 (21-ounce) package Brownie Mix
1/2 cup Applesauce
1/2 cup Water
1 Egg
1 (8-ounce) package Cream Cheese, softened (use Light Cream Cheese, if desired)
1/2 cup Confectioner's Sugar
2 medium Bananas, sliced 1/2-inch thick and tossed in lemon juice to prevent browning
1 cup fresh Strawberries, sliced
1 (8-ounce) can crushed Pineapples, drained
2 Tablespoons Walnuts, chopped
4 Tablespoons semi-sweet Chocolate Chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine brownie mix, applesauce, water and egg. Mix by hand as per package directions.
  3. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of a 15-inch Baking Stone or pizza pan.
  4. Pour brownie mixture on top of paper and spread into a 14-inch circle.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  7. In a small bowl, combine softened cream cheese and powdered sugar. Mix by hand or using an electric mixer until smooth.
  8. Using an icing spreader or butter knife, spread cream cheese mixture over top of brownie crust.
  9. Slice bananas and dip in small amount of lemon juice to prevent browning. Drain excess lemon juice and place banana slices on top of cream cheese mixture.
  10. Slice strawberries length-wise and place on top of of brownie pizza.
  11. Add crushed pineapple to pizza.
  12. Sprinkle walnuts and chocolate chips on top of fruit.
  13. Chill for at least one hour; longer if possible.
  14. Cut into 16 wedges and serve.

For those watching their calorie intake one slice of Banana Split Brownie Pizza contains approximately 250 calories and 7 grams of fat.

Announcing: The Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection

It's official. The holidays are rapidly approaching and it's time to start thinking about what we'll be serving for holiday meals, social gatherings and office parties. Since many of us are attempting to eat healthier foods, I wanted to share my collection of healthy holiday recipes. Best of all, it's free! ;-)

The Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection is a 25-page report that includes a Holiday Menu Planner that is super easy to use. Simply select one recipe from each category, along with two side dishes and you'll be well on your way to creating a delectable, tasty holiday meal everyone will be talking about!

Categories include:

  • Appetizers
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Entrees
  • Side Dishes
  • Beverages
  • Desserts

Recipes Include:

  • Artichoke and White Bean Dip
  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • The Great Pumpkin Soup
  • Quinoa Soup with Greens and Potatoes
  • Quinoa Apple Salad
  • Persimmon Mesculin Salad
  • Roasted Turkey
  • Baked Honey Ham
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Quinoa Stuffing
  • Asparagus with Lemon Butter
  • Pumpkin Dumplings
  • Pumpkin Pie Smoothie with Homemade Whipped Cream
  • Orange Coconut Frost
  • Creamy Pumpkin Pudding
  • Rice Pudding with Cranberries

Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection is a PDF file and requires Adobe Reader to view. If you do not have Adobe Reader installed on your computer, you can download it for free at

Click the underlined link below to download your free copy of
Download Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection

Baked Stuffed Pumpkin with Rice Pilaf

Baked Stuffed Pumpkin with Rice Pilaf
Baked Stuffed Pumpkin
Serves: 6
Pumpkin Prep Time: 15 minutes
Pumpkin Bake Time: 1 hour
Pilaf Prep Time: 5 minutes
Pilaf Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Stuffed_pumpkin_with_rice_pilaf Ingredients:

1 5-6 pound Pumpkin
3-3/4 cups Water
1 cup Brown Rice
1/2 cup Wild Rice
1 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
1 cup Shallots, finely chopped
2 small Granny Smith apples, cored and diced
3/4 cup Pecans, chopped
1/8 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1/8 tsp Nutmeg, ground
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 Tbsp Apple Cider
1/2 cup Golden Raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut off top of pumpkin. Scoop out seeds and pulp and discard.
  3. Place the pumpkin and pumpkin top on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in center of oven until inside of pumpkin is tender, about 1 hour.
  5. Remove from oven and cover top of pumpkin with foil.
  6. While pumpkin is baking, add water to medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  7. Add brown and white rice and return to boil.
  8. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until most of the water has been absorbed, about 50 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
  10. Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat.
  11. Add scallions and saute until light golden brown.
  12. Add apples, pecans, spices, salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  13. Add apple cider and saute additional 5 minutes.
  14. Add raisins and saute for 5 more minutes.
  15. Remove from heat and combine with rice. Mix well.
  16. Transfer rice pilaf into pumpkin and cover with top.
  17. When serving, scoop out pumpkin flesh with pilaf.

Pumpkin Dip

Pumpkin Dip
Yields: 3-1/2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour

Pumpkin_dip Ingredients:

1 (8-ounce) package Cream Cheese, softened
1 (16-ounces)  Pumpkin Puree or 2 cups fresh
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Pumpkin Spice
1 tablespoon Orange zest


  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin together either by hand or using an electric mixer.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well-blended.
  3. Place in refrigerator and chill for at least one hour.
  4. Serve in small, hollowed-out pumpkin, if desired.
  5. Sprinkle a pinch of Orange zest on top for garnish, or add slivers of orange peel.
  6. Serve with sugar cookies, vanilla wafers, ginger snaps, pound cake or crackers.

Spicy Pecans Recipe

Spicy pecans are a must-have at Hurricane Parties. Actually, spicy pecans are great for any party and make excellent gifts as well! They are easy to make, require few ingredients, taste ever-so-yummy, and provide the body with essential fatty acids.

Here are two of my favorite Spicy Pecan Recipes. One is sweet and one is hot, and both will leave you wanting more!

Spicy Pecans Recipe #1
Serves 10. Yields 5 cups.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour


  • 1 egg white
  • 5 cups pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place egg white in a medium mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg white until foamy.
  3. Pour pecans into egg white foam and using a wooden spoon, stir until thoroughly coated.
  4. Combine sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.
  5. Sprinkle mixture over pecans and stir until thoroughly coated.
  6. Spread pecans in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  7. Bake for one hour; stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove from oven and let pecans cool on baking sheet.
  9. Transfer to airtight storage container.


Spicy Pecans Recipe #2

Serves 12. Yields 6 cups.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour


  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Hot Pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups pecan halves


  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Melt butter over low heat in a large skillet.
  3. Add garlic, Hot Pepper sauce and salt to melted butter and sauté for 1 minute.
  4. Remove skillet from heat and add pecans to butter mixture; stir until thoroughly coated.
  5. Spread pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake pecans for about 1 hour; stirring every 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let pecans cool on baking sheet.
  8. Transfer to airtight storage container.

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