Entertaining

Cheese and Honey Phyllo Rounds

Cheese-an-honey-fillo-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. 

CHEESE AND HONEY PHYLLO ROUNDS

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

INGREDIENTS:

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

Athens-fillo-phyllo-dough
 
DIRECTIONS:

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.


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

Cheese-and-honey-fillo-rounds-baked


Pink Champagne Cake with Whipped Cream Icing and Chocolate Covered Strawberries

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The long awaited recipe for pink champagne cake with whipped cream icing and chocolate covered strawberries has arrived! This recipe was intended to be featured in the Luxury Dinner round of the FoodBuzz Food Blog competition. While The Cheap Gourmet blog did not advance, this cake recipe is way too good not to share!

The texture of the pink champagne cake is similar to a pound cake, while the flavor is similar to angel food cake. I used Andre Blush; a California pink champagne because it was on sale at the grocery store for $6.99. They don't call me cheap for no reason!

Only one cup of pink champagne is used between the cake batter and whipped cream icing, so the champagne flavor is exceptionally mild. This cake is perfect for nearly any special occasion. However, it must be refrigerated until served. Otherwise, the whipped cream icing will slide off. Enjoy!

Pink Champagne Cake with Whipped Cream Icing and Chocolate Covered Strawberries

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Serves: 8 to 10
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 38 to 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

Cake Ingredients:

1 pound whole Strawberries
7 ounces Baker's Dipping Chocolate
2/3 cup unsalted Butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups granulated Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
2-3/4 cups Sawns Down cake flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup Pink Champagne
6 Egg Whites, stiffly beaten

Icing Ingredients:

1 cup heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 cup Confectioner Sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/4 cup Pink Champagne

DIRECTIONS:

1. Select 10 large strawberries for dipping. Leave stem and leaves intact. Wash and dry thoroughly.

2. Melt Baker's dipping chocolate according to package directions. Dip strawberries in chocolate and place on plate to dry. Store in refrigerator until needed for decorating.

Chocolate-covered-strawberries
 3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Lightly grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

5. Remove stems from remaining strawberries, cut into quarters, and place in food processor.

  Whole-strawberries
6. Gently pulse until strawberries are pureed.

Strawberry-puree
 7. Separate egg yolks from eggs and place egg whites in medium mixing bowl. Using hand held mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Whipped-egg-whites
 8. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter.

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 9. Add sugar and vanilla extract and beat until creamy.
  Creamed-butter-and-sugar
10. Add flour, baking powder, salt and champagne. Beat on high for 2 minutes.

11. Fold in beaten egg whites and strawberry puree.

12. Pour half of cake batter into each cake pan. Bake for 38 to 40 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Champage-cake-batter-in-round-cake-pans

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13. While cakes are cooling, prepare pink champagne whipped cream icing.

14. In a medium bowl, beat heavy whipping cream until stiff; about 2 minutes.

Champagne-whipped-cream
 15. Add sugar, vanilla, and pink champagne and beat until incorporated; about 20 seconds. Be careful not to overbeat whipped cream or it will turn out like cottage cheese.

16. Once cakes are completely cooled, it's time to add the icing and chocolate covered strawberries.

17. Place one cake layer on cake stand. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream icing on top.

Whipped-cream-layer-champagne-cake
 18. Add second layer to cake and evenly spread remaining icing on top and sides.

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Champagne-cake-with-whipped-cream-frosting
19. Gently remove chocolate covered strawberries from plate. Place 8 strawberries around the outer edge of cake and position 2 strawberries in the center.

Champagne-cake-with-chocolate-covered-strawberries
  20. Slice cake into 8 to 10 pieces and serve with a glass of pink champagne.

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Nature's Pride Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Kahlua-Infused Raisins and Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Pumpkin-bread-pudding-with-cinnamon-whipped-cream-2
The following Nature's Pride pumpkin bread pudding with Kahlua-infused raisins is a recipe I am submitting for a FoodBuzz.com competition. If my recipe is selected, I will have the opportunity to present my dish to food bloggers during the Nature's Pride Festival food blogger conference hosted in San Francisco in November.

My Nature's Pride pumpkin bread pudding with Kahlua-infused raisins was adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe for pumpkin bread pudding and Country Living's recipe for cinnamon whipped cream.

The original pumpkin bread pudding recipe used 10-ounce ramekins, but I substitued with 6-ounce custard cups. The great thing about this recipe is it can be baked in a variety of sizes such as regular and mini muffin tins. I recommend using mini muffin tins to serve pumpkin bread pudding during holiday parties. If you prefer a non-alcoholic version, substitue Kahlua with espresso coffee syrup.

I'd like to thank Nature's Pride bread for providing a coupon for a free loaf of their 100% whole wheat bread. Using whole wheat bread adds a rustic element to the pumpkin bread pudding and the cinnamon whipped cream brings all the flavor profiles together. I hope you enjoy this delightful bread pudding recipe!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Kahlua-Infused Raisins

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Yield: 8, 6-ounce custard cups; 18 muffins; or 48 mini muffins
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

Ingredients-pumpkin-bread-pudding
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup Kahlua, coffee flavored liqueur
1/2 cup hot water
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature, for custard cups
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
12 slices Nature's Pride 100% Whole Wheat bread
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 large brown eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with Kahlua and hot water. Let soak until plump, about 20 minutes.

Kahlua-soaked-raisins
2. Lightly butter custard cups and sprinkle each with 1-1/2 teaspoon brown sugar. Lightly press sugar into bottom of cups. Set aside.

Brown-sugar-custard-cup
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Place bread slices on baking sheet and heat in oven for 5 to 6 minutes or until bread is slightly crisp. Remove from oven and set aside; leaving oven turned on. Cut bread into quarters lengthwise and crosswise to make 3/4-inch cubes.

Natures-pride-bread-cubes
4. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, granulated sugar, milk, vanilla, spices, and salt.

5. Toss in bread crumbs and mix gently with hands to evenly coat. Let stand a few minutes to absorb pumpkin puree and spices.

Step-1-pumpkin-bread-pudding-ingredients
6.Fold in Kahlua-infused raisins.

Step-2-pumpkin-bread-ingredients-with-kahlua-infused-raisins

7. Divide among prepared dishes, pressing down slightly to make level.

Step-3-pumpkin-bread-pudding-filled-custard-cups

8. Bake until custard is set in the center and top is golden; about 38 to 40 minutes for custard cups and muffin tins; 17 to 18 minutes for mini muffins.

Step-4-pumpkin-bread-pudding-baked

9. Remove from oven; let cool slightly. Un-mold onto plates. Top with homemade cinnamon whipped cream.

Homemade Cinnamon Whipped Cream

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Yields: 1-1/2 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar spice, optional

Directions:

1. Add ingredients to a medium bowl.

2. Using a hand mixer set on medium-high, beat ingredients until stiff peaks form.

3. Drop a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream on top of each pumpkin bread pudding and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture, if desired.

Pumpkin-bread-pudding-with-cinnamon-whipped-cream

 

 


Greek Feast for Two Dinner Menu: Project Food Blog Challenge #2

I am excited to share my Greek Feast for Two Dinner Menu with you, but first want to extend my gratitude for voting The Cheap Gourmet blog through to Round Two of the FoodBuzz Project Food Blog Challenge. It means a lot that you are taking time to read my cooking blog and submit your votes and to that I say, Thank You!

This week's challenge is to "tackle a classic dish from another culture" and as you can see, I chose Greek food. I've been enchanted by the Greek Islands for as long as I can remember. A few weeks ago I watched the Grek Islands episode of Anthony Bourdain's show, No Reservations. I found myself fixated on the food and realized I knew very little about the classic Greek dishes.

Greek foods consist of local ingredients and include tons of fresh produce, fragrant herbs, olives, and olive oil. Research revealed lamb, pork, and seafood are the most common proteins. I based my menu selections on foods often served during Greek festivals.

The Greek Feast for Two dinner menu includes: Greek Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing, Greek Paidakia, Baby Lamb Chops with Garlic and Rosemary, Roasted Vegetables, and Cheese and Honey Filo Rounds.

This was, by far, one of the best meals I have ever prepared. My husband and I were intoxicated by the cooking aromas and the savory, salty, earthy flavors of the foods. Everything about this meal was fun and I am proud to share the recipes with you today.

The Greek Feast is relatively easy to prepare, but does require about 2-1/2 hours of time. Step-by-step directions are provided for ease in preparation. I think you will find the end result well worth the effort.

Preparing the Greek Feast for Two Dinner Menu

  Greek-feast
Start by preparing the Greek Paidakia. Marinate for 2 hours to achieve ultimate tenderness and intense flavor. Prep time is 15 minutes. Chops are broiled for 15 minutes. Total prep and cooking time is 2-1/2 hours.

Greek Paidakia
Adapted from Grilled Lamb Chops at GreekHomeRecipes.com

I was attracted to this dish because the original recipe stated, "Paidakia is to the Greeks as baby back ribs are to Southerners." Since I live in the South and LOVE baby back ribs, I figured I couldn't go wrong with Greek Paidakia.

The original recipe uses lamb, but I substituted with pork. This recipe is super easy to make and uses minimal ingredients. The flavor is incredibly savory and the meat melts in your mouth.

Ingredients:
1-1/2 pounds Pork Rib Roast, frenched and cut into 4 to 6 individual chops. Frenched means the meat and fat is removed from the upper bone; providing a handle for ease in eating.
2 Tablespoons Dried Basil
2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground Black Pepper
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Lemon, cut into wedges

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, combine basil, parsley, salt and pepper.
2. Rinse pork chops and coat each side with herb mixture.
3. Lightly brush each side with olive oil.
4. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Pork-paidakia

5. Broil pork chops 8 minutes per side.
6. Transfer to serving platter and garnish with lemon wedges.
7. Squeeze lemon juice over pork chops and devour!

Pork-paidakia-with-lemon-wedges

Next, prepare the Greek Salad. The Vinaigrette dressing should chill for at least 1 hour prior to serving.

Tip: I bought the Kalamata Olives from the Olive Bar at my local grocer. It was less expensive than jarred olives and I could pick the best olives.

Greek Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing
Adapted from www.GreekSaladRecipe.net.

Greek Salad Ingredients:
1 head Romaine Lettuce, washed, dried, and loosely chopped
10-ounce bag Baby Greens
1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
1/2 English Cucumber, diced
4 ounces pitted Kalamata Olives
4 ounces Feta Cheese, crumbled

Greek-salad-fixings

Greek Salad Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice from 1 whole Lemon (use the zest of this lemon for the Baby Lamb Chops)
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Dried Basil
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar

Directions:
1. Gently toss vegetables and olives together in a salad bowl. Top with Feta cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
2. In a small bowl, combine Vinaigrette dressing ingredients and briskly whip together using a wire whisk. Transfer to serving container and refrigerate for one hour.
3. Transfer to salad plates and add desired amount of dressing.

Greek-salad-with-vinaigrette-dressing

Now, it's time to work on the Cheese and Honey Filo Rounds. This recipe was the most challenging dish to prepare due to the delicacy of the filo (phyllo) dough. The original recipe cut the dough into rounds. I didn't have much luck with that method and ended up cutting the sheets into quarters. This dish is intended to be served at room temperature. Makes 16 rounds. Prep time is 15 to 20 minutes and bake time is 12 to14 minutes.

Obtain the original Cheese and Honey Filo Rounds recipe and watch a preparation video at www.Greek-Recipe.com.

Ingredients:
8 sheets refrigerated Filo 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

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place filo dough on large cutting board. Carefully cut sheets into quarters and stack into a pile.
3. Use 2 sheets of filo dough for each cheese-stuffed round. It is important to work quickly so the dough doesn't dry out.
4. Place 2 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. As you can see, I need more practice.

Honey-and-cheese-patties-baking

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.

Honey-and-cheese-filo-pastries
Next, prepare the roasted vegetables. These require 10 minutes to prep, 30 minutes to marinate, and 16 minutes to cook.

Roasted Vegetables
Adapted from Rachel Ray's Lamb Chops with Roasted Vegetables and Spring Pea Risotto

The original recipe roasts the vegetables in the oven for 15 minutes. I marinated the vegetables for 30 minutes and broiled them with the Greek Paidakia.  Either method will provide great results.

Ingredients:
1/2 pound fresh Green Beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 dozen Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced diagonally
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
1/4 cup Pecorino-Romano cheese, finely grated

Directions:
1. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss green beans, tomatoes, and onions with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
2. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Roasted-greek-vegetables

3. Broil at 500 degrees Fahrenheit on lower oven rack for 16 minutes. The Greek Paidakia should be placed on the top oven rack while veggies are roasting.
4. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with cheese.

Roasted-greek-vegetables-with-pecorino-romano-cheese

Finally, it's time to prepare the Baby Lamb Chops with Garlic and Rosemary. It is recommended to serve lamb chops medium-rare. This recipe requires 15 minutes prep time and 8 minutes to cook. Start preparing the marinade 5 minutes before placing the veggies and Greek Paidakia in the broiler.

Adapted from Michael Chiarello's Lamb Chop recipe

Ingredients:
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use 1/8 cup for marinade and 1/8 cup for cooking lamb chops)
2 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 Tablespoons fresh Rosemary leaves
1 Lemon, zested
4 Baby Lamb Chops
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

Directions:
1. Heat 1/8 cup olive oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until light golden brown. Add rosemary leaves and cook until crispy.
2. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
3. Transfer to small bowl, add lemon zest, and mix well.
4. Heat remaining olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
5. Season both sides of lamb chops with salt and pepper.
6. Cook lamb chops in skillet 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Baby-lamb-chops-stovetop
7. Transfer to serving platter and spoon rosemary-garlic marinade on top.

Baby-lamb-chops-with-garlic-and-rosemary
This is my Greek Feast for Two dinner menu. I hope your family and friends enjoy the meal as much as we did. I welcome and appreciate your votes. Each one helps launch me to the next level of the Project Food Blog Challenge. Voting is open from 6 a.m. PT Monday, September 27th through 6 p.m. PT Friday, September 30th. Thank you for your support!

P.S. If you missed the first challenge, click here to read, Defining The Cheap Gourmet Blog

 


Carrabba's Italian Grill in Orlando, Florida FoodBuzz Tastemaker Event

Carrabba's Italian Grill has been at the top of restaurants I have wanted to visit for quite some time. As a Featured Published for FoodBuzz.com, I received an invitation to attend a special Tastemaker event at the Carrabba's restaurant at 5701 Vineland Road in Orlando, Florida.

Carrabba's Italian Grill hosted a private party for FoodBuzz Featured Publishers on Saturday, August 14th and we were treated to a food cooking demo and dining experience of a lifetime. The managing partner, Angela Gutierrez, along with Norris Wagner who is the event coordinator for special events, and staff members, Marissa and Joel, were incredibly welcoming and treated us like royalty. My sincere gratitude goes out to the Carrabba's team and the Community Team at FoodBuzz.com.

The Carrabba's / FoodBuzz Tastemaker event began with an overview of Carrabba's, which was founded in 1996 by Johnny Carrabba and his uncle, Damian Mandola. At present, Carrabba's has over 200 restaurants in 33 states. Obviously, they excel in the food service industry to have acquired this many restaurants in less than 15 years.

Everything at Carrabba's is made with the freshest ingredients. Angela Gutierrez and the chefs performed an outstanding cooking demo to show how each dish was prepared from start to finish. The following photos provide insider-insight to the kitchen facilities, food preparation, and the final dishes. You might want to grab a napkin to wipe the dribble from the corners of your mouth, as these entrées were not only pleasing to the eye, but delightful to the palette. Bon Appétit!

Carrabba's Italian Grill has a large selection of wines, Italian and American beers, sparkling water, soft drinks and iced tea. I opted for a glass of Blackberry Sangria to accommodate my authentic Italian meal.

Blackberry-sangria-carrabbas-italian-grill-orlando

We were then treated to Carrabba's breaded Calamari served with a side of spicy Italian pepper and lemon butter sauce and a lemon wedge. I've never been a big fan of calamari, but Carrabba's has changed that! Their calamari was perfectly prepared and so tender it melted in your mouth.

Calarmari-carrabbas-italian-grill-orlando

Next, Angela Gutierrez prepared Tag Pic Pag; a vegetarian signature pasta dish consisting of long, paper-thin noodles known as Tagliarini pasta. The delicate pasta is served with Carrabba's Picchi Pacchiu sauce consisting of olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, and crushed tomatoes. It is a light dish with a distinctly sweet flavor. 

Carrabbas-tomato-sauce

 

Tag-pic-pan-pasta-carrabbas-italian-grill-orlando

Next, Carrabba's chefs prepared Linguine Pescatore consisting of shrimp, sea scallops, mussels and freshly prepared linguine tossed with spicy marinara sauce. I had only eaten scallops twice and both times they were rubbery and somewhat gritty. Carrabba's knows how to properly prepare scallops and I am eager to try my hand at cooking these delightful treasures from the sea.

Linguine-pescatore-mussels

Angela Gutierrez at Orlando's Carrabba's Italian Grill prepares fresh mussels for Linguine Pescatore served to FoodBuzz food bloggers attending Tastemaster Event on Saturday, August 14, 2010.

Linguine-pescatore-entree-carrabbas

Our next delightful Italian dish was Penne Franco. Angela provided us with a special treat by adding grilled chicken to our dish. She explained about the quality of the chicken and how it is shipped fresh, never frozen. Carrabba's also uses special secret spices which make the flavor of this chicken explode in your mouth. It was by far, the most tender and tasty piece of chicken I have ever eaten. 

Grill-flames-carrabbas-italian-grill-orlando

In addition to the yummy grilled chicken, Penne Franco is combined with fresh mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and black olives, and served with ricotta salata; a dense sheep milk cheese which can be grated and melts into a slightly salty, milky-flavored delicacy.

Penne franco-freshly-grated-ricotta-salata

Penne franco-entree-carrabbas

The grand finale of the Carrabba's Italian Grill / FoodBuzz Tastemaker Event consisted of three beautiful mini-desserts presented in square shot glasses. We were treated to Chocolate Pecan Mousse, Deconstructed Cannoli, and Dessert Rosa.

Bacino-mini-desserts-carrabbas

Our server, Joel, explained the ingredients in each. Below he is discussing Dessert Rosa which consists of a bottom layer of butter cake topped with a layer of strawberries and bananas, a layer of vanilla pudding, and topped with fresh whipped cream and decorated with a strawberry slice. Delightful!

Joel-dessert-rosa

As you can see in the photo below, the FoodBuzz Featured Publisher food bloggers had a great time and huge smiles on our faces from the exquisite Italian food and impeccable service!

Foodbuzz-bloggers-day-at-carrabbas-italian-grill-orlando

But, wait! That's not all! Carrabba's Italian Grill also provided each guest with a take-home bag consisting of an entrée of Penne with Fennel Sausage Pomodoro, a wooden bread serving board, bread dipping oil dish, Carrabba's private label olive oil, and containers of fresh herbs and grated cheese.

Penne-fennel-sausage-pomodoro-carrabbas-italian-grill-orlando

Penne with Fennel Sausage Pomodoro with Carrabba's secret sausage recipe, caramelized onions and fennel, topped with fresh ricotta cheese.

Bread-dipping-oil-and-serving-board-carrabbas-italian-grill-orlando

Wooden bread serving board, fresh dipping oil and Carrabba's freshly baked bread.

In closing, if you are a food blogger and would like to participate in Featured Publisher Tastemaker events or take advantage of the numerous opportunities to earn recognition, visit www.FoodBuzz.com to become a member.

If you aren't a food blogger, but love good food and are always on the lookout for unique and interesting recipes, FoodBuzz is the answer to all your food dilemmas. With over 4,000 food bloggers you are practically guaranteed to find something to satisfy your taste buds, sharpen your cooking skills, and impress your friends and family!

Would you like to meet the FoodBuzz bloggers who attended the Carrabba's Italian Grill and FoodBuzz Tastemaker event? Click on the links below to learn more about what each has to offer.

Peter and Christey Krause at http://FotoCuisine.com
Laura at Finding a Healthy Balance - http://FindingAHealthyBalance.wordpress.com
Miranda at My Food and Life Encounters - http://ForTheLoveOfKidsAndFood.blogspot.com
April at Mama Loves Food - www.MamaLovesFood.com
Elaine at Saturday Night Suppers - www.SaturdayNightSuppers.com
Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers – http://PBFingers.com
Katie at Katie's Cucina - http://KatiesCucina.blogspot.com

Disclosure Notice: Foodbuzz, nor Carrabba's Italian Grill required me to write a review. This was a marketing event hosted by Carrabba's for Foodbuzz Featured Publishers. While we did receive free food, drinks, a take-home meal, bread serving board and dipping oil dish, I did not receive monetary compensation or a request to review the restaurant.


4th of July Independence Day Recipes

The following 4th of July Independence Day recipes have been served in my family for years. The exception is the grilled pork rib roast which I created last week. It's so tasty that we'll be serving it at our 4th of July cook-out. Personally, I think sharing family recipes is one of the greatest gifts we can offer one another. I hope you enjoy tasting a bit of my family's heritage.

What's great about these 4th of July Independence Day recipes is they can be served any time of the year. The chip and veggie dip recipe was created by my sister and originally served at Christmas dinner. We loved it so much it became a staple at every family gathering.

The mind altering pink margaritas were developed by a family friend during a hurricane party, but quickly became my favorite summertime drink.  I hope some of these recipes become part of your holiday fare and bring you as many good memories as they have for me!

4th of July Independence Day Recipes

Click on the recipe title to be directed to the full recipe.

Super Easy Chip and Veggie Dip Recipe
: This recipe has been a holiday family favorite for as long as I can remember. Made from cream cheese, onions, and Beau Monde seasoning, this has become the one and only chip and veggie dip served at special occasions and parties.

Best Homemade Potato Salad: This mustard and mayonnaise based potato salad incorporates bacon and sweet pickle relish for the best damn potato salad you've ever eaten! It can be traced back to my great grandmother and has been served in our family since the beginning of time.
 
Baked Spicy Macaroni and Cheese with Ground Beef and Hamburger Casserole
: This one-dish meal is perfect for pitch-in dinners and is a version of America's all-time favorite comfort food. Serve with a fresh garden salad and hot dinner rolls for a satisfying and tasty meal!

Grilled Pork Rib Roast: This roast is perfect for 4th of July parties, birthday celebrations, special occasions, or Sunday dinner. A 3-pound roast requires about two hours of grilling time. The char rub crust is a combination of seven spices which create an explosion of flavor while retaining meat moisture.

Spicy Garlic Grilled Chicken Wings: This is my highly regarded grilled chicken wing recipe that took years to perfect. Everyone who has eaten them swears they are the best chicken wings on the planet. Serve with celery and carrot sticks and chunky bleu cheese dressing, along with lots of napkins!

Mind Altering Pink Margaritas: When I say these margaritas are mind-altering, I am serious. Actually, I think the mind alteration comes from the fact these things are so incredibly smooth you tend to suck them down rather than sip them. It's a little too easy to over-indulge, so be careful.


Grilled Pork Rib Roast Recipe

Grilled pork rib roast is a great entree for special occasions, holiday parties, and Sunday dinners. It requires about two hours of grilling time using indirect residual heat to yield a moist rack of pork chops, but is well worth the wait.

This was my first attempt making grilled pork rib roast. During a grocery shopping trip, I spotted the rib roast which looked like a rack of lamb. The nearly 3-pound roast was on sale for $2.59 a pound, which was too good of a deal to pass up.

After returning home, I searched recipe databases to find out the best way to prepare it. The following recipe is a combination of three different recipes which all sounded good. I pulled the ingredients I had on hand and hoped for the best. Fortunately, it turned out great and has officially moved to the top of my Favorite Foods list. I hope you enjoy it as well!

GRILLED PORK RIB ROAST

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 3-4

INGREDIENTS:

2-1/2 to 3-pound pork end roast with rib bones, about 6 ribs
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper, coarse
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet Paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground Allspice
2 tablespoons Olive Oil

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a small bowl, mix together seasonings.
2. Wash and pat dry pork roast. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil per side.
3. Sprinkle half of seasoning mixture per side and gently press to create a char crust. Wrap rib bones in aluminum foil to prevent burning.

Grilled-pork-rib-roast
 

4. Heat gas grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or prepare a medium-hot fire in charcoal grill.
5. Turn heat off on one side of gas grill or move coals to outer edges using tongs.
6. Grill pork roast over indirect heat for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until internal temperature reads 150 degrees. 7. Place roast over direct heat and grill for 10 minutes, or until internal temperature of roast is 155 degrees.
8. Remove from grill and let pork roast rest for 10 minutes. Remove foil and slice pork between bones.

Grilled-pork-rib-roast2

9. Transfer to serving plate and serve immediately.

Grilled-pork-rib-roast3

Homemade Brie Cheese Sauce

My husband and I recently dined at a steakhouse. Their special of the day was a filet mignon topped with brie cheese sauce. Considering brie cheese is my favorite cheese on the planet, I couldn't pass up the sauce! It was the highlight of the meal and I pondered how to make the sauce for days.

Last week, I purchased a round of Alouette brie cheese so I could practice making homemade brie cheese sauce. I am happy to report it came out exceptionally well! You can use any brand of brie cheese you like, but I find that Alouette Cheeses are tasty, affordable, and make perfect sauces.

BRIE CHEESE SAUCE

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Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 teaspoon Bacon Grease (can substitute with Olive Oil)
1-1/2 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Butter
1/8 cup Onion, minced
1 Tablespoon Flour
1/2 cup Half-and-Half (can substitute with Whole Milk, Soy Milk, or Almond Milk)
3 ounces Alouette Brie Cheese (rind removed)

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a small saucepan, melt bacon grease, olive oil and butter over medium heat.
2. Add onion and saute until onion becomes translucent, about 3 minutes.
3. Add flour and mix well.
4. Slowly add milk and stir constantly.
5. Add brie cheese. Reduce heat to medium-low and heat until sauce is thickened, stirring constantly.
6. Remove from heat. Transfer to gravy pitcher and serve immediately

Brie cheese sauce tastes great served over steak, steamed veggies, pasta or as a dipping sauce for raw vegetables and fruit.


Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad

Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad is one of my all-time favorite summer salad recipes. It's super easy to throw together and low in calories. You can have it for lunch or dinner and can serve the chicken hot or cold. Whenever I bake chicken breasts for dinner, I like to bake a few extra so I can add them to salads. Preparing the chicken ahead of time greatly reduces the prep time!

Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad

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Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 head Romaine lettuce
2 cups fresh Pineapple, cut into chunks
1 cup Mango, peeled and cut into chunks
2 4-ounce boneless, skinless Chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons Salad Dressing (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse chicken in cool water and pat dry. Place chicken in glass baking dish and bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.
  3. Wash and dry romaine lettuce. Cut off bottom, trim leaves, and cut into bite-size pieces.
  4. Place lettuce in medium bowl and add pineapple and mango chunks. Toss well.
  5. Remove chicken from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Slice chicken breast and place on salad.
  7. Add 2 tablespoons of your choice of salad dressing, if desired

This recipe and many more are available in my cookbook, "The Diva Diet". This spiral-bound cookbook provides more than 100 healthy, yet delicious recipes and can be purchased for just $18.74 at Lulu.com.


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.

GADO GADO SAUCE RECIPE

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

INGREDIENTS:

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

DIRECTIONS:

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.

ORANGE ALMOND SALAD RECIPE

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

INGREDIENTS:

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

DIRECTIONS:

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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Confetti Chicken Salad Recipe

This delightful chicken salad recipe uses millet; a gluten-free grain packed with protein. It's best to marinate the chicken for at least two to three hours before serving. Add the millet and avocados when serving so they don't get watered-down and soggy. 

Confetti chicken salad is great for brown bag lunches, summer celebrations, picnics and cook-outs. Since it contains no mayonnaise, it makes for perfect pitch-in food!

CONFETTI CHICKEN SALAD RECIPE

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Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes
Chill for 2 to 3 hours before serving.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup Lime juice, fresh
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
2 cups Chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 cup Celery, diced
2 tablespoons Parsley, fresh, chopped
3 cups Millet, cooked
2 Avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into chunks

DIRECTIONS:

1. Blend lime juice, oil, garlic and salt in large bowl.
2. Add chicken, celery and parsley and stir well to incorporate ingredients.
3. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.
4. Add millet and avocado chunks; toss lightly, and serve.

You might also like Napa Valley Chicken Salad made with Poppyseed Dressing!

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Tart and Tangy Marinated Vegetables

The following Tart and Tangy Marinated Vegetables need to marinate overnight to release the robust flavors. This is a great recipe for brown bag lunches and is certain to be a hit at parties, picnics, pitch-in's and cook-outs.

TART AND TANGY MARINATED VEGETABLES

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Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Marinate Time: 24 hours
Ready in: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

2/3 cup Olive Oil
1 Lemon, juice only
2 teaspoon Sea salt
1 cup Broccoli
1 cup Cauliflower
1 cup Zucchini
1 cup Carrots
1 cup Red Onion, sliced

DIRECTIONS:

1. Wash, rinse and dry vegetables. Cut into bite size pieces.
2. Blend olive oil, lemon juice, and salt to make a marinade. Toss with cut-up veggies.
3. Marinate in refrigerator for 24 hours, stir and serve.

 

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Truvia Shortbread Cookies by The Cheap Gourmet

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of making Truvia Shortbread Cookies and I must say they are the best shortbread cookies I have ever tasted! As you may know, The Cheap Gourmet was contacted by the marketing department of Truvia Natural Sweetener who graciously donated FIVE full-size boxes of this delightful zero-calorie sweetener to be given away to readers of this blog. The winners of the January Giveaway have been selected and contacted via email. Once they confirm their prize and grant permission to use their names, I will post the winners on the blog.

The Truvia Shortbread Cookie recipe is available at www.Truvia.com, along with several other tasty treats. Fortunately, this zero-calorie sweetener allows me to make extra yummy treats that don't end up on my thighs! Not only are they easier on the waistline, they taste just as good, if not better, than the high-calorie, fattening versions.

Many of the recipes presented at Truvia's website are inspired by Celebrity Chef, Marisa Churchill. Marisa was chosen as one of the top 40 pastry chefs in the country by Food Arts magazine. She has appeared on many of my favorite food programs including Bravo's Top Chef and The Food Network.

Truvia's shortbread cookie recipe is super simple to make. It took less than an hour from start to finish to create three dozen of these delectable treats. Better yet, Truvia's shortbread cookies only require eight ingredients: butter, Truvia sweetener, sugar, 1 egg, vanilla extract, flour, cornstarch and salt.

Once ingredients are blended together, shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet.

Truvia_shortbread_cookies_balls

Next, dip a flat-bottomed glass in a small amount of cornstarch. I'll admit, I added too much cornstarch to the glass bottom. If you make the same mistake, use a pastry brush to lightly dust-off the cookies prior to baking.

Truvia_shortbread-cookies_flat

Bake for 16-18 minutes until shortbread cookies are light golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer to baker's rack. Cool for 20-30 minutes and transfer to airtight container.

Truvia_shortbread_cookies

I had one extra packet of Truvia Natural Sweetener and decided to sprinkle a small amount on each cookie. This step is not included in the directions, but I found the addition of the Truvia sprinkles to add a bit of crunch and a little burst of extra sweetness.

After having the pleasure of using Truvia Natural Sweetener for the past month, I can honestly say I am a Truvia-convert. The Truvia Fudgy Brownies recipe was a huge hit with my family and as I recall they lasted about 1-1/2 days. That's a sure sign that my family loved every morsel ;-)

I am grateful that Truvia introduced their product to me and allowed me to experiment with the various recipes posted on their website. I am also grateful for their generosity to share their product with readers of The Cheap Gourmet Blog.

Personally, I love Truvia and will be trying more of the delightful dessert recipes, beverages and smoothies. I hope you will give Truvia Natural Sweetener a try as well. I think you'll be as pleased with the product as I am.

Tomorrow, I will be announcing the February contest. Please stop back by or subscribe to our "Get the Scoop" mailing list to be notified of new recipes and upcoming giveaways. Thank you for being part of The Cheap Gourmet family and good luck in upcoming contests and giveaways!

Happy Cheap Gourmet Cooking!

P.S. We are frequently adding new cooking contests, sweepstakes and giveaways in our Cooking Contests section. Please bookmark the page and stop back often!

Copyright © The Cheap Gourmet and Kathy Browning. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright and intellectual property rights. Reproducing or electronically submitting this article without written permission from the author is prohibited by law. Govern yourself accordingly. Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

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Truvia Natural Sweetener Fudgy Brownies

As mentioned earlier, Truvia Natural Sweetener is the January sponsor of The Cheap Gourmet blog. I have had the joy of experimenting with Truvia and am very impressed with the product. Last night, I made a batch of Truvia Natural Sweetener Fudgy Brownies, which are delicious and decadent!

The recipe for Truvia Natural Sweetener Brownies is available at Truvia's website, along with recipes for more yummy baked goods, sauces, spreads, pudding and hot cocoa mix. Truvia brownies were very easy to make and required about 15 minutes of prep time. 

Truvia_brownies_baked

Beautiful baked brownies at only 130 calories! Life doesn't get better than this!

The Cheap Gourmet and Truvia Natural Sweetener will be giving away FIVE (5) boxes of this healthy sugar alternative on February 1st. The only requirement for obtaining an entry to win a box of Truvia is to leave a comment on the blog or subscribe to "Get the Scoop" mailing list. Subscribers receive monthly recipes, menu planners, grocery coupons, gourmet food sales, and cooking contest information. 

Please support our sponsor by visiting their website and purchasing their products. If you love brownies, I can guarantee you will love Truvia Brownies. If chocolate isn't your thing, perhaps you would enjoy shortbread cookies, sweet potato pie, pear and sour cherry crisp or raspberry oatmeal bars.

Thank you and Good Luck!


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 www.RealSimple.com

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.


10 Things I Love About Real Simple Magazine

This month's giveaway is a one-year subscription to Real Simple magazine. Real Simple is one of my favorite publications because it truly does simplify my life. In the spirit of December countdown, I would like to share 10 Things I Love About Real Simple magazine:

10: Home and Organizing: New Uses for Old Things ~ Got rubber bands? Real Simple shows you how to use them to decorate Easter Eggs, open jars, bring order to your dishwasher or wrap a gift.  Have an old Twister game mat lying around? Use it as a tablecloth for a children's party (although grown-ups like it too!). Tired of searching for hair barrettes, scrunchies and ponytail ties? Use a… (click here for the answer).

9. Green Living: This section of Real Simple shows you how to recycle and reuse anything. Did you know you can use plastic grocery bags as knee pads, hand protectors, paint brush preservers, and rain hats? Discover more recycling tips and start the New Year off by being green!

8. How to Pack a Suitcase: Planning to travel during the holiday season? If so, you don't want to miss this great video on packing your suitcase. Learn the secrets of packing light and avoid expensive luggage fees!

7. Beauty and Fashion: Ever wonder what ingredients are in your skincare products? Real Simple provides a comprehensive list to help you determine what to look for and what to avoid.

6. Health and Nutrition: Ready to shed those extra pounds? Real Simple provides 20 Little Ways to Drop Pounds, which includes smart tips for taking off and keeping off unwanted baggage.

5. Mind and Mood: Do you worry too much? Are you stressed out? Need more energy? Too wound up? Real Simple provides simple techniques to stay calm, become energized and stop worrying, along with 29 low-cost, make-you-smile ideas.

4. Money: If you're like most people, you're looking for ways to slash expenses. Real Simple shows you How to Save $5,000 in 2010 without cutting back on essentials.

3. Holidays and Entertaining: Need help planning a party? Real Simple has you covered. From weddings to birthdays and baking to buying gifts, you'll find everything you need to make every occasion special.

2. Food and Recipes: Looking for decorative tabletop ideas? Real Simple provides a gallery of 26 Beautiful Table Settings guaranteed to make your guests feel special and turn you into a decorating goddess.

1. Food and Recipes – It only makes sense that my favorite section is Recipes! This year I plan to focus more on healthy foods that provide fewer calories but offer a burst of flavor. Have you ever noticed that a lot of healthy foods taste like cardboard? Well, no more! Real Simple offers an entire section dedicated to Healthy Meals. Start the New Year off in the right direction by including these tasty, yet healthy, recipes into your weekly meal planning.

Learn more about Real Simple magazine at www.RealSimple.com. Order a subscription for yourself and a friend. And, while you're there be certain to subscribe to Real Simple newsletters to receive Weekly Tips, Daily Finds, Daily Thought and Daily Recipes.

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 www.SpiceIslands.com. 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.

 
SUPER EASY CHIP AND VEGGIE DIP

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Serves: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

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

DIRECTIONS:

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.

Super_easy_chip_and_veggie_dip

 

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

Click here for details of The Cheap Gourmet December Giveaway.


Thank you for shopping with our affiliates. The Cheap Gourmet earns commissions when visitors purchase from our carefully selected merchants. Affiliate earnings help offset business expenses and allow us to continue providing free recipes, giveaways, product deals and other fun stuff!

The Cheap Gourmet November Winner and December Giveaway

The Cheap Gourmet is pleased to announce Roxanne of NewSmyrnaBeachMom.com as the winner of the November Giveaway. Roxanne has won the Holiday Greeting Card Gift Pack from DogCaptionsCards.com. Congratulations Roxanne! Please check your email account for information about how to receive your gift and thank you for being a loyal fan of The Cheap Gourmet Blog!

Next, I'm excited to announce our December giveaway. This month, Real Simple magazine, a division of Time, Inc. Lifestyle Group is generously offering a one-year subscription to their amazing magazine.

I received a complimentary copy of the December issue and let me tell you, this magazine is packed with holiday gift ideas, health and beauty tips, fashion and party accessories, holiday decorating ideas, quick-and-easy recipes, and tons of money-saving coupons from a wide range of popular stores and manufacturers.

 Here are just a few items you'll find in the December issue of Real Simple magazine:

Real-simple-magazine-december-2009 * 50 Gifts Under $50, plus stocking stuffers under $15 and inspired ideas for homemade presents

* 10 Sweet (and quick) Holiday Cookie Recipes

* No-nonsense Strategies for Better Winter Skin

*Easy Make-Ahead Hors d'Oeuvres

*How to Make Your Favorite Clothes Last Longer

* How to Save on Seasonal Decorations and Avoid Holiday–Air-travel Charges

*Party Accessories: 17 Dazzling Finds for $90 or under

* Happy Wrapping: 21 Inventive Ideas to Festoon your Presents


In sticking with the theme of Real Simple, the only eligibility requirements for The Cheap Gourmet December Giveaway is to leave a comment on any blog post. This giveaway is open to residents within the continental U.S. One winner will be selected at random on January 1, 2010. This prize is provided directly through the sponsor.

I encourage you to grab a copy of the December issue of Real Simple magazine. Not only will you find great gift ideas and deals, you will discover a plethora of unique vendors offerings exceptionally unique gifts. Real Simple is an fabulous gift idea; particularly for those on your list who are hard to buy for.

Learn more about Real Simple magazine by visiting their website at www.RealSimple.com. Take advantage of the Special 2-for-1 Holiday Offer. Buy one subscription and receive a second subscription for free!

Please support our sponsor whose generosity allows The Cheap Gourmet to provide exciting and exclusive giveaways to our readers.

Good Luck in December Giveaway and have a wonderful, love-filled holiday season!


Thanksgiving and Holiday Dessert Recipe Resources

If you are reading this, chances are you're scrambling for Thanksgiving and holiday dessert recipes. The good news is you've come to the right place! Below I've listed my five favorite dessert resources. Each source provides dozens of yummy treats to serve on turkey day or throughout the holiday season. I know you're short on time, so let's get down to dessert business!

The Cheap Gourmet's Five Favorite Thanksgiving and Holiday Dessert Recipe Resources

Truvia.com – Truvia™ is a new all-natural sweetener derived from the stevia leaf. Truvia was recently featured on The Martha Stewart Show as one of "Martha's Finds" and part of O You!, The Oprah Magazine's signature event in Kansas City, Missouri.

Baking with Truvia is different than using granulated sugar, so be certain to review the Sweetness Conversion Chart if you decide to use Truvia in recipes other than those presented on their website.

My personal Truvia recipes include: Pumpkin Pie (of course!), Pecan Pie, Sweet Potato Pie, Classic Cheesecake, and Apple Berry Galette. Give your guests the special treat of reduced-calorie, flavor-rich healthy desserts. I promise they will never know the difference unless you tell them!

MyRecipes.com – Featuring Thanksgiving and holiday recipes from Cooking Light, Southern Living, Coastal Living, All You, Real Simple and Health magazines, MyRecipes.com is featuring a special holiday pie section.

"9 Delicious Pies for Turkey Day" selections include: Double Apple Pie with Cornmeal Crust, Oatmeal Pecan Pie, Elegant Pumpkin-Walnut Layered Pie, Coconut Cream Pie with Pineapple, Tiramisu Toffee Trifle Pie, Peanut Butter Banana Pie, Cherries Jubilee Ice Cream Pie, Fudge Pie and Peanut Butter Pie.

KraftFoods.com – Kraft Foods has a special place in my heart as my mom whipped up many holiday meals and desserts using their product line. Their website presents a "Best Ever Thanksgiving Recipes" section that can help you with everything from turkey and trimmings to elegant desserts.

This year, I will be serving Kraft Foods Rocky Road Freeze pie. This decadent dessert is super easy to prepare, requires few ingredients, and is often accompanied by squeals of delight at first bite!

Other delicious dessert recipes include: Chocolate Truffle Pie, The Perfect Apple Pie, Candy Crunch Pudding Pie, Philadelphia Caramel Pecan Cheesecake, Ginger Snap Bread Pudding, Banana Pudding Squares, and Angel Lush; a diabetic-friendly dessert!

BakeSpace.com – Another social cooking site, Bake Space is a fun and interactive website offering an abundance of recipes for every day cooking to holiday entertaining. At present, Bake Space members have swapped more than 1 million recipes so chances are high you will find exactly what you're looking for along with many recipe surprises!

Dozens of Thanksgiving dessert recipes are included in the Bake Space database. A few of my favorites include: Pumpkin Custard Ice Cream, Zucchini Spice Cake with Lemon Sauce, Pumpkin Mousse in Cinnamon Pastry Shells and Apple Cider Float.

If you haven't already done so, please take a moment to subscribe to our mailing list. Subscribers are instantly notified of new recipes, product specials and cooking contests and giveaways. We have some amazing giveaways planned for 2010. Don't miss out on these exciting gifts! Subscribe today and you could be our next winner.

Last, but not least, post a comment on any blog post and you're automatically entered into November's giveaway. Details can be found at The Cheap Gourmet November Giveaway.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!


Clubs of America


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!

Cooking.com – Here you will discover a vast database of recipes for every occasion. From breakfast, lunch and dinner to party planning and holiday fare, Cooking.com 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.

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Try Angie's List!


Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe Resources

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and many of us are in need of outstanding recipes that will impress our guests and provide a moist, tender turkey. Today, I'd like to share my favorite Thanksgiving turkey recipe resources and hope they help you find the perfect recipe for your holiday feast.

Thanksgiving-turkey-recipes


Top Five Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe Resources:


Food Network – The Food Network provides dozens of turkey recipes, along with appetizers, side dishes, stuffing and dressing, side dishes, salads and desserts. Thanksgiving turkey recipes include: Roasted Turkey with Citrus Rosemary Salt; Oven Roasted Turkey Breast with Leeks; Paula Deen's Turkey with Maple Cranberry Glaze; Bobby Flay's Apple-Sage Glazed Grilled Whole Turkey; and Alton Brown's Turkey with Stuffing.

AllRecipes.com– Here you will discover how to make the infamous deep-fried turkey, along with recipes for BBQ turkey, smoked turkey, classic stuffed turkey, the best "Ugly Turkey", easy herb turkey and the "World's Best" turkey!

Butterball provides the Turkey Talk Line each weekday between the hours of 8am to 8pm. The Butterball website provides tips and how-to ideas for roasting, broasting, grilling and baking whole turkeys, turkey legs, wings and breasts. Butterball is currently offering a $2.00 discount coupon for any fresh or frozen whole Butterball turkey. Offer expires 12/31/09.

EatTurkey.com offers a wealth of turkey recipes and resources to create a successful holiday meal. Here you'll find prep tips and cooking times, holiday menu planners, roasting procedures, how to choose the proper roasting pan, how to carve a turkey, and storage and preparation safety guides.

Real Simple is one of my favorite resources for obtaining all types of recipes. In the spirit of the holidays, Real Simple offers a vast array of turkey recipes including tips for how to host a Thanksgiving Potluck dinner.

Real Simple offers more than 50 Thanksgiving recipes including: Basic Roast Turkey, Maple Glazed Turkey, Roast Turkey with Sage Stuffing and Gravy, and Turkey with Molasses Butter. You'll also have access to recipes for homemade gravies, stuffing, dressings, breads and biscuits, cranberries, beans, spinach and greens, salads, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables and desserts.

Take a moment to subscribe to The Cheap Gourmet mailing list to receive more holiday tips and recipes, along with future giveaways. We have lined up some amazing sponsors who will be offering exclusive giveaways to The Cheap Gourmet readers.

Simply enter your email address in the subscription box on the right sidebar. We never sell, rent, trade or giveaway your contact information and only contact you when new articles and announcements are published.

Thank you for being part of The Cheap Gourmet family. We wish you a happy holiday season and a wonderful Thanksgiving!

P.S. Don't forget to download your complimentary "Healthy Holiday Thanksgiving Menu Planner" below:


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:

Appetizers:
Artichoke and White Bean Dip
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Soups:
The Great Pumpkin Soup
Quinoa Soup with Greens and Potatoes

Salads:
Quinoa Apple Salad
Persimmon Mesculin Salad

Entrées:
Roasted Turkey
Baked Cod Fillets

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

Beverages:
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Orange Coconut Frost

Desserts:
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.

234x60 GMC Indulgent Gifts

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


Second Announcement: Alouette Cheese Fall Gourmet Cheese Giveaway

Dear Readers,

I am attempting to give the amazing Alouette Cheese Fall Gourmet Cheese Giveaway to the randomly selected winner. The first winner was contacted three times via email and her name was published on the blog. Unfortunately, she never contacted The Cheap Gourmet to confirm her mailing address.

On Wednesday evening, a second winner was randomly selected by Contest Machine. The chosen winner is Jennifer Phillips of Indiana (yeah, Hoosiers! my home town!). Jennifer, if you are reading this please contact me no later than midnight tonight to claim your Alouette Cheese prize. Two emails have been sent to you using the email address provided when you entered the contest. Check your spam folder just in case the emails didn't arrive in your inbox.

If Jennifer has not claimed the Alouette Cheese giveaway prize by this 11:59pm EST on Friday, November 6th, I will select a third winner. This time, I will use a different selection method.

If you entered the Alouette Cheese contest, please submit your name, email address, phone number and mailing address (no P.O. Boxes) via the Comment box below. Please note, all comments are moderated and I will not publish your personal information.

If Jennifer does not claim her prize, I will select a person from the entrants who provide their information via the comment box below TODAY.

In order to be entered into the final drawing for the Alouette Cheese prize, you must have previously entered and you must provide your contact information as per the instructions above.

The final winner will be selected and contacted by email and phone. If I am unable to reach you, I will select the next person on the list until I find someone who confirms their mailing address. I need to submit this information to Allouette Cheese immediately so they can send the prize to the winner.

Don't delay! If you want a second chance at winning the gorgeous cheeseboard, free cheese and various other goodies, send your contact info to me TODAY!

Good Luck!

The Cheap Gourmet

P.S. Please take a moment to download The Cheap Gourmet's complementary "Gourmet Wine and Cheese Menu" by clicking on the link below. This is in PDF format and requires Adobe Reader.


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


How to Make a Cupcake Cake for any Occasion

How to Make a Cupcake Cake for any Occasion

Last weekend my husband and I attended a birthday celebration for friends who were both turning 60. Being such a milestone birthday, friends and family organized a semi-surprise party and planned a feast for royalty.

In July, I ordered mini cupcake pans from Easy Bakeware, which I had not had a chance to try out. Several years ago, another friend of mine taught me how to make cupcake cakes. The guest list included several children and I thought mini cupcakes would be a great way to keep them away from the "grown-up" cake until it was ready to be served.

I was preparing several dishes for the party and needed to save a little time, so I purchased boxed cake mixes and canned icing. Overall, I baked about 225 mini cupcakes. Although I only had two 12-cupcake mini muffin pans, the Easy Bakeware made the process a breeze!

Easy Bakeware

I used mini muffin paper baking tins and filled each about 2/3rd's full of batter. Baking time per batch was 13 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. I used three types of cake batter - French Vanilla, Dark Chocolate and Butter Chocolate. The Butter Chocolate was by far my favorite; although all of them were quite tasty and addicting!

Next, I cut a cardboard moving box into a 24"x18" rectangle and covered it with foil. I had purchased decorative letters and colored sprinkles at the store. For the cupcakes used for the mini cupcake cake, I spread the icing evenly using a small icing knife, then placed one letter on each mini cupcake.

Happy Birthyday Mini Cupcake Cake 

As  you can see, I used white frosting for the cupcakes with letters. It reads: "Happy 60th Birthday Maeme and Carl". I alternated flavors on each row. The first, third and fifth row are French Vanilla cupcakes, while the second and fourth rows are chocolate cupcakes.

Using some of the extra mini cupcakes, I created little islands on the sides to fill in the extra space. I purchased paper palm trees attached to a toothpick. These palm trees gave me fits because they had this teeny-tiny square adhesive covered in paper. The paper had to be removed and the palm trees stretched out and attached to the other side. Considering it was 4am when I was finishing up this cake, not all the palm trees came out uniformly. As they say, it's the thought that counts!

Cupcake Cake Birthday  

I used the butter chocolate mini cupcakes to create the islands and used a piping bag to swirl the icing. I placed 3 to 4 "island" cupcakes together and then placed one on top of the stack to create the illusion of an island. I then used white icing to pipe around the edges of the cardboard and topped with colored sprinkles. 

This was my first attempt at making a cupcake cake and while it isn't perfect, it was certainly a huge hit at the party. I placed the remaining cupcakes on dessert trays and when we departed the party, I noticed only 3 were left. The cupcake cake was completely devoured.

Not only was the cupcake cake a lot of fun to make, it didn't take much time and the guests absolutely loved it. Homemade gifts are always a great way to make people feel special. Even though I used boxed cake mixes, I could not have been more pleased with the final product.

If you are wondering how I transported the cake, I simply covered it loosely with foil. The palm trees helped keep the foil off the icing. I drive a Toyota Rav4, so the cardboard platform fit perfectly in the tailgate area. We drove extra careful to make certain we didn't need to make any sudden stops or take corners on two wheels ;-)

The possibilities of cupcake cakes are endless. Grocery stores, dollar stores, and party stores carry a wide range of novelty items that can be used to create all kinds of theme cakes. If you don't own a pasty bag and piping tips, you can place icing inside a sandwich bag and snip one corner off. Piping the icing on the cupcakes is considerably more efficient than using an icing spreader.

After using the EasyBakeware muffin pan, I can honestly say that I will be converting ALL my bakeware to this brand. The pans are made from silicone (I think!) and are super easy to clean. The muffins popped out easily and there was little mess to clean up.

EasyBakeware is currently offering FREE bakeware. You can receive any piece of bakeware for free, but will have to pay the shipping cost of $7.95. I've seen this type of bakeware in stores and the average retail price is $19.95 to $24.95 per piece!

If you're like me and love to bake, I highly recommend giving EasyBakeware a try. Click on the banner below and take advantage of the free offer before it's too late.

Easy Bakeware


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

Print Friendly and PDF

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


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 www.Adobe.com.

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


Announcing: The Pumpkin Patch Recipe Collection

Pumpkin_patch_2
It's here!! The fabulous "Pumpkin Patch Recipe Collection" is now available as a free download! This 20-page PDF report includes recipes for:


  • Baked Pumpkin with Rice Pilaf
  • Pumpkin Chili
  • Pumpkin and Romano Dumplings
  • Perfect Pumpkin Stew
  • Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries and Almonds
  • Pumpkin Dip
  • No-Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie
  • Pumpkin Seed Brittle
  • Pumpkin Smoothies
  • Homemade Whipped Cream (including Pumpkin Whipped Cream, of course!) and...
  • A Pictorial Guide to Types of Pumpkins

The Pumpkin Patch Recipe Collection is a PDF file that requires the use of Adobe Reader. If you do not have Adobe Reader installed on your computer you can download it for free at www.Adobe.com.

Click here to download
The Pumpkin Patch Recipe Collection