Garlic Herb Bread

Garlic Herb Bread is easy and incredibly addictive. Awesome with pasta or a salad, but equally good on its own as an appetizer. Mm. {Brittany's Pantry}First of all, sorry these pics are a little…off.  When I was ready to photograph this the sun went down and dark storm clouds descended on our house, thus eliminating any natural light.  It is a glaring reminder to me that winter is coming and that I will need to start doing all my blog pictures before 4 o’clock!  But that is OK.  If eating cheesecake for breakfast is what I will have to do to make sure these photos are blog worthy, than I guess that is just a sacrifice I will have to make.

But back to the food, I am sharing this recipe for garlic bread because it really is the ultimate garlic bread.  It is herbaceous and buttery without being heavy and goes so perfectly with pasta you won’t ever want to be without it on Italian night!  I recently made it to go with Zesty Bolognese but it pairs well with everything from mac and cheese and alfredo to lasagna.  Absolutely fantastic.  And don’t worry.  I promise my next post will include that pumpkin we made last week.Garlic Herb Bread is easy and incredibly addictive. Awesome with pasta or a salad, but equally good on its own as an appetizer. Mm. {Brittany's Pantry} One Year Ago: Piggy Pudding

Garlic Herb Bread
Adapted from Ina Garten
The pic above only shows half of this recipe.  It is easy to do if you are only feeding three or four people.  I had just a tiny bit of the mixture leftover and I added it to the pasta I was making.  This recipe is also great as party food.  Yum!

In a mini food processor, pulse together:
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 c fresh parsley
pinch of salt and pepper

Pulse ingredients until finely chopped.  Drizzle in enough olive oil to make the mixture spreadable, about 1/4 c .  Alternatively, chop garlic and herbs together until finely minced and mix with olive oil in a small bowl.

Cut a large loaf of french bread or ciabatta bread in half through the middle and spread each side with a thin layer of softened, unsalted butter.  Spread the garlic and herb mixture on each half, making sure not to go too thick.  This is potent stuff!  Put the layers back together and wrap in a large sheet of foil.  Can be made several hours ahead of time up to this point.  Bake at 350 for 5 minutes.  Open the foil and let the bread toast for another 6 or 7 minutes.  Cool slightly and cut into serving pieces.

Caramel Apple Dip

This Caramel Apple Dip is sweet and creamy. Perfect for dipping crunchy apple slices! {Brittany's Pantry}OK.  So I know I just posted about dip, but this one is different.

And everyone likes a good dip, right?  Heh heh.

Several years ago, my mom and sisters came to visit and it happened to be just after an apple picking excursion to a local orchard.  In addition to using them like guinea pigs for a pumpkin latte recipe, I made three different kinds of apple dip, hoping that  I could narrow it down and just make one version from then on.  My plan worked and this was the result.  All were good, but the others couldn’t hold a candle to this fluffy, creamy, carmeley (is that a word?) dip.  Don’t get me wrong!  I love apples and straight up carmel dip.  But sometimes it is nice to do something a bit different for a change.  So now this is really the only one I make anymore.

This dip is great with apples or pears.  It also may or may not be insanely good right from the spoon.

I made Pumpkin Dip earlier this week so I didn’t even bother to measure out the marshmallow in this recipe.  I just used whatever was left in the jar.  My husband always complains that this dip is too crunchy (from the brown sugar) but if you leave it for a minute or two after you mix it up and then just give it another stir, the sugar melts and it becomes nice and smooth.  Of course, the kids and I just ate it right from the get-go!  Just scrumptious this time of year!  It is also great to bring to a party (maybe an outdoor picnic?) with a big bag of apples.  Just don’t forget the pairing knife!This Caramel Apple Dip is sweet and creamy. Perfect for dipping crunchy apple slices! {Brittany's Pantry} One Year Ago: Fried Noodles  I ate these yesterday for lunch!

Fluffy Carmel Apple Dip
Recipe from Taste Of Home

1-8 oz package cream cheese
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c carmel sauce (like from the ice cream isle)
1 tsp vanilla
1 c marshmallow creme
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Combine all ingredients using a hand mixer.  Beat until smooth.  Serve with apple and/or pear wedges.  It is good with ginger snaps too!

Heather’s Dip

Heather's Dip is a spicy, gooey, ham and cheese appetizer that goes great with Fritos or toasted bagel chips! {Brittany's Pantry}At the risk of alienating some of my readers, I should really be totally honest with all of you.  I am not a football fan.

I never know when the games are on, I certainly couldn’t tell you who was playing who, and the only football player who I can name with any regularity is Tommy Kramer, who happened to be the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings when I was 8.  I heard his name shouted a lot when I was little, but do not recall if it was usually in exasperation or shrieked with joy.  Needless to say, my Dad is a football fan.  When we moved here to central IL we had no idea that the local University of Illinois football team even existed until we walked into church one Sunday and nearly the entire congregation was dressed in bright orange and navy blue in support of the home game that day.  Even the elderly couples who normally came to worship dressed quite formally were in khakis and orange sweater vests.  And don’t even get me started on the craziness around here during basketball season.

But what I do love about football is the food.  Brats and dogs?  Absolutely.  Chili?  Uh huh.  Chips and dip?  Yes please!  The variety of junk food, especially if a football party is pot luck, makes me giddy.  Not because I love junk food, but because I love to see what people bring.  I love appetizers so a random conglomeration of finger food is right up my alley.

Even though I did not first eat this dip at a football or basketball viewing event, it tastes like it belongs there.  Its cheesy, gooey, salty, and is eaten with Fritos.  Need I say more?  Do not be alarmed by the RoTel in this dip.  There is only a bit of heat, as the spiciness is tamed by the other ingredients.  I have seen a one year old eat this dip with a spoon so it is kind of a guaranteed crowd pleaser.  I call it Heather’s Dip because she is the lovely woman I got the recipe from.  It is her recipe and it is a lot shorter than calling it something like Hot Creamy Cheesy Dip With Ham.  Call it what you like as long as you bring the recipe with you to your next Superbowl party.  Because people will ask you for it.  You will for sure enjoy the food.  Even if you don’t know the score!Heather's Dip is a spicy, gooey, ham and cheese appetizer that goes great with Fritos or toasted bagel chips! {Brittany's Pantry}Heather's Dip is a spicy, gooey, ham and cheese appetizer that goes great with Fritos or toasted bagel chips! {Brittany's Pantry}One Year AgoRoasted Pumpkin Seeds

Heather’s Dip
Leftovers, if there are any, can be gently reheated in the microwave.

1-8 oz block cream cheese
1 c sour cream
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 can RoTel, drained
6 slices, thinly sliced deli ham, diced into small squares
Fritos, bagel chips, or other dip delivering device

Mix all ingredients-minus the Fritos-in a bowl with a hand mixer until incorporated.  Microwave for several minutes, stirring after each minute, until melted and smooth.  Serve with Fritos.  Alternatively, pour the dip into a small casserole dish and bake at 350 until melted and bubbly.

Hot Apple Cider

Hot drinks are a necessity when you grown up in the north.  Something to warm your bones and thaw out the inside of your nose when the weather dips to less than 30 degrees below zero.  Some steaming hot chocolate is usually at the top of my list of chosen drinks.  But some hot apple cider has a special place in my heart, and the smell of it heating on the stove makes the whole house smell so comforting, it is a definite cure for what ails you.This Spiced Hot Apple Cider from Brittany's Pantry is simple and classic! I know I say this a lot, but please treat this recipe like a method.  Drinks like this are designed to be suited to your own taste so please see these ingredients as a springboard for whatever floats your boat.  And please please please use apple cider, not apple juice to make this.  When it comes to flavor, there is no comparison.  Well, actually, there is a comparison.  Apple juice is just that-juice.  The apples are squeezed and the juice runs out and voila!  Apple juice.  Apple cider is actually the whole apple, peel and all, pulverized to make a kind of chunky soup and then the whole thing is strained.  That is why apple cider is cloudy!  There is a fine sediment in it of peel and pulp.  So actually, apple cider has a higher nutritional content, including fiber, of which the majority in an apple is found in the peel.  Simply Apple is the only kind of apple juice or cider that we buy any more.  The flavor is consistently fantastic and it isn’t so tart that you can’t drink it on its own.  Of course, a little doctoring is yummy too.  Hence, todays recipe.

One Year Ago: Apple Crisp

Hot Apple Cider
Apple cider usually comes in quart, half gallon, or gallon jugs.  Adjust the ingredients based on how much cider you are making!

half gallon of good apple cider (maybe from your local orchard?)
1/2 c brown sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp of WHOLE cloves

Heat all ingredients in a large sauce pan over low heat until sugar dissolves and it all is steaming.  Add more sugar if needed!  Enjoy!
Note:  There are so many different ways to change this.  Use honey or pure maple syrup instead of brown sugar, but taste as you go.  The level of sweetness you prefer and what you cider may need is different depending on what you use.  You can use ground cinnamon instead, but add a bit at a time to figure our how much you want.  Adding the peel of an orange (just the peel-no white pith) gives great flavor, or even a shot of orange juice if you want.  And nothing was ever harmed by adding a glug of jarred carmel sauce to it.  Experiment and see what you like!  Also, feel free to use the crock pot if you are serving a crowd and are low on stove top space.

Caramelized Onion Dip

It has been kind of crazy at my house this last week.  Suffice to say that work, school, and the health of all parties involved lead up to one big vacuum of time.  Not to mention that we are presently trying to pack for a family trip; quite the task in itself with two small children involved.

Not to worry!  I haven’t forgotten you!  And to prove my loyalty to the dozen or so people that read this I am posting a recipe that I absolutely cannot live without.  I have no idea what I did before I started making this four or five years ago.  Did I serve people jarred salsa?  Crackers and spray cheese?  (That was a joke-I have NEVER and will NEVER serve people spray cheese.)  I really have no idea.  It is hard to remember a time before…wait for it….Caramelized Onion Dip.Ina Garten's Caramelized Onion Dip is just as amazing as she is! Now, from past experience, I figure right now you are doing one of two things.  Your eyebrows either shot up to your hairline and you salivated a bit, thinking to yourself “Oooooo!  That sounds good!”  or you have already moved on and are currently checking your Facebook status.  I hope it is scenario number one because you will totally be thanking me later.

It is kind of hard to describe this dip.  It is exceptionally creamy, as you can tell from the above pic, but the flavor is so simply yummy it is hard to stop eating it.  It isn’t salty or heavy.  It is a bit sweet though from the onions that have been cooked until they are golden and carmely.  The result is sort of a classic dip, but so much better than you thought it would be.  The onion flavor is so mild, most people don’t even know that is what the main ingredient is!  You can count on this being an absolute hit no matter where or when you serve it.  See?!  Now.  Aren’t you glad you didn’t leave and go check Facebook?Ina Garten's Caramelized Onion Dip is just as amazing as she is! Caramelized Onion Dip
Recipe from Ina Garten
This dip lasts for a day or two so it is the perfect appetizer or first course to make the night before you need it.  The onions take a little time, but not a lot of attention.  Very easy to do when you are checking emails, doing dishes, or making phone calls.

2 large yellow onions
3 T butter-unsalted
3 T olive oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
4 ounces (1/2 pkg) cream cheese
1/2 c mayo
1/2 c sour cream

Cut the onions in half and then slice in to thin half-rounds.  Caramelize the onions in the butter and oil with a sprinkling of salt and a shake of cayenne.  Do this over medium low to low heat.  The onions should sizzle a bit, but not brown.  You want them to slowly get translucent and then start to take on a carmel color.  This will take about a half hour.  Just give them a stir every few minutes, making sure they aren’t too hot.  When they are done, turn off the heat and set aside to cool to room temp.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the last three ingredients until smooth.  Fold in the onions.  Keep chilled until ready to serve and take it out to soften a bit 10 minutes before you eat it.  This is fantastic with crusty slices of french baguette.  In fact, that is the only way I serve it, but I am told it is good with potato chips as well.


Traditional (and the best) Guacamole from Brittany's PantryHola!  It was a Mexican Fiesta this weekend at our house and here is the guacamole recipe I promised you!  I also made shredded beef tacos with spicy sour cream, salsa, and mexican rice.  We had carrot cake for dessert (my husband’s FAVorite-although not exactly fitting for our Latin theme!) and all I can say is that I am planning on tossing all my carrot cake recipes, in favor of this one.  No recipe or pics of it though, but I promise to post it next time I make it.  Outstanding.  And as for the shredded beef tacos, I was pretty happy with them.  Made in the crock pot, it was super easy to throw together and an absolute winner.  I think I am going to fiddle with the spices just a bit more, so stay tuned.  All in all, great food, great friends, and lots of leftovers.  Just the way I like it!

Just like salsa, there are dozens of different ways to make guacamole.  I was shooting for plain, classic, simple, with a well balanced flavor.  This was my result.  If you ever need a resource for classic mexican food, my family and I like the flavors and straightforward simpleness of 365 Easy Mexican Recipes by Marge Poore.

It is easy to vary your dip.  Add diced tomato, stir in a small spoonful of sour cream or a pinch of cumin, add more cilantro or skip the onion, add minced fresh garlic or roasted corn-endless possibilities.

3 ripe avocados
2 fresh jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed, minced
1 T chopped cilantro
1/2 onion, diced very small or grated
Juice of half a lime, or 1 T bottled lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Mash all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Taste for seasoning.

Note: Jalapenos contain most of their heat in the seeds and ribs of the pepper.  If you want to make this hot, but not add more peppers, leave the ribs and/or seeds in one of them before you mince it.  Be very careful chopping hot peppers.  Touch nothing else (especially your eyes) and wash hands immediately afterward with soap and hot water.  Also, like many of you, my family is not a fan of cilantro, but the quantity in this recipe adds wonderful flavor without being overpowering.  And as always, fresh citrus is way better than bottled, but use what you can.  And don’t skip the lime!  It cuts through the richness of the avocados and keeps them from oxidizing and turning brown.

Garden Fresh Salsa is straightforward and fantastic.  A great staple to make again and again! {Brittany's Pantry}As I have previously mentioned, Mexican food is not my favorite cuisine.

My husband does not share this opinion.

Also, his birthday was this week.  Do you know what this means?  It means that I suck it up and make him Mexican food because I love him more than I hate cilantro.
Did I mention that chips and salsa is one of his most favorite snacks?  He loves it and when he had the time-i.e. no children and his comrades were other lonely sailors-he would often sit and talk at a restaurant for hours, ordering nothing more than endless chips and salsa and an ice cold Corona.  Sadly, I never warmed up to salsa, which is a big bummer because it is extremely good for you.  I kid you not, friends!  Munch away.  And if you go once step farther and make your own, you can control the amount of heat and salt that goes into it too.

Making your own salsa is fast, easy, cheap, and satisfying.  And in some cases, a very serious matter.  I know a priest that covets his salsa recipe very close, tending to his ‘salsa’ garden daily and with a dedication that can only come from a man of the cloth!  There are infinite varieties and ways to mix the different flavors which is part of what makes it so fun.  All you have to do is find your perfect balance of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and heat.  We prefer it straight up; good, fresh ingredients without the extra flavorings. Classic and full of garden ingredients.  Feel free to use the following as a base to add or detract what you do or don’t like.  Share with everyone.  It may even taste better with a sailor or two!Garden Fresh Salsa is straightforward and fantastic.  A great staple to make again and again! {Brittany's Pantry} Garden Salsa

4-5 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1 T fresh lime juice
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Taste for seasoning.  Let sit for at least a hour, preferably more, to let all the flavors merry.  Feel free to add chopped cilantro, fresh corn, black beans, or whatever you like to make it unique.  You can also change the ratio of tomatoes to peppers and onions, or omit an ingredient altogether.

How To: Freeze Berries - A Step by step guide on how to do it! {Brittany's Pantry}Berries!  Specifically, blueberries!  Tis the season for these healthy, antioxidant rich fruits to hit the shelves of your local market in abundance.  And while I know we all love to enjoy them fresh and right out of the container, it is definitely worth it to save some of that goodness for those times of the year when summer berries are a distant memory.  When food is in season, any food, it has better flavor, is less expensive, and in some cases, even has more nutritional value.  The environmental impact is less as well when you are buying fruits picked a few days prior from the next county(or if you are blessed enough to have a local farmer’s market nearby, that same day) instead of the grapes you buy in January that are shipped in from Peru.

I am generally a big fan of freezing foods for future use, but I really love to freeze berries.  I fold them into muffins and coffee cake all winter long and their superior flavor exudes summer when I dump them into a smoothie while the snow falls out my window.

So plan ahead!  You will be so glad you did.  Follow these steps and avoid the block-o-berries that may result if you just pop them in the freezer as is.  This is how you do it.How To: Freeze Berries - A Step by step guide on how to do it! {Brittany's Pantry} Pick over the berries as soon as you get them home.  Toss or compost any that are moldy or crushed.  Raspberries, blueberries and blackberries work the best and there should be no need to wash them first.  As always, buy organic if you can.  Due to their thin skins, berries absorb pesticides more than other fruits, but that is a lecture for a different day.How To: Freeze Berries - A Step by step guide on how to do it! {Brittany's Pantry}
Dump the berries onto a dry sheet pan in a single layer.How To: Freeze Berries - A Step by step guide on how to do it! {Brittany's Pantry} Freeze for several hours or overnight.  The berries will move freely and become individual little ‘rocks’ that won’t stick together.

Transfer the fruit into resealable freezer bags and label.  I like to make sure I know at a glance which ones are the oldest in my freezer so the phrases ‘use first’ and ‘use last’ are often scribbled on the bags somewhere.How To: Freeze Berries - A Step by step guide on how to do it! {Brittany's Pantry} Enjoy!

Strawberry Watermelon Coolers| Light, refreshing, and tangy! {Brittany's Pantry}Memorial Day is over and sadly, it is back to reality for most of us.  But you can prolong that easy, relaxin’ feeling with this drink.Strawberry Watermelon Coolers| Light, refreshing, and tangy! {Brittany's Pantry} Its smooth.  Its sweet.  Its delightfully refreshing.  And just in case you needed one more reason, it is good for you and uses up all the leftover fruit you may have in your fridge after the rounds of cookouts last weekend!Strawberry Watermelon Coolers| Light, refreshing, and tangy! {Brittany's Pantry} Throw it all in the blender and whiz away!  Your kids will drink this.  Your guests will drink this.  And you will drink this.  Aaahhhhh.  (That is the sound of the tension releasing from my muscles as I drink mine.  I would like to say that my glass looks like the charming ones in the picture above, but sadly it is a plastic, blue, fish cup with an orange fishy tail as my handle.)
Depending on the type of weekend you had, you may want to spike yours.  I don’t drink so I don’t have the foggiest idea what you would add to this, but if you come up with an interesting combo, feel free to let everyone know in the comments section below.  Tequila?  Vodka?  Rum?  *shrug* Sorry.  I’m clueless.Strawberry-Watermelon-Coolers Strawberry Watermelon Cooler
I froze the leftovers, minus the pop, in pop-sickle molds for my kids.  Okaaay.  For me too.  Delightful.

1/2 pound strawberries, chunked (about 2 c)
4 c chunked watermelon
1 T lime juice
1/4 c simple syrup*(see note)
Sprite, Sierra Mist, 7-Up , or Gingerale

Put all ingredients except the pop in a blender and puree till smooth.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher.  Fill glasses halfway with fruit puree and top off with pop.  It is also perfectly wonderful without the soda.  If you have a particularly good watermelon, skip the added sweetener.  You won’t need it.

*Note:  I have mentioned this before but on the off chance you missed it, here it is again.  Simple Syrup is just equal parts sugar and water, boiled on the stove until the sugar is dissolved.  Cool to room temp and store in the fridge.  It will last for months and I keep it on hand always.  Why?  Use it to sweeten anything you don’t want the grittiness of sugar in.  Smoothies, iced tea, mixed drinks, granitas or sorbets-sometimes I even brush it on the layers of a cake to keep it moist.

Whole Wheat Cornbread

Whole Wheat Cornbread | Brittany's PantryI have been trying to get this recipe made for months.  I have had it printed out from the Eating Well website which, by the way, is fantastic.  Anyone interested in food that tastes great but has a healthy twist will LOVE the website, the magazine, the emailed newsletters; all of it.  If you have never heard about it, you can take a peek here.  But anyway, I printed it and then lost it, and then found it again, then lost it again.  Then we tore apart our house and I couldn’t make it anyway, and then I was looking for it, and then I found it.  It is so simple, I find it a little embarrassing that I haven’t made something like this before.Whole Wheat Cornbread | Brittany's PantryI was once told, after I had been asked if I liked cornbread-to which my answer was of course yes-that I actually liked “that northern cornbread.”  When my brow furrowed in response, I was informed that the cornbread I liked wasn’t real cornbread, but the fluffy, cake-like, sweet stuff they eat in the north.  You see, I am from Minnesota, and I was having this conversation with a lovely middle-aged woman from the deep south.  Southern Mississippi, to be exact.  And she was right!  Her family (her daughter actually) introduced me to the wonderful creation that I call ‘Southern Cornbread.’  The batter, nothing too sweet or too light, is actually poured into and baked in a hot, oiled, cast-iron skillet.  It pops out of that skillet all round and crunchy, just begging for black-eyed, purple hulled peas.  Scrumptious.

But for now, I am going to leave that method to the experts.  My apologies to any out there who think it is a crime to eat tall, light, sweet cornbread, but this is how we eat it in the north!  And by golly, I like it!  When the occasion calls for it, I even smother it with butter and honey *gasp* or jam, (no swooning, please!) although this batch was made to accompany a light salad for supper.
And my son woke up early from his nap to help me mix it up!Whole Wheat Cornbread | Brittany's Pantry This recipe has all the simple goodness of cornbread, but is wonderfully healthy.  And you can’t tell the difference in the slightest!  Next time, I am going to use a flax egg in the recipe and see how it turns out, and for those of you who have no idea what that means, stay tuned.  Also, if cooking with whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour is your ‘page turner’, here is a great place to start!  In the meantime, enjoy!  And happy baking!Whole Wheat Cornbread | Brittany's Pantry Whole Wheat Cornbread
Adapted from Eating Well

1 1/4 c yellow cornmeal
3/4 c white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
3T honey or sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/4 c buttermilk
2 T canola oil

In a medium bowl whisk together all dry ingredients, including the sugar if you are using it.  In a large measuring cup or separate small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, oil, and honey, if using.  Add the wet to the dry and mix just until combined!  Pour batter into a sprayed 8-inch square baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Lemon & Herb Deviled Eggs | Brittany's Pantry - A great twist on a classic appetizer!Is that an oxymoron?  New traditions?  I suppose, or nothing would ever change would it?  And my life seems to be all about change lately…

In the interest of wanting to start some new traditions, I of course went straight to food.  Usually, when I read a recipe, I can pretty much guess what it is going to taste like.  I can read a list of random ingredients, put together the flavors in my head, and sort of know what the result will be like.  I have a farely distinct palette and while I know that that has something to do with it, I believe that the majority of my ability comes from cooking, and reading a lot of recipes.  Experimentation is a significant player too.  Each recipe I try, with success or failure, teaches me something about my skills (or lack of) in the kitchen, my preference for certain flavors and techniques, and what foods taste like together.

All of those things aside, I recently looked at a picture and knew I had to make it.  Forget ingredient lists.  The picture looked so good, I practically ran to my kitchen to bake them.

Hot Cross Buns!
Yum, right?  And ooooooh my goodness they are awesome.  This is what I am talking about.  Behold!  My new Easter tradition!  I will henceforth be making these every Easter.  And maybe around Christmas too.  And Labor Day.  And Groundhogs Day.Hot-Cross-BunsI got the recipe from here.  I followed it exactly with no tweaking.  If you are new to yeast breads and regard them as a rather scary endeavor, this is perfect for you.  No kneading or guessing about how much flour.  It is straight forward instructions and a very forgiving recipe.  I highly recommend giving them a try.  I also suggest that you eat one right out of the oven, with no frosting.  Yeasty and wonderful!

As for the posting today, I thought I would give you a recipe to help use up all those hard boiled eggs leftover from Easter.  No doubt you have been flooded with deviled egg recipes and I could be different and give you something original.  Like Mock Turtle Soup.  Blegh.  But instead, I am going to leave you with one of my favorite deviled egg recipes.Lemon & Herb Deviled Eggs | Brittany's Pantry - A great twist on a classic appetizer!Lemon & Herb Deviled Eggs | Brittany's Pantry - A great twist on a classic appetizer! Lemon-Herb Deviled Eggs
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Refreshingly light and tangy, these are a delightful change from the norm.  I love to bring them to a pot luck and watch them disappear!

6 hard boiled eggs
3 T sour cream
1 heaping T mayo
1tsp Dijon mustard
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Splash of fresh lemon juice
Cayenne Pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley or thyme

Peel eggs, then cut in half lengthwise. Transfer yolks to small bowl and mash with fork. Mix in sour cream, mayonnaise, and mustard. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and taste for seasoning.  Spoon yolk mixture into whites. Sprinkle generously with chopped parsley and/or thyme.  Serve immediately or cover and chill.

Midnight Crunchies

Midnight Crunchies may be the best thing to ever happen to cereal, cherries, and chocolate! {Brittany's Pantry}What do you do with leftover cornflakes?  Make dessert!  No, I didn’t make haystacks (sorry Megan) but went in a different direction.  Remember haystacks?  Cornflakes, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter all spooned into little blobs?  Quite yummy.  But when you have a pile of various kinds of chocolate, all opened, you either need to make a big batch of brownies, or these cornflake things I made up.  I am sure there are about a dozen different versions of this recipe using all different variations of cereals.  Cornflakes, rice crispies, and I have even seen a version with pretzels.  But this is what I had to use up in the pantry so this is how I made it.  Just about the tastiest use of leftovers ever!
Midnight Crunchies | Brittany's PantryMidnight Crunchies may be the best thing to ever happen to cereal, cherries, and chocolate! {Brittany's Pantry}Midnight Crunchies
Feel free to change the name.  I just made it up about 5 seconds ago.

12 oz of dark chocolate, finely chopped, or 1 bag of dark or semisweet chocolate chips
3 c cornflakes
1 c dried cherries or cranberries (I used 1/2 c of each)

In a medium sized, heat safe bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 sec intervals, stirring between each.  Stop before the chocolate is completely melted and stir it vigorously until smooth.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and gently fold together until combined and evenly coated.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper or parchment paper.  Let set for 30 minutes until cool and firm.

S’mores Bars

S'Mores Bars via Brittany's Pantry - Just as good as the original but SO much easier!My 4 year old has been on my case for a week, begging for me to make these with her.  She got a Betty Crocker Kid’s Cookbook for Christmas and has been working her way through the recipes.  And I had to admit these sounded pretty good.  I had no idea they would be so addicting.  Unfortunately they aren’t too sweet so you can eat a million of them and not get sick of them.  The peanut butter adds a nice balance to the bars and you don’t even notice it.  They definitely appeal to the child in all of us!
The bars chillin’ on our OH so cold screen porch!
S'Mores Bars have all the flavor and all the fun of the real thing, just easier to eat! {Brittany's Pantry} S'Mores Bars via Brittany's Pantry - Just as good as the original but SO much easier!S'Mores Bars via Brittany's Pantry - Just as good as the original but SO much easier!Smores Bars
Adapted from Betty Crocker

14 graham cracker squares, or 7 big rectangle ones, broke into pieces the size of a postage stamp
3 c chocolate chips
2 T creamy peanut butter
3 c mini marshmallows

In a  microwave safe bowl melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter together in 30 sec intervals, stirring between each time, just until melted.  Carefully fold in crackers and marshmallows.  Spread evenly in the bottom of a sprayed 9X13 pan.  Chill for at least an hour or until chocolate has set.  Cut into bars 36 bars.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Hot Wings My Way

Sweet & Spicy Hot Wings from Brittany's PantryTry new things.  That is my motto this week.  I am always making new things and thankfully, I have been blessed with a family that isn’t picky in the slightest.  The animals will eat anything!  But recently, my weekly menus have lacked anything familiar.  I have been trying recipe after recipe in the hopes of knocking down the pile of thousands of recipes that I have stashed around my house that I keep saying I am gonna try.  I test them, modify them, make little notes, create my own, or sometimes toss the whole recipe all together.  Lets see…

Last night I made these Beef Empanadas.  Pretty good, but we discovered that no matter how much my son Eli loves Mexican food, it keeps him up at night so he ate a sort of modified supper with us.  Do taste preferences run in the family?  They must because my in-laws LOVE Mexican food, as does my husband.  Our daughter would eat salsa with a spoon at restaurants when she was a year old so I am pretty sure that my kids have whatever sickness causes the craving for enchiladas, pollo los toros, and homemade tortilla chips with chunky salsa.  This recipe wasn’t super spicy by any means, but it wasn’t mild either.  I served it with brown rice.  Yum.

Tonight I am experimenting with potato nachos, spicy garlic shrimp with crusty bread and homemade limoncello, but I am rounding out the menu with fresh veggies, dip, and old favorite.  My hot wings.  And let me tell you, just typing this makes me wish they were already done because I am dying to eat some right now.  And I blame this soley on my friend Dede.  I lived my life blissfully unaware of the spell that hot wings have over you until my teen years, at which time she corrupted me and I haven’t been able to pass them up on an appetizer menu since.  My recipe is a bit different from the traditional vinegary tasting sauce at a chain restaurant.  I love the heat of them, but generally prefer more flavor.  Unfortunately, I never seem to get sick of eating these and several pounds later I can be found licking my fingers and cursing my food limits as a human.  I can’t wait till dinner!Sweet & Spicy Hot Wings from Brittany's PantrySweet & Spicy Hot Wings from Brittany's PantrySweet & Spicy Hot Wings from Brittany's Pantry Hot Wings

1/4 c (1/2 stick) of butter
2 T brown sugar
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/3 c bottled hot sauce, such as Franks

Melt all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Toss with fully cooked chicken wings, about 3-4 pounds.
Note: To cook chicken wings, remove tips and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Dump into a single layer on a sheet pan and roast in the oven at 425 until cooked through and crispy.  Turn halfway through if needed.  Alternatively, the wings can be deep fried in oil.

Mini Corn Muffins

Mini Corn Muffins from Brittany's PantryThese little gems are perfect with Indian Summer Chili.  They are also good to whip up in the summer when you want a little something to go with a salad.Mini Corn Muffins from Brittany's Pantry

Mini Corn Muffins
Adapted from Bon Appetit Recipe modified 2/28/13

Mix together in a medium bowl:
1/4 c sour cream
1/4 c buttermilk
1 egg
2 T canola oil
1/2 c white whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
3 T cornmeal
1 T sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients just until combined.  Do not over mix.
Fold in 1/2 c frozen corn, thawed
1 T chopped fresh dill, or 1 tsp dried dill (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly spray a mini muffin tin.  Divide batter among the mini muffin cups and bake until puffed and golden, 9-11 minutes.