Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Sunday, September 30, 2012

turkey sausage bites appetizer

when a meaty appetizer is needed, here is one that will please your guests.  it is bite-sized and very tasty.  by using a low fat turkey sausage, this offering has fewer calories than the beefy choice.

each of the bites can be dipped in the tasty sauce that is also quite easy and quick to prepare.  this appetizer can be prepared ahead and then just baked prior to the party.  this recipe also makes this snack a great choice to accompany other football party foods.

to make the sausage bites, first gather the ingredients.  1-2 links of pre-cooked turkey sausage, bacon, and party toothpicks.  slice the bacon and the turkey sausage.  attach a small piece of bacon around the sausage slice and attach with a wooden pick.
bake the sausage bites on a lightly greased pan at 400 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.  then, remove from the oven, rotate the bites, and drain the excess grease.  return to the oven and bake another 8-15 minutes depending on the size of the bites.  bake until the bacon is browned and crisp.

to make the marmalade dipping sauce:  use 1/2 cup of orange marmalade, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, and if desired some hot pepper sauce to taste. microwave these ingredients in a microwave safe bowl for one minute on high and then serve this sauce with the sausage bites.

enjoy this as another option for a party appetizer.  trust me, it will be a favorite.

dipping sauce for crunchy mozzarella sticks

sometimes an old appetizer recipe can be updated with a new dipping sauce.  earlier this year, i posted a recipe for crunchy mozzarella sticks, which has been one of my most searched for recipes on the blog.  if you haven't tried them yet, they deserve a try.  these mozzarella sticks are crispy, and never soggy.  they only take a few minutes to prepare and i promise they will be a favorite go-to recipe for you in years to come.

check out my blog post for Tuesday, January 31 to see the complete recipe for the mozzarella sticks and then try this recipe as a new dipping sauce for the sticks.

to make the cranberry dipping sauce, add these ingredients to a saucepan:  one 16 ounce can whole cranberry sauce, 1/3 cup light brown sugar, 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, and 1 1/2 tablespoons grated ginger.  i use this refrigerated ginger product very successfully in this recipe and many others when fresh ginger is required.
boil on the stove top for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sugar is melted and the ingredients are incorporated.  remove from the heat and cool prior to serving with the cheese sticks.  this is a delicious sauce that i have also used for easy egg rolls.

enjoy !

the classic Ro-Tel queso dip

there is nothing like an old standard recipe.  for years, Ro-Tel has featured their famous queso dip as a football party classic, that is loved by all fans.  this hearty dip stands up to tortilla chips, as well as vegetables.

in less than ten minutes, this dip comes together.  although at www.ro-tel.com/recipes, the recipe only has two ingredients, i have changed the recipe to improve the taste and consistency.

for my version, i use 8 ounces of Velveeta prepared cheese, cut into cubes, and one small can of Ro-Tel mild diced tomatoes and green chilies, not drained.  I mix these ingredients into a larger sized bowl, to accommodate the bubbling that occurs in the microwave oven.

next, i mix them and microwave for 3 minutes.  i remove the bowl from the microwave (be careful, it will be HOT), and add in a small amount of low fat cream cheese, less than 3 ounces, and some shredded cheddar cheese.  these additional cheeses give the dip a fuller flavor and a smoother consistency for dipping. cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes in the microwave and place in a serving bowl.  add tortilla chips and cut vegetables for the crowd and watch them enjoy this classic recipe.

tailgating cookbook

while shopping on amazon.com books, i found this great cookbook for fall football weekend parties.  two award winning southern brands joined together to produce this great recipe collection. the southeastern football conference and southern living magazine have put together custom recipes for tailgates and home parties like none seen before this publishing.
even though my favorite college team is not in this conference, the recipes include everything from breakfast and brunch ideas to soups, chilis, stews, sandwiches, and plenty of side dishes.

the cookbook includes drinks and recipes specially named for the SEC teams which will be a delight for all their southern fans.

i have already selected a couple of new recipes to try, and will shop for the ingredients this week for next week's college football Saturday.  keep watching this blog for their debut...  great food and cherished college traditions marry for a spectacular event.

my new breville soft top kettle

tomorrow is October 1 and i can't deny that fall has arrived in mid-Michigan.  the leaves are just about at peak color, and my yard is full of reds and yellows.  i must admit that the color is spectacular this year, which makes turning on the heat in the house a bit easier. 

i splurged a week ago and decided to purchase a soft top breville kettle, mainly just to see what the excitement is about these new electric hot pots.  well..i do understand why the buzz has been in the media lately about using them for everything from hot tea to anytime boiling water is needing for cooking.  i love this kettle.  it seems that i no more than turn it on, and the water is ready...and it holds seven cups at a time. wow!

no more waiting for the old fashioned stove top kettle to whistle, and no more worry about the boiling water splashing out of the le creuset pot onto the counter when i pour my tea.  this kettle can be poured while it is boiling and no splashing !  i love that !

the 1500 rapid watt element boils so quickly and efficiently, and even shuts off just after boiling to prevent overheating and accidents from leaving the pot on long term.

i recommend this product for everything from making a cup of tea to boiling water for stock and other general cooking uses.  i have been enjoying my breville kettle since the temperatures have dropped. it has helped me to transition into fall, and the soon to be  winter cold and snow falls.  i know my new kettle will keep me warm and cozy.