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Cajun Pierogi

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I love Cajun food, and I have a favorite local Cajun restaurant that serves the tastiest Cajun pierogies. Well, the other day, I found myself craving this awesomeness, and dinner out was not in the plans, so I embarked on a mission to recreate them at home. Warning, this is kind of a slacker/cheater recipe. I did not go as far as making my own pierogies. I’m an Irish girl, and really have no experience with them other than what I have ordered out. I purchased Wegmans brand roasted garlic pierogies, but you can also use a classic cheddar variety. This is a simple recipe that can be whipped up quickly, without many ingredients, so you may want to keep a  box of pierogies in your freezer, so you can whip these suckers up in an appetizer or dinner emergency!

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of frozen pierogies (I used Wegmans brand roasted garlic flavor)
  • 3 Tbsp of butter
  • 1 large shallot
  • 3-4 Tbsp of Cajun Seasoning

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Preparation:

  1. Thaw pierogies according to the package instructions.
  2. In a medium skillet, melt butter and add sliced shallots.
  3. Add pierogies, sprinkle generously with Cajun seasoning, and brown each side for about 3-4 minutes. Be sure to season each side.
  4. Remove from skillet and serve immediately, topped with the sautéed shallots.

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Serving Suggestion: These pair very well with Crawfish Garlic Toast for a Cajun themed dinner!

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Asparagus & Prosciutto Roll-Ups

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This is a simple favorite that will be an instant hit wherever you take it! This recipe is great because it only has three ingredients, but looks sophisticated. Even the most timid cooks can do it. I have taken it to our neighborhood girls night party because this pairs really, really well with a big glass of red wine! I also took it to my sister’s house for Christmas dinner, and it was gobbled up quickly.

Ingredients

30 stalks of asparagus (I prefer them on the skinny side)

10 thin slices of prosciutto (room temperature)

2 Tbsp. of grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

  1. Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for 1 minute, then transfer to an ice water bath. It should be bright green, but still firm.
  2. Remove and pat dry.
  3. Slice the prosciutto into thirds, lengthwise. You want long, skinny strips.
  4. Wrap each stalk of asparagus, in a spiral fashion, with a strip of prosciutto. Wrap from the base of the stalk to just below the flowery tip.
  5. Repeat until each stalk is wrapped.
  6. Line up the wrapped stalks on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees about 10 minutes or until the prosciutto looks a bit crispy.
  7. Remove from the oven and transfer to a platter.
  8. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese & serve.

Enjoy!

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Lasagna Muffins

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My friend, Heather, always comments on my “pretty food”. So, I laugh and usually tag her in all of my “pretty food” Facebook photos. I like pretty food. It is nice to look at, you want to eat it, and most importantly, other people want to eat it (like my kids). Pretty food is also necessary if you want people to actually visit and interact with your food blog. But, pretty food has to taste as well as it looks. Pretty food is useless if it sucks, right? So I was so very happy tonight when my supermodel pretty food had hall of fame taste! WOW! When I say hall of fame taste, I’m talkin’ grand-slam H-O-M-E-R-U-N in the 9th inning of the World Series taste! So, naturally I am excited to share.

I made lasagna “muffins” or “cupcakes”. Whatever you call them, they were awesome! Now, I cannot take credit for this idea. It is all over Pinterest, and if you Google it, a million recipes will appear–Food Network, LOTS of blogs, Pinterest… the list goes on. So, why am I bothering to post? Well, when I looked at the other recipes, they were missing taste, so I took the time to blend this creative technique that others have already shared (why re-invent the wheel?) and I added the flavors that I integrate into my homemade lasagna. That is what makes mine different from all of the rest– the “better mouse trap, so to speak.

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Lasagna Muffins

The Sauce: (you can use jar sauce to save time, but then you compromise the flavor)

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  • 1/2  lb. of ground beef
  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes 
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp. of sugar
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  1. Brown ground beef, drain, & set aside.
  2. In the same pan, sautee fresh minced garlic for 1 minute.
  3. Pour tomatoes into the pan and simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add sugar, salt, & pepper.
  5. Add beef and simmer for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

The Cheese:

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  • 16 oz. of ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fine shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small dash of nutmeg
  • 1 dash of salt & pepper
  1. mix all ingredients, blending well.

The Rest:

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  • 1 pkg. of square wonton wrappers. (about 3 inch squares)
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of finely shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • cooking spray

1. Grease a muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. Place 1 wonton wrapper into each cup.

IMG_06583. Add a small spoonful of cheese to cover the bottom of the cup.

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4. Add a small spoonful of sauce.

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5. Top with another wonton wrapper. 
6. Add another layer of cheese, then sauce
7. Top with parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese

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8. Bake at 375 degrees for about 18 minutes.
9. Let them rest in the pan, undisturbed, for at least 5 minutes. (if you cheat, they will fall apart)

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*** AWESOME VARIATION***

If you want to make these as an appetizer, or if you have extra wrappers, cheese, & sauce, make them as a single layer in a mini-muffin pan. They are like the cutest little one bite appetizers!

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Picture-less version:

Lasagna Muffins

The Sauce: (you can use jar sauce to save time, but then you compromise the flavor)

  • 1/2  lb. of ground beef
  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp. of sugar
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  1. Brown ground beef, drain, & set aside.
  2. In the same pan, sautee fresh minced garlic for 1 minute.
  3. Pour tomatoes into the pan and simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add sugar, salt, & pepper.
  5. Add beef and simmer for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

The Cheese:

  • 16 oz. of ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fine shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small dash of nutmeg
  1. mix all ingredients, blending well.

The Rest:

  • 1 pkg. of square wonton wrappers. (about 3 inch squares)
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of finely shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • cooking spray
  1. Grease a muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place 1 wonton wrapper into each cup.
  3. Add a small spoonful of cheese to cover the bottom of the cup.
  4. Add a small spoonful of sauce.
  5. Top with another wonton wrapper.
  6. Add another layer of cheese, then sauce
  7. Top with parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for about 18 minutes.
  9. Let them rest in the pan, undisturbed, for at least 5 minutes. (if you cheat, they will fall apart)

*** AWESOME VARIATION***

If you want to make these as an appetizer, or if you have extra wrappers, cheese, & sauce, make them as a single layer in a mini-muffin pan. They are like the cutest little one bite appetizers!

Link
4

So my husband is thinking I am not so fabulous this week. I have hit the internet to holiday shop because, frankly, I hate shopping in real life. The problem lies in the fact that I have also purchased almost one of everything for me too!! OOPS!

Well, there is one purchase for which I will not shed any buyer’s remorse. It is a handmade dipping oil bowl from Neal Pottery. It is the coolest thing ever!

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This all started at dinner with friends. My friend, Susan, was telling me about a dipping oil bowl that she had received as a gift a few years ago. She shared how much she loved it, but regretfully has never found where to buy another one. Thanks to the wonders of Google…I was able to find on ETSY! Right there, at the table in the restaurant, I ordered a few as gifts (and maybe one for myself, because I AM the Fabulous Food Fairy!)

Well, I was impressed from the moment I opened the box. Not only are the bowls beautiful, but sweetly tucked inside was a personal thank you note. How’s that for customer service? My own reaction to this handmade creation fills me with excitement to give this gift!

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The box has been sitting in my dining room for a week now, with all the other unwrapped holiday loot, but curiosity got the best of me, and I had to give it a go!

First, the bowl is beautiful! Second, it came with a recipe! Here is the process. I dare you to read on and not jump over to ETSY and buy one!

According the recipe, I grated a fresh clove of garlic on the raised ridges on the bottom of the bowl.

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It smells so freakin’ good!

Next, I mixed the suggested herbs and spices, in a separate bowl. It is a great feature that they have you make the herb mixture in bulk. I think I will make some for each bowl I plan to gift. It is also great because it is all ready to go, should a quick impromptu party erupt at your house, which is common in my neighborhood.

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Next, you sprinkle some of the herb mixture into the bowl, over the freshly grated garlic.

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Finally, pour some olive oil into the bowl, coating the seasoning goodness!

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Then dip away with fresh crusty bread!

No need for an enchanted wand, the bowl does all the magic.

So, Neal Pottery sent me a thank you note, but I truly believe they are the ones who need to be thanked. This is one of the greatest gifts I have purchased this season…even if it was a gift for myself 🙂

To purchase your own, click here:

Neal Pottery Dipping Oil Bowl

Enjoy!

Disclaimer– I purchased this product on my own, and this post is an expression of my own opinion.