Category Archives: Entertaining

Mini Cannoli Cups

ncMiniCannoliCups1nm

Here’s an easy recipe I made with Nasoya® Won Ton Wraps. I had never used these wraps before, so I was interested in trying them out when I was offered some complimentary product from Nasoya® (they also provided all-natural-won-ton-wraps_0a gift card to cover the cost of other ingredients). I decided to try a dessert-like recipe from their site called Cannoli Cups and I also created my own recipe for an appetizer, which I’ll share with you in my next post. If you’re not familiar with these Nasoya® wraps, they are all-natural and super easy to use! You can find them in the produce section next to Nasoya® tofu and other products.

I made my cannoli cups a little differently from the original recipe, making them mini-size. I also added way more chocolate chips than the original recipe–actually by mistake! For some reason I thought the original recipe called for 1 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (it only called for 1/3 cup), so I started off adding 1 cup and mixing it into the ricotta cheese mixture before catching my mistake! But it was one of those happy mistakes, because the lightly-sweet creamy ricotta filling in these cannoli cups taste great with all those chocolate chips! And the won ton wraps make a nice little shell for this yummy filling. This recipe calls for 1 package of Nasoya® Won Ton Wraps and each 12-ounce package has about 52 wraps in it–this recipe will fill up just about all those wraps so it’s great to make for parties and other gatherings!

MINI CANNOLI CUPS adapted from Nasoya.com

Makes 48-52 cups

  • 3 cups fresh ricotta cheese (I used Part-Skim)
  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, plus extra chips for sprinkling on top
  • 1 (12-ounce) package Nasoya® Won Ton Wraps

Place the ricotta cheese in a medium size mixing bowl. Stir or beat with a mixer on medium for about 2 minutes, until cheese is smooth and creamy. Add in the powdered sugar and blend well, mixing or beating until smooth.

Stir in the chocolate chips, then place in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place each won ton wrap in the base of a mini cupcake pan, pressing down to create a mini bowl. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and fill each cup with a slightly heaping 1/2 Tablespoon of filling–then return to oven for 4 to 5 more minutes, until the cups are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, then put on serving plate and sprinkle tops lightly with additional mini chocolate chips. Serve warm (if serving later, keep refrigerated until ready to serve, then warm them in the microwave). I prefer these warm, but you can also serve them at room temperature.

ncMiniCannoliCups2nm

These Mini Cannoli Cups are perfect if you’re wanting to serve something sweet and bite-sized. The other recipe I made with these wraps is a savory appetizer that I’m sure you’ll love, so look for it in my next post!

Advertisements

Layered Black Bean Dip

ncLayrdBlkBnDip2nm

I have a big weakness for dips, so I try to just make them when I need to bring something to a party or get-together–that way, I have plenty of people to help me eat it! 🙂 This Layered Black Bean Dip is really easy to make, and I like to think that the black beans make it a little healthier! 🙂 I added a little plain Greek yogurt to the original recipe to make the base of the dip a little creamier and also topped it with some green onion slices. If you don’t have any parties coming up soon, this also makes a great snack when you’re watching football or other sports games on TV! This recipe probably serves about 6-8 people; if you’re making it for a larger crowd, you can double the recipe and make it in a 9 x 13″ baking or serving dish.

LAYERED BLACK BEAN DIP by NancyC, adapted from Kraft Foods

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (regular or light), softened
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (10-ounce) can ROTEL Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, well drained
  • 1 cup finely shredded Fiesta-Style Four-Cheese blend
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced (both the white part and stem)

In a medium mixing bowl, blend the softened cream cheese with the yogurt, blending with a hand mixer or by hand until creamy. Spread this mixture onto the bottom of a shallow dish or pie plate. Layer the black beans over the cream cheese mixture; then layer the ROTEL diced tomatoes over the black beans. Top with the shredded cheese and then add the sliced green onion on the very top (you can also add some chopped fresh cilantro on top if you like). Serve with tortilla chips.

Note: If you’d like to add more flavor to your cream cheese/yogurt base, stir in some dry Taco seasoning mix or Ranch Dressing mix to taste.

Dips are great because they’re so easy to make. Do you have a favorite dip recipe?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener,  Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy, and Thursday Favorite Things at Katherine’s Corner.

Mango-Jalapeno Salsa from The Daniel Plan Cookbook

ncMangoJalSals1nm

Now that the weather is warming up, I’ve been eating more fruit–there’s something about the warmer weather that makes me crave it more! I love all kinds of fruit and that’s what I like about this Mango-Jalapeno Salsa–there’s a nice variety of fruit–mango, pineapple, and apple–mixed in with some diced tomato and red bell pepper. It’s a little on the spicy side, so use half the amount of jalapeno and ginger if you want a milder salsa. Overall, I think this is a great, healthy mix of naturally sweet and savory flavors!

517gSVWkM3L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Speaking of healthy, this recipe is from a new cookbook out last month, The Daniel Plan Cookbook, by Pastor Rick Warren, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman. It’s a companion book to the New York Times Bestseller, The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life and has 100 easy recipes (with full-color photos) to help you eat healthy for life. “Food truly is medicine,” says one of the authors, Dr. Hyman. Eating real, whole foods can help reverse chronic disease, aid in weight loss, and even optimize brain health. In developing the book, the authors thought about what most people like to eat, then created healthy versions of popular dishes to show that healthy eating is possible in the “real world.” So there are recipes for Blueberry French Toast, BBQ Chicken Pizza, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Classic Meatloaf, and Chocolate Coconut pudding, to name a few…that just goes to show you don’t need to feel deprived when you’re eating healthy!

I received a sampler of recipes from the book and decided to try the Mango-Jalapeno Salsa. This tropical-style salsa goes well with Mexican recipes using fish or chicken, like the Grilled Spicy Fish Tacos, another delicious-sounding recipe in the book. I really like it with those blue corn tortilla chips, too.

MANGO-JALAPENO SALSA from The Daniel Plan Cookbook

  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup seeded and diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons minced seeded jalapeno (use half the amount of jalapeno and ginger for a milder salsa)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Place salsa ingredients in a bowl. Mix together well. Chill in refrigerator. (Keeps up to 1 week refrigerated).

ncMangoJalSal2nm

This makes about 3 1/2 cups of salsa. It’s really easy to make and so good! Have you tried making a fruity salsa before?

Spring Fever

I had to make a quick trip to the mall and ended up staying longer than I intended because I was admiring some pretty Spring and Easter tableware and decor at two of my favorite stores, Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma! Teal, light and bright greens, and nature-inspired neutrals seem to be big color themes for the spring season. These happen to be some of my favorite colors–no wonder I was so drawn to the store displays! 🙂 (Photos shown in this post are from Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma)

img28o

At Pottery Barn, I loved all the teal in the table settings displayed right by the front entrance. The tableware looked great with the natural color and texture of woven place mats, along with some burlap and twine accents–so springy and outdoorsy! The inside store display I saw looked very much like the set-up in the photo above, featured on the Pottery Barn website.

img79o

And I thought these bunny cupcake stands were sweet–they also work great for mini pies and tarts or cookies!

img93o

I also liked these nature-inspired basket fillers

img28o-1

…perfect for creating your own woodland baskets!

Picture 14

The teal-green-neutral combination also looked great in other home accessories…

img64o

…like this brightly-patterned pillow.

img72o

I thought this embroidered butterfly pillow had a great spring feel, too.

img85c

And I loved all the glassware in spring colors, especially the teal!

img45cWilliams-Sonoma also had nature-inspired designs in some of their spring tableware

img94o

…and they have a new Botanical Citrus Collection which looks very springy.

img44c

You can always find fun baking accessories there, like this Buttercup Cakelet Pan. How cute is that?

img97c

And I saw these cookies later on their website–some great Easter cookie decorating inspiration!

Do you have Spring Fever like I do? Have you found any inspiring Easter and Spring decorating, entertaining, or gift ideas out there?

I’m linking this to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener.

10 Recipes for Valentine’s Day

Here’s a roundup of 10 recipes that your Valentine–or Valentines–will love…some are healthy and some are not-so-healthy (but very yummy)!

ncStrwYogMuffs3

If you’re wanting something sweet for your Valentine breakfast, try these Strawberry Yogurt Muffins–the strawberries on top look like hearts, so they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day!

nclrCrOat2nm

Or if you’re wanting something healthy, try this Cranberry-Pecan Oatmeal, made with dried cranberries and chopped pecans. You can substitute dried cherries for the cranberries if you want.

ncCranAlOatBk1nm

Or make this Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Bake if you’re feeding a larger group.

LRCranScones

You can also use your dried cranberries (or cherries) in these Cranberry Almond Breakfast Scones for a mid-morning or afternoon Valentine snack!

ncAppPearPecSal2nm

Since you may be eating lots of sweets on Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to include a healthy salad in your lunch or dinner menu–this Apple Pear Pecan Salad has dried cranberries in it too, but dried cherries would be yummy as well!

nclrStSals1nm

Savory Strawberry Salsa makes a great appetizer with tortilla chips, and it’s also really good served over grilled chicken!

ncSprinklesCups1nm

Now you need some dessert ideas…Strawberry Cupcakes are just the thing!

ncChocCupsFrst1nm

But lots of people prefer something chocolate, and you can’t go wrong with these Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudgy Frosting!

ncHlthyChocShk1nm

If you want a healthier dessert, you could always make this Healthy Chocolate Shake

ncDkChChCvBrn2nm

But, hey, it’s Valentine’s Day–if you want to splurge, make these Dark Chocolate-Covered Cherry Swirl Brownies!

Hope you get a chance to try out some of these treats! Do you have a favorite Valentine recipe?