Bacon Cheddar Ranch Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 box (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup (roughly half a 16-ounce bag) frozen peas and diced carrots
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 6-8 strips bacon, cooked and diced
  • 1 packet (1 ounce) Ranch dressing mix
  • 2-1/4 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 block (8 ounces) cheddar cheese, cubed

Instructions

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  2. About 5 minutes into the boiling process, add the peas and carrots, and continue boiling until macaroni is done.
  3. Rinse the macaroni and vegetables in cold water, drain and repeat a couple times.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the onion, bacon, ranch dressing mix and mayonnaise until well-blended.
  5. Stir in the macaroni, peas and carrots and cheese.
  6. Mix well and refrigerate before serving.

Almond Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping cup whole raw almonds
  • 2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread almonds on a small baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 15 minutes, stirring once while baking.
  3. Remove almonds from oven and allow to cool (save the parchment lined baking sheet).
  4. Coarsely chop almonds and set aside.
  5. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugars.
  6. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, then stir in olive oil, extracts and zest.
  7. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.
  8. Fold in chopped almonds.
  9. Spoon the dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet in two separate vertical lines.
  10. Form the two lines of dough into logs and flatten slightly.
  11. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until firm and golden brown in color.
  12. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
  13. Remove the biscotti to a cutting board and, using a serrated bread knife, slice it at an angle about 3/4 inches thick.
  14. Place the slices back on the baking sheets, broad side down, and return them to the oven for about another 10 minutes.
  15. Flip the cookies over and bake another 10 to 15 minutes (the longer they bake, the crunchier they will be).
  16. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

The original recipe for these delightful biscotti can be found here.

Sausage & Cheese Balls

Ingredients

  • 3 cups original Bisquick mix
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound Jimmy Dean hot pork sausage
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram or thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line two small baking sheets with nonstick aluminum foil (or regular foil coated with nonstick spray).
  2. In a large bowl, combine Bisquick and cheeses.
  3. Add in sausage, milk and herbs.
  4. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls.
  5. Place the balls on the prepared pans, at least a half-inch apart (they will expand when cooking).
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned.
  7. Remove from pans and serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce (sweet Thai chili sauce, Chick-fil-A sauce, ranch dressing, BBQ sauce are all great!)

The original recipe for these delicious balls can be found here.

Dilly Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

  • 12 extra large eggs
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup dill relish
  • 2 teaspoons bread & butter pickle juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • paprika for garnish

Instructions

  1. Boil eggs and place in an ice bath to cool (also stops the cooking process).
  2. Peel and rinse eggs to get all the shell bits off.
  3. Slice eggs in half lengthwise, placing the yolks in a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Mash the yolks with a fork.
  5. Stir in the mayo, mustard, relish, pickle juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Scoop the filling in a piping bag (or plastic sandwich bag with corner cut off).
  7. Pipe the filling into the egg whites.
  8. Chill eggs for at least an hour.
  9. Sprinkle eggs with paprika and serve.

The original inspiration for this recipe can be found here.

Holiday Cracker Candy

Ingredients

  • 1 sleeve Saltine crackers
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 bag (10 ounces) milk chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles or other cookie decorations

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Line a large baking sheet (up to 11″ x 17″) with nonstick aluminum foil or heavy duty foil coated with nonstick spray, making sure it covers the bottom and sides of the pan.
  3. Lay the crackers, edge to edge, in a single layer on the foil.
  4. In a medium saucepan, heat the brown sugar, butter and salt, stirring frequently until the butter melts. Continue cooking and stirring for another 3 to 5 minutes, just until the mixture comes to a boil and starts to darken.
  5. Remove the brown sugar mixture from the heat and stir in vanilla.
  6. Pour the hot brown sugar mixture over the crackers, spreading evenly to coat them all.
  7. Place the pan in the preheated oven for 5 minutes until the toffee is bubbly.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven, quickly rearrange any crackers that may have shifted and allow to cool for exactly 1 minute.
  9. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the toffee and crackers, and let stand for about 2 minutes until they begin melting.
  10. Using a rubber scraper, butter knife or the back of a spoon, spread the chocolate chips to cover the entire layer of toffee and crackers.
  11. Top with sprinkles or other desired toppings.
  12. Let the candy cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for about 3 hours or until the candy is hardened.
  13. Once set, peel away the foil and begin breaking the candy into snack-sized pieces by hand or with a knife.
  14. Enjoy! Store candy in an airtight container in the fridge.

Chicken (White) Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken, cooked and diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cans (15 ounces each) white beans (Navy, Great Northern, Cannellini, etc.), rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (11 ounces) corn, drained
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) diced green chiles
  • 1 jar (15 ounces) Alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Adobo seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Sauté onion and garlic in oil until tender.
  2. Add the chicken, broth and mushrooms, then bring to a boil.
  3. Add the beans and return to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and add bell pepper, corn, chiles, Alfredo sauce, sour cream and spices.
  5. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Stir in cheeses until melted and creamy.
  7. Serve with crackers or bread.

Everything Cheese Ball

Ingredients

  • 1 block (8 ounces) of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 block (8 ounces) white extra sharp cheddar, grated
  • 3/4 cup green onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tablespoons Everything Bagel Seasoning, divided

Instructions

  1. Combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, green onions, Worcestershire sauce and 1.5 tablespoons of everything seasoning in a large bowl.
  2. Form the mixture into a ball.
  3. Pour the remaining everything seasoning onto a plate.
  4. Roll the cheese ball in the seasoning until it’s coated.
  5. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Serve with a cheese knife and your favorite crackers.

The original recipe for this cheese ball can be found here.