I have always enjoyed Halloween. Not so much the spooky part of it, but the decorating, dressing up, and fun treats! A lot has changed since I was a kid wearing the plastic costume with a hot plastic mask that always has little holes or slits to see. If you are from that generation, you can relate. With every breath, the mask got hotter and hotter. With every step, the mask would slip down just a little farther making it impossible to see.
I don’t want to rush anything. My kids are still in college and not even married, but I look forward to doing Halloween with grandkids some day. Hayrides and pumpkin patches and of course them helping me in the kitchen.
I saw these chocolate-covered apple pops were on Pinterest recently. I love caramel apples, but they are extremely messy. Plus a big apple is often too big for children. These are just the perfect little treat!
Melted caramel will not stick to the sliced apple so if you like caramel drizzle it over the decorated apple. Set up a decorating station with an array of toppings for your kiddos to decorate their very own apple pop.
Chocolate Dipped Apple Pops
<g class="gr_ gr_57 gr-alert gr_spell gr_disable_anim_appear ContextualSpelling ins-del multiReplace" id="57" data-gr-id="57">Amye</g> Melton
- 1 pkg. CandiQuik Chocolate Coating
- 2 large apples, (I like Granny Smith or Honeycrisp)
- Popsicle sticks
- Optional toppings:
- Caramel sauce for drizzling
- Melted white chocolate for drizzling
- Crushed Oreos
- Mini M&M's
- Candy Corn
- Crushed Peanuts
- Crushed Pretzels
- Melt chocolate coating as directed on package.
- Place apples upright on a cutting board and cut into ½" to ¾" slices. Using a paring knife, make a small cut into the bottom of the apple slice. Insert the popsicle stick.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Dip apple slices into the melted chocolate and place on the prepared pan. Decorate as desired. Refrigerate for 5 minutes while chocolate and caramel set. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator.
If you visit Not Just Sunday Dinner often you know that my new obsession is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I believe I could chipotle peppers to just about anything and love it!
Cheese dip is one of the first things I made as a young cook. Everyone loves cheese dip. Over the years I have used a total of three different recipes. My first recipe was pretty simple, some Velveeta, some sharp cheese, a can or Rotel, ground beef and sausage. A few years back I switched up my recipe to the Queso dip that you’ll find here on NJSD. I still love that dip but there can be picky eaters that don’t like the spinach. They drive me crazy, but they do exist! Not that the Queso dip needed any improvement, it is perfect just they way it is (to me). However, I was really craving the smoky flavor of chipotle in a cheese dip, so I started experimenting.
What I have come up with is a huge hit at our house! The number of chipotle peppers is totally up to your taste. If I were not feeding others I might possibly add more than this recipe suggest.
Amye's Smoky Cheese Dip
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 lb. sausage
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 lb. Velveeta, cubed
- 1 lb. Pepper Jack cheese, cubed
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 c. milk
- 1 can Rotel, undrained
- 2 - 3 chipotle peppers (or to taste) in adobo sauce, seeds removed and chopped fine
- ½ tbsp - 1 tbsp. adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers, or to taste
- Brown ground beef and sausage in a skillet. Drain and pour the beef and sausage into a slow-cooker.
- In the skillet, add oil and saute onion until soft. Add garlic during the last minute of cooking. Add to the slow-cooker. Add the Velveeta, Pepper Jack cheese, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, milk, Rotel, and chipotle peppers. Stir to combine.
- Cook on low, stirring occasionally, until melted.
- Serve with corn chips.
I have dabbled in family ancestry over the past few years but have never stuck with it long enough to get past a few generations. I have not found proof that I have Cajun ancestors, but I know they are there somewhere! Cajun cuisine is my absolute favorite food! I’ll pick it over a steak dinner any day!
I have not shared a Cajun recipe in a while, so it is long past due. This jambalaya recipe is super easy and comes together fast. I used a new spice blend from Legion of Spice called Bayou Blue. Legion of Spice is a new company offering wonderful rubs and spice blends. Their products contain no salt, no MSG, no fillers, it is Gluten free, all natural and made in the USA. If you live in the US, you can get your very own FREE sample packs by visiting their homepage, www.legionofspice.com and signing up for their monthly newsletter. While on their website use coupon code “LEGION” for 15% off because you will for sure want to pick up a jar of Bayou Black for this delicious jambalaya!
Hillshire Farms has a Cajun Style Andouille Smoked Sausage that tastes great and works well in this recipe. My family loves the shrimp, but you can substitute boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes if desired.
Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. andouille sausage, cut into ½-inch rounds
- 1 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp
- 1 lg. yellow onion, diced
- 1 lg. green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 lg. fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. Cajun or Creole Seasoning
- 1 c. uncooked long grain rice
- 2 c. chicken broth
- 1 bunch green onions, green part only, chopped
- 1 bunch chopped fresh parsley leaves
- In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil if the pan needs it. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery to the Dutch oven and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Add shrimp and sausage, tomatoes, garlic, seasoning, rice, and chicken broth to the pan. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cover. Simmer until rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in parsley and green onion just before serving.
To use chicken instead of shrimp: Add 1 lb. chicken that had been cut into 1-inch cubes, to the Dutch oven with the sausage. Cook until lightly browned. Chicken does not have to be cooked through, it will continue to cook in the last 20 minutes of cooking.
It is no secret that I enjoy cooking and all things that come with it. Well, except for maybe the cleaning up. I read cookbooks for pleasure and even watch a few cooking shows. I also love a day off. I’m up for a good restaurant any day with someone else doing all of the work.
Savannah decided to come home over the weekend since the college campus was closed due to Hurricane Matthew. Having her home was great, and I usually make a few of her favorite dishes while she is home. This time, she cooked breakfast for us one morning. She baked these fabulous Cinnamon Swirl Banana Muffins. The cinnamon swirl was a great addition to banana muffins.
This recipe can also be used to make a loaf of banana bread. Savannah said that the bread is better the day after it bakes. We wouldn’t know because the muffins did not last long enough to find out.
Cinnamon Swirl Banana Muffins
<g class="gr_ gr_65 gr-alert gr_spell gr_disable_anim_appear ContextualSpelling ins-del multiReplace" id="65" data-gr-id="65">Amye</g> Melton
- 3 to 4 overripe bananas, mashed
- ⅓ c. unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ c. granulated sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1½ c. all-purpose flour
- ⅓ c. granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with 12 paper liners or spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
- Mix mashed bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and gently mix into the banana mixture. Do not overmix!
- Fill the paper liners half-way with batter. Then evenly distribute half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Add remaining batter to the top of each. Using a butter knife, swirl the batter. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
To make a loaf, pour half of batter the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Pour remaining batter on top and swirl with a butter knife. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes.
The first taste of this fantastic Homemade Payday Candy took me back 40 years or more. Back to a time when I could walk to the Beeler’s store with my cousins for a Coke and candy bar. Those were the days! We didn’t even need money because we would put it on daddy’s tab. The gas tab that he would keep and pay at the end of the month. The one that would undoubtedly have a few surprises on it when he went in to pay.
This candy is one of the easiest candy recipes you’ll ever make. Waiting for the candy to chill is the hardest part! The Payday candy would be a great recipe to get the kids involved. With only five ingredients and the microwave, you will be licking the bowl in a matter of minutes!
Homemade Payday Candy
- 1 (16-oz.) salted cocktail peanuts
- 2 c. peanut butter chips
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 (14-oz.) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (10.5-oz.) bag mini marshmallows
- Spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 c. peanuts on the bottom of the pan, set aside.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, heat peanut butter chips and butter in 30-second increments on 50% power, stirring after each, until melted.
- Stir sweetened condensed milk into the chips and microwave on high power for 1 more minute. Stir until smooth and combined.
- Fold the marshmallows into the peanut butter chips mixture until evenly coated. Pour over the peanuts in the pan. Spreading even with a spatula, try not to disturb the peanuts.
- Press the remaining 1 c. nuts into the marshmallow mixture. Cover and chill for at least one hour.
- Cut into squares.
You may substitute salted dry-roasted peanuts for the cocktail peanuts if you prefer.