The Best Recipes of 2014

Happy New Year, foodies! As 2014 comes to a close, I wanted to wish you all a happy and healthy 2015. I also want to thank you for being a part of my year. “Table for One” would not be what it is without all of you. I’m excited to get this new year started, as I’m hoping to make “Table for One” bigger and better! Before we say goodbye to this year, I wanted to revisit my top 10 most popular recipes of the year.

The Best Recipes of 2014

10. Lazy Lasagna Bake

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The same lasagna taste in a single serving. My sisters are a big fan of this recipe!

9. Chicken Salad Melts

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I love hot, gooey sandwiches, and this one packs a ton of flavor!

8. Creamy Tomato Mac and Cheese

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You all know how much I love comfort food…this recipe is the comfort-iest comfort food in the land.

And, it’s full of cheese. Could this be any better?!

7. Crockpot Honey BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

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3 ingredients. That’s it. Throw it all in the crockpot, and aside from

shredding the chicken at the end, that’s all you have to do. Yum.

6. Creamy Potato Soup

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One of my favorite soup recipes! Perfect for a winter day, and can be made completely vegetarian.

5. Pizza Night! (Crust and sauce recipes included!)

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Crust in less than 20 minutes. Sauce in less than 5. Enough said.

4. Pumpkin Crunch

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It’s not fall until I make this dessert…and eat the entire pan.

3. Elizabeth’s Bacon-Wrapped Chicken

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Another one of my “Cooking for Beginners” recipes, courtesy of my beautiful friend, Elizabeth!

2. Ultimate Creamy Mac and Cheese

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I can’t rave enough about this mac and cheese. It makes the best leftovers…and I HATE leftovers.

AND…the best recipe of 2014 was…

1. Tortellini Carbonara

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My take on Quartinos’s tortellini with alfredo. It’s cheesy, creamy, and delicious. Plus, there’s bacon!

I just want to tell you all thank you again. I am looking forward to another year at “Table for One” and hope you are too! Happy New Year, everyone!

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Quick and Easy New Year’s Eve Recipes

New Year’s Eve is nearly here! Have you figured out your plans yet? If you’re hosting or going to a party, and need some recipe ideas, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve compiled some of my favorite, easy recipes that are perfect for sharing. I’m making a few of these myself! Serve one or two of these to all your friends and you’ll ring in New Year’s Eve with some serious flair! (Remember when Facebook had “flair”?)

Quick and Easy New Year’s Eve Recipes

BBQ Chicken and Feta Flatbread

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Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes

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Creamy Veggie Ranch Dip

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Holy Guacamole

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Pine Nut and Veggie Flatbread

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Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles

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Mini Nutella S’Mores Cheesecakes

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Hope you all have a fantastic New Year’s Eve! Here’s to 2015!

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Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip

Happy Monday, foodie friends! How was your Christmas? Mine was wonderful! I got to spend lots of time with my family, eat great food, got some awesome new gadgets for my kitchen, and even won 25 cents in my first official game of Sheephead. What a great holiday! Now that I’m back home and getting myself settled, I’m already planning New Year’s. I’ve never been a crazy NYE celebrator. In fact, two years ago, I split a bottle of wine with my sister, and we fell asleep watching “The Dark Knight Rises.” This year, I’m having 5 close friends over for the night. We’re making food, hanging out…and I’m not sure what else. But it’s sure to be a good time. 🙂 I’m already working on my appetizer menu for the night, but had to share one of my favorites from last year with you. (Disclaimer: this does make more than my traditional “4 servings or less” recipes, but if you’re going to a party for New Year’s or having friends over, this is perfect!)

I know EVERYONE makes buffalo chicken dip, but I make mine in the crockpot. Why? It’s easy and incredibly low maintenance. You throw everything in, wait 90 minutes, give it a stir, and BAM. That’s it! Have I caught your attention yet?

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How about now?

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip

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What I’m Listening to: “Jealous” by Nick Jonas

Ingredients (makes enough to share with 6-8 people)

-1 8 oz block of Neufchatel cheese (1/3 less fat cream cheese)

-1/2 cup of Frank’s Buffalo sauce (NOT the hot sauce!)

-1/2 cup of ranch dressing

-1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

-1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

-1 large can of white chicken, or 1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded

Place all the ingredients in a crockpot. Heat on low for 60-90 minutes, or until the ingredients are melted and cooked through. Switch to the “warm” setting and serve with beer bread, pita, or chips!

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Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles

It’s the week before Christmas, which means it’s the week that I get nothing done in my dance classes. My students pretty much checked out before Thanksgiving, but I’ve been fighting tooth and nail to fill them with knowledge, until this week. This week, I give in. We’re playing dance games, doing improv, basically any “fun” things I can come up with that still involve learning. Tonight, I had my beginning tap class. They are 6 & 7 year olds, and one of my favorite classes of the week. After I finished taking attendance, the girls begged to each share something they asked for for Christmas. It seemed like a good idea, so I let them take turns. I heard the usual: American Girl doll accessories, an iPod, a “Frozen” castle…and then, something different. One of my little girls looked up at me and said, “I asked Santa for my family to be happy.” I literally couldn’t speak. In this week of crazy, in my stressing about teaching my students, and wrapping presents, and finding the perfect gift, this little girl reminded me of what’s important, and now I want to remind all of you. Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope that Santa brings happiness to all of your families, too.

Allow me to follow that deep thought with chocolate. And peanut butter. And Oreo’s. Mmmm. (Are you drooling yet?) I dreamed up these truffles a few weeks ago, and they turned out better than I imagined. These are great for sharing, gift giving, or eating the entire batch yourself! (Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone…)

Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles

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What I’m Listening to: “I’m Not the Only One” by Sam Smith

Ingredients (makes 35-40 truffles)

-1 package of Oreo’s Double Stuffed

-1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened

-1 cup of creamy peanut butter

-2 2/3 cups of milk chocolate chips

-3 tbsp of Crisco

-A gallon-sized Ziploc bag

-Parchment paper

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. Place the Oreos in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Squeeze out the air and zip it closed. Smash the cookies with a rolling pin, until they are in bite-sized pieces or smaller. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese and peanut butter. (I used my mixer, but you can also use a spoon.) When the mixture is blended, add the Oreos and mix well. Scoop a small spoonful of the cookie mixture, rolling it into a ball with your palms. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat until you’ve used all the cookie mixture. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for at least 15 minutes until the truffles harden. (If you’d like, you can transfer them to an air-tight container and freeze them over night.)

When you are ready to dip the truffles, place the chocolate chips and Crisco in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring vigorously in between. The chocolate will be done when the mixture is smooth throughout, usually 1:30-2:00. Place a toothpick in a truffle. Dip it in the chocolate, and use a spoon to coat. Gently place back on the parchment paper, using the back of the spoon to fill in the hole. Repeat for each truffle. When done, place in the freezer until the chocolate sets, about 5-10 minutes. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

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Egg Salad

I don’t mean to make anyone panic, but Christmas Eve is exactly two weeks away. TWO WEEKS! I’ve barely started sending Christmas cards, and I’m embarrassed by how little Christmas shopping and baking I’ve done. Anyone else feel like Christmas is coming too quickly this year? And we STILL don’t have snow. Sigh.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m the unofficial (yet totally official) Ambassador of Fun at work. I coordinate Secret Santa, staff potlucks, etc. Right now, we are doing “Twelve Days of Treats,” which is exactly what it sounds like: twelve days of staff members bringing in delicious Christmas treats. I’ve already gotten a little grief for expanding everyone’s waistlines prior to Christmas, so I’m offering up today’s recipe as a peace offering. Now, I’ve been experimenting with egg salad recipes for years, and I never quite come close to perfection. Perfection is my friend, Caroline’s egg salad, which I’ve attempted to recreate and failed miserably at, but this recipe I’ve come up with is pretty darn good too. Just the right amount of everything. Now, I LOVE red onions, almost in an unhealthy way, but if you’re not a fan, I’d suggest substituting green onion. Both are great! Now, sit back, and check out a recipe that won’t make you gain 5 pounds just by looking at it.

Egg Salad

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What I’m Listening to: “Angels We Have Heard on High” by Pentatonix

Ingredients (makes 2-3 wraps or sandwiches)

-6 eggs

-1/8 cup of Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil

-2 tsp of yellow mustard

-1/8 tsp of salt

-1/8 tsp of black pepper

-3 tbsp of red onion, diced

-Mixed greens

-3 tortilla wraps, or 6 slices of your favorite bread

Place the eggs in a large pan so they form a single layer. Fill the pan with water until the eggs are completely covered. Heat over high until boiling; shut off the heat and cover for 17 minutes. (Weird number, I know! But it works!) While the eggs are cooking, dice the red onion, and pull the rest of your ingredients together. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water for 15 minutes to cool.

Remove the eggs from the water and dry with a towel. Crack each egg on a hard surface, then roll around to expand the cracks. Peel the shell and throw away. Place the eggs in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix, breaking up the egg with the side of a fork. Serve with mixed greens in a wrap or on bread. (Both are delicious!) Keep any unused egg salad covered and refrigerated until ready to use. Enjoy!

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Snickers Apple Salad

Happy Monday! How is everyone’s December going so far? I have to admit, I’m incredibly disappointed that there’s no snow. Now, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of cold, but I do live in Iowa so I know what I’m getting in to. My feelings are, if it’s going to be cold, there needs to be snow. And right now, I’m looking at a front yard full of dead leaves and even deader grass. Yuck. At least I have my awesome Christmas decorations to look at.

I apologize for going MIA the last two weeks. My grandma passed away last Monday and I haven’t been in the mood to cook, bake, or even stick a frozen pizza in the oven. I thought about taking an extended break from Table for One, but I knew my grandma would want me to keep cooking, so here I am. 🙂 My posts will probably be sporadic the rest of the month, as I’m travelling to Wisconsin for the funeral this weekend, home for Christmas the next weekend, and then Minnesota the next week to have Christmas with my dad’s side of the family. But never fear. I’m not going anywhere!

There are two things you need to know about this Snickers Apple Salad.

1. It’s the best salad you will ever eat.

2. You probably already have this recipe. Everyone has this recipe. But, on the off chance that you don’t have it, here it is…

I honestly can’t think of too many things better than Snickers Apple Salad. Apples? Good. Pudding? Goooood. Snickers? Gooooooooooooooood. (Just like English Trifle…thanks Joey Tribbiani!) This does make slightly more than 4 servings, but, if you eat it in a large cereal bowl like I do, you’ll have no problems finishing the whole recipe. Or, if you’re hosting for the holidays, this is a perfect side dish!

Snickers Apple Salad

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What I’m Listening to: “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift

Ingredients (makes 6-8 servings)

-1 3.4 oz package of French Vanilla instant pudding

-2 cups of cold milk

-1 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip

-5 Snickers bars, cut into 1/4 inch slices

-3 to 4 Granny Smith apples, cut into small pieces

In a large bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk. Place in the fridge for 5 minutes for the pudding to set. In the mean time, cut up the Snickers bars and, if you plan to serve immediately, the apple slices. (I wait to add in the apple slices until right before I serve the salad. I don’t like mushy apples. If I’m eating this a bowl-full at a time, I add about half an apple to the bowl.) Remove the pudding from the fridge and add in the entire tub of Cool Whip. Mix well. Gently stir in the Snickers pieces and apples. Keep covered in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!

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