Mexican Chip Dip

Happy Saturday! I hope you’re all having a fantastic weekend so far! I had my last choreography rehearsal for “The Drowsy Chaperone” today. They open in two weeks, and I could not be more excited! Usually, I’m relieved when I finish choreographing a show. I love doing it, but it’s a lot of work. But this show has been so much fun for me that I don’t want it to be over! I’m sure I’ll feel differently when I have my Friday afternoons back, but right now, it’s a little bittersweet. Anywho, if you’re in the QC the weekend of April 10, pop on over to North High School; it’s going to be a great show!

I am SO looking forward to summer! I know, I know. That’s the understatement of the year. But, I can’t wait for nice weather, barbecues, baseball games, and time with my friends and family. Anyone else with me? Everyone? That’s what I thought. It’s never too early to start planning your first summer party, so you’ve got to check out this awesome dip! It’s very light and refreshing, and a must at any barbecue. It takes two minutes to whip together, but will taste like you spent your afternoon in the kitchen.

Cooking for Beginners: Mexican Chip Dip

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Ingredients

-2 cups of plain Greek Yogurt (If you don’t have any, sour cream is fine!)

-3/4 cup of red salsa

-1 cup of Mexican or Fiesta cheese

-1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley

-1/2 tsp. onion powder

-1/2 tsp. salt

-1 tsp garlic powder

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Note: Adapted from The Weary Chef

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4 Ingredient Breakfast Nachos

Happy Monday! I think this is the first Monday in a looooooong time that I’ve woken up in a good mood. I’m giving the weather credit today, because after weeks of 12°F weather, it’s going to hit 50 today. 50!!! Goodbye snow and ice; hello spring time! Let’s just hope this weather holds out for awhile…my birthday is next week, and I’d like to do able to wear something other than my winter boots to celebrate. Just think warm thoughts…

I think I may have mentioned that I’m currently in my busiest time of year. I’m working on recital, which means I’m almost always doing 20 things at the same time: choreography, class planning, headpiece hunting, costume exchanges, props making, keeping track of dancers with quick changes…you name it, it’s on my radar right now. Plus, preschool on top of that. (Three year olds are weepy this time of year!) I’m also choreographing a musical for one of the local high schools, so my Friday afternoons and evenings are spent in rehearsals, and my free time at home is devoted to more choreography. Needless to say, I needed a short break from the crazy this weekend, so I gave myself permission to do what I wanted, which involved binge-watching “Parenthood,” starting a new book (which I ended up giving up on), and taking a 2 mile walk on Saturday. I’ve also decided that Friday nights are “no cooking” nights until the musical is over, so this weekend, I ordered in Mexican. I ended up with a half bag of tortilla chips and a giant bowl of guacamole after it was all said and done, so those became my inspiration behind my recipe today. Yes, nachos for breakfast. Yes, I’m serious.

Cooking for Beginners: 4 Ingredient Breakfast Nachos

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What I’m Listening To: “Lips Are Movin” by Meghan Trainor

Ingredients (makes 2 servings)

-2 handfuls of tortilla chips

-1/4 lb. ground chorizo (check the meat counter at your grocery store)

-3 eggs

-Queso fresco

Preheat the oven to 200°F. Place the tortilla chips on a baking sheet in a single layer and put in the oven to warm.

In a large skillet, cook the chorizo over medium-high heat. When the sausage has browned, crack the eggs and pour directly into the skillet, stirring immediately to break the yolks. Continue stirring until the eggs are scrambled and cooked through. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and top immediately with the chorizo and eggs. Top with queso fresco and serve with salsa, guacamole, or Greek Yogurt.

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Mom’s Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

Happy Monday, foodies! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty low-key; lots of cleaning and errand-running. Yesterday, I went and saw a play at my alma mater and then hosted an Academy Award viewing party with four of my closest friends. We ate chicken pot pie and tried to predict the winners, but mostly enjoyed Oprah’s “I don’t give a crap” faces and the classy acceptance speeches. And all things Neil Patrick Harris, of course.

I am so excited to share one of my mom’s recipes with you today! I’m a big fan of snacking on almonds already, but when they’re coated in cinnamon sugar? Yes please! This recipe is very simple, and takes little prep work. My mom says they’re fool-proof, and she’s not kidding! Make up a batch over the weekend and you’ll have snacks for the entire week…and your house will smell amazing!

Cooking for Beginners: Mom’s Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

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What I’m Listening to: “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars

Ingredients (makes about 2 1/2 cups of almonds)

-1 egg white

-1 tsp vanilla

-1/4 cup white sugar

-1/4 cup brown sugar

-1/4 tsp salt

-1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

-12 oz bag of natural almonds

Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg white and vanilla. Add the white sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon; mix well. Pour the almonds over the mixture and stir gently with a wooden spoon, until well coated. Transfer the almonds to the baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15-20. After 40 minutes, move the almonds directly onto the baking sheet, and discard the foil. Continue to bake for the remaining 20 minutes, stirring as needed. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container for 4-5 days, or put in a freezer-safe Ziploc in your freezer for up to 4 months.

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Cooking for Beginners: 10 Kitchen Essentials Every Foodie Should Have

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, foodie friends! I hope you are all enjoying your day! I’m currently snowed in with my sister, Kaylee. We’ve gotten 10+ inches of snow and it’s still coming. So, a lazy day it is! We started off the day making my Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Scones for breakfast, and have spent the rest of it watching “How to Get Away with Murder” on my DVR. My DISH is out from the storm, so binge-watching our favorite TV shows is probably how we’ll spend the rest of the day. I’m not complaining; I love days spent on the couch.

I’m sure by now that your Facebook newsfeed has been bombarded with Super Bowl party recipes. I know that mine is. (If you didn’t see my Super Bowl collaboration with Kaylee from Pleats and Pearls, check it out here.) To give your mind a rest from all that delicious food, I decided to do something a little different today. When I first started working on Table for One, I asked my followers and friends what they wanted to see on the blog. While I received many recipe suggestions, I also had requests for posts for cooking newbies. One friend wanted to know what my kitchen essentials are, so I thought I’d share some of them with you today. These are my most used, most loved appliances and cookware in my kitchen. I’ve linked everything below so that you can buy it for your own kitchen! Don’t see your favorite appliances on the list? Let me know in the comment section below!

1. T-fal 5 Quart Jumbo Cooker

Jumbo Cooker

A few years ago, I opened an eHarmony account. One of the questions was to list 5 things I couldn’t live without. This jumbo cooker was on the list. I use it for EVERYTHING; tacos, pancakes, my buffalo chicken chili.  I’ve had it for probably 4-5 years now and it’s still in great shape. It’s easy to clean, the perfect size, and if you have one skillet/frying pan/cooker in your life, you want this one. Trust me.

2. An Electric Stand Mixer

stand mixer

One of these days, I’ll be able to afford a KitchenAid mixer (the dream!), but until then, my Rival mixer is treating me just fine! I got this two Christmases ago, and it has really streamlined my baking process. I also use it to mix the filling for my  Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes. I love how much faster I can mix things (“by hand” just doesn’t cut it sometimes) and again, how easy it is to clean! I will say that I occasionally have to scrape the edges and bottom of the bowl, but that doesn’t bother me a bit. If you love to bake, a mixer is definitely for you!

3. A Glass Baking Pan

Glass

Gone are the days of dorms, and cooking everything in the microwave! I was psyched when I bought my first glass baking pan. It meant I had an oven, and I LOVE to use the oven. Really, you can make just about anything in a glass baking pan. I like to bake chicken in mine, or a small casserole. I have a 13×9 glass pan, but I use my 8×8 and 11×7 the most! If you are generally cooking for just you, those smaller sizes will be perfect!

4. A stockpot

stockpot

I just got one for Christmas, and I honestly don’t know how I’ve gone this long without a stockpot. While I don’t need the entire 12 quarts, it is nice to have enough room to make my soups and chilis without worrying about them overflowing. If you like soup, you need to get one. Enough said.

5. A Blender 

Or

Food Processor

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If you are just starting out, get a blender. If you’re more established, add the food processor to your collection. I use my blender all the time. I am not a fan of “chunks” in my sauce or salsa, so into the blender it goes. Blenders are great for smoothies, shakes, or when making my homemade pizza sauce. I just got my food processor recently, but I’m excited to use it to whip up some hummus or chop some veggies.

6. A Muffin Pan

muffin

Let me share a not-so-secret with you: I love muffins from a mix. Sue me. So, I use my muffin pan at least once a week. But, it’s also perfect for mini desserts (Mini Nutella S’Mores Cheesecakes, anyone?) or individual servings (I’ve made mini baked mac and cheeses before.)

7. A Rolling Pin

rolling pin

Yes, I know, this one seems like a given. But, my sister (who is 22) was using a Smart Water bottle not so long ago to roll dough, so I’m including it on my list. I have the exact one pictured above, and linked to another one from Anthropologie, but you can find reasonably priced rolling pins at any kitchen appliance store. If you are a baker, you need to get yourself one now!

8. A Slow Cooker

crockpot

Who doesn’t love being able to throw all their ingredients in a slow cooker with no fuss and then having dinner ready in a matter of hours? I know that I do. Whether making a soup, casserole, or my Crockpot Honey BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, a slow cooker is a must for no-fuss cooking.

9. A nice cutlery set

cutlery

Now, I’m hoping you’ve got forks, spoons, and knives in your kitchen, but if you’re serious about cooking some good food, you also need a nice cutlery set. I use mine on a daily basis to cut chicken, fruit, vegetables, or the dough for my scones this morning. Cutlery sets can be pricey, but are definitely worth the investment.

10. A recipe box

recipe box

If you’re going to cook, you want to have a safe place to store your recipes. Pick up a cute recipe box at any kitchen store, or do it online! I use the website Plan to Eat to catalog all the online recipes that I want to try. My online recipe box is currently at 630 recipes and counting! Plan to Eat has other features as well, like a grocery list generator and menu planner, all for a low yearly price. If that seems more your style, check it out here.

So, what did you think? Do you agree with my list? Is anything missing? Let me know below, and don’t forget to subscribe on the side!

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No-Bake Veggie Ranch Pizzas

Happy 2015, foodies! How was your New Year’s Eve? Mine was…not what I was expecting. To save you from a long story, let’s just say black water started spouting up my tub drain about 20 minutes before my company was supposed to arrive, and when I went to close the bathroom door to keep my cats out of it, the door fell off the hinge. But, my awesome friends and Happy Joe’s pizza/Chik-Fil-A nuggets saved the day and we ended up having a pretty nice NYE. (The tub and the door have now been fixed!) Hopefully your night was much less eventful than mine. 🙂

Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions and goal setting, and I’m no exception. Rather than doing resolutions, which I never follow, I’ve set 9 goals for myself this year. Lofty goals, that will take a lot of effort, but goals that are absolutely attainable. I won’t bore you with all of them, but the one goal I am particularly excited about is losing 15 pounds. Yup! 15. Along with the obvious exercising, I’m planning to incorporate more fruits and veggies into my diet, and reduce my sugar intake, aka cutting soda from my regular diet. I know weight loss is a popular resolution/goal, so expect to see more “healthy” recipes on Table for One this year. I do believe “everything in moderation,” so don’t worry…pasta and dessert recipes aren’t going anywhere.

I’m kicking off the New Year with these fantastic No-Bake Veggie Ranch Pizzas. I was actually planning to make these for New Year’s Eve, but as that didn’t pan out, my sister and I made them for lunch today. These would be perfect with a bowl of soup, as an appetizer, or by themselves. Aside from veggies chopping, we assembled our pizzas and were eating within 5 minutes. Even if your cooking skills are minimal, this recipe is for you!

Cooking for Beginners: No-Bake Veggie Ranch Pizzas

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What I’m Listening to: “Parenthood” season 1 (yes, I’m finally jumping on the bandwagon!)

Ingredients (makes 3 pizzas)

-3 whole wheat flatbread pockets (I bought the Kangaroo brand, which only has 3 in it!)

-1/2 cup of plain Greek Yogurt

-1 tsp of dry ranch mix

-Veggies of your choice, chopped into bite-sized pieces (we used white onion, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)

-Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

In a small bowl, mix together the Greek Yogurt and ranch mix. Set aside. Heat each flatbread in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Spread with 1/3 of the yogurt mixture. Top with your veggies; I used about 1 tbsp of each kind. Sprinkle lightly with the cheese and serve!

Note: If you plan to use these as an appetizer, cut into slices.

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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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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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