Okay, honestly, who doesn’t like cream cheese. It’s a love-hate relationship because I know how bad it is for you, but oh it tastes so good! So here are a couple of my favorite apps (…to eat in moderation, kind of 😉 )
Jalapeno Poppers – approx. 6 servings
1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened (I always use 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1/2 c. shredded cheese, any kind (sharp cheddar, mozz, smoky cheeses are especially good)
2 oz feta cheese
1 tsp grated fresh onion
fresh herbs optional (cilantro, parsley, chives)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cleaning the peppers: I like to make boats. You leave the stem on and cut a thin slice off the long ways of the pepper. Then use a spoon to scrape out all the seeds and innards. You can save the sliced-off pieces and add to the filling or use for something else, like eggs or hash the next morning 🙂 Rinse peppers and set aside.
In a bowl mix softened cream cheese, your choice of shredded cheese, feta, onion, and herbs if you choose to use them.
Stuff peppers with cheese mixture. You can pile it up in those babies too.
Bake for 15-20 minutes and then I like to broil for a few extra minutes just to brown the cheese a bit.
A variation of this recipe that my husband just loves is with bacon. Basically the same concept, but then wrap a half slice of bacon around the peppers (don’t fill quite as full with cheese) and secure with a toothpick. We find instead of baking these that broiling works better in making the bacon crispy. Keep an eye on them; they’ll take 10-15 minutes. We use a small roasting rack in a baking pan, which holds the peppers upright and the bacon grease drips to the bottom.
Spaghetti sauce/marinara sauce – Made about 4-5 pints with this recipe, but it always seems to vary. Good for just about anything: pasta, pizza, dipping sauce 🙂
10 lbs. tomatoes, cored, blanched, and skinned
4 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. grated onion, or finely minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram leaves
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil (or 1 T. dried)
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley (or 1 T. dried)
1 tsp. sugar (may need to adjust depending on tomatoes)
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
First off, I like to squeeze out most of the seeds and juice by hand before blending the tomatoes. If you’re using plum or roma tomatoes, you probably can skip this step.
Next heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes and cook about a minute making sure not to burn the garlic. Add in the blended tomatoes, which you’ll need to do in multiple batches in the blender.
Then add the vinegar, tomato paste, and all seasonings. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer uncovered for an hour or until mixture is desired consistency.
To can the sauce: Be sure you’ve sterilized your jars and lids (I like to do my jars in the dishwasher while I’m preparing the sauce.) It’s a good idea to add lemon juice to each jar before filling to make sure your sauce doesn’t go bad in storage (might add some extra sugar to compensate.) Ladle into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process in a water bath for 20 minutes.
*adapted from http://www.theyummylife.com/marinara_sauce