Recipe // Cheesy Potatoes & Baked Beans

Cheesy_Potatoes-2No backyard barbecue is complete without baked beans and cheesy potatoes. The side dishes are just as important as the main dish and these two are family classics. As much as I love these cheesy potatoes, if they come in direct contact with the baked beans (which I despise) they are immediately spooned onto Justin’s always welcoming plate. Absolutely no combining of foods, let alone even touching on my plate. I’m the girl who still prefers those separated plates from my distant childhood. Are you the type of person who mashes it all together with the “it’s all going to the same place” mentality or are you the OCD type who manages to keep all foods a safe distance from one another? I’m totally type two but wish I was type one. Completely normal, right?

BakedBeansMom’s Cheesy Potatoes:

1 bag frozen hash browns (cubed or shredded your choice)
2 cups sour cream
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can cream of celery soup

Mix all ingredients together and bake in a buttered 9×13″ pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Baked Beans:

42 ounces baked beans with pork
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup chopped onions
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp mustard
2 tbsp ketchup
2 slices bacon, chopped (or use the cheater bacon bits)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix baked beans with pork, molasses, onions, brown sugar, and ketchup together and put in greased casserole dish. Top with bacon, cover and bake for 3 hours or until thick.

Recipe // Southwestern Chip Dip

Tortilla chips accompanied by a delicious dip have me setting up shop next to the bowl selflessly indulging until I reach the bottom of the bowl. My tummy loves it, my abs do not. Be careful with this one, it is quite addicting.

Chives-1SouthwesternDip

Southwestern Dip:

8 oz package cream cheese, softened (don’t use fat-free)
2 cups real mayonnaise
1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained
1 can black beens, drained and rinsed
1 or 2 cans corn, drained
3-6 green onions, chopped

Cream together the cream cheese and mayonnaise. Stir in the remaining ingredients and let stand at least 3 hours in the refrigerator before serving with tortilla chips or crackers.

Baked Potato Dip

Baked_Potato_DipI kid you not, this dip tastes straight up like a loaded baked potato. Absolutely delicious and oh-so-easy! Perfect flavor to go with a backyard barbecue or to simply spice up your bland everyday potato chips.

BakedPotatoBaked Potato Dip:

16 ounces sour cream
16 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled OR the cheater way (i.e. my way) 2 2.5 oz bags pre-crumbled real bacon pieces
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions or chives

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld together. Garnish with extra shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, and chopped chives. Serve with your favorite potato chips.

Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella Appetizer

Bimonthly our Chicago friends gather together on Wednesday evenings to have Family Dinner, distress from the work week, and catch up on each others’ lives.  A few weeks ago our dinner consisted of spaghetti, salad, bread, and scrumptious desserts.  After volunteering for an appetizer and completely blanking on it until the last minute (whoops), I threw together these Italian dinner appropriate appetizers of tomato, basil, and mozzarella that are perfect for throwing together at the last minute and for parties since the toothpicks make them easy to grab, place on a plate or eat immediately.  Pretty sure they were gone in about five minutes.  Simply stick the mozzarella, basil, and tomato on a toothpick, lay on a serving tray, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar, easiest appetizer EVER!