Cheesy Tomato Dip

Cheesy Tomato Dip is packed with flavor from the fresh tomato, basil and garlic. Try left over dip the next day as a spread on a toasted bagel.

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Cheesy Tomato Dip
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of 12Tomatoes.com, 2015)

Makes 2 large appetizer dishes

2 French baguettes, sliced on the diagonal
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 8-oz. packages reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375F.

Make crostini: Place slices on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Spray both sides of the bread slices with cooking spray. Bake for 6 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for another 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and raise the oven temperature to 425F.

Combine the tomatoes, garlic, oil, oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss to coat. Transfer the tomato mixture to a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

In a food processor, mix the cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, and basil and pulse to combine. Add the tomato mixture and pulse for 30-45 seconds, or until smooth. Pour the mixture into two separate bowls. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly and beginning to brown on top.

Serve the dip hot with the crostini.

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Sweet Potato – Chorizo Burritos with Chimichurri

Sweet Potato – Chorizo Burritos with Chimichurri are sweet and spicy taste bites that are the perfect appetizer for a fall football Sunday. Depending on the “heat tolerance” of your guests consider whether to use hot or mild chorizo in the recipe. If you are not a fan of chimichurri, for whatever reason, consider serving these treats with Sriracha sour cream.

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Sweet Potato – Chorizo Burritos with Chimichurri
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of LouisianaCookin.com, 2015)

Makes 48 appetizer servings

4 tsp vegetable oil
12 oz. fresh chorizo, casing removed, meat crumbled
1 1/3 cups baked sweet potato, mashed
1 1/2 cup shredded, Pepper Jack cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano, plus 2 teaspoons, divided
48 wonton wrappers
1 cup firmly packed fresh parsley leaves
2 Tbsp chopped shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a large skillet over medium-high heat brown the chorizo and drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.

Preheat oven to 425F. Spray two rimmed baking sheets with a non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine chorizo, sweet potato, oregano and cheese.

Take a wonton wrapped and dampen all edges with water. Place 1 teaspoon of the chorizo mixture in the lower middle of the wrapper. Fold “burrito-style” sealing all edges. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers. Place on prepared baking sheets. Spray the burritos with cooking spray. Bake until browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

In a food processor, pulse the garlic. Add the shallot and pulse. Add the parsley and remaining 2 tablespoons oregano, vinegar, lemon juice, oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pulse until combined but chunky.

Serve the burritos warm with the chimichurri sauce.

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Grilled Short Ribs with Sesame-Chipotle Romesco

Grilled Short Ribs with Sesame-Chipotle Romesco is a new recipe in the Ample Bites grilling portfolio. The tangy romesco sauce highlights the beef without being overpowering. Serve along side a baked potato or Sweet Potato and Apple Latkes.

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Grilled Short Ribs with Sesame-Chipotle Romesco
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of BonAppetit.com, June 2015)

Makes 6 servings

2/3 cup unsalted, roasted almonds
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 cups roasted red peppers from a jar, drained
3 canned chipotle pepper, in adobo, seeded
4 Tbsp sherry vinegar
3 lbs boneless beef short ribs (roughly 1 1/2-inch-thick)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Pulse almonds and sesame seeds in a food processor until finely chopped. Add red peppers, chiles and vinegar and puree until well-combined; season romesco with salt.

Prepare grill for medium-high direct grilling. Season ribs with salt and pepper and toss with 2/3 cup of the romesco. Set remaining romesco aside for serving. Grill the ribs, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides, about 8-10 minutes for medium-rare.

Let ribs rest for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve with the reserved romesco.

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Sweet Potato and Apple Latkes

Sweet Potato and Apple Latkes are a sweeter version of the traditional potato pancake. Serving these latkes with a chipotle-laced sour cream results in a spicy-sweet treat.

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Sweet Potato and Apple Latkes
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of LousianaCookin.com, 2015)

Makes about 4 servings

1 cup peeled and shredded Granny Smith apple
3 cups peeled and coarsely shredded sweet potato (about 1 pound)
2 Tbsp finely chopped yellow onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
Canola oil for frying

In a clean dish towel, add apple and squeeze until excess liquid is released. In a medium bowl, combine apple, sweet potato, onion, flour, basil paprika and season generously with salt and pepper.

Create patties from 1/4-cup scoops and add to fryer in batches cooking at 325F until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack over a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet. Re-season the latkes with salt immediately after coming from the fryer. Serve warm with a sour cream.

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Squash Gratin

Squash Gratin is so unbelievably easy to prepare and it combines just a handful of ingredients into a rich, cruchy gratin.

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Squash Gratin
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of FoodandWine.com, July 2015)

Serves 6

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise, about 1/8-inch-thick
4 garlic cloves, sliced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup panko
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 450F.

In a 2-quart ovenproof baking dish, combine the zucchini, garlic and oil. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the squash in the dish and bake for 20 minutes, until tender. Remove and sprinkle with panko and cheese and bake for another 10 minutes, until golden and crisp on top. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Spinach Goat Cheese

Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Spinach Goat Cheese in corporates several great flavors into one grilled bundle.

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Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Spinach Goat Cheese
(Mark Kelly, 2015)

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded out to about half thickness
8 oz. fresh spinach leaves
12 oz. creamy goat cheese
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
12 slices prosciutto
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat, soften the onion and garlic, along with the red pepper flakes, in a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool.

Place four groups of three prosciutto slices over-lapping slightly on a foil-covered baking sheet. Place a chicken breast on each set of prosciutto. Cover each chicken breast with a generous layer of spinach. Divide the goat cheese among the chicken breasts. Top with the onion-garlic mixture.

Tightly roll the prosciutto around each chicken breast and secure with tooth picks. Refrigerate for an hour before grilling. Remove from the refrigerator about 15 minutes prior to grilling. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat grill to medium. Place a solid cast iron grilling plate over the heat and allow to warm for 10 minutes. Place a layer of foil over the grill plate and spray it with cooking spray. Place the chicken breasts on the plate without crowding and sear on all sides. Close the grill and cook until internal temperature reaches 165F. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

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Vegetable Toad-In-The-Hole

Vegetable and Bacon Toad-In-The-Hole is a kind Yorkshire pudding with fresh summer vegetables baked into the center. It is definitely less pizza and more pudding than I expected and I may try to make my next one with more of a pizza dough. Serve Vegetable and Bacon Toad-In-The-Hole for brunch or for dinner with a nice side salad.

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Makes 4 servings

2 large eggs
3/4 cup fat-free milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp whole grain mustard, divided
3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
Kosher salt
4 strips of crisp bacon, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 small carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch lengths and blanched
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, trimmed, halved and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 oz. thin green beans, blanched
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp finely chopped basil
1 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp finely chopped thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan

In a large skillet over medium heat soften the onion and garlic in the butter, about 3 minutes. Season with a generous pinch of salt. Add the green beans and cook another 3 minutes. Add the carrots, tomatoes, basil, parsley, thyme, and 1 tablespoon of mustard. Cook for another minute and re-season with salt and pepper. Let stand.

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, flour and 2 tablespoons of mustard, 1 tablespoon of oil and a generous pinch of salt. Let the batter stand for about 15 minutes.

Add the remaining oil to a 9-inch-square baking pan and heat in the oven for 10 minutes.

Our the batter evenly into the hot pan. Scatter the vegetable mixture on top. Sprinkle with the bacon strips and top with the grated cheese. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned. Cut into squares and serve.

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