Chips and Dips: 10 Recipes to Dive Into

Chips and dip… A match made in culinary heaven, a universally loved coupling, and the ultimate “uniter” of game fanatics (like my husband) and sports haters (like moi)… They go hand in hand (again, like me and my hubs!), flavor in flavor, and bite for bite.

Clearly, I love me some chips and dips. It’s a favorite appetizer and a totally versatile starter. Whatever your preferred flavor profile there’s a perfect chip and dip combo for you–from the salty and spicy to the crunchy and refreshing to the melty ooey and gooey to the creamy and sweet.

March 23 is National Chip and Dip Day (right?!? who knew?!)–so root for your favorite team (’tis the month of March Madness, after all) or just veg out in front of the TV and binge on Netflix and ranch.

We’ve rounded up a few totally amazing dip recipes from the savory and cheesy to the fresh and healthy to the indulgent and dessert. Happy dipping!

Dill Pickle Dip via Wonky Wonderful

Roasted Polbano & Salsa Verde Dip via the Flavor Bender

Onion-Soup Dip With Bacon and Gruyere via Spicy Southern Kitchen

Hot Caprese Dip via Rachel Cooks

Cheeys Bacon Jalalpeño Corn Dip via Host the Toast

Loaded Cowboy Queso via The Cookie Rookie

Mexican Spinach Dip via Food Folks and FunGreek Layer Dip via Well Plated

Unicorn Cheesecake Dip via Chocolate Covered Katie

Fluffy S’mores Dip via Homemade Hoopla

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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Snack Time Hacks

Kids are bottomless pits… or so I’m told. My kids could pass on significant meals all day in lieu of snacks, snacks, and more snack. Salty eats, sweet treats, crunchy munchies, and ooey-gooey chewies, they don’t discriminate. For snacks, there’s no satiating their hunger… But put a balanced breakfast in front of their faces and they’ll turn up their noses and feign full bellies. If it’s labeled a “snack,” they’re game (they don’t even read… how do they know?!?) Just don’t call it a meal… or they’ll bail faster than you can say “lunch is served.”

While I’d love for them to sit down at the family table three times a day for three square meals, I’ve learned to pick my battles with my picky eaters—and to maximize the nutrition in the snacks they actually are consuming. And, perhaps most importantly, this motivated mama has learned to rely on a few sneaky tried-and-true snack-attack hacks to help keep her babies happy and well fed.

Separate Healthy Snacks in a Muffin Tin

This one little trick works to get my kids eating, quietly and cooperatively within seconds. It also encourages them to share politely—win-win! I simply put different snacks in each cup of a muffin tin. (Actually, I create a mirror image of snacks—so my each of my kids has the exact same portion, but they’re own serving.) Raisins, Craisins, dehydrated yogurt snacks, apple slices, grapes, cereal, Goldfish… if it fits in a muffin cup, fill it up!

If you have a tin like this, you can fill the middle row of compartments with extra “sharable” treats—fruit snacks, chocolate chips, and coconut shavings work wonders but might create a thumb war!

P.S. The muffin tin trick is also an amazing hack for sundae bars or taco-night toppings.

Turn Something Healthy Into Something Beautiful… or Into a Super-Indulgent, But Still Somewhat Good-for-YOu Treat!

via babble.com

Kids refuse to eat their fruits and veggies? You can sneak some greens into a super-delish morning smoothie or you can transform their food into works of edible art. Children are more apt to eat something that looks good—and who could blame them? Of course, if you’re willing to add a little chocolate frosting and sprinkles to an otherwise healthy piece of fruit, the kids will go gaga over these “chocolate donut apple slices.”

Freeze Fro-Yo Into Bites

via babble

What kid can resist a frozen treat? They’ll ask for frozen-dessert bites and never know that this is actually yogurt they’re eating! Just freeze organic vanilla or fruit-flavored yogurt into ice cube trays, and, voila, you’ve got yourself some fun pop-in-your-mouth Popsicles to share.

Kebab It

Put fruit slices on a skewer, and somehow it tastes even better. Fruit kebabs are colorful, fun, and festive. Kids will especially love them when served with a yogurt or dark chocolate dipping sauce. Take them up a notch, by grilling the fruit too.

Play With Your Food

via Kiddie Foodies

My four year old is obsessed with playing tic-tac-to. So I decided to incorporate snacks into his favorite game. We use bread sticks or pretzel rods to make our grid and then fill in the spaces with healthy snacks (think: team carrot stick vs. team celery stalk!). We call it “TIC SNACK TO.” You decide whether the winner or loser has to eat it all… depending on whether you want to cheat or not!.. Me? I always let my little people win.

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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Unique Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipes

March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. Well, we’ve hit the midway point in the month, and it feels a lot more ferocious than cuddly and cute. Spring might technically be a few days away, but the snow on the ground and the temperature outside say otherwise. Winter is still very much rearing its ugly head—roar!

Good thing I can rely on a hearty, heavy winter-appropriate meal to warm up to this week. March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day. And in addition to wearing green, drinking a stout, and counting my lucky charms, I’m also making a big batch of corned beef and cabbage for dinner.

It’s one of my very favorite meals—and I only indulge in it once or twice a year—and always on St. Paddy’s Day.

I definitely will be going the more traditional route with my peel-apart corned beef and soft soupy cabbage, but definitely want to try some of these more interpretive recipes. To celebrate the day that everybody is Irish, I’ve rounded up a few interesting, unique, and tasty CB&C recipes. Enjoy!

Corned Beef & Cabbage Pizza via Food.com

Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup via Skinnytate

Corned Beef Reuben via Melanie Makes

Corned Beef and Cabbage Egg Rolls via Home Made Interest

Corned Beef Cabbage Rolls via Home Made Interest

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

 

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The Best Pizza Recipes—and a Few “Cheesy” Finds

If there’s one thing we consume a lot of in my house, it’s pizza! My kids are the pickiest eaters ever, and it’s one of the few self-contained meals we can actually all enjoy together as a family. And, you know, it’s got the essentials: protein, carbs, and, um, vegetables (tomato sauce counts, right?).

The husband and I enjoy all sorts of toppings on our pizza: salad, spinach, pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, and broccoli. Of course, my littles like it plain and simple. But, hey, they’re eating, so no complaints here!

Tomorrow is National Pizza Day, and you better believe we’re going to have our own little pizza-feast party! We usually order in from our favorite local place, but I’m going to shake things up tomorrow and we’re going to make our own! In fact, we might bake up a few- pies: cheese for the kiddies and maybe something more exciting for the grownups. (You can never have too much pizza.)

I’ve rounded up a few incredible pizza recipes to make and eat tomorrow… or, you know, every day.

Traditional New York Style Pizza via Baker by Nature

Spinach-Artichoke Pesto Pizza via Two Peas & Their Pod

BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizza via Le Crème de La Crumb

Butternut Squash Pizza With Kale and Goat Cheese via The Balanced Berry

Taco Pizza via Life in the Lofthouse

Pepperoni Skillet Pizza via Tina’s Chic Corner

Pizza Dip via Keto Connect

Rainbow Veggie Pizza via Livingly

Oh, and in case you really love pizza (like me!), I’ve also curated a few MORE ways you can celebrate National Pizza Day… So you can have your pie, and wear it (or decorate with it… or sled with it…) too! Enjoy.

  1. Bow & Drape “In Pizza We Crust,” $65/ 2. Levtex Pizza Heart Pillow, $40/ 3. Ankit Pizza Is Bae Mug, $12/ 4. Big Mouth, Inc. Giant Pizza Snow Tube, $25/ 5. J. Crew Girls’ Glitter Pizza Slice Bag, $50/ 6. Sockart Pizza Socks, $9/ 7. Round Towel Co. Pizza Beach Towel, $55

This is not a sponsored post. It may contain affilliate links. All opinions are our own.

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Thai Shrimp Spirals

Recipe for easy Thai Shrimp Spirals

We’ve featured two amazing dishes by Gail Simmons in the past–Sweet Potato Dumplings with Honey, Goat Cheese, & Thyme, and Spinach & Feta Mini-Calzones. This week, we are thrilled to share another of Gail’s recipes.

To enter the Great Game Day Recipe Contest, consumers should create their original recipe using Puff Pastry Sheets or Shells and upload a recipe photograph along with a brief description to the Puff Pastry Facebook page. One lucky winner whose Puff Pastry recipe outplays the competition will win a trip for two to New York City for a private cooking class with Gail Simmons, judge of Bravo’s Emmy-winning show Top Chef, host of the network’??s spin-off hit Top Chef: Just Desserts and long-time Puff Pastry fan.

Wouldn’t this be an amazing experience? We’ve seen amazing recipes here week after week, and would love to see one of our readers enter and win! For inspiration, check out Gail’s Thai Shrimp Spirals, we think they’d be great as a Super Bowl nibble!

Thai Shrimp Spirals
Ingredients:
2 limes
2 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (2-inch) piece ginger root, peeled and minced (about 2 tablespoons)
20 fresh or thawed frozen large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
5 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 egg
2 tbsp. water
All-purpose flour
1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed
2 tsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil

Directions:
Grate 2 teaspoons zest and squeeze about 1/4 cup juice from the limes. Stir the zest, juice, cilantro, garlic and ginger in a small bowl.

Place the shrimp into a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and half the lime mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Reserve the remaining lime mixture for the dipping sauce.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Beat the egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl with a fork.

Sprinkle the flour on the work surface. Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 10-inch square. Cut into 20 (about 1/2-inch) strips.

Skewer each shrimp with 1 (6-inch) wooden skewer. Starting at the top, wrap 1 pastry strip around each shrimp, slightly overlapping the pastry and ending just before the tail.

Place the skewered pastries onto 2 baking sheets. Brush the pastries with the egg mixture.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Let the pastries cool on the baking sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes.

Beat the reserved lime mixture, remaining soy sauce and water, the honey and sesame oil in a small bowl with a fork or whisk. Serve with the pastries for dipping.

What are you cooking this week?

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Soup Is On: Best Soup Recipes for Cold Winter Nights

Do you think the groundhog will see his shadow today—or is spring coming sooner than expected? Well, regardless of what Punxsutawney Phil does or does not see today, the fact is: we still have a month and a half left of the woe-some winter. Cold, windy, snowy, brutal, and blustery conditions are inevitable. Brrr. (UPDATE: It’s official. He saw it! So don’t put away those mittens and pom-pom hats just yet!)

Luckily for those of us who like an excuse to celebrate, Groundhog’s Day is not the only holiday on the calendar this week. (No, we’re not talking about the Super Bowl… Although, all of the recipes below are most definitely SB-worthy!). Saturday, Feb. 4, just so happens to be National Soup Day. And I fully plan on taking advantage with a steaming hot bowl of soul-warming deliciousness.

I love the versatility of soup. It’s a great and easy lunch served with a salad or a hearty dinner when served with a hunk-a-chunk of Italian bread. I love me a grilled cheese, but I prefer my soup to be a self-contained meal with protein, veggies, carbs, and all sorts of salty, spicy goodness cooked inside. Every spoonful should be a delightful surprise!

I plan on slurping up a lot of soup throughout February and March, and so I’ve rounded up a few new recipes that are flavorful and fulfilling. Soup is on—get it while it’s hot… and cold outside!

Beefy Nacho Soup via The Recipe Critic

Creamy Tuscan Tortellini Soup via The Best Blog Recipes

Vegetarian Cabbage Soup via Chef DeHome

Chipotle Potato Soup With Cheddar via Platings and Pairings

Lasagna Soup via Flavor Mosaic

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup via From Valerie’s Kitchen

Chicken Fajita Rice Soup via Carl’s Bad Cravings

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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The Ultimate Slice of Chocolate Cake

Sometimes Mama needs coffee. Sometimes she requires wine. Other times, she turns to tea. Then there are those days when Mama absolutely, positively must get her hands on (and fork into!) a slice of rich, decadent, and mouthwatering chocolate cake.

Oh, yes. This week has been a doozy. But, hallelujah, it’s Thursday—which means tomorrow is Fri-Yay! We’re counting down the hours, minutes, and seconds, and, in the meantime, we’re calming our relentless nerves and quenching our intense craving with some ooey-gooey, sweet, moist, and immensely indulgent cake. Because, we survived the work week… just about! Also, tomorrow just so happens to be National Chocolate Cake Day. (We’ll save some. Maybe.)

I’ve got my handy-dandy KitchenAid stand mixer at the ready, but have to admit that I’ll be using a package of cake mix to make my chocolate deliciousness. (This mama needs a quick fix!) But if you have the time, energy, skill, and, of course, sweet tooth, may we recommend one of these ridiculously awesome recipes. Enhanced with ingredients like red wine, champagne, caramel, peanut butter, mint, and more, these seven sinfully good desserts really do take the cake.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake via Smitten Kitchen: Red wine + chocolate = heaven on a plate. This is everything a hungry, exhausted, and indecisive mama could ever want right here!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake via Sugar and Soul: Fess up, you eat cookie dough… raw! Satisfy your hankering for cookies and cake with this mega mash-up cake!

Chocolate Champagne Layer Cake: Celebrate the fact that the kids are actually sleeping with some bubbly inside your chocolate cake.

German Chocolate Sheet Cake via Chef in Training: The messier, the better, and this coconut-y sheet cake is as sticky, sloppy, and satisfying as they come.

Thin Mint Poke Cake via Life in the Lofthouse: If thin mints are your weakness, this Girl Scout-inspired chocolate cake will be your ultimate jam.

Hot Chocolate Dump Cake via Tablespoon: Winter means cuddling up with a warm cup of hot cocoa. Have your hot chocolate and eat it too with this two-in-one dump cake!

Salted Carmel Chocolate Cake via Baker By Nature: No need to choose between sweet and salty with this cake. It’ll tease, taunt, and totally please your taste buds.

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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The Ultimate Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Peanut butter. Love it or hate it (and I find that people usually fall into one boat or the other!), you can’t deny that it’s a convenient option. Creamy, crunchy, or whipped, it’s got texture, flavor, and, best of all, protein! Paired with its BFF jelly or its other pal, chocolate, it makes for a hearty and relatively healthy mid-day meal or nosh.

Today is National Peanut Butter Day and we’re celebrating the ultimate snack food with a few updates on the traditional PB&J sandie. Upgrade your lunchbox game with these fun, creative, and yummy ideas. (And get the latest pediatrician-recommended guidelines for introducing your child to peanuts and peanut products, HERE.)

Shape It or Cut It
A cookie cutter instantly transforms a plain ole sandwich into a work of edible art. It’s amazing how a heart-shaped PB&J can actually taste better.

Grill It via Cooking Classy
A standard PB&J is fine and all, but pressed in a Panini maker, it’s next-level delicious. Ooey-gooey, warm, and toasty it’s crispy on the outside and melted perfection on the inside.

Swap Out Your Bread for Toaster Waffles via Ready Set Eat
Instead of white or wheat bread, try smearing your peanut butter and jelly on two toaster-oven waffles. It’ll have the crunch and subtle sweetness you crave.

Whip Up Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes via The Baker Mama
Who needs syrup when you have a thin layer of peanut butter and a little bit of jelly sandwiched between two fluffy round pancakes.

Make Peanut Butter Quesadillas via Texanerin Baking
Layer a bit of peanut butter and sliced bananas between two tortillas and grill! Serve with some jam dipping sauce!

Treat Yourself to PB&J French Toast via PopSugar
Not sure we can consider this one a meal. This recipe is as decadent as a dessert can get. Sprinkled with powdered sugar, it’s sweet, savory, and soooo very good.

Roll It Up via Foodie Fun Net
Shape you mini sandwiches like sushi rolls and serve with chopsticks, and enjoy!

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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Popcorn: 5 Ways to Spice It Up

Plain or buttery. Kettlecorn or extra salt. There isn’t a bad way to enjoy popcorn! But the same old method can get, well, old! In honor of National Popcorn Day today, we’re sharing five simple ways to spice up your popcorn routine. Let’s get popping!

Popcorn is a mom’s best friend. Having it on hand makes a quick after-school snack, makes an easy treat for that play date, and makes that Friday night movie a little more special.

While microwave popcorn is a quick option, we love an air popper like this one. It pops 30% faster than the microwave with virtually no unpopped kernels. Plus since it doesn’t use any oil, you can make your toppings as healthy (or unhealthy—ha!) as you want. Here are five must-try toppings, recipes and photo sources, below:

Brown Butter and Parm – Browning the butter gives it a nutty nuance while grated parm on the popcorn makes everything better. Simple, delicious, sophisticated.

Pseudo-Caramel and Almond – Popcorn gets covered with a caramel-y sauce made from blending together coconut oil, dates, vanilla, and almonds. Sounds strange—tastes delicious. And waaaaay healthier.

Spicy Cilantro Lime – Who says popcorn has to be sweet or salty? Satisfy your savory tooth with this spicy blend of cayenne pepper, garlic, cumin, cilantro and lime. This one is begging to be paired with a margarita!

Tastes-Like-Cheese (but it’s not) – Stay with me here….have you heard of nutritional yeast? I know, I know…it sounds kind of scary. But it’s a dairy-free way to give your popcorn a cheese-like flavor! Plus, it’s nutritious (hence the name). The flakes are high in B vitamins, nucleotides (the building blocks of DNA and RNA) that promote cellular repair and regeneration, and they contain no gluten, no dairy, and no MSG. Try some nutritional yeast here.

Buffalo Ranch – Superbowl is coming….just saying. This Buffalo Ranch popcorn might be just the thing to make in bulk and add to your appetizer buffet.

What’s YOUR favorite popcorn flavor?

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Holiday Hot Cocoa Variations

Between the cold weather, holiday music on repeat, and all the lights and decorations, I swear that every morning feels like a morning worthy of hot cocoa with the kids! Today, in celebration of National Hot Cocoa Day, we’re sharing some of our favorite hot cocoa recipes – a basic (but oh-so-decadent) recipe from our upcoming Family Ski Guide plus four other variations to mix it up a bit. (And a bonus hot cocoa topper at the end that is sure to excited the kids!)

First, let’s start off with a pretty basic hot cocoa recipe if you’re not feeling too adventurous. The talented Catherine from our sister site, The Shopping Mama, came up with this hot chocolate recipe that is decadent, delicious and made with dark chocolate – my fav!

European-Style Hot Cocoa

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • 1 large dark chocolate Hershey’s bar (4.25 oz)
  • vanilla – 1 tsp
  • spices as desired: nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne etc
  • salt – dash
1. Chop your Hershey’s bar into small shavings.
2. In a saucepan over medium-low, heat your milk and chocolate pieces. *Do not boil*
3. Whisk your heavy cream (or use a stand mixer) until thickened slightly.
4. Add in your vanilla, salt and spices to your chocolate mixture.
5. Whisk the thickened cream into your chocolate mixture. (Leaving a little for topping) Heat through *Do not boil*
6. Ladle into mugs and enjoy!
Ready to mix it up a bit? Try these hot cocoa variations for a little something different!

Add Some Spice: Mexican-Style Hot Chocolate

Looking for a little extra spice? I love the added heat and spice that Mexican hot cocoa has. This recipe relies on chopped up Mexican chocolate and a cinnamon stick for added spice.

Make It Minty: Peppermint Hot Chocolate

‘Tis the season for mini candy canes! Put those red and white treats to good use in this festive peppermint hot chocolate that uses peppermint extract and candy canes to make it minty.

Chilled-Out Hot Cocoa: Cookies & Cream Frozen Hot Chocolate

Who said hot chocolate had to actually be hot? This frozen hot cocoa from A Beautiful Mess is pretty much a milkshake but doesn’t require that you have ice cream on hand. It does require a cookies and cream chocolate bar though you might be able to get creative with a regular chocolate bar and some Oreos too. A fun way to shake up traditional hot chocolate.

Adult-Only: Aztec Slugger

This variation is only for the over 21 crowd. Hot chocolate. Coffee. Bourbon. Oh my! Just opt for decaf in this Aztec Slugger if you’re having this after 4pm. And take the advice of some of the reviewers and cut the booze in half. You want this adult hot cocoa to warm you up – not knock you out.

BONUS Best Topping Ever: Marshmallow Whipped Cream

Do you ever have the debate with your kids (or yourself) – do I top my hot chocolate with whipped cream or marshmallows? Now, you don’t have to choose. This decadent hot cocoa topper combines homemade whipped cream WITH mini marshmallows folded in. It’s practically a present in a cup.

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