Cheesy Black Bean Bacon Dip | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cheesy Black Bean Bacon Dip

Cheesy Black Bean Bacon Dip | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I start out with good intentions. Black beans are supposed to be healthy. Salsa is full of vegetables. I’m going to make a healthy dish. But wait. You know what would make this better? Cheese. Definitely plenty of gooey cheese. And if we’re going to add cheese in, we might as well make it super awesome and add in some bacon as well. I can’t help myself. I can’t say no to awesomeness.

Cheesy Black Bean Bacon Dip | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This dip comes together in no time and makes plenty to go around. You can subtly change up the flavor depending on the salsa you use. If you like something sweeter, choose a mild salsa. If you like a smoky flavor, find something with chipotle. If heat is your thing, try a habanero or ghost pepper salsa. Or if you’re really dedicated, make your own.

Cheesy Black Bean Bacon Dip | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

In case you were wondering, it’s totally okay to eat dip for dinner. And adding in a bit of bacon can only make life better. It’s gonna be okay. Just go with it.

Cheesy Black Bean Bacon Dip
Serves 4
Spicy, cheesy black bean dip with crispy bacon is delicious and almost healthy.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 slices bacon, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  2. 1 can black beans, drained
  3. 1 cup salsa
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  5. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 1 cup shredded monterrey jack cheese
Instructions
  1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon pieces to a paper towel lined plate.
  2. Add the beans to the bacon fat and use your potato masher to give the beans a squish. You don't need to smash every single bean, but you just want to add some creaminess.
  3. Stir in the salsa and seasoning and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cheese until it's melted, the sprinkle the bacon pieces over the top.
Adapted from 1001 Fast and Easy Recipes
Adapted from 1001 Fast and Easy Recipes
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Blue Cheese Crackers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Blue Cheese Crackers

Blue Cheese Crackers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day  

I’m in complete denial that another year is coming to an end. I don’t know how to handle it, so I’m just going to ignore it. It’s too late to worry about all the books I didn’t read, all the movies I didn’t watch, or all the recipes I didn’t try. Once again I spent too much time sleeping and not enough time exploring. Too much time working and not enough time living. Even so, it was an awesome year, and I’m ready to celebrate it.

The chances of me getting an invitation to a party that requires high heels and a sparkly dress. It’s much more likely that I’ll be at home in bare feet and yoga pants, but I would never let that stop me from eating some fancy food if I can. To me, it doesn’t get any better than a beautiful cheese plate.

Blue Cheese Crackers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

And while there certainly is an art to assembling a perfect cheese plate, it always feels a bit like cheating to me since I don’t have to cook anything. If you want to add a homemade element to your cheese plate, try making your own homemade Blue Cheese Crackers. It’s almost too easy.

These crackers are flaky, buttery, and flavorful, but not overly strong. There’s a hint of blue cheese, and they taste great all by themselves or loaded up with some other stars of your cheese plate. The dough comes together quickly and rolls out smoothly. I cut mine into squares with a pizza cutter, but you could make whatever shapes you like.

Blue Cheese Crackers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Here’s to an awesome year, and to more adventures to come. May it be filled with good friends, good wine, good food, and Blue Cheese Crackers.

Blue Cheese Crackers
Yields 25
Blue Cheese Crackers are flaky, buttery, and flavorful. Be sure to give them a spot on your next cheese plate.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup mcrumbled blue cheese
  2. 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  3. 1 egg yollk
  4. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  5. 1/4 cup corn meal
  6. pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together blue cheese, butter, and egg yolk with an electric mixer until smooth.
  2. Turn the mixer down to its lowest setting and mix in the flour, corn meal, and salt until combined.
  3. Press the dough together and wrap it in plastic wrap. Press it into a disc and refrigerate for at least a half hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  5. Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface to about a quarter inch thickness. Cut dough into the desired shape and place on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake crackers for 10-12 minutes. They should be golden brown and slightly puffy. Allow crackers to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes then cool on a wire rack.
  7. Serve on an awesome cheese plate with plenty of tasty treats or snack on them all by themselves.
Adapted from How to be a Domestic Goddess
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Mini Pork Pies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Mini Pork Pies

Mini Pork Pies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Writing a blog post when I’m exhausted out of my mind is always a bad idea. Words? What are those? Do I know how to make sentences? Am I even human? What’s happening? One thing I know for sure is that time never stops and while hard work won’t get you everything it will get you a whole lot further than laziness.

When I was a kid, we always left cookies and milk out for Santa on Christmas Eve. If we were especially on the ball, they were monstrously decorated sugar cookies that my brother and I loaded up with way too much candy. I was never ever good at art. I always just naively assumed that everyone left cookies and milk for Santa. Not so.

Mini Pork Pies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Apparently, in England, they leave pork pies out for Father Christmas to snack on. He can apparently also get cookies if he’s lucky, and in at least one house in Lancashire, he could stop off for a shot of rum. It’s a stressful night, I guess. A bit of booze may be exactly what he needs. 

I also learned that you can buy pork pies from a vending machine in England, which kind of freaked me out. Room temperature meat? Turns out those machines are refrigerated. Not to worry. Still, I think we can do a bit better.

Making your own pork pies is actually quite simple, especially if you’re lazy, like me, and you use store-bought pie crust. Just mix together some finely chopped onion and ground pork, along with a few seasonings. Nestle it down into some pie crust, give it a lid, paint on some egg wash, and pop it in the oven.

These are a great little snack for a party. Easy to eat with your hands and finish in two to three bites. No need for a knife and fork, so you can keep holding your drink in the other hand. I imagine that’s how the English would do it.

Mini Pork Pies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

If you can’t get your favorite treats from back home, there’s a pretty good chance you can make them yourself. Mini pork pies are an awesome place to start.

Mini Pork Pies
Yields 12
Pie crust surrounds a pocket of savory ground pork, perfect for a party.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  2. 1 pound ground pork
  3. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  4. 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  5. 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  6. 2 sheet refrigerated pie crust or your favorite recipe
  7. 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. Pop your half onion into a food processor and give it a spin until you have small bits. Add the ground pork to the processor and pulse 4-5 times. Add the seasonings to the meat and pulse a few more times to combine. Refrigerate if you're not going to use it right away.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 and lightly spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray.
  3. Roll out your pie dough on a lightly floured surface. You'll want to be careful with your dough because you'll just barely have enough. Start by thinning out the dough just a bit.
  4. Cut 12 11-centimeter circles from your pie dough and 12 8-centimeter circles. You'll have to re-roll the scraps several times, but you can just make it.
  5. Use your large circles to create the base of your pie by pressing it gently into the cups of your muffin pan. Fill each pie with about two tablespoons of the meat mixture. Place a small circle on top of each pie and gently pinch the top and bottom together.
  6. Brush the top of each pie lightly with the beaten egg, and use a sharp knife to cut an X shaped vent into the top of each pie.
  7. Bake your pies for about 40 minutes or until your pie crust is golden brown. Allow the pies to cool for several minutes in the pan, then gently lift them out to cool completely. Pies can be eaten warm or cold, preferably with a drink in hand.
Adapted from BBC Good Food
Adapted from BBC Good Food
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls with Ham and Cheddar | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls with Ham and Cheddar

Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls with Ham and Cheddar | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m a believer in simplicity. My style is generally low key and classic. It keeps life from getting too complicated and doesn’t draw unnecessary attention to the giant lady in the room. I’m also mostly pro simplicity in the kitchen. I’m busy, and I don’t like things to get too crazy. But every now and then, even I need a little sparkle in my life. It feels good to slip on a cocktail dress or a sharp suit, and it can be awesomely delicious to trash up your favorite classic foods with some indulgent ingredients.

Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls with Ham and Cheddar | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I took traditional sausage rolls and added ham, cheddar, and a bit of mustard. It’s salty, a little spicy, cheesy, greasy (in an awesome way) and completely delicious. Regular sausage rolls are great but these have that extra little bit of sparkle that makes them special. It can’t hurt to get crazy every once in a while. These Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls are perfect for a party because they can be served warm or cold, and they’re awesome either way. They also travel well, so there’s really no excuse not to make them for every conceivable situation.

My English gentleman gives them an enthusiastic thumbs up. In fact,he literally ran to the kitchen when I reminded him they were there. If  he gets excited, you know they have to be good. And if you want to make them extra fancy by spending a bit more money, you could sub the ham for proscuitto and use an aged English cheddar. I like it fancy, but I’m still cheap, so deli ham and cheap cheese work just as well.

Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls with Ham and Cheddar | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Put something fancy in your life every now and then. The added effort is minimal, and the effect is awesome. 

Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls with Ham and Cheddar
Yields 12
Traditional sausage rolls are made fancy with a slice of ham, a pinch of sharp cheddar, and a shot of mustard.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  2. 12 thin slices ham
  3. 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  4. Yellow mustard
  5. 1 pound sausage meat (I used Jimmy Dean Sage)
  6. 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Get all of your filling ingredients ready so you can assemble your rolls quickly before the dough gets warm. I remove all the sausage from the roll and put it on a small plate. Then use a steak knife to cut the sausage down the middle lengthwise, then into six sections across to divide it into twelve pieces.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, unfold one sheet of your puff pastry. Use a pizza cutter to cut your puff pastry into six rectangles. Add a slice of ham, an pinch of cheese, and a thin line of mustard to each section. Add a 12th of the sausage to each section and spread it lengthwise. You can go all the way to the end of the roll, but be sure to leave empty space along the sides to seal.
  3. Here's how I roll them. Pull the right side of the dough up and into the middle of the sausage. Dab a bit of water down the side of the dough you just folded over. Pick up the whole section and hold it in your non-dominant hand. Stretch and pull the other side of the dough to overlap slightly and seal the roll. Use a fork to close up the seam, then place the roll, seam side down, on your baking sheet.
  4. Brush your beaten egg on the top of each roll, then use a sharp knife to cut two vents into each roll.
  5. Put the first set of rolls in the oven for 25 minutes, and repeat the process with the second sheet of puff pastry.
  6. Allow the rolls to cool on the pan for a few minutes, then remove them to a wire rack. These can be served warm, room temp, or cold.
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Pork and Onion Hand Pies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Pork and Onion Hand Pies

Pork and Onion Hand Pies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Do you ever feel like a mad scientist in the kitchen? I normally a recipe follower, so I don’t wing it very often. Of course, even with a recipe, the first time you make it is still an experiment. How will all the different variables perform in your kitchen? Sometimes it turns out amazing, sometimes not so much. This experiment, though, was a huge success.

Pork and Onion Hand Pies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

It was my husband’s birthday recently, and he wanted some of his favorite English foods for his party. One of the things he requested was mini-pork pies. I followed the recipe, basically, and the pork pies came out good, but I had a ton of filling leftover. I cooked it up and stored it in my fridge until I could think of what else to do with it. That’s when the idea for these hand pies came to me.

I made my life in a hot kitchen a little bit easier by using store bought pie crust and piled some pork and onion, jarred gravy, and shredded sharp cheddar onto rounds of dough. Each pie got a lid, got brushed with an egg wash, then got popped into the oven. I was nervous the first time I tried them. Some of my experiments have been less than awesome, including another one I tried this week with the rest of the leftover pork. But this one was heavenly. Soft flaky crust surrounding savory pork and onion, a punch of flavor and richness from the cheese and gravy. Man, I’m a genius.

Pork and Onion Hand Pies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Experimenting in the kitchen can be exciting. And when it works, it not only satisfies your hunger, it also satisfies your creativity. Go mad. Make something awesome.

Pork and Onion Hand Pies
Yields 8
Flaky pie crust surrounds pork, onion, cheese and gravy for a quick dinner or transportable snack
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 1/4 onion, chopped
  3. 1/2 pound ground pork
  4. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  5. 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  6. 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  7. 2 sheets refrigerated pie dough, or your favorite recipe
  8. 8 tablespoons gravy (use your favorite)
  9. 8 tablespoon shredded sharp cheddar
  10. 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the oil, then add the onion and cook for about five minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add the pork, nutmeg, mustard powder, and Worcestershire sauce, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through. You can do all of this a few days ahead of time and store the cooked meat in a sealed container in the fridge. Use leftovers from another recipe if you have them.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375
  3. Roll out your pie dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut 16 circles, about four inches in diameter. I was able to get 8 circles out of each sheet by re-rolling the scraps a couple of times.
  4. Place eight circles onto a parchment lined baking sheet or two. Add a big spoonful of pork and onion to each circle. Add a pinch of cheese and a large spoonful of gravy onto each pile of meat.
  5. Use your finger to trace some water around the edge of each dough circle, then place a second circle on top and press the dough together around the edges with a fork.
  6. Brush beaten egg over the top of each pie, then use a sharp knife to cut a couple of vents into the top of each one.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes for a sturdy, but softer dough, or 20 minutes for a more crispy pie.
  8. Allow the pies to cool for at least 10 minutes. The insides will be very hot. These are also great at room temperature. Feed your friends and family and revel in your genius.
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...