Category Archives: Snacks

Bacon Jam and Brie Tarts

I am a very organized person – I keep an inventory of my pantry, freezers, etc. on my phone. But sometimes I’m *still* surprised by what I find! A few days ago, I found a jar of bacon jam in the pantry. I thought, “What on earth did I buy this for? What was I planning to make with this?” So, I decided to do some online searching for recipes using bacon jam. I came across one on the Wry Toast blog, but it had instructions to *make* bacon jam (which I already had!), so I just adapted their method using my store-bought bacon jam. I ended up taking these to a friend’s house, and they were so popular that my friend asked me to bring these to the next party! These are soooo tasty! Enjoy!

Bacon Jam and Brie Tarts

Slightly adapted from Wry Toast blog
Serves 15 (appetizer)

2.5 Tbsp bacon jam (I used HEB’s Cookwell & Company Better Than Good Bacon Jam)
4 oz brie, rind cut off
1 pkg Athens Filo shells (15 per pkg)

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Place phyllo shells into mini muffin pans. Cut rind off brie, then cut into 15 pieces. Place one piece of cheese into each shell. Top each with 1/2 tsp of bacon jam.

3. Bake for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and shells are browned.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 47.8
Total Fat: 3.3 g
Saturated Fat:1.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.6 g
Cholesterol: 8.4 mg
Sodium: 72.6 mg
Potassium: 11.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 2.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Sugars: 0.7 g
Protein: 1.7 g


Spicy Polenta Chips with Roasted Red Pepper Dip

I’m always looking for different snack ideas to make to go alongside our Friday night cocktails, and this was a recipe from a friend that I wanted to try. So, last week, I decided to make this for a Friday night snack. I make the dip the night before, so the flavors had time to meld. And I made the chips just before serving (although my chip-making skills leave a lot to be desired!). The result? John and I ate ALL of this, and it was tasty! We will definitely be making this again!

Spicy polenta chips with roasted red pepper dip - done

Spicy Polenta Chips with Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Recipe from IMILLER19100
Serves 2

Spicy Polenta Chips:
1/2 cup instant polenta
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili pepper
3/4 cups boiling water
1/8 tsp paprika

Roasted Red Pepper Dip:
1 red pepper, roasted, skinned and seeded
1/4 cup hummus
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp paprika

Spicy Polenta chips:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix polenta and chili powder in a bowl. Add boiling water and stir well. Wait a few minutes to allow the corn to absorb the water. Mixture should be looser than normal polenta. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon-sized dollops of mix onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Using the back of a spoon, spread the corn mix into a disk as thinly as possible without having big holes. Sprinkle chips with paprika. Cook the chips at 450 for 10-11 minutes or until they start to brown and lift up at the edges.
Spicy polenta chips with roasted red pepper dip - polenta Spicy polenta chips with roasted red pepper dip - chips

Roasted Red Pepper Dip:
Set your oven to a high broil (or around 500 degrees). Place whole pepper on its side in a pan and put in the oven. Rotate the pepper on its side a 1/4 turn every 3 to 5 minutes. You want the skin to get blackened, but not split open. Total roasting time should be 15-20 minutes, rotating as needed for an even char.

Remove pepper from the oven and place in bowl with a cover. Let pepper sit covered, steaming for 10-15 minutes. Once pepper is cool enough to handle, peel off the skin. Then pull off the stem and scrape out the seeds. Squeeze out any excess juice as you do so.

Slice the roasted pepper into 4 or 5 chunks, making sure to remove any blackened skin or seeds. Place roasted pepper chunks in a food processor and process for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides as needed. Let pepper puree sit until completely cooled. If any excess liquid collects, drain the puree.

Add hummus, chili pepper, cumin and vinegar to the puree. Stir well or process for another 15 seconds. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Garnish with paprika.
Spicy polenta chips with roasted red pepper dip - dip

Enjoy with homemade spicy polenta chips.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 168.0
Total Fat: 1.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 4.4 mg
Total Carbs: 38.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.1 g
Protein: 3.8 g

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Muffins

Every so often, I have a craving for something sweet (but not too sweet) to go along with a cup of tea or coffee. Or for something that is a great grab-and-go sort of breakfast. These muffins fit the bill, and are easy to make and tasty, too!

Baked apple cinnamon oatmeal - done

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Muffins
Adapted from Emily Bites
Serves 12

Cooking spray (I use my misto)
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
1 egg
¾ cup skim milk
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup peeled chopped fresh apples

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly mist 12 cups in a muffin tin with cooking spray.

2. Combine the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg white, egg, applesauce, milk and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until blended together. Fold in the chopped apples.

4. Spoon the oatmeal mixture evenly between the prepared muffin cups. Bake uncovered for 18-22 minutes or until oatmeal is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 90.4
Total Fat: 1.4 g
Saturated Fat: 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 15.8 mg
Sodium: 128.5 mg
Potassium: 64.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 18.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
Sugars: 9.3 g
Protein: 3.1 g

Homemade Graham Crackers

There are many things I make at home rather than buy in a store, but I never thought that graham crackers would be one of them! That is, until I read this book – “The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making” by Alana Chernila.

We were planning to have friends visit soon, and I thought the weather would be perfect for s’mores, so it seemed like a perfect time to make the graham crackers! Although making crackers may seem difficult, I thought it wouldn’t me much different than making cookies. As it turned out, it was easier than making cookies – since the cutting process is much easier when the “cookies” are the same shape and size (and are squares!).

The verdict? These were fantastic! They worked really well as s’mores, and we ended up using them the next day for the crust of a key lime pie, too! We will definitely be making these again, and I will probably never need to buy graham crackers!

Graham crackers - done

Homemade Graham Crackers
Slightly adapted from “The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making” by Alana Chernila
Makes 36 graham crackers

1 cup all-purpose flour (I used all-purpose ultragrain flour)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup (2 oz) packed dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 Tbsp (2 oz) shortening (I used Spectrum organic – it has no trans fats)
4 Tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1 tsp granulated sugar
Graham crackers - ingredients Graham crackers - butter & shortening

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flours with the salt, baking soda, baking powder, and the brown sugar. Mix for 10 seconds using the paddle attachment, then add the butter and shortening. Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Graham crackers - mixing in the mixer Graham crackers - dry ingredients Graham crackers - mixing in the mixer part 2 Graham crackers - mixing in the mixer 3

2. Combine the honey and vanilla with 1/4 cup cold water in a liquid measuring cup and stir to combine until the honey is mostly dissolved. With the mixer running on medium-low speed, slowly pour the honey mixture into the bowl, giving the mixture time to absorb the liquid. Continue to mix for another 20 seconds, or until the dough comes together. It will still be slightly crumbly. Push the dough into a ball, wrap it in waxed paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. (The dough can be wrapped and frozen at this point).

Graham crackers -  dough chill

3. Take the dough out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you are ready to bake. Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the dough in thirds, and lay one third between two sheets of waxed paper dusted with rye flour. Roll the dough as thin as you can get it, ideally 1/8 inch. It will still be slightly crumbly, but just press it back together and keep rolling. Use a pizza wheel or cutter to cut into graham-cracker sized pieces. Use a spatula to separate the pieces from the waxed paper and set them on an ungreased baking sheet. The crackers won’t spread, so they can be quite close. Reroll any scraps and repeat – then repeat with the remaining dough.

Graham crackers - rolling dough Graham Crackers - cutting dough Graham crackers - ready to bake

4. Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle the crackers with the sugar and prick the dough several times with a fork. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until just starting to brown at the edges. Cool on a wire rack. The crackers are great out of the oven, but their flavor and texture improves the next day.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 60.7
Total Fat: 2.4 g
Cholesterol: 2.6 mg
Sodium: 48.1 mg
Total Carbs: 9.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 1.0 g