Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats: November 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

I'm trying to not get all 'tree-hugger' on you, but I made my own peanut butter the other day.  I had two very fine, almost full jars of store bought peanut butter in my cupboard, but I made this anyway.  I have always been intrigued to see if grinding up nuts really did turn into peanut butter.
Let me be the first to tell you.  It works.
I wonder if peanut butter factories do it that way too?  Throw a whole bunch of peanuts in a blender the size of Texas and call it a day?  Does anyone have any insight on the peanut butter business?
Am I boring you?

I am very much still a kid at heart.  My co-workers often make fun of me because one of my all-time-favorite-go-to lunch is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  It's easy to pack in the mornings that I work and frankly it tastes good.
With that being said, I often eat it for breakfast as well, but on toast, like here.  So grab your inner-preschool-heart and spread some homemade peanut butter and jam on toast.
It might take you all the way back to when you were five.
Honey Roasted Peanut Butter
1 c. honey roasted peanuts
1 T. honey
1/4 t. salt
Combine all in a food processor or blender.  It will take a bit.  First it will chop, then start to resemble coarse crumbs, then get gummy (is that a word?), then finally roll itself into a ball and become smooth.
Yields 1/4 c. of peanut butter.

I'm wondering if I added some Nutella if this would just become over the top.  What do you think?  Because you know, God created chocolate and peanut butter to go together. 

Didn't you learn that in Sunday School like me?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mile-High Buttermilk Biscuits

Every good soup needs a biscuit.  
Every good fried egg needs a biscuit to sandwich between.
Every spoonful of homemade jam needs a biscuit to be slathered on.  
We all just need a good buttermilk biscuit.

mile high buttermilk biscuits (

Children are painful.

Literally, painful.  It starts with birth {and we all know, how painful that is, I won't go into details}, then we move onto sore muscles from cradling an infant 23 out of the 24 hours a day, not to mention the lack of sleep, then you have to start chasing them around the house as they crawl, then walk, all the while you are stubbing toes and tripping over toys.

And did I mention that biting/hitting stage?  Where they think it is hilarious?  I tell you, nothing will make you whip around quicker from the kitchen counter than a swift bite to the inner thigh, with a laughing toddler behind you.

Saturday while minding my own business with the little miss on my lap, she suddenly flew her head back right onto the bridge of my nose.  Talk about immediate tears and having the wind knocked out of me.  An immediate headache, and many doses of ibuprofen later, I am now down to a mild headache and a grey bruise crossing my nose.

It's fun being a mother.

All I really want for Christmas is a massage.

mile high buttermilk biscuits (

Luckily, before I got a swift kick to the face, I made these biscuits.  Heavenly!  I had taken some soup out of the freezer earlier in the day, and well, we certainly couldn't eat just soup. Enter in this biscuit.  I have finally tweaked my recipe and I am officially never altering it again.

It's perfect.

Mile-High Buttermilk Biscuits
2 c. flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. unsalted, cold butter
1/4 to 1/2 c. buttermilk

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2.  In a bowl combine all dry ingredients.  Cut cold butter into small chunks and using a pastry blender, knife or fork, cut butter into dry ingredients until coarse crumbs form.  
3.  Slowly mix in buttermilk, until dough starts to come together.  Use as much buttermilk as needed to get the dough together and slightly wet.
4.  Flour a flat surface, along with the dough so it doesn't stick, and flatten dough to 1 in. thickness.  With a round cookie cutter or glass drinking glass, cut out biscuits.  
5.  Lay on greased baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  

Yields 6 biscuits.

mile high buttermilk biscuits (

Sunday, November 25, 2012

DIY Hot Cocoa Mix

When you walk outside in the morning and find that it is now time to scrape your car windows from frost, then it is time for a warm drink.

A hot, thick, chocolaty drink.

I'm not a coffee drinker {although, I do love the smell of it}, so if I am going to drink a hot drink its either tea or hot chocolate.  This will warm up your bones and give you the little jolt of caffeine to get you through the day.

I have yet to make this without scalding the roof of my mouth and tongue, but I am a work in progress...someday I'll learn to let it cool before guzzling.

DIY Hot Cocoa Mix
2 3/4 c. nonfat dry milk powder
2 c. powdered nondairy creamer
1 c. powdered sugar
3/4 c. baking cocoa
1 pkg. {3.9 oz} instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 c. miniature chocolate chips

In a large airtight container mix the first five ingredients.  If desired, stir in chocolate chips.  Store mix in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

To prepare cocoa, place 1/3 c. of mix in a mug and pour in 3/4 c. hot milk until blended.

Another great gift idea for the holidays!  Perfect for a stocking stuffer or Secret Santa gift at work.  I'm sure I'll be making up another batch soon, as I don't see this one lasting us too long.

Oh and did I mention throwing a dash of rum or Kahlua in this wouldn't be that bad of an idea either!  For the adults, that is.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sweet Potato Streusel Muffins

Please, please, pleeeesssee tell me you have some leftover sweet potato casserole from Thanksgiving in your fridge from crazy old Aunt Rita.

If you do {which you should}, now put that mushed-up, lovely sweet potato puree into this muffin batter.  Then bake.  Then eat.  Then thank me.

I can be a little obsessed with muffins.  I'm pretty sure I've never made the same muffin twice.  I'll swap out something here or there to make each batch different.  It drives the husband crazy.  Just when he likes one, he'll never see it again. 

I hope he has a good memory.

Sweet Potato Streusel Muffins
*makes 16 muffins
2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/4 c. canola oil
1 c. sweet potato puree {blend in food processor to get smooth}
1 1/2 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a muffin pan with cooking spray or line with muffin liners.
In a medium bowl combine all dry ingredients. In another medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients, then beat with a mixer on medium for 1 minute. Add wet to dry, making sure not to over mix. Spoon batter 3/4 cup full into muffin tin.

For streusel topping: In a small bowl combine 1/4 c. flour, 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1/2 t. cinnamon and 2 T. cold, unsalted butter. Cut with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle this mixture onto the muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Now.  Listen.

Sit back.  Relax.  Enjoy your hot cup of coffee or tea and eat this muffin.

You deserve it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Baked Chicken Parm Subs

It's the day before Thanksgiving.  Lets not all pretend like we don't still need to eat.  There are still three square meals to be had today, the most important one being dinner.  And have I got a meal for you.  A simple, easy and mouth-watering meal.

Remember, say a month ago when I promised these subs on Facebook?  Well, life got in the way and I forgot about them.

So this past weekend when I roasted yet another chicken, I saved some of the meat for these subs.  We had them for lunch on Saturday and Sunday.  And I would have continued having them this week if I hadn't run out of bread, meat, sauce and cheese.

There is something to be said for warm, toasty, melty subs out of the oven.  Anytime I see subs, of any form, on a menu, my eyes are immediately transfixed.  I can look at other options but my number one choice always comes back to the sub.

You'd think I was from New York or Chicago or something.

Yet, here I live breathing in the glorious Iowa air.

Baked Chicken Parm Subs
*makes 4 large subs
4 hoagie or sub rolls
3 c. shredded chicken
2 c. marinara or spaghetti sauce
tons of mozzarella cheese
garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Butter both sides of each side of bread, sprinkling with garlic salt.  Lay face down on a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven.

In a bowl combine shredded chicken and sauce.  Top chicken onto the bottom side of the toasted rolls and sprinkle dump on cheese.  Put those bottom halves topped with chicken and cheese back into the oven until cheese is melted.

Remove from the oven, top with other half of sub and eat your little heart away.

You want to eat this photo, don't you?

Are you a sandwich person?  Cold or Hot?

Monday, November 19, 2012

White Chicken Chili

I know...another soup recipe.  Sorry!  I just cannot get enough of soup.  Our family loves soup and when I find something we love I tend to go overboard.  And then they get sick of it.  So pretty soon, I'll be moving on to more variations of pizza or something.
Another thing, they and I love.
A good friend, old co-worker, who I haven't seen in ions, but thanks to the world of social media I still keep in touch with, gave me this recipe a few weeks ago.  She posted a picture of it on her page and I immediately messaged her for the recipe.
I'm a recipe stalker.  Beware if you post a photo of food and it's looks even halfway enticing, you'll soon have a message from me, begging for the recipe.

I did make a few variations because I was lazy and didn't want to make a trip to the store, but for the most part kept the recipe close to how she made it.
It does have a kick!  If you can't handle the smoky, spicy flavor, I'd just cut back on the green chilies or omit the cayenne pepper.  But, you know me, I love a good nose run while hovered over a bowl of soup.
White Chicken Chili
3 c. cooked shredded chicken
1 med. onion, diced
1 t. garlic powder
1 T. olive oil
1 can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
1 t. salt
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 C sour cream
1/2 C whipping cream
In large saucepan, saute onion in oil until soft. Add in chicken, beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat and add in sour cream and whipping cream. Serve immediately.  Serves 4.

I'm officially starting to get into the holiday spirit.  I won't be shopping any of the Black Friday deals, but I will be mentally preparing what I need to make and buy for all our loved ones.

I've got some great ideas!

Plus, I've got our 2nd Annual Holiday Dinner Party to plan.  Argh!  But, it is so much fun, that it doesn't really seem like work, you know?

So, are you ready for Thanksgiving this week, U.S. readers?  I personally cannot believe it is here already...

Just yesterday it seemed we were outside playing in the sprinkler with the kids.  Long are those days!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken

In between a little work, the kids, meals, the dogs and well everything else it takes to run a household I've been reading this book.  Anyone care to join me?  I first heard about it from this blogger, and it sounded like a perfect read for me.

I'm about halfway though.  You could call it a cookbook, you could call it a memoir.  Basically, it's both and really good.  The author, Jenny, actually {she really did} chronicle 14 years of dinners.  Folks, she kept a dinner diary.  No matter what they were having, whether it be fancy, frozen or leftovers, she wrote it down. 

Then got a book deal, which I think it genius.

Lately, I've been letting the husband do the grocery shopping.  I think he kinda likes it, other than the price tag.  For the past two weeks it just seems whenever I needed to go, something came up.  Sick child, an appointment, work, whatever.

There is one problem.  Sometimes he comes home with the darnedest things.  Like 3 whole chickens and 5 containers of cottage cheese, yet no actual cheese.  His thought is, if it's on sale buy a lot of it.  Which I agree is right, but seriously what do I do with 3 WHOLE chickens and 5 containers of cottage cheese?

The only thing I can do I guess.  Roast those darn chickens.

It's so simple.

Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken
1 whole chicken {2-4 lb. range}
olive oil
fresh garlic

Clean the chicken, by running cold water all over it {inside and out - removing any neck/heart/etc. pieces if they are included}.  Pat dry and set in a large roasting pan on top of a wire rack.

Generously rub the chicken with olive oil and freshly minced garlic {including under the skin if possible}.  Sprinkle on parsley, salt and pepper.  Take the juice of one lemon and drizzle all over the chicken, then stuff the lemons into the chicken cavity.  Finally, take small bits of butter and place on the chicken.

Place in a 375 degree oven and cook for 2 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 170 degrees.  Allow to cool before eating or removing meat from bones.

So, today I have a huge Ziploc bag full of shredded chicken.  Here are my plans.  I'm getting 3 meals out of this bird! {Thanks, hubby}.

Baked Chimichangas
White Chicken Chili
Baked Chicken Parmesan Subs

I better get moving, because well, it's Saturday and that means we've got lots of football to watch as well.  And I need to keep reading this book.

Oh and take care of the kids.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

DIY Holiday Foodie Gifts {10 Fun Ideas}

Last year I estimate 60% of the gifts given out by our family during the holidays were either handmade or homemade.  An effort I plan to do again this year.  I find it fun, thinking and brainstorming up items that our friends and family will enjoy, and even better, its feels good to give a loved one something that really means something.

I've been browsing websites and blogs to find some of the most creative foodie ideas for 2012.  Here is my Top 10.  I hope you enjoy and better yet make some of these.

Oh and P.S.

If you are one of the lucky ones invited to my holiday dinner party this year, you may, just receive one of these as a door prize, or have the chance to purchase them for yourself!

Need I say more?  It's simple to melt these ingredients together, and ever simpler to package it up as a gift.  I wonder if you could make enough to bathe in it?

DIY Holiday Foodie Gifts...10 Fun Ideas (

I think everyone loves a good nut.  Spiced?  Even better.  A little decorative packaging takes this gift to a whole 'nother level.  A great stocking stuffer idea.

DIY Holiday Foodie Gifts...10 Fun Ideas (

I'm a bit of a pancake snob.  I take the time to make them homemade at least once a week {we love pancakes in our house}.  I'll often double the batch and freeze them for quick breakfasts.  This mix sounds awesome.  Blueberries.  Pecans.  Heaven.

DIY Holiday Foodie Gifts...10 Fun Ideas (

I almost died when I saw this one.  Champagne?  Homemade fruit puree?  In a fun ice bucket?  Yes, please!  Give this on Christmas Eve, so it can be used up promptly Christmas morning.

DIY Holiday Foodie Gifts...10 Fun Ideas (

I love the simplicity of these bags, with a simple holiday touch.  Plus, brown bags are inexpensive and so are the pine needles I can get out of my front yard.  Double bonus.

DIY Holiday Foodie Gifts...10 Fun Ideas (

I admit, I'm not a big eggnog drinker, because during the holidays if I'm relaxed and wanting a fun drink I'll usually go for beer or wine.  But, I do love the smell and taste of it.  I can only imagine how moist and flavorful it makes baked goods. This bread is on my list to make.  Stat.

DIY Holiday Foodie Gifts...10 Fun Ideas (

Rubba, dub, dub!  I think making our own spice varieties is a TON better than buying pre-made ones.  You never know how much salt or other additives are in them.  This would be great on chicken, fish or steak.  Even sprinkled on pastas or cheese bread!

DIY Holiday Foodie Gifts...10 Fun Ideas (

Take-No-Prisoners Hot Sauce
I love spicy food.  My whole family does.  Gosh, I hope my kids do someday as well.  They might be disowned if they don't.  This hot sauce looks incredibly easy to make and do even get me started on how cute these bottles are.

DIY Holiday Foodie Gifts...10 Fun Ideas (

Any time we are eating soup or pasta, I think we HAVE to have some sort of bread to go along with it.  It is most certainly not the rule, but very much enjoyed when we have a "dunker" to clean up the last drippings of soup or sauce on our plate.  I have a feeling this bread would do just fine.

DIY Holiday Foodie Gifts...10 Fun Ideas (

I actually did give this idea away last year {although, mine didn't look as cute}.  We are bogged down with every Christmas cookie under the sun during December, but what happens in February when we want a cookie?  This frozen cookie dough is what happens.  You'll be happy you received it as a gift back during the holidays.

DIY Holiday Foodie Gifts...10 Fun Ideas (

So, tell me.  In the comments tell me which of my Top 10 DIY Holiday Foodie Gifts is your favorite.  If I reach 30 comments, I'll pick a random winner for a fun holiday gift.

30 comments people!

Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

O'Henry Bars

We were home ALL weekend.  Like, the whole weekend.  I don't think I left the house.  At all.  Seriously.  When I loaded up the kids this morning in their car seats, I actually thought to myself, when is the last time I drove my car?
Last Thursday, going to work?  The husband went to the store for me on Saturday, yesterday with the holiday, everything was closed, yep, it must have been last Thursday.
Crazy.  But kinda neat too.  You should try it sometime.

You know what saves me from going crazy?  Cooking and baking.  I want to relax while both kids are down for their nap, but I always have the itch to get in the kitchen.  It's a slight problem I have.  Not relaxing.  I seemed to do it well before kids, but after kids, its hard for me to sit down until everything is put away, dinner is prepped and laundry is at least started.

So one day over this past weekend {I can't remember when, remember I didn't leave the house, the days all ran together}I made these bars.
People, these are delicious!   And so simple.  I was flipping through a local Bunco cookbook I got last year and saw these {which reminds me, I haven't played Bunco in forever}......I knew I had to make them.
We can't help it.  We are a family that needs one sweet treat in our house at all times.  We allow ourselves a piece after dinner and aren't ashamed of doing this.  These came together so quickly and were so good, I promptly texted a neighbor and told her I was baking and I'd be delivering a plate of goodies in the next 20 minutes.
So, yes, I did leave the house once.  But we walked, so that doesn't count.  Funny thing is, she didn't get my text, so I delivered them anyway, showing up at her door like she should be expecting me, only to get back home and then get a text saying "Ha!  Just got your text.  LOL".  She probably wondered why I just randomly showed up at her door with treats.
Not that she complained.
Enough rambling.  Here's the recipe.
O'Henry Bars

4 c. oatmeal
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. chocolate chips

Grease an 8x8 baking pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together softened cream cheese, butter, oats and sugars.  Press into the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

In the microwave or on low heat over the stove top, melt together peanut butter and chocolate chips.  Spread evenly over the crust.  Allow to cool, store in the fridge to set.

So on to another topic.  Books!  I finished Emily & Einstein awhile back and I think I will give it 3.5 stars.  Pretty darn good, but not the greatest book I've ever read.  But, at the same time, made me want to keep reading.

I would recommend it.

I just finished Heart of the Matter and liked it, but was unhappy with the ending.  I always, ALWAYS want the lovebirds to get together in the end.  It didn't happen.  But still a good book.

Tonight I'm heading to the library to look for the following:
I hope they have at least one of them.  Have you read any of them???

Sunday, November 11, 2012

How to Make Homemade Frozen Pizzas

Take an afternoon and make a batch of your own homemade frozen pizzas.
What a relief it is to grab one out of the freezer when dinner is rushed!

make your own frozen pizzas (

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Growing up Thursday nights was frozen pizza night.  My dad headed off to the country club for men's night, either to play golf or cards.  So it was us siblings at home with mom.  Almost always a frozen Tombstone pizza was thrown in the oven.

I would be scared to actually find out how many frozen pizzas I've eaten in my lifetime.  It was certainly at least one a week from the ages of birth {well, okay, maybe 3} until I left for college at 17.  That is a lot of frozen pizza.

But, I don't blame my mom or the convenience of it.  It was easy and quite frankly good. Now today, if we purchase pizza, we prefer the fresh Papa Murphy's take-n-bake, SO much better, but I am still not above a frozen pizza.  It fills the belly.

make your own frozen pizzas (

With all this being said, I recently saw a couple of blogs where they made their OWN frozen pizza.  I didn't even know that was possible.  So, I semi followed their directions and set out to make two of my own on Friday, when the kiddos napped.

It's quite simple!

How to Make Homemade Frozen Pizzas

Step 1: Prepare pizza dough.  I use this recipe.  It never fails me.

Step 2:  Gather all ingredients and preheat oven and pizza stone to 425 degrees.  I love this pizza stone as it has handles!

Step 3:  Roll/stretch out dough to desired shape.  Place dough on hot pizza stone and bake for 3-5 minutes.  Just until it is starting to cook and easy to remove from oven.

Step 4:  Place par-baked dough on a baking sheet and assemble {sauce, cheese, toppings}.

Step 5:  Place in a deep freeze or freezer for at least 45 minutes, uncovered.

Step 6:  Remove from freezer and tightly wrap in plastic wrap, also including directions for baking.  {Most pizzas will reheat at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so}.

Step 7:  Place back in freezer, where the pizza can stay for up to 3 months.

After this, I promptly opened a bottle of wine that night.  It had been quite a week.  The little miss came down with chicken pox {yes, even after the vaccine}.  Thankfully she felt fine, just had a trunk full of spots, but it did require here to be in quarantine for many days.

Being stuck at home is not fun with two filled-with-energy toddlers.

I needed this wine.  Please don't judge.

make your own frozen pizzas (

Friday, November 9, 2012

Caramelized Brown Butter Butternut Squash {+Tuitorial}

Squash of any variety is in abundance this time of year.  My neighbor brought me five (5!) butternut squash from her dad's garden.  So far we've dug into one.  Thankfully, they last forever and are forgiving, so if it takes me another 2 weeks to get to one, they don't care.  They wait.

I've got to hand it to Emily over at One Lovely Life, for helping me with this recipe.  Everything she makes and feeds her family is beyond beautiful.  And she is expecting her second little one, which makes me gitty with excitement.

Anyway.  Here we go.

Prepare yourself for an upper body workout when slicing chopping up one of these bad boys.  I bet you could probably chuck it across the street and it would still stay in tact.

A step-by-step tuitorial, plus a yummy sauce to bake this in...ready?

Get a LARGE cutting board and the biggest knife you own.
You'll see I upgraded on my knife below.

Slice squash in half, then slice off each end (bottom and top).

Slice again down the middle and begin carefully carving down the sides
to remove the outer skin.  Once skin is removed, slice again down the middle
and scoop out all the seeds and pulp.

Slice into sticks and then into cubes.

Find the biggest bowl you have and dump in all the cubed squash.

Head to the stove.  In a saucepan combine 3 T. butter and melt.  Continue
stirring until bubbly and brown.  It was start to smell caramel-ly and fragrant.
Add in 3 T. brown sugar and 1/2 t. cinnamon, stir to combine and melt.  Pour
into large bowl.  Toss to coat.

Place all squash on a large, rimmed baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for
15 minutes.  Stir.  Bake for another 15 minutes, until soft.

Then you eat.

It all gone.

The husband loved this.  I even got the kids to take a few bites.  Its sweet, but not too sweet, soft, buttery, with a hint of caramel.

We do have some leftovers and I plan to puree it up and dump it into muffin batter.  Or mix it into my fantastic banana bread recipe.  Or through it into our smoothies.

I can't wait.

Have you ever had butternut squash?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hot Crab Rangoon Dip

So, you're sitting in a Chinese restaurant staring at the menu and all you can think about are the delicious, fried, crab rangoons.  If given the chance you'd just order those for your meal, but knowing you'd be looked at funny, you reluctantly pick out an entree.

Then you debate in your head, whether it be too much to order an appetizer of them, without looking like a hog.  In the end you order both the entree and the appetizer and hopefully don't feel like everyone is looking at you.

You know what?  We should file a petition to have this dip a MUST on all Chinese restaurant menus.  Then we could just order the dip for the table, before the meal, and not feel like two-ton-tessie.

Most of this dip was put into the freezer upon making, because I could not be trusted around it.  But, I did portion out a bit to go with my lunch yesterday, as I felt I deserved it.

You see, mid-morning I got a call from our daycare provider saying the little miss might have Chicken Pox.  Huh?  Chicken Pox?  You mean that thing we all got as kids, but now NO ONE gets anymore?  Yeah, that one.

So I left work, took her to the doctor, and yes indeed, she does have a mild case of the Chicken Pox.  A mear 5 months after she had the vaccine.  It obviously didn't take fully.  Thankfully, since she had the vaccine, her only symptom is a belly full of spots.  She's still running this household like it's her own, nothing stopping her.

But, she does need to be quarantined for 3-4 days.  Luckily, Grandma is coming to help out, so I can get a little work done.  The joys of being a mom!

Seriously, print this recipe and save it for the holidays {or just a lunch like me}.  It would be perfect in the crock pot on warm the eve before Thanksgiving or better yet the day after when all your shopping is done.  

And Christmas parties!  Gosh, hadn't even thought of that till now.  A perfect hot dip to take to someone's house.  You'll impress them, I promise.  And if you have more time {I didn't...ahem...Chicken Pox}, serve this with toasted baguettes, baked pita chips or better yet fry up some wonton wrappers.  Then, it would be the real deal, crab rangoon.

Hot Crab Rangoon Dip
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 c. mayo
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups crab, finely chopped
1 t. cayenne pepper
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 green onions, chopped {more for garnishing}
handful of panko breadcrumbs for topping

In a large bowl combine all ingredients, minus the panko.  Stir until all is incorporated.  Spoon into a baking dish, top with panko breadcrumbs.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Sprinkle on additional green onions.

Serve with tortilla chips, baked pita chips, toasted baguettes or fried wonton wrappers.

Oh, if your mouth isn't salivating by now, you've got issues.  Tell me, what is your favorite hot dip?  Are you willing to try this one?