Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats: 2020

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Smokey Beef Queso

It's tailgating season! Time to gather around and eat some good grub 
while watching the big game.
This Smokey Beef Queso is PERFECT with a crunchy tortilla chip.

This post is sponsored by the Iowa Beef Council.

Smokey Beef Queso #ad #iowabeefcouncil

It's been a weird year.

This is exactly why I wanted to bring you COMFORT FOOD when again partnering with my good friends at the Iowa Beef Council this month. We all need a great big hug.

Any other year we'd be up early with the sun and tailgating on any given Saturday. With fans not being in the stands this year and sports a bit more limited, our weekend plans are looking a bit different.

But, that doesn't mean we can't eat the yummy tailgating foods, right?

Smokey Beef Queso #ad #iowabeefcouncil

Some media sources are now calling this trend "homegating".  It makes sense - we aren't crowding stadiums and parking lots this Fall, but instead we are watching the games at home in much smaller groups.  Homegate or tailgate, bring on the food!

Even if you aren't a sports fan, I think most will admit they'll happily go along with the cheers and boos if they can grab a plate of good grub in the process. I'll admit I'm a HUGE sports fan {thank you Big Ten for finally getting your act together and bringing back football}, but I'm also there for the delicious eats.

At these events finger foods reign supreme, while simultaneously balancing an overloaded plate on our lap. When the Iowa Beef Council and I started researching this month's recipe, we both agreed that these special finger foods cannot be overlooked just because we are watching games differently this year.

So queso it was!

Smokey Beef Queso #ad #iowabeefcouncil

Queso has always been one of my favorite appetizers. Do I really need to explain why? Multiple cheeses melted together around tomatoes and chilies and meat and spices.

What is there not to love?

Last year we bought a smoker {and by we, I mean my husband}. It really is his "thing" I just reap the benefits.

So when queso was decided on I figured I better take this batch UP A NOTCH so it could have an edge over all other quesos.  Let's smoke it!

Don't worry if you don't have a smoker I give both crockpot and oven directions in the recipe card below as well.  I didn't forget about you guys! But you will want to grab a small bottle of liquid smoke to mimic that same underlying "smokey" taste.

Smokey Beef Queso #ad #iowabeefcouncil

In this queso I combined easy, peasy ground beef with two cheeses, canned Rotel and diced chiles, diced onion and my favorite guacamole salsa {any green salsa will do}.

I wanted to use ground beef because 1) that is what most of you have readily available in your freezers and 2) it is the cut of beef that works best in any cheesy dip. It mingles well with all the other ingredients and is small enough to handle and stick to tortilla chips when scooping up this tasty stuff.

Trust me, you'll be scooping up lots of this cheesy queso.

After you remove this from your smoker, those undertones of "hickory smoke" are what make this queso unique from others. It gives it another complete level of flavor! And for those putting this together in the crockpot or simply melting it all together in the oven, those two teaspoons of liquid smoke you add will do the same thing.

Just look at this drip!

Smokey Beef Queso #ad #iowabeefcouncil

Who is ready to try this gameday treat out?

I cannot wait to see your photos and hear your stories of utter bliss when you give this one a try.  Don't faint at the first bite! It's that good, be careful.

Be sure to tag me {@sweetsavoryeats} and the Iowa Beef Council {@iowabeefcouncil} when sharing on social media. We'll be watching.

For more beef tailgating recipes, be sure to check out this complete list of tailgating food treasures.

A big thanks to the Iowa Beef Council for sponsoring this post.

Smokey Beef Queso

Print
Smokey Beef Queso
Yield: 3 quarts
Author: Ally
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 35 MinTotal time: 45 Min
Need a great tailgating recpe? It's queso time! This smokey beef queso is FULL of flavor. The perfect appetizer for game watching. Directions for the smoker, crockpot or oven.

Ingredients:

Smokey Beef Queso
  • 2 lbs Original Velveeta, cubed
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef, cooked
  • 2 14.5 oz cans Rotel diced tomatoes and chiles
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 oz can diced chiles
  • 2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Herdez guacamole salsa (or any green salsa)
  • 2 t liquid smoke (if cooking in the crockpot or oven)

Instructions:

For the smoker
  1. Combine all the ingredients  into a double layered 9x13 reusable alumimum tin foil pan. Stir well to make sure all is combined.
  2. Over indirect heat light and start your smoker, adding two hickory blocks to the charcoal.
  3. Bring the smoker to between 250-300 degrees.
  4. Place the pan on the smoker grate and close the lid.  Give the queso at least 15 minutes before giving it a stir. After that continue to stir every 5-7 minutes until completely melted. It should take around 35 minutes.
  5. Remove from the smoker and eat immediately with tortilla chips.
  6. Store leftovers in storage containers and keep in the fridge for up to a week.
For the crockpot
  1. Place all the ingredients (including the liquid smoke) into a large crockpot and stir to combine.
  2. Cook on LOW for 2-3 hours or until melted.
  3. Keep on WARM while eating/serving with tortilla chips.
  4. Store leftovers in storage containers and keep in the fridge for up to a week.
For the oven
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Place all ingredients (including the liquid smoke) into a double layered 9x13 reusable alumimum tin foil pan. Stir to combine.
  3. Cook in the oven for one hour or until completely melted.
  4. Remove from the oven and serve warm with tortilla chips.
  5. Store leftovers in storage containers and keep in the fridge for up to one week.

Notes:

Cook times listed are for the SMOKER. The prep time for the crockpot is 10 minutes, cook time is 2-3 hours. The prep time for the oven is 10 minutes, cook time is around an hour.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @sweetsavoryeats on instagram and hashtag it #smokeybeefqueso
Created using The Recipes Generator

Thursday, September 17, 2020

5 Minute Apple Toffee Dip

I whip up this dip once the apples are in abundance!
It's only 5 minutes of prep and your kids will adore you for making it.

5 Minute Apple Toffee Dip

I originally shared this recipe ions ago after I stole the recipe from my sister, who often brings this dip to family gatherings. I happened to come up on the recipe in the old archives a few weeks back and upon cringing at my photos and passing out from embarassment, I promptly told myself that this post needed to be redone STAT.

It's amazing how far my photography has come over the years.  Especially since it's my LEAST favorite part of the job.

You read that right, I absolutely loathe food photography. But alas, it's one of the most important parts of my job so I tackle it and get by.

5 Minute Apple Toffee Dipo

Have you been to your local apple orchard yet?

Sadly, we have not. The one weekend we were free to all go, it was raining cats and dogs and for many reasons that sounded completely unpleasant we stayed home.

Now my weekends are full of softball tournaments for our 9 year old and football games for our 11 year old and I'm starting to wonder if we'll be able to squeeze it in!

I may just make a weekday trip over there all by myself.

More apple cider donuts for me to eat in peace and quiet, right?

5 Minute Apple Toffee Dip

My kids LOVE this apple toffee dip for obvious reasons.  Who can resist cream cheese, marshmallow fluff, caramel, pecans, chocolate chips and toffee bits?

Not many.

And honestly, I don't care if they eat their weight in this dip....they're eating apples! Pick and choose your battles is my motto. I always spread this dip out on a big plate or platter as it looks real pretty, but you can also assemble it in a tupperware dish with a tight lid for travels to any gathering.

Trust me, if you take this dip anywhere it will be met with rave reviews!

5 Minute Apple Toffee Dip

What else do you love making with apples when they are in season?  I went ahead and pulled some favorites of ours that have appeared on the blog over the years.  

Pick one out and tackle it!


5 Minute Apple Toffee Dip

I'm looking forward to how your family reacts to this 5 Minute Apple Toffee Dip! If I'm a beating woman I'll guess they'll jump for joy just like mine do when I pull it out of the fridge for snack. Let me know how it goes and I'll be sure to share your responses!

Until then, go pick some apples.

5 Minute Apple Toffee Dip

Print
5 Minute Apple Toffee Dip
Yield: 16 (3 T each)
Author: Ally
Prep time: 5 MinTotal time: 5 Min
This layered dessert style apple dip has been in our family for years. Grab those sliced apples and pretend you are eating a caramel apple without all the mess.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 7 oz jar marshmallow fluff
  • 1 cup caramel sauce
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl combine the softened cream cheese and marshmallow fluff. Spread this mixture evenly on a serving plate.
  2. Pour on the caramel sauce and sprinkle on the pecans, chocolate chips and toffee bits.
  3. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat. Serve with sliced apples.

Notes:

Nuts are optional in this recipe if you have a nut allergy or if you simply do not like them.

Calories

223.94

Fat (grams)

11.34

Sat. Fat (grams)

5.58

Carbs (grams)

31.34

Fiber (grams)

0.65

Net carbs

30.69

Sugar (grams)

27.22

Protein (grams)

1.95

Sodium (milligrams)

135.06

Cholesterol (grams)

22.12
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @sweetsavoryeats on instagram and hashtag it #appledip
Created using The Recipes Generator

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Pumpkin Spice Homemade Granola

Homemade granola is incredibly easy!
This pumpkin spice version is crunchy, slighty sweet and delicious.

Pumpkin Spice Homemade Granola

I know, I know, two pumpkin spice recipes IN A ROW.

Don't send hate mail! For all us pumpkin spice lovers this is basically a dream. And here's a secret...if you love the flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg and toasted grains, you'll love this recipe too.

What I'm saying is - it's awesome!

Since Tuesday I've been eating it as cereal {straight up put in a bowl and pour milk over it just like cereal} and as a topper in yogurt parfaits. Sometimes as breakfast, sometimes as an afternoon pick-me-up.

Pumpkin Spice Homemade Granola

Homemade granola is easy, do not be intimidated! The hardest part is stirring it every 15 minutes till it gets all crunchy and great. Hard part being - SET AN OVEN TIMER - so it doesn't burn. The easy part is taking five minutes to mix up the wet and wet ingredients and dumping it all on a rimmed sheet pan.

Other granolas I've made over the years {in case you're interested} - are my crunchy peanut butter version, my almond butter version and a fun maple pecan version.

They are ALL fabulous, but if you plan on eating homemade granola during the months of September, October and November, this is the one.

Pumpkin Spice Homemade Granola

I loaded this granola up with a bunch of healthy stuff - old-fashioned oats, ground flax seed meal, sliced almonds and chopped pecans. And since most store bought granolas are heaped with added sugars, I made sure to just add the basics in this recipe - honey, pure maple syrup and coconut oil.

Just a bit of each three to pull the dry ingredients together.

The whole batch makes around 4 cups or 16 servings {at 1/4 cup each}. When calculated it comes at 181 calories, 10 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and under 8 grams of sugar.

Pumpkin Spice Homemade Granola

This stuff stays fresh for awhile! Like 3-4 weeks {or longer} awhile. I like to store mine in mason jars with these colorful lids {seriously, buy this set to jazz up your kitchen}. They are great for dry food storage - oats, this granola, nuts, dried fruit, flours, etc.

I'll also divide up and put some in small snack Ziploc bags so my kids can take some easily to school in their lunches.

And of course, tupperware containers work great too.

Pumpkin Spice Homemade Granola

Who is ready to bake up a batch?

Make sure to tag me on socials {@sweetsavoryeats} so I can see your photos! I can't wait to hear what you think.

Pumpkin Spice Homemade Granola

Print
Pumpkin Spice Homemade Granola
Yield: 16 servings (1/4 cup each)
Author: Ally
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 1 HourTotal time: 1 H & 5 M
Homemade granola is easy to make and this one tastes like Fall! Hints of pumpkin spice ring throughout the oats and nuts with just a slightly sweet flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 t vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In another bowl combine the honey, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract.  Pour this into the dry mixture and combine.
  4. Dump the granola into a rimmed baking sheet and spread evenly.
  5. Bake for 1 hour - stirring every 15 minutes.
  6. Allow the granola to cool. Store in an airtight container or jar. The granola will stay fresh for 3-4 weeks.

Notes:

Feel free to add anything to this granola not listed - different types of nuts, dried fruit, etc. Just note it will alter the nutritional value.

Calories

181.26

Fat (grams)

10.30

Sat. Fat (grams)

3.49

Carbs (grams)

20.21

Fiber (grams)

3.00

Net carbs

17.21

Sugar (grams)

7.97

Protein (grams)

3.50

Sodium (milligrams)

75.03

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @sweetsavoryeats on instagram and hashtag it #homemadegranola
Created using The Recipes Generator

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes

Ahhh....pumpkin is here!
These Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes are soft, fluffy and full of Fall flavors.

This post is sponsored by the Iowa Egg Council.

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes

It's finally September!  And yes, I say finally.

September for me means all the Fall things {even if the weather is still a bit warm}. Like many, I love this time of year - it's a bit of a fresh start. School starts back up, new activities are started, the weather starts to change and it means I can finally, technically cook with pumpkin!

Kidding - I'm a food blogger, so I do what I want when it comes to recipe development, but since many don't like to see pumpkin until Fall {what, am I rushing it?} then I try and hold out until September.

Well, September has blown in with a bit of a north wind, so here she is.

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes

If you know me, you also know I love pancakes. If given the chance, I'd eat them every stinking day of the week. But alas, my hips fully know that is not feasible.

But wouldn't it be just great?

Thankfully I've partnered with the Iowa Egg Council this month to give you what I want, but without all the guilt.  These Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes fit the bill. So dang tasty! They are fluffy, rich and full of pumpkin and Fall flavors.

I made them healthier by using whole wheat flour, pure maple syrup as the sweetener, bumping up the nutrients with two eggs, adding in a good dose of pumpkin puree and using traditional Fall spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon for added flavor.

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes

We are big egg fans in our family, we always have been. If we're not eating them for breakfast, we often throw in breakfast for dinner at least once a week.

Over the years you've seen SO MANY recipes using eggs with the support of the Iowa Egg Council.  Remember my healthy freezer breakfast burritos?  Or my Mexican taco egg bake? Personally, the ham and cheese Dutch baby was my ultimate favorite. 

Eggs can be savory or sweet, and I've pretty much done it all.

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes

Now, with the kids in school breakfasts around here are a must-need, whereas during the Summer it's a bit more of a free-for-all.  These pancakes are perfect!

This batch makes 12 fairly big pancakes {4-5 inches, plus there are nice and fluffy}, so they are filling. One batch will easily feed my three kids in a sitting, with a few extra.  They are also great to freeze and heat up on busy school mornings.

I wanted to make sure to sneak in TWO eggs in this pancake recipe {most will only call for one} because nutrient rich eggs are so important!  Eggs are high in choline, a nutrient that's important for brain development in infants and children. They also contain antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help protect your eyes from unnatural and harmful blue light.

And if your kid's are doing virtual school or spending a lot of time on their electronic devices, keeping their eyes protected is so vital.

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes

Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse! One egg has 8 essential nutrients, including 6 grams of protein and all 9 essential amino acids - you can't beat a better boost from such a simple food.

And putting them into these rich, tasty and pumpkin-filled pancakes {pumpkin has a good amount of fiber} makes for an easy decision when it comes to breakfast without feeling the guilt.

I served these first as dinner {again, we love breakfast for dinner!} along side fruit and some turkey sausage.  The kids loved it {I loved it} and everyone was happy.  I stored the extra in a freezer bag and pulled some out the next morning for a quick reheat.  We slathered on some peanut butter, rolled them up and ate them on the go.

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes

Oh boy, I can't wait until you make these!

Iowa's egg farming families want to help you kick off a healthy school year. Enter to win a $200 grocery gift card to use for ingredients for these pancakes. Follow this link to enter through September 20. 

Plus, today, Wednesday is now #Weggsday! There’s no wrong way to enjoy eggs. How do you like your eggs on Wednesdays? Show off what you’re eating on social media with #Weggsday! Be sure to tag me on social media {@sweetsavoryeats} and I'll be sure to share the love.

                   A big, thank you to the Iowa Egg Council for sponsoring this post.

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes

Print
Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes
Yield: 12 pancakes
Author: Ally
Prep time: 10 MCook time: 5 MTotal time: 15 M
All of the flavors of Fall in these healthy pumpkin pancakes! Fluffy, rich and mouthwatering, these pumpkin pancakes will be loved by the whole family.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 T pure maple syrup
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl combine the vinegar and milk (this makes a homemade buttermilk) and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the wet ingredients - eggs, pumpkin, maple syrup and vanilla, whisking to combine.
  3. Sift in the dry ingredients - pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda, ending with the flour, again gently whisking to combine. Do not overmix. At this point the batter can be stored in the fridge overnight or used right away.
  4. Heat a griddle to medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Pour a half cup of the pancake batter onto the hot griddle forming a 4-5 inch circle.
  5. Cook the pancakes until they start to bubble, flipping when golden. Cook another minute on the other side. The entire batch will make 12 pancakes.
  6. Serve warm with butter and pure maple syrup.

Notes:

Feel free to add anything to this pancake batter - chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, etc. Please note it will alter the nutritional value. This is also a great recipe to make the night before for a pancake breakfast the next day.

Calories

107.38

Fat (grams)

1.93

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.77

Carbs (grams)

18.41

Fiber (grams)

2.55

Net carbs

15.85

Sugar (grams)

4.49

Protein (grams)

4.61

Sodium (milligrams)

250.32

Cholesterol (grams)

33.44
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @sweetsavoryeats on instagram and hashtag it #pumpkinpancakes
Created using The Recipes Generator