Bulgur Chickpea Salad

Bulgur Chickpea Salad saved the day for me.  Thanks to Jenn Segal over at Once Upon a Chef for the inspiration and base recipe to start with!

I needed a recipe that could easily serve quite a few people.  Normally, I have a difficult time deciding which recipe to make, since I have so many.  But this situation left me at a loss for what I could make.

You see, there were so many variables and criteria that needed to be met.  It was needed for a barbecue themed potluck that would be served over several hours because people would be getting their meal breaks at different times.  It would also be several hours between arriving at my destination and food service.

Refrigerator space was going to be severely limited, and carrying a crockpot to the destination was not possible.  There were a couple of factors that prevented this, but that really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I needed a dish to fit this criteria.

The last criteria was a new one for me.  There was going to be an ethical vegan eating at this potluck.  If you are wondering what an ethical vegan was, you aren’t alone.  I have asked many questions about this way of eating and still jut know the basics.

With my very limited understanding of this way of eating, I knew I needed to find something that had absolutely no animal products in the recipe.  No eggs, no dairy, and obviously no meat, but this also excludes honey.  If you have read any of our recipes, you know that there is a good possibility that I have no recipes beyond hummus that would fit that bill.  Hummus was not an option as I was committed to a side dish.

A friend suggested I make tabbouleh, but I really dislike that much parsley in any one dish.  I can’t get past the overwhelming feeling that I am eating lawn clippings.  Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh parsley and grow my own during the summer.  It brings great fresh flavor to my dishes, but I guess tabbouleh is just too much freshness!  I needed an alternative.

This side dish salad was the perfect fit.  Bulgur and chickpeas combined with sturdy vegetables like red peppers, onions, and cucumbers would hold up to the acidity of the lemon juice.  I have left out the dill and the cumin, personal preferences here again.  This recipe kind of reminded me of a Portuguese chickpea salad a friend used to make and it only had parsley in it.  So I stuck with just the parsley, and did not use nearly the amount most tabbouleh recipes call for.

Sweet Chips and Salsa

Fruit salsa is a favorite dessert at our house.  Although there is not much healthy about the fried chips, it feels healthier than some of the other things we eat for snacks and desserts.

There are a lot of ways to make cinnamon-sugar tortillas listed all over the internet.  While these are tasty, they all seem to be too big, too hard, or do not hold the fruit very well.

For sweet chips I find what works the best are fried wonton wrappers or even eggroll wrappers cut down in size and fried.

The best part about Asian wrappers is that they stay crispy after frying and coating.  They never turn into moon rocks like some baked tortillas can.  They are also way less work than buttering and coating each side prior to baking.

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Lazy Cream Horns

Lazy Cream Horns were just an experiment in the kitchen to recreate cream horn flavor without having baking tubes handy.  I could have ordered them online, and maybe one day I will, but for now I do not own any.

It is kind of like a Napoleon pastry, but instead of being filled with whipped cream or pastry cream, it is filed with a cream horn filling.

I had never heard of a cream horn before I met my husband.  I never ate one until our first trip to Florida together.  If I remember right, he found them at a gas station, wrapped individually.  They seemed to be pretty elusive back then.

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Dark Chocolate Cherry Bark

Dark Chocolate Cherry Bark is an easy, last minute treat that is perfect for Valentine’s Day.  It is also great for any other day you want to give a sweet something as a way to say thanks to someone.

I make a lot of different bark recipes because it is so easy.  Peppermint Bark is my go-to quick recipe for last minute Christmas and holiday gifts.

If I don’t happen to have almond bark or melting wafers laying around, I generally have chocolate chips of many varieties in the pantry and those can also be used to make bark.

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Dijon Chicken Salad Spread

I had never eaten a chicken salad that was heavy on Dijon mustard until I ate it in a restaurant for lunch one day.  It was a shock since I had been expecting the standard fat laden chicken salad you usually find.  I had asked about fruits or nuts in the salad, as I am a puritan in that arena.

The salad was different and interesting, not in a bad way though.  I found myself thinking about this chicken salad sandwich a few days later.  I had some boneless chicken breasts in the freezer and thought I might give it a try.

It has taken a few tries to get the Dijon mustard to mayonnaise ratio right for the way I like it.  Because Dijon can be overpowering, even when you like Dijon, there needs to be a bit of mayonnaise to cut through the mustard and finish moistening the spread.

Dijon Chicken Salad Spread is a tasty way to eat chicken salad that has a lower fat and calorie count than my basic chicken salad recipe that has mayonnaise and sour cream.

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Sweet Bacon Crackers

Sweet Bacon Crackers are an idea that have been running around the internet for quite some time.  Lord knows, I have looked at a few of them, so it is hard telling which onse was the first one I saw.  It is also hard to tell if there was any one recipe that I have used so I apologize to any other blogger out there who believes this recipe may belong to them.

This can be made any type of cracker that you would like.  I prefer the buttery small rectangles, only because I like the shape that this cracker becomes.  All of the cracker types will shrink somewhat in the general area the bacon is wrapped.

The key to keeping your crackers together is to keep the heat high in the oven.  If you cook these too slow, there is more time for the grease to absorb into the crackers and they will be soggy in the middle.  But if you like your pork fat, this might be the way you want to cook them.

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Chocolate Covered Cherry Cheesecake Bites

Sometimes you just don’t know if you want a dessert or a piece of candy.  Chocolate covered cherry cheesecake bites are a little bit of both!

For this recipe you can start with a frozen cheesecake, just like I did. Or you can make your own cheesecake and use it.  I suppose you would get way more, square shaped, cheesecake bites out of one you made yourself in a square pan than you can get out of a round pan.  Round is the only way I could I buy one the day I went shopping.

If you buy a frozen cheesecake for this, allow it to thaw before trying to cut it into pieces.  Cutting up a frozen cheesecake will result in fractured pieces.  You can bet that this is based on experience!  It took me just a minute to realize the error of my ways…….

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Spicy Pretzels with a Kick

This recipe is a close relative of spiced crackers.  The only real difference here is the choice of spice add in used.  I prefer to keep the cayenne pepper out of my spiced crackers, but it pairs well with pretzels, at least in my mind.

Spicy Pretzels with a Kick pairs well with beer because of the kick.  I like to serve these when we are having a few folks over to watch football games.

These pretzels also serve well as hostess gifts just like Peppermint Crunch and Spiced Crackers do.

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Crunchy Cherry Coconut Granola

Crunchy Cherry Coconut Granola is a perfect portable snack for the whole family.  It travels well and provides plenty of energy to get past a morning or afternoon slump.  Granola can also be eaten for breakfast with milk or yogurt.  It is even really good crumbled on top of a small bowl of ice cream.

Our recipe for granola produces large and crunchy clusters.  Some people use flour as a binding agent, others use egg whites, but this one uses neither.  We use the addition of crispy rice cereal for our binding agent.

Crispy rice gives the honey and brown sugar something to grab ahold of.  I find that using a 1:2 ratio of crispy rice cereal to rolled oats works the best.  Too little cereal and you still have a lot of oats rolling around by themselves at the end of cooking.

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Meal-Prep Granola Breakfast Bars

 

These granola breakfast bars are the answer to my breakfast riddle. I am the kind of guy who would rather sleep an extra 15-30 minutes than eat breakfast, so I rarely eat breakfast on a week day. These meal-prep granola breakfast bars are my answer to the question, “what should I eat for breakfast?”

My wife and I have been on a meal prep-Sunday kick here lately. This recipe is great for folks who are looking for meal-prep recipes. This recipe can be easily and quickly made Sunday evening in preparation for the work week.

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