SURPRISE: Happy Birthday Jeanne!

Hello everyone,

If you’ve been following the blog and theme weeks for awhile, you know that Jeanne from Inside NanaBread’s Head is a large part of my world.  She keeps our little group organized and up-to-date on crafting, hooch, and Tex Mex delights.  She’s hilarious, caring, and absolutely one-of-a-kind.  So we decided to throw her a virtual surprise party for her 50th birthday!!!

Happy birthday, Jeanne!

We all brought a dish to share for the party…AND…we’ve scheduled an even bigger birthday surprise for Saturday.  So stay tuned!  It arrived on Jeanne’s doorstep in the form of 11 sealed packages.  🙂  heeheehee

Now Jeanne’s love of Tex Mex inspired something deep inside of me to make a cheesy dip…obviously.  So I created this Cheesy Chorizo Dip to bring to the virtual party.  Can I get an amen?

You will need:

  1. 1 package softened cream cheese (8 oz.)
  2. 8 oz. light sour cream
  3. 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
  4. 1/2 diced onion
  5. 2 cloves minced garlic
  6. 1/2 minced jalapeño
  7. 1/2 chorizo sausage
  8. 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  9. 2 diced green onions
  10. 1-2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  11. Bag o’ tortilla chips!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, and taco seasoning together.

This picture is a result of me playing around with a new iPhone app.  Please disregard how ominous the sour cream looks.  I promise, the sour cream only brings love!  This got weird fast.

This picture is a result of me playing around with a new iPhone app. Please disregard how ominous the sour cream looks. I promise, the sour cream only brings love! This got weird fast.

Brown the chorizo and onion together over medium high heat until thoroughly cooked.  Toss in the garlic and jalapeño, sautéing for about 1 minute, until the flavors are released.

Chorizo browning on the skillet looks like dog food in pictures, so instead, please enjoy this snap of some chopped onion, garlic, and jalapeno.

Chorizo browning on the skillet looks like dog food in pictures, so instead, please enjoy this snap of some chopped onion, garlic, and jalapeno.

Mix the chorizo mixture with the cream cheese mixture.  Attempt not to eat with spoon.

Put the mixture into an oven-proof dish and top with the shredded cheese.

photo 1

Bake until mixture is bubbly and golden brown (approximately 10 minutes…I didn’t actually time this because I was doing other things in the kitchen.  Don’t trust me, just keep an eye on it!)

Top with the green onions and cilantro.  EAT with chips!

photo 3

Jonathan and I couldn’t agree on whether or not this was better than my original taco dip recipe, but the meat added an element of yowza!  Enjoy!

Happy happy birthday, Jeanne!


To keep the party going, check out… Kirsten’s Orange Cream Pie, Allison’s Coca Cola Cake, Beka’s Aged Manhattan, Megan’s Nutella Turnovers, Anne’s Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream Cones, Monica’s Tropical Ice Cream, Katie’s Chocolate Cake with Cooked Flour Frosting, Lauren’s Mini Key Lime Pies with an Animal Cracker Crust, Madeline’s Fig, Fontina and Pecan Flatbread, Carrie’s Coconut Banana Brownie Pie, and Kat’s Guacamole.

SALAD WEEK: Zesty Steak and Arugula Salad

Hey there internet, did you miss me?  I sure did miss you!  While La Petite Pancake was taking a little hiatus from blogging, the internet was pulling late night hours organizing a salad week for you all.  How splendid!

Seriously though, the folks that brought you Cake Week, Pie Week, etc., have turned a new leaf (that was a play-on word) to celebrate Salad Week!

I have a bit of a secret though…

I’m a salad snob.

Big time.

If a salad doesn’t have lots of ingredients (usually gourmet), I gag.  Chopped carrots over a head of iceberg with ranch will make me shudder and convulse.  I’m not usually a picky eater, but you couldn’t pay me to eat that cafeteria crap.

Thank goodness the Barefoot Contessa is also the Queen of Salads.  She pulled out a winner with her Grilled Filet Steak and Arugula Salad.  I make this salad sans-steak every other week, and I keep the dressing around to spice up sandwiches, roasted veggies, and pizzas.  “How easy is that?”  (Barefoot Contessa jokes, anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?)

For the salad, you will need:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper

Bunch of arugula (Ina calls for baby arugula, but I like the bite of the adult middle-aged over-the-hill arugula)

1 (4-ounce) chunk good Parmesan cheese

Lots of good stuff happening here. (Please use better olive oil and mustard than I did.)

When you don’t have a salad spinner, your counter will ultimately look like this:

Rabbit Food

Mix all of the ingredients together, except for the Parmesan.  I use a Mason Jar so I can shake it up without spilling and save the leftovers easily.

Shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake your dressing

The perfect way to transform any dish into something that looks fancy shmancy is to use the vegetable peeler.  Et voila:

We topped our salad with grilled steak and thinly sliced red onions.  If you’re feeling frisky, toss the leftover salad into a pita pocket, and have yourself some tasty next-day lunch!


Please check out the other salads from Salad Week for a departure from the blasphemous plain iceberg:

Wannabe a Country Cleaver-Chicken Mole Salad

Comfortably Domestic-Simple Caser Salad

Grier Mountain-Spiced Lamb and Lentil Salad

Inside NanaBread’s Head-Creole Potato Salad

Tenaciously Yours-Cheese and Calavo Salad

Decadent Philistines Save the World-Reworked Cabbage Ramen Salad

Bakeaholic Mama-Ranch BLT Salad in Bacon Cups (6 slices of bacon were involved…6!!!)

The Grom Mom-Tropical Chicken Salad in a Papaya Boat

Corn Bake Recipe

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving with delicious food!  Mine was incredibly relaxing, but I do not recommend cooking an entire feast at one house and then transporting it to another house 45 minutes away.  As a result, we had to microwave everything, which dried everything out. 😦  Ah well, I still enjoyed spending time with Jonathan’s family.

I made the family corn bake recipe this year.  This recipe is a no-fail deal, and it’s probably the most requested recipe in my repertoire.  The gooey cheese mixed with the crunch of the corn is a perfect combination.

I make this around the holiday season, for cabin weekends, and potlucks.  It can easily be served year round, and it should be.  Nom nom nom.

You will need:

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

1 onion

1 Tbsp. butter or oil for sauteing

3 cans corn-drained

2 cans creamed corn

2 eggs-beaten

2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix

6 oz. sour cream

6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Nothing says homemade goodness like creamed corn.  Mmmm

Experimenting with food photography

This is where it’s handy to have a sous-chef.  If you’re not an Iron Chef, you will have to chop the peppers and onion yourself.  *sigh*  Isn’t life hard?

Lightly sauté your veggies in 1 Tbsp. butter or oil.

Now, this is the amazing part.  Grab a big bowl and dump in the corn, creamed corn, corn muffin mix, eggs, and sautéed veggies.

A big ole mess o corn!

Make sure you stir it up until the wet ingredients have soaked up all of the corn muffin mix. You don’t want any clumps of muffin mix.  Blegh!

Now, pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish.

Mix the sour cream and cheese in a separate bowl and dollop into the casserole.

See the dollops in there? That's what you want. Mmmm dollops of cheesy goodness.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, until it is golden brown.

Obviously I didn’t take a finished product picture because I didn’t want to ruin the surprise.  Either that or I am an airhead.