Bacon Brussels Sprouts Risotto

Bacon Brussels Sprouts Risotto: Creamy and smokey--the perfect meal for entertaining!

This post is sponsored by  Swanson®. All opinions are my own.

Bacon brussels sprouts risotto is so rich, creamy and comforting. Filled with smokey bacon flavor, seared brussels sprouts and creamy, tender rice; this will instantly become your new favorite dinner!

Bacon Brussels Sprouts Risotto1

I’ve had a long standing battle with cooking rice. I know, I know….I can make macarons, but I can’t make rice. I guess we all have our things? Also, I almost always burn popcorn. Finally, I developed a risotto recipe so fool proof even I can’t mess it up, which means you are golden. ;)

risotto-21

Okay, let’s talk about brussels sprouts for a hot second because so many people think they hate them, but think that they just haven’t had them cooked well. For the longest time, I was not into brussels sprouts. So often they aren’t tender enough for my taste. I want a crisp sear, then a melt in your mouth softness. Have you ever had steamed brussels sprouts? OMG The.Worst. These babies are nothing like that, and by cooking them with bacon and hiding them in carbs, this is the perfect opportunity to convince even your toughest critics.

risotto-9

Risotto is so creamy that most people think it’s made with butter and cream, but I just use a little white wine and a whole lotta chicken broth, and allow the starches in the rice to naturally develop and create that beautifully creamy texture.

BBSR

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Risotto is known for being difficult and time consuming, but honestly it just requires a little bit of patience, and you can multi-task by cooking your bacon and brussels sprouts at the same time as your risotto.

risotto-12

You’ll notice I don’t add a single spice or seasoning in this recipe. That’s because the Swanson® Tuscan Chicken Flavor Infused Broth, along with the smokey bacon add so much flavor on their own, there is just no need for it. I’m usually all about adding everything but the kitchen sink into my recipes, but this one just doesn’t need anything extra.

risotto-24

If you want to impress your holiday guests, this is definitely the dish for you!

Bacon Brussels Sprouts Risotto

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings

Bacon Brussels Sprouts Risotto

Bacon brussels sprouts risotto is so rich, creamy and comforting. Filled with smokey bacon flavor, seared brussels sprouts and creamy, tender rice; this will instantly become your new favorite dinner!

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided*
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or replace with extra chicken broth if you don't use alcohol)
  • 32 ounces Swanson® Tuscan Chicken Flavor Infused Broth
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts, halved, stems removed, extra leaves reserved**
  • 4 slices center cut bacon, chopped

Instructions

  1. Coat a large pan with olive oil (this should be about 2 tablespoons) and heat over medium low heat. Add garlic and onion and toss until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add in rice and toss until browned, about 5-10 minutes. Add wine and stir to combine.
  2. Coat a medium pan with olive oil (this will be about 1 tablespoon) and heat over medium heat. Place brussels sprouts flat side down and cook until bottom is browned and crispy, about 5-10 minutes. Once browned, flip and push to one side of the pan and add chopped bacon to the other. Cook until bacon is browned, tossing both the bacon and the brussels sprouts often. Once bacon is cooked toss bacon and brussels sprouts together and add reserved brussels sprouts leaves. Reduce heat to low and cook until leaves are browned, tossing occasionally.
  3. While the brussels sprouts are browning, add chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until fully incorporated, reserving about 1/4 cup from your 32 ounce container. Once all broth (except for reserved 1/4 cup) has been incorporated, add cooked bacon and brussels sprouts.
  4. Deglaze the bacon and brussels sprouts pan by pouring in reserved chicken broth. Increase heat to medium high, and use a spatula to scrape up all of the browned bits left over from the bacon and brussels sprouts. Pour into risotto and stir until fully incorporated. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.

Notes

*Olive oil just needs to coat the bottom of each pan. You do not need an exact measurement. **As you slice your brussels sprouts, some extra leaves will fall off. You want to save those because they cook faster and add them in later in the cooking process. ***This recipe is best cooked in stainless steel cookware.

http://arismenu.com/bacon-brussels-sprouts-risotto/

This blog post is sponsored by Swanson®.

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White Chocolate Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies

White Chocolate Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies: Soft and chewy ginger cookies filled with creamy, melty white chocolate!

Ultra soft and chewy ginger molasses cookies stuffed with melty white chocolate. Filled with holiday flavor, these will become your new favorite cookies!

White Chocolate Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies: Soft and chewy ginger cookies filled with creamy, melty white chocolate!

Oh heyyyy…we’re in full blown holiday season, and I still have most of my shopping left to do. What about you? I’m actually one of those people who really, truly loves Christmas/Hanukkah shopping. I love finding just the *right* gift for the people I love, and buying Steve 7 zillion stocking stuffers, and baking delicious treats to put into all of the stockings. It’s one of my very favorite things.

White Chocolate Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies: Soft and chewy ginger cookies filled with creamy, melty white chocolate!

That means it’s going to be a busy week ahead, but tomorrow is my last day of work before winter break begins, and I will then spend the entire week following shoulder deep in all things holiday spirit. In fact, if you’re not into that kinda thing, you should probably steer clear. ;)

White Chocolate Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies: Soft and chewy ginger cookies filled with creamy, melty white chocolate!

But you should still stay for the cookies, because who can resist perfectly soft and chewy ginger molasses cookies? I’m all about the gingerbread this year (well…basically all the time), and it all started with these cookies.

White Chocolate Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies: Soft and chewy ginger cookies filled with creamy, melty white chocolate!

The cookie base is pretty ridiculous on its own, but when you add in that surprise melty, creamy white chocolate middle, they are just taken up to the next level. If any cookie can get you in the holiday spirit, it’s these babies!

White Chocolate Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 2 dozen

Ultra soft and chewy ginger molasses cookies stuffed with melty white chocolate. Filled with holiday flavor, these will become your new favorite cookies!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups gluten-free baking blend (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • dash salt
  • ½ cup apple butter
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6-8 ounces good quality white chocolate squares or chopped into large chunks*
  • granulated sugar for rolling
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together baking blend, baking soda, spices and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together apple butter, molasses, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth. Beat in dry ingredients until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 large baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.Roll dough into approximately 1" balls. Press white chocolate square/chunk inside, and roll dough back around. Make sure white chocolate is completely covered. Add more dough if necessary. Roll in sugar and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
  4. Bake until just set, about 9-11 minutes. Cookies will look underdone,. Do not over bake. Cool completely on cookie sheet. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Notes
*To make vegan, use vegan white chocolate, swap for dark chocolate or omit completely

 

Crockpot Chicken Alfredo

Crockpot Chicken Alfredo

Rich and creamy chicken alfredo with ultra tender shredded chicken made in your slow cooker! This is a lightened-up version of your favorite comfort food that will leave your body and your taste buds happy!

Crockpot Chicken Alfredo

Are you guys ready for some creamy, dreamy, and HEALTHY Alfredo sauce? This has been my staple comfort sauce for years, and I can’t believe how long it took me to put it in a crockpot! Crockpot shredded chicken is the best. Every time. Just put any sauce you want with your chicken and cook it on low for about 5 hours and your chicken will be falling apart like magic!

Crockpot Chicken Alfredo

This recipe couldn’t be easier–you can either make your sauce ahead of time, or you can throw everything into your crockpot and then remove the chicken and hit the sauce with an immersion blender (or throw it in a regular blender). Either way, you come home to a healthy, comforting dinner just waiting for you. It is seriously the best feeling.

Crockpot Chicken Alfredo

Today I’m guest posting over at The Lean Green Bean, so make sure to click over for the recipe!

Ultimate Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cookies

The Ultimate Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cookies: Rich, fudgy, brownie-like chocolate cookies stuffed with melty peanut butter cups!

The ultimate peanut butter cup brownie cookies–rich, fudgy, brownie-like chocolate cookies stuffed with melty peanut butter cups. These cookies are the ultimate treat, and they will disappear in seconds anywhere you bring them.

The Ultimate Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cookies: Rich, fudgy, brownie-like chocolate cookies stuffed with melty peanut butter cups!

So..I bake a lot. I’m sure you’re surprised by this. I bake a lot for the blog, and because I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas. In terms of things I love to eat it goes something like: dessert, goat cheese, dessert, sweet potatoes, dessert, carbs, dessert. Oh, and cilantro! For a long time I wondered WHY IS THE RICE AT CHIPOTLE SO GOOD? The answer? Cilantro. WHY CAN I NEVER GET ENOUGH MEXICAN FOOD? Cilantro. Don’t worry, there’s not cilantro in these cookies. That’s too much, even for me.

The Ultimate Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cookies: Rich, fudgy, brownie-like chocolate cookies stuffed with melty peanut butter cups!

Anyway, since there are cookies in and out (gotta get them out, always get them out!) of my house pretty much 24/7, it’s not too often that Steve and I freak out and literally lose our shit over a cookie. In fact, normally I’m on pins and needles awaiting some huge amazed response about how he can’t believe the amazing-ness of my cookies, and how Betty Crocker should pretty much hang it up, because my cookies trump ALL OTHER COOKIES. Then he normally says something along the lines of “Yup. Pretty good.”

The Ultimate Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cookies: Rich, fudgy, brownie-like chocolate cookies stuffed with melty peanut butter cups!

Most of the time, we each eat a cookie or two, then we send them off to work/the bike shop/my mom’s house/pretty much anywhere to avoid temptation. But these cookies? Well, let’s just say neither of us quite had the willpower to send them off, and I’m pretty sure I ate something like 3 in one day because I couldn’t stop. They were that good.

The Ultimate Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cookies: Rich, fudgy, brownie-like chocolate cookies stuffed with melty peanut butter cups!

In fact, as I was scrolling through my photos deciding which cookie to post (because we’ll be lucky if any non-cookie makes the cut until New Years ;) ), as soon as I got to these I exclaimed “YES!!! MY FAVORITES!!” Well, I didn’t realize they were my favorites, but now that I think about it, it seems pretty obvious. I’m in deep love/obsession/transfixed magic with the chocolate brownie cookie, and these are stuffed with every kind of Reese’s peanut butter cup imaginable. I bought the variety pack, and the combo of milk, dark and white chocolate is absolutely to die for.

The Ultimate Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cookies: Rich, fudgy, brownie-like chocolate cookies stuffed with melty peanut butter cups!

So what are you waiting for? Get on into your kitchen and make yourself some cookies!

Ultimate Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cookies
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Ari Ziskin
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2 dozen
The ultimate peanut butter cup brownie cookies--rich, fudgy, brownie-like chocolate cookies stuffed with melty peanut butter cups. These cookies are the ultimate treat, and they will disappear in seconds anywhere you bring them.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup [url href="http://arismenu.com/gluten-free-baking-blend" target="_blank"]gluten-free baking blend[/url] (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons apple butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups mini Reese's cups, quartered*
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together baking blend, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together chocolate, egg, vanilla, apple butter, and sugars until well combined, then slowly beat in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in peanut butter cups. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. Do not chill for too long or chocolate will re-harden and dough will become stuck to your bowl.
  3. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Use a small cookie scoop to transfer dough to prepared cookie sheets. Use a small piece of parchment paper sprayed with nonstick spray to lightly press down dough balls to flatten slightly (they don’t spread when they bake, so if you don’t flatten them, you will end up with round cookies).
  4. Bake for minutes until just set, about 9-11 minutes Let stand for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for one week (these cookies stay pretty darn soft and gooey for days!).
Notes
*I used a variety of dark, white and milk chocolate mini Reese's, which is what I'd recommend. Measure mini cups before quartering.

 

Gingerbread Pecan Butter & Gingerbread Smoothie

Gingerbread Pecan Butter & Gingerbread Smoothie

This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Blendtec. All recipes and opinions are my own.

Get your gingerbread fix with this smooth, creamy gingerbread pecan butter, and a healthy, protein-packed gingerbread smoothie. Both are so easy to make, you’ll be eating them over and over again!

Stay tuned to the end of this post for an amazing BLENDTEC GIVEAWAY!!

Gingerbread Pecan Butter: Smooth, and creamy roasted pecan butter with all the flavor of a classic ginger molasses cookie
Gingerbread Smoothie: A healthy. protein-packed way to get your gingerbread fix!

So I get excited for pretty much every holiday flavor, but gingerbread is the one I always go crazy with. Ginger molasses cookies, ginger molasses cake, gingerbread ALL THE THINGS!

Gingerbread Pecan Butter & Gingerbread Smoothie

Okay so first let’s chat about this gingerbread pecan butter. It’s been a while since I shared a new nut butter. I usually just stick to my normal salted almond butter or honey roasted peanut butter, but I wanted to try something a little different. I’ve made pecan butter once before and it turned out so amazing, so I was super excited to use it again with some ginger and molasses.   Gingerbread Pecan Butter: Smooth, and creamy roasted pecan butter with all the flavor of a classic ginger molasses cookie The result is so smooth, creamy and gingerbread-y! I tried to keep the sugar level down, so if you want more of a dessert spread, I suggest adding a little more brown sugar. This is pecan butter with a gingerbread flavor, not like a cookie butter or nutella type spread. I’ve been spreading it on my waffles with pumpkin butter, and let me tell you, that combo is pretty fantastic.   Gingerbread Pecan Butter: Smooth, and creamy roasted pecan butter with all the flavor of a classic ginger molasses cookie I also used it to make this gingerbread smoothie! Blenders are most commonly used for smoothies, even though the good ones, like this Blendtec Designer 725, can do so much more! I also used the Blendtec Twister Jar to make this pecan butter, and then used the Blendtec WildSide Jar to make this smoothie, but you can make soups, blend ice cream bases, grind nuts to make things like almond meal, and so much more! These two recipes are just the tip of the iceberg!   Gingerbread Smoothie: A healthy. protein-packed way to get your gingerbread fix! Okay, back to the smoothie. It is protein-packed without protein powder. I have a confession that will probably get me booted from all of my fitness friend circles, but I’m just not into protein powder. There was a time (a long time) where I used it because I thought I was “supposed to”, ya know, to be “healthy”, but I honestly just prefer to get my protein naturally in my diet, and I never seem to have a problem getting enough. In fact, getting enough anything when it comes to food has never been my problem, if ya know what I mean. ;) Gingerbread Smoothie: A healthy. protein-packed way to get your gingerbread fix! Anyway, the smoothie, again, is not a dessert smoothie. It has a natural tartness from the Greek yogurt, and I wanted to use the sweetness from the banana with just a hint of molasses. Trust me, a little molasses goes a long way, so if you want a sweet smoothie, I recommend adding a little brown sugar. Otherwise, like the pecan butter, it is a healthy smoothie with gingerbread flavors, not like a gingerbread milkshake (which now I also want to make in my Blendtec ;) ).  

Gingerbread Pecan Butter & Gingerbread Smoothie

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 cups pecan butter; 1 smoothie

Serving Size: 2 tablespoons pecan butter; 1 smoothie

Gingerbread Pecan Butter & Gingerbread Smoothie

Ingredients

    For the Gingerbread Pecan Butter:
  • 3 cups roasted pecans
  • 1 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • For the Gingerbread Smoothie:
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt (or dairy-free alternative)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • big handful ice cubes
  • 1 tablespoon gingerbread pecan butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Instructions

    To make the Gingerbread Pecan Butter:
  1. Place roasted pecans in a high quality blender or food processor (such as Blendtec) and blend/process until smooth, about 3-5 minutes. Add molasses, brown sugar and spices and blend/process until smooth and combined. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 weeks at room temperature.
  2. To make the Gingerbread Smoothie:
  3. Place all ingredients in a high quality blender (such as Blendtec) and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
http://arismenu.com/gingerbread-pecan-butter-gingerbread-smoothie/
 Wait! There’s more! Blendtec has generously offered to give away an extra Designer 725 model with Wildisde+ Jar plus an additional Wildside+ Jar! That’s a $750 value! I know you guys will love it as much as I do. Good luck! Giveaway starts at 10:00pm MST November 24th 2014 and ends at 11:59 pm MST December 3rd 2014. Open to US residents age 18 and older.  

For more from Blendtec, make sure to check them out on Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | YouTube | Google+

This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Blendtec.

Toasted Marshmallow Sweet Potato Ice Cream

Toasted Marshmallow Sweet Potato Ice Cream: All the flavor of classic sweet potato casserole in rich, creamy ice cream. The perfect make ahead Thanksgiving or any time dessert!

With all the flavor of classic sweet potato casserole, this Toasted Marshmallow Sweet Potato Ice Cream is the perfect Thanksgiving or any time dessert. Perfectly spiced, made with sweet potato puree and torched marshmallows.

Toasted Marshmallow Sweet Potato Ice Cream: All the flavor of classic sweet potato casserole in rich, creamy ice cream. The perfect make ahead Thanksgiving or any time dessert!

It’s my favorite week of the year!! I go absolutely nuts for Thanksgiving. It’s my second favorite holiday (my birthday is my favorite because I love to be the center of attention ;) ), and it’s my holiday to host. The first year I hosted, I made Thanksgiving brunch and dinner. It was exhausting, and it never happened again. Now I just put all my effort into the one meal, which is eaten as dinner, like a normal person, at 6pm. I don’t understand eating Thanksgiving “dinner” at noon. That is Thanksgiving lunch.

Toasted Marshmallow Sweet Potato Ice Cream: All the flavor of classic sweet potato casserole in rich, creamy ice cream. The perfect make ahead Thanksgiving or any time dessert!

My favorite dish has always been my mom’s sweet potatoes. The recipe came from her mom, and she has made it for Thanksgiving every year for as long as I can remember. I just die over those perfectly browned, gooey marshmallows sitting on top of my favorite food. I still refuse to make them because they will never taste as good as hers.

Toasted Marshmallow Sweet Potato Ice Cream: All the flavor of classic sweet potato casserole in rich, creamy ice cream. The perfect make ahead Thanksgiving or any time dessert!

This year I set out to make my favorite side dish into an ice cream, and oh my gosh…you guys. I can’t even handle it. I can’t go a single day without dipping my little spoon into that container. In fact, I knew I had to make a whole other batch to have enough for Thanksgiving! The good news? The recipe is super hands off. It has a lot of components, but the most time consuming part is toasting the marshmallows, and if you want to do that more quickly, you can broil them in the oven. I prefer to use a brulee torch for even toasting, but that is me being type A, and you certainly don’t have to be that meticulous. ;)

Toasted Marshmallow Sweet Potato Ice Cream: All the flavor of classic sweet potato casserole in rich, creamy ice cream. The perfect make ahead Thanksgiving or any time dessert!

Now before you go writing this off as super indulgent, I have to tell you that each serving has only 5.1 grams of fat and 155 calories. I usually don’t count these things, but I was curious because I figured the sweet potato, marshmallows and lower ratio of heavy cream (most ice cream recipes call for 2 parts heavy cream to 1 part whole milk, and I reversed that) would lighten it up a little. Those are the same nutrition figures as many varieties of frozen yogurt! The marshmallows do hike up the sugar content a bit, but this is dessert after all. And it is a Thanksgiving (or any time!) dessert that you can enjoy in moderation any time!

Toasted Marshmallow Sweet Potato Ice Cream

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 16 hours

Yield: about 6 cups

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Toasted Marshmallow Sweet Potato Ice Cream

With all the flavor of classic sweet potato casserole, this Toasted Marshmallow Sweet Potato Ice Cream is the perfect Thanksgiving or any time dessert. Perfectly spiced, made with sweet potato puree and torched marshmallows.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 x 10 ounce bag of marshmallows (mini or regular)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (dark brown sugar preferred)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon, optional

Instructions

  1. Pierce sweet potato several times with a fork. Roast at 400 degrees until very soft (you should easily be able to slide a fork right into the sweet potato), about 60-80 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes until it is easy to handle, then remove skins.
  2. Place marshmallows on a large cookie sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper. Either torch with a brulee torch, or broil until browned, about 5-10 minutes. Once marshmallows are well browned all around, place them and peeled sweet potatoes in a blender or food processor and blend/process until smooth and combined.
  3. In a small sauce pan, combine 1 cup whole milk with brown sugar and maple syrup. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and stir constantly until brown sugar is fully melted and combined. Transfer to blender/food processor and add remaining milk, heavy cream, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Blend/process to combine for about 15-30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl or tupperware. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Freeze according to ice cream maker instructions. Add vanilla and bourbon (if desired) in the last 2 minutes of freezing. Transfer to a freezer safe container to finish freezing completely.

Notes

Before serving, let the ice cream soften for about 10 minutes at room temperature for optimal scooping.

http://arismenu.com/toasted-marshmallow-sweet-potato-ice-cream/

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: Ultra silky pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. My family's favorite Thanksgiving dessert!

Creamy, silky pumpkin cheesecake bars are my family’s Thanksgiving tradition. All the flavor you love from pumpkin pie in a rich, creamy cheesecake!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: Ultra silky pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. My family's favorite Thanksgiving dessert!

Heyyyy! Notice anything different around here? Ari’s Menu got a big makeover, and I couldn’t be more in love with the new look! My old design had been what I wanted at the time, but after a few years, I really felt like I had outgrown it, and there were a lot of new things I wanted. The amazing Julie from White Lights On Wednesday did an absolutely incredible job, and has been so kind and responsive to all of my questions. Even the dumb ones. If you’re in the market for a redesign, I seriously cannot recommend her enough! And if you’re on your phone or on a reader, please come over and look around. It’s so pretty and BRIGHT here now. Like my bright, sparkling personality. ;)

Okay, now let’s talk about food. Five years ago, I had just moved back from college and I had barely begun my cooking adventures. I was inspired by my college roommate/best friend who always created amazing things in the kitchen, and I knew I wanted to contribute a special Thanksgiving dessert.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: Ultra silky pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. My family's favorite Thanksgiving dessert!

I made these pumpkin cheesecake bars. Except they were a whole cheesecake. Anyway, the cheesecake was the hit of Thanksgiving, and no one had any idea it was secretly healthier. These days we have up to 20+ people over for Thanksgiving, so I make a big batch of cheesecake bars to make serving easier, but it’s the one tried and true recipe and tradition I’ve had in my family since I began hosting Thanksgiving, and it holds a special place in my heart.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: Ultra silky pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. My family's favorite Thanksgiving dessert!

As a food blogger, I am always looking to create new and interesting dishes, so I rarely make the same thing twice, but when The Recipe ReDux asked us to share a food memory, I knew I had to share with you one of my two Thanksgiving traditions. The other is this cornbread sausage stuffing which is also hugely popular in my family. So please join our family tradition, and make these cheesecake bars! Your guests will thank you!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 10 hours

Yield: 16-20 servings

Serving Size: 1 bar

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Creamy, silky pumpkin cheesecake bars are my family's Thanksgiving tradition. All the flavor you love from pumpkin pie in a rich, creamy cheesecake!

Ingredients

    For the crust:
  • 12 ounces gingersnap or graham cracker crumbs (I used gluten-free)*
  • 4-5 tablespoons pumpkin butter
  • For the cheesecake:
  • 1 pound fat free cream cheese (2 x 8 ounce packages), at room temperature
  • 1 pound reduced fat cream cheese (2 x 8 ounce packages), at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 x 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (or about two cups homemade pumpkin puree)
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon, optional
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free baking blend (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13" pan with nonstick spray. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine gingersnap/graham cracker crumbs and pumpkin butter. Start with 4 tablespoons pumpkin butter and add a fifth if mixture seems too dry. Press crust into prepared baking pan and bake until browned and set, about 7-10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy and smooth. Add sugars and beat until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time until just combined, then beat in pumpkin, bourbon (if desired), and vanilla. Beat in baking blend and pumpkin pie spice. Pour over prepared crust and bake until set and center no longer jiggles, about 70-90 minutes.
  3. Cool completely to room temperature then cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Cut into bars to serve. Cheesecake bars will last about 1 week in the refrigerator.

Notes

*I've made these bars with a gingersnap crust and a graham cracker crust, and both ways work great! Choose whichever taste you prefer.

http://arismenu.com/pumpkin-cheesecake-bars-2/

Salted Caramel Mocha Banana Bread

Salted Caramel Mocha Banana Bread: Your favorite cold weather beverage in a decadent banana bread! {gf}

Ultra soft banana bread with espresso, dark chocolate and a salted caramel swirl. All the flavors of your favorite cold weather beverage turned into your new favorite banana bread.

Salted Caramel Mocha Banana Bread: Your favorite cold weather beverage in a decadent banana bread! {gf}

So I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I have this teeny, tiny, huge, ridiculous obsession with salted desserts. It all started when Starbucks first released their salted caramel mocha. I turned my nose up, and asked the barista if that was even good. She must have been really convincing because I wasn’t one for trying new things back then, but for some reason I gave it a shot. That was a big mistake.

Salted Caramel Mocha Banana Bread: Your favorite cold weather beverage in a decadent banana bread! {gf}

I’m pretty sure I ended up drinking at least one daily for that entire winter. Ya know that whole balance/self control thing? I don’t really have it. This year I rediscovered Bahama Bucks, and all of the sudden I was going multiple times per week. I am the biggest weakling when it comes to my sweet tooth.

Salted Caramel Mocha Banana Bread: Your favorite cold weather beverage in a decadent banana bread! {gf}

As much as I love dessert, I love the bite and depth of flavor that adding a little salt brings. I don’t love things that are too sweet. Steve drinks his coffee with like 700 sweet ‘n lows (also…really? Why would anyone choose the pink packets???) in his coffee and it always grosses me out! You also won’t find me digging into those loft house sugar cookies that taste like they are made entirely of frosting. I like my dessert with a little attitude.

Salted Caramel Mocha Banana Bread: Your favorite cold weather beverage in a decadent banana bread! {gf}

I must not be alone because this is one of the most popular desserts I have ever made. I brought the leftovers into work and it disappeared in minutes. Everyone kept raving about it and asking for the recipe! So soft, tender and decadent, this will be your go-to snack for to make for your out of town guests this whole holiday season!

 

Salted Caramel Mocha Banana Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 12-16 slices

Serving Size: 1 slice

Salted Caramel Mocha Banana Bread

Ultra soft banana bread with espresso, dark chocolate and a salted caramel swirl. All the flavors of your favorite cold weather beverage turned into your new favorite banana bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free baking blend (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 extra ripe medium bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat buttermilk*
  • 1/2 cup fleur de sel caramel sauce* (+ more for drizzling)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x5" loaf pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together baking blend, cocoa powder, cornstarch, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together bananas, applesauce, sugars and vanilla until well combined. Stir in half the flour mixture, then buttermilk, then remaining flour mixture.
  3. Transfer half the batter to prepared loaf pan. Pour caramel sauce on top, then add remaining batter. Use a butter knife to gently swirl caramel into the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about one hour. Set loaf pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve drizzled with extra fleur de sel caramel sauce, if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Notes

*To make vegan, replace buttermilk with 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and use a vegan salted caramel sauce.

http://arismenu.com/salted-caramel-mocha-banana-bread/

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Rich, fudgy, brownie-like chocolate cookies stuffed with melty mini Snickers and topped with sea salt for the perfect extra bite. These gluten-free Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies are the perfect way to use up Halloween candy, a great Christmas cookie, or perfect for any occasion!

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Oh, hello cookie. Cookie that tastes and feels like a brownie. Cookie that is stuffed with one of my very favorite candies. Cookie with melty chocolate, caramel and nougat in every bite. Cookie with big sea salt crystals adding the perfect balance to all that candy sweetness. Just wanted to say heyyyyy.

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Let’s chat about candy for a second. I have really strong opinions. For example, 3 Musketeers–WHAT IS THE POINT? It’s just so fluffy, and soooo overly sweet, and there’s nothing to it. Ick. And then there’s Milky Way. That’s just like a lesser Snickers. It’s like it’s trying to be a Snickers for the poor people with nut allergies, but without the salty peanuts to add crunchy and bite, what is even the point?? Then we get to the good ones. Snickers, Butterfinger, Reese’s and Twix.  Those are the ones that, come Halloween time (okay…any time), I can’t resist grabbing a mini, or 7. In fact, the leftover Snickers from these cookies were totally bad news. I usually end up taking them into work and using them as bribery to toss at the kids that impress me in rehearsals. I know, I know…I should give them carrot sticks, probably, but I’m a terrible influence.

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Anyway, these cookies are a bit indulgent, but they are whole grain, gluten-free, and shockingly don’t contain any butter or oil! They taste like a rich, buttery brownie, so you’ll never notice the little healthier adjustments. Of course, you are free to use real butter and white flour–they will still be great, but I honestly can’t taste the difference!

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Prep Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Rich, fudgy, brownie-like chocolate cookies stuffed with melty mini Snickers and topped with sea salt for the perfect extra bite. These gluten-free Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies are the perfect way to use up Halloween candy, a great Christmas cookie, or perfect for any occasion!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten-free baking blend (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey's special dark or Dutch process)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons apple butter
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 24 mini Snickers candies (I bought a combination bag with regular, peanut butter and dark chocolate)
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together baking blend, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together melted chocolate, eggs, vanilla, apple butter, and sugars until well combined, then slowly beat in dry ingredients until just combined. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Spray hands with nonstick spray (this sounds weird, but it will prevent dough from sticking to your hands during rolling) and roll dough into about 1" balls. Press the center with your thumb to make a whole for the Snickers. Gently press 1 mini Snickers into the center and then re-roll dough around it. Make sure dough is completely covering the candy. Add more dough if necessary. Place onto prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. Sprinkle each cookie with a small pinch of coarse sea salt (if desired) just before baking.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes until just set. Cool completely on pan. Store in an airtight container for one week (these cookies stay pretty darn soft and gooey for days!).
http://arismenu.com/snickers-brownie-cookies/

Pumpkin White Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes

Pumpkin White Chocolate S'mores Cupcakes: Gingersnap crust, pumpkin cupcake, white chocolate ganache & toasted marshmallow frosting {gf}

These Pumpkin White Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes have a gingersnap crust, soft and tender pumpkin cupcakes, white chocolate ganache and a toasted marshmallow frosting. They are mash-up heaven. 

Pumpkin White Chocolate S'mores Cupcakes: Gingersnap crust, pumpkin cupcake, white chocolate ganache & toasted marshmallow frosting {gf}

I have been on a serious s’mores kick lately. Pretty soon you’ll see what I’m talking about, but I have become a girl obsessed. It’s probably because of this frosting. The most perfect, decadent and beautiful marshmallow frosting that coming together in minutes. Every time I serve it, my friends and family are suuuuuper impressed. Shhhh….just don’t let them know how simple it is!

Pumpkin White Chocolate S'mores Cupcakes: Gingersnap crust, pumpkin cupcake, white chocolate ganache & toasted marshmallow frosting {gf}

I was inspired to make these 2 years ago when I saw this recipe on How Sweet It Is. So pretttttty. So perfect for pumpkin season!

Pumpkin White Chocolate S'mores Cupcakes: Gingersnap crust, pumpkin cupcake, white chocolate ganache & toasted marshmallow frosting {gf}

Okay so, to be fair, these take a lot of liberties for being “s’mores”. The graham cracker is replaced by a perfect gingersnap crust, and the regular chocolate is replaced by white chocolate. Have you ever had pumpkin and white chocolate together? It is like match made in heaven.

Pumpkin White Chocolate S'mores Cupcakes: Gingersnap crust, pumpkin cupcake, white chocolate ganache & toasted marshmallow frosting {gf}

Even though it seems like there are a lot of components going on, these cupcakes are actually really easy to make. You can prepare the batter while crust is baking, then the ganache and the frosting come together in minutes. Brulee-ing is optional, but I mean….LOOK HOW PRETTY! It definitely will take your dessert to the next level.

Pumpkin White Chocolate S'mores Cupcakes: Gingersnap crust, pumpkin cupcake, white chocolate ganache & toasted marshmallow frosting {gf}

The pumpkin cupcakes are ultra soft and tender and pair perfectly with the spiced gingersnap crust and melty white chocolate. Speaking of that white chocolate…it is so good, you will want more. I tried a batch putting some on top of the crust and on top of the cupcake. It was sad because it seemed like such a good idea, but I was overzealous (shocking) and there was too much, and it stuck to the wrapper. You probably can still get away with adding extra if you you use a small enough amount that it stays perfectly in the little crust cup. Otherwise, just spread it on real thick on top. That’s what I did round 2, and it worked great!

Pumpkin White Chocolate S'mores Cupcakes: Gingersnap crust, pumpkin cupcake, white chocolate ganache & toasted marshmallow frosting {gf}

Also, as you can see, I made normal sized and mini cupcakes. I prefer the minis–then you get to eat two cupcakes! But, again, make whatever you like. You’ll love them either way!

Pumpkin White Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 15 standard cupcakes or 36 minis

Serving Size: 1 cupcake

Pumpkin White Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes

These Pumpkin White Chocolate S'mores Cupcakes have a gingersnap crust, soft and tender pumpkin cupcakes, white chocolate ganache and a toasted marshmallow frosting. They are mash-up heaven.

Ingredients

    For the gingersnap crust:
  • 1/2 cup gingersnap crumbs (I used gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • For the cupcakes:
  • 1 1/4 cups gluten-free baking blend (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • For the white chocolate ganache:
  • 4 ounces good quality white chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • For the marshmallow frosting:
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 15 standard muffin cups or 36 mini muffin cups with paper liners. Spray lightly with nonstick spray if desired (sometimes lower fat baking sticks to cheaper liners). Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs and 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, stirring until well combined. Evenly divide crust mixture between prepared cupcake tins--about 1/2 tablespoon each for full sized, and scant teaspoon for minis. Use the back of a spoon or the bottom of a shot glass to press into a crust.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine baking blend, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. In a large bowl, beat together brown sugar, egg, pumpkin puree, applesauce, coconut oil and vanilla extract until well combined. Mix in half the flour mixture, then almond milk, then remaining flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Fill each prepared muffin tin about 3/4 the way full with cupcake batter. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 18-20 minutes for full size, about 12 minutes for minis. Cool completely.
  5. To make the white chocolate ganache, place white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 20-30 seconds just to warm the white chocolate. Heat almond milk until almost boiling, then pour immediately over warmed white chocolate. Stir until melty and combined. Spread white chocolate ganache on top of each cupcake.
  6. To make the frosting, either use a double broiler, or create your own by bringing about 2 inches of water to a simmer in a medium pot and placing a large heatproof bowl on top. Whisk egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer to stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on low and gradually increase speed to high, beating until stiff peaks form. The frosting should stand on the whisk attachment when removed. Frost cupcakes. Use a brulee torch to brown, if desired. Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

Notes

Recipe inspired by How Sweet It Is Frosting recipe from Martha Stewart

http://arismenu.com/pumpkin-white-chocolate-smores-cupcakes/

Crockpot Taco Chili

Crockpot Taco Chili Healthy, easy and gluten-free

Disclosure: I was asked to participate in the McCormick Gluten-Free Recipe Mixes Launch as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I received free samples of McCormick Gluten-Free Recipe Mixes from McCormick mentioned in this post. I was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own.

Creamy crockpot taco chili is the perfect, easy, weeknight dinner. Warm and comforting while still healthy and gluten-free. So good you’ll be fighting over the leftovers…if there are any!

Crockpot Taco Chili Healthy, easy and gluten-free

So…I have to go back to work today. And I’m totally whiney about it, which makes me feel like a total tool because in what other job do you get a week off for fall break when you’re a grown up? But ugghhhh, I just don’t wanna. And things are about to get so busy. Two shows in October and one at the beginning of November. Although, once that’s all over, it should be smooth sailing for the rest of the semester.

Crockpot Taco Chili Healthy, easy and gluten-free

As life gets busier, cooking dinner every night becomes more challenging, and my love for my crockpot grows into more of a deep dependence, can’t-live-without-ya kinda thing. In fact, if I could make every single meal in the crockpot for the rest of my life, I probably wouldn’t be even a little bit sad. I mostly only like cooking because I like eating, and I really like eating.

Crockpot Taco Chili Healthy, easy and gluten-free

Especially this chili. I really, really, really like eating this taco chili. Like, I was fighting Steve over the leftovers. I almost always make enough food to have leftovers for 2-3 lunch / dinners, and sometimes I make entirely too much and end up trying to guilt Steve into finishing it because I just am soooooo sick of it by the 4th time I’ve eaten it. But not this chili. I was hoarding, calling dibs, hiding it in the back of the fridge, and pulling out every trick I had up my sleeve to keep it allllll to myself.

Crockpot Taco Chili Healthy, easy and gluten-free

This is the second part of my series with McCormick. You may remember from my Crockpot Taco Dip that McCormick now has an entire line of seasonings that are certified by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Their gluten-free line includes Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning, Gluten-Free Chili Seasoning, Gluten-Free Brown Gravy and Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy. The best part is, ya know how normally as soon as something is labeled gluten-free the price magically shoots up? Not here! They’re the same price as all of their other seasonings, and they contain no MSG or artificial colors /flavors. I stocked up on the taco seasoning! It’s something I use all the time anyway, and I was so in love with the way these recipes turned out. It’s going to become a staple in my kitchen.

Crockpot Taco Chili Healthy, easy and gluten-free

This chili is bold and flavorful, rich and creamy, healthy and loaded with fresh veggies. It’s the kind of weeknight dinner you never get tired of, and something you will feel excited to come home to!

Crockpot Taco Chili

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours, 15 minutes

Total Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Crockpot Taco Chili

Creamy crockpot taco chili is the perfect, easy, weeknight dinner. Warm and comforting while still healthy and gluten-free. So good you'll be fighting over the leftovers...if there are any!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef (93% or higher)
  • 2 x 15 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 x 15 ounce cans black beans, not drained
  • 1 x 15 ounce can corn, drained
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (I prefer red or orange)
  • 4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature in 1" cubes
  • 1 packet McCormick Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning
  • For topping:
  • freshly shredded cheese
  • fresh cilantro
  • nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sautee garlic and onion until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Add cooked beef mixture, tomatoes, beans, corn, bell peppers, cream cheese, and taco seasoning to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours, stirring once in between if possible. Once chili is finished, stir together to ensure cream cheese melts fully and combines. Serve topped with shredded cheese, cilantro and Greek yogurt if desired. Leftovers may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.
http://arismenu.com/crockpot-taco-chili/

Other gluten-free seasoning options include Gluten-Free Chili Seasoning, Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy, and Gluten-Free Brown Gravy. For more from McCormick,  you can follow them on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!

Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

Disclosure: I was asked to participate in the McCormick Gluten-Free Recipe Mixes Launch as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I received free samples of McCormick Gluten-Free Recipe Mixes from McCormick mentioned in this post. I was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own.

Rich, creamy and bold chicken taco dip made easily in your slow cooker, topped with melty pepper jack. This dip is so full of flavor, you won’t be able to stay away!

Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

I have a confession. I never make my own taco seasoning / pumpkin pie spice / tomato sauce seasonings / etc. I love to cook, but I am honestly all about convenience, and I’m a busy human who needs for things to be quick and easy when I’m cooking at home. Sometimes I feel like, because I have a food blog, I have to be one of those 100% from scratch type cooks. I just can’t live up to that. I mean, I guess I’m somewhere between that cookie dough that’s not just already made, but already cut for you and someone who churns their own butter.

Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

Something that really surprised me when Steve found out he had a gluten intolerance was just how many things contained gluten. I mean, we’re both pretty lucky in the fact that we’re more gluten-get-grouchy than gluten intolerant (well, he is closer to intolerant, but does okay with cross contamination), but even still, so many of the seasonings that we’d used in the past contained flour–what is that about?? We learned to label check like crazy, even things you wouldn’t imagine, and it’s even more important for our friends with Celiac.

Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

We LOVE that McCormick has some of our favorite seasoning mixes that are certified by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and they contain no MSG, artificial colors or flavors. The flavors are bold and spot on, and they make it so easy to turn a boring dinner into a flavorful one! I also love that their gluten-free products are the same price as their regular products. Eating gluten-free can get soooo expensive (hellloooo $5 for a loaf of bread…), and it’s really refreshing to finally have a product that has the same cost.

Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

This dip couldn’t be easier–I just took some chicken breasts, a can of refried beans, a block of cream cheese and the McCormick gluten-free taco seasoning and threw ‘em in the crockpot. I added some Greek yogurt after they were done cooking then topped it with pepper jack cheese that I put in the oven on broil until it got all bubbly and dreamy. The taste and the texture were absolutely amazing. I couldn’t stop eating it, and ended up eating dip for dinner. Oh well, I guess there’s worse things. ;)

Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Total Time: 5 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: about 9-10 cups

Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 1 x 16 ounce can refried beans (I used fat free)
  • 3 cups salsa
  • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened and cut into 1" cubes
  • 2-3 tablespoons McCormick Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced (optional for serving)
  • corn tortilla chips for serving

Instructions

  1. Place chicken breasts at the bottom of your slow cooker. Cover with beans, salsa, cream cheese and taco seasoning. Cook on low for 4-5 hours, stirring once in between if possible.
  2. Remove chicken and shred. Take about a tablespoon of warm dip and mix into Greek yogurt to temper, then add Greek yogurt and stir to combine.Stir in shredded chicken. Transfer to an oven safe serving dish and top with shredded cheese. Cook on broil until cheese starts to brown and bubble, about 3-4 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning.
  3. Top with sliced jalapeno and serve immediately with chips. Leftovers may be refrigerated in an airtight container for 5-7 days.
http://arismenu.com/crockpot-chicken-taco-dip/

Other gluten-free seasoning options include Gluten-Free Chili Seasoning, Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy, and Gluten-Free Brown Gravy. For more from McCormick,  you can follow them on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!