Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

Oh how I love this recipe. It’s so versatile and I’d say dangerous if it wasn’t so darn healthy! It all mixes up in a food processor and will make any Mexican dish better. You could even use it as a salad dressing. Or one could sit and eat it for breakfast with chips. Hypothetically.  It would be a great topping for chicken or fish tacos, along with some queso fresco. Please make it and tell us if you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it.

1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno seeded
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
juice of 1 lime
kosher salt

Mix all ingredients in a food processor and taste for salt. Eat with a spoon like nobody’s watching!

Blender Salsa

This is a great recipe from our good friends Jeremy and Shelly, a salsa with a secret ingredient of Chili Pequin. It is so delicious, quick and perfect for any gathering (or a weekend at the beach)!

8-10 (or more if you like it hot!) dried Chili Pequin (sometimes called Chili Pepin; these come in cello pack of a handful. They are small like peas.)
One bunch green onions, chopped
One bunch cilantro
1 T. minced garlic
2 cans stewed tomatoes
Salt/pepper to taste 

Place chilis in the blender, and whir them up so there aren’t any big chunks. You may have to give it a shake to get them up into the blades.

Add all the items, starting with green of the green onions, cilantro, minced garlic, then both cans of stewed tomatoes. Blend for about 10 seconds, and it will look like a delicious salsa margarita.

Taste, and add salt as needed, re-blending until it is all blended and tastes just right.

Superbowl Sausage Spinach Dip

Move over regular queso, there is a new game in town.  Looking for something different for a weekend of football?   No matter who your favorite team is, this will be the clear winner.  Thanks to Jessica for something new to add to your Superbowl menu.  




In a large skillet over medium heat on stovetop, brown sausage; drain.

Add spinach, cream cheese, and sour cream.

Cook over medium heat until bubbly, stirring occasionally to keep from burning on bottom.

Add tomatoes and cheddar cheese and continue to cook, keeping the temperature at medium heat.

When cheese is melted, add garlic.

Add scallions.

Turn heat down to low, to keep warm, until ready to serve.  You may also opt to transfer to a crock pot and keep on low.

Don’t forget your crock pot liner for easy clean up.   A little trick to keep from burning is to add 1/4 cup of water in the crock pot and place liner on top of the water.

Serve with chips.

Neiman Marcus Dip

Looking for a new and different New Years appetizer?   Our sister-in-law, Amy,  shared her latest and greatest, that happened to be her sister’s recipe.  Thanks, Julie!   She told us it was quick and easy and she is right.  She told us it had the word Neimans in it and we were scared it would have a gazillion ingredients.  She told us it came from Julie and we knew it would be perfect! We wish you all a very Happy New Year and a year full of memory making, good food, and fellowship.  

5-6 green onions, chopped

8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

1 1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 jar of real bacon bits

1 small pkg of slivered almonds, lightly toasted

Mix the onion, cheese, mayo, bacon, and almonds. You can put in your best bowl, because this recipe does not require the oven.  Chill for a couple of hours.

Serve with Ritz crackers or Frito corn chips.

Quick Cheddar Cheese Fondue

We had so much fun with Truman in town seeing us last week. After doing a little indoor skydiving, we went to Dave & Busters and had chocolate fondue. It was such a hit that the next night, we decided to make cheddar cheese fondue. It was loved by all! We served it with three kinds of bread (pretzel rolls, ciabatta and wheat bread), roasted potatoes, mushrooms, broccoli and squash (the veggies we had on hand) and chicken apple sausage. Do this with your kids for a really fun night!

Fondue Ingredients:
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Fondue Accompaniments:
Any kind of bread
Chicken sausage

Toss the shredded cheddar cheese with cornstarch in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, whisk the milk, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg, stirring occasionally, until it is hot and begins to gently bubble. Using a whisk, gradually add in the cheese. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth and bubbling. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Pour the mixture into a fondue pot or bread bowl. Serve immediately with accompaniments on fondue forks or skewers.

Guacamole Hummus

Looking for something new and different? Watching college basketball equals great food and company We decided it was healthy (without piling it on a chip). Thumbs up for games well played and even a bigger thumbs up for great new appetizer. Mandy is new to Texas and is 2 for 2 with great recipes.

1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained

1 garlic clove

3 cups cilantro, chopped

3 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 T. lemon juice

1 avocado, chopped (use two if they are small)

course salt and pepper to taste

lemon wedges, garnish

Blend all ingredients in a food processor (with the exception of the lemon wedges) until is the perfect consistency for dipping. Once blended, put in a bowl and drizzle with a little more olive oil (approximately a tablespoon) and garnish with lemon wedges.

Tailgate Homemade Salsa

No tailgate is complete without an overachieving fan! This recipe is the exception. Homemade is a loose term. We use canned petite diced tomatoes. If you prefer to use fresh tomatoes, knock yourself out. We have tested many salsas over the years. We have Julie to thank for her winning recipe. Game on! This salsa is a touchdown…with the extra point.

2-28 oz. cans of petite diced tomatoes
2-3 fresh jalapenos, removed seeds and chop fine (add more if you like it hot)
1/8 cup of lime juice or the juice of 2 limes
1-2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
3/4 of a medium white onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 pinch of cayenne pepper, optional

Boil this ingredients for 5 minutes on med-high. Cool. Next, pour into a blender and blend according to your likes. If you like it “chunkier,” blend it less. Chill. Keep in fridge for several days.

Warm Blue Cheese, Bacon and Garlic Dip

This recipe is an oldie but a goodie – adapted from the fabulous and beautiful Jr. League of Houston cookbook, Stop and Smell the Rosemary. I have a bunch of smoked almonds, so suddenly I was reminded of this dip. It’s great if you love strong flavors, particularly with a glass of red wine. Oh and if you want to pull out all the stops, serve it in a hollowed out bread bowl. Enjoy!

7 slices bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ cup half and half
4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
2 T. chopped chives
3 T. chopped smoked almonds (1 oz)

Cook bacon over medium high heat until almost crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain excess fat, and add garlic. Cook until bacon is crisp, about 3 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add half and half, and mix until combined. Stir in bacon mixture, blue cheese and chives. Transfer to a 2-cup ovenproof serving dish and cover with foil.

Bake until thoroughly heated, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped almonds. Serve with sliced apples, toasted pita chips or French bread.

Raspberry Cheese Spread

We have staple appetizers at my house.  Ones that are made without glancing at the recipe and also, made over and over.  I can count on a request for this recipe from several friends if they are coming over.  I first learned of this recipe from a friend in Victoria, Texas.  BJ and her mom shared this with me close to 15 years ago.   This recipe takes a cheese dip to a whole new level.  Enjoy a small amount on a Friday afternoon happy hour, yet it has a great look for parties and showers.   You will love appearance of this dip.  However, the taste is full of flavor…cheese, spice, and sweet.  Enjoy!

6 1/2  inch springform pan

1 1/2 lbs. of grated cheddar cheese  (half mild, half sharp)   I prefer the regular grated, not the finely grated.

1 1/2 cups mayo (yes, I have used fat free and also light)

3 green onions, diced

dash of tabasco (give the bottle a good 3-5 shakes)

3/4 cup pecans, optional

1 jar raspberry preserves (I prefer Smuckers)

Wheat Thins/Ritz crackers

Let cheese stand a room temperature for 30 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients, minus the pecans.  Blend well with wooden spoon.  If you aren’t using a springform pan, mold and wrap in saran wrap.  I like to mold mine in a round mound with the top flat using the palm of my hand, and about 2 to 3 inches thick.   Chill for 3-4 hours. 

Put the chilled cheese ball (again, keep the top of the ball flat) out on a pretty plate.  Spread raspberry preserves over the top of the cheese, covering completely with the preserves.  Let the preserves drizzle down the sides. I typically use about half a jar of the preserves.  Sprinkle the top with pecans.  If you are a pecan lover, the pecans can be added in the mixture when mixing all the ingredients together. 

Serve with Wheat Thins or Ritz, or a combination of both.

The Perfect Guacamole

We know, you make guacamole , but never write down how much you add of this and that.  We were in the same boat until Barbara served it at a Pokeno party and had something down on paper for proof!   Barbara is a wonderful cook, but for now, I will share her perfect Guacamole recipe….that she found in a Southern Living book.   We are glad to get our hands on this.  The sisters love them some “guac”. 

6  ripe avocados, peeled
1/3  cup fresh lime juice
2  large tomatoes, chopped
3  to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1  tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoon pepper
  Garnishes: chopped red and yellow bell peppers


Place avocados in a bowl; mash, leaving some small pieces. Stir in juice until blended. Stir in tomato and next 4 ingredients. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; chill 30 minutes. Garnish, if desired.


Makes 4 cups