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    Entries in fast and easy (70)

    Tuesday
    Sep172013

    Cheesecake Fruit Dip

    I don’t really know where this idea came from.  I suppose it was just one of those random moments of inspiration.  I’m quite happy with this one, though, so whatever, I’ll take it.  The fabulousness really does live up to the name.  Cheesecake Fruit Dip.  Just imagine a bowl of cheesecake in which you dip fresh fruit.  And the best part is, it only requires 2 ingredients and about 3 minutes to put it together. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 8 oz. cream cheese
    • ½ cup Trader Joe’s Crunchy Cookie Butter

    If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s by you, you can probably get speculoos at whatever store you shop at, but they might not have a crunchy option.  Speculoos is a spread made from speculoos cookies, which are basically graham crackers.

    If you don’t want to wait for your cream cheese to come to room temperature, you can give it 10 seconds in the microwave.  Then just smoosh it around until it’s nice and soft and creamy.  I like to use Neufchatel rather than regular cream cheese because it’s lower in fat and still tastes fabulous. 

    Add the cookie butter.

    Then just stir until it’s fully incorporated. 

    Serve with whatever kind of fruit you like.  I chose strawberries and sliced apples.  You could even dip bits of chocolate in it, if you like chocolate cheesecake.  Because seriously, you'll think you just made cheesecake in like 3 minutes.  

    What’s your favorite kind of cheesecake?

     

    Tuesday
    Aug202013

    Quick Chicken Trick

    You might think I grew up eating gourmet food, but the truth is, my childhood food experience was just like the vast majority of my generation.  We had casseroles made with condensed soups, and lasagna came from the freezer.  That being said, Mom cooked dinner just about every evening, and I don’t remember having a lot of complaints.  So where did I learn to cook without mixes and canned stuff?  Well, a lot of it has come from trial and error… and there have been plenty of errors.  There have been many flat cookies or broken cream sauces.  For a while, the phrase, “I don’t know what happened”, was a running joke in our house.  So don’t be afraid to try new things.  Worst case scenario, you have a mess in your oven and you’re eating pizza for dinner.  But next time, maybe you’ll have perfection!  The other part of learning has been picking up tricks wherever I can find them.  I’m not ashamed to say I totally stole this trick from my friend Elise Logan.  I was telling her about how much I love Trader Joe’s Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix. 

    Seriously guys, if you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, (I say nearby, but mine is 63 miles away.  Fortunately there is also a Whole Foods and an amazing barbecue place down there, so we go every Sunday.) you have to try this stuff.  Toss it with a bit of your favorite salad dressing, and it makes a fabulous side, snack, or even lunch.  It’s a mixture of broccoli, carrots, green cabbage, red cabbage, jicama, green bell pepper, radish, and celery.   

    Well, Elise said she uses it for chicken salad.  Holy crap!  I’m pretty sure the woman is a genius.  Chicken salad is one of my favorite things, so I wasn’t going to pass up on that trick.  Now I pass the trick onto all of you.  Pile some of the veggie mix on a cutting board.

    Chop it down to whatever size you like.  I prefer mine to be fairly small. 

    Now, in my world, chicken salad isn’t chicken salad without green onions, so those go into the bowl along with the veg and chicken.  I like about a 1 to 1 ratio of chicken and veggies.  Btw, trick #2, rotisseries chickens are fabulous for this, but if you can get your hands on a smoked chicken, they’re even better.  I don’t know if they do in other places, but in my area, Whole Foods has amazing smoked chickens.   

    Add whatever dressing you like.  For me, it’s homemade, low fat ranch.  What, you want that recipe as well?  Alright, I’ll post it soon, but if you need it in the meantime, comment below or use the request form on the right and I’ll be happy to share it with you. 

    Mix that all together and you’re almost to chicken salad perfection.  Look at all those fabulous colors!

    I say almost because in my world, pistachios are a requirement for chicken salad.  They go soft rather quickly, though, so remove whatever you’re not going to eat now to a storage container and then add them to your portion. 

    You have now reached chicken salad heaven, and it took like 10 minutes or less. 

    What are you favorite kitchen tricks?  Post them in the comments below so we can all add them to our repertoire.