Retro Spicy Shrimp Cocktail

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Growing up my grandmother had the tradition of making shrimp cocktail in fancy glasses in the evening. I remember feeling so grown up as I helped her chop and carefully arrange the shrimp so they looked perfect. I think this was from an old recipe that she found back in the 70’s, but to me it was the height of sophistication!

I recently found myself craving the comfort food of my childhood and this was one recipe that I just couldn’t get out of my head. However, I did make a few changes to update this classic and I was so happy with the results. I swapped out the cocktail sauce for sriracha sauce and added some veggies for a great crunch! Avocado on top adds some good fats and turns this into a pretty hearty appetizer. If you are going to make this ahead of time, just toss your avocado in some lime juice so it doesn’t brown.

This is also great served over a bed of greens as a salad.

Ingredients:

6-7 large cooked shrimp

1 stalk celery

1 green onion

½ avocado

1 Tablespoon sriracha sauce (to taste)

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Dice celery and green onion, layer in the bottom of a cup. Place diced avocado on top of the veggies and arrange shrimp on top.

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Drizzle sriracha sauce to taste. You can swap in the classic cocktail sauce if you would rather but I find the sriracha sauce adds a different layer to a classic dish. I love to make these when company comes over and serve them in martini glasses- the visual display of martini glasses filled with shrimp is so fun and unique!

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Two-Bite Brie Puffs

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I have a horrible confession, I love cheese. Brie is by far my favorite, I could probably eat it every day and never get sick of it. I made this dish countless times over the holiday season and it always got rave reviews. It’s perfect for a girls night in, super bowl party, or really any event. I love to serve this right out of the oven when the puff pastry is still fluffy and beautiful, but you can also make this ahead and serve it room temperature.

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Ingredients:

1 wheel of brie

1 package of puff pastry dough, cut into 24 rectangles

1 jalapeno sliced

1/3 cup apricot preserves

1/3 cup slivered almonds

Take the puff pastry dough out of the freezer and let it thaw for about 30 minutes, or until it is easy to handle. Slice the dough into 24 rectangles, place 12 on baking sheets. If your dough starts to crack just put it back in the freezer for a few moments to firm it up.

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Layer a Tablespoon of apricot preserves, a slice of brie, a slice of jalapeno and a few slivered almonds on each piece of dough.

Wet the edges of the dough and cover with another piece of puff pastry dough, crimp the edges with a fork.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden and fluffy. As you can see from my pictures some of delicious filling seeped out when baking, don’t get too concerned about crimping the edges of the pastry- some of the filling may seep out when baking.

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I like to serve these warm, but they are also great room temperature! I’m enjoying a plate of these tonight while I catch up on Downton Abbey.

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Low Fat (and Delicious) Blue Cheese Dressing

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I love blue cheese dressing, but the fat content kills me every time. Why bother eating a salad when you are eating the same amount of calories as a Big Mac? By swapping a few ingredients this dressing is tasty and tangy- it pairs great with a salad, sliced veggies or spicy buffalo wings. Just be sure to mix this really well so the blue cheese masks the greek yogurt taste!

Ingredients:

¾ cup fat free greek yogurt

4 oz blue cheese

1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Tablespoon skim milk (omit if you like a thicker dressing)

Fresh cracked pepper to taste

Garlic powder to taste

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In a bowl mix yogurt and blue cheese together, all the rest of the ingredients. If you like your dressing a little lumpy, you can serve it right up. I prefer to put half in the food processor to get a nice creamy texture that is perfect for dipping!

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Game Day Buffalo Wings in the Crockpot

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I am not a sports fan in the least, but I do enjoy snacking and socializing when a game is on. Buffalo wings are one of my favorite, but deep fried chicken is hardly a heathy choice. Instead of frying, this recipe uses the slow cooker to create a buffalo wing with plenty of flavor! If you want your wings crispy you can broil them for a minute once they are cooked and seasoned.

3 pound bag of frozen chicken wings

1 cup Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce

1 Tablespoon olive oil

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Spray olive oil on the bottom of your slow cooker and place chicken wings in for 2 hours on high. Once wings are cooked, coat with Frank’s Red Hot sauce and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes in the slow cooker. Serve with blue cheese dressing and fresh cut vegetables.

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Overnight Oats with Kale, Chia and Flax

This recipe makes it so easy to start your day off right! I like to make this the night before and grab it on my way out the door. The key is to chop the kale super fine so it blends in with the fruit.

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup oats (not instant)

1/3 cup fat free milk

1/3 cup fat free greek yogurt

1 Tablespoon chia

1 Tablespoon ground flaxseeds

1 large kale leaf, chopped

1 cup mixed berries

1 Tablespoon honey

1 Tablespoon sliced almonds

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Mix oats, yogurt, milk, chia and flaxmeal together. The mixture will be a little watery, but the oats will soak up all the liquid at they sit overnight.

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Heat the berries and kale in a saucepan on the stove, cook until the berries burst. I usually mash them up a bit to mix in the kale.

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In a mason jar layer half the fruit and a tablespoon of honey.

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Next, fill with the oat mixture and top with sliced almonds. Place the rest of the fruit on top and you are done! Let this set overnight and enjoy it in the morning.

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Black Eyed Pea Dip- A Different Look at a Yearly Favorite

My family generally isn’t superstitious, however every New Year’s Day we enjoy black eyed peas and some greens with our first dinner of the New Year. Generations have correlated eating black eyed peas and greens with monetary gains in the coming year- and it’s one that my family always practices! Boiled peas and limp greens are hardly appetizing and each year it has been harder and harder to get my family to sit and eat the dish. This year I decided to try something different and blended the black eyed peas into a hummus-like dip with some chives on the top. It was a huge success and so easy!

1 can black eyed peas (do not get the flavored kind, just regular unseasoned peas for this recipe)

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Cilantro for garnish (optional)

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Place black eyed peas, garlic, olive oil and vinegar in your blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and serve chilled.

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I served mine with freshly cut vegetables and crackers, but it would also taste great on pita bread.

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