Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip

It was not too long ago where our families got together for an early summertime barbecue, or cookout if you will. I tend not to be a snob when it comes to the terms barbecue and grill out (or cookout), but when I hear a barbecue I think of meat smoked low and slow, then served while grilling is typically done over charcoal or wood, or for those that use gas, cooking at a faster pace. Regardless, any get together is always a fun time in our book, and we always like to bring something to the get together. When I ask the question to my wife if we can bring anything to the party, when I hear the word ‘Dessert’ I often panic in a sense. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t freak out or anything, but dessert is typically not my cup of tea and I typically only make dessert for my wife and kids. I am more into the savory, not the sweet.

So when I heard a dessert, I immediately thought of taking this one on myself and making something very simple, sweet, and something I knew adults and children would love. That’s when I came up with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Recipe
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup salted caramel (or caramel chips)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Graham crackers or sliced apples

Again, this dip is way too easy to make and everyone crushed it. I think there was about 1/2 tablespoon left when we gathered the kids to leave the party. Yes, it’s that good, and a bit addicting.

Start by adding the cream cheese, butter, sugars, salt, and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl. Turn on your mixer and mix until all of the ingredients are well combined.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Ingredients
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Ingredients

Next add in both of your chocolate and caramel chips. Mix again to make sure all of the chips are combined.

Now get your silicone baking spatula out and get all of those goods scraped out and placed into your serving bowl.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip

When you are ready to serve, place your serving bowl next to a plate lined with graham crackers and sliced apples. Spread onto either one and get to town. These are sweet, creamy, and have a great little texture from those mini chips.

This is a quicker winner of a dessert. Hope you enjoy!

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots

Summertime is finally here, and sometimes that is s a great thing or a bad thing. The bad only being that it has been a scorcher in Wisconsin. The temperature has been in the upper to mid 90’s lately with a high percentage of humidity. I don’t perform well in humidity, and as I normally run hot to begin with, when you add humidity that only means I’m a walking puddle.  The great thing is that all of the wonderful produce that my wife and family love is in full harvest, and one of them being corn. I’ve always related corn and tomatoes to summertime while living in the midwest, and as we grow a lot of tomatoes in our garden, corn is pretty much on our lunch or dinner table several times a week.

While living in Dallas, I was first introduced to Mexican corn (Elotes), and I fell in love. It was addicting. Grilled or steamed corn smothered in mayonnaise, sprinkled with chili powder and cotija cheese, what was not to love? I had elotes on my mind after buying a handful of corn on the cob, and after rummaging through my freezer (trying to purge frozen items), I located some nice tater tots. I love tater tots, and after looking at both the corn and the tater tots, I knew I could only do justice my making some loaded Mexican Elotes Tater Tots.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe

Forget the nachos. These are a game changer.

Let’s get started.

  • 2 ears of corn, steamed or grilled, then cut off the cob
  • 1/2 a bag or about 15 oz of frozen tater tots, cooked by directions on bag
  • 2 cups of Supremo 3 Cheese Mexican blend cheese (Chihuahua, Oaxaca, Cotija)
  • 1/3 cup of Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped, to garnish
  • 1/2 lime, optional

Start by preheating your oven by directions, or fry the tots if you desire. I baked mine on a cast iron fajita skillet (love), and during this time steam or grill your corn.

Once the corn is cooked to your liking (I like mine a bit al dente), cut it off the cob and place it into a mixing bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, chili powder, and a bit of salt and pepper. Those tater tots need some salt and pepper.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Ingredients
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Ingredients

Once the tots are close to being done (and to your liking), and some like them a bit tender and some like them nice and crispy like myself, remove the skillet or baking sheet from the oven. Top all of the tater tots with the Mexican shredded cheeses and place back into the oven and cook for about 5 more minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted.

Once the cheese is nicely melted, remove it from the oven and slide onto your serving plate. I keep mine on the cast iron skillet and place it on top of the wooden board that came with the fajita skillet.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe

Top with the corn mixture, shower with fresh cilantro, and serve with a lime wedge for additional acidity.

Now block yourself from others, just kidding, and dig in. You talk about everything you can love about Mexican Elotes, these Mexican Elotes Tater Tots just bring it over the top. Simple, quick, and delicious. This is a perfect Summertime snack. Enjoy.

If you are looking for other takes on Mexican elotes, or other corn ideas this summer, give these a try:

Indiana Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Believe it or not, I grew up in Indiana. It was a great upbringing. Friends and family lived nearby, parks just down the street, the elementary school in walking distance, and even an inground pool in the backyard. There were so many great memories there, however my folks decided to take a work transfer to Wisconsin when I was entering the second grade. Regardless, it was a great transfer to say the least. We lived in a small town where the population was under 8,000 people, but everything was close by us. The school was a block away, the library about the same, and the swimming pool and ice skating rink was in the same vicinity.

I often say to my kids that they have it great when it comes to their commute to middle/high school, as the walk to our middle school and high (rain, snow, or shine) was a bit of a distance. That did not matter however as that walk built up an appetite, and it was very important that we were always home on time for dinner. I instill that same routine with my family. There is one thing that really satisfied our appetite, and one that is probably the icon of Indiana, and that is the Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich and my Dad was and is amazing at making them. I was fortunate to help out on many occasions growing up with the dredge station and learning some of his tips and tricks. I brought that sandwich home to my family and it is noted by all of them ‘this is my favorite sandwich’. After all of the recipes I make for my family, I was not surprised to hear that as it is one heck of a sandwich.

Indiana Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Recipe
Indiana Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 sleeves Saltine Crackers, smashed into rough crumbs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2-3 lbs pork loin, cut into 1.5 inch slices and about 4-5 inches long
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • Yellow mustard, to your liking
  • Mayonnaise
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 head of lettuce, cleaned and drained
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • generic hamburger buns
  • pickles to garnish, to your liking
  • canola oil, roughly 4 cups
  • Meat mallet
  • plastic wrap

Start by getting your dredging station ready. You can get three bowls out, or two bowls, and one large plastic sealed bag.

To one bow, whisk the eggs, then add the water, and continue to whisk until lightly bubbly. To another bowl, add the flour. Season the flour with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Set this aside.

Add the crushed Saltines to a large plastic sealed bag.

Add the oil to a large pot on medium-low heat.

While the oil heats up, get ready to get some aggression out on the pork.

Take two pieces of plastic wrap, about 1 foot long for each piece.

Indiana Fried Pork Sandwich Ingredients
Indiana Fried Pork Sandwich Ingredients

Lay one piece of plastic wrap onto your working surface. Add a piece of the cut pork, then top with the other piece of plastic wrap. Gently pound from the center outward, being careful not to tear the pork. This will almost double or triple in size. This is one of the beauties of this sandwich.

Repeat with remaining cuts of pork and stack them onto a plate.

Now you are ready to dredge. Check the temperature of your oil if you can. The oil should simmer and be around 350 degrees.

Take a piece of the pork, cover both sides with flour, shaking off any excess flour, then into the egg wash. Let the egg wash drain a bit, then place into the plastic bag with the saltines. Gently push the saltines into the pork, covering completely, then shake off any excess saltines.

Place into your oil, and cook until golden brown on both sides. This only takes about 4 minutes or so per side. Once golden, remove with tongs, and let any excess oil drain bag into to pot, and place the cooked pork onto a baking sheet and place into a 225 degree oven (or make your sandwich right away) to keep warm until all cooked pork is ready to serve.

Repeat with remaining pork slices.

Indiana Fried Pork Sandwich Recipe
Indiana Fried Pork Sandwich Recipe

Now it is time to assemble the sandwich.

To the bottom bun, slather on some mayonnaise, and squirt on some mustard.

Add lettuce slices, a slice or two of tomato, thinly sliced onions, and top with the over sized fried pork. Add a bit of mustard to the bottom of the top bun, then top. Place a pickle on the plate to nibble on throughout your sandwich intake.

Dig in. The great thing about this sandwich is eating through the pork even before you make it to the sandwich. It’s crispy and so very delicious. Then you get into the sandwich and the overall combination of all of the ingredients makes this sandwich scream. I now know why my Dad made this Indiana Fried Pork Sandwich for us on a regular rotation, and as importantly realize why my kids have named it their favorite as well.

If you are looking for a great sandwich, give this one a shot. The time and effort totally pays off. Enjoy!

 

Homemade Corn Nuts

I grew up eating corn nuts. I loved them, and still to this day. I’m a bit cautious however eating them nowadays only because I think I may crack a tooth or something. But corn nuts are something my boys love as well, and I figured what the heck, let’s make some homemade ones. I was thinking of what to seasons these corn nuts with, and came up with two versions. One using a Filipino sisig seasoning (you can find it in your Asian market), and the other using one of my son’s favorite seasoning blends, Slap Ya Mama.

These corn  nuts are really easy to make, come out a bit on the chalky side which is ok, and still pleased the boys. Feel free to use whatever seasoning mix you enjoy.

Homemade Corn Nuts Recipe
Homemade Corn Nuts Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Goya Giant White Corn Kernels (You can find at your local Mexican grocery store)
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • water to cover and soak
  • 3 cups of canola oil
  • 3 tbsp of your favorite seasoning blend

Now you have a couple of options here. You can fry them or bake them. I default to the fry method, however if you are going to bake them, bake them at 400 degrees between 20-40 minutes turning every 10 minutes.

You have to soak the beans overnight in a large bowl in cool water. The next day, drain the water, and them them stay in the strainer to air dry a bit. Sprinkle in the sugar and salt, and give them a good toss.

Next heat up a pot and pour in the oil. Bring to a medium-high heat for a few minutes. Drop in a couple of corn nuts and see if they sizzle. If not, wait a few more minutes until they do sizzle.

Homemade Corn Nuts
Homemade Corn Nuts

Fry the corn nuts, in batches, for about 15 minutes or until they get nice and golden. Move them around with a slotted spoon from time to time. Once they are golden, remove them to a paper lined baking sheet with a kitchen spider or slotted spoon, removing any excess oil, and let them cool slightly.

While they are cooling, pour them into a mixing bowl, and add your seasoning, tossing to completely coat them. Repeat and serve.

My oldest loved these, in particular the Slap Ya Mama version. Crunchy, salty, and delicious. These make for a perfect snack. Hope you enjoy!