Slow Cooker Mexican Grilled Corn Dip | girlversusdough.com @girlversusdough

I have, admittedly, been writing this post in my head for the better part of July. I may have been physically absent on the blog, but my mind has been hard at work this whole time, cranking the gears along that generate all those ideas for recipes to share. Off the grid I’ve been chopping fresh vegetables, slicing juicy fruits, grilling meats and sipping on sangria and icy beers but inside, in my head, I’ve been blogging away all the while.

This month off was just what I needed: to relax, recharge and renew my sense of perspective, re-energize my creativity. But it’s also been a time to shift those gears that have been constantly turning in my mind. And, alongside those glasses of sangria and icy beers, to eat mountains of this slow cooker corn dip. So thank you. Thank you so much for giving me this time.

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Make Your Own Pasta Bar (with three homemade pasta sauces!) | girlversusdough.com @girlversusdough

I’ve got a lot of feels for today’s post, so bear with me.

Part of the feels comes from the excitement I have over this make your own pasta bar with alllll the yummy pasta sauces. I’ll admit it — I’m a pretty routine jarred pasta sauce buyer. I know, I know. I’m ashamed of it. Especially because whenever I make a homemade pasta sauce and take even one bite, I do a jig in the kitchen, slap my knee and say, “By George, I should be making this all the time!” Or something to that effect (I promise I’m not so weird that I say things like “By George!” At least not often. Ahem).

ANYWAY, I’ve got not one, but three delectable sauces here — including a roasted red pepper sauce, a creamy Parmesan chive mushroom sauce and a garlic alfredo sauce, all made in the blender! — for you to choose from for your next pasta dinner. Or, if you’re in the pasta bar partying mood, you can make all three at the same time along with a big spread of cooked pastas and have your guests go crazy on adding their own sauce and toppings to their pasta bowls. Serve it all up with lots of bread and wine and by George, you’ve got a great party going. AHEM.

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Avocado Ranch Grilled Chicken | girlversusdough.com @girlversusdough

Say hello to my new favorite way to grill chicken — that is to say, marinating it in an avocado ranch mixture, kabob-ing it and then putting it on the barbie.

Oh, and did I mention it takes approximately threeve seconds to put together? And then another approximately threeve seconds to grill? And then after it’s done you can eat it right away in all its tender, juicy, avocado ranch-y grilled glory?

Like I said — NEW FAVORITE of all the grilled chickens. And maybe even my new favorite grilled food in general.

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Easy Shrimp Salad Bites | girlversusdough.com @girlversusdough

Creamy shrimp salad. Crunchy mini fillo shells. Five ingredients. BOOM. That’s what I’ve got for ya today.

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk real quick about the weather here in Minnesota because, well, that’s what we Midwestern folk do — we talk about the brutal winters and the sweltering summers, and how we are just about ready to move out of here to somewhere warmer where we don’t have to dig our cars out of piles of snow and ice or crank up the air conditioning when the sun is ablaze. But most of us never do. We stay put, right in our beloved, weather-crazy land.

Since I’ve been born and raised in the Midwest, I know a thing or two about how to cope with the seasons, especially when it comes to food (as most things do in my life). In the winter, I keep myself warm with big bowls of soup and mugs of strong coffee and hot cocoa. In the summer, I keep myself cool with big fresh salads and plates piled high with chopped fruit. Yet no matter the season, I want it all to be easy and stress-free. Wherever you’re from, I’m sure you agree.

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Big Italian Salad | girlversusdough.com @girlversusdough

According to my Myers-Briggs personality type (ISFJ, dat’s me!), my kitchen style is farmhouse. That is SPOT ON, you guys, as I have been dreaming of a farmhouse sink and butcher block counters in my kitchen for ages.

And now I know you’re curious, too, what your personality’s kitchen style is so you can find out here but only if you promise to come back and read more about this big Italian salad, OK? Because as is indicative of my personality/kitchen style, I just want all of us to be gathered together over food around my imaginary giant farmhouse table.

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Cheesy Polenta Bites with Blueberry Corn Relish | girlversusdough.com @girlversusdough

Spring officially has sprung here! It’s all sunshine and 75 degrees one day and 45 degrees and rainy the next — a classic Minnesota spring season. Way to be your unpredictable self, Minnesota.

That being said, the grass is green, the flowers are blooming and even when it looks like the pits outside, it’s springtime in my kitchen with these cheesy polenta bites with blueberry corn relish. Every bite is brimming with fresh flavors and I LIKE IT. I like it a lot.

But flowers aren’t the only thing popping up everywhere lately. There are babies, too. So many adorable, chubby, happy babies! I feel like, lately, everyone around me is either expecting or has a new baby (not me, NOT ME. I’m drinking wine as I type this). And that’s also cause for celebration.

So gather ’round, friends! We are here today to celebrate new babies, springtime and cheesy bites topped with fresh and fruity deliciousness.

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