Fall is around the corner. In fact, it’s just days away. And, today marks the official start of the NFL season! You ready? Although I am a certified NHL girl through and through (bring on the hockey!), I can sure dig a good NFL football game—especially if it’s a wicked match up and there’s some good eats and treats to share with others. My Peyton left Indianapolis, so I sort of became a self-styled Broncos fan. Yeah, baby. Go, Peyton!
Today, in celebration of the NFL kickoff, I thought it would be a good idea to share a recipe The Big Lug selected from The Recipe Girl Cookbook for our Labor Day holiday weekend—Lori’s So-Cal 7-Layer Mexican Dip. Since I try to follow a strict paleo diet, beans (legumes) are generally off the menu most of the time at our house. But, he had a hankerin’ and this included chorizo. So, we’re calling our version Chorizo 7-Layer Mexican Dip and let me tell you, it was mighty tasty and really hit the spot. Yes, I couldn’t help it. I indulged. Seriously, I’ve been having trouble giving up beans, cheese and tortillas since Cinco de Mayo!
The Big Lug and I? We love good Tex-Mex and enjoy having it at least once a week for dinner. (Honestly. Why does Mexican food have to be so carby? I could live off this food for life. Seriously.) And, our weekend breakfasts when The Big Lug is manning the stove? Our breakfasts are very Santa Fe in nature. One of these days, I need to get The Big Lug to guest post. He’s become a killer chef. Maybe he’ll even let me take a photo of him cooking? Ha!
Well, if you do not know who Recipe Girl is, you must be living under a rock. Lori Lange is our beloved Recipe Girl and she knows good recipes.
Book review alert! Yes, I am writing Wicked Good Kitchen’s first cookbook review. Another review was planned before this one, but I am reserving it to post along with my Drop Cookies 101 tutorial, coming soon to the blog, as it is a cookies cookbook. But, I digress. Let’s get to The Recipe Girl Cookbook deets with the nitty-gritty, first.
The Recipe Girl Cookbook
Dishing out the best recipes for entertaining and every day.
195 recipes and variations
25 to 30 minutes average prep time per recipe
$17.48 approximate book cost (per Amazon.com)
The Good Stuff
Now for the good stuff.
You know how well bacon and barbecue satisfies? Like enjoying a good Margarita? Well, that is the feeling you will get from The Recipe Girl Cookbook, by Lori Lange of RecipeGirl.com, and her recipes. The book is literally brimming over with recipes (over 195 with variations!) with super-enticing flavor combinations that will surely shake things up, have you rebuilding your repertoire, perhaps experiencing something new and get you out of your current recipe rotation rut.
Below, I share the recipes from Lori’s cookbook that I cannot wait to try. In fact, I made a special list of fall and winter recipes I am especially looking forward to making soon as our days grow shorter and cooler. Many I am keeping in mind for the holidays as well!
With new fall routines in place demanding a substantial amount of our precious time, we need tried and true go-to recipes to whip up in a flash. Who has time to labor endlessly in the kitchen to prepare elaborate meals? Quick and easy as well as tasty and satisfying is the order of the day these days. And, Lori delivers by dishing out the very best.
Meals within minutes? Recipes with prep and cook times included? Excellent comfort food dishes, too? Check. Family and kid-friendly recipes from breakfast to dessert? Check, check. Engaging descriptive recipe headnotes? Check. Satisfying recipes for adults to include appetizers and beverages—both alcoholic and non-alcoholic? Check, check and check. Recipes for special diets? BIG check. One of the best features of Lori’s cookbook is that she took the time to code each recipe according to special diets to include vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free recipes as well as helpful tips and ingredient substitution ideas to make recipes adaptable and safe for special diets. In all sincerity, I hope Lori has started a trend with her cookbook that becomes common practice as we need to be mindful of the dietary needs of others.
When flipping through the drool-worthy full-color photos by Matt Armendariz, and the savory and sweet recipes in The Recipe Girl Cookbook, it becomes readily apparent that these recipes are totally doable—especially for busy families. Not only are the book’s page layouts organized and visually appealing, each recipe includes prep and cook times as well as helpful tips. At quick glance, the recipes average about 25 to 30 minutes for prep time per recipe. For really good food, you simply cannot ask for more.
Did You Know?
Recipe Girl once flipped burgers for a living? Well, she was a young high school student at the time. But, true story!
The place was called The Penguin in Carson City, Nevada. And, The Penguin Burger was the best burger in town.
At the same age, I once worked at a soda fountain, called Sanders, in my home state of Michigan. That place was yummy and smelled divine. In fact, I always smelled like hot caramel fudge sauce. It was my official scent.
Well, Lori and I both started in food at a very young age. When it is in your blood, it is in your blood. Just as I am nostalgic for a Sanders Hot Fudge Cream Puff Sundae, Lori is nostalgic for Penguin Burgers with their secret special sauce, grilled onions and melty cheese as well as a perfectly grilled buttery burger bun. Since The Penguin is no longer in existence, Lori now easily makes her own Penguin Burgers at home.
The good news? Lori shares the recipe for Penguin Burgers (a.k.a. Nostalgic Burgers), including their secret special sauce, in The Recipe Girl Cookbook. And, I have to tell you…there really is something special about this sauce! A quick glance at the recipe will reveal what is classically found in “special sauce”. However, upon closer examination, there really are a few “secret” ingredients that truly take it up a few notches from the typical!
Also included in the book are “basics” for new cooks. From Perfect, Fluffy Pancakes, Super-Simple Lemon and Herb-Marinated Grilled Chicken and Home-Roasted (no-brainer) Lemon, Herb and Garlic Chicken to a chapter titled, Stocking Your Kitchen: The Basics. The basics include not only pantry staples but also sections on herbs and spices, stocking your refrigerator and freezer as well as the liquor cabinet and helpful lists of essential appliances and kitchen tools every kitchen should have as well as optional tools to place on your wish list.
Entertaining simplified. Who on Earth doesn’t need pointers for stress-free and successful entertaining? Included in The Recipe Girl Cookbook is what I would term a bonus chapter called Let’s Party! that breaks it all down. In this chapter, you will find detailed information to include:
- Top 10 Tips for Easy and Successful Entertaining
- 20 Themed Menus for Entertaining
From Brunch and Ladies Lunch to Comfort Food Fixes and Football Food to an Elegant Dinner Party and Holiday Menus to an Entire Gluten-Free Dinner Party to a Romantic Dinner for Two, Recipe Girl has you covered.
All the Recipe Girl favorites are here, too… Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, Red Velvet-Cheesecake Cake, Upside-Down Brown Butter-Banana Coffee Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Lover Brownies and Grandma Billie’s Cinnamon Rolls. I cannot wait to bake Lori’s Upside-Down Brown Butter-Banana Coffee Cake! This could be epic.
Recipes I Cannot Wait to Make this Fall & Winter Including for the Holidays
Although The Recipe Girl Cookbook has plenty to offer for the summer months (I really must make Lori’s recipes for The Best Red Wine Sangria and Mango Margaritas before summer’s end), I thought I would share with you what I cannot wait to make this fall and winter. I think you will agree these are must-make-asap recipes!
- Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Cheesecake Hot Chocolate
- Pomegranate Mimosas
The Pumpkin Spice Latte is a favorite autumn drink of mine. However, The Big Lug and I are incredibly intrigued by Lori’s recipe for Cheesecake Hot Chocolate which incorporates whipped cream cheese. How cool does this drink sound? Cannot wait to try as soon as the first cold snap hits! And, Pomegranate Mimosas sound magical for Christmas morning.
- Apple-Bacon Waffles with Cider Syrup
- Apple Cider Bread
- Cinnamon Bun Bread Pudding
- Streuseled Eggnog-Cranberry Muffins
- Sugar and Spice Drop Doughnuts
The Big Lug and I often make a big production out of our weekend breakfasts and brunches. He tends to the savory dish while I whip up something sweet to follow and enjoy with our big ol’ mugs of hot coffee. Just flipping through The Recipe Girl Cookbook has me excited for fall and the winter holidays! Cinnamon Bun Bread Pudding? It sounds so dreamy!
The Sweet Treats
- Apple-Cranberry Hand Pies
- Butterfinger Brownies
- Caramel-Apple Pie Crust Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Butter Cake
- Chocolate-Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies
- Kahlua-Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Snickerdoodle Blondies
For her Caramel-Apple Pie Crust Cookies, Lori based her recipe on her mom’s recipe for pie pastry. Her mom brushed the dough with butter and sprinkled on cinnamon sugar before rolling up into logs, baking them and slicing for a pie crust cookie treat. My mother and grandmother did the same thing with pie pastry scraps, but they cut theirs into strips. I have such fond memories of such a simple cinnamon-sugar home-baked treat! Lori’s twist on her mom’s recipe is adding a fresh apple filling and then drizzling the caramel glaze over the fresh-baked and warm cookies. I need to bake these for a nostalgic treat!
- BLT Polenta Squares
- Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Caramelized Onion Dip
- Layered Mediterranean Spinach Dip
- Warm Artichoke and Bacon Dip
Dips. We love them. And, we don’t need a holiday or special occasion to make and enjoy them. Any excuse will do! The Big Lug and I both adore BLT anything, so we must try Lori’s BLT Polenta Squares. Nom!
Savory Comfort Foods
- Baked Barbecued Onion Rings
- Barbecue-Sauced Shrimp and Bacon with Orzo
- Buffalo Chicken Wraps
- Cheese Ravioli with Brown Butter and Fresh Tomato Sauce
- Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Pull-Apart Bread
- Easy Beef Enchiladas
- Gruyere Grilled Cheese with Arugula, White Wine and Whole Grain Mustard
- Macaroni and Cheese Soup with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- Penguin Burgers (a.k.a. Nostalgic Burgers)
- Slow Cooker Italian Pot Roast
- Gorgonzola Smashed Potatoes
- Tortilla-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Southwestern Dipping Sauce
Comfort foods abound in The Recipe Girl Cookbook. Can you tell by my long list of recipes I’m eager to try? Where to begin, eh? So far, The Big Lug is eyeing the Slow Cooker Italian Pot Roast with Gorgonzola Smashed Potatoes. Meanwhile, I keep drooling over the photo of Macaroni and Cheese Soup with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes! Mmmm.
Other Recipes I Cannot Wait to Try
- Epic Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Cream
- Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak with Grilled Corn Salsa
- Grilled Corn Salad
- Mexican Salad with Sweet Honey-Lime Vinaigrette
- Tomato Mascarpone Risotto
Those Epic Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Cream? They’re on my list for this weekend. I cannot wait to try them! Meanwhile, I will report back and let you know just how epic they are. Again, I can’t wait!
Truly, I highly recommend The Recipe Girl Cookbook. You will thank yourself by adding it to your cookbook library to use over and over again to get yourself out of that proverbial recipe rotation rut.
Note: No disclosure as there is nothing to disclose. I purchased my own copy of The Recipe Girl Cookbook at retail. At this time, I am not an Amazon.com affiliate.
Oh, yes…back to our featured recipe adapted from The Recipe Girl Cookbook!
What makes our Chorizo 7-Layer Mexican Dip wicked good? The recipe is slightly adapted from Recipe Girl’s So-Cal 7-Layer Mexican Dip recipe that incorporates fresh homemade guacamole, corn and bacon. That’s pretty wicked right there. We simply changed the bacon for chorizo (we had a hankerin’ to spice it up), grilled the corn, replaced the Cojita cheese with Queso Fresco and we took Lori’s advice in her recipe to “Change It Up!” by adding fresh cilantro leaves, sliced black olives and chopped green onions. And, I think I saw The Big Lug stir a dash or two of Tabasco® Sauce into the refried beans layer. All of the fresh flavors, touches of heat and satisfying beans and guacamole came shining through with this classic dip with a twist. We dunked and loaded our tortilla chips to our heart’s content. I tell ya…wicked, wicked good!
What makes our Chorizo 7-Layer Mexican Dip wicked good? The recipe is based on Recipe Girl’s So-Cal 7-Layer Mexican Dip recipe that incorporates fresh homemade guacamole, corn and bacon. That’s pretty wicked right there. We simply changed the bacon for chorizo (we had a hankerin’ to spice it up), grilled the corn, replaced the Cojita cheese with Queso Fresco and we took Lori’s advice in her recipe to “Change It Up!” by adding fresh cilantro leaves, sliced black olives and chopped green onions. And, I think I saw The Big Lug stir a dash or two of Tabasco® Sauce into the refried beans layer. All of the fresh flavors, touches of heat and satisfying beans and guacamole came shining through with this classic dip with a twist. We dunked and loaded our tortilla chips to our heart’s content. I tell ya…wicked, wicked good!
- ½ pound quality ground fresh chorizo, such as from Whole Foods Market®
- 1 large ear corn on the cob, silk and outer husks removed, rinsed & dried
- Olive oil, for drizzling corn
- 3 large avocados, pitted, peeled and cored
- 1¾ cups sour cream, divided
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 16-ounce cans refried beans, such as Rosarita®, without added sugars
- Few dashes of Tabasco® Sauce, optional
- 2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes, about 4 large
- 1 cup crumbled or shredded Queso Fresco (see Tips)
- Freshly snipped cilantro leaves, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 6-ounce (dry weight) can black ripe California medium pitted olives, such as Lindsay® Naturals, packed in water and sea salt
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- Organic tortilla chips for dipping, such as Late July® Organic
Preheat grill to roast the corn.
Prepare the Chorizo: Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the chorizo while stirring and breaking up any large chunks until evenly browned and cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Grill the Corn: Drizzle the corn with a little olive oil to lightly coat and refold the inner husks over the corn. Grill the corn directly on the grates of the hot preheated grill until the desired char marks are reached, turning the corn periodically to cook evenly, about 5 minutes. Remove from grill; cool long enough to handle. Cut the corn kernels off the cob (see Tips).
Prepare the Fresh Guacamole: Mash the avocados in a medium bowl and stir in ¼ cup of sour cream and lime juice; season with salt and pepper.
Assemble the Dip: Spread the refried beans evenly in the bottom of the dish. If desired, add a few dashes of Tabasco® Sauce and blend using rubber spatula. Add the remaining 1½ cups sour cream on top and spread evenly to cover. Spoon guacamole on top of sour cream and carefully spread it evenly to outer edges. Sprinkle chorizo on top of guacamole; then sprinkle chopped tomatoes on top of chorizo. Layer the corn, cheese, cilantro leaves, black olives and green onions. Cover the dip with plastic food wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips.
Tips:Dip may be prepared up to 2 hours in advance. Queso Fresco is a crumbly Mexican cheese. It can usually be found in the specialty cheese section of your local market. If not, it can be found at your local Mexican grocer. For Gluten-Free Option: Use brands of chorizo, refried beans and tortilla chips that are known to be certified gluten-free. For Vegetarian Option: Omit the chorizo. How To Cut the Corn Kernels Off the Cob: Cut a small slice off of the end of the cob to create a flat surface. Set the flat end of the corn upright inside of a bowl, holding it at the top. Cut down the sides of the cob with a sharp knife and the corn kernels will collect inside of the bowl. Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com
Adapted From: The Recipe Girl Cookbook, by Lori Lange Copyright © Wicked Good Kitchen. All content and images are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words. Alternatively, link back to this post for the recipe.