Full Belly Sisters: November 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Grilled Baked Brie w. Cranberries #CranberryWeek

This Grilled Baked Brie w. Cranberries is warm, gooey, and incredibly easy. It takes only a few minutes and a few ingredients to make so it's perfect for entertaining during the busy holidays!

Welcome to #CranberryWeek, hosted by Caroline's Cooking and A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures. We'll be sharing cranberry-inspired creations all week long in celebration of national cranberry day. Search #CranberryWeek to keep up to date and follow the #CranberryWeek Pinterest board for more cranberry inspiration. 

Today I'm sharing my three-ingredient Grilled Baked Brie with Cranberries. It's based on a technique I learned when I attended a Président cheese event: grilling the brie looks pretty and gives it a phenomenal flavor. You know how people sometimes try to avoid the rind and dig out the inside of the cheese? Not with this grilled version. The rind tastes slightly charred and totally amazing.


I love that this baked brie isn't wrapped up in a pastry. That traditional baked brie is delicious, but it tends to be heavy and I find that the pastry can sometimes overwhelm the cheese. By grilling and then baking the cheese, we can really celebrate the brie—for fewer calories! It's also a nice alternative baked brie for your guests who are gluten-free or grain-free.

I used my Crazy Easy Fresh Cranberry Sauce for this grilled, baked brie. You could use canned whole cranberry sauce if you want; I wouldn't recommend the jellied stuff, though.

  • 1 round (12 to 13 ounce) brie cheese
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cup whole cranberry sauce
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • crackers, baguette slices, or apple slices, for serving

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Set an oven-safe grill pan over medium heat and grill the whole brie for three minutes on each side. My cast iron grill pan is well-seasoned but you can always brush some oil on the brie's rind, to make sure it doesn't stick to your grill. Be careful when you turn it over, so you don't tear the rind (and then the cheese will ooze out before you want it to). Then put the brie in the oven to bake for about 10 minutes.

While the brie is baking, spread the cranberry sauce on a plate or platter. Once the brie is done baking, place it on top of the cranberry sauce. Grind black pepper very generously over the top and serve immediately with crackers, bread, or apple slices.

For another recipe using this technique, try my Grilled Baked Brie with Shallots, Cranberries & Balsamic!

Make sure to check out all the other cranberry recipes being shared today:
This post contains affiliate links, so I make a small commission if you purchase through my links—which helps to keep this blog running. Thanks for your support!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Stuffed Endive with Blue Cheese, Pecans & Cranberries #CranberryWeek

Stuffed Endive with Blue Cheese, Pecans and Cranberries are elegant enough for the fanciest holiday parties—but simple to make any day. And a great way to celebrate #CranberryWeek!

Welcome to #CranberryWeek, hosted by Caroline's Cooking and A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures. We'll be sharing cranberry-inspired creations all week long in celebration of national cranberry day. Search #CranberryWeek to keep up to date and follow the #CranberryWeek Pinterest board for more cranberry inspiration.

My easy but elegant
Stuffed Endive with Blue Cheese, Pecans and Cranberries is a fantastic hors d'oeuvres or appetizer. It literally takes about five minutes to put together but it looks so dang pretty and fancy!

Endive is sturdy and crunchy, so this would work great as an hors d'oeuvres—especially since so many people now follow grain-free or gluten-free diets. These Stuffed Endive with Blue Cheese, Pecans and Cranberries are an easy finger food that looks lovely on a platter. I love this kind of dish because it pairs creamy with crunchy, bitter with sweet...it's all about wonderful balance.


yields 16-20 pieces
  • 2 heads endive, ends trimmed and leaves separated
  • 1/4 cup candied pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup soft blue cheese*, diced and room temperature
  • white balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
  • black pepper (optional)
*I used a Gorgonzola, with a creamy soft texture, almost like brie. You want to use a soft blue (as opposed to a crumbly one) so that it holds its place on the endive leaves without sliding around. It also helps the cranberries and nuts "stick" to the leaves.

Arrange endive leaves on plates or platter. On each leaf, spoon about one teaspoon of the cheese, then sprinkle the chopped cranberries and chopped pecans over the tops. Drizzle a little bit of white balsamic vinegar over each leaf. Grind some fresh black pepper over everything, if desired.

That's it. You've got easy and elegant Stuffed Endive with Blue Cheese, Pecans & Cranberries!

We've got lots of other Full Belly Sisters cranberry recipes. Here are just a few:

Roasted Cranberries, Ricotta & Honey Crostini

Greek Yogurt Cornbread Cranberry Trifle

And don't forget to check out all the other cranberry recipes being shared today:

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup

This Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup can be made from ingredients in your pantry, so it's perfect for a fast, vegetarian weeknight meal. Topped with crunchy tortilla chips, it's over-the-top delicious!

I just received my latest Degustabox, a surprise subscription food box company based in Barcelona. They've recently launched in the United States and I'm lucky enough to receive my very own box of goodies each month. If you follow us on Instagram, you've already had a sneak peek at what I found in this month's box.  

So much yummy stuff, am I right? My son was super psyched about the Beanitos bean chips, which he loves (full disclosure: he was very excited about those Haribo gummies.). So, I knew I wanted to use those in a recipe...and it was a chilly, fall day so I knew I wanted to make soup...and that's how I came up with my Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup!

Before we get to that, I also had to whip up a little something with those olives and that balsamic glaze...

This was a super simple salad: a pint of grape tomatoes, halved; the cute little package of Oloves Basil & Garlic Olives; a beautiful, fresh burrata cheese; a bit of extra virgin olive oil and a generous drizzle of Ponti balsamic. Plus, some sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper. Deliciozo!

But let's get back to this Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup! It's packed with protein, vegan (well, vegetarian if you put the sour cream on top), and just really delicious. The corn adds a lovely sweetness and the fresh lime juice and zest elevates the canned ingredients. The Beanitos Hint of Lime Chips not only heighten that lime flavor, they also add a wonderful crunch—as well as even more protein!
serves 4
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 (14.5-ounces) can diced tomatoes 
  • 2 (14.5-ounces) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • salt, to taste
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste
  • sour cream
  • fresh lime for juice and zest
  • crushed Beanitos Hint of Lime tortilla chips

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add stock and turn heat to medium-high. Stir in chili powder, cumin, and salt. Add black beans and tomatoes. 

Simmer on medium-low, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. While it's cooking, use an immersion blender to mash about half the beans and most of the tomatoes. Toss in some frozen corn, and heat through. Add hot sauce, if using, to taste.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Top each with a squeeze of lime juice, a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of lime zest, and crushed tortilla chips. Serve immediately. 

If you're interested in trying Degustabox, check out their website or follow them on Instagram. If you sign up to receive your own Degustabox through one of our links, I'll receive a referral fee and you'll help to support this blog!

Check out just some of my other Degustabox-inspired recipes:

Friday, November 18, 2016

Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies w. Pretzels

These Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies with Pretzels are a delicious, easy, and fun recipe for your holiday cookie exchange. These sweet and salty treats can easily be adapted to be totally gluten-free or grain-free.

This Virtual Cookie Exchange is part of #FreakyFriday, a blog hop in which I am secretly assigned to another blog; I choose a recipe on that blog that would work for a holiday cookie or treat platter. It could be anything from cookies, candy, bars, to brownies or fudge—you know the type of yummy, holiday treats I mean. Make sure you scroll to the bottom of this post so that you can see all of the wonderful bloggers and their recipes.

I was lucky enough to be assigned to The Foodie Affair. Sandra is the brains and palate behind this fab food blog. Her food is so vibrant and delicious and she is so warm and fun! I love to drool over her savory dishes—like Slow Cooked Sirloin Tips with Mushrooms or her Mexican Style Corn on the Cob. But for this Freaky Friday challenge, it's all about the sweets. I was super tempted by her Ricotta Holiday Cookies because RICOTTA (insert drooling noise).

But then my son spotted Sandra's Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies and it was a done deal. We made her cookies and then decided to dip them in melted chocolate and sprinkle crushed pretzels on top, to add some crunchy saltiness. They tasted fantastic and looked amazing; we brought them to my niece's birthday party and they were literally gone in three minutes.

They're also incredibly easy to make. My eight-year-old helped every step of the way: making the dough, rolling it, pressing the balls with a fork, and then decorating with the chocolate and pretzels. It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning, let me tell you!

yield: about 24 cookies
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (if you use unsalted PB, make sure to add a pinch of salt to the batter)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, large
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar for rolling cookies in before baking (optional) 
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips 
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped pretzels*

*NOTE: for gluten-free cookies, use gluten-free pretzels; for grain-free cookies, use chopped, salted peanuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, use a mixer to beat the peanut butter, sugar and baking soda until the ingredients are incorporated. Blend in the egg and vanilla.

Scoop tablespoons of the dough and roll into balls, then roll the balls around the granulated sugar so that they are lightly coated. Place on prepared cookie sheets and gently press with a fork to form a crisscross pattern. 

My son's cute lil' hands.

Bake for 9-11 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes until removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Because these cookies are flourless, they can be delicate—especially while warm. If you try to dip them in the chocolate before they're fully cooled, they might break!

In a small bowl, melt chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave. Stir until completely smooth and fully combined.  Dip the cookies about halfway into the chocolate mixture (or spoon the chocolate over half the cookie), then place on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle the crushed pretzels over the chocolate. Then place in the refrigerator or freezer until the chocolate is hardened.

That's it! Gorgeous Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies with Pretzels—a wonderful balance of sweet and savory, chewy and crunchy. And perfectly pretty for your holiday cookie exchange!

Wouldn't you like to see these sweet treats on your holiday cookie platter?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Roasted and Grilled Veggie Platter with Dip

Who says you can only serve raw vegetables with dip? Try roasting and grilling your veggies for a fantastic appetizer platter!

It's fall and the weather has turned chilly. I am just not in the mood for cold foods these days—and that includes raw veggies. So, I made a simple autumn appetizer platter using roasted and grilled vegetables with dip!

You could use any favorite vegetables, or whatever looks good at your local grocer or farmer's market. I used red-skinned potatoes, whole carrots, and asparagus. I didn't season the vegetables much because I served them with a dip—I tried one of Chobani's new Meze Dips: Three Pepper Salsa. It's a great way to dip healthy this fall! I found the yummy dip and these beautiful veggies at my local Stop & Shop. New online customers can get $5 off now!

for the potatoes: Halve or quarter the new potatoes, depending on size. Steam or parboil them until tender but still firm. Lightly oil and salt the skinless sides of the potatoes and grill (indoor or outdoor both work) for a few minutes on each side. Once you've got the grill marks and the taters are tender, they're ready to go.

for the asparagus: toss with some olive oil and salt. Grill for about 3 to 5 (depending on thickness of stalks) minutes on each side, until tender-crisp.

for the whole roasted carrots: preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss whole carrots with some olive oil and salt in a baking dish. Roast until the carrots are tender and browning at the edges, 30 to 35 minutes.

Easy peasy, right? Serve at room temperature with your favorite dip.

Try this simple and delicious Roasted and Grilled Veggie Platter with Dip soon! And don't forget: $5 off now for new Stop & Shop online customers!
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