Recipe

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Dips.  Is there anything better than a good hot, cheesy dip for your party?  Easy to whip up, and slap out on your sideboard with a sliced load of some yummy French bread from the bakery.  This one will make you friends.

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Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 cups parmesan cheese
  • 1 (10 ounce) boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 (14 ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced

directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Mix together Parmesan cheese, spinach, and artichoke hearts.

  3. Combine remaining ingredients and mix with spinach mixture.

  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

  5. Serve with crackers or toasted bread.

Recipe

College Football is Here!!!

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Roll Tide, ya’ll!  College Football has returned, thank heavens!  What do we do with ourselves the other 8 ish months of the year?  While college football is severely cutting into my foodie restaurant reviewing experiences, it does give me a chance to do something I love equally well:  Test out new recipes on hungry fans.  Each Bama game day I make a bunch of snacky foods for us to grub while we watch the Tide roll.

Last weekend was my first trial run.  I learned a lot about the day.  First, think about the appliances you have in your home for cooking.  Make sure you only have one oven food, one stovetop food, one crockpot food…you see where I’m going here?  I scheduled myself too tightly on stove/oven duty and ended up missing the first quarter due to poor planning.  Never again.

thelephant

My Stove Top Dish

Cumin-Crusted Chicken Cheddar Quesadillas W/ Basil Sour Cream

INGREDIENTS

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For chicken

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless (about 1 1/2 pounds)

For sauteed mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 portabello mushroom caps, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced, salt and pepper, to taste

For basil sour cream

  • 1 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups sour cream

For quesadillas

  • 6 (12 inch) flour tortillas
  • 3/4 lb cheddar cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS

  • For chicken: In a small bowl, combine cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne. Rub chicken breasts with spice mixture. Grill chicken 6 minutes on each side or until tender. Remove from heat and thinly slice; set aside.
  • For sautéed mushrooms: Heat butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • For basil sour cream: Combine basil, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until pureed. Mix into sour cream. Set aside.
  • To assemble quesadillas: Pre-heat grill or griddle to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place tortillas on a flat surface. Generously sprinkle cheese onto one half of each tortilla. Combine chicken and mushrooms; divide evenly on top of the cheese. Sprinkle cheese on top of the chicken and mushroom mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Fold each tortilla in half (creating a half circle shaped quesadilla). Cook each quesadilla about 4-6 minutes, until cheese is melted and the tortilla begins to brown and crisp. Flip tortilla and repeat about 4-6 minutes. Remove quesadilla from heat and cool about 30 seconds before cutting into 3 triangle slices. Serve with basil sour cream.

My Crock-Pot Dish

Apple Dip

This dip is sweet with just the right amount of peanut butter to give it depth. We gobbled it right up!

Apple Dip
Apple Dip

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • apple, slices to dip

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients except apple slices in a saucepan, stir until smooth, and heat until scalding, watching to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Transfer dip to slow cooker, if needed, cook on low for 20 minutes.
  3. If not transferring, simmer on stovetop for 5-10 minutes.
  4. While the dip is warming, slice the apples and place on a serving plate.
  5. Serve the dip from the cooker, while turned on low to keep it creamy, or from bowls.

The Oven Dish

This recipe has been allllll over the internet, but there’s a good reason for that.  It is simply delicious.  And, if you are having a football party, you have to include some form of Buffalo Wings, right?

Buffalo Chicken Dip (photo by Delicious as it Looks)
Buffalo Chicken Dip (photo by Delicious as it Looks)

Buffalo Chicken Dip

INGREDIENTS

  • 1(8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 3/4 cup red hot sauce
  • 1 (10 ounce) can chicken, drained (or equivalent rotisserie or freshly-cooked, chopped chicken)
  • shredded cheddar cheese, you decide how much
  • Frito corn chip, scoops

DIRECTIONS

  1. Beat cream cheese, ranch dressing, and red hot sauce.
  2. Fold in shredded chicken.
  3. Spread mixture into pie plate sprayed with Pam.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
  5. Add cheddar cheese to top.
  6. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Serve hot with Frito scoops.

And you know you can always do make aheads and put them in the fridge!

The Panini Press Dish (you know you can use a skillet or even your oven!)

This is officially a sandwich, yes.  But cut in in smaller pieces and bang! you have an appetizer.  These are so darned good.

Touchdown Pepperoni Pizza Sandwich

Touchdown Pepperoni Pizza Sandwich

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices Italian bread
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons pizza sauce (or spaghetti sauce)
  • 6 slices pepperoni
  • 2 slices sharp cheddar cheese (or mozzarella)
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese (or Asiago)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Spread mayonnaise on one slice and pizza or spaghetti sauce on the other slice.

  2. Lay pepperoni slices on the pizza sauce and the cheese over the top of that.

  3. Sprinkle Parmesan on the mayonnaise slice.

  4. Pop both pieces into the toaster oven (or put together and use a panini maker) until cheese is bubbly and melted.

  5. Fold sides together, and serve while warm.

  6. VARIATION: try this with your favorite pizza toppings OR cheeses.

  7. SERVING SUGGESTION: Cut on point into four pieces and use as “appetizers” or little kid-wiches.

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Recipe

Almost-Famous Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Almost-Famous Spinach-Artichoke Dip

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Our Christmas Eve tradition is to gather the family for a night of appetizers and punch. Our grandparents always cooked a large Christmas Dinner on this night, much like a Thanksgiving feast, which we had to suffer through (and the cleaning of the dishes!) before we were able to get to the much awaited gift exchange. My family developed this appetizer idea as a way to avoid the formality, just a grab and go while we get to the good stuff. This however, has morphed into fancier appetizers and complex desserts as we grew up and had children and realized the value of making them wait! It is excruciating for them, and thus, much fun for us. 🙂

This is from Food Network, and it is a dip, but I think of it almost as a fondue. It was runnier than I expected. The flavor was good, but I encourage you to spice it up to you taste!

Almost-Famous Spinach-Artichoke Dip

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INGREDIENTS

2 (10 ounce) bags spinach, stems removed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced onions
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup frozen artichoke heart, thawed, squeezed dry and roughly chopped
tortilla chips and salsa, for serving

DIRECTIONS

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in the spinach and cook until bright green, about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse under cold water; squeeze out the excess moisture, then finely chop.

2.Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the onion is soft, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan and sour cream.

3. Return the pot to medium heat. Add the spinach, cheddar and artichokes and stir until the cheese melts and the dip is heated through. Serve warm with tortilla chips, salsa and sour cream.

Recipe

Recipe: Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

I’ve been seeing these little gems floating around Pinterest for a while now and I finally got around to trying them.  I didn’t expect much, I’m not much of a muffin person, but these were so incredible.  They were very moist, and packed with huge flavors!  I wish I’d doubled the recipe.  I saved what few we didn’t gobble in the fridge and warmed them in the microwave the next morning and they were still wonderful.

ingredients

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (to serve with Pizza Puffs)

directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • Grease 24-cup mini-muffin pan.In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, Italian seasoning, and salt.
  • Whisk in the milk and egg. Stack slices of pepperoni and cut into small pieces.
  • Stir in mozzarella, Parmesan, and pepperoni. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  • Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups.
  • Bake until puffy and golden, about 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the pizza sauce until warmed through. Serve the sauce with the Pizza Puffs for dipping.

PRINT THIS RECIPE

*Adapted from Plain Chicken

 

Recipe

Spanakopetes

Here’s another gem from my Essential New York Times Cookbook.  I’m telling you, my sis gave me that for Christmas one year and it has been a magnificent source for info and terrific recipes.  Those New Yorkers can throw down in the kitchen.

Now, how did I decide to make something so ambitious, you may be asking yourself?  Easy, I had leftover phyllo dough that needed using up.  But this recipe is worth going out and buying it for this alone.

Spanakopetes

  • 1 lb fresh spinach
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 cup chopped scallion
  • 1 cup crumbled feta(about 4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 12 sheets phyllo pastry
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Discard any tough stems from spinach, wash, and drain well. Coarsely chop.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Drain well in a colander (set the pan aside) and press with the back of a large spoon to push out excess moisture.
  • Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium heat and cook the onions, garlic, and scallions until wilted, stirring often. When the mixture starts to brown, transfer it to a mixing bowl. Let cool.
  • Add the spinach, feta, Parmesan chees, dill, and parsley to the onion mixture. Beat the egg and yolk together lightly and add to the spinach mixture. Add very little salt and season with pepper. Stir in the pine nuts—be careful not to overmix, you want the ingredients to remain distinct.
  • Use 1 sheet of phyllo pastry for each 2 spinach triangles. Brush a smooth work surface (or sheet of plastic wrap) with melted butter.
  •  Spread out 1 sheet of phyllo and brush with butter. (keep the rest of the phyllo covered with a slightly dampened cloth, or it will dry out.)
  •  Using a sharp knife, cut it lengthwise in half.
  • Fold each rectangle lengthwise in half to make a smaller rectangle.
  • Place 1½ tablespoons of the spinach mixture in the bottom of one of the rectangles.
  • Fold one corner of the rectangle over the spinach filling to make a triangle. Fold this triangle over itself toward the top—as you would fold a flag—and continue folding up until triangle is produced. Brush this all over with butter and put on the baking sheet. Continue making triangles until all the spinach filling is used.
  • Bake the triangles for about 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm.
Recipe

Garden Party

party

Spring makes me want to get out and have a party!  Here is a party idea that’s sure to please!

You’ll need:  Evite

Menu   Shrimp Salad

Music

  • Garden Party by Ricky Nelson
  • Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations
  • The Rose by Better Midler
  • Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
  • Chantilly Lace by The Big Bopper
  • Safe in My World by the Mamas and the Papas
  • Top of the World by The Carpenters

Activities

• Plant Swap—Celebrate your garden by asking guests to bring a flower arrangement or potted plant to swap with another guest. Guests can either fight over the foliage or pick names out of a hat to see who gets what.

• Flower Arranging—Ask guests to bring blooms and vases, and invite a floral expert or a friend with very green thumbs to show you different ways of putting them together.

Checklist for the party