It’s been a food-a-thon around here. It started with the various holiday treats my students gave me last week, which we have been happily eating. I baked two batches of Christmas cookies over the weekend, and then my in-laws arrived yesterday, and we headed out for a fancy dinner. Cut to this morning when I baked a sour cream coffee cake, turkey chili, spicy spinach dip, and pita toasts. I don’t cook often, but when I do, I mean business.
I served the spicy spinach dip with the pita toasts as an afternoon snack. I would qualify the dip as Super Bowl worthy. I also like the fact that it has a festive feel due to the red tomatoes and green spinach. So, readers, Merry Christmas and happy snacking this holiday season!
2-3 T. chopped jalapenos (I used canned and drained)
3/4 c. chopped green onions
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 c. seeded and chopped tomatoes
8-oz cream cheese, softened
2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 c. half and half
Mix all ingredients together. Make sure the cream cheese is blended well.
Pour into buttered ovenproof dish.
Bake at 400 degrees until browned and bubbly (about 20 minutes).
Pita Toast Ingredients
1 package pita bread pockets
1/2 c. melted butter
2 t. lemon pepper
2 t. cumin
Pita Toast Directions
Cut pita pockets into 8 triangles. Separate the triangles into halves.
Blend butter, lemon pepper, and cumin.
With a pastry brush, spread each piece of pita with butter mixture.
Bate at 350 degrees until browned and crisp (about 10 minutes).
You can use different herbs in the butter mixture for the pita toasts and serve them any time. Italian seasoning is a great replacement for the lemon pepper and cumin. Serve the Italian seasoning pita toasts with soup.
The dip can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. Bake about 10 minutes longer if the dip has been in the refrigerator before it goes in the oven.
Our infamous event planner neighbor, Ms. Jackie, went above and beyond for her latest party. She hosted an 80s prom night last night in her backyard oasis, Possum Grove. She even rented a dance floor and had a balloon arch photo area. In honor of this big event, I cooked up a new party dip to share with guests rather than making one of my old reliables. This hot and cheesy roasted red pepper dip was better than I expected. I think throwing the bacon bits on the top before baking really elevated the flavor satisfaction levels.
The cream cheese base in this dish reminds me of the Hot Artichoke Dip and the Charleston Cheese Dip, which have always been favorites of mine. If you need appetizer ideas for football watching this fall or are cooking for a cocktail party with friends, I recommend this roasted red pepper dip recipe.
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 c. mayonnaise
2 T. finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
4-5 sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped (~4 oz)
1/3 c. chopped roasted sweet red peppers
1 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 c. shredded Italian cheese blend
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
3 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
Ritz and/or Club crackers for serving
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, and garlic until blended.
Stir in tomatoes, red peppers, mozzarella cheese, Italian cheese blend, and 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese.
Spread mixture in a greased baking dish. I used an oval baking dish, but a 9-inch pie pan would work too. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and bacon bits.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until edges are bubbly and lightly browned.
We are summer swim team people. Mr. Star Wars moved up an age group this year, and his practice time is now an hour later than Miss Priss’. That means we spend every evening at the pool from 5:30 until about 7:45. Prime dinner hour. I was bringing snacks with us to practice and then we would eat really late dinner– like a bowl of cereal– when we got home but that was a disaster. I have started just bringing meals to the pool. My goal for pool meals is food that does not require utensils or dishes.
Yesterday, I brought a pan of those baked ham sandwiches that people serve at tailgates or football parties. The classic recipe with the Hawaiian rolls is really greasy and has too much butter for me (I can’t believe I am saying that), so I combined a few different recipes to reduce the butter amount– a little.
Mini Baked Ham Sandwiches
1/4 c. butter, softened
2 T. horseradish mustard
2 T. finely chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 lb. deli ham, very thinly sliced– almost shaved (I like maple glazed)
1 lb. baby Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
1 pkg dinner rolls (you will use 9 rolls)
9×9 inch metal baking pan (disposable aluminum pans work well)
Mix the softened butter, horseradish mustard, chopped onion, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Combine well.
Cut the rolls in half horizontally. Keep the top and bottom halves separate.
Spread a layer of butter mixture on the bottom half of each roll and place in a 9×9 pan.
Cut the Swiss cheese slices into quarters. Place one piece of cheese on the buttered bottom half of each dinner roll.
Top the cheese slice with ham.
Add another quarter slice of cheese.
Spread the remaining butter mixture on the top half of each roll and place one on each cheese/ham stack.
Cover the pan of sandwiches with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
What kinds of snacks do you bring to eat at the pool? It is amazing how hungry swimmers get!
I got a text earlier this week from my neighbor, Miss Jackie, suggesting we order pizza and have snacks Saturday night in the front yard while the kids rode bikes, played Ghosts in the Graveyard, and ran around. Easy enough– we love casual summer get togethers. Who knew there would be a pop-up thunderstorm at 5:00? The whole group ended up in my kitchen and playroom, and I drank margaritas. I made a blue cheese Columbine dip that works really well as a topping for hamburgers too, so we cancelled the pizza idea and grilled burgers.
The original recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Colorado Collage. Sewing Sister thinks we should add crumbled bacon to the top to make it even more delicious.
1/2 lb. crumbled blue cheese
1/3 c. chopped red onion
1/3 c. olive oil
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. crushed garlic
1 t. dry mustard
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley
Pour crumbled blue cheese in a 9-inch pie pan or similar sized dish (I used a quiche dish).
In a food processor, combine onion, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, mustard, and pepper. Pulse to blend.
Pour the dressing evenly over the blue cheese.
Sprinkle with parsley.
Let stand 2+ hours at room temperature.
Serve with blue corn tortilla chips, pita chips, or little toasted bread triangles.
Add a scoop to the top of a freshly grilled hamburger to make a blue cheese burger.
I needed a festive dip to take with me to a friend’s house, so I pulled out the recipe for my old friend, sun dried tomato dip (courtesy of Ina Garten). The dip originally appeared in my Labor Day Potluck Dinner post. After assembling the dip and the veggie tray, I realized how perfect this dip is for the holidays. The dip is a pinky red color, and I used several red and green raw vegetables. The finished product is quite merry and bright.
Need a quick bite for family members who will be milling around your house for Christmas or something tasty for football viewing? Sun dried tomato dip has got your back. Happy holidays and happy dipping readers!
¼ c. sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped (get plain oil, any seasoning changes the dip flavor)
8-oz. cream cheese, room temperature
½ c. sour cream
½ c. good mayonnaise
10 dashes Louisiana hot sauce or Tabasco
1 t. kosher salt
¾ t. black pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
Puree the tomatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, hot sauce, salt, and pepper in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
Add the scallions and pulse twice. Set aside a pinch of scallions to garnish the top of the dip when serving.
Serve at room temperature with sugar snap peas, celery sticks, carrot sticks, pretzel sticks, pita chips, etc.
Make sure cream cheese is at room temperature to get the ingredients to blend together smoothly.
Sugar snap peas are my favorite raw vegetable for this dip.
Pita chips and Snyder’s pretzel dipping rods are my favorite cracker-y vehicle for getting this dip to your mouth.