Let me draw your attention to the boat shaped dish in the middle of this photograph. Inside resides the most delicious dip you have ever tasted. It is so good, I could eat it for weeks straight. Unfortunately, it never lasts that long. Enjoy this Artichoke Spinach Dip!
Artichoke Spinach Dip (“Family Circle”)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 med onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 pkg (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 jar (6 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 pkg cream cheese, cut into cubes
- 1/2 pint sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a large skillet, melt butter over med heat. Add the onion and saute until golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the spinach, artichoke hearts, creams cheese, sour cream, 1 cup of the cheddar, the parmesan and the spices.
2. Place the mixture in an ovenproof 2 qt dish and top with the remaining cheddar. Bake for 10 min. Serve with raw vegetables and crackers.
I don’t know why, but I assume that cooking good quality food has to be complicated… and so hard that half of your kitchen has exploded and you’ve singed off your eyebrows by the time your done. Well, my friends, it doesn’t have to be that way! This recipe, which I’ve adapted from “Woman’s Day” is about as easy and clean as it gets. I think this is even easier to make than Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. And, it’s good too! Like, really good.
Italian Rosemary Chicken and Vegetables
- 4 small drumsticks
- 4 red potatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 large bell peppers, cut into 3/4 in wedges, mine was yellow
- 1 small red onion, cut into 1/2 in slices
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tbsp chopped garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup olives, halved (optional)
- Balsamic vinegar to drizzle on at the end.
1. Preheat the oven to 500F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
2. Spread meat and veggies onto the pan. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
3. Roast 15 min. Remove from the oven, toss, and roast another 15 min, or until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes are tender.
4. Remove from the oven. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olives.
I know it’s been too long since my last blog. Because it’s been a few weeks, now I feel bogged down with a million recipes to write about and an internet connection that is temperamental at best. You have my sincere apologies and a pledge to get back on track. Here’s what we had for dinner tonight:
You’ll notice that there is a side of asparagus on my plate. Asparagus is one of those foods that my young, uncultivated tongue didn’t appreciate. I used to call them “aspara-guts.” Saute them in butter and garlic and they don’t taste anything like guts… well, at least I don’t think they do.
Chicken Murphy (adapted from “Family Circle”)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 28oz can of whole tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 4 hot red peppers, seeded and cut into quarters
- 1/2 a sweet onion, sliced
- 1 cup of uncooked orzo (cook this like you cook rice with a 2 to 1 ration of water to orzo)
Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the tomatoes and liquid, salt and pepper. Break up the tomatoes using the back of a wooden spoon. Cook over med-high heat for 3 minutes. Add the chicken, peppers and onion. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve on a bed of cooked orzo.
My house is filling with the smell of garlic. It is making my mouth water. We love garlic. If dinner isn’t smothered in about 13 garlic cloves, something is usually wrong! For instance, I made some steak kabobs last week. I marinated the meat in teriyaki sauce, a dash of balsamic vinegar and some pepper. They were juicy and delicious; however, when I asked the husband what he thought, he suggested that something in the marinade’s melody of flavours was missing. “It needs some… garlic” he said. That should be our family slogan.
The Greek-style roasted potatoes currently in my oven (expelling a garlic scent that is tickling my nostrils and making my mouth water) don’t need any more garlic. But the trick with these potatoes isn’t the garlic. It’s the lemon juice. Don’t forget the lemon juice.
Greek-Style Garlic Roasted Potatoes (I am going to leave strict measurement out of this recipe because it really depends on my many mouths you have to feed)
– 5-10 potatoes, cubed (if my mum were cutting them, they would be big chunks, but if you, like my dad and I, like the crunchy parts, cut them smaller.)
– 3-6 cloves of garlic, chopped roughly (big pieces are fine here) – The juice of one lemon
– Olive oil
– Dash of parsley
– Dash of cayenne pepper (optional) Preheat the oven to 400F. Put the potatoes in a baking pan that is big enough that fit in one layer. Sprinkle the garlic on top. Squeeze on the lemon juice. Pour in enough oil to coat the potatoes and form a generous pool in the bottom of the pan. Pour in water to cover at least ½ of the potatoes. Cook. Stir ones or twice. If they are sticking, add more oil. They are done when they’re brown and crispy (usually around an hour.) Sprinkle with parsley and cayenne pepper.
I was under the impression that rice is tricky to cook. Then I tried to make beans. My impatient cooking-style did NOT co-exist very well with the lengthy process of cooking dried black beans. It took me several months, but I finally built up the courage to try again. This time, I left the beans on low and went to an appointment for a few hours. I think that helped. I also started to cook them well before it was dinnertime, and well before I was hungry so I didn’t even feel the need to rush them along so I could eat. My beans don’t hold a candle next to real ones, cooked by Latin Americans who know what they are doing, but they weren’t bad.
Garlic-Cumin Black Beans (adapted from Mark Bittman’s “The Best Recipes in the World”)
- 1 lb dried black beans
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- ½ cup minced onion
Soak the beans overnight in water. Drain them, put them in a pot and cover them with fresh water. Cook on medium-high heat. When they boil, add the crushed garlic and the cumin. Partially cover and simmer until they are tender, 2-3 hours (or maybe 5 if your beans are like mine…) Add the salt, pepper, minced garlic and more cumin if you like. Cook another 5 minutes. Stir in the onion. Serve warm.
These are great with any Mexican dish. You can also follow this basic recipe with pinto beans as well.
Oh, and anyone have a good recipe for Baked Alaska? The prospect of baked ice cream intrigues me…
I have written this post three times now, but every time, my computer dies or fails in one way or another. So, I’ve given up on the stories and anecdotes. This is good. Make it and eat it.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fresh basil, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh chives, minced
- 2 gloves of garlic, minced
- 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and spoon over toasted slices of baguette.
The first time I had curry, I was in the H-shaped airport in Taipei, Taiwan. The experience taught me one thing: Airport food is universally bad. Since then, I have avoided curry religiously. I was convinced I didn’t like it. You can imagine my trepidation as I ventured today’s recipe: Thai Peanut Chicken with a large helping of yellow curry powder. It turns out that I don’t hate curry after all. Here’s the recipe that changed my mind:
Thai Peanut Chicken (adapted from Mark Bittman’s “The Greatest Recipes in the World”)
– 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
– 1 tbsp curry powder
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
– 1 small onion, sliced
– 1 tbsp cooking oil
– 1/2 head of broccoli, cut
– 1 scallion, cut into 1 inch pieces
– 1/3 roasted peanuts, chopped
– 1 tbsp sugar
– 1 tbsp Nam Pla (Thai Fish Sauce)
– 3/4 cup coconut milk*
Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes. Marinate it with the curry, ginger and garlic. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the broccoli and scallion and cook for 3 minutes. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the oil. Cook the onion until it’s tender, 3-4 minutes. Strain the vegetables and run them under cold water for 30 seconds. Add the chicken to the skillet. Add the vegetables to the skillet. Cook on medium-high until the chicken is just browning, 5-10 minutes. Add the peanuts, coconut milk, Nam Pla, and sugar. Heat 5 minutes until the sauce is thickened. Season with salt. Serve over jasmine rice.
Summertime is a time for Barbecue. Hamburgers are simple and great Barbecue. My Dad makes his own patties. He always has. I never had before, but how hard can it be, really?
It turns out, it’s not that hard at all. Dad’s hamburgers consists of lean ground beef, chopped onions and garlic. I decided to make mine a little bit more complex, which I probably shouldn’t have done because it could have turned out terribly wrong. Lucky for me, it didn’t. I read somewhere that you can put whatever you want in homemade hamburgers – so that’s just what I did.
Sarah’s Hamburgers (they are a little bit spicy)
– 1lbs (85/15%) ground beef – I always buy the leanest ground beef I can find, but it turns out that when you grill hamburgers, they need a little fat.
– 1 egg
– 1/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
– 1/2 an onion, chopped
– 1 tbsp Worcester Sauce
– 1 tbsp Barbecue Sauce
– 1 tbsp garlic salt
– 1 tbsp seasoning salt
– 1 tsp red chili flakes
– dash of Tabasco sauce
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Form into patties (makes 2). Try to spread the patties out as much as you can to minimize shrinking. Fire up the barbecue and cook 10 minutes or so, until they are no longer pink in the middle.
I didn’t have a chance to snap a picture of the completed burgers because we ate them so fast…