cheesy spinach dip

cheese 3

You know what is hard to photograph?  Cheese.

It really seems like it shouldn’t be.  It’s like, ooey, gooey, melty, delicious cheese… it’s practically doing your job for you!  Except once you put it in front of the camera, it becomes a shiny, globby, hot, goopy mess.  (Note to self:  Due to the way you photograph and the rules of the transitive property, you may actually be made of cheese.  Look into this more later.)

Anyway, you know that I liked this recipe a whole lot, because I decided to share it with you anyway.

cheese 1

And… I ate that much on my own.  Just for you.  For pictures! (Well, that’s what I told my other half when he asked what happened to the rest of it, at least… but I know my secret is safe with you!)

And yes, I know that it’s fall and everything should be all pumpkin and apples which is great and all but… it’s also hockey season!  And I heard that there’s this thing called “football” too… or so I’m told.  Anyway, what that means is sports are happening, which means there may be more gatherings than your used to, and you may have a house full of hungry people who are looking for something delicious to shove into their face holes.

Well, my friends, this is your secret weapon.  It takes almost no time to assemble , it uses ingredients that you most likely have in your house anyway (much like my apple muffins), and then you just let it hang out in the oven for about 20 minutes or so and VOILA!  Hot and gooey cheese dip for all your friends to savor!

You can thank me later.

Cheesy Spinach Dip

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (1-ounce) packet ranch dressing mix; I used Aaron's favorite
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 (7-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (10-ounce) can tomatoes or tomatoe with chiles(like Rotel); drained
  • 1 + 1/2 cups cheese of your choice; separated (I used cheddar)

Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. 2. Ensure spinach is drained as much as possible (see notes)
  3. 3. In a large bowl, mix the ranch dressing, cream cheese, and sour cream together. Add spinach, tomatoes/chiles, and 1 cup of the cheese and stir to combine.
  4. 4. Pour mixture into greased casserole dish (I used a 2-quart baking dish) and cover with remained 1/2 cup of cheese.
  5. 5. Bake in preheated oven about 20 minutes, until dip is bubbly and cheese is browned to your liking. I like to broil mine a bit towards the end because we are a pro-burned-cheese family.

Notes

* I used cheddar cheese because we got a giant block of it at Costco, I suspect some monterey jack or pepperjack would do well here too... maybe even provolone or fontina, add a sprinkle of Italian herbs and you just went from Mexico to Italy, friends! Moral of the story is that you want something good and melty.

* To drain spinach, I wrap mine it in a couple layers of paper towels and press as hard as possible to extract the liquid over a collander. I usually repeat this about 2 or 3 times to get as much liquid as possible out.

http://wee-eats.com/2013/11/19/cheesy-spinach-dip/

[ Recipe adapted from Food.com ]

 

chocolate cashew butter

cashew 3 - 2

Whatever you do, don’t make this.

Sure, it seems harmless enough.  It’s just some cashew butter… What’s the harm in that?

cashew butter april

With the first bite you’ll be impressed by the texture, second bite, “ooh, that chocolate is a really good addition,” third bite “ooh, I can taste a little salt in there too…”

Using it to dip some banana or apple in, smearing a bit on some toast.  Maybe dunking a graham cracker or two…

cashew butter 8319

Next thing you know it’s gone and you’re torn between the shock of, “Did I just eat a whole container of cashew butter?” followed by the panic of realizing, “MY GOD, THERE IS NO MORE CASHEW BUTTER!”

You’ll know you’re in real trouble, though, when you’re standing at the counter eating the second batch straight out of the jar with a spoon… totally not speaking from experience.

Like I said, this is serious stuff.

choco graham 8328

Well, I put those graham crackers in there for the picture… it’d be a real shame to waste them.  Might as well eat the rest of them too, since they’re already on the plate.

 

Chocolate Cashew Butter

Makes about 8 ounces cashew butter (mine fit into my 8 ounce mason jar)

Printable Recipe

  • 2 cups (about 8 ounces) cashews*
  • 1 ounce chocolate, milk or dark, chopped (or a tablespoon or two of mini chocolate chips)
  • 1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil
  • salt, to taste (I added about a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt)

1.  Place 2 cups cashews (or nut of your choice) into the food processor.  Blend continuously until they break down into a butter form.  This will take awhile and you will need to scrape down the sides a few times.  They will go from nuts, to chopped nuts, to something resembling almond meal, then to the consistency of chunky peanut butter, then to a smoother consistency.

cashew butter Collage

2.  Once smooth, add the chopped chocolate and coconut oil and continue blending and scraping until it is completely blended.

3.  Taste and add salt as desired, blend and scrape down the sides one last time to incorporate the salt.

Can be stored at room temperature up to 3 days, or refrigerated for about a month (I’ve seen other sites say up to 3 months).

* You can use any nut you like, roasted or raw, but roasted nuts will give a more pronounced nut flavor (raw cashews basically just hold onto the chocolate and stay pretty neutral in flavor) – Just make sure to use unsalted so that you can control how much salt goes into the butter. (If you’re feeling adventurous, give honey-roasted peanuts a try, you might not even need  want to add the chocolate with that one.)

* Use more or less chocolate, milk or dark, to your taste, or omit the chocolate all together.  Other things that mix well – honey, maple, cinnamon, etc.

 

[ Adapted from How Sweet Eats ]

 

 

loaded potato dip

DSC_7805-2

With the Super Bowl coming up, I’ve already shared a couple of snacks with you, but here’s one I really love.  Not only is it the easiest thing in the world to make, and you can make it with ingredients that you most likely have in your house right now, but it is packed with flavor.

Or should I “loaded” with flavor?  (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself)

All you do is take all the stuff you would normally put on a baked potato: bacon, cheese, sour cream, etc… and put it into a bowl instead!  Stir it up and let it sit so the flavors can “mingle”, and then serve it up, on top of potatoes!

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Well, potato chips.  Same thing.

If you’re worried about your waistline, or still hanging onto some shred of your New Year’s Resolution, do what I did and use reduced-fat sour cream and turkey bacon.  No one will ever know, unless you tell everyone about it on your blog later.

Oops?

Well, since you’re saving all those calories, you might as well double the recipe.

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • ½ cup sour cream (use reduced-fat if you feel guilty)
  • ½ cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 5 slices bacon or good turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried chives (because that’s what I keep in my pantry) or 1 Tablespoon fresh
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon (1 pinch) ground pepper

Stir everything else together, then sprinkle your extras on top and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in the fridge for at least one hour or up to one week prior to serving.

Garnish with extra shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, and chives if you’re feelin’ fancy.

Serve with your favorite potato chips (or baked kettle chips!)

Dip can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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