cheesy spinach dip

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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.

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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 ]

 

m4s0n501

apple and brie bruschetta

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Ok, so I  noticed (after the fact) that I’ve been posting my bruscetta recipes on Tuesdays.

And I’m a total idiot because if I had actually planned it I could have given it a catchy name like, “TOASTY TUESDAY!” or “Tuesday Toast” or … ya know… something with alliteration.

Alliteration is the best.

Anyway, this might actually be the easiest of all the bruschetta recipes because you don’t really have to make anything, you just need to be able to slice an apple without cutting your fingers off.  I realize that this is easier said than done sometimes, but it’s really that easy!

Just spread some super-creamy brie on a piece of toast, top it with a drizzle of honey, and then put your sliced apples on top!  Voila!  I used to drizzle the honey on top, because I thought that looked prettier, but I learned that it’s much neater to put the honey UNDER the apples.  No more sticky honey fingers!

If you love bruschetta as much as I do, you should probably visit my other recipes:

Apple & Brie Bruschetta

Printable Recipe

  • 1 loaf french bread, sliced cross-wise and toasted
  • 2 to 3 medium crisp apples, like granny smith
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Creamy brie, at room temperature
  • Honey

1.   Slice and toast your bread as desired.  Slice apples and toss with lemon juice to help prevent browning.

2.  Spread each slice with brie while still slightly warm.  Drizzle with honey and top with sliced apples.

3.  Sit back and enjoy!

 

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fig and prosciutto bruschetta

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This is kinda a cheater recipe, because I’ve told you about it before, and recreated it in flatbread form.  But here is its original form – mascarpone and fig spread on toasted baguette slices, arugula and prosciutto.

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It’s delicious in all of its forms – you can leave it vegetarian without the prosciutto, or even just the mascarpone and fig.  Or try all three.  So good.

Fig & Prosciutto Bruschetta

Printable Recipe

  • 1 baguette
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup fig jam, I use this kind
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 8 ounces prosciutto

 

1.  Slice baguette on the bias into ¼ -inch slices and toast under the broiler on both sides.

2.  Spread each toast with mascarpone, then with fig jam.  Top each toast with arugula and then prosciutto.  Putting the prosciutto on top helps to hold the arugula in place, which makes these much easier to handle.

 

strawberry bruschetta

Sick of strawberries yet?

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No?  Good.  Neither am I.

Continuing on with my strawberry obsession, I finally had to cave and give strawberry bruschetta a try.  The mix of sweet strawberries and fresh basil make this a sweet-savory snack that is hard to resist.  I added a drizzle of balsamic glaze to bump up the sweetness a bit, and even a smear of mascarpone which really made it about as close to perfect as it could get.  I mean, we already know that strawberries and mascarpone make a good team.

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I’ve also seen recipes that call for a smear of goat cheese, which would give it a nice tang to contrast the sweet strawberries, but that’s not really what I was looking for (goat cheese is not my favorite cheese).  If you’re really into goat cheese, go ahead and give it a shot, but I personally love the flavor of this with creamy mascarpone.

Strawberry Bruschetta

Printable Recipe

  • 1 baguette
  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled, and diced
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • 2 – 4 ounces mascarpone or goat cheese (optional)
  • Balsamic glaze, for drizzling

1.  Mix strawberries, 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, and basil in a medium bowl.  Toss to combine and set aside.

2.  Slice baguette into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Toast under the broiler until lightly golden on each side.

3.  Spread desired amount of cheese onto each slice of toasted baguette, and top with strawberry mixture.  Drizzle each slice with balsamic glaze.  Eat and enjoy.

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loaded potato dip

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also like these party favorites:

 

 

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