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 ]

 

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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jessie’s pumpkin pie dip

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We recently had a Halloween potluck at work – by “recently” I mean last week, when it was Halloween. One of my wonderful coworkers, by the name of Jessie, brought in a “pumpkin pie dip” concoction. I was afraid to eat it… it looked all cream cheesy and scary … but my love of all things pumpkin prevailed and I dug in to find a delightfully light, creamy, pumpkiny treat.

Jessie ended up leaving early that day, taking her dip with her. She returned Tuesday morning to an angry mob of people. Both those who had tried the dip and hadn’t had enough, and those who hadn’t had a chance to try it before she stumbled out into the world to feast on the brains of the living… did I mention she was a zombie for Halloween? And she got up ungodly early to have time to do her zombie makeup before she had to be to work at an already ungodly hour? And because of all of this hard work, she was rewarded by winning “best costume” at work?

I would post a picture of her awesome zombie costume, but it’s probably rude to post pictures of people on the internet unknowingly… instead I can post a picture of my costume, which clearly should have won but didn’t… (For the record, I voted for Jessie, and she beat me by 1 vote. You’re welcome, Jessie. Even though you don’t know this blog exists.)

Sorry, I went off on a tangent there, anyway… Apparently Jessie has an amazing boyfriend whom she was able to call and have him deliver the pumpkin dip henceforth to avoid an office mutiny. The pumpkin dip returned on Tuesday morning, she surrendered her recipe to me, her life was spared, and all was right in the world.

Even though I’m pretty sure this recipe originated on a pudding box, or whipped topping container, I’m attributing it to the wonderful Jessie. Because she’s the one who introduced us to it in all of its wonderful, pumpkiny glory. Perhaps you can put it out as a sweet snack while everyone anxiously awaits their Thanksgiving turkey. PS if you do the printer-friendly recipe, you get to see Jessie’s fabulous artwork :)

Pumpkin Pie Dip

[ Printable Version ]

  • 2 small packages instant vanilla pudding (french vanilla would be better)
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1/2 15-oz can pumpkin pie filling (I actually think it might be regular pumpkin and she’s lying)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 8-oz container whipped topping

1. In a medium bowl, beat pudding mix and milk until thick. Add pumpkin pie filling and spice and continue to mix. Fold in cool whip until fluffy.

2. Serve chilled with graham crackers.

* If you can find the seasonal pumpkin spice pudding, you might be able to leave out the actual pumpkin and just mix the pudding and whipped topping. Just a hunch 😉

Pico de Gallo

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The thing I’m struggling with the most with for this blog is measurements. Do you know how hard it is to measure things when you are accustomed to just throwing it together? It’s the little things, like how much salt really ends up in a bowl of pico? I tried so hard to measure the salt for this recipe. I use a salt grinder, which already complicates things for recipes. How much comes out in 1 grind? I have no idea… What I ended up doing was grinding the salt over a piece of paper as though I were grinding it over the pico, and then poured it from that paper into a measuring spoon. I still don’t know if I got it right. Thank you for making me feel extra crazy. Now, to the recipe…

Pico de gallo is one of those little things that can take your taco night from ‘average’ to ‘great’! It’s so simple and takes almost no time to prepare.  The fresh mix of tomato, onion, and cilantro can brighten up just about any dish.
I’ve been known to use pico not only to adorn my chips & tacos, but also as a welcome addition to my scrambled eggs. Throw in some ham and make a tasty omelet, or try stirring some fresh pico into your next batch of guacamole for added texture and flavor.

try adding some pico to your tacos on taco night!

Plus, it’s completely customizable (I’m noticing that I say that a lot… ) I know it sounds weird but try leaving out the garlic & substituting diced, fresh watermelon for the tomatoes. Fruit can give your salsa an interesting, sweet twist (mango would work, too).  Corn is another way to make your traditional pico a little sweeter (think of Chipotle). Want it spicier? Add more jalapeno, or switch to a spicier pepper. Less spice? Leave them out entirely! If you don’t like the chunky texture of pico, just throw it in a blender and puree away to your desired consistency!

Pico de Gallo

Printer-Friendly

  • 2 tomatoes (I used Roma), chopped
  • ½ medium onion (red or white), chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced (I actually grate mine) OR a sprinkle of garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
  • ½ lime – just the juice!
  • 1/8 tsp salt (Remember – it’s much easier to add salt than to take it out!)
  • Drizzle of olive oil

1. Mix it all together, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Well that was easy…)

Tips

*Remember, I’m usually cooking for only 2 people. If you have a crowd coming over, double or triple the recipe.

*If you like a different ratio of tomato to onion, add more of one or the other. If you don’t like cilantro – leave it out! If you want more salt, add it. Don’t be a slave to recipes- CUSTOMIZE!!!

*If you replace the cilantro with basil, and leave out the lime, you will have bruschetta! Use it to top some fresh crostini! YUM!

*If you don’t like seeds, or prefer a less runny salsa, slice AROUND the core. You get all the flesh while avoiding the gooey insides. This works great for peppers, too!