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.

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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 ]

 

fruit smoothie with a secret

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I’m no beacon of health or anything, but it is a new year, and I know some of you may have health-related resolutions, or still have a bit of a sugar hangover from the holidays, and maybe you don’t want to stare at pictures of pie all day.  I understand that.  I get it.  I’m sensitive to your needs (for today, at least).  Besides, I’ve got resolutions too, ya know.

Well, probably more “goals” than “resolutions”.  I’ve never really been known for my strong will.

My main goal is pretty simple: eat more fruits and veggies.  I noticed that the majority of my vegetable-eating occurs at dinner, and is mostly just whatever side vegetable I have selected for our meal, or perhaps some sad, hastily assembled salad.  As for my fruit consumption, that can be described as abysmal at best.

That means not only more veggies at the dinner table, but packing (and remembering to grab) healthy snacks for work, and maybe even sneaking in a vegetarian meal or two (if I can find a way to do that without the BF noticing)… but the easiest way I could think of to get more fruits and veggies into my diet?  Putting a whole bunch into a blender and pulverizing them into oblivion.  Plus, I got this shiny new blender for Christmas and this seemed like the perfect excuse to use it.  At least until margarita season arrives (yes, there is such thing as a margarita season).

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The verdict?  Success!  Great success, even!

Not only did my blender perform beautifully, but I had a breakfast consisting of purely fruits and vegetables!  AND IT WAS FILLING!  I could drink these things all day long.  This particular smoothie tastes like your typical berry smoothie, but it has a secret ingredient:  Spinach!  It might sound weird putting spinach in a fruit smoothie, but you don’t even taste it.  Honest, I swear you wouldn’t even know the spinach was in there if you didn’t put it in there with your own two hands!

Oh, and remember guys and gals, this is a smoothie, not a chemistry experiment, so approximation and experimentation are OK here.  Use any fruit or leafy green you like!

Sneaky Fruit & Veggie Smoothie

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 cup water or fruit juice (apple or orange juice might be a good touch)
  • 1 cup pineapple, cut into even chunks
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach, about 2 cups loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup sliced banana (about 1/2 medium banana or 1 small banana)
  • 1/2 cup fresh berries (I used some blackberries and blueberries that I had in the freezer)
  • Bonus: 1 oz B12 liquid for an energy boost (since drinking this AND my morning coffee would be too much)

Put water or juice in the blender, and pile everything else on top of it.  Blend at low-speed (1 on my blender) for one minute, then at medium speed (3 on my blender) for another minute. 

Makes about two 10-oz servings

*Note – the smoothie had darkened significantly by day two, so I couldn’t bring myself to drink the rest of it.  I think I will try adding a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to it next time to see if that helps to keep the smoothie nice and bright.