Appetizers

Easy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

This recipe was so easy! I can’t believe how fast this came together Saturday night. And it got rave reviews from my son. “Mom, this is better than Applebee’s!” I laughed at that because in the past when we would go to Applebee’s for the 2 for $20, Ian always wanted to get the Spinach Dip.

This past Saturday night we made late dinner reservations at Francesca’s in Downtown Syracuse. Reservations were for 8:30. Not because we planned it that way, but it was either 5:00 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. We had no other plans and that was where Ian wanted to go to dinner, so hey, we took the late reservations. But with that time frame I knew we needed a snack late afternoon. So I found a recipe for Spinach and Artichoke Dips from Alton Brown.

Ingredients
1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach

1 1/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts

6 ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender and drain. Discard liquid. Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir in rest of ingredients and serve hot. Note: I did bake this for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees to insure that it was hot

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Blue Cheese Artichoke Dip for Dinner Club

(I forgot to get the picture of it completed before it was devoured!)
We had dinner club last night at our neighbors across the street.  The theme was pot luck, with just the main course recipe provided.  Each couple was assigned a course and told to bring their favorite recipe.  Ours was the appetizer and we made our Blue Cheese and Artichoke Dip and served it was Kettle Chips.   This is inspired from a appetizer we got a few years back at a place called Tin Pan Galley in Sacketts Harbor.  Homemade Kettle Chips with a warm Blue Cheese dip.  
Several other restaurants now make this and when we see it on the menu we have to order it.  A few years ago I had to make an appetizer for our family Christmas dinner and I made this.  Topped it off with kettle chips and sat it down in front of my mom who just loved it.  If she liked it I knew it was a hit! As you can see from my picture, it was well received at our dinner. 

Blue Cheese Artichoke Dip with Kettle Chips

1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup Light Mayonnaise
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Light Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup crumbled  Blue Cheese
1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
4 green onions, sliced

Kettle Chips

Preheat oven 350°F. Place all ingredients in food processor container; cover. Process just until blended, but not completely smooth.

Spoon into 9-inch pie plate.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve with Kettle Chips

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Tex Mex Black Bean Dip

 
We needed a little pregame treat and something to enjoy while watching the Puppy Bowl yesterday.  I dug out a recipe from about 15+ years ago for a low fat Tex Mex Black Bean dip that is quick to make and packs in the flavor and a bit of protein.  This is made on the stove and ready in about 15 minutes. 

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/3 cup bottled picante medium sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded reduced-fat Colby Jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish   
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
 
Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add tomato and next 4 ingredients (tomato through beans); cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; partially mash with a potato masher. Add cheese, cilantro, and lime juice, stirring until cheese melts. Serve warm or at room temperature
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Artichoke and Feta Baked Dip – just in time for the Sweet Sixteen Basketball Games!

 
Just in time for the NCAA Sweet Sixteen Tournaments and the many basketball parties that will be happening.  And let’s not forget  the Easter dinner you have planned.  Don’t you need a quick appetizer to start off your holiday festivities.  This baked dip recipe is delicious. 
 
I had a craving for a baked dip the other day.  Now baked dips are not one of my hubby’s favorites, but he had no problem giving this one a try.  I really made it because it seems that all of the dips and snacks that come into our house lately are Jalapeno this and Spicy Buffalo Wing that and I wanted something that I liked.  This dip has flavor, but does not have you choking because it is either too spicy or too hot. Sorry hubby, but there 3 of us at home now and from time to time, buy something I like!  LOL!

Artichoke and Feta Dip

 
½ cup plain greek yogurt
⅔ cup  mayonaise
2 teaspoons minced garlic
8 ounces feta cheese crumbles ( you can add flavor by using a flavored crumble)
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts (whole or quartered), roughly chopped
1 4-ounce can diced pimentos
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Pita or tortilla chips, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a medium casserole dish (about 2 quarts) or deep pie dish.
In a large bowl combine all ingredients except for parmesan cheese, mix well. Spread mixture in the prepared dish. Sprinkle cheese on top of mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Serve with pita chips or tortilla chips.
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Corn Dip

 
Pick up some Fritos Scoops or corn chips and have a fiesta with this dip! This will make a ton for your next tailgate or holiday party and is very easy to make.  I found this on the Inspired By Charm Blog and adapted it for my house.  It has been awhile since I made this (note that it is an outside photo) but a definite make again dip for fall and holiday parties. The other dip is my Rosemary White Bean Hummus that is so so good!
 
 

Fiesta Corn Dip

 

3 (11-oz.) cans Green Giant Mexican Corn, drained
7-oz. can chopped green chiles
6-oz. can chopped jalapeno peppers, drained and liquid added to taste
1/2 c. green onion, chopped
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
16-oz. pkg. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, Taco flavored
2-3 bags scoop-like corn or tortilla chips

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except chips. Chill two hours to overnight. Serve with your favorite chips (I used Fritos and Tostitos) for scooping. Makes 6 cups.

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"Family" for Dinner

Last weekend we had our foodie friends and the new college graduate, their son Paul, over for dinner.  They had just returned from moving Paul into his first apartment.  It is a pleasure to celebrate the milestones in his life with him.  We don’t consider them as friends, they are really family!
 
We have fond memories of watching Paul grow up.  We remember babysitting him and his sister so his parents could go out when they were little, our family trip to Aruba together years ago and numerous dinners we have shared.  We are very proud of Paul and wish him great success as he starts his first job and his first apartment.
 
Paul and our little man about 8 years ago

The college graduate now!
So dinner started off with a new dip recipe.  I subscribe to Fine Cooking Magazine and found this recipe last Saturday while scouring the magazine for something new to make.  (other dinner recipes to follow in future post…)

Grilled Onion and Gorgonzola Dip

1 medium yellow onion, trimmed, peeled and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (4 slices)
Olive oil, for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 oz. crumbled Gorgonzola
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 to 3 dashes hot sauce
Snipped fresh chives 
           

Prepare a medium (350°F to 375°F) gas or charcoal grill fire. Brush the onion slices  with oil and season with salt and pepper.
 
Grill the onion slices until grill marks form on one side, about 7 to 8 minutes. Flip the slices and continue to grill until tender, about 7 to 8 minutes more. Stack the onions on a large piece of foil, wrap the onions up, and let them sit for 10 minutes to soften further.
 
Pulse the onions in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the yogurt, mayonnaise, Gorgonzola, lemon juice, garlic, hot sauce, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper; pulse until combined but still chunky.
 
Transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and chill for at least 1 hour. Garnish with chives before serving.
Make Ahead Tips
The dip can be made and refrigerated up to 1 week ahead. Return to cool room temperature to serve.
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Baked Ricotta Dip

We had a cookout the other night in celebration of the first weekend of the summer season and I wanted to try a new appetizer recipe.  Something that was quick and easy to make.  This one fit the bill.  As long as you have a container of ricotta in the refrigerator, some lemons, garlic and fresh herbs growing in your garden, you can whip this one up in seconds.  
We served this with Pita Chips for something lighter than baguettes.  Once it sat for awhile, I threw it back in the microwave to reheat it for late party guest (or our son who came upstairs from playing in the basement while appetizers were being served).

Baked Ricotta with Lemon, Garlic, & Chives

Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer
15 ounces (about 2 cups) whole milk ricotta
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 ounce fresh chives, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Small crackers or slices of baguette, to serve
Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 1/2- to 1-quart gratin dish or baking pan. 
Mix the ricotta, lemon juice and zest, garlic, chives, and salt, and a generous quantity of fresh black pepper. Spread in the baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. (At this point you can cover and refrigerate the ricotta overnight, if desired.) 
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until hot. Drizzle again with olive oil. Serve immediately with crackers for dipping.