Spinach Dip – Quick, Easy, and Delicious

Deliciousness

Deliciousness

I’m a fan of a good, hot spinach dip.  Sometimes I’ll order one if we’re out for dinner or drinks, and it’s such an awesome treat.  I had never made one myself, but we were having some friends over and I had a craving, so I thought I would try my hand at it.  Because I just sort of threw this one together based on my own tastes and what I know of spinach dip, the measurements are approximate, but for the most part I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these ingredients.  Enjoy.

Ingredients

1 pkg cream cheese – softened

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1 pkg Knorr (or similar) dried vegetable soup mix

1 cup (and then some!) grated marble cheese

Directions

In a medium sized bowl, add all ingredients except for cheese and stir to combine.

Photo 4Add the one cup of grated cheese….

Photo 1Mix thoroughly, and add to a prepared baking dish. I used a Pampered Chef 9 inch stoneware pie plate.  If you use a glass baking dish, I would treat it lightly first with olive oil or cooking spray.

Photo 3

 

Top with the desired amount (lots) of grated cheese, and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, keeping an eye on it and removing from the oven when the top is melted and golden.

Photo 7

 

This is great served simply with tortilla chips, corn chips or even Doritos in a pinch.  I personally think it’s best with baked or fried pita chips.  I make my own by cutting the pocketless pitas into 8th’s, coating with olive oil and seasoning salt, and baking for about 20 minutes, turning half way through.  They get crunchy on the outside, but maintain their chewiness inside.  So good!

You could change this dip up any way you like, adding different ingredients like a shake or two of hot sauce to jazz it up a bit.  You could also finely dice some sweet red pepper and throw it in.  Some crumbled bacon on top would add to the decadence as well.  Adjust it to your preferences, that’s what cooking is all about!

Enjoy!

Trifle – Tiramisu Style

TiramisuI love this recipe.  It’s beautiful to look at, and as Paula Deen always says – “we eat with our eyes first.”  It’s also delicious, which helps as well.  It’s slightly adapted from a Kraft Canada recipe.  I love the Kraft website and magazine.  It’s filled with recipes that are quick, tasty, and have ingredients that are accessible.

This is more of a trifle than actual tiramisu – as the traditional tiramisu has mascarpone and lady fingers, etc.  This is quicker, cheaper, and a little milder than the traditional recipe.

I made and served this on Saturday night.  It was a perfect compliment to my Chicken Marsala, and was quick to whip up on Saturday afternoon.  Highly recommend.

Ingredients

1 block cream cheese, softened

2 pkg of instant vanilla pudding powder

3 cups cold milk

2 cups cool whip

1 pkg – Mr. Christie Nilla biscuits – you won’t use the whole box, but they’re great for snacking.

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee. I brewed a Tassimo disc of espresso and then just topped up to the 1/2 cup with hot water.

2 squares semi-sweet chocolate – coarsely grated.

raspberries for garnish

Directions

Whip cream cheese with a hand mixer in a large bowl until smooth.  Add the powdered instant pudding mixes and cold milk.  Continue beating until thickened and smooth.  Add cool whip and fold in by hand.

Line the bottom of your trifle bowl with the Nilla wafers, and stand them up around the edge of the bowl too, so you can see them from the outside.  Drizzle half of the coffee over them.  Add half of the pudding mixture and spread out evenly.  Sprinkle the top with half the chocolate.  Do another layer of biscuits, coffee, pudding mixture, chocolate.  Garnish the top with whole raspberries.  The recipe on the website calls for more cool whip on the top, but I leave it off.  I find it overkill and don’t think it’s needed.  Without it you can see how beautiful the chocolate and raspberries are.

Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

I hope you enjoy, it’s a favourite in our house.  Great to take to a potluck, and a good recipe to have on hand at this time of year with all the entertaining that we do.

Another Tater Tot Casserole

It seems like everywhere you look for recipes online, you will find one for a tater tot casserole.  I always wanted to try making one.  I’m not a huge fan of potatoes, but I like things like French fries, hash browns  etc.  When I went grocery shopping this weekend, I bought a bag of the tater tots to keep in the freezer for whenever inspiration struck.

It struck yesterday.  I was sitting at work, trying to figure out what the heck to cook for supper on a Monday night when I really didn’t feel like cooking. I remembered the tots in my freezer.  So while I ate my lunch, I took to the internet to search for a recipe.  I was kind of overwhelmed by the number of them, but I read enough of them to get the general idea, and take what I liked from each of them to make my own version.  What I did is in the recipe that follows.

Ingredients

Frozen Tater Tots – about 2/3 of a bag

1-1 1/2 lbs ground beef

onion

fresh mushrooms, sliced

3 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup

1-2 cloves garlic minced or the minced garlic in the jar is fine

cheese – a bunch, maybe 2 cups shredded.  I used mozzarella because it was what I had on hand, but cheddar would be better.

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Start by browning the ground beef in a skillet.  Dice and add the onion and garlic.  Cook until meat is browned and veggies are tender. Drain if there is excess fat.

In a large bowl, combine soups and cheese.  Add tater tots and stir until they are all evenly coated.

Spread ground beef in the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish.  Add tater tot mixture on top and spread to cover beef.

Bake uncovered for at least an hour, until bubbly and hot and browned a bit on top.

Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

 

It was great with a bit of ketchup.  All the measurements (as you can see) are approximate and can be adjusted to your taste, as I just kind of threw it together.

This recipe has the possibility of being personalized any way you like it.  You could add other vegetables – a layer of corn between the beef and tots would be good.  Extra cheese on top while baking would also be very good, but I ran out.  This would also be good with a bit of sausage meat mixed in with the beef, or if you’re feeling particularly sassy (and breakfasty) to replace it altogether. Cooking is all about making things your own.  Try, and enjoy! 🙂

 

I’m a bad bad blogger…

The customary (and very yummy) ice cream Birthday cake.

Life has been busy.  Very busy it seems.  The boy has been in school for a month now, and after a somewhat rocky start, he now hops on the bus with a “Bye!  Have a good day!” I now breathe while he is at school instead of watching the clock all day wondering how he is doing with a constant pain in my chest.  So we’re doing good.

I turned 35.  That was interesting.  I actually had a wonderful Birthday weekend.  I am extremely lucky to have amazing family and friends.  The number of Facebook posts, e-mails, e-cards, texts and phone calls that I received on the day was awesome.  I felt very loved.  I was able to have brunch with my dearest friend and hang out with her for a little while, which is always wonderful.  We had dinner with friends the night before and dinner with family the night of.  I’m very fortunate.

So between life, school, work, eating Birthday cake and premiere week of all my Shondaland shows, I’ve been pretty busy.  Which also means I’ve been a bad blogger.  I’ve not been a blogger at all.  I have a couple of book reviews to do, some recipes to post, and I’m sure a rant or two to share.

Life doesn’t look like it’s slowing down too much.  I’ve got a busy weekend ahead and then it’s off to Niagara Falls next week to celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss.  October always seems to be a busy month for us, and this one doesn’t look like it’s going to be much different.  Busy, but in a good way, with lots of good stuff going on.

I hope everyone is having a great fall, one of my favourite seasons.  Hey! It’s only 12 or so weeks till Christmas! 😉

Chicken Mushroom Alfredo Bake

I was in the mood for some creamy comfort food yesterday, so I wandered around the grocery store throwing things in my basket with a general idea in mind. I came home and made this. It's a keeper for sure.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 bag Penne – cooked
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 – 2 lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 jars Classico roasted garlic Alfredo sauce or similar
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 – 2 tbsp margarine or butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Directions:

Clean chicken, and pound out slightly between plastic wrap to make thinner. Season with salt and pepper and brown each side in hot olive oil over medium high heat. Remove to a small plate and set aside. Add mushrooms to pan and sauté until slightly tender. Cube chicken and add it and whatever juices have rendered back to the pan.

Add sauce, cheese, and cooked pasta. Stir until all pasta is evenly coated. Pour into 9×13 baking dish.

Combine margarine, garlic and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over pasta mixture.

Bake in a preheated 400° oven for about 20 minutes, until breadcrumbs have browned nicely.

This is quick, easy, and great warmed up as leftovers too.

 

Super Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This one is super easy.  I was going to make something totally different for a potluck I was going to on the weekend, but due to a stovetop malfunction (long story) I had to change my plans and I was scrambling on a Sunday morning to find a recipe I could make with the grocery store closed using only what I had on hand.  Luckily I had some pineapple, and this turned out pretty good.  It’s very light and airy.  I found this recipe on the BigOven.com iPad app.

Ingredients

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup margarine, melted

pineapple, sliced in rings

maraschino cherries – I didn’t have these, but they would be a sweet, colourful addition

2 eggs, separated

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup pineapple juice – I didn’t have this either, so I substituted orange juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar with melted margarine until completely incorporated.  Spread into the bottom of a 9″ cake pan.  Arrange pineapple pieces and cherries in a decorative design in the brown sugar.  Set aside.

In another small bowl, whip the egg yolks with a mixer until light yellow and thickened.  Gradually add in the sugar and beat well.  Add flour, baking powder, salt and juice.  Mix completely together.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Fold gently into batter.

Pour batter and smooth over pineapples in pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes.  Top will be brown, tester inserted should come out clean.  Let it cool in the pan for a couple of minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.

Serve warm or cold.

This would be awesome with a scoop of ice cream, or some whipped cream, or even better, some rum enhanced whipped cream.  Yum!

Tomato Salad

This is a quick and easy one.  So simple, and it goes over great during the summer at barbecues and potlucks.  We tease my Mom because once we were having a conversation about what food we’ll be remembered for when we’re gone.  She was concerned that there wouldn’t be a “special dish” that would inspire us all to think about her when we ate it.  My husband said to her, “don’t worry Cathie, you’ll always be remembered for your tomato salad!”

Don’t blink or you’ll miss this one – it’s that quick to throw together.

Ingredients

2-3 tomatoes or more – depending on size

1/2 large or 1-2  small onions (red onions or really sweet onions are best)

1 bottle vinaigrette salad dressing (I most prefer Kraft Sundried Tomato and Oregano for this)

Directions

Slice tomatoes and onions.  Layer in a casserole (like French White) with a lid.

Pour entire bottle of dressing over the tomatoes and onions.

Cover and refrigerate at least 1-2 hours.

 

That’s it!  The longer this stuff sits, the better it is.  It’s even better the next day, so if you can make it the morning of, or even the night before, it’s best.

If you’re having burgers, some of us like to put this salad directly on our burgers for extra zing.

Enjoy!