Better Than Applebee’s

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

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Referred to Martha Stewart’s Hot Spinach Dip recipe

Ingredients

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for sautéing and to coat baking dish)

1 medium sized Vidalia onion, peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

18 oz (2 9 oz bags) fresh spinach

5 or 6 (about 1/2 a can) artichoke hearts, washed and drained

Light margarine (to add to spinach and artichoke sauté)

1/2 cup water (to add to spinach and artichoke sauté)

1/4 cup milk (any type, or can substitute heavy cream)

8 oz (1 bar) 1/3 less fat Philadelphia cream cheese

4 oz (or about 1 hefty spoonful) Breakstone sour cream (can substitute reduced fat or fat free)

Hot sauce, to taste (optional)

Worcestershire sauce, to taste (optional)

Salt, to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

1 1/2 cup (Kraft) Italian shredded cheese (1 cup for mixture and 1/2 cup to top)

Tostitos Scoops! tortilla chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a 8×8 glass baking dish. A ceramic dish would also work fine.

2. In a large skillet or sauce pan (or a medium sized pot), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, just until glossy, before they brown. Then add minced garlic. Cook for a total of 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Add artichoke hearts and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add spinach in four additions, adding a bit of water after each addition. Finish with a dollop of margarine.

4. Drain spinach and artichoke sauté in a strainer or colander (this step is optional, it would be fine to add the sauté drippings to the mixture, and would certainly taste delicious).

5. In the same saucepan, heat milk over medium to low heat. Whisk in cream cheese and sour cream. Be careful not to burn the mixture or let it curdle.

6. Toss in spinach and artichoke mixture, in addition to salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Mix in Italian cheeses.

7. Add contents to oiled glass dish, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or put on low broil for about 10, or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.

8. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Substitutions:

  • Can use frozen spinach instead of fresh (thawed and drained)
  • Serve with baguette slices or crackers of choice

Verdict: Being that this was the first time this recipe was attempted without following any exact directions, it was delicious! Creamy, with just the right amount of artichoke to spinach ratio, this dip will definitely serve as a great appetizer for a party or a cheesy snack. The only thing I thought should be done differently would be to put in more hot sauce, to give it some extra heat. Otherwise, this dip certainly turned out better than expected, but I cannot complain about that!

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*Second Edition*

When made a second time, I used:

2 1/2 (9 oz) bags of spinach

1 full can artichokes, drained

all heavy cream (substituted for milk)

Verdict: much heartier than last time, but the extra spinach and artichoke was spot on!

Cabbage’s Salvation

Asian-style Shrimp Tacos

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cabbage

I absolutely love seafood, and fish tacos seemed like a great springtime treat. I wanted to make a simple cabbage recipe I was taught by someone very special and close to my heart. He normally uses Worcestershire sauce, however I was misinformed into thinking I had some. In this instance, I winged it. I had an urge to spice it up a bit with some Asian flavors. Using what I had in my fridge at the moment turned out to be a surprisingly easy task.

This recipe is quick and simple to make and construct, and is quite delicious! The chili garlic sauce added a linger kick to the back of throat, while the plum sauce added a hint of sweetness to the plain tortilla. It reminded me vaguely of moo shu shrimp.

I nailed this recipe on the first try and it is not to be missed out on! Especially if you have left over shrimp or a head of cabbage that needs some beheading 😛 A bit messy, but hey, that is half the fun!

Ingredients:

1/2 head of green cabbage, chopped or shaved with mandolin slicer

1 to 2 tbsp grape seed oil

Pepper, to taste

15 (or so) extra large (26/30) shrimp, precooked and deveined

2 tbsp Hoisin sauce

1/2 tsp gourmet Teriyaki

1/4 tsp chili garlic sauce

Small tortillas

Plum sauce, for tortillas

Directions:

1. Add grape seed oil (or a margarine) to a large skillet over low heat.

2. Stir in cabbage, add pepper to taste and cover with lid. Steam for 2 to 4 minutes.

3. Add hoisin, teriyaki and chili garlic sauces. Stir until coated. Cook for about one minute.

4. Meanwhile, heat both sides of tortillas (until warm) on a stovetop griddle or in a pan, which is lightly sprayed with canola oil.

5. Lightly coat the warmed tortillas with plum sauce, to give the taco a bit of sweetness.

6. Stir cooked shrimp into cabbage mixture until heated through.

7. Add cabbage and shrimp to the tortillas and enjoy! (About 2 to 3 shrimp per tortilla)

Other suggestions: 

  • Add red cabbage for a bright, vibrant color
  • For a bit of a crunch, add finely chopped water chestnuts
  • Shrimp can also be substituted for chicken (or added to) for another, different textured protein
  • For a hotter flare, ginger paste or fresh ginger could be added to the cabbage mixture

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