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Posts Tagged ‘snacks’

spinach dip

I’m excited to introduce a new guest blogger, Chris Ferrera, whom I’ve known since we were gangly teenagers wearing braces and carrying ugly purses (me, at least). We’ve been best buds since the time when a big night out was meeting at the mall to gossip over virgin piña coladas and spinach dip.  Ah…the days before calories counted.

It’s no surprise, then, that Chris’ signature appetizer today is a cheesy spinach artichoke dip.  This one is a classic.  Without further ado, here she is to explain how it’s done:

My name is Chris, and I’m married to a football addict.  My husband loves all sports, but football season holds a special place in his heart. Right around June, he starts talking incessantly about how he can’t wait for cooler weather, the pre-season games, and his fantasy leagues’ drafts.  (Yes, leagues, plural.)

I, on the other hand, am not the world’s biggest football fan, so the period of time between August and February every year has required some negotiation in our marriage.  To avoid spending Sundays in separate rooms, watching separate TVs, we needed to find some common ground—a way to make football (almost) as enjoyable for me as it is for him.

Turns out, that common ground is food, and more specifically what we like to call Football Food—basically anything cheesy, meaty, carby, or fried.  I love to eat and enjoy nothing more than a built-in excuse to indulge in delicious, savory snacks each week.  One of our favorite go-to football snacks is my mom’s Spinach Artichoke Dip.

There are countless spinach dip recipes out there, but I firmly maintain that this is the BEST, as long as you don’t have a problem with butter, cheese, and cream…

cheese sauceThe holy trinity

Spinach Artichoke Dip

-8 oz. heavy cream
-1 stick butter (4 oz.)
-2 Tbsp. flour
-4 oz. sour cream
-3/4 c. parmesan cheese (shredded)
-1/4 c. Monterey jack cheese (shredded), plus a bit more for sprinkling on top
-2 packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
-1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (more…)

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ranch-oyster-crackers

This recipe comes from my boyfriend’s family cookbook, which his aunts, cousins, and mother all put together a few years ago.  Aren’t they smart?  Flipping through the cookbook, I’m struck by how many of the dishes were also favorites in my extended family as I was growing up, even though we were on the other side of the country.  As children, my mom would take my little brother and me to visit her aunt, Libby.  Aunt Libby was (and is) an amazing hostess, and we kids relished the opportunity to stuff ourselves with all kinds of exciting finger food—especially these savory nibbles.  (more…)

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Mark Bittman is a creative guy.  In the fear that the NYT will slap me down for reprinting his entire list of 101 Simple Appetizers in 20 Minutes or Less without permission, I’ll just nudge you in the direction of the website.  Highlights include:

22.   Cut pork tenderloin into 1-inch slices; broil or sauté until done. Cut each piece across into 3 or 4 thin slices, then pile onto round bread slices, toasted or not. Top with slice of Manchego and bit of piquillo pepper.

24.   Portable Caprese: Skewer a small ball of mozzarella, a grape tomato and a bit of basil leaf. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil.

25.   A no-brainer: Cut slab of bacon into 1/2-inch chunks. Cook in a skillet, a broiler or a high-heat oven until nice and crisp. Skewer with a grape tomato.

49.   Pork kebabs, Iberian style. Mix 1 tablespoon garlic, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 tablespoon grated or minced lemon zest and 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice. Toss with 1 pound cubed pork shoulder (with fat). Skewer. Broil about 5 minutes.

55.   Stuff Medjool dates with a piece of Parmesan or Manchego or an almond. Or fresh goat cheese. Or mozzarella, and bake until the cheese begins to melt.

Tasty!

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