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Tasty Tuesday: Such a DIP!

We like to entertain here at Boystown.  Even if we’re only having a couple of friends over for dinner, its still an occasion to whip up something awesome- not just order a pizza.

Not that there’s anything WRONG with pizza.  I’m a big pizza fan- huge!  And -if we’re being honest here- there are times when pizza just sounds DANG good and nothing else will do.

But when I’m having friends over, I aim to impress them with my culinary skills- not my INSANE ability to order out.

Sometimes, though, it can be a pain and OH-so-expensive to go all out with homemade goodies, and, the more the people, the more expensive.

Like New Year’s.

It was SUPPOSED to just be a small thing- just a couple of friends.  Nothing big.  It was practically an after thought, anyways.  Why go through all the trouble of making a lot of food for a couple of people?

But the problem is, we don’t just HAVE a couple of close friends.  We have what we like to call “our crowd”.  They’re the people that we invite to everything, and you can’t invite just a couple of them without inviting the rest.  What makes it better (or worse?) is “our crowd” keeps growing every year.

So, what do you do for a huge crowd, that isn’t pizza, that doesn’t break the bank, but that stills calls out “Made from scratch!”?

I didn’t know either so I went on -that’s right- Pinterest.

After scouring the boards, I came up with the conclusion that everyone likes dips.  Its one of the favorites to order at restaurants, they’re usually the first things that disappear at get togethers, and *BONUS* they’re usually cheaper than buying tons of meat appetizers and other food items.  Plus, they aren’t hard to put together.

The dips I chose were all pretty easy to do and, just like I figured, they were a hit.  Hopefully they’ll be a hit for you, too.

Hot Spinach Dip (check out the original HERE)

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for baking dish
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • about 1-1 1/2 lbs of spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 ounces reduced-fat bar cream cheese
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Baguette slices, breadsticks, or crackers, for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic; cook until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add spinach in two additions, letting the first batch wilt before adding the next; cook until completely wilted, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander; drain, pressing to release all excess liquid.
  3. In the same pot, warm milk over high heat. Whisk in cream cheese until melted, about 3 minutes. Add spinach, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and 1/4 cup mozzarella; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a lightly oiled 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.
  4. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot with accompaniments, as desired.  I made some herbed foccacia bread, but only because I have a bread maker and it did all the work for me for the most part.
Hot Corn Dip (check out the original HERE)
This was a FAVORITE among everyone, and it tasted great reheated the next day, too.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded chedder cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Montery Jack
  • 2 tbs chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced small
  • 1 small can (4oz) diced green chilies, undrained
  • 1/2 cup Mayo
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 11oz can of corn, drained
  • 1 small tomato
  • 2 tbs cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbs green onions, sliced thin

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the cheeses, chiptole and green peppers, mayo, garlic powder and corn together. Pour into an oven safe dish.
  3. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly
  4. Top with diced tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. Serve immediately with tortilla chips

Spicy Chorizo Dip (check out the idea for this HERE)

Ok, so this dip was SUPPOSED to be a Taco Dip, but a funny thing happened on the way to my pantry- I realized I’d forgotten to buy the ingredients I needed.  No worry, though- I switched it up a little and made a HUGE hit.  I had one of our friends gushing… repeatedly… over and over… how I needed to give his wife the recipe.  And I could have written off his compliments as due to the vast quantities of alcohol he was consuming, but everyone else seemed to love it, too.  Its a bit on the spicy side, so if you are sensitive to that sort of thing, you might want to steer clear.

Ingredients:

  • About a pound of chorizo (I used 2 links that had 9 oz. each)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces light cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup light ranch dressing
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2- 2 cups of refried beans (if you have pinto beans on hand, you can always follow this recipe HERE, without adding all the spices it calls for.)
  • Tortilla chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray and set aside.

In a skillet, cook the chorizo until completely done.  I just followed the directions on the links which said to cook the meat for about 10 minutes, but see what your package says.  Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, ranch dressing, chili powder, and ground cumin.  Add the chorizo and half of the shredded cheese.  Stir to combine.  Add 1 1/2 cups of refried beans and taste to see if you want to add more.  The beans just cut through some of the spice.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pie plate, and sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly.  Serve with tortilla chips.

White Pizza Dip

This was -by FAR- the favorite of almost everyone.  Its gooey and cheesy and completely drool worthy.  Just make sure you have a mini-crock pot or something that you can put this in to help keep it warm, because its MUCH better when its warm and gooey and… I might have to make some more tonight.

Ingredients

1 pint grape tomatoes, tomatoes cut in half (if you don’t have grape tomatoes, I’m pretty sure you could just diced a couple of tomatoes into 3/4 inch chunks (enough to make a pint) and roast that.)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 (12 ounces) blocks cream cheese, softened

8 ounces mozzarella cheese, freshly grated

8 ounces provolone cheese, freshly grated

1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese + more for garnish

4 (or more) garlic cloves, roasted and minced

1/4 cup freshly chopped basil leaves

2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme leaves

1/2 tablespoon freshly chopped oregano leaves

crackers, bread or chips for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil then place tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt, then roast for 20-25 minutes, until bursting. Set aside.

While tomatoes are roasting, mix softened cream cheese with about 7 ounces each of provolone and mozzarella, then and parmesan. Stir in fresh herbs, garlic and roasted tomatoes, mixing well to combine. Transfer mixture to an oven-safe baking dish (mine was 6 x 4 round). Sprinkle with remaining provolone and mozzarella. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden and bubbly. Serve immediately with crackers, chips or toasted bread.  I actually served this with the same foccacia I used for the Spinach Dip.

There now!  4 dips that you can break out at YOUR next get together- or anytime!  Let’s celebrate Tuesday with a mini party and some dips!

Happy Tuesday!  I’m off to eat- let me know what you think!

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Tasty Tuesday: Bow Tie Sausage Skillet

I’m a sucker for pasta.  Its kinda amazing, and if you give me half a chance I could probably give you a few reasons why pasta could be the answer to world peace.

Don’t believe me?

Ask yourself this- have you ever seen anybody ANGRILY eating pasta?

Yeah.  I thought not.

So, needless to say, sites like Pinterest help feed my addiction- literally.  Search for “pasta” and you’ll pinning for hours.  I found a version of this and I knew it was something I had to try out on my family.  I messed with it a little to suit what my family likes, and voila!

Ingredients

2-3 cups bow tie pasta
About a lb of sausage (you can use sausage links, too, if you can’t find bulk sausage- just take them out of their casings)
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, diced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more- my family can take spicy, so I actually added closer to 3/4 tsp)
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 dashes salt
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can cut tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
2 tablespoons cut fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried parsley)
About 2 cups of shredded mozzarella
About a cup of ricotta
parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Boil the bow tie pasta until it’s al dente.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add the sausage. Cook till its in med. sized crumbles. If you’re using links, you can save time by squeezing out 1 in. pieces out of the links into the pan.

If you’re using turkey sausage or something low fat, you might want to add a bit of olive oil to add moisture.  Yes, you WANT fat in this dish.

As the sausage is cooking, add the onions and bell peppers.  Oh, and I also added about 2 cloves of minced garlic.  If you like garlic, feel free to add it in.  If not, don’t.

Then, add the red pepper flakes, and the pepper.

Add the oregano, and salt. Gently stir all of the ingredients in the skillet together.

Then, add the cut tomatoes and water.

Stir all of the ingredients together.

Add just 1 tablespoon of the parsley; reserve the other tablespoon for garnish.

Add the drained al dente pasta, and gently stir the ingredients together.

Add ricotta to the pan. Mix in a bit to help it melt.

Add mozzarella on top of the ingredients.

Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.

Cover the skillet with a lid and let simmer until the mozzarella cheese is melted (about 5 minutes).

Lastly, garnish with parsley.

Serve hot right out of the skillet.

Enjoy!  Let me know what you think!

Tasty Tuesday- Dump Cake

Ok, so I know the name doesn’t sound great, lol, but this stuff is SO good.  I don’t even know if it can be qualified as a ‘cake’, but taste it and you won’t really care.

I figured that -with tomorrow being the 4th of July- almost everyone will be having some sort of bbq fun, and this dessert is the perfect accompaniment to anything.  I wish I could take credit for this, but I actually got it from my MIL, and SHE got it off a box of Betty Crocker or Pillsbury or something.

Wherever it originally came from, though, it doesn’t matter.  Its one of the easiest desserts EVER- you can ever put your little Natural Disasters to work making it while you do other things… like kick back with your feet up, cold beverage in hand.

Dump Cake

1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling

1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained

1 pkg yellow cake mix

1 cube butter, melted

Heat oven to 350.

Spread filling and pineapple in an ungreased 13×9 pan.  Stir cake mix and butter together in a separate bowl until crumbly.

Sprinkle evenly over fruit mixture.

Bake 35-40 minutes (until top is light brown).

Serve with Cool Whip or whipped cream or just by itself.  Its REALLY good.  I mean, really.  You’ll be happy, and so will all the other people at the bbq.