Pizza Dip

pizza dip 2You know those dishes that while you’re eating, you know you’re gonna regret it later, but it’s so good that you can’t stop and just keep eating anyway? Yeah, that’s how this pizza dip is. And yeah, I had major regret in the form of a stomach ache last night. But sometimes you just have to live in the moment.

My sister, her husband and I like to have lazy Sundays sometimes. Where we eat bad food and watch bad TV/movies. It’s usually sparked by a hangover, which my sister may have had yesterday. But I was just bored. Which really is not a good excuse to stuff yourself with cheese and carbs. But like I said, sometimes you just have to live in the moment. So after we made loaded cheese fries, and nibbled on baked Cheetos (a family favorite), I whipped up this dip. Just in time to watch Pitch Perfect (another family favorite).

This pizza dip would be good to take to a party, where there are more than 3 people. And since the 4th of July is this week and people are probably looking for party recipes, I thought I would share it now. (Look at me, being all ahead of the game.) Everyone loves cheese, so this should definitely be a crowd pleaser. Especially if there are boys. And especially if you add pepperoni.

PIZZA DIP

pizza dip

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Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened (1 box of a block of cream cheese)
  • 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4-6 ounces of provolone cheese (I used about 4 slices, torn into small pieces)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh oregano, chopped
  • a dash of thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 4 roma tomatoes, cut into small triangles
  • a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper
  • bread, crackers or chips for dipping

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay out on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake/roast for about 20 minutes, until tomatoes are bursting.

Meanwhile, mix softened cream cheese with provolone, and most of the mozzarella and parmesan. Add in the herbs and garlic. Once tomatoes are ready, mix them in too. Transfer to an oven safe dish. Top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is brown and cheese is bubbling. Serve with bread, chips or crackers.

Note 1: I used a 4th kind of cheese but I don’t know what it’s called. It was a block of some fancy cheese that I had leftover from another recipe. If you have another kind of cheese that you want to add, go for it. You can make the dip ahead of time, and either bake it half way or not at all and then pop it in the oven to get it bubbling when you get to the party.

Note 2: The 3 of us did not eat the entire bowl of dip. We only made it through about half. 

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is blog.

BRUSSEL SPROUT CROSTINI

brussel sprout crostini filter 1
I have a case of the Mondays. Which probably is not the best time to write a blog post. So, please forgive me if this post is rather boring. I promise you that the recipes I am about to share are anything but.

Last week I had my friends Jen and Jenn over for dinner. We were supposed to be a group of 7 girls, but as dinner parties and get togethers often go, you end up with less people and more food than you originally planned for. But don’t worry; the three of us pigged out as if there were 7 people there.

I made brussel sprout crostini and a whole wheat pasta with spinach, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, feta, fresh basil and parsley. If you are going to make the brussel sprout crostini, I recommend waiting to make it until right before your guests are arriving. I made mine too early and it was kind of cold. Still good, but cold. And I completely forgot to add the garlic, which I had roasted the night before. Again, still good. But the garlic probs would have been better. I had a ton of leftover pasta which I ate cold (and preferred it cold) for lunch for the next few days. It was quite yummy! I am going to post about that separately though because I am out of time and I completely made up that recipe so I need a few to remember what I did. In the meantime…

BRUSSEL SPROUT CROSTINI

brussel sprout crostini 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 or 1/2 of a whole wheat baguette
  • a bit of olive oil
  • 3 heads of garlic, roasted and mashed (see instructions below)
  • 1 1/2 cups of brussel sprouts, shaved thin on a mandolin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a generous sprinkle of nutmeg
  • Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:

To roast the garlic, preheat oven to 375. Chop off the top portion of the garlic head to reveal cloves. Lightly rub back and forth to remove paper and peel any excess paper off. Pour about a teaspoon of olive oil on top of the garlic cloves and let soak for 10 minutes. Cover with foil and roast in a baking dish for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool, then squeeze from the bottom of the garlic head to remove carmelized cloves. Mash with a fork.

Pre-heat oven to 325. Slice your baguette into thin pieces. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating the pan half way through.

Heat some olive oil in a medium size skillet over medium high heat. I used coconut oil here because it’s my new cooking oil of choice, but olive oil will work fine. Add the brussel sprouts, salt, pepper and nutmeg and saute for about 10 minutes, until your sprouts are wilted and a little golden. Add shaved parmesan cheese.

When the bread is done toasting, spread with a bit of mashed, roasted garlic (which I forgot to do). Top with brussel sprouts, another slice of parm cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from: howsweeteats.com

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!

winter snowOkay, so I realize that technically Christmas is over and I should be posting about New Year’s or something… But give a girl a break. If there’s one thing you should have learned about me from reading this blog, it’s that I’m always a little late with my posts. But don’t worry. The New Year’s post is coming! I swear. Maybe even later today if we’re lucky. In the mean time, pretend that it’s a week ago and you’re reading this the day after Christmas, not the day after  New Year’s…

Christmas is a magical time of year. I know it’s become such a ridiculously commercial holiday. But I still think there’s something magical about Christmas morning. Something about the light. I can’t explain it. But when I’m sitting around with my family, eating cinnamon buns (a Christmas tradition in our family), opening our stockings full of toiletries and kitchen or office supplies, there’s just this magical feeling that I don’t want to ever go away.

But alas, it inevitably does. And the next thing you know the holidays are over and you’re back to work, depressed, unmotivated and wishing life was a permanent vacation. The one good thing is that you finally have time to write blog posts again! While I did do quite a bit of cooking over the holidays, I kind of forgot to take pictures of what I made. Oops! So you’ll have to imagine what the finished results look like and make do with the other holiday photos below.

This is my go-to holiday recipe– one that I make all the time for holiday parties and other random get togethers. I got the recipe from a co-worker a few years ago, but it’s become a staple in our family (and in my best friend’s family now too!). These spinach balls are relatively easy to make, but can be somewhat time consuming and messy… But I promise that they are delicious and worth every minute of having your hands covered in wet spinach!

SPINACH BALLS

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of butter or margarine
  • 2 boxes of frozen spinach, cooked and drained well
  • 2 cups of Pepperidge Farm stuffing crumbs (if you can’t find the crumbs, you can buy the cubes and pulse them in a food proccesser for a hot sec)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped onions
  • 1 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • Optional: ranch dressing for dipping

Directions:

Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate until mixture “sets up.” Pre-heat oven to 350. Form into balls and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Serve immediately, with ranch on the side for dipping and watch them disappear!

Note: If I am making these ahead of time (like the day before), I usually bake them until they are not quite done. Then right before I am serving them, I will put them back in the oven for about 5 minutes so that they can be served warm but do not burn. However, they still taste good at room temperature!

gordons tart

This was the dessert table on Christmas night. My step-dad makes this pear tart every year. It’s delicious! And this year my mom decided that as favors, she would give everyone in the family a mug with their initial on it (shown below). For the babies and kids who are too young for mugs, we gave them an ornament with their initial. The mugs and the ornaments are from Anthropologie.

ems crepe cake

My sister made this beautiful and delicious crepe cake for Christmas. She’s a professional cake decorator, so of course, it was a treat to look at!

winter snow 2

It was a white Christmas this year! Well, kind of. It snowed on Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas. Not enough to stick around. But it was cozy and beautiful nonetheless! 

christmas table

The table that I decorated. Please take note of the beautiful mantle in the background! I also decorated this. Sometimes I like to pretend I am Martha Stewart. But please ignore that the small tree on the right is not lit up. We ran out of lights and had to wait for my sister and brother-in-law to bring over a strand. Martha never would have let this happen. But luckily, Pat (my brother-in-law) saved Christmas! He even put the lights on the tree for us. Thanks, Pat! 

christmas morning

Christmas morning… Looks like Santa was here!