Spinach artichoke dip is one of the things that I sometimes indulge myself in when I eat out at restaurants. It always seemed a mystery how the dip would be perfectly gooey, cheesy, and warm. I’m not going to lie, I have rushed into a dish of dip too early a few times and burned the roof of my mouth.
So you can imagine my surprise when I found out that not only was spinach and artichoke dip easy to make, but it’s also easy to make healthier. I’m not going to say that this is healthy because it is spinach and artichoke dip. I’m also not going to say that I have devoured a big dish of only this for dinner, because that would be crazy, right?
I crafted this recipe from one that I saw on Washingtonian and have served it fresh on Super Bowl Sunday, used it as a spread on a sandwich, and re-heated it for a side for normal weekday dinners. It’s easy to customize to add more or less moisture and flavor, so mix it up to your liking! Serve with chips, crackers, or pretzels (trust me, they’re all good).
For some reason I don’t make too many soups. Something about them just seems daunting. This soup is fast, easy, and healthy. The best part is that it only uses one pot and one blender (or food processor). If you have an immersion blender, then this is truly a one-pot meal.
I’ve made this soup several times in the past month and it’s easy to customize. It’s also pretty cheap to make, especially if you stretch it by adding some rice or quinoa to it. I’ve also added frozen corn and peas to it to add some more nutritional value. As it is, it’s under 500 calories per warm, hearty, bowl.
The version pictured here has vegan chorizo in it instead of dried chorizo, and is topped with some chopped gouda and sesame seeds.
This year our household made a decision to decrease our meat intake. This means leading a mostly pescatarian lifestyle. I’m particularly choosy when it comes to seafood. It’s amazing and one of my favorite things to eat when done well. The other side of the coin being that it is so easy to mess up and boy have I been burned in the past.
I have never liked fish sandwiches. Sure, I ate fish sticks when I was growing up, and I eat fish & chips now, but I have never ordered fish at a fast food restaurant.
Why would you order something when it looks like this? –>
These homemade sandwiches use a sustainable fish and are much healthier than what you’d find at a fast food restaurant. You can make these as healthy or indulgent as you choose. Swap the bun out for whole wheat and toss with a side of baked chips, or go all out and slather it with cheese and eat with some french fries. I like these sandwiches with a little bit of green on the top and a nice schmear of wasabi mayonnaise on one bun to give it a little spice. The mayonnaise, which I picked up at our local Trader Joe’s, is a modernized version of tartar sauce. Feel free to omit it or replace with the traditional tartar sauce if that’s your preference.
I live about a block from a Williams Sonoma store. I often pop in while walking to the grocery store or shopping at the stores nearby to see what they have that is new or sampling. I rarely buy anything there since it is very expensive and seems to be catering to those “Semi-Homemade” type homemakers (exceptions include: Fiona’s Sweet Shoppe candies & Peppermint Bark). Around the holidays they were sampling their Handcrafted Toffee which tasted absolutely amazing but at over $30 a tin, I couldn’t justify taking it home. I kept making laps around the store and sneaking more samples while my fiancé swapped our Sodastream CO2 canister.
When we got home we were determined to satisfy our toffee craving. Toffee always seemed so daunting and complicated to make, but it’s actually pretty easy if you have patience and a candy thermometer. The best thing about making toffee yourself is that you can control what goes in it and customize it in a variety of ways. The caramel-y toffee layer only has butter, sugar, water, and a dash of salt. The top is whatever percentage chocolate you desire sprinkled with toppings of your choice. I used a darker chocolate (70% Trader Joe’s Pound Plus) because it offsets the sweetness of the toffee, but you can use a lighter, semi-sweet chocolate. I wouldn’t go lower than 54%.
This was also my handmade gift for the holidays. We made two batches and were able to customize it based on the audience. Chopped pistachios were the “traditional” recipe; for my more adventurous friends I mixed crystallized ginger, pistachios, and cashews. The toffee tastes better the next day when the moisture from the top layer has had time to soften up the sugar layer. I opted to break the pieces by hand and package them up into little bags since I liked the homemade look, but portion-ing out into a mini square pan would look more professional. Plus, with the shard style there are always little pieces left over you can sprinkle into your morning coffee.
This week marks many things –
Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Leopold’s gotch-ya day, and my 27th birthday.
These recipes came out of a conversation I was having a few weeks back at my in-laws dinner table. My father-in-law (it’s almost official, right?) whipped out some pumpkin bread he had recently picked up at Wegman’s thinking “why not?” We all agreed the bread was good, but just not the same as “Beth’s Pumpkin stuff”. What was this pumpkin bread-muffin-cupcake and why had I not heard of it? More likely I had heard of them, possibly eaten them, and just forgot about them and their reputation. I made my mother-in-law promise to send me the recipe and later that night it arrived in my inbox.
There aren’t many recipes that I don’t make modifications to. I kept the cake recipe the same, even leaving in the pecans. There are two camps in the “nut” baked good battle; some like the textural contrast of the nuts and some find it offensive and disharmonious. I added the pecans because: 1) I love pecans and 2) I had them in the apartment. My mother-in-law leaves them out and they taste just as good.
In this case, I took my mother-in-law’s recommendation and switched the original recipe’s frosting out for her tried-and-true and award-winning cream cheese frosting. I added in a few tablespoons of pumpkin puree leftover from the cake into the frosting and topped these with some cranberry orange relish, which I had already added a few tablespoons of to the batter.
You might think topping a cupcake with relish is crazy, but pumpkin and cranberry are both flavors that can go savory or sweet. This relish is more like a coulis and the tartness and brightness of the topping really do a great job to keep this treat from getting too heavy. You can even argue that this has fruit and vegetables in it–with cream cheese, it’s great for breakfast! Plus you know there’s going to be leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving.