Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls…and a BIG SURPRISE!

I’ll start out with my big surprise….

Drumroll please………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

My husband and I expecting baby #2! We’re all super excited especially our daughter. She’s ready to be the big sister. I’m a little over 12 weeks and ready to be past this first trimester. This pregnancy hasn’t been so kind to me. I’ve been dealing with all day nausea (notice the lack of new recipes) and metal mouth. I’m slowing feeling better and trying to get back into the kitchen, even though my husband says he’s taking over the meal planning and cooking duties. Since he left cooking in a local restaurant almost 5 years ago, he hasn’t done much cooking in our house…I don’t think it’s going to change anytime soon.

And now onto the food….

I saved this recipe since the first time I saw it on Picky Palate. I love spinach dip and then add it to bread bowls….YUM! It made the perfect amount for appetizers for Thanksgiving at my mom’s house. My daughter loved them and I had to stop her from eating a second and save room for lunch! Next time I made them, I’m going to add in some chopped artichoke hearts and bake them in mini phyllo cups for a bite-sized treat.

13.3 oz roll of refrigerated french bread
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup light sour cream
dash of chili pepper, garlic powder, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 10 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray, set aside. Unroll the package of french bread. Slice it into 10 equal sizes about 1 inch thick. Press each slice into a 3 inch round piece of bread. Press into the bottom and up the sides of the muffin cup.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Cook and stir the spinach until wilted and then add the garlic. Cook for another minute and remove from the heat. Let cool 5 minutes.

In  medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach mixture and spices. Mix well until combined. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop the dip into the center of the bread bowls. Top evenly with the mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the edges start to turn brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing them the muffin tin. Serve warm.

Source: Picky Palate

Strawberry-Honey Butter

They’re here, they’re here!!!! Fresh strawberries!!! I am so excited for fresh strawberries! There’s nothing better than a fresh strawberry and so much better than what you can buy at the grocery store. I’m practically drooling thinking about strawberries right now. ::giggling::

I’m growing a pot of strawberries this year, but unfortunely the birds are getting to them before us. Oh those birds! I was so mad when our first strawberry was eaten by a catbird – I caught it in the act of eating it! I’ve covered the plant with netting, but it’s just not working. Luckily for us, there’s plenty of local farms that grow strawberries.

I had about a pint of strawberries left over from last week and didn’t want to waste them. I found this recipe for strawberry-honey butter and it’s so delicious! I spread some on toast this morning and it was the perfect amount of sweetness I needed with breakfast.

1 pint strawberries, hulled
2 Tbsp local honey
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

In a food processor, puree the strawberries. Using a fine mesh sieve, push the puree through into a saucepan. Add the honey and lemon juice. Boil the mixture, continously stirring for 3 minutes or until it has thickened. Allow the strawberry mixture to cool to room temperature. Season with salt to taste.

In the bowl of stand mixer (trust me – use a stand mixture unless you want your white shirt covered with strawberry stains – just saying…), begin to cream together the butter and strawberry mixture until it is well bleneded. Continue beating the mixture for several mnutes until the butter becomes smooth and creamy. Let the butter stand, covered in a cool place for 1 hour to allow flavors to develop.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Source: The Kitchen Sink Recipes

Dried Beef Dip

This is probably one of my favorite dips to make and I know it’s my husband’s favorite dip to eat! It makes a lot of dip and it’s best after sitting for at least 24 hours. The flavors really blend together and it’s delicious with pumpernickle bread.

I made this as part of our Super Bowl dinner, along with sweet & sour meatballs, crackers & cheese and veggies. Just something simple for the three of us to share before the game started.

1 pt sour cream
1 pt mayo
2 rounded Tbsp minced onion
2 rounded Tbsp dried parsley flakes
2 rounded tsp dill week
8 oz dried beef, ripped apart

In a large bowl, mix everything together but the dried beef. Once combined well, stir in the dried beef. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

The best way to serve this dip is to hollow out a round loaf of bread. Cut the bread that was removed into chunks and fill the hollowed bread out with dip right before serving. Fat free sour cream and mayo can be used to help make this dip a little more figure friendly. 🙂

Almond Butter

We have recently been introduced to almond butter and I’m so glad! It’s so good and much better than peanut butter. We love eating it with apples and I’m going to use it in some overnight oatmeal later this week. This is super easy, but it takes a little time and a good food processor. Mine started getting really warm, but luckly the butter was just about done before it overheated. I think I might be buying a new food processor in the upcoming months!

1 lb roasted almonds, no salt

Add almonds to the food processor. Begin grinding almonds. They will turn into tiny bits, but keep going. After about 10-12 minutes, butter starts to form and it will thin out. You will need to push the mixture down with a spatula occasionally, but it will get there! A tip I learned from a friend is to add a little bit of coconut oil after it’s turned to butter and it will be easier to spread. I’ll definitely be picking up some on my next shopping trip!

Red Beet Hummus

I signed up to bring a dip into daycare for my daughter’s Christmas Party today. I hate sending in premade dips and other goodies, so I decided to finally make this red beet hummus recipe I have had in my recipe box for over a year. It’s very easy and the hummus is a gorgeous color. I was a little concerned about the texture but after refrigerating it overnight, it was much better. Hopefully all the kids like it!

1 red beet, cleaned and tops removed
1 garlic clove
15 oz can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 juice from a lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt

Wrap a beet and an unpeeled garlic clove loosely in foil. Roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until the beet is tender. Remove the skin from the beet and garlic.

In a food processor, puree all the ingredients together until well combined and smooth.

Makes about 2 cups.

Recipe from September 2009 issue of Parents Magazine

Peanut Butter Dip

My daughter and I went grocery shopping yesterday and there was a rack of recipes. I saw this one for peanut butter dip and figured it would be another way to add protein to my daughter’s snacks. This was super easy and tastes great with animal crackers, celery or any fruits. You can substitute curry powder in place of cinnamon for a change.

2 – 6oz containers lowfat vanilla yogurt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, put in the peanut butter. Place in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds to melt.

Add to the yogurt mixture and whisk together. Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I signed up to bring dip to my daughter’s halloween party at daycare and am taking a chance with hummus. My little one loves it and I figured I’d introduce it to other kids in her class.

1 clove garlic, minced
1 – 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1/4 tsp dried basil

In an electric food processor or blender, combine garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini and lemon juice. Process until mixture is smooth. Add roasted red peppers and basil; process until the peppers are finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer hummus to a small bowl and chill until are you ready to serve.

Sweet Potato Hummus

I saw this recipe on Lauren’s Kitchen blog and thought it was a great idea to get my daughter to try hummus. I made it today and took it to my in-law’s for snacks before dinner and my daughter gobbled it up – good thing it makes a lot!!!!

1 1/2 – 2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 12-oz can chick peas
1-2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp+ tahini (sesame paste), divided
juice of 1 lemon, divided
1/4 tsp salt
couple of shakes of pumpkin pie seasoning

Peel the potatoes and chop into 1″ cubes. Steam for about 10 minutes. Drain water from the can of chick peas into a small bowl and reserve.
In a food processor (or blender), mix together the chick peas with the remaining rest of the ingredients, being careful to add second half of lemon juice and tahini slowly, stopping to taste.
Slowly add some of the reserved liquid from beans and a bit of water for correct consistency,(about 1-2 minutes) until a smooth, slightly fluid paste is formed.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. This changes the taste of the hummus by allowing the flavors to form.