Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hot Mexican Spinach Dip

Lately, I have been making hearty dips on Sunday for dinner.  It's quick, easy and I don't have to think ahead more than just making sure I have the ingredients.  We just all sit around the bowl and chow to our hearts content.  No fuss.  This one is really good.  I tweaked it from the original I found on  I like this because you can use any salsa to spice it up or down and same with the cheese.

1 (16 oz) jar salsa
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 cups shredded pepper jack (you can also use monterey jack for a milder version)
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, diced and softened
1 (2.25 oz) can chopped black olives, drained (I just chopped my own)
1 T red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb or so loose Italian pork sausage, cooked (it didn't call for this, but my family is carnivorous, so it went in, and it was delish)

Preheat oven to 400.  In medium baking dish, mix together all ingredients.  Bake 12-15 minutes or til bubbly.  I gave it a quick stir cuz I didn't want a mouthful of hot cream cheese.  Serve with torilla chips or fritos.  I thought this might be good with cubed bread or crackers, too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

Here's a good 'ole standby from my college days. I got the recipe from Heather--she used to make it when we were at Ricks College. My family loves it. I love the simplicity of it and the fact that I always have the ingredients on hand. It's a great food storage recipe, especially if you use potato pearls instead of fresh. It makes the perfect amount for our family too--11x7 casserole dish or the equivalent.

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1/2 t salt (or more)
lots of fresh ground pepper
1 can green beans, drained
1 can condensed tomato soup
5 medium potatoes, cooked
1/2 c milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c cheddar cheese, grated

-Brown meat with onion and salt and pepper. When cooked through, add green beans and tomato soup. Mix well.
-For fresh potatoes, peel, dice, and cook until fork-tender. Drain. Mash with milk and egg.
-For potato pearls--follow directions on can if you're using ones from the cannery--I use 1 c potato pearls and 2 1/4 c boiling water. I still add the beaten egg to this.
-In an 11x7 greased dish, put all of meat mixture in and spread even. Then top with mashed potatoes, spread to cover meat mixture. Top with grated cheese.
-Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, uncovered, until bubbly.
-Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jay's Signature Pizza Crust

I was in a bind the other night, busily trying to get my typing done, when I asked Gwen to make dinner for us. It was pizza night but I couldn't find my regular pizza crust recipe and had no time to look for it, so I quickly looked on allrecipes and printed this one out. It turned out amazingly good. Usually my crust is too thick and bready, but this one came out crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. We didn't rise the dough for an hour like the recipe states since we were short on time, but it still turned out great and I know would be even better made the proper way. We also baked it a little differently than stated on the original recipe because pizza cooked at a higher temperature is how they do it in restraurants and the secret to good crust, so I hear, so the following is how we did it. This was the best homemade pizza I've had and Gwen did a better job than I think I could have done!

2 1/4 t active dry yeast
1/2 t brown sugar
1 1/2 c warm water
1 t salt
2 T olive oil
3 1/3 c flour

-In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and brown sugar in water. Let sit for 10 minutes.
-Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
-Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about an hour.
-Punch dough down; form a tight ball; let dough relax for a minute before rolling out.
-Gwen just pressed the dough into a large 16" pizza pan (the kind with tiny holes in the bottom-important for crispy crust) to the edges, making the dough thicker around the very edge for that extra "crust". You can spray your pan, but we didn't so that the crust could "grip" the pan and stay put.
-Preheat oven at 500. Bake for 5-8 minutes. Take out. Put on toppings. Put back in oven and bake for approximately 8 more minutes, or until cheese is bubbly, crust is golden, and toppings look cooked how you like them.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Easy Chocolate Lover's Cheesepie

I made this for Valentine's Day.  It is fast, easy, and really delicious!  It's rich, but not over the top.  I have had this recipe for years.  It's from Hershey's. 

3 packages cream cheese (8 oz ea), softened (I use the 1/3 less fat)
3/4 c sugar
3 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
2 c (12 oz pkg) Hershey's Mini Semi-Sweet Chips, divided
1 extra-serving-size packaged graham cracker crust (9 oz)
(I made my crust, I like homemade better.  I used a deep dish 9" pie plate)
2 T whipping cream

1. Heat oven to 450.
2. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until well blended.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.  Stir in 1 2/3 c small chocolate chips; pour into crust.
3. Bake 10 minutes.  Without opening oven door, reduce tempurature to 250; continue baking 30 minutes or just until set.  Remove from oven to wire rack.  Cool completely.  Cover; refigerate until thoroughly chilled.
4. Place remaining 1/3 c chips and whipping cream in a small bowl.  Microwave at high 20-30 seconds or just until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred.  Cool slightly; spread over top of cheesepie.  Refrigerate 15 minutes or until topping is set.  Cover; refrigerate leftover pie.  Serves 10.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sugar Crinkles

I have had this recipe for years.  They are delicious and so quick and easy!  If you're in the mood for sugar cookies, but don't have the time for the traditional recipe, these are a great substitute.

1 c shortening (I do half butter, it's really a must)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
Cream this together. 
Add to creamed mixture:
2 c flour
1/2 t soda
1 t cream of tartar
1 t salt
Mix well.
Roll 1 tablespoon dough into a ball.  Roll in sugar.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Do not flatten.  Bake 10 minutes (or a little less) at 350.  Makes about 30 cookies.  (in an effort to make these festive, I used colored sugar.  I only had large granulated.  They weren't quite as yummy with the big chunks.  Use fine colored sugar, if they make it. Or just don't bother!!)