My First Chip Dip

When I was a kid, we would get together for the holidays, which I’ve spoken of before.  For a period of time, our meals would include lunch (traditional) and leftovers-plus for dinner.  When I was in elementary school, I decided that I wanted to make something to add to the “leftovers-plus” part of the day one year for Thanksgiving, while we prepared to watch the hit Home Alone on television.  Well, as the Superbowl is coming up this weekend, hosted in Minnesota (despite the Vikings not quite making the cut), I thought I’d share this super easy chip dip with all of you.  You may also want to check out Nancy’s Potluck Chip Dip, Mango Black Bean Salsa, or other recipes in this collection for your Superbowl parties this weekend.

My First Chip Dip.jpg

My First Chip Dip

1 package cream cheese
1 can Hormel chili without beans
shredded cheese to taste

Combine all in a microwave-safe container.  Heat in the microwave 1-2 minutes at a time, stirring in between.

Apricot Deviled Eggs (Smoked)

As I was preparing to go home for Christmas, my dad mentioned I should bring home my favorite deviled egg recipe.  I asked why and he told me he was planning to smoke some eggs and wanted me to turn them into deviled eggs.  I, of course, have a number of deviled egg recipes I’ve really enjoyed making in the past, but had this recipe from the Denver and Boulder Chef’s Table in the queue and thought it’s sweetness might make a nice compliment to the smokiness of the eggs.  I was quite pleased with how they turned out and they made a great addition to the appetizers and snacks we ate throughout the holidays.  If you find yourself wondering about how to smoke eggs, he had done it before I returned home, so I don’t know the step-by-step process of it.  I do know that he has received a number of tips and traded secrets on the AmazingRibs.com forums, where he talks grilling, smoking, and all things outdoor cooking with fire with other enthusiasts.  So, if you are looking for tips on that, head over there.

Apricot Deviled Eggs

Apricot Deviled Eggs

12 eggs
1 Tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp salt, plus extra to taste
1/4 c nondairy mayonnaise
1/4 c apricot preserves
1/2 tsp pepper, plus extra to taste
1/4 tsp paprika
8 oz arugula, washed, dried, and trimmed
Olive oil
1 fresh apricot, slivered ( optional)

Place eggs with 1 Tbsp salt in a good-size pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 8 minutes, then immediately remove from the heat and put ice in the pot; as soon as eggs have cooked, peel them.

Slice eggs in half lengthwise, carefully removing the yolks.  Place yolks, 1 1/2 tsp salt, mayonnaise, preserves, 1/2 tsp pepper, and paprika in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Put the filling in a pastry bag (or you can use a Ziploc with a small hole cut from the bottom corner) and pipe the yolk mixture into the hollows of the egg whites.

In a bowl, toss the arugula with a small amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to a serving platter and place eggs on top of greens.  Garnish each with a sliver of apricot if desired.

Grandma’s More-with-Less Granola

This winter, I decided to join in on an online Secret Santa exchange.  It was fun to read over someone’s answers to a list of questions and send them a gift — I had a college student and especially enjoyed thinking about an end-of-semester care package for them, inserting things from Raygun, Target, and essential snack items.  When I received my gift from my sender, they included this granola, along with the recipe.  It was so great and I found myself eating it all throughout break, serving as my breakfast most days.  I can’t wait to make it myself at some point in the future!

Grandma's More-with-Less Granola

Grandma’s More-with-Less Granola

9 c oatmeal (not quick oats)
3 c flour
1 1/2 c wheat germ or pinole
1 c coconut
1 tsp salt
1 c water
1 1/2 c oil
1 1/2 c honey or corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla

Mix together dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients.  Stir together wet and dry ingredients and spread evenly on 1 or 2 cookie sheets.  Bake for 30 minutes, then turn over granola and bake for another 20-3minutess, depending on desired firmness.  Add raisins after baking, if desired.

Potato Spinach Soup

Between Christmas and New Years, my parents, youngest sister, and I were trying to use up items in their refrigerator, and were tired of leftovers and all of the heavy food that we’d have for the holidays.  One day, as the snow was falling, as the temperature was about to drop into the horrendous sub-zero Minnesota winter days, I looked through the cupboards and found some potatoes, cheese, cream cheese, and all the necessary ingredients except for spinach, and decided to throw together this recipe from the Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook.  It made six servings, which was a delightful amount for us to have without excessive leftovers and we were able to enjoy it with some ham sandwiches, based on other things that were in the refrigerator.  As we are now in Iowa, where it has again reached subzero temperatures, this recipe jumped out to me as something I wanted to be able to share with anyone looking for some respite with things you may have in your refrigerator and cupboards.

Potato Spinach Soup

Potato Spinach Soup

3 c potatoes, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped, or 1/2 tsp dried
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped, or 1/2 tsp dried
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 lb fresh spinach, chopped
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c grated cheddar cheese

Put 5 cups hot water in a large saucepan.  Add the first seven ingredients.  Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Add water if needed.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Heat and stir until cheese is melted.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Wild Rice Casserole

When I made dinner for some neighbors in December, I wanted an easy side dish that would be able to withstand reheating and cooling without question.  With my ongoing wild rice kick as of late, this seemed like an excellent choice.  This was a different way of cooking wild rice as well, as it baked and cooked through in the oven, rather than on the stovetop, which made it super easy.  I found this recipe in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook.  My neighbors suggested that they enjoyed the rice and asked for the recipe, so I think they agreed that it tasted great.  It is definitely worthy of going into a recipe box.

Wild Rice Casserole

Wild Rice Casserole

1/4 lb butter
1/2 c finely chopped onion
2 c sliced mushrooms
1 c wild rice
3 c chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter a 1 1/2 quart casserole.  Melt the butter in a skillet.  Add the onion, and cook until soft.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring until they darken.  Put the mushrooms and onions into the casserole with the remaining ingredients.  Cover and make for 1 hour or until the broth is absorbed and the rice is tender.

Garlic Red Potatoes

I’ve written about the swiss steak we made for Christmas, but I don’t think I mentioned how amazing the garlic mashed potatoes were that my dad made.  I don’t know what he did (well, I do and it’s typed out below), but this recipe was some of the best garlic mashed potatoes I have ever eaten.  My dad knew I was taking a photo of the potatoes, but then I snuck into his binder of recipes to find the recipe so I could share it with all of you.  He did note when he saw me take the photo of the potatoes that he wanted full credit for making them and didn’t want me to try and pass them off as having made them myself.  So…full disclosure.  I didn’t make these potatoes.  My dad did.  They were amazing.  Between him and my mom, there’s no question why I love to cook and make food for those I love.

Garlic Red Potatoes

Garlic Red Potatoes

3 1/2-4 lbs red potatoes
12 oz Top the Tater
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
whole milk
salt and pepper to taste

Clean the potatoes, peel, and boil to fork tender.  Leave about half of the skins on.  Mash the potatoes and mix in the top the tater, granulated garlic, and enough milk to make the potatoes pretty creamy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

These can be made a day ahead and rewarmed in a 170 degree oven for 2 hours before serving.  Be sure to stir a couple times during the rewarming process.

Chocolate Chipotle Brownies

In my cupboards, I found multiple cans of chipotle peppers…were they on sale or did I grab them and then find myself using them with some frequency at some point earlier this year, I’m unsure, but I remembered this recipe hanging out in my to-make pile.  The only problem is that they use powdered chipotle instead of cans, so I ended up setting the cans aside for a bit of time and instead I made these brownies.  Besides overcooking them a little bit, the brownies tasted great.  It seems to be part of my missing-the-boat with baking lately, like I did with the Daim bars and some other cookie options earlier this year.  Mostly, this meant that I was not doing much baking in preparation for the holidays this year.  This recipe is from Emeril Lagasse’s cooking show.

Chocolate Chipotle Brownies

Chocolate Chipotle Brownies

1 teaspoon plus 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 tablespoon plus 1 cup all-purpose flour
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
4 eggs
1 cup chopped Mexican chocolate or semisweet chocolate morsels

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Grease and flour an 11 by 7-inch baking pan or dish with 1 teaspoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the flour. Heat the remaining butter and the unsweetened chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted. In a medium bowl, stir together remaining flour, sugar, cinnamon, and ground chipotle. Add sugar mixture to melted chocolate mixture, stirring to combine. Add eggs, mixing until smooth. Stir in chopped chocolate or chocolate morsels.

Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan or dish. Bake until the center is set, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely and then cut into small squares.