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.

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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.

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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.

Fresh Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro, Lime, and Jalapeno

On Halloween, we had a potluck at work and I decided to use it to test out a recipe from Kaylyn’s Kitchen that I was considering making for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.  Since cranberries are in season and I love a good salsa, this seemed like a great opportunity to check out a recipe.  I loved it.  And, it seemed to go over pretty well at the potluck.  The lime, sugar, cilantro, and jalapeno really brighten the flavor of the cranberries.  And, it is a nice change from the hot pepper jelly that has become popular.  If you’re needing to bring something for the holidays and want a quick and easy (15 minutes or less) dish to bring, this salsa is a wonderful option.

Fresh Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro, Lime, and Jalapeno

Fresh Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro, Lime, and Jalapeno

1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries
3/4 c sugar
1 bunch green onions, sliced (about 3/4 cup sliced green onion)
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about 3/4 cup chopped cilantro, or use more to taste)
2 fresh jalapenos, seeds removed and chopped
1 T olive oil
1 T fresh lime juice
cream cheese
crackers

Chop the green onions, jalapenos, and cilantro.  Put the cranberries into a food processor or blender and pulse until they are partly chopped.  Add sugar and pulse a few times more to combine.  Add sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, chopped jalapenos, olive oil, and lime juice and pulse until all ingredients are chopped and the mixture is well combined.
Put mixture into a glass or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid and chill for several hours or overnight.
Serve with crackers and over a block of cream cheese.

Corn Dip

Every once in awhile, a recipe catches my eye and I know I want to make it.  This recipe, from the Iowa State Fair Cookbook was one such recipe.  I was looking for an off-the-beaten-track dip for chips and the combination of corn, cream cheese, ranch dressing, and other items (and that it was a refrigerated dip, not a heated one, was the right combination to pique my interest.

This was another recipe in the various recipes that I served to the students who came over to my house last month.  If you have a potluck or tailgating event to attend this summer, this may be the recipe you want to throw together.

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Corn Dip

2 8 oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 pkg dry ranch dressing mix
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2.25 oz can chopped ripe olives, drained
1 can whole kernal corn, drained
14 oz can chopped green chilies, drained

Beat together cream cheese and ranch dressing mix.  Add additional ingredients.  Chill several hours and serve with tortilla chips.

Bean Dip

One day I noticed I had a variety of things in the fridge that needed to be used up and I thought mixing them together might prove to make a great dip, so I melted it together over the stove and it had a nice mix of spice and creaminess.

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Bean Dip

1 can refried beans
5 oz cream cheese
5 oz pepper gouda
1/2 pkg taco seasoning
1/2 jar salsa
1/2 c mozzarella cheese

Melt together on the stovetop.  Eat the deliciousness.

Roast Pork Loin with Herbs and Cream Cheese

One of the blogs I read regularly, What’s Gaby Cooking, is doing a monthly cookbook challenge, and for the month of November, chose the cookbook Small Victories.  I made this recipe from the cookbook, when my parents were in town visiting, on their way to see my sister and her family.  It looked like just the recipe to serve with some brussels sprouts, bread, and brownies.

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Roast Pork Loin with Cream Cheese and Herbs

2 garlic cloves
1 c Italian parsley
1/4 c fresh basil
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3-to 4-lb pork loin
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c white wine, chicken stock, or water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

With the food processor running, drop the garlic in the feed tube, and process until finely chopped.  Add the parsley, basil, and thyme, and pulse until everything is finely chopped.  Add the cream cheese, 1 tsp salt, and a few grinds of pepper and pulse until everything is well-combined.  Set the mixture aside.

Put the pork loin, fat-side down, on your work surface with one of the short ends pointing toward you.  Using a sharp chef’s knife, hold it parallel to the board and make a sharp incision along the length of the pork, cutting the meat about 1/2 inch.  Continue to slice into the meat while lifting the top part with your other hand until the pork loin is opened out and totally flat and about 1 inch thick.

Season the newly exposed side of the pork aggressively with salt.  Spread the cream cheese mixture over the pork, using your hands or a rubber spatula.  Starting from the short side, roll the pork up tightly so that it resembles its old self, this time with the herb mixture spiraled throughout it.  Lay five 12-in pieces of kitchen string about 1 inch apart on your work surface and carefully lift the pork and put it on top of the string, seam-side down.  Tie the pieces of string tightly around the pork loin so that it is even and compact.  Trim off the excess string.

Transfer the pork, fat-side up, to a large baking dish and drizzle the olive oil over it.  Sprinkle the pork with a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Pour the wine around the pork.

Roast the pork until it is browned, is firm to the touch, and registers 145 degrees when you test it in the thickest part with an instant-read thermometer, 1 to 1 1/2 hours depending on the thickness of the meat (start testing it at 1 hour).  Transfer the pork to a cutting board and cover it loosely with aluminum foil.

Let the pork rest for 10 minutes, then cut off and discard the string.  Slice the pork, arrange on a serving platter, and spoon over some of the pan juices.  Serve immediately.