Monday, November 25, 2013

Hot Artichoke Parmesan Dip

A few weeks ago, we had our annual parmesan cheese wheel cracking which is referred to as the "Crack Heard Around the Midwest". I like to call it one the best days of the year. What chef wouldn't love having as much fresh parmigiano reggiano cheese as they want?

                                                  





This is the recipe I served during our sampling. It's the perfect holiday appetizer  and it's super addictive. Trust me, your guests will be drooling. Regular parmesan cheese will work too, but if you want to splurge on the fancy stuff, it's totally worth it (and you don't need much of it to add huge flavor).


1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream and mayo until smooth.


3. Stir in the spices and cheese.

4. Add chopped artichoke hearts and diced roasted red pepper.



5. Spread the mixture into a 13x9 baking dish and top with more cheese, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, or until nice and bubbly.


Ummm....yep.

Oh, and if you're feeling super indulgent, serve this with some parmesan crostini. Simply slice one
multigrain (or regular) baguette, sprinkle with parmigiano reggiano cheese and a sprinkle of garlic powder and dried thyme. Toast on a baking sheet in the oven alongside the dip (375 for 15-20 minutes) and serve both warm!


Hot Artichoke Parmesan Dip
Serves 12

All you need:
2 (8 oz.) packages light cream cheese, softened
1 cup light sour cream
1 cup light mayo
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
2 (14 oz.) cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (8 oz.) jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream and mayo until smooth.
3. Stir in the spices and cheese.
4. Add chopped artichoke hearts and diced roasted red pepper.
5. Spread the mixture into a 13x9 baking dish and top with more cheese, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, or until nice and bubbly. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hearty Beef and Vegetable Soup

I woke up today and there was snow on ground and this weekend we are heading to Chicago to tailgate in 20 degree weather. Soup season is here (and will probably stay here for quite awhile…boo).

This rich and comforting soup comes from the new issue of Hy-Vee Seasons. I made it a couple days before I actually ate it so the flavors could marry. It's one of the best vegetable beef soups I've had. Pair with a piece of crusty bread and warm up!

                                        

1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add cubed beef and onion and cook until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. 




2. Add broth and bring mixture to a boil.

3. Add barley, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.



4. Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, mushrooms, water and rice. Return to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes longer, or until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf and serve.





Hearty Beef and Vegetable Soup
Serves 10

All you need:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds boneless arm roast, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 (32 oz.) containers beef broth
1/2 cup hulled barley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 stalks celery, sliced
2 cups chopped carrots
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup wild rice

1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add cubed beef and onion and cook until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. 
2. Add broth and bring mixture to a boil.
3. Add barley, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
4. Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, mushrooms, water and rice. Return to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes longer, or until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Nutrition facts per serving: 230 calories, 4.5g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 60mg cholesterol, 840mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 26g protein

Monday, November 18, 2013

My favorite stuffing

I came up with this recipe last year around the holidays and it's still one of my favorites. The fresh herbs pair perfectly with the sausage and apples and the ciabatta bread adds a unique, rustic quality to the dish.

                                                    


Turkey Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing
Serves 10

All you need:
1 ciabatta bread loaf, cubed
1 multigrain baguette, cubed 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 lb. turkey breakfast sausage
4 celery stalks, sliced thin
5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves removed and chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 apple (any sweet variety), diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup turkey stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Salt and pepper, to taste

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Place bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly crisp.






2. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add sausage and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until no longer pink.


3. Add celery and fresh herbs and cook 2 minutes longer.

4. Place toasted bread cubes in a large bowl and top with the sausage and herb mixture. 

5. Top with diced apple, cranberry and fresh parsley.

6. Add 1 cup turkey stock and melted butter and toss to combine.

7. Place mixture in a 13x9 pan and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until warmed through.


Enjoy!




Sunday, November 10, 2013

Holiday appetizers that excite!

It's hard to believe the holiday season is approaching fast! Here are three simple and surprising appetizers that pack a huge flavor punch and will have your guests talking.

Roasted Grape Crostini with Rosemary and Pinenuts
Makes 12 toasts

All you need:
1 pound red, seedless grapes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 rosemary sprig, leaves removed
1 multigrain baguette, cut on a bias into 12 slices
6 oz. light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup pinenuts
Honey, for drizzling

All you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the grapes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and rosemary. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the skins are slightly golden. Remove and set aside.

2. Place bread slices and pinenuts in the oven to toast for 5 minutes.

3. To assemble the crostinis, smear each toasted bread slice with 1 tablespoon cream cheese. Spoon warm grapes onto each piece of toast, sprinkle with pine nuts and finish with a drizzle of honey.


Spanakopita Dip
Makes 2 cups

All you need:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 red onion, diced
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp. fresh dill
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 (10 oz.) pkg. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. finely chopped sundried tomato
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 bunch fresh Italian parsley, chopped

All you do:
1. In a food processor or blender, combine garlic, onion, mayo, dill and onion powder for 15 seconds.

2. Add spinach, feta cheese and yogurt and process for 1 minute longer, or until combined.

3. Add sundried tomato, lemon juice and fresh parsley and stir to combine. Serve with crackers or pita chips and fresh veggies. (Also works well as a sandwich spread!)


Black Bean Truffles with Orange and Sea Salt
Makes 32 (1 oz. pieces)

All you need:
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1 3/4 cups cashew butter (or any nut butter)
1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup
1 3/4 cups dark cocoa powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
Sea salt and cocoa powder, for garnish

All you do:
1. Place black beans in a food processor or blender and process until smooth, about 1 minute.

1. Add cashew butter, maple syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and orange zest and pulse until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides as necessary. Refrigerate dough until firm, about 3 hours.




3. Form small balls using a 1 oz. scoop. Sprinkle with sea salt and roll in cocoa powder. Refrigerate truffles until ready to serve.