#52NewEats :: Week 39 :: Garlic Bread Spread

Garlic Bread Spread

When I was a kid my mom used to make the most buttery, salty garlic bread.  I am not entirely sure how she made it, I should probably ask her.  But one day while scrolling through Pinterest, I found //this recipe for Garlic Bread Spread// and it sounded so much like what my mom made, that I had to try it.

The recipe is easy enough to whip together, as long as you have softened butter!  I have a pretty strong broiler though, so I think next time I will just bake the bread slices instead of broiling them.  Regardless, this was pretty tasty garlic bread, and very easy to make in a pinch, so I can’t complain.  I may add some salt next time.  It’s not exactly what my mom used to make – I want to say maybe she added Parmesan cheese? – so I will have to ask her and try that too.  😊

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Arroz Con Crema

Arroz con Crema

I may have mentioned once or a hundred times that //Distrito// is one of my favorite restaurants in Philadelphia.  They used to have this dish on their menu that was so good it legit brought tears to my eyes – arroz con crema.  It was a rice side dish that was cheesy, creamy, warm, and oh, so amazingly slutty.  They had it on their menu for a while and then they took it off, and I was so sad.  Then, one day, hubby and I found ourselves unexpectedly without kiddo, and we decided to go out to dinner.  Distrito came up, of course, and we hadn’t been in a while so I went to their menu to see if it had changed recently.

AND OH BOY IT SURE HAD.

THEY PUT ARROZ CON CREMA BACK ON THE MENU.

And that was it.  I was so happy I had tears in my eyes.  Literally!!  I made dinner reservations at that very moment for that night and when I put that first forkful of warm, cheesy, creamy rice into my mouth, I just closed my eyes and when I opened them, again, tears.

It is THAT good.

I have tried a couple times to replicate this recipe, but I think now I have finally hit on it.  The secret?  Risotto.  Not rice.  Maybe?  I don’t know what Distrito’s real secret is, but this came out SO surprisingly close that I just have to share with you guys!!

I hope you try this and love it as much as I do!

Arroz Con Crema

Ingredients
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 large or 2 small-medium poblano peppers, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup shredded chihuahua cheese (or can sub Monterey Jack)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions
1. Warm a non-stick skillet over medium heat. (Do not spray with cooking spray or add oil!) Add the diced poblano pepper. Saute until it softens a little bit, then add the corn. Saute all together until any water from the vegetables is gone, and the pepper and corn start to brown a little. Reduce heat if they are cooking too fast, but don’t burn them. You just want them to be browned a little bit. When finished, turn the heat off and remove the skillet from the hot burner.

2. Melt butter in a large pot (preferably Dutch oven) over medium heat. Warm vegetable stock in a separate saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the arborio rice, and stir to coat the rice with the butter. Let it toast in the melted butter while you stir, about 3 minutes.

3. Using a ladle, add 2-3 ladlefuls of warm stock to the arborio rice. Stir constantly until the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid, and add 2-3 more ladlefuls of stock. Repeat this process until there is no stock left in the saucepan. When the rice has absorbed almost all of the last of the stock, turn the heat off.

4. Add the cheese, and stir to combine. As the cheese melts it will create a delicious creamy sauce with the remaining stock. When the cheese has melted, add in the poblano and corn. Stir until warmed through. Serve warm and enjoy!

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Sawtooth Grill Blue Cheese Fries

Sawtooth Grill Blue Cheese Fries

Back when I lived in Spokane, there was a restaurant there called the Sawtooth Grill.  I heard it has since closed, but when we lived there it was one of our favorite places to frequent for cheeseburgers.  They had GREAT burgers.  And they had an appetizer on their menu which was skinny French fries doused in a blue cheese sauce.  H-E-A-V-E-N.

We actually went there for lunch after my graduation at SCC.  My parents came out for my graduation and we were going to drive a big ass moving truck back to PA the next day.  So my mom and I ordered these blue cheese fries and were basically just dying and I remember asking the server for the recipe, because we are moving tomorrow and will never be back here!!  I do remember her getting the recipe for me from the chef – but I lost it!  doh!

So I had to do a little improvising.  I had used a blue cheese sauce in a recipe before and tweaked it a little bit to fit this recipe, and now you have a total slutty plate of French fries covered in blue cheese sauce.

You’re welcome.  😘

Sawtooth Grill Blue Cheese Fries

Ingredients
1 bag Ore-Ida extra crispy fast food fries
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 small yellow onion, diced fine
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup whole milk, warmed for 2 minutes in the microwave
2-4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
Chopped chives

Directions
1. Bake fries according to package directions. The sauce will make enough for a full bag, so if you are only making a half bag, cut the sauce in half.

2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and add the onion. Saute until translucent. Add the flour, and whisk together, then add the warm milk straight away. Whisk until the sauce thickens, a few minutes. When the sauce has almost reached your desired consistency, add in the crumbled Gorgonzola cheese. Start with 2 ounces, and add from there. Some people do not like a strong blue cheese flavor, so taste and see what you prefer. I added closer to 4 ounces when I made mine, and the sauce was very thick at that point. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. When the fries are finished, season with salt. Remove to a platter, or keep them in the baking pan, whichever is easiest for you! Pour the blue cheese sauce over top, and sprinkle with chopped chives. You may also add extra Gorgonzola crumbles on top if you desire!

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#52NewEats :: Week 38 :: Brie-Onion French Bread

Brie-Onion French Bread

I recently hosted a party and decided on a theme I thought all attendees could get behind – cheese and bread!!  😂  I mean, who can’t get behind that??

Back in November of last year I tore this recipe out of my Food Network magazine and could not WAIT to try it.  This party finally presented an opportunity to do so!

So – the official title of the recipe is //Brie-Onion Dip In A French Bread Bowl//, and I was having a little bit of a hard time figuring out how exactly it was a dip?  So I didn’t serve it as a dip – I sliced the French bread into roughly one-inch slices and served that way.  It was more like a finger food that way, people could just pick it up and eat it like a skinny slice of pizza.  And it was DELICIOUS.

I was kind of bummed my husband wasn’t at this party, because I know he would have really liked this.  Oh well, guess I’ll just have to make it again.  😉

The recipe was really easy to make, though I will say the onions took a little longer to caramelize for me than the directions state.  It might be because I was worried about burning them, so maybe I was cooking them a little lower than necessary.  But just be aware of that when you make this, to add some extra time in.  Otherwise – go forth and make this, my friends, it was definitely worthy!!!

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#12NewTreats :: August :: Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding

In case you haven’t been able to tell as of yet, my daughter is a bit of a chocoholic.  What kid isn’t though, right?  So when we started searching for the next recipe we were going to make for our 12 New Treats project, it didn’t surprise me one bit that she pointed her finger excitedly at the magazine page I ripped out for //this Ultimate Chocolate Pudding from Real Simple magazine//.

This WAS ‘real simple’ to make, and a very yummy chocolate pudding indeed.  I didn’t have to buy a single ingredient, for once, so that made it super extra easy!  But I have to say I was a little disappointed with the texture.  It wasn’t quite as creamy as it is in their picture.  Ours was creamy, but not like Jell-O pudding creamy.  It tasted good, but all in all, I ended up liking //this recipe// better for chocolate pudding.

You can’t lose with either one – this recipe doesn’t require a lot of fancy ingredients and comes together very quickly!  Pioneer Woman’s recipe is the creamy lusciousness you’re probably searching for!

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#52NewEats :: Week 37 :: Vegan Strawberry Cream Cheez Rolls

Vegan Strawberry Cream Cheez Rolls

Hey y’all!  I am SO EXCITED to share this recipe with you today because it’s part of a little collaboration I did with two of my favoritest ladies on the planet, Heather and Eryn at //The Practical Minimalists//.  I have been listening to their podcast since earlier this year and as you know, as I’ve mentioned here before, they are a big part of what has inspired me to live more intentionally.  I can honestly say they helped motivate me to finally get my barn unpacked and get rid of more than half the stuff that had been sitting in boxes for over a year!  As a result, my house is most definitely less cluttered, and now, if I even think a little pile of something starting to develop, I almost get some kind of itch to take care of it before it turns into anything crazy.  I find with each podcast I listen to, that I relate to them on practically every topic they cover – from their recent show about news consumption, to their episode on meal planning, and even, especially, all the way back to their series on “unbecoming”.  In fact, I have been wanting to go back and re-listen to those episodes, as well as the ones they did with //Jess Lively//, so I will have to do that soon!  I love their show so much, because as the name suggests, they approach minimalism in a practical way – and insist that it doesn’t have to look any one way: you don’t have to wear black all the time and have one chair in your living room; minimalism can look how you want it to look.  This way, there is no pressure to fit into some predetermined category or label; it can be whatever you want it to be.  So please, if you are feeling like you need some motivation or inspiration to de-clutter your life (in more ways than just the physical), //check out their podcast// and you can thank me later.  😘

Now!  Onto the food.

Eryn shared this recipe with me and I positively jumped at the chance to make it.  For one thing, if you’ve been following along with me recently, you know that I have been heading down a more vegetarian path.  I have also dabbled in vegan baking recently when I shared these //chocolate chip cookie bars// with you, which was a bit of a turning point for me because I think I had been in the camp of, “ew, vegan!” before.  And now here is the second vegan recipe I’ve made, and I am honestly realizing that there is really nothing “ew” at all about vegan food.  In fact – I am planning on trying a vegan queso in the very near future 😱 as the self-proclaimed #connoisseurofnachos, I will be SURE to report back on its worthiness!  But anyway.  These strawberry rolls were really, really tasty.  This was my first time trying vegan cream cheese – I swear it doesn’t even taste different to me than regular cream cheese.  And, bonus!, at my Whole Foods I found the //coconut milk yogurt// that my high school friend, Anita, has been working tirelessly on developing over recent years, and I was jazzed at the opportunity to use it here!

My sister and I baked these //strawberry cream cheez rolls// together – I was happy to have her help as I am more of a cook than a baker, and she is a pro biscuit maker, so she happily cut that cold vegan butter into the dry ingredients for me and rolled it out into the most perfect rectangle.  We refrigerated the roll for about twice as long before cutting, just to make really really sure it was properly chilled.  And, instead of using Eryn’s vegan red food dye recipe listed on her blog post, I cooked down the rest of the strawberries with a little bit of water, and made a strawberry syrup.  I then pressed it through a sieve and dyed the frosting pink that way.  And, uh, it.  was.  so.  delicious.  🙌

Once I pulled these out of the oven, I was having a hard time waiting for them to cool to eat them (are you surprised?).  And then once the frosting started to melt all over the warm rolls I couldn’t contain myself.  So I did my due diligence with the photographs and promptly scarfed down my first roll.  And now, I kid you not, as I write this, I am scarfing down another.  🙂  And my belly is happy.

Would you know that these are vegan?  No, not by taste.  They are quite tasty.  Maybe by texture?  But that could be the gluten-free-ness of this recipe.  This is not a fluffy, sugary, strawberry version of a Cinnabon (which, if you’ve ever had one, you may recall sits in your stomach like a boulder for the rest of the day.  Who wants that?  Not me!).  Here’s what I think, though.  It shouldn’t really matter what’s in them – it should only matter what your tongue thinks when you shovel a forkful into your mouth.  Is your tongue happy?  Yes?  Then eat more.  😊

(She says, as she digs into her second strawberry roll in 15 minutes…)

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5.5 Layer Dip

5.5 Layer Dip

HEY I THOUGHT IT WAS 7-LAYER DIP!

Yeah, so did I.

I was perusing Pinterest one day and I saw a picture for a 7-layer dip that looked PHENOM, and I thought, I have to make that.  Except guess what?  It was a bad link.  🙁  Supwitdat.  So I kind of had to wing this one on my own.

But yeah so I’m not really sure what makes it 7-layers.  All I could see in the picture was beans, sour cream, guac, veggies, and cheese.  The only thing I intentionally omitted was black olives, because ew.  So I thought I will just make a layer dip with all the things I like and however many layers it turns out to be, it will be!  Thus, behold, the SFB 5.5 Layer Dip!

Ok so why 5.5?  Because I didn’t think a sprinkling of cilantro on top constituted as a full actual layer, and I was ruminating about this and my best friend Jeanne piped up and said, “Call it a five-and-a-half layer dip!”  I just love her.

Let’s talk about each layer ok?  Ok.

Refried black beans – yes, black, because they are my favorite.  But you must make them creamy, so they don’t get pasty as they come to room temperature and break your chips.  Read on grasshopper, I will teach you how.

Sour cream – thick, creamy, cool sour cream.  Daisy brand.  It’s thicker, and it’s the best.  Don’t doubt me now.

Homemade pico de gallo – or store bought is fine, I guess, but homemade is so easy and so much fresher-tasting.  I won’t judge you no matter what you do.

Homemade guacamole – I guess store bought is fine here too, but, again, homemade wins the fresh contest.

Finely shredded colby jack cheese – colby jack because I wanted orange and white and didn’t feel like shredding twice, okay!?

Sprinkling of cilantro – to amp up the freshy side of this dip.

Now let’s talk about execution.

You know what I hate about layered dips?  How are you supposed to get all the layers on your chip if you have to dig your whole hand down into a goddamn trifle bowl to scoop up the beans on the bottom?!  Stop it.  Stop with the layered dips in trifle bowls thing.  Please.

I slathered all these ingredients onto a big platter and left space around the edges so that people had room to swoop down to the bottom of the beans with their chip, then scoop up to grab all the amazing toppings in one fell swoop (ha!), and shovel it into their mouths.  This worked out extremely well.  I highly recommend this style of execution.

Now for the recipe!  I can’t wait to hear if you’ve tried this and liked it.  There was practically none left, and I know I say this all the time, but I really am so excited to make this again!

5.5 Layer Dip

Ingredients
1 can refried black beans
1/3 cup sour cream
Your favorite hot sauce
Sour cream
Pico de gallo (store-bought is fine, or you can find my recipe //here//)
Guacamole (store-bought is fine, or you can find my recipe //here//)
Finely shredded cheese
Minced cilantro
Tortilla chips

Directions
1. Make the creamy refried beans: Warm the refried black beans in a saucepan over medium heat. Once they reach an easily stirrable consistency, turn the heat to low. Add the sour cream, and as much or as little hot sauce as you’d like to flavor. Stir to combine. Keep warm until ready to assemble your dip.

2. Assemble the masterpiece: On a large platter (I used a 12×12 square), spread the warm refried beans not quite to the edge. Then, spread the sour cream on top, gently spreading just to the edge of the beans. Next, spoon on the pico de gallo, being careful to drain out whatever liquid gathers in the spoon before placing onto the dip. Spread to the edge of the sour cream. Then, spread the guacamole on top of the pico de gallo, again, just to the edges. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top, as much or as little as you’d like. And top with fresh minced cilantro. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

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Pink Limon

Pink Limon

My friends!  Behold, a delicious, maybe-a-little-too-easy-to-drink, tangy alcohol draaaank!

A long, long time ago when I first started drinking, I found this recipe and fell in love with it.  It might be one of the first things my little sister drank that she really liked.  And once in a while it makes an appearance at family get-togethers because it’s a people-pleaser.  Even the most pickiest of palates end up loving this drink.

And can I just say it does its job?  If your intent is to have a little buzz, drink on up.  If not, just sip it, and enjoy the tangy flavors dance across your tongue.

This drink recipe is easily doubled, tripled, or even made into a larger pitcher. Replace “ounces” with “cups” and you have a larger batch!

Pink Limon
Serves 1

Ingredients
1 1/2 ounces Bacardi Limon
2 ounces sweet and sour mix
1/2 ounce (or more to taste) cranberry juice

Directions
Pour all ingredients into a glass over ice and stir well to combine.

To make a pitcher-sized portion, change “ounces” to “cups”, using the same numbers. Combine in a pitcher and stir well to combine. Serve in a glass over ice.

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#52NewEats :: Week 36 :: World’s Greatest Onion Dip

World's Greatest Onion Dip

Ok so.  I’m just going to say this loud and clear: you WILL want this dip at your next family or friends get-together.  You just will.

You WILL need to get over the idea of sauteeing the onions for 45-60 minutes.  You just will.  Because this step, this crucial step, is what sets this dip apart from the very simple French onion dip you have come to know and love.  If you’re not willing to slowly caramelize these onions then step aside and do not make this dip, my friend.

I can tell you that my mouth is watering right now as I’m typing this, literally, I swear, not lying.  I can’t wait to make this recipe again, and soon!

You can find the original recipe //here//.

Some notes:

🍴  If your onions are caramelizing too fast, lower the heat.  You don’t want to burn them.

🍴  I did not think it was necessary to drag out my stand mixer for this task; so I used handheld electric beaters, and I just made sure I beat the cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo together for the full 5 minutes.  It really did make a difference to beat these for that long.  If your handheld beaters have a whisk attachment, even better, but I just made sure I beat everything up real good.

🍴  I served this dip with chips like I usually do for onion dip – the saltier, the better, so I went with Ruffles.  😊

🍴  I also topped with chives because extra onion flavor but also pretty green and super yum!

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