#52NewEats :: Week 42 :: Blue Cheese Dressing

Blue Cheese Dressing

I have previously //waxed poetic here// about my love for blue cheese dressing.  I consider myself a blue cheese dressing expert.  I know what restaurants have good blue cheese dressing, and what restaurants have meh blue cheese dressing.  I have had my go-to recipe for forever, which is straight out of a //Morton’s Steakhouse cookbook//, and it is amazing.  But, it does require you to have a couple specialty ingredients on hand, or at least to buy them and then wonder what to do with the rest of them until the next time you make blue cheese dressing.

So, when I found //this recipe for blue cheese dressing//, and actually got sucked into the written blog post (for once – I usually skip over the writing and go right to the recipe 🙊), I knew I had to try it.  The author seems to love blue cheese dressing as much as I do, and there are not too many of us out there in this world.  She and I are on the same level concerning this creamy, chunky dressing, in a land where ranch tends to dominate.  Someone who waxes poetic about blue cheese dressing like I do HAS to make a good blue cheese dressing!

AND SHE DOES.  Folks, this is quite frankly my new go-to blue cheese dressing.  I don’t have to buy any special ingredients and it was SO good.  The only thing I would cut back on is the garlic – it was a little strong for me, BUT, I grate my garlic instead of chopping it, so that might have intensified it.  It didn’t taste bad at all, but the garlic flavor was a little strong for me.  So next time, I’ll halve the garlic, and drown a salad in this dressing and chomp away happily.

If you are a blue cheese dressing fan like I am, you should give this recipe a try!

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#52NewEats :: Week 41 :: Creamy Tomato Mascarpone Pasta

Creamy Tomato Mascarpone Pasta

It is pretty much a given, that if a recipe has the word “creamy” in the title, I will be all about it.  I looooove creamy sauces and dishes.  Can’t get enough.  Creamy sauces for drowning, dousing, blanketing, dipping, smothering… are all my favoritest sauces ever.  I would eat piles of vegetables if I could drown them all in creamy sauces.

Which… maybe isn’t such a bad idea… but I digress.

So when I happened upon //this pasta dish for Creamy Tomato Mascarpone Pasta//, I couldn’t wait to make it.  This kind of pasta is the best – you get some vegetable matter with the tomatoes and the spinach, but you also get the velvety lusciousness of a creamy sauce.  This was a DELICIOUS pasta dish, and it was so easy, since you make everything in one pot!!

The original recipe makes A LOT, so I cut it in half and it was more than enough for us, and I gave the rest to my brother and his wife, who just had a baby!  Also, instead of tomato puree, I used tomato paste.  I always chop the spinach a little bit so it wilts faster.

This recipe really is a keeper, head on over to //the original recipe// and try it out!

 

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#52NewEats :: Week 40 :: Sriracha Ranch

Sriracha Ranch

If you know me at all, you know how much I like dips.  I like to dip things in dips.  Especially, especially, especially creamy, mayo-based dips!  I do not dip fries in ketchup.  Why would I do that when I could use the excuse to ingest more mayo?!

My favorite thing to dip things into is my //chipotle mayo//.  Seriously, this stuff is amazing, and I pretty much make a batch every week or so.  But, I recently became a fan of //Just Foods Sriracha Mayo//, and when I came upon //this recipe for Sriracha Ranch//, I was totally jazzed to try it!

My verdict?  Hm.  It was tasty, but, I like thick dips, and this was thinner, like a dressing.  In fact, it would have made a GREAT salad dressing, as written.  Also, it wasn’t all that spicy; it could have used more sriracha (note how not-pink my dip is above).  I followed the recipe exactly, and as a recipe writer myself, I know I like to err on the side of less spicy for my more sensitive readers.  And, it made a large amount, that I didn’t think I would finish before it wasn’t good to eat anymore.  SO.  Final verdict is:  I would make it again; I would halve the recipe, and further halve the milk; I would add more sriracha.  😊  All in all, this recipe was a great starting point for a sriracha-based dip, which is exactly what I was looking for!  Click the link above to check it out and give it a try yourself!

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#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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#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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#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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#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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#52NewEats :: Week 35 :: Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeno Dip

Chuy's Creamy Jalapeno Dip

I don’t really know what Chuy’s is, I am assuming it’s a restaurant of some kind, all I know is that when I saw //this dip// on Pinterest it looked creamy and delicious, and those are my two favorite criteria for anything going into my mouth.

I was excited to make it for a Mexican-themed party I was hosting, but after trying it I realized it could serve as so much more than a dip.  You could drizzle this onto tacos, onto nachos (duh), on top of enchiladas… you could definitely dip veggies in it, but tortilla chips will always win in my camp.  I bet French fries and onion rings would be great dipped in this too!

This is a very versatile dip that is so easy to make.  Don’t be scared of the amount of chopped jalapenos it calls for – as long as you chop them very small, you’ll be fine.  And there’s enough creaminess to balance out whatever heat they bring to the bowl.  Also, I had read through the comments on the website and found that a lot of Chuy’s experts felt that it was a close match to Chuy’s actual dip, but that it was missing garlic.  So I made sure I added one clove of grated garlic to the dip, just guesstimating, and it turned out really well.

This is a great dip to have out at your next party, or even just to whip up the next time you feel like settling down for a day of Netflix and snacks!!

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#52NewEats :: Week 34 :: Beef Enchilada Dip

Beef Enchilada Dip

So there’s no ifs ands or buts about it – the thing that drew me in to try this recipe was the pictures on the website.  Go check them out //here//.  That cheese is so deliciously melty and the dish is so beefy and I just love Mexican food so I had to make this dish.

I had some extra jalapenos laying around so I minced one and added it with the onion.  I did not use Old El Paso brand enchilada sauce though; I find it too salty for my tastes.  I used the Frontera brand that’s in the pouch, because that’s my favorite.  They are 8oz pouches, and I only used 2 pouches, and found that to be plenty of sauce.  I simmered for a good long time so it reduced and thickened, and as I was stirring and salivating I was struck with an idea for a new recipe 😊 so recipe testing for that shall start soon!

That is probably my favorite thing about this #52NewEats project – it has really sparked my creativity with food!

I made this for dinner one night and we sure cleaned it up.  Yes, between myself and my husband I think there was only about a bowlful left for him to take to work for lunch the next day.  I did take the blogger’s advice and put a big fat dollop of sour cream in the middle (bc sour cream for life) and dotted it with some thinly sliced fresh jalapenos.  I forgot to buy cilantro, but if I’d had some, that would have made a great topping.

This is definitely a great dish to have on hand for game day – and that season is fast approaching!!

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