#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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Herb and Garlic Cheese Spread

Herb and Garlic Cheese Spread

Herb and garlic cheese spread is another old recipe I found in my binder from my early days of learning how to cook.  I remember Aaron loved it back then, so when I saw this I thought it would make a good snack for him to bring in for lunch!

It’s funny because the day I made this, he came home from the gym starving and wanting something to eat, and I was just getting ready to photograph this.  I turned my back to grab some props to stage and turned around and there he was, digging into my perfectly coiffed globe of herb and garlic cheese spread.  I had to smack his hands away and re-do the coif.  I don’t even know if it’s called a coif.  Not even sure where I got that from.  But I had to re-swirl it again and make it pretty.  Food bloggers will know what I mean.

I snapped this little behind-the-scenes of shooting this recipe.  The mid-day lighting is so amazing in this window.  If I wait too long into the afternoon, the setting sun will shine right into this window and cast shadows.  So I try to get my cooking done earlier in the day on weekends if I’m photographing a recipe!  This is a huuuge bay window that looks out onto about half of my three acres.  It’s part of what sold us on this house.  And for Christmas last year, my mom got a custom-made window seat cushion for this window.  It’s so awesome.  My daughter sometimes sits up there and reads.

Behind The Scenes

Anyway.  This herb and garlic cheese spread is a great dip to have out at your next party!  It’s highly addictive, hubby couldn’t stop eating it until I reminded him it’s mostly for his lunch… then he finally put the crackers away.

Herb and Garlic Cheese Spread

8oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

Add all ingredients to a bowl and use beaters to beat together and combine well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to one week.

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Fresh Tomato and Garlic Penne

Fresh Tomato and Garlic Penne

Today, I bring you one of my favorite old-time recipes from when I first started learning how to cook: fresh tomato and garlic penne.

When I first started learning how to cook, I was also sort of discovering that I liked pasta.  Weird, I know, right?  Like, who am I?  I don’t even know sometimes.  But yeah, I first fell in love with alfredo sauce and after making that a gajillion times, my boyfriend (now husband) urged me to make some pasta with red sauce.  He is partial to red sauces while I could eat any kind of creamy, cheesy, saucy pasta by the bucketful and never really get full.  So we tried some of those jarred sauces, and they aren’t terrible, but whenever / however I stumbled across this recipe, I knew immediately he would like it.

So we made it over the weekend for the first time in, oh, like, 15 years?  😂  I swear, I’m not reaching that far back for recipes because I’m running out of content or ideas.  In fact, I’m reaching that far back because I’m trying to expand my repertoire of vegetarian recipes, and found this old gem as a result of minimalizing one of my recipe binders last month.  It was one of those, “OH!  THIS recipe!  Why did we ever stop making this?!” moments.

And when I took my first bite, I was instantly transported back to my little apartment in Spokane, Washington, where I have a vision of myself wearing khaki overalls (lol whut), sitting at our dining room table that was practically in the family room, watching Jeopardy, sprinkling Parmesan cheese over top of hot penne pasta graced with the sweetest Roma tomatoes, that fresh basil wafting up into my nostrils, and, finally, shoveling forkfuls of this pasta into my mouth.  It wasn’t a bad recipe then, and it’s not a bad recipe now.  And it’s a GREAT recipe to make right now, at the height of fresh tomato season.

I hope you enjoy it!

Fresh Tomato and Garlic Penne

2 1/2 cups uncooked penne rigate pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, for topping (optional)

1. Cook pasta as directed on package and drain.

2. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook garlic in oil for 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Stir in chopped tomatoes. Cook 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until tomatoes start to break down and sauce thickens slightly. Reduce heat to low, and stir in basil, salt, and pepper to taste.

3. Toss tomato sauce with cooked pasta. Sprinkle with additional fresh basil and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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Slutty Game Food, Episode 1: Bagel Chip Dip

Are you guys ready for the big game?  I get excited for football season in the fall because it means I can make game food on Sundays.  I care much more about the food than about the game.  Usually.  Our Eagles aren’t the best.  But in recent years I have become more interested in football.  It’s to the point now where I am in the same room as the TV the game is on, semi-paying attention, catching the important plays, startling when my husband freaks out and screams at the TV.  Before I would hide in another room till it was all over.  His yelling can be scary!  Half the time I can’t tell if he’s happy with what just happened or not, with all the curse words and force that boom from his lungs.  But hey.  He’s passionate, and the game is where the food is.  So that’s where I am!

That’s kind of how I am with sports.  I love going to basketball games – for stadium food.  Same thing with baseball games.  We have really good stadium food here in Philly.  But it’s more about the food than the game.  I have gone to Phillies games before and spent more time out of my seat eating or in search of food, than I have in my seat watching the game.  It’s like I bought a ticket to go eat.

But anyway.  I usually like the Super Bowl, because a) game food (duh), and b) FOOTBALL SEASON IS OVER which means WARM WEATHER and my birthday ARE ALMOST HERE‼

Bagel Chip Dip would be a great addition to your Super Bowl spread.  For one thing, it’s highly addicting.  Also, you can make it the day before because the longer it sits in the fridge, the more amazingly delicious it gets.  Creamy, garlicky, tangy.  And paired with a salty, crispy little bagel chip?  Uh, divinity.

Bagel Chip Dip

Bagel Chip Dip

Bagel Chip Dip
Makes about 1 1/4 cups
Takes about an hour and a half total to make; be sure to set your cream cheese out several hours ahead of time

1 head garlic, sliced in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brick of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup milk
4-6 scallions sliced, white parts included
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Bagel chips for dipping

1. Set cream cheese out several hours before making this dip. I usually let mine sit out overnight.

2. Roast garlic: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Take a large sheet of aluminum foil (about a foot long) and place the garlic halves cut-side up on the foil. Drizzle with olive oil. Fold the edges of the foil up to make a pouch. Be sure to fold corners and seams upwards so the oil doesn’t drip out into your oven. Roast in the oven until tender, for 45 minutes. Let cool so you can handle it.

3. Make the dip: With a regular knife (as in, not a sharp steak knife, but a blunt normal knife), dig the cloves out of their skins and drop them into a food processor. Be sure to use all of the garlic, even the cloves that are darker than others. And use the garlic from both halves of the head! Add the cream cheese and the milk to the food processor, along with some salt and black pepper to your taste. Puree until smooth. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary and continue pureeing.

4. Finish the dip: Transfer the dip to a small mixing bowl, and fold in the sliced scallions. Reserve some scallions to garnish the top of the dip. Eat immediately, or cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve it. Personally I prefer this dip cold. A bagel chip can hold up to this dip while cold.

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