Category Archives: Appetizer

Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip

Jalapeño Ranch Dip

So apparently this March Madness business is finally coming to an end this weekend. Finally. I used to care about sports, but now I am more or less completely apathetic (with one exception). I think this is partially due to the false advertising of surrounding professional and college athletics in America. “March” Madness. We are now a week into April. Stop encroaching on a perfectly innocent month NCAA. However, I will consent to watching sporting events mainly because they allow for drinking at otherwise inappropriate hours of the day and snack foods, both of which I am a fan of.

Creamy ranch, a little kick from the jalapeños, tangy lime. It’s pretty much perfect  the perfect dip in my book. I used mild jalapeños and mild green salsa, and while I did increase the amounts from the recipe I based my dip on, I didn’t find the jalapeño flavor or spiciness to be overwhelming at all. If you are a little more hesitant about spicy, you might want to cut back on the jalapeños and salsa and add to taste.

Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip

Recipe adapted from Capturing Joy.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup tomatillo salsa (or any green salsa)
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 5 Tablespoons ranch powder (or 1.5 packets)
  • 1/2 cup pickled jalapeños
  • 2 limes, juiced

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until desired consistency is reached (I left mine a little chunky). Add more lime juice if dip is too thick
  2. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips and veggies and enjoy!
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Super easy, super delicious gluten-free Super Bowl snacks!

If you live in the US, you probably know this upcoming weekend is Super Bowl weekend. My favorite team isn’t in the big game, so as long as Peyton Manning doesn’t win, I really don’t care what happens.

To be completely honest, the two best parts of the Super Bowl are the commercials and the snacks. Since my mother is great, she made sure to weed out the commercials  I don’t need to watch and made sure to send me the one commercial guaranteed to make me cry like a baby at inappropriate times and now I officially have almost no interest in the game.

I am however, heavily invested in snacks and all related activities. Here are some of my favorites…

Greek Yogurt Chipotle Ranch Dip

Greek Yogurt Chipotle Ranch Dip

Oh, poor little neglected blog, how I have missed you! Last semester was so crazy and so interesting (microbiology!) that I barely had time to procrastinate and since most of my blogging is born out of procrastination, things just kind of stopped around here. Luckily, I have a much easier course load this semester and I have already been accepted to nursing school (yay!), so hopefully things will start looking a little more normal around here…

I made this dip at the beginning of football season to go with some football watching. It was an instant hit in my (play)book and since the season is now only one game away from being over, I guess I better share it before it’s too late (I’m not even going to apologize for those horrible football puns).

Chipotle and ranch are probably two of my favorite flavors. Combining them resulted in what I think is the world’s best dip. This dip is the perfect combination of slightly spicy, tangy and absolutely delicious. I served the dip with some veggies and kettle chips, but I think it would be a great dipping sauce for chicken wings if they are your thing.

Greek Yogurt Chipotle Ranch Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage 0%)
  • 1/4 high-quality mayonnaise (I recommend Hollywood Safflower Mayo)
  • 3 Tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped and some reserved for garnish
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1+ canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced (add more if you like it spicy!)

Instructions

  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together yogurt, mayonnaise, ranch mix, almost all the green onions, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and chipotle. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate until needed. Serve with veggies or potato chips.
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Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Wrapped Asparagus

A little Monday evening aperitivo.

My girlfriend Kelly made this absolutely amazing asparagus appetizers (I love alliteration!) for our last book club meeting. They were delicious! And so simple. I made them at home for a little Monday evening aperitivo. These are definitely a great bite for a last-minute wine and cheese party and definitely worthy of sharing with guest. Next time I have a dinner party, these will be on the menu. I’m actually kind of looking for any excuse to make these again.

You can use any soft, spreadable cheese. I would avoid cream cheese, but any other soft cheese should work. I think Boursin would be amazing.

Making this appetizer into a side dish would be very easy to do. I would leave the prosciutto slice whole and wrap it around 3-5 pieces of asparagus and cook them the same way (maybe a minute or  two longer). I think it would make for a really tasty side dish, but I really like how the individual spears of asparagus and prosciutto get super crispy.

Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Wrapped Asparagus

Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Wrapped Asparagus

Ingredients

  • Asparagus spears, washed and trimmed
  • Soft goat cheese, at room temperature
  • Prosciutto, each slice cut into 3 pieces

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F degrees.
  2. Spread the goat cheese on each slice of prosciutto.
  3. Wrap each asparagus spear in a 1/3 slice of prosciutto and goat cheese.
  4. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until warm and starting to crisp.
  5. Serve and become the hit of the party!
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Fromage Fort

Hi Fromage Fort, I'm your newest fan. #cheeseoverload

I doesn’t look like much, but I cannot even begin to put into words how amazing this is. Amazing! That’s all I can say. I was faced with the awkward situation of having a whole bunch of cheese, but not enough to make a legitimate cheese plate. You know that awkward spot where you’ve had a wine and cheese night and there is some cheese leftover, but not really anything worthwhile. It’s always a dark day. There are just tiny bits of that, something with a bit of a rind, some soft stuff that was kind of sad looking, a tad of blue begging to find a second chance. I poked around the internet for a bit and thanks to the magic of Google, I discovered the most glorious way to  save the cheese! Fromage Fort! You can’t really go wrong with the combination of cheese. I used some blue, Boursin, goat, brie and parm. Delicious.

Serving wise, baguette, crackers, even some crudités would be great to serve with this. I used toasted gluten-free bread. If I had been by myself, I probably would have just used a spoon.

Final word of advice, get on this. Stat!

Fromage Fort

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound mix leftover cheese, harder cheeses grated, softer ones cut into chunks
  • A couple pats of butter, if using mostly firm cheese varieties
  • 1-3 small clove garlic, minced, or more to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 cup leftover white wine
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, rosemary or chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Blend cheese, butter (if using) and garlic in food processer until combined. Drizzle in wine with the motor running until you get your desired consistency — some like it completely smooth, others prefer chunks. Add herbs, pulsing the machine until just combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Fromage fort can be used right away, or kept in the fridge until needed. In the fridge, it will thicken and age a little; the flavors will mingle and deepen. Let sit out for a few minutes to slight soften and make serving easier.
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Lemon & Feta Dip

Lemon & Feta Dip

My wonderful mother had this dip at a dinner party a few months ago. She raved about it. I decided to make it for  my book club meeting shortly after that and we all raved about it. This dip is fantastic. I served it with veggies and crackers, but I think there are endless possibilities for serving it.

The only minor change I made was upping the number of garlic cloves from one to three, but I’m crazy like that. I made this dip ahead of time and let the flavors get all happy together. I left off the last drizzle of olive oil until serving time. If you do make this dip ahead of time, make sure you give it at least 30 minutes to sit out at room temperature so it is of dip consistency and not a brick of feta.

 

If you haven’t already be sure to check out my baking set giveaway! You have until July 1 to enter!

Lemon & Feta Dip

Lemon & Feta Dip

Recipe from Sweet Paul.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 Tablespoons olive oil+ extra for serving
  • Fresh thyme

Instructions

  1. Place feta, lemon zest and juice, garlic and olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Spoon into a bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with thyme.
  3. Serve with grilled tomatoes and grilled pita bread drizzled with olive oil, salt and thyme.
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Roasted Garlic, Spinach & Brie Dip

Roasted Garlic, Spinach & Brie Dip

Now that I’m kind of, sort of , nearly over my never-ending mystery illness (just can’t shake this sore throat), let’s get back to business.

It’s the Super Bowl next Sunday. Normally, I would be super excited and looking forward to it, but considering I have not watched a single football game (of any kind or level) this year, I’m really not into it. That being said, I do love any excuse for a party and parties must have food and drinks. I can always get behind party planning. This week I’ll be sharing some recipes perfect for your Super Bowl weekend.

Apparently there are people in this world who do not like garlic and don’t care for brie. Fortunately, I don’t know anyone like that, but if you are a little wary of the amount of garlic in this dip, fear not. When garlic is roasted, it gets this more caramelized, almost nutty flavor, which is much more subtle than fresh garlic. If you don’t like brie, well I really can’t help you all that much. Maybe substitute goat cheese? This was the first time I had ever used pimentos in anything or even had them outside of stuffed olives. I was hoping they would give the dip just a little extra kick or something to keep the taste buds happy. Maybe they just got too chopped up in the food processor, but they didn’t really bring much to the overall taste. I think I would stick with real hot sauce or chili powder if a subtle heat.

You could actually serve this dip two different ways. I decided to go with hot, but the end result was a little more fondue-y than I would have like. Once it cooled down about 5 or 10 minutes, it was the perfect consistency. I also tried it before I baked it and it was pretty close to perfect. I should have left it, but I really wanted a hot dip… You can definitely make this ahead of time, but remember to take it out and let it soften. It is brie base, so it will definitely need to soften.

Roasted Garlic, Spinach & Brie Dip

Roasted Garlic, Spinach & Brie Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-20 ounce round of brie, rind removed
  • 1 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt (I like Fage)
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons diced pimentos, drained
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper (or freshly ground pepper, to taste)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut top 1/2" off the top of the garlic heads. Remove some of the loose, papery skin, leaving the heads intact. Place each on a square of tinfoil, drizzle each with the olive oil (about 1 teaspoon each), and wrap well. Bake 50-60 minutes, until the garlic is very soft and begins to brown. Cool until easy to handle. Squeeze each head to into a mixing bowl to remove the soft roasted cloves. Be careful to avoid getting any of the garlic skin/paper in the bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, add the remaining olive oil and heat over medium. When oil is shimmering, add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add in the green onions and cook until just softened. Remove skillet from heat and set aside. Attempt to drain any excess oil if necessary.
  3. In a food processor, process Brie cheese and cream cheese with the seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic cloves. (You can also cream these ingredients together using the back of a spoon and a lot of energy.) Refrigerate several hours to blend flavors. Serve with crackers, crostini, and sliced French bread.
  4. In a food processor, combine Brie cheese and greek yogurt with the seasoned pepper, garlic cloves and pimentos. Add in the spinach and green onions. Pulse in the food processor until blended.
  5. This dip can be served either hot or cold. For cold: Refrigerate several hours to allow flavors to blend. For hot: Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve.
  6. Serve with crackers/sliced bread/tortilla chips/veggies.
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Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli & Leek Soup

Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower & Leek Soup

I got the idea for this soup from Frugal Feeding. Cauliflower, broccoli and leeks are all among my favorite vegetables. I used to be fairly neutral towards cauliflower until I started roasting it. I am fairly certain roasting makes just about anything better. If the soup is looking a little more white than green, that might be due to the fact that some a lot of the broccoli disappeared somewhere after roasting and before entering the soup pot.  Roasted broccoli is probably in my top 3 favorite vegetables. It would have been rude not to sample some, and like I said, roasting makes everything better.

I was tempted to try to make this with a melted cheese crouton on top, but since gluten-free bread is so incredibly temperamental, a piece of toast with some Boursin seemed like a much safer bet. Apart from the cheese on the bread, the soup is entirely vegan.  I ended up having a lot of soup left over, so I ended up freezing the rest. I’ll report back on how it serves up after defrosting when I get around to eating it.

 

Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower & Leek Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5+ garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 head (about 2 pounds) cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 large (about 1 pound) bunch broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 large leeks, cleaned and light green/white part cut in half vertically
  • 1 1/2 liters (6 cups) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F/200C. In a large heavy pot heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion when oil is hot. Cook onion until soft and starting to brown. Reduce heat and add in garlic. Allow onion and garlic to continue to brown and caramelize over low heat, stirring occasionally (about every 10 minutes) while you prepare the rest of the soup.
  2. In a large bowl or plastic bag toss cauliflower, broccoli and leeks with remaining olive oil. Place on large rimmed baking sheets (I had to use two) and place in oven for 25 minutes. Turn the vegetables after 15 minutes.
  3. When vegetables are done roasting, transfer to the large pot with the onion. Increase heat to medium-high and add in 1 liter/4 cups of vegetable broth with salt and pepper to taste. Allow soup to come to a low boil and remove from heat. With either a blender or a hand blender, blend the soup until you reach the desired consistency. If the soup is too thick, add in more broth 1 cup at a time.
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