Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sweet Onion Dip

I've got one last dip to round out January and get you ready for the big game.  Do any of you care about the Super Bowl this year?  Honestly, I never do, but I'm not a fan of football.  I'll go to Super Bowl parties, but I'm there for the food and the company.

My sister Molly made this sweet onion dip for us.  I was hesitant at first because I'm usually not a fan of onions unless they're cooked really well.  This dip tastes just as the name promises, it's sweet and oniony, and actually quite good.

Make sure you cut the onions small so they are able to fully cook.  If they are not quite done after 30 minutes, put them back in the oven until they are soft and sweet.

Because there are equal parts of everything, this recipe is really easy to scale up or down.

This dip can get a little greasy (especially if you're reheating it).  Just blot with a paper towel if needed.  I've heard of some people using subbing half of the mayo for cream cheese to cut down on the grease, but I haven't tried this yet.

Sweet Onion Dip
From Molly, adapted from All Recipes
Yield:  1 pie plate or 8 x 8 baking dish

2 cups sweet onions (such as Vidalia), diced
2 cups mayo
2 cups shredded cheese (Molly uses a package of 3 Cheese blend, but you could also use any combination of cheddar, mozzarella, swiss or parmesan)
Crackers, pretzels, sliced French bread, tortilla chips or veggies for serving

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix everything together and transfer to an oven proof baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes stirring about half way through the cooking time.  The dip is ready when the onions are cooked and the dip is lightly browned.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Popper Dip

I've been making jalapeno popper dip for a few years now, and it has become a signature appetizer of mine. Jalapeno poppers are very popular, but time consuming to prep. I first heard about turning poppers into a dip through a family member, so I took that idea and combined it with my favorite popper recipe. It's really quick and easy to put together.  If you make it ahead of time, just keep it in the fridge until you're ready to pop it in the oven. It freezes well too, just thaw in the fridge and bake as usual. Be careful though, in my experience the dip seems to get spicier after sitting in the freezer.

Don't skip the mayo, it keeps the dip soft and scoopable.

Popper Dip
Adapted from my Aunt Kimberly's popper recipe
Yield: 1 pie plate or 8x8 baking dish

2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp mayo
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or pepper jack if you want some extra zip)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz can chopped green chilies, drained
4 oz can chopped jalapenos, drained
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs (optional)
Tortilla chips, Fritos or raw veggies for serving

Preheat oven to 375. Mix everything together until combined and transfer to a baking dish. Bake the dip for about 10 minutes, then stir it around, and smooth the top.   Sprinkle with breadcrumbs if using.  Put it back in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Domain Name & Fan Page

Yesterday was a productive day as far as this blog is concerned.  I got my own domain name:  sarahberridge.com and created a Facebook fan page.  Go ahead, Like Me.  I also (finally) fixed all the broken pictures on some of the old posts.  I never did figure out why random pictures were breaking, but at least it's not happening anymore.

If you have my blog bookmarked as cookergirl.blogspot.com, it'll automatically redirect to sarahberridge.com

If you are subscribed to my blog through a feed reader, no worries, the feed is still the same.

If you would like to get the new posts emailed to you, head over to the top right corner of this page and sign up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pizza Dip

Who doesn't love pizza?  I'm always on the lookout for new and easy appetizers and dips.  This one caught my eye when my grandma brought it to Xmas after Xmas 2010.  I was reminded about it when it popped up a few more times over the course of 2011.  I added it to my New Years lineup and served it with sliced French bread.  You just spoon the dip on and it's like a mini French bread pizza.

For toppings, I used green and red peppers, black olives and mushrooms.  I meant to add banana peppers, but forgot.  I kept it vegetarian this time, but pepperoni and/or cooked sausage would be great too.
Side Note:  Did you know you could get day old bread from Jimmy John's for 50 cents?  I didn't know until recently. There are all kinds of old style signs displayed around the store and one mentioned bread for $0.50.  When I jokingly asked about it, I almost jumped for joy at the response.  I called my nearest JJ's the day of the party to see if they had any, and was able to save a few bucks on my food costs.  If you buy their day old bread, make sure you eat it the same day or it'll get hard. 
 These last couple weeks of football are a great excuse to make a new dip!

Pizza Dip
Adapted from Cleveland Food Goddess

2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley (I omitted)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 - 1 1/2 cups pizza sauce (depending on how saucy you like it)
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
An assortment of your favorite pizza toppings (olives, peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni, cooked sausage, banana peppers)
Sliced French bread or baguette, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350.
In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, dried herbs and garlic powder.  Spread the mixture in the bottom of an oven safe dish (a pie plate works perfectly).
Spread the pizza sauce over the cream cheese mixture.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the mozzarella and all of the parmesan cheese on top of the sauce.
Top with pizza toppings, then sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Serve immediately with sliced bread.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cranberry Chicken

I had some Cranberry Vinaigrette and little bleu cheese leftover so I made cranberry chicken. This was a really easy entree with almost no prep (if you count defrosting chicken as prep).  It turned out pretty good, and the chicken was moist and flavorful. The cranberry and bleu cheese combo is a definite winner.  So if you're looking for another use for cranberry vinaigrette, make this chicken.

Cranberry Chicken
Original Recipe
Yield: 2 servings

2 pieces of chicken (I used boneless thighs)
Salt & Pepper
1 Tbsp oil
1/2-3/4 cup cranberry vinaigrette
2 Tbsp bleu cheese crumbles

Preheat oven to 400.

Rinse the chicken with water and pat it dry.  Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.  In a medium hot pan, heat up the oil and place the chicken skin side down.  Sear both sides of the chicken for about 2 minutes each.

Pour the cranberry vinaigrette in a small baking dish.  Add the chicken skin side up and cover the dish with foil.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and place some cranberries on the chicken and top with bleu cheese.  Bake for 5 more minutes.

When serving, scoop up any cranberries left in the bottom of the pan to serve with the chicken.  Discard the liquid that's left.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Slice and Bake Cookies

Each year I try a few new recipes for my Christmas cookie packages.  This year I did peppermint bark and slice and bake cookies.  I tried two variations of slice and bakes: orange cranberry and lemon poppy seed.  Everyone's favorite was the orange cranberry.  I would definitely make the orange cranberry version again because I love that combination.  If I made lemon poppy seed again, I would use the zest of one more lemon and mix in only 2 or 3 tablespoons of poppy seeds.  There are many flavor variations for this recipe, and I look forward to experimenting.  If you want to try some savory slice and bake options check out these recipes (also from Dorie). 
I love the concept of slice and bakes, it's so easy.  Make the dough one night, then slice and bake the cookies on another night.  Slicing the dough makes really quick work, and you'll have a tons of cookies ready in no time.  Honestly, the hardest part  is making a round log.  It turned out to be a pain in the butt, so don't worry too much about it, just get a semi-uniform log and be done with it.

Slice-and-Bake Cookies
Adapted loosely from Dorie Greenspan as seen on Smitten Kitchen
Yield: about 4 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract
2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour

Mix in grated zest of 2 oranges and 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I finely chopped them)
Mix in grated zest of 2 lemons; coat with or mix in 1/4 cup poppy seeds (I thought it needed the zest of 1 more lemon, and 2 or 3 Tbsp should do it for the poppy seeds.)
Mix in grated zest of 2 limes; coat with 1/4 cup cornmeal
Mix in 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots; coat with or mix in 1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios
Mix in 1/2 cup mini chocolate or peanut-butter chips
Mix in 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger; coat with or mix in 1/4 cup sesame seeds
Swap 1/4 cup of flour for unsweetened cocoa
Swap 1/2 to 1 cup of flour for ground almonds, pecans, hazelnuts or walnuts

Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat at medium speed until it is smooth. Add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and beat again until the mixture is smooth and silky. Beat in the egg yolks, followed by the salt and vanilla and any dried fruits, zest, nuts or seeds. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, beating just until it disappears. It is better to underbeat than overbeat at this point; if the flour isn’t fully incorporated, that’s okay just blend in whatever remaining flour needs blending with a rubber spatula. Turn the dough out onto a counter, gather it into a ball, and divide it in half. Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Working on a smooth surface, form each piece of dough into a log that is about 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick. (Get the thickness right, and the length you end up with will be fine.) Wrap the logs in plastic and chill for 2 hours. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days or stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.)  I rolled each dough log with wax paper and put them in a zip lock bag.

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

While the oven is preheating, roll cookie logs in any coatings of your choice. Then, using a sharp slender knife, slice each log into cookies about 1/3 inch thick. (You can make the cookies thicker if you’d like; just bake them longer.) Place the cookies on the lined baking sheets, leaving about 1/2 inch space between them.

Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are set but not browned. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool to room temperature.

Do ahead: Packed airtight, the cookies will keep for about 5 days at room temperature, or in the freezer for a month. Unbaked logs can be frozen for longer.

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