Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip

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Well, Christmas season is definitely here! My house is decorated, it snowed over the weekend, and Christmas party season is in full swing. In our winters here in Virginia so far, I’ve only seen us get 2 “snows” per year max, so maybe we can get away with this being our only snow for the season?!? (probably wishful thinking)

This dip is a sweet appetizer/dessert that I made to take over to my husband’s casual work Christmas party. This party is one of those where your meal is made up of different appetizers and dips people have brought over. I wanted something that I could make easily and would travel well (read – I don’t have to worry about keeping it hot getting it there), so this gingerbread cheesecake dip from Food, Folks, and Fun fit the bill. I’m not joking when I say you could have this ready to go in 10-15 minutes (with washing the mixer), and I know quick and easy is always appreciated this time of year. Just be sure to set out your cream cheese as it will mix much easier at room temperature!

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As far as the spices go, I noticed last minute that I didn’t have any ground ginger, so I subbed in pumpkin pie spice (which isn’t exactly the same but gets the same idea). Because of that swap, I decreased the amount of cinnamon I used down to 1/2 teaspoon.

To serve, I set out honey graham crackers and cinnamon-sugar pita chips, but you could certainly use other dippers such as vanilla wafers, gingerbread crisps, or even fruit such as apples or grapes. I topped it with some seasonal sprinkles to add some color, but this is entirely optional. As the original author said, if you are prepping this significantly ahead of time, wait until just before serving to add the sprinkles. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip
Adapted from Food, Folks, and Fun

Ingredients:
1 8oz pkg of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 oz (1/2 pkg) of whipped cream
Dippers: graham crackers, cinnamon-sugar pita chips, cookie wafers, apples, etc.
Optional: seasonal sprinkles

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the brown and powdered sugar and mix until thoroughly combined. Mix in the molasses and spices and lastly add and mix in the whipped cream. Beat on medium-high for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl. If not planning to serve it immediately, cover and refrigerate until serving time. Add sprinkles, if desired, immediately before serving.

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SRC: Lightened-Up French Onion Dip

lightened up french onion dip with celery

It’s the beginning of a new month, so it’s time for our group to post our recipes for the Secret Recipe Club. My secret blogger this month was Isabelle from the blog Crumb. She has a great sense of humor that comes through in her posts (just read her about me), and a recipe archive full of recipes I’d love to make. I can honestly tell you I have several more recipes bookmarked!

This month, it was a little easier for me to pick out a recipe. We had some family in town this past weekend, so I actually had a reason for a Superbowl spread 🙂 Straight to the appetizer section and this recipe for lightened-up french onion dip.

lightened up french onion dip close

While it takes a little bit of preparation time, making the dip is pretty straight forward. The more time you can give to the onions, the better. You want them to get that great brown (but not burnt) color. I made the dip the same day that we ate it, although in the future, I would try to do it the day before to allow the flavors to blend just a bit longer. We enjoyed the dip along side some veggies as a lighter side to the Superbowl goodies, but I’m sure it would be good with chips too. 🙂 Thanks Isabelle!

(Printable Recipe)

Lightened-Up French Onion Dip
From Crumb

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1-1/2 cups diced red onion
1-1/2 cups diced sweet onion
1-1/2 cups diced yellow onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1-1/2 cups plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp. lemon juice
dash Worcestershire sauce

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low-medium and continue to cook the onions until caramelized, about 20-25 minutes longer. Stir occasionally.  If the onions appear to dry out and start to burn, you can add a little water (about 1 tablespoon) at a time to keep them from burning. Cook until the onions have turned a nice brown color and are very soft. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a separate bowl, mix the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. When the onion mixture has cooled, add and mix thoroughly. Adjust seasonings if needed. Cover and chill the dip for at least 1 hour (or up to 48 hours) to allow the flavors to blend together. Serve with vegetables or potato chips.

Crazy Feta Dip

crazy feta dip

Olympic fever. I’ve been seeing it all over the blogs. I certainly seem to have caught a case of it myself. Unfortunately, I am not able to stream the events live while I’m at work, but you’ll know where to find me in the evenings for the next couple weeks. Go USA!

Last Summer Olympics (2008) the hubbs and I were so inspired by the swimming events that we thought we’d do a few laps in the pool at the gym for a workout the next day. Despite the fact I’d like to think we are both in pretty good cardiovascular shape, we were done in about 2.5 laps. I can’t imagine swimming as much as many of those athletes!

While this dip may not have much of a relation with the Olympics, it certainly would make a great appetizer for any Olympic parties that may unfold. The dip comes from Jessica’s blog, How Sweet It Is. If you have never visited her blog, please do. Her recipes always look amazing, and her posts are completely entertaining. Jessica indicates this recipe comes from her cousin who invented it after having something similar at a restaurant. All that I can say is thank you! 

I made this recipe to take to a work potluck a couple weeks ago. It was pretty unassuming sitting next to many of the other dishes, but as soon as a couple people stared eating it, it disappeared quickly. I halved the recipe using only 1 large jalapeno, and used crumbled feta due to ingredient limitations. All that I can say is the lemon, a bit of heat from the peppers, and the salt from the feta combine to make something amazing. I served it with crackers, but I think it would be equally as good with pita chips or slices of baguette (maybe sourdough?). Try it out. You just may go crazy for feta!

(Printable Recipe)

Crazy Feta Dip
From How Sweet It Is

Ingredients: 
16 oz. feta (bricks or crumbled)
3 jalapenos, seeded and quartered
1/4 cup olive oil + olive oil drizzle
1 bulb garlic
juice 1/2 lemon
zest 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the top of the garlic. Drizzle with a little olive oil and wrap the bulb in foil. Brush the pepper pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the peppers and garlic in the preheated oven. Roast the garlic for 25-30 minutes, or until it is golden in color. Roast the peppers until the skin is blistered and blackened, about 15-20 minutes. Once the jalapenos have cooled, remove the skins and chop into small pieces.

If using feta bricks, crumble the feta into a large bowl. Add the chopped jalapenos, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Squeeze the garlic bulb, and the roasted cloves will fall out into the bowl. Add 1/4 cup olive oil. Mash the dip together with a fork. The dip will look “wet.” Season with salt and pepper as needed. Store in the refrigerator, although the consensus seems to be that it tastes best at room temperature.

Guacamole and White Bean Dip

white bean and avocado dip with chip

One of our favorite restaurants makes this appetizer called Guac-a-toni. The restaurant is a pizza joint, and the Guac-a-toni is an Italianfied take on guacamole. They serve it with a cracker-thin pizza crust baked a thin layer of crispy cheese. I can tell you (unashamedly) that I would be completely satisfied with only this as my meal!

I tell you that to tell you this. Cinco de Mayo is quickly approaching, and basil (the Italian side) seemingly makes a huge addition to a typical Mexican guacamole!  

This recipe comes from Sarah at 20something Cupcakes. She first posted it back around the Superbowl, but trust me, you do not need a special occasion to make this dish. It has the standard line up for guacamole – avocado, lemon/lime juice, salt, cilantro, and shallots/garlic with an extra kick from basil and cannellini beans.Yum!

white bean and avocado dip

Someone send me a bag of chips, and I’ll be set. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Guacamole and White Bean Dip 
Adapted from 20something Cupcakes

Ingredients:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic
2 cans (15 oz each) cannellini beans (white beans)/, drained and rinsed
4 avocados
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2-3 shallots, finely minced
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive-oil in a pan over medium-low heat. You will use the garlic to make a garlic-infused oil. Crush the garlic cloves with the side of a chef’s knife, remove the dried wrapping, and add them to the oil. Cook bringing to a gentle sizzle, turning the heat down if necessary to keep the garlic from burning. Continue to sizzle for about 10 minutes or until the garlic is golden. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and throw it out. 

Add the beans to the oil while on low heat. Cook until the beans absorb the oil and start to become crispy on the outside. Mash with a spoon and allow them to cook for about 5-10 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and cool.

Add the peeled, pitted avocado to a large bowl. Drizzle with the lime juice. Add the shallots, herbs, and beans. Mash together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Can I get a woo hoo! I finally got my Authorization to Test (ATT) today to take my board exams! I’ve been trying to study, but it’s a little hard to concentrate without a test date looming. I have two of them now – one next week and one the week after. So, if my posting is a little less frequent, please forgive. My nose will now be to the grindstone. These should be the last tests I’ll have to take in my professional life, and I promise that I will be back after the 9th in full force. 

Outside of all that hoopla, it’s Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start to summer! Hope you all have some fabulous plans with friends and family (much better than my dates with my books). Please remember to think of our troops during our celebrations this weekend, as part of the holiday is to honor their service to this country. 

While this hummus may not quite be patriotic, it is “redish,” and I thought it would make a great last minute dish if you are still looking for something to take to that Monday barbecue. Hummus is always a great appetizer, and roasted red pepper has to be my favorite variation that I’ve tried. It also can make out to be healthier side because the chickpeas give it quite a bit of fiber and vegetables make great dippers (not that pita chips don’t). It doesn’t melt and transports well, so there really isn’t any excuse not to bring this along. I know I will dig in if you do 🙂 Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
From The Best Light Recipe

Ingredients:
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. tahini
3/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, and patted dry with a paper towel
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (1/4 tsp.)
pinch cayenne pepper

Process the chickpeas, water, lemon juice, tahini, roasted red peppers, 2 teaspoons of the oil, salt, garlic, and cayenne together in a food processor until very smooth, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the flavors meld, about 30 minutes. The hummus covered, can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature. To serve, make a well in the center of the hummus, and drizzle the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in the well (can skip this step). Serve with pita chips, crackers, or desired vegetables for dipping.

I am linking this to Mangia Mondays.

Hummus Pizza

Pizza time! In all honesty, Tessa and I could probably have a blog devoted solely to our many adventures in pizza making. We enjoy making pizza so much that it is really difficult to convince either one of us that going out for pizza is worth it! The one exception to this rule is Mama’s Pizza here in Omaha, but that is a story for another day. 

We received a food processor for Christmas from my parents and the exclamation of Tessa when she opened it paved the way for our latest pizza experiment. To quote Christmas morning, she said “Look Derek, now we can make Hummus!” As previously mentioned, we love Greek and Mediterranean food and hummus is always our favorite appetizer. During the process of trying to find a recipe for hummus on Allrecipes, we ran across this unique pizza.

The recipe called for refrigerated pizza crust and a generic hummus spread. Fortunately, we have an awesome recipe for homemade pizza crust, available here, and we found a good recipe for homemade hummus. After Tessa reassured me that garbanzo beans and chick peas were the same thing, the only thing we changed was using both red and green peppers on the pizza. For anyone looking for a unique, but delicious pizza experience, we recommend trying this pizza!!!

Hummus Pizza
Ingredients:
Homemade pizza crust
2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch paprika
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups sliced bell peppers, any color
1 cup broccoli florets
2 cups shredded fat-free Mozzarella cheese

Place the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out pizza crust and place on a pizza pan or baking sheet. Spread a thin layer of hummus over the crust. Arrange the sliced peppers and broccoli over the hummus, and top with shredded cheese.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until the crust is golden brown and cheese is melted in the center. Slice and serve.

Black Bean Avocado Dip

With tailgate season upon us, I thought I’d post this recipe for a great chip dip. We made this recipe a couple weeks ago for a backyard BBQ, but it would make great game day fare! I know that all that we brought home from the BBQ was an empty bowl. This recipe comes from a family friend who is an AMAZING cook – she actually gave me a handwritten cookbook of her favorite recipes for our wedding!

The only thing I might do differently next time is add a few more tomatoes, but that is just personal preference. Make it! You’ll like it!
Black Bean Avocado Dipfrom Kathy Jones
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (11 oz) mexicorn, drained
2 chopped avocados
1 c. chopped tomatoes
1/2 c. chopped onions
1 Tbsp. chopped jalapeno pepper (we just used 1 medium sized pepper)
1 tsp. lime juice
Dressing:
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. garlic salt
black pepper to taste
Mix first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients; stir well. Pour over bean-avocado mixture. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Serve with chips.