Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spinach Dip

This is one of those dips that seems to go great with no matter what you want to scoop it up with, and it's a wonderfully kid-friendly way to sneak spinach into their diet! :)

You'll need:
1 "brick" of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
1 brick of cream cheese (I use the 1/3-fat Neufchatel cream cheese, as I just find it to have a smoother texture), softened
1 16oz. container of sour cream (I use fat free; doesn't make a bit of difference in taste)
1 package of powdered ranch dip mix--I have used Hidden Valley in the past, but when I saw this in the store several months ago, I changed brands! Natural, no MSG, and it's yummy!

The only thing you need to do is mix 'em all together! That's IT! Instant yum!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Crunchy Chinese Cabbage Salad

This is THE favorite salad at our house. Everybody eats more than one serving, even the 2-year-old!
You'll need all this (plus some butter that I didn't bother to put in the pic):
One head of napa cabbage
2 packages of Ramen noodles (I prefer the oriental flavor, but I'm sure any flavor would be fine)
1 bunch of green onions
1/4 Cup slivered almonds
1Tbsp. sesame seeds
1/2 Cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
1/2 Cup canola oil (I would normally use extra virgin olive oil but the taste doesn't work with this salad)
1/2 Cup water
3-4 Tbsp. butter (I usually use 4, but you could probably get by with 3)

The first thing you'll do is shred the cabbage. Nice and thin shreds, you want something very close to taco-shreds. I don't use a grater, it's easy with a good, sharp chef knife. You also need to slice up your green onions. I used pretty much the entire bunch; there are a lot of mouths to feed 'round here, and that was a pretty hefty cabbage! 

After you get your greens in a bowl, take a mallet and carefully (you will burst the bag and it'll explode into a huge mess all over your kitchen if you whack it too hard) break up both packages of ramen noodles IN the bags. You don't want to pulverize it, but you do want it pretty well broken up. You'll then melt the butter in a skillet, add ONE packet of the ramen noodle seasoning, add in the noodles, almonds, and sesame seeds and cook at a mediumish heat (stirring very frequently) until you get a nice, golden color throughout. Like this:

Take the skillet off the heat to cool, and get out a bowl and whisk to assemble your salad dressing. Combine the other packet of ramen noodle seasoning with the vinegar, sugar, water, and oil and whisk vigorously to dissolve the sugar. Transfer to some sort of bottle that you can pour from with a lid that you can close and shake to re-incorporate the liquids. They will separate rather quickly as they stand. This was after two minutes:

Now you're ready to get that salad in your bowl and EAT! Top a handful of salad with a good sprinkling of the crunchies, then drizzle some dressing on top .... ENJOY! (OOOOOH, this is yummy; makes me want to lick my screen!!!!)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pantry Salsa (black bean and corn)

This is a very easy, very yummy and seriously crowd-pleasing salsa that you can whip up in minutes if you keep the items in your pantry! In fact, I got the recipe from one of the ladies we went to church with when we lived in El Paso, TX; she was Mexican and said that this salsa was perfectly acceptable to her family! Good enough for me! Actually, what's good enough for me is that my hubby BEGS me to make this.

Pantry Salsa: in a food processor, pulse together 6-8 (or more if you're a heat fan) pickled jalapeno rings, 4 cloves of fresh garlic, a handful of fresh cilantro and a can of diced green chilis. Once this mixture is smooth, add a can of whole kernel corn (drained), a can of black beans (drained), three cans of Ro-Tel tomatoes (the ones with green chilis), and one can of Hunts Fire-Roasted diced tomatoes. That's it. Depending on the size of your food processor, you might not be able to fit everything in it--just empty the processor into a bowl and keep whizzing. Combine in the big bowl and stir well.

I made a batch last night before we had taco salad; this is what we had left. I am storing the salsa in my favorite "leftover" containers--Classico spaghetti sauce jars!