Monthly Archives: February 2012

Baked Spinach Dip

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Cheesy goodness.

When I started this blog, I had a plan to update it at least once a week. My last post was February 1st. Oops. School has been kicking my butt lately.

The other night I was looking in my fridge and realized I had a big bag of fresh spinach and a random assortment of cheeses I needed to use before they went bad. So I decided to whip up a spinach dip from scratch. I had never made spinach dip before, but the directions looked easy enough and I happened to have all the ingredients. I was pleased with how it came out, and even left over, it made a pretty satisfying midnight snack for my roommates and myself. I would have loved to add artichokes, but I didn’t have enough. Next time!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. package of fresh spinach, or one package of frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 8 oz. package plain cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchâtel cheese, which has 1/3 less fat)
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 3/4 – 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Roughly chop fresh spinach and toss into a food processor, along with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Pulse to desired consistency. Mine was very finely ground. If using frozen spinach, you can skip this step.
  2. In a small frying pan, heat up 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add minced shallot and garlic and cook until softened, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, Greek yogurt, ricotta cheese, spices, spinach, and about half of the Parmesan cheese (so ~1/4 cup). Stir until blended.
  4. In an 8 inch greased glass pie dish or 8 x 8 baking dish, pour mixture in and spread around. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese has turned golden brown. Serve with chips or veggies.
  6. Enjoy.

3-Bean Turkey Chili

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Mhmmmm.

Seeing as the Superbowl is right around the corner, it doesn’t seem necessary to make a long introduction as to why I’m posting this.

Chili has become one of my go-to recipes this winter. It’s inexpensive to make and there are about a billion different things you can do with it. This recipe is on the healthier side but still super tasty and filling. Win-win situation.

This chili has a bit of a kick, so if you’re not a big fan of spicy food, add the spices slowly and taste as you go along. The cocoa powder and cinnamon really help bring out the flavors of the chili but just make sure not to add too much cinnamon; I made that mistake the second time I cooked this and it quickly overpowered the other flavors.

If you’re not a fan of ground turkey, you can of course substitute beef or even shredded chicken or turkey. Or play around with the vegetables, maybe add some zucchini or mushrooms? Mmm.

Ingredients:
serves 8-10 (but can easily be halved)

  • 2 lbs. 93% lean ground turkey
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper and 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1-2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle pepper powder (or paprika for less heat)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Tabasco sauce
  • 1  tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 15. oz can each of kidney beans, chickpeas, and black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1 avocado, sliced (optional)
  • Small bunch of fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large, nonstick frying pan (no oil needed if using ground beef). Place ground turkey in pan and break into chunks with a wooden spoon, cooking until no pink remains. Remove from pan and set aside in a covered bowl.
  2. In same frying pan, add 2 Tbsp of olive oil, garlic, red and green bell peppers, and onions. Cook until soft and onions are translucent. Add turkey into pan.
  3. Add dry spices (but not cocoa powder or cinnamon just yet). Stir until blended and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. In a large cooking pot, pour in both cans of crushed tomatoes and Tabasco sauce. Cook for a couple minutes until warm.
  5. Transfer turkey and veggies from frying pan into pot with tomato mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Add cocoa powder and cinnamon and stir.
  6. Stir in beans, cooking for another 5 minutes.
  7. Add any other spices as needed, and salt and pepper. Serve with shredded cheese, sliced avocado, and fresh cilantro.

Enjoy!