I have two kids – one that likes dip, and one that doesn’t. The one that likes dip cannot fathom eating vegetables without it. So, the other day as I was scraping the last of the Ranch Dressing out of the bottle – just to get enough out so she would eat 3 measly carrot sticks, I starting thinking about how I was going to stop the madness. For her – a carrot stick is just a means to get more dip into her mouth. I decided that I was going to try and create my own dip for her – a healthier one, and one that even I would eat. I searched my cookbooks, and found one that I thought might just do it – and also, if I could start her liking curry flavor, it would open up a whole new taste world. It was worth a try anyway. I have been using this cookbook a lot lately, but I have to say, there are a lot of good recipes – I have only had success so far. I found this in Marayana Volltedt’s cookbook, The Big Book of Potluck – and I gave it a try. I thought it was delicious – not just for vegetables, but on a turkey burger, or grilled chicken, etc… My daughter – well, she ate it, but I think she prefers her good old-fashioned Ranch Dressing. What kid doesn’t?
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 green onion, including some tender green tops, cut up
- 2 parsley sprigs
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder, or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
Put all ingredients in a food processor and process until well blended. Transfer to a bowl or a decorative dish and refrigerator several hours.
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I am not sure what it is about this time of year – but find myself making a lot of meatballs. I keep thinking of things I want to make, and they all have meatballs in them – Italian Wedding Soup, Meatball Sandwiches, cocktail meatballs, etc… My neighbors decided to have a happy hour, and asked everyone to bring an appetizer – so what did I make? You got it – meatballs. I found this recipe in one of Maryana Vollstedt’s cook books called The Big Book of Potluck. She has a way of making very simple dishes that do not compromise on flavor. I decided on this one because of the spicy sauce – I thought they would go well with the drinks they were serving. The best part was I made the meatballs in the morning, put them on a cookie sheet and put plastic wrap on top – then baked them in the oven right before we headed over. When the meatballs and sauce were ready, I put them into a small crock pot, and as soon as I got to their house – plugged it in. They stayed wonderfully warm throughout the evening – and when it was time to go – there was only one left, which immediately went right into my mouth. I think they were a big hit.
- 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons beef broth
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 to 2 drops of Tabasco sauce
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- freshly group pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
To make the sauce: In a large saucepan over medium high heat combine all ingredients. Bring to a simmer and continue summering, uncovered, until flavors are blended, about 10 minutes.
To make the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well, using your hands. Form into 1/2-inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake until browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add meatballs to sauce and simmer 10 minutes. Transfer to a chafing dish to serve.
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If you are a parent – have you ever tried to get your kids to eat their vegetables? Better question, besides my sister-in-law, do any of your kids actually like to eat vegetables? I was shocked to hear that my nephew loves Brussel sprouts, and will pretty much eat anything his mother makes him (ok, maybe it is because she is such a great cook, but still). I consider myself a decent cook – and if I can get my girls to eat a vegetable, it is a very good day. Years ago I found a recipe for these Spinach Bites – every time I would make them, they would be gone in an instant. I decided to make them as an experiment – my older daughter has never liked spinach – but she helped me make these – and when they were ready – she ate 4!! She loved them.
These are so easy to make, and are perfect to bring for a pot-luck, or as an appetizer for a dinner party. I like them plain, but they are also very good dipped in a honey-mustard sauce.
I made these the easy way using some short-cuts based on what I had in the house, but you can definitely make these with all fresh ingredients. Use 10 oz. of fresh spinach – first saute 1 cup of chopped onions until soft, add 2 cloves of garlic, then the chopped spinach and 1/2 tsp of salt. Instead of prepared stuffing mix, use 2 cups of small dried bread cubes and substitute chicken broth for the water.
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2 T butter
- 2 cups prepared stuffing (like Stove Top)
- 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 2 eggs, slight beaten
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix water and butter in a medium bowl. Stir to melt butter. Stir in stuffing, spinach, cheese, eggs and nutmeg. Form into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until firm. Serve with honey mustard if desired. Makes about 3 dozen.
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