Curry Dip for Vegetables

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.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Curry Dip for Vegetables

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Spicy Cocktail Meatballs

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.

For a printer friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Spicy Cocktail Meatballs

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Spinach Bites


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.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here:  Spinach Bites

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