Posts Tagged ‘cheesy’

I had been eyeing spinach dips for a while, and finally had a good excuse to whip up a batch on mother’s day. Artichokes can only add deliciousness to food, so when I came across this recipe in Julie van Rosendaal’s Grazing, I knew I had to give it a try. The resulting dip was flavourful and smooth, perfect served warm over crackers. It also made for delicious leftovers the next day, which only seem to have intensified the flavours.

If I were to do it again, I might use cheddar on top and sprinkle it on top just for the last 10 minutes – it would be just a little sharper in flavour and softer in texture for the top. But overall, a winning dip.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Serves 8

1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1-10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed with excess moisture squeezed out
1-14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped, reserving the liquid
1-8 ounce package light cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup milk
1 cup low fat sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Saute the onions and garlic in about 2 tablespoons of the artichoke heart liquid until translucent. Add the spinach and saute until all the liquid has evaporated.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the artichokes, cream cheese and milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts. Stir in the sour cream, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and cook until heated through.

Transfer the spinach mixture to a baking dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Delicious serve with crackers, tortilla chips, or vegetables!

– Catherine

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These just melt in your mouth!


For a long time in my life, the concept of any type of melts was unappealing.  It likely had something to do with the book Angleworms on Toast, a children’s stroy written in the 1940s that was popular among my cousins for pre-bedtime reading at our cottage.  The story is about a boy Tommy, whose one desire in life is to eat “Angleworms, creamed on toast”.  When he comes home “sick” one day from school, his family specially dig up some worms for him and the cook produces a creamed rendition of the worms.  Needless to say, this book was unsuccessful in converting me into a fan of creamed food on toast.

Opening the fridge last night, I discovered that not shopping in over 10 days offered minimal choice for supper.  The vegetable supply was down to potatoes, onions, carrots, and a package of sad looking mushrooms.  Sautéed mushrooms in sherry and cream never fails to please  (and they are a great way to use up mushrooms past their prime), so I decided the thing to attempt was creamed mushrooms on toast.

The results surpassed my expectations. Simple, yet delicious, these mushroom melts literally evaporated.  The bubbly cheese beautifully complemented the delicious mushrooms.  One toast would make an elegant starter for a dinner party, while two with a salad makes a quick, easy, and delicious dinner!

Mushroom Melts

(2 servings)


1 tablespoon butter

1 onion

1 clove garlic

1 pound mushrooms (about 12-15), diced

Splash of sherry

¼ cup light cream

Splash of sherry


4 pieces of toast

Mozarella cheese, grated


Preheat oven for broiling.  Meanwhile, sweat onion and garlic in butter over medium heat in frying pan.  Add mushrooms and sauté until golden.  Deglaze the pan with a splash of sherry, followed by the cream. Bring the juices to a boil, allowing the mushrooms to absorb most of the sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and parsley.

Spoon the mushrooms over four pieces of toasted bread.  Sprinkle as much cheese as desired on top of mushooms.  Broil mushroom melts for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.  Enjoy!

–       Catherine

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You'll devour the pine nut crunch topping!

A mon avis, nothing is more gratifying that to come home and discover your next month’s Bon Appetit monthly subscription is waiting for you.  The next two hours of your life will likely be spent oohing and aahing over the lovely delicious looking food.  This month’s feature was “remarkably sumptuous baked pastas” – and I decided to try one of the vegetarian fares.

My vegetarian adventures this month have taught me that I need to sneak in protein and iron wherever I can in my food.  Basil it turns out has a remarkable amount of iron (3.2 mg/100 grams of basil, just over 25% of your RDA) and pine nuts are full of protein (plus they are amazingly tasty).  The eggplant gives the dish subsetance, perfect for those of learning to live in a meatless world.  This dish – full of cheese, basil, and eggplant – certainly did the trick of delicious and nutritious.

The pasta recipe was a little more finicky that I am used to – nothing challenging, per se, but with a surprising number of components.   It is also incredibly creamy – the first few bites I had were overwhelming (I confess to rarely eating a rose sauce made with whipping cream), but by the end of my first bowl, I was lapping up every last drop.  The winning part of the dish is the topping: the pine nut crunch and mozzarella combo is superb.

Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch

(12 servings)


Roasted Veggies

Olive Oil

1 unpeeled large egglplant, cut into ½ inch cubes (I actually used 3 chinese eggaplants because my grocery store was out of North American eggplant)

2 medium bell peppers, cut into ½ inch squares

2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt and pepper

Pine Nut Crunch:

1 cup fimly packed fresh basil leaves

½ cup Parmesan cheese,

¼ cup pine nutes

1 garlic clove

Pasta Sauce:

1 pound rigatoni

1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes in juice

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves

1 garlic clove

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated

½ cup Parmesan cheese


Preheat over to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss veggies to roast with oil and salt and pepper.  Roast vegetables until tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until tender, but still firm to bite stirring occasionally.  Drain and return to pot.

In a food processor combine all ingredients to make pine nut crunch.  Blend until crumbly and set aside.

Create rose sauce by blending tomatoes, cream, basil, and garlic until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

Mix roasted veggies with sauce, Parmesan cheese, and pasta in pot.  Transfer to 13x9x2inch baking dish.  Sprinkle with pine nut topping followed by mozzarella.  Bake pasta until heated through, 25 to 35 minutes, and topping is brown and bubbly.  Let stand 10 minutes and serve!

– Catherine

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