Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach artichoke dip is one of my very favorite foods. Whenever we go out to eat, I'm always tempted by this appetizer. I hardly ever order it, however, because I hate paying 6-8 bucks for two little scoops of dip! Hardly enough to whet anyone's appetite, if you ask me! I had a perfect excuse to make these tonight, however. We were having two friends over for dinner (spaghetti and meatballs), and this dip seemed a perfect addition to our meal.

Now, I've tried quite a few recipes for spinach artichoke dip over the years. I think I'm officially done looking. This one is my favorite!

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese (I used all Parmaggiano Reggiano here with great success)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a small baking dish.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, garlic, basil, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.
I think the real star in this recipe was the basil. I've never seen it in a similar dip, but it made the whole thing pesto-ish. Totally fabulous! Filing this one away under "Make Often."

(PS--Sorry there's no picture! I was too hungry to wait! Blame it on the pregnancy...)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chicken Makhani--aka Delcious Food

Thus far, my pursuit of Indian cookery has been somewhat limited. I make a chicken curry that is one of our all-time favorites, naan, and even some chickpea curries. Tonight, I branched out a little more! Still in the chicken realm, since lamb is expensive and virtually non-existent in this area, but still. Progress is progress. And in this case, progress is absolutely delicious!

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon curry madras
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup half-and-half (or heavy cream if you want to go nuts)
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon curry madras
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in half-and-half and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce.
  3. Blend the sauce with the cashews. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.
To be perfectly honest, I didn't follow the recipe too faithfully. I realized when I was posting this that I forgot the lemon juice (that would have been good!) and never added water to the chicken...Hmmm. I think we had too many dishes going at once! Without Allen being the naan man, it could have been a disaster of an evening. We had this chicken with basmati, naan, and saag paneer. The saag was good, but I'm going to try a few more recipes to see if I can find one I like better.

PS--I stole this picture. We just BARELY had time to get our food scooped into bowls before House started at 7! No time for photography!! But it looked like that, I promise! Such a gorgeous color!