Although Greg and I both enjoy cooking we love a good restaurant. Searching the internet for good reviews is one of the first things we do when we visit a new city. We have our local favorites, and we even plan vacations around the restaurants we like the most.
I am thrilled when we I can duplicate some of our favorite restaurant dishes at home! A few of my favorites are Hot Crab Dip, that we enjoyed several years ago at a restaurant with Greg’s brother. Pot Roast Stuffed Baked Potatoes are one of my favorites from a restaurant just down the road from our house. I had Heirloom Tomato Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette at one of our favorite places in Savannah on my birthday a few years ago. All of these recipes can be found on www.notjustsundaydinner.com.
Feisty Feta Dip with Shrimp is a new one to add to the list. We had this tasty appetizer at one of our favorite restaurants in Augusta, Georgia. It is super easy to make. Crab meat can be used instead of shrimp, or you can leave out the seafood completely. Serve warm with pita chips or warm pita bread.
Feisty Feta and Shrimp Dip
- 6-oz. crumbled Feta cheese
- ⅓ c. chopped jarred roasted red peppers
- ¼ c. chopped jarred artichoke hearts
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 to 2 tsp. hot sauce
- pinch cayenne pepper
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 to 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 to ½ c. cooked shrimp, cut into large bite-size pieces
- Warm pita bread or pita chips, for serving
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the feta cheese, chopped peppers, artichoke hearts, onions, garlic, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Pulse until ingredients are well combined, but still slightly chunky. While pulsing add 2 to 3 tbsp. olive oil until the dip reaches desired consistency.
- Stir in cooked shrimp and spoon into a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until warmed through. Serve with pita bread or pita chips.
Worrying about the big holiday meal has apparently been passed on to me from many generations before. My mother, grandmother, and aunts started planning their holiday dishes far in advance. Everything had to be exceptional, and it seemed to take them days to cook and prepare for the feast. Don’t get me wrong; they did a fine job of it too! In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had any better meals than those in my memories.
I am still going to start planning weeks in advance but after years of fretting I have figured out that every dish does not have to be painstakingly hard or time-consuming. Nevertheless, it can be every bit as delicious.
These days there seem to be fewer casseroles on holiday tables compared to years past. I have noticed at my family gatherings alone; we now have asparagus, Brussel sprouts, and green beans. I never saw those on Thanksgiving and Christmas tables when I was growing up. Sure, there will always be the sweet potato casseroles and a few of the other classics. However, with our society being more health conscious, and fresh produce more readily available, fresh vegetables have become increasingly popular side dishes for holiday feasts.
Thanks to Berry Farms in Lyons I have these wonderful fresh organic green beans. These fabulous green beans are not only delicious, but they are very easy to prepare as well. You may find that this becomes a year round side dish because they are so yummy!
Balsamic and Garlic Green Beans
- 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Cook beans in boiling salted water to cover over high heat for 6 minutes; drain. Plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process; drain.
- Saute garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the beans and saute 3 to 4 minutes. Add vinegar, salt, and pepper; saute 1 minute.
If you visit Not Just Sunday Dinner often you know that my new obsession is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I believe I could chipotle peppers to just about anything and love it!
Cheese dip is one of the first things I made as a young cook. Everyone loves cheese dip. Over the years I have used a total of three different recipes. My first recipe was pretty simple, some Velveeta, some sharp cheese, a can or Rotel, ground beef and sausage. A few years back I switched up my recipe to the Queso dip that you’ll find here on NJSD. I still love that dip but there can be picky eaters that don’t like the spinach. They drive me crazy, but they do exist! Not that the Queso dip needed any improvement, it is perfect just they way it is (to me). However, I was really craving the smoky flavor of chipotle in a cheese dip, so I started experimenting.
What I have come up with is a huge hit at our house! The number of chipotle peppers is totally up to your taste. If I were not feeding others I might possibly add more than this recipe suggest.
Amye's Smoky Cheese Dip
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 lb. sausage
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 lb. Velveeta, cubed
- 1 lb. Pepper Jack cheese, cubed
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 c. milk
- 1 can Rotel, undrained
- 2 - 3 chipotle peppers (or to taste) in adobo sauce, seeds removed and chopped fine
- ½ tbsp - 1 tbsp. adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers, or to taste
- Brown ground beef and sausage in a skillet. Drain and pour the beef and sausage into a slow-cooker.
- In the skillet, add oil and saute onion until soft. Add garlic during the last minute of cooking. Add to the slow-cooker. Add the Velveeta, Pepper Jack cheese, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, milk, Rotel, and chipotle peppers. Stir to combine.
- Cook on low, stirring occasionally, until melted.
- Serve with corn chips.
Judging from the rain we had over the weekend from Hermine, I should have written about the hot, dry weather months ago. Other than a few limbs to pick up now, we faired well here on the farm, as I also hope that you did also.
With Labor Day behind me, I am truly getting into the “autumn” mind frame. As I mentioned last week, I am tired of the hot, the dry, the mowing, and the bugs. I thought I would take us into fall a little early with recipes for these wonderful meatballs with marinara sauce.
These recipes are simple and delicious, and great served on zoodles or pasta. My cousin, Robin, recently shared this scrumptious meatball recipe with me. I doubled the recipe, thinking I would have plenty of leftovers but my crowd ate every last one of them. The marinara sauce is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe from one of her older cookbooks, Everyday Italian, and I’ve been making it for years. It is literally so good I could eat it like soup.
Complete your meal with a tossed salad and garlic bread for a fabulous meal to serve any day of the week.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- ½ lb. ground pork
- ¾ c. bread crumbs
- ½ c. grated Romano cheese
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 1½ tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh basil
- 1½ tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 egg
- In a large bowl, mix ground beef, egg, and bread crumbs. Add cheese, parsley, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to your taste if desired.
- Roll into balls and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350° F for about 25 minutes or until no longer pink.
- Serve over pasta with marinara sauce.
- ½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- ½ tsp. salt, or more to taste
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- 2 (32-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 dried bay leaves
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and garlic, and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and ½ tsp. each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.