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Spinach Artichoke Dip

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I cannot take full credit for this post…my cousin Gwen was actually the chef on this one; however it is a favorite recipe of mine that I passed on to her.

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For those who may not know; Bucky and I became engaged a little over a month ago. This past weekend, we went to my hometown for the first time since being engaged, any my parents threw an “unofficial” engagement party, if you will. That being said, I requested Gwen make the Spinach Artichoke Dip.IMG_2919

Who can’t get excited about cream cheese, parmesan cheese, spinach and artichokes? All of those are things I love. Mix them all together, bake them, add tortilla chips….and I’m all over that. IMG_2932

This dip is pretty much amazing.IMG_2933This dip could most definitely be served with something healthy, like carrots, celery, radish slices, etc. However, I prefer tortilla or pita chips. With something so indulgent; I don’t mess around with healthy dippers.
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What I also love about this dish is that it’s so simple….Mix together and press into a baking dish….and bake. Then eat copious amounts of this. Who could disagree with this.
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People who don’t like spinach and/or artichokes could disagree. But I don’t care to associate with people who don’t like spinach or artichokes…just kidding (kind of).

Ingredients:

  • One 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained very well
  • One 14-oz. can artichoke hearts (packed in water), drained very well and chopped
  • One 8-oz. container cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat parmesan-style grated topping, divided
  • 3 tbsp. minced shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, and 3 tbsp. of the parm-style topping. Add the salt and cayenne pepper, and then stir until smooth.
  2. In a pan sprayed with nonstick spray, cook the shallots and garlic over medium heat until soft (1 – 2 minutes). Set aside.
  3. To the large bowl, add spinach, artichoke hearts and garlic/shallot mixture. Stir well.
  4. Transfer to a casserole dish, top with the remaining parm, and then bake for 30 minutes (or until bubbly).

IMG_2946I meant to take an “after” shot post-baking; but I couldn’t get a shot before it was eaten in full…..

Adapted from Hungry Girl.

Spicy Chicken Sausage, Kale & Orecchiette Soup

This soup. I don’t even know where to begin. It’s absolutely delicious…and it has kale; so it has to be 100% healthy, right? Maybe not….but at any rate, it’s better than many other dishes!
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What is there not to love about spicy chicken sausage, pasta, kale and Parmesan cheese? Oh yeah, AND red pepper flakes. To me, it is the ultimate.
After we first made this recipe, I sent it to my mom to try. She immediately made it for she and my dad. Now, let me preface. My dad is not what I would consider a “healthy eater.” He’s not big on salads as a meal, and would rather eat a nice big bowl of pasta or a juicy burger if he was going out to eat. “Soup” and “Kale” are not typically at the top of his vocabulary. My mom said he raved about this soup. He talked about it for days and asked her to make it again. You know that means it’s a good soup. We have loved it, and we hope you will as well.
Spicy Chicken Sausage, Kale & Orecchiette Soup
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Ingredients:
·      2 tablespoons olive oil
·      1 sweet onion, diced
·      1/4 teaspoon salt
·      1/4 teaspoon black pepper
·      1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
·      4 garlic cloves, minced
·      6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
·      1 pound spicy Chicken sausage
·      1 cup orecchiette pasta
·      4 cups fresh kale, remove from stems and torn into pieces
·      1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
Directions:
  1. Heat a large pot over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion with the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and stir. Cook until onions soften, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, then add the chicken stock, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid to a boil.
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  2. While the stock is heating up, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from the casing (if it’s in casing) and add it to the skillet with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the sausage is browned, about 6 to 8 minutes, breaking it into smaller pieces (or whatever size you desire) with a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat.
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  3. When the stock is boiling, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, just until it’s al dente. Add the kale and stir well, cooking for 2 more minutes. Stir in the cheese, then taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired. You can add all of the sausage into the soup or serve the soup into bowls and add the sausage on top per serving. Serve with extra cheese for grating.
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Adapted from How Sweet Eats