Spinach Artichoke Dip

Let's just skip over the part where I talk about how long it's been since my last post, m'kay? thanks!!
I can't believe I have not posted this yet as it is one of my go-to appetizer recipes and usually the first one I volunteer if I am asked to bring one to a function. I got the recipe from my sister-in-law and I love it.

The Ingredients

1 (10 oz) package of frozen, chopped spinach
2 (6 oz) jars marinated artichoke hearts
3 large cloves garlic, minced
12 oz cream cheese, softened 
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

Thaw the spinach and then squeeze all the moisture out of it by pressing between layers of paper towel. Drain and chop the artichoke hearts. 
As you can see in the picture, I used whipped cream cheese so I don't have to wait for softening because I ALWAYS forget that step. Since it is whipped, it is already soft but also not quite as much is there so I use 16 ounces total.
Combine all ingredients, except breadcrumbs, in a large bowl.

Mix thoroughly. I have never found an easier, quicker or more thorough tool for this than my own hands. 

Spread into a lightly greased 11 x 7 inch casserole dish and sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly on top. I never actually measure the breadcrumbs, I just give the top an even coat.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until breadcrumbs are slightly browned and toasty.

I like to use Ritz crackers to eat with this but you could use any of a variety of crackers or even chips. Pita chunks would be tasty too. Enjoy!!


Coke Cake

When I was growing up, a visit to my dad's parents meant a lot of deliciousness was headed our way. My GrandMom was always in the kitchen. I have so many happy memories of watching her make dinner rolls from scratch with one bowl of dough and cinnamon rolls with the other bowl. The leftover dinner rolls would be cut in half, reheated in the oven the next morning and slathered with apple butter. She also made these delicious loafs called Coke Cake. I made a 7Up cake recently and was talking to Mom and Dad about it and the Coke Cake came up too. Mom said she not only had the recipe, she had it in writing, in GrandMom's writing! I asked her and Daddy to make me a copy. It's the only recipe of hers I have.

Yesterday I stocked up on the kind of weird ingredients and I made the cakes today. Here you go:
The Ingredients

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening (I love the Crisco baking sticks because they are so easy to measure out)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup Coke
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda

Mix together the flour and sugar in a large bowl.

Put the shortening, cocoa and Coke in a saucepan and bring to a boil.


Once it boils, remove from heat and stir in the marshmallows.

Stir until they are melted.

 Pour into flour mixture.

And mix well.

beat together eggs, buttermilk and baking soda in a small bowl.

Add to the batter.

Stir to combine fully but do not beat. We don't want to add any air.

Pour into prepared bundt pan or two prepared loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. I checked mine at 50 minutes and they were done.

I think I may need new loaf pans though because lately everything I make in them turns out like this:

Any ideas what I am doing wrong? Or is it my pans? I spray the heck out of them and the sides don't stick. In fact, the bottoms don't stick in the pans so much as they pull apart from the rest of the loaf. Frustrating and ugly but it doesn't hurt the flavor!! Every bit as delicious as I remembered. Thanks GrandMom xoxo


Alfredo Sauce #2

Well, I don't know why I didn't just go with this one to begin with. Pioneer Woman is pretty much a go-to site around here. In any case, I finally tried another Alfredo sauce recipe last night and it was straight off the PW website. Pretty tasty, even though it completely lacks garlic!

The Ingredients

1 pound fettuccine noodles
1 stick butter
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of nutmeg
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

You may also want to gather a few other items. For example, do you have a beautiful serving dish like this?

Good! now, you may need some assistance with this recipe. Do you have a sous chef?

Super! now, if you have a spill, do you have a floor cleaner (or two)?

Alrighty then, you are ready to proceed! Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the cream to warm through.

Put a cup of the Parmesan in the serving bowl.

When the cream and butter are warmed, pour it over the Parm.

Take a sip of wine.

Let the cream mix and the cheese get cozy on their own. Is the pasta ready? Drain it and add it directly to the fray.

Give it a toss.

Put the rest of the Parm on top.

Check in with the kitchen staff:

Mix the pasta together adding in a bit of hot water if needed. I cooked some chicken to add to the mix as well.

I think they liked it!!!

Quick, easy and delicious. A trifecta indeed :)


7Up Pound Cake

Hello, again! I managed to make another challenge recipe this week! It is a delicious and easy dessert. When I was little I used to love going to visit my dad's parents in Bakersfield. GrandMom was an amazing cook. She made homemade from scratch everything and had a storage room full of things she had canned. Every meal was like a great big hug. I remember with great fondness the cakes she would make, especially Coke cake and 7Up cake. I remember them being in a loaf shape but Daddy says she sometimes made them in Bundt pans. In any case, I looked up a recipe and found one to try on the Pioneer Woman site.
The Ingredients:

3 sticks butter, softened
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 tsp Butter flavoring
2 tsp Lemon flavoring
3 cups flour
1 cup 7Up (or sprite or any other lemon-lime soda)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and liberally grease a bundt pan. Then head over to your mixer and cream together the butter and sugar.

It is best to whip the butter first, then add the sugar, one cup at a time, mixing between cups. Then add the eggs, one at a time.

Add the flavorings and start adding flour, one cup at a time, mixing between.

Finally, pour in the 7Up and mix gently to incorporate.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325 for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until done.

It had a lovely almost crunch to the outside and was the perfect dessert to serve my in-laws after our Mexican Chicken Lasagna. I made an icing/glaze from 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, a little lemon juice and enough milk (a Tbsp or two) to make it runny. I also had some strawberries and Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream around for company.


PW's Penne a la Betsy

Yep, I am still alive and I even manage to cook once in a while! This is one I have been wanting to make ever since I first read the recipe in The Pioneer Woman Cooks but I put it off for whatever reason. Then, on her Food Network show recently, she cooked it in 20 minutes! I am totally down for something that fast and delicious. So I bought some shrimp and gave it a whirl :)

The Ingredients:

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound penne pasta, uncooked
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
1 (14.5) oz can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped parsley
6 basil leaves cut in chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste

Now, I did not get this done in 20 minutes. Mainly because the pasta. If the water had already been boiling when I started the timer, I would have made it though. So, start a pot of water for the pasta. Then get your dicing, mincing, chopping and chiffonading out of the way. What is "chiffonade"? Easy peasy! Lay the 6 basil leaves on top of each other and roll them up lengthwise into a long tube. Then cut the roll in very thin sections like a loaf of bread. You will end up with long-ish thin strips of basil.
Now get cooking! Heat 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add in the shrimp and cook them until they turn pink. It happens pretty fast no matter how big your shrimp are, but the smaller, the faster so don't walk away. 

When the shrimp are pink, remove them to a bowl or plate. Add the remaining bitter and oil and get the skillet nice and warm again. Then add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Again, it won't take but a few minutes.

Pour in the wine! Cook and stir while the alcohol evaporates, less than a minute.

Add the tomato sauce.

And the cream.

Reduce to a simmer and let it thicken up some. You are the best judge if it is too thin, stir occasionally while you wait. Also while you wait, run a knife through the cooked shrimp to make bite-sized pieces.

Hopefully by now your penne is cooked so add in the shrimp...

...and the herbs...

...and stir it to combine. Grab the drained pasta and add it to the sauce.

A final stir to combine gives you this lovely mess. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve and enjoy! We all had seconds! Even Pattie who decided she didn't like shrimp at the last minute. The pieces were big enough for her to eat around them though. Absolutely delicious!!