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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It's So Easy!

I love things that are easy.  I especially love things that are easy AND offer rewards greater than the effort required.  Like simple art projects requiring few steps and minimal supplies, or recipes that call for a few ingredients but taste great.

Some of my favorites are Spinach Dip and Artichoke Dip.  I have blogged about these before at MadKnews but there is no reason not to reprise them here.

My father-in-law loves spinach dip.  I make it with Mrs. Grass vegetable soup mix.  Most recipes seem to call for the Knorr mix but I prefer the Mrs. Grass.  It's made by Wyler's now but it's the same great taste.  The recipe is on the box but here's how I make it.

Thaw a 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach and squeeze out all the water.  Combine the spinach with a cup each of mayonnaise and sour cream (go ahead and use low fat or fat free versions).  Add a package of Mrs. Grass Vegetable Soup mix and a few green onions, sliced very thin.  Stir to combine thoroughly, cover and put it in the fridge over night.  You can serve it in a hollowed out loaf of bread or just put it in a bowl.  I like to cut up bagels (and the bread from the hollowed out loaf) and things like mini pumpernickel bread stix or French bread chunks.

Another favorite is Artichoke dip.  I have seen recipes that include countless ingredients - everything from curry powder to garlic to paprika.  My version has three ingredients.  You won't even have to write it down - don't blink or you'll miss it.

Drain and coarsely chop a 14 oz can of artichoke hearts in brine (not the marinated ones that come in a jar).  Combine with a cup each of mayonnaise and grated Parmesan cheese.  Don't use your expensive cheese here, just get a box of the stuff you ate as a kid.  You don't even have to buy the brand name in the green box, get the cheap store brand.  Spread this mixture in a shallow baking dish and bake at 350f about 25 minutes until brown and bubbly.  Serve this with sliced French bread or wedges of Pita bread.  It's delicious and stupid easy.

Here is my latest creation.  Blueberries have been on sale the last few weeks and I keep buying them and sticking them in the freezer (mother-in-law hint for freezing blueberries; rinse and dry completely then pop them in a plastic container, like the ones you get your take-out won ton oup in, and put a folded piece of paper towel and the lid on top.  They'll last for months in the freezer).

I also had a box of Cranberry bread mix.  Light bulb moment - why not add some blueberries to the Cranberry bread mix?????  Why not indeed!  My mix called for water, oil and eggs.  For some reason milk was required to make the muffin version.  I was out of milk so I opted for the bread version.

Mix according to package directions.  Gently stir in about a half a cup or so of blueberries.  Pour into a bread pan greased according to package directions.  Scatter a few more berries on top and  sprinkle with some granulated or turbinado sugar (Sugar In The Raw) and bake as directed.

That's it!  One extra ingredient, a few minutes prep (takes longer to wash the bowl and spoon) and you have a unique berry bread that will have people begging for the recipe!  Tell them you'll have to ask your Great-Aunt to write it out for you, don't give it away.  I mean, a girl has to have some secrets, right?

Quotable Quotes; in the category What Works For Fame Ought To Work For Dinner!

"I'm an instant star.  Just add water and stir."  David Bowie

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