Category Archives: Sides

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

Here it is!  By popular demand.

Daniel can’t get enough.  Guests exclaim.  The bridal shower I made it for practically threatened for the recipe.

I almost hesitate to give it away.  It makes people think I can cook…but it’s so easy you’ll laugh!

The reaction to this dip kind of took me by surprise.  It’s really nothing fancy…but maybe that’s why it’s so great.  It also brings the spinach back to spinach dip.  So often these dips are mostly cream cheese with the occasional hint of green as a nod to its namesake.  This one highlights the spinach and artichoke without sacrificing flavor or texture.

Everything else has some wiggle room but you definitely need at least


and artichoke hearts.

Oh, and cheese.  Plenty of cheese. I don’t care what kind but make sure there’s plenty.

This bowl (made by Daniel! That talented guy.) includes mozzarella for the melty gooey effect,  Parmesan for a punch of flavor, and feta because we’re obsessed.

This couldn’t be easier.

Get your onion, garlic salt and pepper situation together then:

Chop it all up, mix it all together with the creamy bits, bake, eat.

Seriously.  Done.  Do it.


❤ Ellen

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

Recipe adapted from this recipe

13.75 oz jar of artichoke hears (I used the kind packed in water, not marinated), drained
Spinach [either fresh (use two 6 oz. bags, chopped) or frozen (10 oz package), thawed and squeezed]
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/2 cup  mayonnaise
1/3 cup (freshly grated!!) parmesan cheese
1/3 cup feta cheese
4 oz (at least) mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

 **Choose whatever cheeses you want!  Make sure you include mozzarella or another soft melty cheese to get that awesome texture.  Also let’s be real: want more cheese? Do it.  Go crazy.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

2. Finely chop the onions and garlic.  A food processor makes life easier here but a knife will work just fine.  Coarsely chop the artichoke hearts and combine with the onions and garlic.  I like to leave nice big chunks of artichoke

3. Combine all the ingredients (including chopped veggies, yogurt, mayonnaise, salt and pepper) in a medium bowl until everything is well distributed

4. Spread evenly in an oven proof dish, grate more Parmesan cheese in a thin layer on top and bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes, or until hot, lightly browned and cheese is melted.
Serve immediately with pita chips (or any delicious scooper).  You could also just eat it straight up.  With a spoon.  You would not be the first.
Note:  This dip is just as tasty (if not tastier) reheated.  You can absolutely make it the day before and warm before serving.


Filed under Appetizer, Dips, Sides, Snacks, Uncategorized

Dill Pickles

I’m having another “what the heck took me so long to try this!?” moment.

Dill pickles.

(Did you just cringe a little?  It’s cool. You either love ’em or you hate ’em.)

((I’m pretty firmly in the love ’em camp.))

I have wanted to try pickling for a while.  When I stumbled across this recipe at Annie’s Eats I was struck by just how ridiculously simple the whole thing is.  Seriously…what was taking me so long, anyway?  I’m so glad I finally got to it.

Lately, I’ve been noticing that a lot of foods make me think of certain people.  This is another food that makes me think of grandpa.   Grandpa foods are rice pudding, tall glasses of milk, buttered toast and dill pickles.  Grandma is applesauce and iced tea.

Daniel foods are tacos and banana bread.

Jordan foods are turkey sandwiches and wheat thins but only if eaten at 6 30 in the morning.

Lauren food is Chipotle.  Stephen food is macaroni and cheese.

Mom foods are iced tea, junior mints and chicken sandwiches.  Papa gets tuna steaks, hot sausage and oranges (just hopefully not all at the same time).

They aren’t necessarily their favorite foods.  They’re just foods that will always and forever bring that person to my mind.

Sorry for the tangent…it’s just a thing I’ve taken note of recently.  It’s interesting to me how intimately linked food can be to memories, experiences, people.  I enjoy it and appreciate it.  Thought I’d share.

For what it’s worth…I bet Ellen foods are peanut butter and chocolate.

But for now we’re makin’ pickles.

So easy it almost hurts that I haven’t done it yet.

I’m rockin’ some fresh dill, garlic, black peppercorns, in a brine of white vinegar, salt and water over some classic cucumber spears.

But please…play around with it!  Apple cider vinegar! Sugar for sweet pickles! Different herbs! Different spices! Cayenne pepper for hot pickles!  Different veggies in the brine!

Let me know if you have a good combo.  I’ll play too…and I’ll share any good ones here =)


(the food and whatever else it brings)

❤ Ellen

Dill Pickles

I followed the recipe for dill pickles on the blog Annie’s Eats.  Check her out…she has so many great recipes and this one is no different. I added a handful of peppercorns but otherwise I did the exact same thing.  ((Note: They’re pretty salty.  Don’t be afraid to reduce the salt a bit))


Filed under Appetizer, Hodge Podge, Sides, Snacks, Uncategorized

Alternative Potato Salad

Confession: I don’t like potato salad.

I know I know I’m sorry…I just can’t get into it.

The individual ingredients each have delicious potential:

Potatoes are awesome. Always.

I appreciate and respect mayonnaise for what it’s got goin’ on.  Sometimes it’s really just necessary.

Vinegar, green onions, maybe some hard boiled egg…ok fine. I’m with you.  Sounds great.

For some reason, though, their powers combined just don’t thrill me.

I know it’s weird.  I’m always left out with my potato salad-less plate at picnics and barbecues each summer.  It’s cool, though.  I have found an alternative and I am head over heels in love!! (With a pile of potatoes? No one said it made sense.)

This nonsense I’m about to throw at you looks nothing like the potato salad at every picnic since the dawn of time.

It’s roasty, spicy, smoky, hint of sweet…I’m amazed.  Please let me share!

For this potato salad you’re going to chop a lot of things into circles.  Ready? Begin.

Roasting works magic.


Becomes this:


Becomes this:

Roasty rounds and caramelized onions…things already look good!

Oh but we’re not done yet…

Some of those roasted jalapenos hang out with some olive oil, some vinegar and some sugar.

Just some casual roasted jalapeno vinaigrette creation.  No big deal.  Then I got a little crazy and this guy got involved:

That is an ancho chile pepper.

It has an awesome sweet heat that played off of the jalapeno and the vinegar just right.  Plus it turned the whole thing yellow/orange to match the sweet potatoes.  Meant to be!

Now, at this point I was getting pretty excited thanks to the ridiculous smells in my kitchen…so in my attempt to dress the salad, I spilled the vinaigrette everywhere.  Just warning you of potential hazards.

Potato salad shish kabob? Yes, please.

You need this potato salad update in your life.  I need some company in this sweet n’ spicy bliss.  Together we’ve got it made.  Happy cookout/picnic season!


❤ Ellen

Alternative Potato Salad

Recipe adapted from this Better Homes and Gardens recipe

For the potato salad:

2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch disks
2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
4 jalapeno peppers, roasted (425 degrees F for 20 minutes or until skins start to brown), divided
[**2 jalapenos, chopped, for the salad, 2 get pureed into the vinaigrette]
Olive oil (enough for a thin coating before roasting)
Salt n’ pepper (to taste)

For the vinaigrette:

1/2 cup rice vinegar (or 3 parts white vinegar & 1 part water)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 dried ancho chile pepper
2 roasted jalapenos
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt, pepper, cilantro to taste

1. While the oven preheats to 425 degrees F, put your thinly sliced onions in a pan with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium to low heat. They are gonna hang out in there until they are soft and caramel color…low and slow is the key here.

3.  Arrange jalapenos on a baking sheet so that there is plenty of room between peppers.  Roast for 20 minutes total, flipping after 10 minutes.

2. Toss the potatoes with enough olive oil to thinly coat, salt and pepper to taste.  Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet so that they are not touching.  Roast for about 15 minutes, flip then roast another 10 minutes.  The potatoes should be soft and just starting to brown.

3. In a blender, combine 2 of the roasted jalapenos, the ancho chile pepper, vinegar, oil, sugar, garlic, salt, pepper and cilantro.

4. Toss the potatoes, the remaining 2 jalapenos (chopped) and the caramelized onions with the vinaigrette in a large bowl to serve


Filed under Appetizer, Sides, Uncategorized