Creamy Mediterranean Dip

cm dip 2I first tasted this dip quite a few years back when a friend brought it over to my house. Yummy! I had to have the recipe! Although it’s been quite awhile since I last had it, it recently popped in my head and I had to make it. It’s very creamy (hence the title) as well as crunchy, garlicky, and very fresh tasting. Great summer appetizer, but delicious at any time of year.

Well, my parents raved about it when they ate it. And my mom told me I must post it on my blog. I’ve altered the original recipe to fit finicky taste buds and along with that, gave it a new name because what used to be an “Italian” dip, now seems to me to be very much Mediterranean. Here it is!!

Creamy Mediterranean Dip

  • 1, 8 ounce block cream cheese, softened
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 large green onion or 2 small green onions, sliced
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 baby cucumber, diced small
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced small
  • 2 tbsp. red or white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Italian dressing

cm dipIn a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, garlic, green onions and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread onto a plate to form an even layer. In another bowl, mix together the cucumber, tomato, onion and dressing with a dash of pepper. Spoon over the top of the cream cheese mixture in an even layer. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with crackers or pretzel crisps.

P.S. Check out my vintage milk glass platter. This one happens to be my FAVORITE platter EVER. I’ve recently become over the moon for milk glass and am building up a collection. Best part is that these beautiful pieces have been gifted to me by loved ones!

Cheesy Garlic Bread

cheesy garlic bread 2This bread was first introduced to me many years ago by my Aunt. So good! First off, it’s bread and with me being a carb-a-holic, that’s a huge YES please. Second, it has mayonnaise in it. I am a huge lover of mayo. It’s a sick addiction. Third, it has garlic. I also love me some garlic.

So if you happen to be a lover of those three items (in addition to cheese and green onions) well then….this is the bread for you. It’s great for BBQ’s and equally as great with Italian.

Cheesy Garlic Bread

  • 1 Italian loaf, sliced in half lengthwise(or a loaf of bakery French bread)
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 3/4 c. each of shredded cheddar and mozzarella (or Monterey jack)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix mayo, cheeses, garlic and onions together in a bowl. Spread mixture onto the bread in a thin layer and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges and a little bubbly. Cut into slices and serve.

cheesy garlic bread 7cheesy garlic bread 6cheesy garlic bread 5cheesy garlic breadThis bread is gooey, melty, rich and delicious. Enjoy!!!

Marinated Rib Eyes with Garlic Butter

ribeye 2I’m going to keep on, keeping on. A grill post, AGAIN! But yes, the weather is right and when it is, we GRILL! This is my go to marinade for rib eyes. Which happens to be my favorite steak, besides filet mignon of course. I have to tell you that my dad is a butcher and has been my whole life. So I’ve had a love for steak since childhood!

This marinade may sound like it has a lot of ingredients but most likely, you should be able to find these items inside your pantry and fridge. Nothing too special but oh my, does it really flavor the meat! If that wasn’t enough, I made a compound butter to melt over the top of the steaks after they came off the grill. Is your mouth watering now??

Just a quick note about flavored butter/compound butter. Make this at home! I’ve seen commercials lately for this one specific brand in particular and I’ve also seen it at the store. And it’s expensive. Compound butter is so incredibly simple and easy to make at home and you can completely make it your own. So please do try it. This butter is also amazing on shrimp and chicken. Potatoes too. And roasted veggies. Well, mostly anything. It’s that good.

ribeye 3

HUGE steaks!

marinade for ribeyes

Marinade for the Rib Eyes

Marinade for Rib Eyes (makes enough for 2-3 LARGE steaks)

  • 3/4 c. olive oil
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1-2 tbsp. worchestire
  • 1 tbsp. rosemary, dried
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. sugar

Place all ingredients in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Whisk together until combined and then add steaks. Place in fridge for at LEAST 6 hours, turning over once.

Time for the next component in the dish. Butter. And with goodies in it.

garlic butter 4

All ingredients in the food processor

garlic butter 3

Pulse it!

garlic butter 2

Try to make a log shape. Key word, TRY!

garlic butter

No that’s not a cigar, that’s delicious flavored butter

Garlic Compound Butter

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until nicely blended together. Spoon butter onto plastic wrap and roll up into a log/cylinder shape. Put in fridge until ready to use. This butter keeps really well in the freezer too.

To make the steaks : 30 minutes before you want to grill, take those steaks out and let come to room temperature. Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium or around 325 degrees. We cooked our steaks about 5 minutes per side, but they were really huge steaks! Like I’ve said before, I typically don’t time how long we cook our steaks so this is approximate. But we like our steak medium rare.

ribeye

Delicious cow goodness

After steaks are cooked, place on a plate and slice off some of that butter and put over the top. Cover with foil and let rest about 15 minutes. That butter will melt beautifully on that meat, making for a spectacular steak!

Steak+butter=LOVE

 

 

Spicy Mexican Style Marinated Carrots

marinated carrots 5Ever had those carrots at a taco shop? If you have, then you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, WHY NOT?!? They are so good! And you’ve been missing out. Spicy, tangy, and at some places, crunchy. Most taco shops I’ve had them at lean towards the softer side, but I prefer them to have a slight crunch. If you plan on having Mexican food at home, you must make these to have on the side.

Spicy Mexican Style Marinated Carrotsmarinated carrots

  • 1 lb. carrots (approximately 6 medium sized), peeled, and cut on the diagonal about 1/4″ thick
  • 1/2 of a small onion, sliced into 1/8″ rings (I used a mandolin to slice the onions)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/4 c. pickled jalapeno slices
  • 1/4 c. pickled jalapeno juice from the jar
  • 3/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red peppers

Saute garlic, carrots, onions in a pot on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the remainder of the ingredients and bring to a roiling boil. Turn off the heat and let cool for 2-3 hours. Put into a jar/container and refrigerate for up to 1 week. *If you like your carrots on the softer side, let boil for up to 5 minutes, then turn off the heat.

marinated carrots 2Do I think these will last a week in your house? Absolutely not!

When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that’s amore!

I have three young children, so it’s no surprise that we like pizza in this house. But ordering out and having it delivered can become quite spendy in the long run, so I turned to making my pizza at home. Not with a premade crust, but with homemade dough, and oh does that make the difference! We still order out occasionally, but I really do prefer to make it at home, and once you try it yourself, you’ll understand why.

I do have to say that pizza making in my house is not an exact science. As I’ve mentioned before, I do not like to measure, and pizza is the perfect example of cooking using a method, rather than a recipe. Making your own concoctions to suit your individual tastes, and also the tastes of your family. However, the pizza dough DOES need to be measured and you do need to follow a recipe for that. As for the sauces and toppings, that’s up to you.

I’ve made plenty a pizza, and here are some helpful hints I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Use a pizza stone! I received one as a gift and I absolutely love it. It gives your crust a great crispness to the bottom and a more authentic taste. It is definitely not necessary though, any baking sheet will work. But that stone does elevate the pizza.
  2. Cornmeal! I always sprinkle cornmeal on my stone or baking sheet before I place the dough on it. The cornmeal helps to slide the pizza off the sheet easier and also adds a slight crunch.
  3. Use parchment paper to roll out your dough on. This makes it much easier to transfer to your stone or sheet. All you have to do is flip the dough onto the stone/sheet, and peel the parchment paper off.
  4. Sprinkle just a little bit of flour on your pizza dough rolling surface (parchment!) and also on top of your dough. This will help the dough roll much easier and also won’t stick to your rolling pin.

Onto the magical dough. So this is by far the best pizza dough I’ve ever used. I’ve tried a few different recipes and this is THE ONE! I knew it after my very first bite. You can find the original recipe over at Lauren’s Latest. She’s got some really great pictures and tips for making pizza dough so please check it out. I’ve adjusted her recipe to work better for my family size, so if you have a slightly larger than average family, this is the one for you.

Pizza Dough (serving size- 2, 14 inch pizza crusts):

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
4 cups all purpose flour, give or take half a cup

In a large mixing bowl, preferably that of a stand mixer, stir yeast and honey into warm water. Sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles form and mixture starts to foam. This tells you that the yeast is alive and kicking. Pour in salt, oil and half the flour and mix. Once that flour is incorporated, start adding flour in bit by bit until you get the pizza dough to the consistency you want: slightly tacky, but when you touch it, it doesn’t stick to your hands. Once you reach this stage, knead for 3-6 minutes. The dough should be smooth and easy to work with. And the bowl should be clean! Lightly grease the bowl & the dough so it doesn’t dry out, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise 1-2 hours. Now it’s time to make pizza!

I’d just like to note, you do not need a stand mixer to make this dough. So if you don’t have one, never fear, your two hands are near! Yes, manual labor it is for you. Follow the recipe, except you use your hands to knead the dough, simple as that. I used this method for a long time before I bought a stand mixer.

Now, onto the pizzas I made. The first was a “kid friendly” pizza, which included red sauce, pepperoni and mushrooms. Like I said before, pizza making is a method, so I’m not going to give exact amounts but just tell you how I made it. The amount you want on your pizza will likely differ from the amounts I like on my pizza. Here goes….

  • pepperoni & mushroom pizzaOrganic tomato sauce went onto the dough first, sprinkled with garlic powder.
  • Then came shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Next was pepperoni and sliced baby bellas (one of my favs!).
  • Last, I sprinkled Italian seasoning all over.

I baked this at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. My oven cooks very slowly, so yours may be done faster than mine. You can tell it’s done when the crust starts turning brown and you can also lift up the crust a bit and peek at the underside. It should feel crisp, and not soft.

Time for the “adult” pizza! I did my version of a “margherita” pizza. Except instead of using basil though, I used kale. kale & tomato pizza

  • First, I spread my homemade softened basil garlic compound butter (see recipe for butter below) all over the crust.
  • Then I sprinkled a light amount of shredded mozzarella cheese over it.
  • After that came thinly sliced tomatoes.
  • Finally, some torn kale and cracked black pepper.

I also cooked this at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. Give pizza making a try. It’s not hard, and the results are worth it!!!

This is great in pasta, on potatoes, pizza, the possibilities are endless!

This is great in pasta, on potatoes, pizza, the possibilities are endless!

Basil Garlic Compound Butter

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3 tsp. frozen basil (remember those cubes I’ve talked about?)
  • 4 garlic gloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until blended together, scraping the sides as necessary. Scrape butter onto a large piece of plastic wrap, roughly into the shape of a cylinder. Wrap the butter up, twisting the ends of the plastic wrap. Can be stored in the fridge or freezer.