Saturday, November 23, 2013

Italian Cheese Dip

You seriously can't go wrong with serving cheese dip for a party! There's a standard hot cheese dip that involves mayo, cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese and over time people have tweaked it into different variations. I haven't seen an Italian version before so I created my own! I have to say, the friends I served it to loved it.

Italian Cheese Dip

1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
1 cup marinara sauce

In an oven-proof dish, combine everything well except the marinara sauce. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes. Take it out and stir, then top with the marinara. Pop it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the marinara is hot.

If you are looking for low-maintenance, serve this dip with your favorite crackers. If you want to make it special, you really need to take the time to make Bowtie Pasta Crunchies. They are wonderful!

At the same get-together, I made another of my favorite snacks, Chex Lemon Buddies. These are prepared similarly to the original "Muddy Buddies", which have chocolate and peanut butter. The Lemon Buddies are made with rice Chex, white chocolate and fresh lemon juice and zest.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ice Cream Bread

A few days ago I ran across a recipe on the internet that sounded very intriguing. It involved combining two simple ingredients, ice cream and flour, to make bread! I was skeptical, but curious enough to try. I am SO glad I did! Fresh from the oven - delicious! For breakfast the next morning - divine! I used Blue Bell's Spiced Pumpkin Pecan for this first batch and it was a great choice. My expert recommendation (based on baking it once!) is to use good quality ice cream with lots of flavor. For example, Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey and Spiced Pumpkin Pecan have really bold flavor and some texture, making them perfect for this.

Ice Cream Bread

2 cups ice cream, melted (I didn't heat it, just thawed it on the counter.)
1-1/2 cups self-rising flour

Mix the two ingredients just until moistened. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes. Mine was perfect at 32 minutes.