Friday, September 4, 2015

Dilly Dip Potato Salad

I've never been much of an experimenter in the kitchen; I have always been pretty dependent upon other people's expertise, cooking wise. That said, I've been getting braver in the last year or so, and today's recipe is representative of that. I adapted two different recipes for this potato salad, which I'll be taking to a party tomorrow. The first recommended baking the potatoes, rather than boiling them, so that's what I did. The second recipe is my own, which usually calls for mayo (Miracle W and mustard); I decided to go really crazy and use a local product that I'd never tried before: Let's Get Dilly dip mix, from Chics-n-Dip.

"Specializing in creating zesty chip & veggie dips, sweet cheesecake dips, meat rubs & bread mixes," Chics-n-Dip is a small Wisconsin company run by two women who work their tails off to offer more than thirty delicious dips and more. My personal favorites are The Villain, I'm Too Sexy for My Beer Belly, and Bling for Carrots; but that's only because I like them so much (as do my guests) that I haven't had the chance to try the rest! I'd never tried the Let's Get Dilly Dip, but since the others are so great, I figured it would be too, and I was right! The directions are simple: mix with one cup each of sour cream (or plain yogurt) and mayo, and you're in business.

I mixed the dip, chilled it, and then prepped the rest:

1 cup chopped celery
1.5 cups chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped dill pickles (my favorite ingredient)
3/4 cup chopped red onion
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
yellow mustard
1 cup real mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream 
1 pkg Chics-n-Dip Let's Get Dilly dip mix

I used this much mustard:

[I had my ingredients in bags because I prepped them ahead and put them in the fridge.]

1 5-lb bag of potatoes

Poke holes in and bake the potatoes (whole) at 350 degrees for an hour or until soft. 
Cut them in half and let them cool enough to handle.
Remove the skin (or keep it, if that's your style) and chop into bite-sized pieces.
Place on a tray and chill about an hour.
(This helps the bites keep their shape and keeps the dressing cold during mixing.)

Mix everything together,
add salt if desired, and enjoy!
I enjoyed some before it even had time to "get happy," 
and I can't wait to eat my fair share tomorrow!
It has just the right amount of dill in it, and the crunch and zing of the pickles...YUM!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Roasted Tomato Zugghetti

I can't believe I've lived 52 years without ever tasting roasted tomatoes! They're DELICIOUS! My cousin Tina shared her method with me last week, and I've made them three times already! Today I decided to top some spiralized zucchini with the tomato loveliness and share it here for future reference. Mr.4444, a pasta lover, proclaimed this "absolutely wonderful." Paired with a chicken breast, he proclaimed, "If I could have a meal that tasted this good, I'd eat healthy all the time!"


small tomatoes, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces (I used Romas, but I don't think it matters.)
minced garlic (for this version, I used one gigantic clove, but Tina uses "a ton of garlic" in hers)
basil (or your favorite fresh herb) I used about ten leaves.
one three-fingered pinch of salt
olive oil (I used about one tablespoon.)
aged balsamic vinegar (I just drizzled it, maybe two tablespoons)

zucchini (or you could also use pasta, of course)
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cut the tomatoes into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces and place in a bowl.

Mince the garlic.

To prep the basil, stack the leaves,

 roll them up.

and slice into tiny ribbons.

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. I used The Oilerie's absolutely wonderful 25-year-old aged balsamic vinegar (which I could drink straight out of the bottle, I swear).

Add the salt and toss to coat.

Pour the mixture onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. You will be tempted to take it out early when you start to smell that wonderful garlicky aroma, but it's best to keep them in there until the liquid from inside the tomatoes is mostly gone.

Speaking of liquid, you should have a little "puddle" of liquid beneath the finished tomatoes; give them a stir and do not discard any excess!

I served mine over spiralized zucchini that I'd heated up for one minute (just to take the chill out). (I prefer my vegetables al dente; the little crunch gives it character, if you ask me.) Top with a little grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

I'll have you know that I was the envy of all of my friends who were eating lunch at the same time with me; the aroma was absolutely wonderful, and it was very satisfying! This recipe makes enough for two generous servings.

I made it for dinner on Saturday night.

"I'm not even disappointed that it's not pasta!"
"This is the best healthy food I've ever eaten in my life!"

Mr.4444 keeps singing the praises of this meal.

I hope you like it, too.

P.S. Wondering if you can use balsamic vinegar that isn't aged? I have no idea; if you try it, let me know!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Spinach and Quinoa Mediterranean Salad

I recently made this delicious, healthy salad and plan to make it again, so here you go!



3 tbls freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 tbls red wine vinegar
1/2 tbls olive oil, and a pinch of oregano

Salad Stuff:
1 cup cooked quinoa (I cooked mine in chicken broth.)
3 cups fresh baby spinach (missing from my photo above, btw; Mr.4444 was picking some up)
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup of chopped cucumber (missing from Pop Sugar's recipe, as well as my photo above)
10 grape or cherry tomatoes
10 sliced kalamata olives
1/4 cup feta cheese

First, mix the dressing ingredients while you cook the quinoa.

In a medium-sized bowl, gently mix the spinach, quinoa, and half of the dressing.

Add the other vegetables.


Fold the feta cheese in gently.

Pretty and delicious!

A few years ago, a woman took the time to leave a comment on Mrs.4444 Cooks, chewing me out for sharing so many unhealthy recipes. I found that hilarious (and still do), as if I was twisting people's arms to make unhealthy food. Whoever she was, she'd be proud of me today; this recipe is relatively healthy; the dressing is deliciously lower in fat than a typical salad dressing. There's plenty of fiber, protein, and potassium here. The olives are 20% of your sodium for the day, but check out the vitamin content!
There are about 300 calories per 2-cup serving (This makes about six cups worth.) and the olives provide a fair amount of monounsaturated fat (the good kind!). As mentioned previously, this salad is delicious, and I look forward to making it again!