Month: December 2013

Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip

Does anyone else have happy hours and parties in their office? Our division tries to do so every month or so (some would go so far as to say we have a “reputation” for happy hours), and I love that. As much time as we spend at work, we should at least have a little fun, right?

Baked goods always go over well, but I wanted to mix it up. The problem: if your office is anything like mine, bringing something homemade that isn’t a dessert can be difficult. My office has refrigerators and microwaves, but that’s about it. I crowdsourced suggestions through my Facebook friends, and someone sent a link to 25 Super Bowl party foods made in a slow cooker.

Genius! I got several great ideas, including classic spinach artichoke dip. I was admittedly skeptical that it could work in a slow cooker, but it worked beautifully.

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I especially loved how quickly and easily this came together. The night before, I prepped the vegetables and placed them in plastic container. I bought 2 cups of pre-shredded mozzarella and an individual pint of milk. I put all the ingredients in a grocery bag and stored it in the refrigerator.

At the office the next morning, I removed the cream cheese and put the rest of the ingredients in the office fridge until lunch, when I put all the ingredients in my slow cooker. By 3:30 it smelled divine and we were ready to dive in.

I didn’t have any slow cooker liners, but they’ make clean-up a snap.

Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip

Adapted slightly from Taste and Tell

Serves 12-20

18-oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 14-oz cans artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1/2 cup (or more) milk

Place all ingredients in a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours, until cheeses are melted. Stir to combine all ingredients. If the dip is too thick, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, pita chips or vegetables.

Apple Crisp

It’s eleven days until Christmas. Eleven. AAA! Where did the time go? In the last six weeks, I’ve been cooking, baking, decorating, celebrating the holidays… but apparently not blogging.

I have several recipes lined up to compensate for my absence, starting with this apple crisp. I know it’s not  Christmasy per se, and if I’m honest it’s not the most beautiful dessert I’ve ever made, but this baby is a workhorse. It’s understated, simple, and a great finish to any meal. Serve with ice cream, a splash of cream, or just by itself. Or as leftovers for breakfast.

Use at least a couple kinds of apples — tender apples cook down and make a bubbly sauce, while firm apples give a pie filling consistency.

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Apple Crisp

Adapted from The Apple Lovers’ Cookbook, by Amy Traverso

Serves 8-10

5 large tender-tart apples (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4″ slices (try McIntosh or Jonathan)
5 large firm-sweet apples (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4″ slices (try Jazz, Jonagold, Pink Lady, or Honeycrisp)
2 tsp cinnamon, divided
2 cups (290 g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (210 g) sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle position. Toss apples with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and arrange in a 9×13 baking dish (no need to grease); set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour baking powder, salt, sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Add beaten eggs and use a fork, pastry cutter, or your fingers to work the batter until crumbly. The mixture should look like streusel (don’t worry, it’s not too dry!).

Spread topping evenly over the apples. Drizzle all over with melted butter. Bake until the topping is golden brown and apple juices are bubbling, 45-55 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes. Serve warm.