dips & sauces

Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dressing

Creamy Avocado Dressing

Would I call this a dressing? A Sauce? Yummy stuff I would eat by the spoonful straight out of the jar? Um…I mean I would never do that. I’m way too ladylike. WAY to ladylike *cough, cough*.

Creamy Avocado Dressing

Whatever the case, and whatever you would like call this recipe, just make it. This creamy avocado-y yogurt-y goodness is totally worth trying at least once in your life. And then you will realize that once is not enough and decide it’s worth trying at least 1000 more times. More or less.

Creamy Avocado DressingThis recipe is loosely based off of a ranch-style dressing so it’s perfect for salads (I *love* this on a taco salad!). I also put it in a buffalo chicken wrap. Incredible way to cool down a spicy wrap! This would also be amazing as just a sauce for spicy grilled chicken or fish. OH MY! Anything spicy should automatically be paired with this dressing/sauce. No questions asked.

Creamy Avocado DressingMy recipe has buttermilk in it (since, like I said, it’s kind of based off of a ranch dressing), but you can totally up the amount of yogurt or olive oil if you don’t have buttermilk. I just love the buttermilk to give it that extra creamy, decadent texture. AHHH, I made this awhile ago and just talking about it makes me want to make it again. Like right now. SO GOOD!

Creamy Avocado DressingLet me get to dreaming about what to put this dressing on next. I expect to hear soon what you used this avocado magic dressing on (that’s what I should have called it…magic dressing). Yum!

Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dressing
Creamy, ranch-style avocado dressing
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 medium avocado
  2. 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  3. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  4. 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  5. 2 tablespoons lime juice (or juice from about 1 lime)
  6. 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  7. 1 tablespoon diced fresh chives
  8. 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. olive oil, optional, to reach desired thickness
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients (except the olive oil) in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add olive oil (about 1 tablespoon at a time) and blend if the dressing is too thick.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Spinach Artichoke Cheese Ball

Spinach Artichoke Cheese BallI’m oh-so-sorry that it’s been awhile since my last post. These past couple of weeks have been filled with lots of activities including a long-awaited friend’s wedding in Pittsburgh (Yay for seeing friends from all around the country!!), an unexpected family gathering, and a surprise trip with my parents (surprise for them, not us) to a cabin in Ohio. All this among the general craziness of the last few weeks of the school year. Whew! Am I tired? Yes. Does a delicious spinach artichoke cheese ball make up for it? ABSOLUTELY!

Spinach Artichoke Cheese BallThis was a bit of an experiment that turned out wonderfully! I love spinach artichoke dip…love, love, LOVE. I also love cheese balls. There’s no other way to explain how this recipe came to be but that I love them both and wanted them at the same time. Hence, the spinach artichoke cheese ball.

Spinach Artichoke Cheese BallYou definitely need to refrigerate the cheese ball before serving if you want it to hold its shape. Otherwise you’ll end up with more of a thick dip. I’m totally cool with that too. Just giving you all a heads up so that when you choose not to read the recipe all the way through I’m not responsible for the fact that you have 5 minutes until the party and a cheese ball that’s more of blob. But hey, it would be a delicious blob!

Spinach Artichoke Cheese BallAlso, just as an FYI, it helps to chop the spinach and artichokes into small pieces. Even though they are cooked briefly, it will make scooping SO much easier if they are chopped up well. There’s nothing worse than a long string of spinach that just does not want to be scooped up with a chip. Okay, yes, there is probably something worse than that but I’m going for dramatic effect here. Plus, you might as well not find out so…chop, chop!

Spinach Artichoke Cheese Ball
Delicious spin on a traditional cheese ball
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 can artichoke hearts (15-ounce), drained and finely chopped
  4. 1 bag fresh baby spinach, chopped (10-ounce)
  5. 12 ounces cream cheese, softened (1 1/2, 8 ounce containers)
  6. 1 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  7. 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  8. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and artichoke hearts and saute approximately 2 minutes.
  2. Add the spinach and salt and pepper. You don't need much salt because the Parmesan cheese will add salt as well. Saute until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to let cool.
  3. Cream the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth.
  4. Stir in the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and spinach mixture until combined.
  5. Crisscross 2 pieces of plastic wrap on top of each other and place the cheese mixture in the middle.
  6. Using the plastic wrap, shape the cheese mixture into a ball (making sure to cover the cheese ball completely with the plastic wrap). Place the cheese ball in a small bowl to help hold its shape.
  7. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to one day to set.
  8. Serve with crackers or chips.
Notes
  1. Make sure to chop the spinach and artichoke hearts into fairly small pieces, since it will be easier to scoop up with a cracker or chip when there are smaller pieces.
  2. The longer you leave the cheese ball in the fridge, the more firm it will set. Without refrigeration the cheese ball is a bit loose.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

peanut butter dipHappy (almost) Easter! Easter is a time often filled with wonderful things including celebrating with families and friends. And with family and friend celebrations come many dinners and get-togethers. Maybe someday I will be good enough to make a fancy lamb shaped cake or egg-shaped mashed potato balls (I’m pretty sure that’s not a thing. Love mashed potatoes…so maybe it should be a thing.). Nonetheless, with work and travel and general life craziness comes little time to put something spectacular together for now. If that’s the case for you as well, you probably have the 3 minutes to pull this together for a party and quite possibly the ingredients to do so without a run to the store. Win. Win. Win.

peanut butter dipThis super simple peanut butter yogurt dip is a quick, delicious solution to hunger. And with my growing body (thanks to baby), you can be assured I am *always* hungry. Always. No joke. It’s real. With just 4 ingredients, and a generally healthy mix of ingredients at that, this is a perfect snack, appetizer, or even dessert. It’s slightly sweet, slightly salty, and 100% amazing. The possibilities are STUPENDOUS! 

peanut butter dipPeanut butter yogurt dip is perfect with apples and bananas. And I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas. Come on, you know the song. If not, I’m not sure what you learned in elementary school. It’s also a perfect pairing with graham crackers. As much as I loved the apples and bananas with this dip, I have to say my favorite was the graham crackers. I’m a carb-aholic though so that comes as no surprise!

peanut butter dipIf you come up with another perfect pairing, leave a comment and let me know what you enjoyed this dip with!

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
Slightly sweet, slightly salty peanut butter yogurt dip that's healthy and delicious!
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Prep Time
3 min
Total Time
3 min
Prep Time
3 min
Total Time
3 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup peanut butter
  2. 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or about a 5.3 ounce container)
  3. 3 tablespoons honey
  4. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl with a spoon.
  2. Serve with fruit or graham crackers.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Jalapeño Popper Dip

Jalapeno Popper DipI originally made this dip for a party and it was gone in no time. In fact, I think I only got about 1 bite that I scraped off the bottom of the dish. Everyone was raving how good it was so of course I had to make it again to see what the hype was all about! Turns out the hype is that this dish is scrumptious and warm and gooey and makes your tummy happy.

Jalapeno Popper DipI’ve realized that I am very much in love with spicy food. Everything I’ve made recently somehow has ended up spicy. I blame it on our garden this year that resulted in an abundance of jalapeño peppers. Those peppers ended up in a lot of things. They also made a lot of things oh, so yummy.

Jalapeno Popper DipThis dip is a perfect blend of spicy and creamy. In fact, you might be surprised that this dip isn’t as spicy as you might think. I mean it does have 6 fresh jalapeño peppers in it. Seems super spicy…but, milk is supposed to offset spicy food so I think the package of cream cheese, cup of sour cream, and cups of cheese do the trick. Yep. They also make this dip so delicious and gooey and melty and creamy.

Bottom line is that this is bound to be a hit at any party. Maybe make an extra that you can devour once the party is over because the one you bring will be gone in a flash!

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Jalapeño Popper Dip
Serves 8
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 4-6 fresh jalapeño peppers, finely diced + jalapeño slices for decoration (optional)
  2. 1 package cream cheese (8 ounces)
  3. 1 cup sour cream
  4. 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  5. 3/4 cup + 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  6. 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  7. 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  8. 1 tablespoon dried parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the cream cheese and sour cream in a bowl by hand or with a mixer.
  3. Add the cheddar cheese, 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, and jalapeño peppers. Mix until combined.
  4. Transfer cream cheese mixture into an 8x8 inch pan and spread evenly.
  5. Mix together bread crumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and melted butter in a small bowl.
  6. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over cream cheese mixture and spread until evenly distributed. Top with jalapeño slices, if desired.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until the breadcrumbs start to brown.
Notes
  1. I served my dip with tortilla chips, which was wonderful! You can also serve with bread or crackers. Heat immediately before serving for the best results.
Adapted from Spend with Pennies
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Carrot Top & Basil Pesto

I’m not going to lie…this is a weird sounding one. I got some pretty strange looks from my family when I told them I was going to make carrot top pesto. Even my sister, who I have to admit makes some weird stuff of her own, looked at me like I was out of my mind. I questioned my sanity for a brief moment. My official conclusion was that I was sane…at least in regards to this pesto.

This pesto is just as, if not more, delicious than your run of the mill pesto. It’s got a bit of a bite to it that typical pesto doesn’t have. Plus, it’s also a great use of otherwise overlooked, yet perfectly good food!

My husband and I grew some gorgeous carrots in our garden that were scrumptious in my balsamic & orange roasted carrots. We had a RIDICULOUS amount of carrot tops from these carrots. We worked so hard to grow those pretty little carrots and, by golly, I was determined to use the carrot tops. This is great for those of you who grow carrots or that get carrots with the tops on at the farmer’s market or store. I would recommend organic because you never know what ends up on vegetables these days.

I wish I had taken a picture of our refrigerator full of carrot tops while I decided what to make with them. It was like a jungle in there! Every day my husband comes home looking for a pre-dinner snack. I’m pretty sure he didn’t even question the fact that when he opened the fridge he couldn’t see through the forest of carrot tops. Apparently it’s like a don’t ask, don’t tell situation with the weird food that pops up around our house waiting to made into something delicious. I suppose he just trusts that I have a plan with the random food he finds. And I usually do have a plan…usually.

Carrot Top & Basil Pesto
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups carrot top leaves, roughly chopped
  2. 1/2 cup basil, roughly chopped
  3. 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted (see directions)
  4. 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  5. 1/2 cup olive oil
  6. 3 cloves garlic
  7. salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. To toast the pine nuts, place in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until they start to lightly toast. You will know they are starting to toast when they start to become more fragrant. Stay close during this process because they can burn quickly!
  2. Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until mixture turns into a paste/puree.
Notes
  1. We made pesto grilled cheese sandwiches with these (recipe to come). We also used some of the pesto to top grilled chicken, which was also delicious!
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/