Shrimp Scampi Dip

What’s not to love about this? Shrimp in a creamy dip – a delicious and filling appetizer that will make your guests feel like they’re eating gold. OK, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but they will definitely perk up when they’ve heard you made a shrimp scampi dip and you give them some nice toasts or crusty bread to dip with.

I will warn you that this is super filling. We had a little bit leftover that I have now sitting in the freezer. I’m looking for the perfect opportunity to defrost this and repurpose it for an amazing pasta sauce.

I actually came across this recipe on Facebook. I saw it as a Food Network video. (Here’s the link to the recipe.) I thought that the directions were specific enough that I mostly copied and pasted them here with a couple of adjustments.


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

  • 4 tablespoons plain dried breadcrumbs

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter

  • 1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp, tails discarded, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • Slices of crusty bread and/or crackers, for serving

Beat the cream cheese, mozzarella, sour cream, mayonnaise, Parmesan, 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs and 1/2 teaspoon salt until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to add the shrimp.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shrimp, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes, and cook until the shrimp start to turn pink. Add the wine, bring to a simmer and cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. (there will be some liquid left in the skillet). Remove the skillet from the heat, and let the shrimp cool completely.

Meanwhile, mix together the parsley, the remaining 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon melted butter, the lemon zest and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.

If you want more of this crust, I would suggest doubling the ingredients for this part. In fact, I think it would be delicious with some of it mixed right into the dip.

Once the shrimp has cooled, stir the shrimp and its liquid and cream cheese mixtures together to combine; transfer to a baking dish. (The dip and breadcrumb mixture can be covered and refrigerated overnight separately at this point. This is actually what I did until guests were starting to arrive.)

Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the dip, and bake until hot and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Switch the oven to broil, and cook until the top is golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes, then serve hot with bread and/or crackers.

I chose to serve this with ritz crackers and garlic melba toasts. Don’t be afraid when you scoop it; it will be a bit more watery than you expect, especially when it’s still hot. I hope you and your guests enjoy this hot and yummy dip!

Sincerely,

Fu’d

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Roasted Carrot Garlic Hummus & Tomato Basil Hummus

In the past, Jake had purchased hummus every week to include in his lunch. He had stopped it for a while, but recently, he had the urge to bring hummus back as a staple into his diet. No opposition here! I really don’t know how healthy the store-bought ones are, so I decided that I would make my own. I tried to find recipes that had basic ingredients.

I landed on a chickpea, roasted carrot and garlic hummus that doesn’t require any tahini. (Here’s the link to the recipe.)

The other one I chose was a tomato basil hummus. (Here’s the link to the recipe.)

Both were really good and we even used them in some zucchini hummus wraps for dinner one night.


Roasted Carrot and Garlic Hummus

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup chopped orange carrots (about 3 medium sized)
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 can of cooked chickpeas/garbanzos,
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 1.5 tablespoons of canned chickpea water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • dash of black pepper

First, peel and chop the carrots and place with the garlic cloves in the oven at 400 degrees Farenheit. Roast until the carrots are soft, about 15 minutes. The original recipe doesn’t call for additional cooking of the garlic cloves, but I would recommend cooking those for a bit longer. The garlic flavor in the end was very overpowering and I think roasting the garlic a little longer would’ve helped give it an even better flavor and tone down the raw garlic taste.

Once the carrots and garlic are done roasting, peel the garlic and plop it all into a beldner. Add the other ingredients: the chickpeas, chickpea water, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Blend well until the consistency is as you would like. You may choose to keep it a little chunky or try to get it smooth. And that’s it! Very simple. This had a deep flavor and was pretty thick/substantial (in a good way). I was surprised, since it didn’t require any tahini!

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Tomato Basil Hummus

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2/3 cup fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • Salt & pepper

I ended up using campari tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes. I think it did alter the flavor a bit from what was intended, but overall it was still really good. Since I used a larger tomato, I cut into smaller pieces and roasted in the oven at 400 degrees Farenheit until cooked and a bit wilted. (You may see from the photo above that I actually roasted these at the same time as the carrots and garlic for the other hummus. These were done first, so I took them out after about 10 minutes.

Then, except for the olive oil, all the ingredients were added to the blender. As the blender was going, I streamed the olive oil in.

This had a brighter flavor than the carrot hummus, so it actually worked really well in the wrap with the more muted flavors of some of the other veggies I used in the wrap.



Here’s a photo of the wrap with the carrot hummus! Yummmmmmm!

I hope you can find some insirpiration with these hummuses like I did and enjoy having something you can use a few different ways for lunch and dinner during the week!

Sincerely,

Fu’d

Mini Oktoberfest

It has been an entire week since I last published a blog post. I guess that’s what happens when work is particularly busy! Nevertheless, Jake and I hosted our planned Mini Oktoberfest last weekend and it was so much fun! We prepared a bunch of German eats and our friends spent the day with us eating, laughing, playing games, and having some drinks! We even had a stein-holding contest. I opted out due to the impending embarrassment and also because I played videographer. Haha! More to come on that…

Here’s what we made (with links to the recipes):

We had some friends that brought extra delicious treats, as well:

Sausages

I already wrote last week in my food blog post (Oh My! Homemade Pasta and Sauces, Carbonara Arancini, Caesar Dressing, Sausages, Chargrilled Oysters & Clams) about Jake’s sausage prep. When he cooked them this past weekend, he grilled the majority of them, but he chose to cook some of the beef and pork sausages in the smoker. The cooked brats were placed in a beer, butter, and onion bath and sat for 5-10 minutes to give a little extra flavor. Overall, the sausages were good, especially for a first attempt. The beef and pork recipe was actually for patties, which I think made them a bit dense. The chicken and apple sausage may have had too much liquid from the apples because they fell apart a little easier. They were, however, really flavorful and full of great spices. The only problem is there was so much excitement, we didn’t take any photos of the cooked sausages. Oops! Jake thought the smoked brats smelled and tasted a like kielbasa, so he definitely wants to try those next.

I’m sorry if this photo is not up your alley, but for those who appreciate meats, this is probably like a Picasso!

Pretzel Rolls and Beer Cheese Dip

I made the pretzel rolls and beer cheese dip the morning of the party, since I didn’t want the pretzels to get stale overnight. I was NOT looking forward to it, but I sucked it up and did it. The dough was actually really simple to make and I loved how smooth and clean it was after rising for an hour.

I read comments on the recipe that people wished they made smaller pretzel bites so more people could try them. So, I opted to make pretzel balls instead of the twisted pretzels. I simple tore off approximately equal size pieces of dough from the risen dough ball and rolled it in my hands. I tried to cut an “X” on top of each one, but they were a little too soft – that’s why the rolls didn’t come out very symmetrical.

I plopped two at a time into the boiling baking soda/water bath. It became cumbersome to set the timer to 30 seconds each time, so I just eyeballed it. Letting them sit for longer than the 30 seconds, though, did make the dough more soft and gooey. I suggest not trying to multitask or anything while doing this. I then baked them and only after 5 minutes, I checked the bottoms. Not surprisingly they were already brown, so I moved all them on top of a baking rack.

Toward the end, I actually let them sit for another 5 minutes or so in the oven with the temperature off. This is because I felt like the sides could get a more brown, while trying not to over-brown the tops. I thought to myself during the baking process that flatter pretzels would’ve cooked more evenly on the outsides. In the end, though, they turned out great. They just needed that extra little time to sit.

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I followed the beer cheese dip recipe, although I accidentally put all the mozarella in the mix, instead of reserving the specified amount for sprinkling/browning on top. Luckily, I had some extra I was able to add. I don’t think the changed ratios of cheese made any negative difference to the dip. I actually also doubled the recipe, which was perfect for the amount of pretzels and people. People loved this dip!

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Cabbage Casserole

The cabbage casserole was prepared completely the day before, except for the final baking, which I did while the pretzel dough was rising. I used ground chicken, so our guests that can’t eat beef could munch on this. The main deviation from this recipe is that I ended up using probably only 2/3 of a medium/large cabbage, which is a bit less than I think the recipe intended. I found that it would’ve been difficult to fit in the pot if I had had more and the ratio of meat-to-cabbage would’ve been a off. This dish was a great addition that doubled as both an entree and a side.

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German Potatoes

I had pinned 3 different German potato recipes, but I settled on the one that was more of set it and forget it, since there were already a million other things we’d be doing and cooking. I prepared the potatoes the night before and then dumped everything into the crock pot the morning of the party and let it heat through/finish cooking up until it was time to eat. I was disappointed that it called for boiling the potatoes ahead of time. It would have been infinitely more convenient to be able to literally dump it all in the crock pot and let it cook. I’m sure some adaptations could be made to accommodate this.

I think I made more than 4 cups of potatoes because I wanted to make sure there was plenty. I hadn’t increased any of the other amounts, so my potatoes were probably a little less saucy than they were supposed to be. These weren’t bad. I wished there was just a little more flavor. Perhaps if I had just increased the amounts of mustard, vinegar, or salt, then that would’ve done the trick. I also didn’t have fresh parsley and I think that would have been a nice addition, as well. It was still good and I ate all the leftovers anyway!

Onion Pinwheels

The onion pinwheel recipe was actually an onion tart recipe. I didn’t feel like making the tart dough/crust and I don’t have a proper tart baking dish. I took the easy way out and used Pillsbury crescent dough. For the amount of onions I made, I bought two cans of the crescent dough. I prepared the onion mix the day before.

Then that morning, I rolled out the crescent dough as a single piece, pinching a bit at the seams so it didn’t totally rip apart. I spread the onion mix across the rectangular piece and rolled it. I then sliced about 1/2″ thick rolls and put then in parchment paper, on top of a baking rack, so that the bottoms wouldn’t get too brown.

These were great as an appetizer and the caraway seeds gave it a unique flavor! Don’t be scared by the amount of onion. Once the crescent tough puffs up between the layer of onion, it provides a nice buttery and flaky component. Also, I didn’t use speck. Instead, I used regular bacon from our local store. I think using a heavier, higher quality bacon or pancetta would tip this over the edge.

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Cucumber Salad

The last dish I cooked is the cucumber salad. I chose to do this to provide some crispness and freshness among all the heavy foods we were eating. I used sour cream because I already had some that I needed for the other recipes. I thought that perhaps Greek yogurt would’ve been a little better for this dish. I also used a dried dill that isn’t overly dry. Overall, I think this was successful and mild in flavor, which was nice. I don’t think it was a favorite among all the other food choices, but I continued to eat some of the leftovers.

Now comes my talented friends!

Spatzle Casserole

Lindsay made two dishes. She made spatzle, which is sort of like a pasta dish. Normally, the dough is shaped by pushing it through a colander with wide holes. Because Lindsay didn’t a colander that fit the description, she ended up manually shaping the spatzle into more of a small dumpling shape to make a casserole with caramelized onions. This was another great alternative for non-beef eaters and made for a good entree or side!

Bee Sting Bars

Lindsay also made bee sting bars, traditionally called “Bienenstich”. I had sent her a recipe for a bee sting cake, but she was worried about prepping it ahead of time. She did a little more searching and found bars. She was worried about this, too, because there was no cream on the bars like the cake did. She ended up just making the bars and they were so good. Buttery bottom and a sweet layer with almonds on top. These were even better the next day!

Coconut Pecan Chocolate Balls

Last, but not least, were Liz’s delectable brownie bites with a coconut pecan frosting mixed right in there. These were ooey, gooey and delicious. I felt like eating just one was like I had an entire slice – it was so rich and these were a huge hit with our guests. I might just have to steal this for my next get together!

I almost forgot, we also had the stein holding contest. Jake won, but just by a hair ahead of Ben, Liz’s husband. They held the steins for just over 3.5 minutes! I’ll forego uploading the video because you can hear me WAY too clearly narrating. Lol.

All in all, it was a lot of prep and a long party night, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. I love cooking and being able to entertain. I hope all our friends had fun, too!

Sincerely,
Fu’d

Labor Day Meat Sweats

One Last Cookout –

Happy Labor Day! This holiday in the U.S. is often seen as the last weekend of summer – people begin to close their pools for the season, kids get ready to go back to school, and families and friends have one last big cookout. One of Jake’s many hobbies is smoking meat. For this Labor Day weekend, he decided to cook up some of his ol’ faithful recipes and try some new ones. He made a smoked haddock dip, smoked ribs, and a smoked beef chuck.

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See? Even the pups couldn’t resist waiting by the smoker for the scrumptious food!


Smoked Haddock Dip

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Easter 2017 – Jake’s Smoked Salmon (right)

Last Easter, Jake had tried his very first smoked fish (salmon). We had his family over that day and we conducted our own little research test. We put out store-bought cold-smoked salmon and Jake’s smoked salmon. Jake’s salmon won by a landslide.

Last weekend, Jake had ventured out on a day of fishing with his friend. He came back with a few pounds of fresh haddock. Here was the perfect opportunity to make another smoked fish. He let the haddock fillets sit in a homemade brine overnight. The brine was seasoned as if he were going to use it for a baked haddock (sans the Ritz cracker).

Next day, he smoked the fish for a few hours, regularly basting it with butter and lemon. After a taste test, Jake decided last minute to make a smoked haddock dip. The dip ingredients included cream cheese, sour cream, cayenne, pepper, and green onion. It was absolutely delicious and balanced the perfect amount of smokiness with that classic creamy dip taste.


Smoked Ribs

Jake has made smoked ribs a handful of times now. This time, he decided on two different batches:

  1. A homemade Memphis dry rub
  2. Aloha Spice Company’s Organic Aloha Chicken & Pork rub

There are a couple schools of thought on how ribs should be. Some love it fall-off-the-bone and others (Jake) like it with a little resistance and structure. As for me? As long as it’s good, I’ll eat it! Close to when the ribs are done, Jake likes to brush a bit of BBQ sauce on top. These were great and I can definitely tell he’s begun to perfect his rib smoking! Tangy outside with a little bit of that crust; tender on the inside.

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Smoked Beef Chuck

We stopped by BJ’s Wholesale Club on the way home the other day and picked up a 3 lb beef chuck. We really like the meat they have there and they were nice enough to cut us the size chuck we wanted. In fact, we had gotten the ribs there, as well. The beef chuck was simply seasoned with salt, pepper, brown sugar, and a basting mixture to keep the chuck moist while cooking. Jake has an extra secret technique with his chucks that he won’t allow me to disclose! I’ll try to sneak it into one of my future posts. 😉

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20180902_165806The chuck is one of my favorite thing that Jake smokes. (My absolute favorite is his smoked citrus turkey breast.) Look at those smoke rings on the slices. So good!


We invited our friends, Rob and Lindsay, over to enjoy the meal with us. We whipped up a couple of sides, including a quinoa salad and pasta salad. Lindsay brought homemade lavender lemon squares and her fail-safe brownies for dessert.

(Side note – Every once in a while, Lindsay and I plan out full cooking days where we try out a bunch of new recipes. I can’t wait until our next one so I can post the mouth-watering photos.)

We ended the night with some drinks and conversation around the fire pit. It was a wonderful day and I hope you enjoy your weekend, as well.

Sincerely,
Fu’d