Brown Eyed Baker’s Spinach Artichoke Dip

A good dip is hard to beat. I mean, how many times have I spoiled my dinner filling up on a crazy delicious appetizer… with no regrets? Too many to count probably, and totally worth it every time. I love the combination of creamy artichokes, slightly bitter spinach (for a little depth), smooth cream cheese, and salty Parmesan. Who doesn’t? I’m drooling just thinking about it. I owe my friend AnnMarie credit for bringing this winner to my attention.

As organic as possible: (you know I have to say that)

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1½ cups (6 ounces) finely shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Paprika, to taste (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Press the excess moisture from the spinach.

Combine the artichokes, spinach, 1¼ cups of Parmesan cheese, 1¼ cups of Monterey Jack cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and garlic in a bowl and mix well.

Spoon the artichoke mixture into a 1½-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheeses on top, and then sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla or pita chips, crackers or vegetables.

Thank you Annie for sharing this recipe with me! View the original at

Classic Deviled Eggs

This dish has been around as long as I can remember. I suspect most people can say that. It’s just a classic appetizer that has frequented every holiday and many gatherings I’ve attended. So it is imperative that this be a part of my collection of recipes. (Which actually is my mother’s recipe). I hear they are making a comeback, I didn’t know they were gone. None-the-less, crazy kids everywhere are adding spices like chipotle, topping them with pulled pork and smoked trout, and even making them look artsy like cracked eggs. 

12 eggs

1/2 cup Miracle Whip

2 Tbsp Mayonnaise

1 Tbsp Honey mustard

2 tsp Horseradish sauce

1/2 tsp Season salt

1/8 tsp ground Pepper

Paprika for topping (optional)

Parsley for topping (optional)

Place eggs in a sauce pan and fill with enough water to cover eggs by an inch. Bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Gently drain and replace with cold tap water (more than once if necessary) until eggs are cool enough to handle. Peel, rinse and pat eggs dry with a paper towel. If time permits, seal eggs in an air tight ziplock baggy and refrigerate until cold, overnight if possible.

Slice the eggs in half, lengthwise. Gently remove the yolks with a small spoon and place in bowl, setting whites aside for now. Mash egg yolks with a fork until crumbly. Add Miracle Whip, mayonnaise, honey mustard, horseradish sauce, season salt, and ground pepper. Mix until creamy. If it seems to dry add more of the condiments you like a teaspoon at a time. (If it’s too wet boil some more eggs. Ha ha ha.)

With a small spoon carefully fill the egg whites with yolk mixture, garnish with optional toppings and place on serving dish. Eggs can be refrigerated until serving (within 24 hours). They can be stored after the party for several days, but they might not look as pretty.

Other optional toppings include chives, sliced olives, pimentos and bacon bits.

Easy Oven-Baked Chicken Parm

Sometimes you get a craving and nothing else but a cheesy, salty, crusted piece of moist chicken will do. (Clearly I’m not a vegetarian.) This chicken is coated with a mix of Parmesan and Asiago, for maximum tantalizing flavor. It’s got a crispy outside and is moist on the inside, and it’s baked not fried. So basically it’s guilt-free. It’s great on it’s own, but I love it with my favorite marinara and pasta to make an easy Italian classic, Chicken Parmesan. Yum!

As organic as possible:

4 Chicken breast cut into strips (2-3 per breast lengthwise)

3/4 cup Mayonnaise (you can substitute with light mayo)

1/4 cup Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Black pepper

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

2-3 Tbsp (rounded) freshly grated Asiago

Preheat oven to 425°. Place mayo in a small bowl, set aside. In a shallow baking dish mix bread crumbs, salt, pepper and cheeses. Dredge each piece of chicken in the mayo, so that it has a nice even coating, removing excess. (You’re going to get your hands messy, but it’s worth it.) Then roll coated chicken around in bread crumb mixture until completely covered. Place covered chicken strips on a baking sheet (or two). Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through, and crust is browned and crispy.

While chicken is cooking, prepare noodles and warm your favorite marinara sauce for serving. (It hardly gets easier for a weeknight meal than that!) Top with more freshly grated Parmesan… Enjoy!

The Chef’s Creamy Pasta Salad

Sometimes you want a side dish that can stand up with any burger, barbecue chicken or pulled pork you throw at it. You want the kind of pasta salad that makes you happy going back for seconds, knowing that you don’t have to get everything; just some of that really good pasta salad. Here it is…

4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1 1/2 cup Mayonnaise

1/2 cup Miracle Whip

1/4 cup Champagne vinegar

2/3 cup White sugar

2 1/2 Tbsp Yellow mustard

1 1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Black pepper

1 large Onion

2 stalks Celery, diced

1 Green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 Carrot, grated

Cook macaroni as directed, rinse with cold water and drain. In a large bowl mix mayonnaise, Miracle Whip (for that tangy zip), vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Add the onion, celery, green pepper, carrot, and mayo mixture to the macaroni. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or longer to let flavors combine, overnight is preferred! Enjoy! (Compliments of Sadie via The Chef)

The Curry, Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich

I was eating my daily dose of vegetables and enjoying them thoroughly because they were generously doused with my Gram’s Curry Dip. And the thought occurred to me, “I wish I had a piece of bacon to dip in this right now.” (Admittedly I have issues). It was a total “light-bulb” moment, except you have to say it like Gru from Despicable Me. So let’s take Gram’s dip to the next level… a spread. Oh my goodness, you won’t be sorry.

Serves 2

As organic as possible:

4 slices thick white country bread

6 thick bacon slices, cooked crispy but meaty (you bacon lovers know what I’m saying)

2-4 leaves iceberg lettuce (depending on their size)

4 slices ripe juicy tomato

4 Tbsp Gram’s Curry Dip

Place the bread in a toaster oven (or toaster obviously) and toast lightly, for a little texture but maintaining softness. Spread some of Gram’s Curry Dip on the insides of all four slices (so the goodness is on the top and bottom of your new favorite sandwich). Layer on the lettuce, tomato and bacon. Top your sandwiches, cut them in half and serve. Then gloat, because those cute little cafes with their fancy sandwiches have nothing on you right now.

The Chef’s Potato Salad

Almost everyone I know grew up eating potato salad. It’s has to be as American (or German) as BBQ’s and potlucks. The recipe for potato salad is as diverse as the individual making it. Grainy mustard? Boiled eggs? Bacon? Red skin, yellow or Idaho? This recipe from the chef is cool, creamy and delicious! If you want a perfect side dish at your next gathering, here it is.

4 lbs Potatoes (your choice!), peeled, boiled (tender but firm) and chopped into spoonful size pieces
1 ½ Medium onions, diced
3 Celery stalks, diced
5 boiled eggs, roughly chopped
2 cups Mayonnaise
½ cup Miracle Whip
2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp Salt
1 ½ tsp Pepper

Place potatoes, onions, celery stalks, and eggs in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combing mayo, Miracle Whip (for a little tang!), vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour the mayo dressing on top of the chopped foods and gently toss until all is coated. Place in the refrigerator and allow flavors to combine for at least a few hours and preferably overnight. Taste for seasonings and serve chilled.