Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Crab & Artichoke Dip

 Last summer we were fortunate enough to have a family vacation to BC to visit with our families.  For Canada Day my sister-in-law hosted a feast - really there is no other word to describe it.  For a fantastic appetizer she made a crab & artichoke dip that was better than most you'd get in a restaurant.  Since then, my husband has been asking me to make the same dip for us to enjoy here at home.  Not quite a year later I did.  I had a lovely chat with my s.i.l. yesterday and she gave me the recipe out of her head.  I thought I had most ingredients on hand, and I was right.  Just a few variations, which as she put it, once you have the basics, the rest is very forgiving. 

2 cups whipped cream
1 block cream cheese (250 ml)
1 dollop sour cream
1 tbsp mayo
1 package of artificial crab meat
1 can real crab meat
1 cup grated hard cheese (mozzarella or cheddar)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup jarred artichokes (drained)
few drops Worchester
few drops lemon juice
good shake of Old Bay Seasoning

In a large bowl whip cream, cream cheese, sour cream and mayo all together.  Add everything else and using a hand blender, blend it all (can put it all in a food processor too).  If it is too thick you can add a little milk in to thin it out.

Divide into pie plates, cover with foil and bake at 350* for 20 minutes.
My variation last night with what I had on hand.

1 cup whipped cream
1 cup whole milk (3 1/2%)
2 blocks cream cheese
1 tbsp mayo
1 package artificial crab meat
1 can real crab meat
1 cup grated cheddar
1 cup jarred artichokes (drained)
1/2 cup chopped green onion
few drops Worchester
few drops lemon juice
few drops hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Follow mixing directions as above.  I baked everything in a large covered casserole dish together at 425* for 30 minutes (I have a slow oven).

Both were delicious.

 My Sister-in-law's crab dip at last year's Canada Day family gathering.

My husband with his sister in her kitchen.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


You see sliders everywhere now. They are so popular and it's no wonder. They are tasty little burgers. And they are a great size if you have kids. I'd like to thank Donna from My Tasty Treasures for posting her technique of making these burgers. Mine are made the same way, but I have a different recipe for my burger part.

2 pounds ground beef
1 onion - chopped finely
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
16 cheese slices
16 mini rolls - I use dinner rolls and they work well, but you can use whatever

Heat oven to 425* (my oven is not hot so 425* works well for us, probably 350* would do well for a hotter oven).
Mix ground beef, chopped onion, bread crumbs, Dijon, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix everything in well (one of those times you want to use your (clean) hands for mixing).
Put the beef mixture on a baking sheet and press it flat, right out to the corners so it covers the sheet completely.
Bake for about 20 minutes.
Drain the grease by tipping the tray slightly over your grease catcher (coffee can or whatever you use). Make sure to hold on to the beef with an oven mitt to keep it from sliding off the tray. The beef will have shrunk a bit in size.
Spread the cheese slices over the beef to cover it completely.
(Here's the trust me, it sounds tricky but it makes sense part) Put the tops of the buns face down on the beef/cheese, leaving no gaps between buns.
Then, put the bottoms of the buns on top of the tops, face UP!
Put the baking sheet back into the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese and heat the buns.
Remove from the oven.
Get the mayo and ketchup ready. As you remove each bun bottom, spread a little mayo and squirt a little ketchup on each. Set aside on a plate for a few minutes.
Take a knife and cut out each burger on the tray. You basically have to just run it down and across in between each burger. Use a spatula to lift each burger out and place onto a bottom part. That's it. It sounds trickier than it actually is. (Check out Donna's site for pictures if you need them). Serve with onion rings or crispy fries (or both) and a homemade milkshake for extra goodness!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

X-Wing Cake

My son started planning his 7th birthday party slightly before his 6th birthday party happened. His 6th birthday had a superhero theme with a fantastic Spider-Man cake, one of my favorite cakes I'd done. For his 7th he wanted Star Wars. I started planning an R2 D2 cake. I thought about a Millennium Falcon. Nope, he wanted an X-Wing. Really? Does he think I'm Cake Boss Buddy? He would do an amazing one. Me? My skills are limited. I couldn't quite figure out how to do the X wings, so they are closed on this one.
The body of the cake was made with a 9x12 pan, then cutting out the shape. The wings were made in 2 small bread pans (one recipe split into 2) and then cutting the shape. The cake is covered in vanilla icing. I then used a combination of licorace, ju-jubes, chocolates and oreo straws to make the decorative features. I know it isn't my best cake (that would be my other son's Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cake) but this worked and I was pleased with it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Squash Pancakes

Pancakes once were a regular feature in our home and I still like to make them as much as I can. The fantastic thing about pancakes and a picky eater in the house (mine is 4) is that you can hide a lot of different fruits and veggies in the batter. This time, the veggie was squash. My kids loved them. My picky eater ate 3 or 4 of them the first morning. They are fantastic re-heated the next day too. I used some previously cooked butternut squash in the batter, making the batter more squash than anything else.

1 egg
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnimon
2 cups squash (guestimate) - previously cooked and mashed well

Mix everything together.  Heat the griddle or frying pan.  Spray with non-stick spray.  Pour 1/4 batter at a time onto the griddle.  (you can also add Mickey Mouse ears with a little extra batter for fun).  Let cook through on one side before flipping to cook onto the other.  Serve with butter and syrup.