All The Dips

holiday party 2014 022 copyAs part of my post-holiday round-up I wanted to include a post about all the little picking foods I made for my holiday party. While all of them tasty- I combined them into one post as I made them all simultaneously. I think a big part of holiday entertaining, or any entertaining for that matter, is being able to multi-task dishes.

The morning of my party I was in the midst of making my Pumpkin White Bean Turkey Chili (no post in the near future as the picture I took were minimal) I began preparing the rest of my “spread”…

While spinach artichoke dip (THE BEST) and bruschetta aren’t the most challenging things to make, lets also add in that my vegan friend suddenly confirmed his attendance to my party and I wanted to make sure I had more than Bruschetta and lettuce to feed him (I know I sound totally narrow minded to vegan-eating but, at that moment that was about all I had in my house).

Then I remembered I was given an eggplant and happen to have tahini, lemon ect. ect…to make babaganoush. So, with that in mind I set forth to make “all the dips” simultaneously.

Recipes at the end of this post.

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First things first, I LOVE SPINACH. I really do, we make it very often here as a side for dinner, or I make a mean spinach, mushroom, bacon quiche with swiss cheese (oooh, I smell a blog post?), BUT for spinach artichoke dip, I usually opt for frozen (the only time I even buy frozen spinach). Mainly because you have to cook it before hand no-matter-what and the heat from it helps make the rest of the process much easier. But don’t worry- I always make sure its Grade A Fancy (lolz, I don’t know what that means).

rilletes and holiday party cooking 103 copyI apologize in advance for the state of my knives. They are clean and sharp but the “stainless” part of them is failing me. I’ve read online that lemon juice helps a TON and I tried it- not too much.

Pro tip: set your cream cheese out as early as you can so its near room temperature.

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I like to still give my artichoke hearts a fairly lazy chop. Whole or quartered from the can-  You want them to break up a little bit in the mix so its not just random giant chunks of artichoke hearts.

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I always start by putting my cream cheese in a mixing bowl, then add your artichoke hearts, mozz, parm, mayo, garlic and oregano. Then once your spinach is ready strain it, I even will press mine in the strainer with another bowl or a big wooden spoon to get as much excess moisture out as I can. No one wants runny dip, yo. k?

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so. appetizing.

Even if your cream cheese wasn’t totally up to temperature (who am I kidding, no one is that timely) the heat from the spinach will really help blend everything. Just work at it with a spatula.

Side note: If you want to cook your dip right away, you should have turned on your stove already. I did not want to BUT, I had turned on my stove anyways at this point for reasons TBD (spoiler alert: we’re going to toast bread and eggplant).

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Baking dish or…..loaf of bread (please, loaves of bread to encase dip are so 2013). Top with the rest of your mozz…

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And we are done! If you don’t want to bake it right away you can cover with tin foil and keep in your refrigerator overnight/until later that evening.


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One down- two to go.

Next up- Bruschetta. I also would like to apologize for my lack of photos of toasting bread, but If you are wondering how to toast little Cruts please see: French Onion Soup. My oven was a blazin’ 450 degrees perfect for toasting bread AND roasting eggplant.

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Poke a lot of holes in in this so it doesn’t explode and then roast for 20 minutes. JUST enough time to chop up some…

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I know, it’s like 4 ingredients and doesn’t deserve a lot of attention but its pretty to photograph and taste damn good.

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not to mention, this was the only time I could get Brett’s attention to take some photos for me instead of me stopping every step to take some.

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Ok, 15 minutes quick chop of tomato, basil, GAHHHLICK, salt, pepper, EVOO and a splash of balsamic.


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Two down- one to go.

Now, I have to get serious with you all- I’m about to visually lie to you. I actually went through 2 eggplants because I, like an idiot, chopped up my first FREE eggplant and realized I was suppose to scrape out the meat and leave the skin literally 5 seconds into pureeing it. Super big shout-out to my husband, Brett, for running to the grocery store in the midst of holiday party cooking and cleaning to go get me an EGGPLANT. 

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So there I was- with my first and only eggplant, all roasted. READY TO GO. Just got to scrape it all out…

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Like I totally did the first and only time….

I had picture of me processing it in the food processor with it…but really it looks kinda nasty. So lets skip all that and TA DA-

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At least two people ate it so it wasn’t a total wash. Phew. After all that and cleaning I had myself a small glass of white wine to “pre-game” the party. Every cook needs a little bit after a crazy morning of prepping and cooking. I hope some of you can relate and appreciate while some things aren’t totally a mind-bender to make, being able to cook multiple things at once and muti-task in the kitchen is a huge advantage.

Here are the recipes- Enjoy!


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbls tahini
  • 2 tbls lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • salt to taste, about 1/4 tsp

Prick the eggplant all over and place on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Cook for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees. Cut the eggplant in half a drain off any excess liquid. Scoop the pulp out with a metal spoon and pulse in the food processor until smooth.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.

On a cutting board, work the garlic and salt with the flat edge of a knife to create a paste. Transfer garlic paste to the eggplant, then add tahini, lemon juice, more salt to taste and parsley. Reserve some parsley for garnish if you’d like.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

  • 1 10oz box of frozen chopped spinach
  • 14oz artichoke hearts(canned) chopped.
  • 1 cup cream cheese (1 bar)
  • 2 cups mozzarella
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated.
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or less if you prefer, we just over do the garlic in our house)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Set cream cheese out to bring to room temperature and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook frozen spinach as directed and strain as much excess liquid as possible with wooden spoon.

In a bowl combine cream cheese, artichokes, parmesan cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella, mayo, garlic, oregano and salt and pepper. Mix together until all the cream cheese is evenly spread through-out. Transfer to a oven-safe dish and top with remaining cup of mozzarella. Bake in over for about 20-30 minutes. I like to keep it covered with foil for about the first 20 minutes while baking then take the foil off for the last 10 minutes until nice a golden brown on top.



Phew, well that is that. What are your favorite go-to party recipes to make? I’d love to hear from you!

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