Thursday, December 21, 2006

Creamy Veggie/Cheese Dip

Picture courtesy of Nugget Market - check out their website
1/2 cup Romano Cheese
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (separate 1/4 cup or it for topping)
1 pound asparagus spears, roasted and chopped
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
8 1/2 ounce car (or jar) artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup mayo (not "lite"version)
1 tub (about 8-9 ounces) Kraft Philadelphia cream cheese chive and onion flavor.
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper .
2-3 cloves roasted garlic, chopped (or you can replace each clove with 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder)

To Roast Garlic for cooking purposes:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Separate a head of garlic into individual cloves. You don't need to peel the heads but do rub of any flaky or papery skin. Use a paring knife to cut off the stem end of each clove.

Put the cloves in the center of a square piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and using your fingers rub the oil around the entire clove. Gather the aluminum foil into a pouch and set it directly on the rack of your oven. Roast until the garlic becomes very soft, approximately 1 hour. Do a maximum of 2 cloves per pouch.

After baking, carefully open the pouch let the cloves sit until they are cool enough to handle. When cool, squeeze each clove gently at the untrimmed end and the roasted garlic goodness should slide right out.

To Roast Asparagus (again, I roasted mine for another meal and then saved some for this).
1 lb asparagus spears (thick spears are best for roasting)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper, lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Thoroughly wash the asparagus, breaking off the touch ends and discarding.

Lay the asparagus spears out in a single layer in a baking dish and drizzle with just a little olive oil, turning them over with a fork in the oil until all are covered. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (if you are making these just to eat and not use for a recipe later, also sprinkle with some garlic).

Roast for 8-10 minutes until just slightly brown and tender when pierced with a fork. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve or save for the recipe.

NOTE: If you use packaged or (shudder) canned asparagus in this recipe drain and then add in a drop of lemon juice to the cheese veggie mixture.

Mix 1-1/4 cups Parmesan with all remaining ingredients. Spoon into 2-qt. baking dish; top with remaining Parmesan. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until heated through and top is light brown

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