Tag Archives: veggies

“Peg’s” Spinach & Ranch Dip


While I am sure I have had this dip many times in the past, our recent trip to Charleston reminded me how downright good it is. I though it so good, in fact, that I told Peg she just had to give me the recipe because I’m always looking for a good cold dip.

To which she replied, “Um sure, Ashley – it’s on the back of the packet.” And then she and the rest of the Davies pointed and laughed as they are wont to do. And that is why I love them.

My embarrassment aside, this dip is solid, and I actually prefer it with veggies for dippers than chips, which is miraculous on its own.Also, you can definitely use light sour cream in this without any adverse effect. I know. My inner fat girl cries out with shame at this suggestion.

And don’t skip the water chesnuts – they are what gives this stuff its cracktastic crunch.

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
8 oz water chestnuts, rinsed, drained and chopped
16 oz sour cream (you can go light here)
1 packet Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dips Mix
salt, black pepper and hot sauce to taste
French bread, cut into pieces
fresh veggies

  1. Mix first four ingredients (and s&p and hot sauce) together and chill for at least 30 minutes (preferably overnight).
  2. Dip the other stuff in it. Pretty straightforward.

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Filed under Appetizers, Comfort food, Dips, Veggies

Summer Veggie Gratin ~ They’re baaa-aaack!

While a Poltergeist II  quote may be a random way to get back in the swing of recipe blogging, that’s just where I am in my life.

As it turns out, working can really take its toll on a girl’s ability to blog sarcastic about pop culture and cooking. And between that and a serious commitment to happy hour, I have been straight up remiss. In any case, I am now officially, as Britney might say, “back, b*tch.” Less with a vengeance and more with a  fantastic veggie dish for your summer pleasure, but that’s for you to decide.

In general, I think eggplants are bruise-colored squishbombs that are only tolerable when covered in marinara sauce and parm. The Chef proved, however, that this simply is not so. After his inaugural trip to the 12 South Farmer’s Market, he whipped up this slightly decadent and totally tasty take on a veggie gratin, and it was crusty, seasonal goodness.

The texture of the veggies in combination with the crunch of the breadcrumbs and kick of the fresh thyme makes this dish bright and – dare I say it – healthy. (I know we generally only make things that involve a vat of cream or butter, but “even a blind squirrel” as Dot would say…)

So there you have it. We’re glad to be “out amongst ya” again, Nummy! Now go forth and gratin.


Onion mixture
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp olive oil
dash of salt
1 tsp fresh thyme

Veggies all sliced into 1/2-inch circles
2 zucchini
2 yellow tomatoes
2 yellow squash
1 eggplant

Panko/Parm/thyme mix:
1/2 cup of Parmesan
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp fresh thyme

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. For the Onion Mixture, saute onions in olive oil in a pan. Add salt. Once softened, add garlic and thyme. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Combine zucchini, squash and eggplant in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Place tomatoes on a plate and season with salt and pepper. (The Chef says the seasoning are the most important, so don’t skimp with the S&P.)
  5. Spread onions on the bottom of a casserole dish. Layer veggies over the onions. Top with panko mix.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes.
  7. After 40 minutes, turn the oven up to 500 and cook for 10 minutes, until golden brown.

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Filed under French food, Side dishes, Veggies

Roasted Herb Veggie Couscous

Another recipe from Tanya that, not surprisingly, looks like a great hangover cure!

Message from Nadine: I love to make this meal after a long weekend of boozing, eating, and very little sleeping. It’s the perfect “Sunday sadness” dinner because it’s loaded with vitamins, it’s filling, and it’s easy. And I promise it looks more complicated than it is. I probably make this once a week, and it is great served with sautéed chicken, a scoop of hummus and Tuscan Kale Salad.

1 cup couscous
Flavored stock* (see recipe below)
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion chopped (about 1 inch pieces)
Handful fingerling/small round potatoes chopped (about 1 inch pieces)
1-2 carrots chopped thinly
½ a lemon, sliced
2 cloves garlic minced (optional- also adding a few full cloves to roast)
1-2 tablespoons cumin
1 Handful of chopped herbs (I use rosemary or thyme)
Toasted pine nuts (optional)

*Flavored stock:
1 ¼ cup homemade or low sodium chicken stock
Dried oregano (as Ina says, always crush in your hands to release the flavors)
Cumin powder- generous amount
Pinch of fresh minced garlic
½ teaspoon saffron threads crushed
Splash of olive oil
Zest of half a lemon and a few squeezes lemon juice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all ingredients for stock together and bring water to a boil and turn off heat (herbs and spice amounts are to taste, but be generous as it is going to flavor the couscous). Cover pot and allow to steep for about 15 mins.
  2. While stock cooks, prepare onions, potatoes, and carrots. Place veggies in mixing bowl with chopped garlic, herbs, lemon slices, salt and pepper to taste. (I like to use truffle salt!) Coat with generous amount oil and toss.
  3. Place mixture on a baking tray. Roast for about 35-45 mins turning halfway. Toast pine nuts if using.
  4. Bring stock just back to a boil. Place the couscous in a large heat proof bowl and pour hot stock over it, stirring quickly to make sure all couscous is covered. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand for about 10-15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.
  5. Add roasted veggies (throw out the lemon slices) and toss with a fork, taste for seasoning add salt and pepper (or cayenne if you like it spicy) as needed. If couscous is too dry at the end, add a little more olive oil or lemon juice.
  6. Top this meal off with some sautéed chicken pieces and serve with Kale Salad.

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Filed under African food, Comfort food, Main Course, Side dishes

Grade A Guacamole

After trying many guac recipes, finally found the winner. Some of the ingredients are surprising, but it’s well worth it.

2  tomatillos
1/3  cup chopped onion
1/3  cup chopped plum tomato
3  tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
juice from 1 lime
3/4  teaspoon  salt
3  ripe peeled avocados, seeded and coarsely mashed
1.5  jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1  garlic clove, minced

  1. Peel papery husk from tomatillos. Wash, core, and finely chop.
  2. Combine tomatillos, onion, and remaining ingredients. Stir well.

If you want to go the extra mile and make your own chips, these go perfectly with the guac.

8  (6-inch) corn tortillas
Cooking spray
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/2  teaspoon  Chipotle chile powder (such as McCormick)

  1. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges and arrange in a single layer on 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray.
  2. Sprinkle wedges with 1/2 teaspoon salt and chile powder.
  3. Lightly coat wedges with cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 375° for 12 minutes or until wedges are crisp and lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes.

This recipe is modified from MyRecipes.com.

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Filed under Appetizers, Dips, Mexican food, Party food