Sunday, February 12, 2012

Spinach Artichoke Dip

A couple years back, I made a spinach artichoke dip for a party the hubby and I went to. The hubby loved it and so did everyone else. Unfortunately, the only thing I could remember about it was that it wasn't healthy at all!

When the hubby asked me to make it again for our Superbowl party, I was stumped. I knew I couldn't make it the same way (I had no idea what recipe I had used). We've been working hard to change up the way we eat lately. Not that we are dieting; we are just trying to be more healthy all around. As I was researching recipes on the Internet, I couldn't find one I like or felt wasn't too unhealthy.

Unfortunately, time was running away from me that Sunday. We had people showing up in 30 minutes and other than buying some cream cheese, I hadn't given the dip a second thought. Luckily, we always have spinach and cheese in the drawer. I threw a bunch of things together and this is what we ended up with. I didn't pre-cook my spinach. No one seemed to notice. If you would prefer to use frozen spinach, make sure it is very well drained. Squeeze out as much water as you can before using!!

I'm assuming it was delicious as I had to quickly snap a picture of the hubby's plate in order to get something to put on the blog. I apologize for the quality of the picture!


5 cups fresh spinach, chopped
2 wedges Laughing Cow Light Swiss, softened
5 tablespoons grated Parmesan
8 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/4-1/3 cup skim milk
1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped **see note at end
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, laughing cow cheese, grated Parmesan, garlic and Italian Seasoning. Add in 1/4 cup milk. Stir in spinach and artichoke hearts. If the mixture feels too thick, add the remaining milk, a tablespoon at a time.

Pour mixture into a 1.25 quart ceramic baking dish (I used the small one in this set). Sprinkle grated mozzarella on the top. Cover with tin foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve with fresh veggies or gf crackers for the gluten-free; sliced baguette or pita for the non-gf.

If using frozen artichoke hearts; thaw, drain and chop. If using canned artichoke hearts, rinse some of the oil off first, before draining and chopping.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Coconut Rice

We don't typically eat much starch or grain at our house. I find that most of them, even the ones that are gluten free, don't agree with my tummy. However, every once in a while, we splurge a little and I seem to do ok.

The night we had our Sweet and Spicy Pork Roast with Mango Salsa, we accompanied it with some coconut rice. I have to was delicious. A perfect combination with the mango and spice. The coconut flavor was definitely in the forefront, but not overpowering. I included some dried coconut when I cooked the rice. If you find that you don't like the texture of dried coconut, you can simply leave it out!

1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup rice (I used jasmine rice as that is what I had on hand, but regular white or brown rice work just as well. The brown rice adds a nice nutty flavor.)
3 tablespoons dried, unsweetened coconut
pinch of salt
handful chopped cilantro

Combine water, coconut milk, rice, coconut and salt in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a gentle simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 additional minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in cilantro.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Pork Roast with Mango Salsa

It has been quite some time since I have posted anything here. Working two jobs and a hubby in law school keeps us pretty busy around here. I have found that I rely more and more on my crock-pot to make dinner happen. The majority of my upcoming posts will be focusing on crock-pot and/or make a-head meals...for breakfast and dinner! I really struggle with breakfast at times :)

However, last night I found myself with a night off and a generous amount of time to make dinner. That doesn't mean this meal took a generous amount of time. It was actually very easy! I threw the roast in the oven, put the rice on half way through and it turned out wonderfully. The only secret....making the salsa AT LEAST one day in advance. It needs time to sit and "marinate" in the fridge. I had originally planned to make this meal last weekend, so my salsa sat for a few days. It was still delicious, probably more so than it would have been the same day.

We love Asian flavors at our house. This is a great way to bring a new sweetly spiced flavor to a traditional pork roast. The honey allows for a slight crystallization on the outside, sealing in the moisture and flavor. The sweet chili sauce and siracha add a slight heat to the
roast, which is easily modifiable to your individual taste!


2-3 pound pork roast (mine was a top sirloin roast from Costco)
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
1 tsp honey
2-3 tsp siracha (adjustable to your personal heat level)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Trim fat off pork roast, as personally desired. Rub ginger and garlic powder mixture on all sides of the roast. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the sweet chili sauce, honey and siracha. Set aside.
When the internal temperature reaches about 140 degrees (pork is safely done about 145 degrees), turn on broiler to low. Brush the outsides of the roast with the chili sauce mixture and place back underneath the broiler to allow the sauce to crystallize on the outside. I ended up brushing the sauce on 3 or 4 times. I did have a little sauce left over that I put on the table with the roast.
Remove the roast from the oven and tent with foil for about 10 minutes. Slice and serve with mango salsa. We ate ours with coconut rice and steamed broccoli. I will post the rice recipe tomorrow! :)

*I didn't have a roasting pan so I just line a baking sheet with tin foil and placed my roast on that. If you have a roasting pan, that would probably be a better option.


1 mango, peeled and diced small
1/3 onion, diced small
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced small
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp cumin
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.