Sunday, January 27, 2019

Guinness Caramelized Onion Dip

  When you think of onion dip, just regular basic onion dip, you usually think of mixing sour cream with onion soup mix, correct? It's been one of those standard no-fuss recipes that everyone has made for ages and ages, and it always goes over well with a bowl of potato chips. But what if we take that onion dip and turn up the volume??
 This onion dip is absolutely MILES ahead of the old stand by as far as flavor is concerned. It just has a depth of flavor that you just can't get from a box of soup mix. Think of it as the difference between fresh vegetables and canned vegetables. There's just no comparison, right? So, for this onion dip, it's kind of like that. Plus you get the added bonus of skipping all that extra sodium. It takes a little bit of time, but it's really worth that extra effort to develop those deep flavors. And it's a total do ahead, so you'll wind up saving time in the long run. This is my tweaked version of a recipe I found on a blog called Home Cooking Memories. If you like onion dip, then this one is definitely next on your must-do list!

5 cups Vidalia or other sweet onions, about 3 large
4 tbs butter
3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 (12oz) bottle of Guinness Extra Stout
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

  Chop the onions down to small dice. Melt butter in a large heavy pan over low-medium heat. Add the chopped onions and let them slowly caramelize. Don't rush this step! This will take a good 20-30 minutes. Every few minutes, give it a good stir to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the onions have turned a dark-amber color, stir in the garlic and continue to saute for a few more minutes. Add the whole bottle of beer. Stir again to make sure nothing is stuck to the pan. Turn up the heat just until it comes to a boil, then reduce the heat back down again to simmer. Let it simmer until just about all of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat. Set aside.
 In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients until smooth and creamy. Stir in the onion mixture. Place the bowl in the fridge until chilled. Just before serving, give it a final stir, just to make sure it's all creamy and delish. Garnish with a few chopped scallions, if you like. Serve with your favorite potato chips.

Ok, let me say this again because I can't stress it enough.. do NOT rush cooking the onions! Just let them go low and slow. Perfection takes time!! It's a MUCH bigger pay off in the end!
You decide how dark you want them. I like to let them go very dark, almost brown. The flavor just gets deeper and deeper as you go.
You can use a food processor to chop the onions, but I prefer to do them by hand. I like to be able to control the size of the dice, and it's one less thing to wash. Besides that, you don't want them to be too finely minced because then they'll nearly disintegrate as you saute them. A little texture is a good thing! If you're not sure how to do them by hand, just watch my video How to Cut an Onion !
The original recipe said to completely cool the onions before mixing them into the creamed mixture. I didn't, but just chilled the whole thing after. It's still fabulous either way.
For an extra added twist, try adding a a few pinches of fresh thyme leaves as you saute your onions. It gives another layer of flavor that really goes well with sauteed onions! Yum.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Joey's Better Than Buffalo Chicken Dip

  Every so often, I'll look through my recipe archives for a specific classic go-to recipe, only to discover that it's not there because, oops, I never posted it. What the hay!! How does this keep happening?? Well, after 11 years and nearly a THOUSAND recipes, (yes really!) I guess it's hard to mentally keep track of every recipe I've ever posted!
 So, after going to my sister Patty's house for dinner and having some of my niece Tory's fabulous Buffalo Chicken Dip, I thought this would be PERFECT for the group hang that I was planning. But, you guessed it, I looked in the archive and it was nowhere to be found. OK! I guess it's time fix that!
 So, thanx, Tory, for texting me the recipe, but as usual, I tweaked it ever so slightly. I used more chicken than she said to use, because well, more is more! And Full Disclosure: I'm not really a fan of the usual hot sauce typically used on Buffalo Chicken Wings. Frankly, it's been years (probably decades) since I've eaten wings, and chances are I asked for the hot sauce to be served on the side. What can I say? It's just not my favorite thing. So when I started making this dip, I decided to swap out the hot sauce for Sriracha, which I think has a MUCH better flavor. My friends LOVED it! But we decided that it kind of no longer tastes like Buffalo Chicken. This one is BETTER! Hence the name.
 So there you have it. It has great flavor and just enough heat that doesn't smack you in the face. Actually, it's really more of a slow burn that sort of sneaks up on you, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Now that this is officially posted, I think I might keep it in the rotation for a while!
My friends loved it, and I bet yours will too!

4 cans chunk chicken, drained
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1/4 cup Ranch dressing
1/4 cup Bleu Cheese Dressing
1/4  cup Sriracha
chopped scallions for garnish, if you'd like

Mix everything together, pour it into a small baking dish, then either heat it up in the microwave or bake it in the oven until it's all melty. Serve with Wheat Thins, Scoops chips, or celery sticks.

 I think by now you know what I'm gonna say. If you like a lot of something, add a lot! Do you LOVE Sriracha? Add a lot! Do you LOVE Ranch dressing? Add a lot! And if you love the usual hot sauce instead of sriracha, go for it! You do you!
I used canned chunk chicken, but if you have leftover cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken, just finely shred it and use it up!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Joey's Baked Crab and Corn Dip

  Usually, in January, I try to post recipes that are great for a party. Although I'm not a fan of football, I can appreciate a good party with lots of great food, so I figured I'd come up with a dip for you and your friends to enjoy while watching the game.
 My starting point was the idea of doing a creamy baked corn dip, but I didn't want it to be the same old Southwest sort of thing that has cheddar cheese and jalapenos in it. Then My Kristin suggested adding crab. Oh YUM!  Actually, I've been in kind of a seafood mood lately anyway, so this was perfect! I just grabbed a few other ingredients that I happened to have on hand, and here we are!
 It's actually kind of light, and not so rich as some dips that are laden with sour cream, mayonnaise, and shredded cheese. And it has a slight sweet/savory sort of hit that is a really nice change from all the hot sauce and wings.
 So the next time you have the gang over to watch the big game, or even if you're not, you should definitely add this one to your party repertoire. It's a winner!

1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese
3 scallions, chopped
2 heaping tbs mayonnaise
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
12 oz (or more) imitation crab (or the real deal)
1 can whole corn, drained
sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese, if desired
sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley for garnish, if desired

Using an electric mixer, blend the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Stir in crab and corn. Place in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if using. Bake at 350ºF for about 20-30 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with Scoops tortilla chips or your choice of chips or crackers.

If you're using real lump crab meat, you really don't want to break up those gorgeous delicious lumps, so just gently fold them in. However, if you're using the imitation crab, you can just throw everything in the bowl and mix it up. They usually come in large chunks, so it's actually better to break them down a bit.
If you like a lot of something, add a lot! Want more crab? Want to add baby shrimp? Go for it!
For the photo, I didn't add the sprinkling of Parmesan cheese over the top, but I think it's a good addition because that salty note goes well to balance the sweetness of the corn and crab.
Also thanx to My Jeanie for the new casserole dishes!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Joey's Loaded Tater Tot Casserole

 OK, so my original thought was not to make a casserole, but rather to make a party dip. I was looking for recipes to post for New Year's Eve, and I found a recipe for Tater Tot Dip. Ooo that sounds good, ok, let's run with it. But then I started thinking of a loaded baked potato, and I thought, "why not add bacon to it? Why not add broccoli to it? And scallions?" Suddenly my loaded dip was turning into a loaded casserole. So I figured I'd go with it! Turns out it was quite a happy accident because it's delicious! Serve it as an all in one casserole, or do what I did and serve it with a couple fried eggs on the side. FABULOUS. It's actually not as heavy as it might seem and you can definitely taste all the flavors.
 If you like a loaded baked potato, then you'll love this one! Maybe eventually I'll get back to finding just the right recipe for a tater tot dip!

1 (2 lb) bag frozen tater tots
1 lb ground beef
1/2 pound thick cut bacon
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
3-4 scallions, plus more, chopped
1-2 cups cooked broccoli
16 oz container of sour cream
salt and pepper
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Cut up the bacon into small pieces. Place it in a saute pan, and slowly cook over medium heat until slightly crisp. Remove from pan and place in a large mixing bowl. Do the same thing with the ground beef, cooking until browned. Drain any excess fat and add to the bowl. Add the tater tots, 1 cup of cheese, and remaining ingredients to the bowl. Stir until well combined. Taste it and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Pour mixture into a large casserole dish. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cup of shredded cheese over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven. Top with additional chopped scallions, if desired. Let it sit for a good 10 minutes before serving.

Be sure to season it well. The potatoes are quite bland without a good pinch of salt and pepper. You can even use any favorite all purpose seasoned salt, if you'd like.
Feel free to swap out any of the ingredients to suit your likes or to use what you have on hand. Don't have any broccoli? Leave it out! Use what you have and make it your own!