Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tuscan Spinach Dip

Okay, so I got this amazing Cookbook for Christmas called Top Secret Restaurant Recipe's #3 and it has some of the most amazing recipes from some of my favorite restaurants!!!

One of my newest favorites is The T.G.I Friday's Tuscan Spinach Dip of course with some modificiations.

1 10 oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed (I used about half a bag of fresh, chopped)
1 6 1/2 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and chopped (1/2 cup)
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp diced onion (I didn't use)
1 tbsp diced red bell pepper (I didn't use)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup shredded Romano Cheese
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese (I just bought the mexican pizza blend and used about 3/4 cup for both cheeses)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
pinch ground black pepper

Garnish (If wanted, I didn't)
1/2 tomato, diced
1 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
1 tsp minced parsley

1.   Steam spinach and artichoke hearts in a steamer basket over boiling water in a covered saucepan for 10 minutes. ( I don't have a steamer basket and since I used fresh spinach I just put the chopped up hearts and spinach in a saute pan and added butter and lemon juice ( a couple squirts) and sauted them until they were warm (about 5 min.))
2.  In another medium saucepan heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium/low heat. Add the diced onion and bell pepper and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until onions begin to turn translucent. (since I didn't use onions or peppers I just added the following to the pan with the spinach and artichoke hearts) Add spinach and artichoke hearts, plus cheeses, cream, garlic, salt, and pepper to the pan with the sauteed onion and peppers. Cook over medium/low heat, uncovered, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the cheeses are melted and the dip is hot. Stir occassionally.
3.  Spoon the dip into a heat proof serving bowl and garnish with diced tomato, shredded parmesan cheese, and minced parsley. Serve with chips or crackers on the side. (They were so good with Wheat Thins and Triscuits.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

I have only had meatloaf a handful of times and I like it... enough. It's definitely not something I would eat everyday! But sometimes I have a craving for meatloaf. I think this recipe was pretty good... definitely one of the better meatloaf's I've had.

I got this recipe from Our Best Bites, but they got it from America's Test Kitchen.

1/2 cup chili sauce (or substitute ketchup, but I liked chili sauce)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons cider vinegar (or white vinegar in a pinch)

Meat Loaf
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , chopped medium
2 medium cloves garlic , minced
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or whole milk)
1 pound ground beef chuck
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal (I used more pork instead of veal)
2/3 cup Saltine crackers , crushed (about 18), or quick oatmeal, or 1 1/3 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
6 – 8 ounces bacon , thin sliced (8 to 12 slices, depending on loaf shape)
1. For the glaze: Mix all ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened and set aside.
2. For the meat loaf: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in medium skillet. Add onion and garlic; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool while preparing remaining ingredients. (I again skipped this step, but I added the garlic into the meatloaf with all the other ingredients below.)
3. Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce, and milk or yogurt. Add egg mixture to meat in large bowl along with crackers, parsley, and cooked onion and garlic; mix with fork until evenly blended and meat mixture does not stick to bowl. (If mixture sticks, add additional milk or yogurt, a couple tablespoons at a time until mix no longer sticks.)
4. Turn meat mixture onto work surface. With wet hands, pat mixture into approximately 9-by-5-inch loaf shape. Place on foil-lined (for easy cleanup) shallow baking pan. Brush with half the glaze, then arrange bacon slices, crosswise, over loaf, overlapping slightly and tucking only bacon tip ends under loaf.
5. Bake loaf until bacon is crisp and loaf registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour. Cool 10-15 minutes. While meal loaf is cooling, re-heat remaining sauce and brush some over meat loaf if desired. Slice meat loaf and serve with extra glaze passed separately.

Lamb Gyro with Tzatziki sauce

I absolutely LOVE greek food. So I decided I would try to recreate on of my favorites... gryo's!! It turned out amazingly. I used the recipe I found on (but I always make some changes, especially because I HATE onions.)


  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped or shredded (didn't use)
  • 2 pounds ground lamb (I only used 1 lb. so I cut all the seasonings in half)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Tzatziki Sauce, recipe follows
  • tomatoes, diced (topping)
  • feta cheese (optional)


Process the onion in a food processor for 10 to 15 seconds and turn out into the center of a tea towel. Gather up the ends of the towel and squeeze until almost all of the juice is removed. Discard juice.
Return the onion to the food processor and add the lamb, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper and process until it is a fine paste, approximately 1 minute. Stop the processor as needed to scrape down sides of bowl. (I just skipped this step)
To cook in the oven as a meatloaf, proceed as follows: (This is the method I used)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Place the mixture into a loaf pan, making sure to press into the sides of the pan. Place the loaf pan into a water bath and bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the mixture reaches 165 to 170 degrees F. Remove from the oven and drain off any fat. Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack and place a brick wrapped in aluminum foil directly on the surface of the meat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F. Slice and serve on pita bread with tzatziki sauce, chopped onion, tomatoes and feta cheese.
(Here's how it looked after it was done.)

To cook on a rotisserie, proceed as follows:
Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place on top of 2 overlapping pieces of plastic wrap that are at least 18 inches long. Roll the mixture in the plastic wrap tightly, making sure to remove any air pockets. Once the meat is completely rolled in the wrap, twist the ends of the plastic wrap until the surface of the wrap is tight. Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight, to allow the mixture to firm up.
Preheat the grill to high.
Place the meat onto the rotisserie skewer. Place a double-thick piece of aluminum foil folded into a tray directly under the meat to catch any drippings. Cook on high for 15 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium and continue to cook for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees F. Turn off the heat and allow to continue to spin for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees. Slice and serve on pita bread with tzatziki sauce, chopped onion, tomatoes, and feta cheese.
(This is my husbands with the onions, but I did mine without) Then we topped with the Tzatziki sauce.

(This is the recipe for the sauce. I LOVED this sauce)
Tzatziki Sauce:
16 ounces plain yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped (I bought a hothouse cucumber which doesn't have seeds)
Pinch kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
5 to 6 mint leaves, finely minced

Place the yogurt in a tea towel, gather up the edges, suspend over a bowl, and drain for 2 hours in the refrigerator. (I didn't have time to do this so my sauce was a little runny... but still delicious)
Place the chopped cucumber in a tea towel and squeeze to remove the liquid; discard liquid. (I just put it in a few paper towels and tried to squeeze as much juice as possible out) In a medium mixing bowl, combine the drained yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and mint. Serve as a sauce for gyros. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

(This was how my sauce looked, it was more runny than it should be because I didn't use the tea towel)

The finished product (I forgot to put feta on it! Darnit!!)