Spinach Artichoke Dip

By: Brady Evans

I am not a lover of football.  I don’t keep up with local high school games, college games, or the NFL. Football was never a tradition in my family and I never got intoxicated by the sport in college. But I could get behind the Superbowl. Really the only reason I was looking forward to the Superbowl was…the food.  I love appetizer and game day fare!

Spinach artichoke dip is a crowd pleaser for sure.  Even people who hate spinach and wouldn’t dare eat an artichoke in any other form will dive right in. Cheesy, gooey, and delicious – this recipe is a crowd pleaser!

Spinach Artichoke Dip (adapted from Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations)

Spinach & Artichoke DipIngredients

  • ½ sweet yellow onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 10-oz. box frozen spinach
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts in water, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt

Directions

  • Heat a pan over medium heat and add olive oil.
  • Saute onion and garlic in olive oil, about 5 minutes, and set aside
  • Meanwhile, cook spinach according to package directions; drain thoroughly.
  • Mix spinach, onion, and garlic in large bowl.
  • Add cream cheese to the spinach mixture; combine thoroughly.
  • Add mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, and salt. Mix well.
  • Fold in artichoke hearts; mix to combine; transfer to a baking dish
  • Either store in fridge until ready to bake or bake on 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.
  • Serve with tortilla chips.

Three-Ingredient Cookie Dough Bites

By: Mary Pat Baldauf 

Using only three ingredients, and taking about five minutes to make, this recipe couldn’t be simpler or more delicious!

cookie dough bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw organic cashews
  • 1 cup fresh medjool dates, pitted
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw cacao nibs or chocolate chips. (I used Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Nibs!)

Instructions

  1. Put the cashews into a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until they are very small pieces.
  2. Add in the dates and blend to combine. If using a high-speed blender, you may need to stop the blender to stir the mixture, making sure the dates get diced into small pieces.
  3. Take the mixture out of the blender and place in a bowl. The mixture will be sticky. Use your hands to fold in the chocolate nibs/chips so they spread evenly throughout the mixture.
  4. Take a tablespoon of the cookie dough and roll around in your palms, forming a ball. (I made mine smaller and got 36 bites out of this recipe.)
  5. Repeat until all of the cookie dough is used.

Lemon Glazed Chicken Tenders

By: Brady Evans 

Some would see it as a perk: living pretty far away from any take-out options.  No sabotaging your diet with fast food.  No temptation to be lazy.  No wasted money on ready-made food when you have a full pantry…

Others, like my husband, would see it as punishment.

I am always all for cooking at home when the other option is going to town for dinner.  Spending over an hour in the car just to eat just isn’t efficient.  My husband doesn’t seem to care as much but that’s probably because he does the dishes.  Going out to eat = less work for him.

Lemon Glazed Chicken Tenders

When I decided to make this meal he was really, really bucking for a meal out.  By the time we would have gotten to the restaurant these delicious lemon glazed Asian chicken tenders were on the table.  They were sweet and sticky and sour.  Just delicious!  For leftovers they made an awesome Asian-inspired wrap.  Make these as guilt-full or guilt-free as you feel by either deep frying or baking chicken tenders (frozen or homemade!).

Lemon Glazed Chicken Tenders (Adapted from Damn Delicious via Stephanie Cooks)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken tenders, cooked to your preference
  • Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Diced green onions (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer on low for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  • Arrange cooked chicken tenders in an oven-safe baking dish. Pour the sauce over top, flipping so both sides are coated. Bake 10 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and dish is warmed through. Top with scallions, if desired.

Honey Feta Chicken Salad With Grapes and Almonds

By: Brady Evans

We’ve got a couple of friends who are huge proponents of local, homegrown music.  A few times a year they give selflessly to put on a mini music festival of sorts – something that showcases local talent and allows us to see all our favorite local bands in one venue.  These festivals are usually all-day events, and sometimes the Omnivore plays in the bands – sometimes he doesn’t.

Chicken salad recipe

This last go-round he wasn’t playing music, which is nice because being a lonely band wife in the audience isn’t always the most fun thing. I was pretty pumped to create a picnic dinner for us to share but I was totally lacking inspiration. Finally, I remembered this entree and I am so glad I did.

While the sun was setting and people began to eat, hot dogs appeared alongside store bought potato salad and cold fried chicken. As I whipped out my real dinner plates (I have guilt about paper plates), silverware, and this beautiful salad, passers-by definitely took note.

This meal was so perfect. It is served cold or room temperature, has veggies, fruits, and protein all in one. Honey and feta is a wonderful combination. The soft grapes contrasted with the crunchy almonds wonderfully.

Chicken salad

Honey Feta Chicken Salad (adapted from Pinch of Yum via See Aimee Cook)

*This can be made vegetarian by substituting a can of garbanzo beans for the chicken.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breast, cooked as desired and chopped
  • 1 bunch grapes (about 2-3 cups), cut in half
  • 1 cup uncooked wheat berries, cooked according to package directions
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup vinaigrette dressing
  • ½ tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • Green onions and roasted almonds for topping

Instructions

  • Whisk together the olive oil, honey, vinaigrette, vinegar, and water. Taste and adjust as needed.
  • Combine the cooked chicken, cooked wheat berries, grapes, feta and dressing in a large bowl.
  • Top with green onions and almonds.

Iced Coffee Protein Smoothie: Two Mugs Up

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

CoffeeIn the last four years, I have slayed a lot of “food dragons,” but the one that I haven’t been able to lick? Artificial sweeteners! When it comes to my morning coffee, I still like to add one “blue” and one “pink.” I’ve tried the “yellow” and other natural sweeteners, but nothing has the same appeal. I recently ran across this Iced Coffee Smoothie recipe, so I thought I’d give it a try. I was a bit hesitant because I don’t like iced coffee, but this is one fabulous smoothie. It’s also surprisingly filling; I can have one as late as 8 a.m. and not be hungry again until lunchtime.

Iced Coffee Protein Smoothie (Serves One)

  • ½ cup brewed coffee (cold)
  • ¼ unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • ½ ripe banana, frozen and cut into chunks *
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (I love to use MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread)
  • 1 pitted date
  • 1 scoop, vanilla protein powder
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash, ground cinnamon

 Add ingredients to blender, process until smooth.

 *Forget to freeze a banana? No worries, just add half a cup of ice!

Browned Butter Butterscotch Cookies

By: Brady Evans

One of my pet peeves about my lovely husband is that while we are shopping, he occasionally neglects to put back an unwanted purchase in its proper spot on the shelf. I often scurry behind him, filing books exactly where they came from on the shelf in the bookstore, replacing shirts that don’t fit just so on the rack, and tucking loaves of bread exactly where they belong on the shelf. Recently, I fell victim to a shopper much like husband. Apparently someone had put back a bag of butterscotch chips in the chocolate chip section of the shelf at the grocery store.

I was highly disappointed when I got home to see that I had purchased the wrong embellishments for my to-be-made cookies. But, hey, it turned into a good reason to experiment with a new recipe. These cookies were a nice change from the norm, but so rich and sweet that it is hard to eat more than one.

Browned Butter Butterscotch Cookies

Browned Butter Butterscotch Cookies (adapted from Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 whole large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 rounded tablespoons (additional) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups butterscotch chips

Instructions:

  1. Add one stick of butter to a medium skillet over medium heat. Melt butter and allow it to bubble and brown for 3 to 4 minutes, swirling the pan to keep the butter moving around.
  2. When the butter is a medium golden brown, remove the pan from the heat and into a heatproof bowl and allow it to cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, allow the other stick of butter to soften.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Cream the softened stick butter together with the brown sugar and regular sugar until combined in a mixer.
  6. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth, scraping the bowl if necessary.
  7. With the mixer on medium-low, drizzle in the cooled melted butter.
  8. Scrape the bowl and mix again for 20-30 seconds, until everything is combined.
  9. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
  10. Add it in by thirds, mixing on low, until it’s totally incorporated. Scrape the bowl and beat for a few more seconds.
  11. Stir in the butterscotch chips.
  12. In batches, scoop heaping tablespoons onto a baking sheet lined with a baking mat.
  13. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Wait a minute or two, then transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

Sopa de Pollo

By: Brady Evans

I adore going out to eat Mexican food. My husband, on the other hand, does not. For the majority of our relationship he would flat out refuse. His excuse is that I make good enough knock-off Latin food at home. Drives me up a wall!

The Spanish teacher where I teach high school turned me onto Sopa de Pollo at a local Mexican restaurant. This girl has traveled all over the world to many Spanish-speaking countries, so if she endorses the meal I know it is good.

Sopa de Pollo

Finally, with my insistence, I was able to get my husband to try this soup. And he became obsessed. He started asking to go to the Mexican restaurant on his own initiative. He began ordering other things on the menu (but always ordering a to-go container of this soup as well). He began to LOVE Mexican food.

And then I ruined it. I ruined it by making a delicious version of Sopa de Pollo here at home. It is so delicious and so fresh that now he has no desire to go out to eat Mexican. This soup is the best thing on a cool fall evening or warm summer night. It is hearty and fresh. Filling and light. PERFECT.

Sopa de Pollo

Ingredients:

For the broth

  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
  • water
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tomato, cut in half
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dried herbs (I used herbs de provence)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 onion, cut in half
  • handful cilantro

For the soup

  • 4-5 cups chicken broth (see above)
  • 4-5 cups of water
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • shredded chicken from two breast halves
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 red small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly slice
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 package Goya Sazon con Cilantro Y Tomate
  • diced avocado
  • lime wedges
  • cilantro

Instructions

  1. Prepare the broth first. Place all ingredients in a large stock pot.
  2. Fill with enough water to cover all ingredients by about 2 inches.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce a simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours.
  4. Remove chicken from stockpot and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones and shred finely. Discard skin and bones.
  5. Pour stock through a sieve to remove solids. Discard solids.
  6. Skim fat off the top of stock. You may do this with a shallow spoon or by preparing stock in advance, chilling it, and removing the solidified fat from the top.
  7. You should have 4-5 cups of stock for the soup.
  8. Combine water and stock in a large stock pot and add rice, red pepper flakes, and ground cumin.
  9. Bring to a boil and cook 20 minutes.
  10. Add chicken shreds and cook an addition 20 minutes at a low boil. Add Goya Sazon packet. Taste for salt and season as needed.
  11. Add diced carrot, diced bell pepper, and most of the sliced onion, reserving a small amount for garnish.
  12. Cook 20 minutes or so until vegetables are tender and rice is fully cooked.
  13. Ladle into bowls and top with sliced onion, diced avocado, fresh cilantro, and squeeze of lime juice.