Category: Appetizer

Since I made this the first time a couple of years ago, this easy spinach dip is my go to for large gatherings!


2 bags spinach, chopped
2 c. shredded cheese (I used 6 Italian)
2 blocks cream cheese, cubed
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper

Artichoke hearts and chopped cooked bacon – optional

Place spinach in crock pot and chop with kitchen shears.


Combine/toss remaining ingredients in crock pot with spinach. The mixture will be dry and salad like.


Cover and cook on low 1 1/2 hours. Stir to combine.


Cook another 1 to 2 hours.



Fresh Market had a sale on some interesting looking artisan salad mixes from Canterbury Naturals.  I bought the orzo cucumber one and it was yummy.  It’s a little higher in sodium than I like (370 mg  per 1/2 cup serving) so I will make my own from scratch next time!

1 Package Canterbury Naturals Orzo Cucumber Salad Mix (it contains whole wheat orzo, garlic, carrots, onion, bell pepper, and celery and a yummy dressing mix)

2 cucumbers, cubed

8 campari tomatoes, cut into quarters

1 can garbanzo beans, drained

2 Tbsp. Panera Tangerine Honey Dressing (too sweet by itself, but nice mixed with the dressing in the salad mix)

Cook orzo veggie mixture for 10 minutes, drain and rinse well.

Prepare dressing pursuant to directions on the package (you add olive oil and water).  Add in tangerine dressing.

Gently fold in tomatoes, cucumber, and garbanzo beans.

Everyone had seconds and some even thirds!  I can’t wait to try this from scratch!


I was making some soup – Broccoli, Cauliflower, Leek, Potato to be exact – and I wanted to have sandwiches with it.  I remembered some frozen empanada dough I’d bought a while back, and decided to use some of the ground pork I’d bought and frozen to make empanadas.

1 pack frozen empanada dough (I used El Sambrador brand)

1 lb. ground pork

1/2 c. finely diced onions

2 Tbsp. garlic pepper seasoning

1/4 c. barbecue sauce

Cook seasoning, pork and onions until cooked through.

Pulse in food processor with barbecue sauce until no large lumps remain.

Lay out empanada dough.  Top with filling.  Seal with water. Press seam with fork.

Place on baking sheet and brush with beaten egg.


Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Everyone really loved these and I should have made more!

The texture of the dough was flaky and tender.  I will buy these again.  I can’t wait to try them with other stuffings.  This would be a great way to repurpose leftovers!  I’m going to try the Chicken Anelli I posted from il Mulino’s restaurant recently.  They use pizza dough, but I think the empanada dough will be perfect.

This year Thanksgiving will be hosted by my daughter.  The gathering will have about 20 people and will be pot luck.  They will make the turkey, and the rest of are bringing the sides and desserts.  Since the turkey will be in the oven, we will cook and keep some foods warm in a triple crock pot I have and love to use for buffets.

My planned crock pot dishes are:

Spinach Artichoke Dip.

2 bags spinach, chopped
2 c. shredded cheese (I used 6 Italian)
2 blocks cream cheese, cubed
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper

Place spinach in crock pot and chop with kitchen shears.
Combine/toss remaining ingredients in crock pot with spinach. The mixture will be dry and salad like.
Cover and cook on low 1 1/2 hours. Stir to combine.
Cook another 1 to 2 hours.
Stir and enjoy!

Squash Stuffing Casserole.

  • 2 pounds yellow summer squash or zucchini, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup peeled shredded carrot
  • 1 can (10 1/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery or cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 package (6 to 8 ounces) herb seasoned stuffing crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

    In large bowl, combine squash, onion, carrot and soup. Mix sour cream and flour; stir into vegetables. Toss stuffing crumbs with butter and place half in slow cooker. Add vegetable mixture and top with remaining stuffing crumbs. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
    Serves 4 to 6. (Photo from Betty Crocker website)

Squash Casserold

Scalloped Potatoes.

2-3 lb. red Potatoes, sliced thinly
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
2 c. milk
1 c. broth (I used chicken)
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Layer potatoes in well-greased crock pot. Salt each layer.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and cook until golden, stirring so it won’t stick or burn. Slowly whisk in milk and broth, allowing to thicken between each addition.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese to melt.

You could use jar cheese sauce and it would probably be good also.

Pour over potatoes and use a knife to let sauce go down the sides and down through several places in the crock pot. Place paper towel across crock pot under lid.

Cook on low for 5 hours and then high for 2 hours, uncovering for the last hour or so to brown on top.


Thai Chicken, Buffalo Cauliflower and Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 22 oz (6 1/2 cups) cauliflower florets
  • 3/4 cup Franks Hot Sauce
  • 1 tbsp melted unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Cover baking tray with foil and spray with coconut oil spray.

Combine water, flour, and garlic powder in a bowl and stir until well combined.

Toss cauliflower pieces in the flour mixture until well coated and place on the baking sheet; bake for 20 minutes.

While the cauliflower is baking, mix  hot sauce and butter in a small bowl.

Pour the hot sauce mixture over the baked cauliflower and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes.


My friend, Captiva Kerry and I are going to see Dave Matthews Band in West Palm Beach tonight and tomorrow night!

Our tailgate party consists of great cheeses, crackers, salami, and of course, Dave Matthews very own Dreaming Tree Wine!  A local market has cut melon on BOGO so I’ll grab some of that too, and wrap it in some yummy prosciutto.


Belton Farms Double Gloucester chivesonioncheese_image Dreaming Tree bottles Kerrygold-Dubliner-Cheese

I really love the Crush red wine.

Here is the band performing “Dreaming Tree” for your listening pleasure!!

Dreaming Tree Print

I love this print my daughter Andyy gave me last Mother’s Day.  The tree has some of the lyrics from Dreaming Tree in its trunk.


2 bags store bought frozen meatballs

1 bottle sweet and sour sauce

2 Tbsp. fish sauce or soy sauce

1 c mango puree

Mix sauce ingredients and toss with frozen meatballs.

Heat in skillet with lid until heated through.  I cooked it four about an hour on low.

I served this with an Asian sesame ginger couscous salad.  We had sugar snap peas to cool it down!


Simple Turkey Meatballs


I served these meatballs with the yummy orzo salad last night!

2 lb. ground turkey

1 egg

3 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish

1/3 c. seasoned bread crumbs (I used my fave Don Samuel Hot & Spicy)

Flour to roll the meatballs in

Balsamic vinaigrette dressing to drizzle over meatballs

Combine meat, egg, relish and bread crumbs.


Roll into balls using small cookie scoop.


Roll in flour and place in 13 x 9 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.


Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette


Bake 350F for about 35 minutes or until golden and internal temperature is 165F.  You can make these ahead and freeze them.  They are so simple, and they take on the taste of the sauce you put them in!


Friends came over to help trim the Christmas tree.  There was some leftover quinoa salad and a baked potato and three pieces of the teriyaki ranch chicken  I chopped up the baked potato and put it in a small casserole.  I dotted it with butter and layered the leftover chicken that I chopped up as well on top of that.  Then I sprinkled it with shredded cheddar and baked at 350 for 30 minutes while preparing the cold cut rolls and slicing up some Compari tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and St. Andre cheese (which is like a mild brie).  I buttered some pieces of bread for with the St. Andre and put a little pesto balsamic dressing over the tomatoes and mozzarella.  The cold cut rolls consist of cold cuts spread with a condiment of your choice – mayo, mustard, ranch, chili sauce, salsa, guacamole, cream cheese – anything!  Then you place a few asparagus spears on each and roll.  I used  canned asparagus because I grew up eating the mush stuff!  It cuts easily with a fork too.  Other fillings will work too.  Peas, green beans, even pineapple or mandarin oranges.  You can sprinkle with sesame or sunflower seeds, add in heat with chopped jalapeno.  The possibilities are endless.  I great way to empty the fridge.


4-5 C. pearl couscous cooked according to directions.

1 Dole Chopped Salad (I used the veggies, but saved the toppings and dressing for another time)

1/2 C. salad dressing (had a little ranch and I mixed olive oil and wine vinegar)

Combine and enjoy!  It doesn’t get much easier than this!

After all the heavy eating yesterday, we opted for a light vegetarian dinner tonight.

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