Friday, August 12, 2011

Getting back in the swing of things...

...or at least trying to!  I can't believe it has been almost two months since I last posted.  Does anyone else go through phases where they just have no desire to blog?  I think with food blogs in particular this is an easy trap to fall into.  It takes a LOT of effort to bake/cook, take decent pictures and write something worth reading.  But I really do love it and more than anything, I love the connections I've started to make with other bloggers, especially here in St. Louis.  Since I last wrote, Greg and I had a blast getting away for his birthday, celebrated our two year anniversary, I turned another year older and we went on our family vacation to Myrtle Beach, whew.  So it has been a busy summer but mostly fun stuff!

Anyway, I hope to celebrate getting back into blogging with a simple recipe that I turn to when I need a quick, foolproof appetizer.  We recently got together with our small group from church for a cookout and while I would normally bring a dessert, all of those spots were taken so I went for a delicious Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Dip.  This recipe comes from an old Pillsbury cookbook and I follow it exactly except for the addition of toasted panko mixed with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese. 

Warm Roasted Pepper and Artichoke Spread
 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus about 1/4 to mix with panko
1/2 cup mayo
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened (I always use the low-fat stuff and I don't think it effects the taste)
1 small garlic clove
1 (14 ox) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped roasted red peppers
1/2 cup panko crumbs, toasted

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In food processor, combine Parmesan, mayo, cream cheese and garlic, processing until smooth.  Place mixture in large bowl and mix in artichokes and red peppers.  Spread in an ungreased pie pan.  Mix together panko and 1/4 cup Parmesan and sprinkle on top.  (At this point you can cover and refrigerate until your guests arrive or bake immediately)  Bake for about 25 minutes until throughly heated.  Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, or sliced bread.

Note:  I prefer to mix the artichokes and peppers in by hand to get a chunkier dip but if you are in a pinch for time you can toss them in with the cheeses and blend away!  Also, the panko topping isn't necessary but does result in a nice crunchy layer on top.

Note #2: I have obviously been away from blogging too long.  After writing up this entire post I realized I never took pics of my dip, d'oh!  That'll learn me.  Anyway, just envision a delicious, bubbly cream cheese dip packed with chunks of artichoke and roasted red peppers and topped with crispy panko:)

What is your favorite go-to dish that you bring to get togethers?  I like to bring items that don't require many toppings or utensils to keep it simple!  Hope you are all having a wonderful summer and I'm looking forward to getting back into commenting on all of your delicious blogs!


  1. welcome back ;) i was wondering what had happened to you but totally understand how time consuming blogging is! glad you're having a good summer!

  2. Certainly! I think all of us lose the desire to do certain activities from time to time. A well deserved break usually helps me boost enthusiasm again! Glad to see you're back!

  3. Welcome Back! The dip looks amazing!

  4. Garlic, artichokes, parmesan, peppers? So many of my favorites! It's good to see a post from you again. Welcome back!

  5. Welcome Back! Great recipe to start with!

  6. Hi Lucy,

    I love the sound of the salad, especially with the crunchy topping. Glad you're having a great summer. We're enjoying intermittent sunny days across the pond. I agree with you that food blogging is much harder to maintain than any other type of blog (having not posted myself for a couple of months until today!). Good to see you back:)