Saturday, April 2, 2011

Basketball is my favorite sport...

I love the way they dribble up and down the court.

Remember that gem?  I seem to recall it playing on a bus during a field trip, probably in 5th or 6th grade.  I guess some things are best left in the '80's.

We support a few teams here in our household.  (Go Hoos! We're still waiting for that breakout season!)  This year we've had a thrill with the University of Richmond Spiders reaching the Sweet 16, and the VCU Rams playing in the Final Four.  We're planning on watching the VCU game tomorrow night with our extended family, many of whom received advanced degrees from the university.  As usual, this means fantastic snacks are in order.  I have a few favorites that meet a few important criteria:  fast, cheap and delicious.

Warm and Creamy Bacon Dip is so easy to put together!  Just throw some dairy in a bowl, mix it up, and put it in the oven.  I serve it with crackers, veggies, and Beer Bread.

I love Beer Bread.  I was introduced to it at a Tastefully Simple party, and then discovered that Target sold the mix for considerably less.  It was a sad day when I found that my Target no longer carried the mix.  A simple search turned up a recipe that contains only flour, sugar and beer.  Are you kidding?  After paying $6 for a package of Tastefully Simple mix, you mean I could pay $2 for a bag of flour that would give me 3 or 4 loaves?  And thanks to my father in law, there is always a case of Miller Lite in the garage fridge.  I prefer the lighter beer, Bobby likes it darker.  The bread does seem heavier with a darker beer.

The final recipe, Artichoke and Spinach Dip, is a little more expensive to make.  But you throw it all in the crock pot!  You need one of those cute little slow cookers meant for dips.  Cut up your ingredients, throw them in, and let them cook for a few hours.

We love watching big sporting events for the food as much as the athletics.  If you all are watching some basketball this weekend and want to nibble on something tasty, try one of these out.  And if you have a suggestion of your own, please share!  GO RAMS!

Warm and Creamy Bacon Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups Daisy Brand Sour Cream
3 ounces bacon bits
2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup green onion, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Place the mixture in a 1-quart baking dish. Cover. Heat the dip for 25-30 minutes or until hot. Serve with assorted fresh vegetables, crackers and/or chips. *Serving option: Dip may also be placed in hollowed round sourdough loaf, wrapped in foil and heated in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Note: I use 2% cheese, low fat sour cream, and neufchatel cheese (light cream cheese) and it turns out great.

Serve with veggies, crackers and Beer Bread

Beer Bread
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
3 cups self-rising flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and flour. Add beer and continue to mix, first using a wooden spoon, then your hands. Batter will be sticky. Pour into a 9 x 5 inch greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees ) for 50 for 60 minutes. The top will be crunchy, and the insides will be soft. Serve topped with butter or cheese spread. 
Note: I add 1/4 stick melted butter to the top of the bread BEFORE baking.

With this recipe, the finished bread actually has a slight beer flavor


Cube it up for spreading and dipping

Slow Cooker Southwest Artichoke and Spinach Dip
1  can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained, coarsely chopped
1  box (9 oz) Green Giant® frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain
1  package (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed, softened
1  can (4.5 oz) Old El Paso® chopped green chiles, undrained
1/2  medium red bell pepper, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2  cup shredded pepper Jack cheese (2 oz)
1  bag (14 oz) round tortilla chips

Spray 1- to 1 1/2-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix all ingredients except pepper Jack cheese and tortilla chips; spoon into cooker.
Cover; cook on Low heat setting 2 to 3 hours.
Stir pepper Jack cheese into artichoke mixture. Cover; cook on Low heat setting about 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Serve with tortilla chips.

Remember, share your favorites, too!  I'm always looking for a great new recipe!

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