Blue Cheese Dressing

Years ago, when Dave and I were in college, we occasionally took advantage of some of our long weekends to head over to see his aunt, Mary, who lives in a log home in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  There is always lots of beautiful sunlight streaming in through the windows, and her front porch offers a perfect place to chat while inhaling the pungent fragrance of the dozens of evergreens that fill the property.  Although I don’t have the opportunity as often as I’d like, Aunt Mary’s house is one of my favorite places to visit.  It’s a little piece of heaven with its beauty and tranquility.  Even more amazing than the mountain setting is Aunt Mary herself.

From the moment I met this tiny, independent woman, I knew she loved me.  Her acceptance of me was made immediately apparent by the warmth in her eyes and the smile on her face.  She was genuine and comfortable, and I count her among the great benefits of marrying my husband.

Along with Aunt Mary being an all-around delightful person, she is a gracious hostess.  Her homemade crescent rolls and hot cross buns were such a treat for Dave and me.  She was the first person I ever knew to serve fresh, minced garlic in her tossed salads–which was quite a surprise to me the first time I tried it!  Not wanting to hurt her feelings, I agreed to also try her homemade blue cheese dressing during our first visit.  I was pretty sure that I did not like blue cheese dressing, but she seemed so sincere in her offer that I didn’t have the heart to refuse.  Let’s just say that I was an immediate convert.  I have been enjoying blue cheese ever since.

I was recently gifted with a 5-lb. bag of blue cheese crumbles.  My first thought was, “Yum!  I’m going to treat myself to some of Aunt Mary’s blue cheese dressing!”.  I’ve made it three times since then, because I keep sharing it with other people who find they like it as much as Dave and I do.  Just in case you want to give it a try, I’m passing Aunt Mary’s recipe along to you.  It’s not as amazing as she is, but I think you’ll like it just the same.

1/2 c. blue cheese crumbles
1 c. mayo
1/2 c. sour cream (or plain yogurt)
1-2 cloves minced garlic
2 T. finely-diced green onion (or regular onion)
1 T. wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. sugar
I also often add a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce.

Mix well, cover and chill.

Use it as a vegetable dip, a salad dressing, a topping for your burgers or whatever else suits your fancy. This recipe is very forgiving, so don’t worry about getting all of the measurements exact.

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Chicken Enchilada Dip

This easy appetizer is great with or without the chicken.  It can also be paired with a salad and eaten as a meal.  It’s a great make-ahead, because it refrigerates and freezes well.

 

2 c. cooked, shredded chicken
2 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. shredded cheese
1 t. minced garlic
1 ½ T. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. oregano
cayenne pepper to taste
1 can black beans, drained (Feel free to leave these out if you don’t want them.)
4 green onions, chopped
10-oz. can chopped green chilies

Mix cheeses together; add seasonings & mix well.

Cover & refrigerate overnight.

Heat in slow cooker, in microwave, in oven or on stovetop until ingredients are warm and gooey.

Serve with tortilla chips or sturdy vegetable dippers.

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Yum, yum, yum, yum, YUM!

Last year, a friend told me she made a jalapeno popper dip.  My interest was piqued, but I didn’t have jalapenos on-hand, so I didn’t act on that interest.  Our garden is now putting out quite a few of these lovely hot peppers, so I wanted to give this dip a try. We had company coming in for Labor Day, and I thought perhaps I’d find willing guinea pigs among my guests.  I found a recipe and tweaked it according to my preferences and the ingredients I already had in my home.  The results were scrumptious!  I will say that the original recipe I saw used green chilies in the dip as well, which would be a welcome addition.

2 pkg. cream cheese
1 c. sour cream
a couple of dashes of Worcestershire
1/2 c. shredded cheddar
6-8 fresh jalapenos, diced
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
corn chips, tortilla chips or other dippers

Combine all ingredients well.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Did I say yum?

Creamy Salsa Dip

One time I bought some salsa that was just a bit too spicy for my family.  Because I didn’t want to waste it (nor did I want to consume the entire jar by myself), I decided to experiment with it by stirring in some sour cream.  Not only did the sour cream cool it down enough for everyone to eat, but it made a yummy dip that we’ve enjoyed on occasion since.  It’s also a nice addition to tacos, burritos, etc.

Herb Butter

This is a tasty addition to corn on the cob, grilled steak, seafood, broiled fish, crusty bread or even scrambled eggs.  It is so simple to make, and you can adjust the herby-ness to your preference.  I use salted butter, but you can use unsalted if you would like.  It really doesn’t matter.

Another benefit to this yummy butter is that it can be made in large batches, rolled into a log and frozen for another time.  Then, you can just cut off whatever amount you want whenever you want it.  Or, you can press the butter into chocolate molds for “pretty up” your meal on a special occasion.  One of my grandma’s was so good at making food special just by adding that little extra touch, and I think of her when I see pretty little pats of butter like this.

1 stick butter, room temperature
1-2 T. herbs of your choice (Rosemary, sweet marjoram, sage, thyme, basil and oregano in any combination are all good options.)

Mix thoroughly and enjoy!

Peach Salsa

Sweet, ripe peaches are the key in this recipe.  Flavorful peaches will yield a flavorful salsa.

3 peaches, diced
½ onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
1 T.  jalapeño pepper, minced
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced (if decided)

Combine and cover.  Allow to sit for a while.  Chill if you want it cold.  Serve with tortilla chips, over fish tacos, with grilled chicken or over roast pork.