Once in a while I will dedicate a column to a particular person, or even a place. This week I’ve decided to dedicate my column to the wonderful team at The Rural Messenger, in Haven, Kansas. Just a few weeks ago I was there for a book signing event. It was wonderful to see how this business has grown over the ten years I’ve been writing with them. Granted it was a Friday afternoon, but these folks just went over and beyond to make my day a great one. Special Thanks to Mike and his entire staff.
I featured this recipe in McPherson, Kansas a few weeks ago, it’s truly a keeper. It will make plenty, and I mean plenty of delicious spinach/artichoke dip. You may even be the talk of the event. If it’s a small gathering of only 10-12 people and there’s going to be lots of goodies, consider cutting the recipe in half.
When it comes to the cheeses used, one could certainly play around with your favorite choice of cheese. Last night we were having homemade pizzas at our home and I used Italian 5-cheese. I told my husband, Ervin, the pizza was good, but I think I prefer only mozzarella and a hint of parmesan. Everyone has their favorites, so play around with the recipe.
On the spinach, you need to use fresh for the best outcome. With the artichokes I usually purchase them quartered and then chop them up. Drain the artichokes well before using too. Add as much garlic as you little ole’ heart desires. I’ve given my preference, but after you make it the first time see what you think.
Everyone always wants to know what’s happening on the home front. Well, I’m keeping busy, that is for sure. A frequent question I’m also asked is: ‘How do you get it all done?’ First, my parents always told me to keep the home tidy, and things done up. You never know what tomorrow could bring. Secondly, we had a neighbor named, Mr. Kitch, who was like a grandparent to me. He always said the following: ‘Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.’ I wonder if he knew when he said that so many times that the little girl was listening and absorbing every word. Now in retrospect I do wish I could ‘let go’ more often and just go and play. I am so honed in on having things just so I worry life is blowing right on by. Thus, I’m sharing one of my promises to myself for 2016, to ‘play’ more often!
Silver Dollar City opens to the public on Saturday, March 12th for the 2016 season. If your favorite festival is Worldfest remember this is the last year for this festival.
I return to the ‘office’ part of work Monday, the 22nd of February. I can still grab a bite of lunch with friends but my weekly schedule is now parks. People also ask me what I do in the time before park officially opens. I work on new menus, describe the classes, set them to schedules and generally work on things to make the school run smoother and more efficient. Then I start stocking the shelves with ingredients for opening, plus I stock up on staples like plastics and paper goods. Just like home, anything you can do to make things run better, you do!
Next week I am hoping to give you some ‘real’ interesting tips! Oh yes, our family is planning a holiday in a few weeks and I’m working on take and go meals. As many of you know I’m not a fan of fast food for vacations and such. Perhaps what I learn will make some of your summer travels and family trips more adaptable too. With the price of gas I’m expecting to see high numbers of vacationers this year.
I shared a recipe last week with homemade noodles and I received a wonderful email from my friend, Monica, back home in Lewistown. She made me aware of an outstanding noodle company called, Oakland Noodles. They are located in Oakland, Illinois and they feature hand cut noodles. They ship in all different sizes. Monica is a great cook and she says her family adores these noodles. I for one am ordering some this week. (In my column I mentioned that the best dry noodles by far were Amish noodles.)
Enjoy the week readers, and try not to think that winter is over! The warm weather has been interesting to say the least, but spring isn’t here just yet!
Go, have fun, have a carry-in at your house and play board games! Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Spicy Artichoke/Spinach Dip
1 (8 ounce) package softened cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated pepper jack cheese
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped fine
2 (14 ounce each) cans artichoke hearts, well drained and chopped
1/2 cup chopped red sweet pepper
1/4 cup additional parmesan cheese for top
Crackers, Tortilla chips, Pita chips or sliced French bread to accompany
Soften cream cheese and stir in the sour cream, cayenne pepper and fresh garlic. Combine until smooth. Add the 3 shredded cheeses and blend again. Lastly stir in the spinach, artichoke hearts, sweet peppers & onion. You will want to place this in a greased 2 quart baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for approximately 35-40 minutes. The depth of the pan can make a difference on the timing. Yields approx. 6-8 cups.