Another Slow Cooker Dip Trio – in two parts

This past weekend, we had our housewarming party – finally. Mostly because we finally had enough furniture for people to sit on. And also because it’s hard to warm a house in the middle of the winter. This way, we could use the barbecue.

Dip Trio 1

The Pie wanted to make use of our three-pot mini slow cookers and prepare some dips for our guests, so here are two of the ones we came up with. The final one involved a bit of extra prep so it’s a post on its own. The two posted today were made significantly smaller so they’d fit in our tiny pots.

Dip Trio 4

This first one, a garlic white bean dip, doesn’t really require a slow cooker, unless you want it to be served warm (which we did). I also took out some of the prep steps to make the whole thing a one-shot process. Start by glugging 1/4 cup olive oil into a small saucepan, and add in the equivalent of 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced. Cook that on low for about 5 minutes, until garlic smells start to fill your whole kitchen.

Dip Trio 3

Grate up about 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and the zest from 1 lemon.

Dip Trio 6

Then, grab your food processor and chuck in 2 cans of cannelini beans, drained and rinsed. I used one can white beans and one can of white navy beans. Tip in as well 1/3 cup water, 1 cup ricotta cheese, your garlic and oil stuff, the parmesan and lemon zest, 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, and a generous helping of salt and ground black pepper.

Dip Trio 5

Give that a good whaz until it’s all smooth. Add a bit more olive oil if you think it looks dry (and if you’re going to keep it in the slow cooker all day, add a bit more as it has a tendency to dry out).

Dip Trio 7

Plop that in the slow cooker and leave it on low for about 2 hours to warm through. Enjoy!

Dip Trio 23

This next one is pretty good, but we actually found it a little bland and might spice it up some more next time. It’s a corn and cheese dip with bacon and pale ale and I think it has plenty of potential for enhancement. Start by tipping 3 1/2 cups frozen corn into your slow cooker. Top that with 2 minced cloves of garlic and 1 1/2 cups grated cheese (we used an extra-old cheddar).

Dip Trio 8

Dice up a red bell pepper and a de-seeded jalapeno.

Dip Trio 9

Chuck those in the pot with 3/4 cup sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste.

Dip Trio 13

Grab a pale ale as well and tip in about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of it. I think next time I’d use something with a bit more flavour, as neither the Pie nor myself are IPA fans (not that I’m drinking these days anyway).

Dip Trio 12

Give that a good stirring to mix things up. Then grab a package of plain cream cheese and break it up into chunks, which you can then spread over the top of the thing. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

Dip Trio 14

While that’s on the go, cook up about 4 slices of bacon until it’s crispy enough to crumble and let it cool (so you can crumble it). Harvest some fresh chives from your garden (it’s the only thing growing right now). Cut those up in a wee bowl and set the bacon and chives aside until the dip is ready.

Dip Trio 15

When the dip is hot, stir well to incorporate the cream cheese and then garnish with the chives and bacon. Eat!

Dip Trio 21

Advertisements

Baked Spinach and Mushroom Rigatoni

Spinach & Mushroom Rigatoni 14

It’s been a cold start to spring here and we were craving a nice hot casserole.  I found a recipe that intrigued me in a magazine, but about an hour before dinner time I realized that this “baked” casserole was actually cooked in a slow cooker and took 4 hours.  PAH.  So I winged it.

Preheat your oven to 350°F and find yourself a large 9 x 13″ baking dish.

Quarter a red onion and slice it up.

Spinach & Mushroom Rigatoni 1

Wrangle yourself about 1lb mixed mushrooms and slice them.  I found these handy mixed packages at the grocery store.

Spinach & Mushroom Rigatoni 2

Crack open a 28oz can of diced tomatoes.

Spinach & Mushroom Rigatoni 3

Defrost 2 10oz blocks of frozen spinach.

Spinach & Mushroom Rigatoni 4

Also, grate up about 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

Spinach & Mushroom Rigatoni 7

Boil up a pot of salted water and cook 1lb rigatoni.  When it’s cooked (it can be on the al dente side), drain it and set it aside.

Now, haul out a frying pan, add some oil and butter to it, and sauté your onions until softened and starting to brown. Mix that with a few teaspoons minced garlic.

Spinach & Mushroom Rigatoni 5

Dip those out and do the same for your mushrooms.

Spinach & Mushroom Rigatoni 6

Now you line up your ingredients.

Spinach & Mushroom Rigatoni 8

Mix them all up, except for the cheese.

Spinach & Mushroom Rigatoni 9

Now here’s the thing.  This recipe actually called for you to add about 4 cups ricotta cheese at this point.  I even bought the ricotta.  But I forgot.  So there wasn’t any.  So I leave it up to you whether you want to add it or not.  But you probably should.  Mine ended up feeling like it needed more sauce.

Spinach & Mushroom Rigatoni 10

Plop your pasta mix in your casserole dish and sprinkle the top with mozzarella.

Spinach & Mushroom Rigatoni 11

Bake for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and everything is bubbly.  Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Spinach & Mushroom Rigatoni 16

Turkey Lasagna

Turkey Lasagna

We’ve made quite a few lasagna dishes here at Ali Does It.  Some of them have been pretty fancy, while others were more simple.  Sometimes it’s the simplest things that are the best, as you know.  But sometimes a teensy tweak of those simplest things makes them even better.  This particular lasagna dish is pretty classic, as things go, but I used ground turkey instead of beef for a bit of a lighter meal, and then added eggplant to the mix because I remembered the richness of it in the lasagna I made with béchamel.

This recipe makes enough for two small (7″ x 10″) dishes, and freezes really well.

Dice up an onion or two and sauté the pieces with a bit of olive oil and some minced garlic in a large saucepan until tender and translucent, a few minutes.

Turkey Lasagna

Chuck in a package of ground turkey, and stir it around until it’s all broken up and the pieces are no longer pink.

Turkey Lasagna

Chop up a medium-sized eggplant, two red peppers, and a handful of mushrooms and add those to the mix.

Turkey Lasagna

Add in two cans tomato sauce and simmer that for a few minutes.  If you’re planning to cook this right away, then keep it warm, but if you’re planning to freeze the lasagna then feel free to let it cool.

Turkey Lasagna

In a bowl, mix together two tubs ricotta cheese with two cups chopped spinach (fresh or frozen, your choice).

Turkey Lasagna

Now you can put it all together.  Start with your oven-ready lasagna noodles.  Stick them raw into your dish to line the bottom. Scoop on a generous amount of your tomato/turkey sauce and smooth it down.

Turkey Lasagna

Add another layer of noodles, then a heap (half, if you’re making two lasagnas) of ricotta mixture.  Smooth that down.

Turkey Lasagna

More noodles, and you’re probably reaching the top of your container right about now.  Scoop on a final layer of tomato/turkey sauce and then sprinkle the top with a generous layer of grated mozzarella cheese.

Turkey Lasagna

Let the dish cool completely before freezing, or pop it in the oven right away.

You can bake this, uncovered, from frozen at 400°F for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is bubbly and the cheese is starting to brown.

Here are some of the other Ali Does It lasagna dishes for your review:

Beef Lasagna with Eggplant and Béchamel

Egg Won Ton Lasagna

Roasted Vegetable and Tofu Lasagna