Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

Things I love: dinner parties, artichokes, finger foods, mushrooms. Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but these mushrooms are so many things I love in one bite that I can't get over them. Do you know what happens when you stuff a mushroom cap with artichoke dip?! Ooey, gooey, finger-food-sized bite of goodness. You don't even need a plate. 

Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms
Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

As a kid I remember being pulled to holiday cocktail parties, and my mom would always gush over the artichoke dip. Maybe this is why artichoke dip has a sort of halo of goodness to me-- I associate it with so many warm things. What I like about serving it in mushrooms caps is it feels a little bit cleaner: not only do I love LOVE mushrooms, but eating this dip with mushrooms rather than chips or toast feels like it's up a few notches on the good-for-you scale. Not that it matters much at holidays parties, where cookies and eggnog rule the day. But hey! I tried. 

Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms
Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Stuffing artichoke dip into mushroom caps is the best of both worlds: you get a warm, gooey morsel of dip and the earthiness of a roasted mushroom in one bite, and you can pick the whole thing up with your fingers.

Yields: 32   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounces) block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 (14 ounces) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup grated white cheddar
  • Dash hot sauce
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • About 32 crimini mushroom caps

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic. In a small sauce pan, heat the coconut oil. Sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and the garlic begins to brown. Set aside to cool.
  2. Strain and dice the artichoke hearts into small pieces. Place in mixing bowl along with the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and yogurt. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, and add a dash of both the hot sauce and the Worcestershire. Once the onions are cool, scrape them into the bowl as well, and mash everything together until combined.
  3. Prep the mushrooms caps: wash each cap, and remove the stems. Place caps hollow-side up on a baking pan. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Using two spoons (and your hands as needed), fill each hollow with artichoke dip, creating a mound in each mushroom. Place baking pan in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Serve.

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Mediterranean Salad

Mediterranean salad

It started when I was in high school: my core group of friends began doing dinners together for special occasions--birthdays, prom, etc. Most dinners had a similar landscape, including a main pasta dish with some sort of protein, a salad, and dessert (cheesecake). And Being a lover of cooking and feeling at home in the kitchen, I helped with all three dishes. But, one of those nights, I was proclaimed the Official Salad Maker. 

Now I sort of thought, salad... boooooring. But they said look, you can even make salad taste good, and that's crazy! So I moved on with no complaints. I guess it was a compliment.

Mediterranean salad

Flash forward to 2016 and I'm the first to bring a salad to a party. No one is bringing salad? Don't you worry! Official Salad Maker to the rescue! (I no longer use that title, but somehow, I can't help but be the salad bearer to this day).

I have left many of my old hat tricks for salads in the dark and moved on to more innovative efforts. Candied pecans are out and extravagant ingredients from the antipasti isle are in. So are homemade vinaigrettes. Those jarred roasted red peppers in the ethnic foods section? To die for! Why don't we put those on more things? This salad doesn't last long on a table.

Mediterranean salad

Mediterranean Salad

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,    |       |    Print This Recipe

This salad has so many delicious ingreidents--it will be everyone's favorite!

Serves: 5   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 heart of romaine
  • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, sliced thin (found in near the olives and pickles or in the Italian section in the store)
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/2 english cucumber
  • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
  • Sprinkle of dried oregano
  • Sprinkle of dried basil
  • Roasted red pepper dressing (I used a store-bought version)

Directions:

  1. First, wash and dry the romain using a salad spinner. Then, chopped the ingredients: chop the romaine into bite-sized pieces; drain and dice the red peppers, drain and halve the olives; if you prefer, peel the cucumber, and then dice.
  2. Arrange the ingredients on a serving tray in rows, including 1 row for crumbled feta cheese. Lightly sprinkle salad with herbs.
  3. When serving, drizzle with dressing to taste, and then toss salad until everything is well mixed.

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Paleo Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Bisque

If you follow the paleo diet, and you ever get a cold, someone will probably ask you: "I thought you ate healthy? But you still get sick?" as if you could have prevented getting sick. The saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" bares some truth: your body's number one source of nutrients is the food it eats! But let's get real: those nutrients are used to make your immune system strong, not invincible. Having a strong immune system doesn't mean you'll never get sick, it simply means that when you do, your body will be well equipped for the battle. 

It seems like the older I become, the less tolerant I am of being under the weather. I spent most of high school with a stuffy nose and fluid in my lungs--my doctor eventually called it "seasonal asthma", even though it was far from it. I was just sick, and couldn't get over it. My body was overworked, not getting enough nutrients, and never had the energy to fully stamp out a cold. In fact, my immune system was likely too weak to fight off that cold over the course of a few days. I had other things going on, and really couldn't be bothered to take it easy anyways. A cold was not going to stop me from accomplishing my agenda. 

I still have a hard time "taking it easy" when I'm under the weather, determined to live out my plans, runny nose, sneezes and all. I complain about it a bit more, and I make soup--no matter the weather.

Last week, I came down with a cold. The spring in my step was gone, but thankfully my now well-equipped immune system fought it off in only a few days. My Healing Lemongrass Soup was on the menu, even though we had a straight week of bright and sunny weather for the first time all year. This Paleo Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Bisque would have been perfect, as it's bursting with vitamin C, and showcases warm-weather produce. Garden-fresh tomatoes taste best in this soup, as their flavor really shines through. Home-grown tomatoes are only available at the end of summer around here, but my stepmother froze a big bag of vine-ripe heirloom tomatoes last September, and I pulled them out to make this soup. It's like a splash of sunshine in a bowl! Roasted red peppers add a tangy sweetness to the soup, while coconut milk makes it rich and creamy. 

Paleo Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Bisque

Serves 2

24 ounces ripe tomatoes, diced

2 bell peppers

1 teaspoon coconut oil

4 cloves garlic

1 1/2 cup broth

3/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk

Salt & Pepper

Optional: Red pepper flakes, kalamata olives, and coconut milk for garnish

 

1. In a small soup pot, heat the coconut oil. Mince the garlic, and toss it into the pot. Sauté until golden. 

2. Slice the bell peppers in half, and remove the seeds and stems. Place them, skin-side up on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Turn the oven to a low broil. Broil the peppers for 5-10 minutes (depends on your oven) until the skin of the peppers is charred. Remove from oven and place peppers in a bowl immediately (use tongs, they'll be hot!). Lay a a cloth towel over the bowl. This will trap moisture in the bowl, so that you can remove the charred skin. 

3. While the peppers cool, put the diced tomatoes and broth in the pot. Cover, and bring to a simmer. 

4. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, work with one at a time to peel off the blackened skin. Some char will add flavor, but leaving all of it will overwhelm the soup. Discard the blackened bits, and chop the remaining meat of the pepper. Add it to the soup pot. 

5. When the tomatoes are softened through, dump the entire soup in a blender. Add the coconut milk. Blend on high until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, a drizzle of coconut milk, or some minced olives. 

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