Jalapeno Popper Dip

Superbowl is coming up soon ... what are you making for appetizers?  I have a suggestion.  JALAPENO POPPER DIP.  It's the deliciousness of jalapeno popper flavor, without the hassle of having to make 235 of them individually.  I got this recipe from Closet Cooking, and I thought it turned out pretty well!  His final product picture is a billion times better than mine.  No seriously, look at it.

You'll need.... (for my version)...

- 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup of mayo
- 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 can (4oz) pickled jalapenos
- 1 can (4oz) green chilies
- 2 fresh jalapenos, diced
and for the topping, 1/4 cup of panko breadcrumbs and another 1/4 cup of grated parmesean cheese

OK!  Let's get going.

Chop up the peppers so they are diced pretty fine.  I like having a bit of pepper in each bite.  You'll then want to put the peppers, cream cheese, chedder, parmesan, and mayo into a large bowl.

Once everything is mixed together, smooth it out into an oven safe bowl or platter.  I used this bowl, but I think I would use a shallower one next time, the dip was a little hard to get to.  I don't like to work hard for my food.

Mix together the remaining parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs.  You may want to mix just a splash of olive oil in there too, just to let it brown up really nice on the top when you bake it.  Sprinkle this mix on top of the dip, and bake it at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the top is browning up!

At this point I was 4 beers in the bag at a hockey party (Canadians are hilarious), so I neglected to get an action shot so you could really see the final product.  It was pretty good though!  I would definitely make this again, adding the olive oil to the top so it crisps up a bit more of course.

If you need other ideas for your Superbowl party, check out some of these party favorites...

Superbowl Chili
BBQ Pulled Pork



Homemade Potato Soup

What's not to love about potato soup?  It's creamy, luscious, inexpensive, and filling!  I recently discovered Pioneer Woman's version, and I had to try it.  She cooks the potatoes in with the broth - GROUND BREAKING.  I made a couple of changes to lighten it up a bit.  Looks pretty tasty though right?  It's so easy to do!

Here's what you'll need... this will make about 4 servings.

- 3 yukon gold or russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced (no need to peel. heh heh)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon of cajun seasoning
- 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- approximately 1 cup of milk (i used 1 percent and it turned out fine)

I think that's it!

So first, you will want to chop up the onions, carrots and celery to roughly the same size, like this!

Also dice the potatoes into chunks that are roughly the same size, so they cook up evenly.

I'd recommend getting all the chopping done right away, once we start throwing things into the pot it goes really quickly!

So first, warm a large pot (I used my favorite dutch oven) to medium high heat.  Add in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then throw in the carrots, celery and onions. Let that cook for about 2 minutes, then add in the potatoes.

Let that cook for about another 5 minutes.  At this time, I added the cajun seasoning, salt and pepper.  Looking back I think it may have been interesting with some dried mustard, so I'll probably add a dash of that next time.  Also be careful with the salt, if you are using full sodium chicken broth it won't need much.  Just add a bit, and you can also add to it later.

Please excuse my phone photos!  I should just instagram everything to get that perfect contrast and filter.  (Side note/confession time: I am instagram obsessed).

Give that a quick stir and add in the 4 cups of chicken broth!

Beauty.  Bring that to a boil, and let it carry on for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes start to get tender.

In the meantime, mix together 1/2 cup of milk and the flour in a separate bowl or measuring cup.

After the soup's been boiling for about 10 minutes, add in the flour/milk mixture and let it cook for another 5 minutes.

OK!  At this point I defer a bit from PW's recipe.  You'll want to blend this to get it to the right texture.  For me, I blend the crap out of it until I get more of a puree texture.  If you want to leave some chunks of potato, just blend 2/3 of it.  I've been utilizing an immersion blender to make this easier, it's my new favorite toy in the kitchen.

Also, important note.  If you're using a regular blender, make sure to let it cool off a bit and only fill the blender up half way at a time.  The mixture will expand when it's blended ... and this is how blender splatter disasters happen.

Once it's all blended, add in the parsley and remaining milk.  I added in a little bit of water too because it was a little thick for my preference, but up to you entirely.  I also thought it could use some sweetness, so I added in about 2-3 tablespoons of sugar.  I'm an addict, I know.

YUM!!  Feel free to add some cheese, scallions, or bacon to the top to garnish.  I just added some cheese because I'm lazy.

Settle in with a good book, and you pretty much have the perfect Sunday meal.

Worst thing I've ever eaten.

Just kidding!