Shrimp Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce

shrimp pasta with lemon cream sauce | sunsets on the side

shrimp pasta with lemon cream sauce | sunsets on the side

I’m a pasta girl.  I always have been.

I am legitimately half Italian, so I guess I come by it honestly.  But, truly, if I didn’t think my husband would object, I’d have absolutely no problem eating pasta for dinner every single night.

And, this particular pasta?

It’s everything.

It’s rich and filling from the cream sauce yet bright and fresh from the lemon.  The shrimp and vegetables add pops of color and flavor and keep it from seeming too heavy.  (See, I had spinach with my heavy cream.  Antioxidants!  Iron!).

Oh, and did I mention it’s easy?  If you prep a little bit ahead of time – zest and juice the lemons and chop the vegetables, you can totally cook this baby in about 25 minutes flat.

Win.

Shrimp Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce
 
Author:
Makes: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb shrimp (31/35 count), peeled & deveined
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. penne (or any short pasta)
  • ½ cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 4 oz. baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Instructions
  1. In a large (12”) nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp to the pan. Sear the first side for 3 minutes, flip, and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side until they are cooked through. Remove the cooked shrimp with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the garlic to the remaining olive oil. Cook for one minute.
  3. Add the cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until it thickens.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water with a handful of kosher salt to a boil, and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and put back in the pot.
  5. Add the thickened lemon cream sauce to the pasta in the pot. Add tomatoes, spinach, and parmesan cheese. Stir together to coat with the sauce. Let the mixture cook on low for 3-5 minutes until the sauce is mostly absorbed into the pasta, and it coats the other ingredients.
  6. Turn off the heat, add the basil, and stir to combine.
  7. Serve hot with extra parmesan cheese, if desired.

Adapted from Ina Garten.

Rustic Tomato Soup

rustic tomato soup | sunsets on the side

rustic tomato soup | sunsets on the side

Back when I worked for a consumer goods company, the descriptive word we used to wrestle with the most when labeling food was “robust.”  Like, what does that word even mean?  (For the record, technically I guess it means, “strong and healthy“).

People consistently thought it was a super terrific word to describe food, but when we would ask focus groups to tell us what that word meant to them, the answers were usually pretty hilarious.  It was sort of obvious that we weren’t the only ones who couldn’t understand it in the context of food.

Similarly, I struggled when trying to name this soup.  My first draft called it “Pantry Tomato Soup” because that’s the beauty of this recipe: you probably already have everything you need to make it.  But, that made it sound like an instruction to go to your pantry and get out a can of tomato soup, which…wasn’t what I was going for. I love raw tomatoes, I love cooked tomatoes, I love roasted tomatoes, I love tomato sauce, I love homemade tomato soup.  But, I really (really) don’t like canned tomato soup or tomato juice.  Like, I can’t eat them at all.  What is that?  Weird.

So, I went with “rustic” because that’s exactly what it is: simple and uncomplicated.  This soup is thick, it’s rich, and it’s absolutely perfect for grilled cheese dunking.

Hopefully it even makes you feel robust.

(Sorry).

rustic tomato soup | sunsets on the side

Rustic Tomato Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Makes: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrots
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • ¾ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook until they are softened and starting to brown, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
  3. Pour in the wine, stir well, and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the wine is slightly reduced.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken stock, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and basil. Stir to combine. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes.
  5. Add the cream cheese, and stir until it melts completely into the soup. Garnish with more fresh basil and serve.

 

Avocado Ranch Dip

avocado ranch dip | sunsets on the side

avocado ranch dip | sunsets on the side

If you follow me on Instagram, you could probably tell that we’ve had a steady stream of visitors in town.  The weather’s been as close to perfect as weather can be, so it’s been sort of a non-stop sunset viewing, beach loitering, fresh seafood eating party (my favorite kind).

Whenever we have people coming to stay at the house, I always try to have some things on hand that make for a quick bite to eat between outings.  Things like homemade salsa, tzatziki, good cheeses, crackers, and olives always come in handy.  And, versatility is key.  Homemade tzatziki is great just with pita or pretzel chips as a snack, but it also makes a delicious sauce for grilled salmon if we pick that up to cook for a fast dinner.

This time, I decided to make an avocado ranch dip so that we had it around to serve with fresh veggies.  But, it also doubled as a sauce the night we made crab cakes.  Not a traditional remoulade, but it tasted great all the same!

avocado ranch dip | sunsets on the side

Avocado Ranch Dip
 
Author:
Makes: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • Zest 1 lemon
  • 1 T. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ½ T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • ½ of a ripe avocado
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, process the garlic, scallions, basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper until they are pureed.
  2. Add the avocado, mayonnaise, yogurt, and buttermilk. Puree until smooth.
  3. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Adapted from Ina Garten.

Chicken Parmesan Pizza

chicken parmesan pizza | sunsets on the side

chicken parmesan pizza | sunsets on the side

In general, I really don’t insist on many things.

I’m not the person who insists on a certain paint color for a room…or on, say, a restaurant choice for dinner.  The restaurant thing is mostly because I’m not a picky eater and can find something I’d love to eat on almost any menu.  But, it’s also because I like it when other people are happy.  I’m a conflict avoider.

Truth.

chicken parmesan pizza dough | sunsets on the side

However.

This one time, I’m going to have to insist that you guys make this pizza.  It doesn’t have to be right now….or tomorrow…or even next week.  It requires a little bit of a time investment.  You’re making dough, you’re dredging, you’re browning, you’re grating, you’re chopping.

chicken parmesan pizza dough before | sunsets on the side

But, before this winter is over, I’m insisting you have this pizza.  It’s like a giant hug that somehow made it into your oven and then onto your plate.  It’s the best of chicken parmesan in hand-held, dough-encased form.  It’s your dinner.

chicken parmesan pizza | sunsets on the side

See, you’re not mad I insisted, right?

Chicken Parmesan Pizza
 
Author:
Makes: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • ~~~Pizza dough~~~
  • 1 (1/4 oz.) envelope rapid rise dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup warm water, divided
  • 3 cups flour
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ~~~Pizza topping~~~
  • ¾ lb. boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cup seasoned panko crumbs
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 cup pasta sauce (I used Classico)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ⅓ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
  • 6 oz. fontina, grated
Instructions
  1. Mix the yeast, sugar, and ¼ cup of the warm water together, and let it sit for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the flour, olive oil, salt and remaining ¾ cup warm water together in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture to flour mixture. Stir well and then turn out onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour as needed, for about 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. Drizzle some olive oil in a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it over so it is all coated in the oil. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let the dough rise until double in size (about 1 hour).
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper, dredge the pieces in flour, dip them in egg, and then coat them in panko crumbs.
  5. Heat 2 T. olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, brown the chicken pieces, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove chicken to a plate, add an additional 1T. oil, if needed, and brown the second batch of chicken.
  6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  7. When the dough has risen, shape it onto a baking pan (16” round or 12x18” cookie sheet both work). Leaving a 1” border, poke the middle of the crust multiple times with a fork so it doesn’t rise too much in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove crust from the oven, top it with pasta sauce (again leaving a 1” border around the outside for the crust). Top the sauce with chopped basil, chicken, parmesan, mozzarella cheese, and fontina. Bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

Baked Sausage & Fontina Sandwiches

baked sausage & fontina sandwiches | sunsets on the side

baked sausage & fontina sandwiches | sunsets on the side

These sandwiches.

I remember these sandwiches from when I was a kid.  They were “special occasion” sandwiches in that I knew just about every time they made an appearance, we were going to have company.  My mom made these a lot of nights when she hosted her card club, and she’d serve them on some family holidays, too.  (Random: why doesn’t our generation play more cards)?

baked sausage & fontina sandwich ingredients | sunsets on the side

I always figured she made these for company because they were deliciously awesome (which, they are), but they’re also the perfect thing for entertaining.  They freeze beautifully, so you can make these in anticipation of any event (big football game, perhaps?).  After you make the sandwiches and wrap them in foil, stick them in the freezer instead of the oven.  Then, just pull them out when you need them and throw them straight into the oven to bake.  Or, just make them and bake them.

Prerogative.  It’s yours.

Either way, though, something happens to these babies when they bake.  They go into the oven looking very much like an Italian version of a sloppy joe, but when they come out, the sauce has sort of baked into the bun, and they’ve turned into a melty, saucy, delectable mix of sausage and herbs.

I’ve adapted these just slightly with a different cheese (mom uses mozzarella) and some fresh basil.  Otherwise, these are the original.

baked sausage and fontina sandwiches | sunsets on the side

Baked Sausage & Fontina Sandwiches
 
Author:
Makes: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground Italian sausage (hot or mild)
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 (15-oz.) can tomato sauce
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 3 T. finely chopped fresh basil
  • 8 French hamburger buns (or any sturdy roll)
  • 4 oz. fontina, sliced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the sausage and ground chuck in a large, non-stick skillet. Add the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook over medium heat, stirring often and breaking the meat up with your spatula, until it is cooked through (about 10-12 minutes).
  3. Remove from the heat and drain the grease from the pan.
  4. Place the skillet back over medium heat. Add the tomato sauce and oregano, and stir to combine. Simmer until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat, and stir in the basil.
  6. Spoon the meat mixture evenly onto the hamburger buns, top the meat with fontina slices, and then wrap each sandwich in foil.
  7. Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Christmas Crostini

christmas crostini | sunsets on the side

christmas crostini | sunsets on the side

Boy, we’re sure getting down to the wire here.  Christmas is just five days away.  How did that happen?

I need to get myself packed and ready for temperatures about, you know, 50 degrees colder than I’m used to.  Oh, and I have yet to wrap a single gift.  So, there’s that.

No time to waste!  Who needs an easy appetizer idea?

sun dried tomato and caper crostini | sunsets on the side

These crostini are so simple and delicious.  You could be eating them inside of 15 minutes.  Plus, I made them Christmas-colored for you!  Go make them for your friends.  Or, better yet, go make them, pour yourself a glass of wine, put your feet up, forget about your to-do list, and enjoy your beautiful holiday decorations.

You’ll be happy you did.

Christmas Crostini
 
Author:
Makes: 16-18 pieces
Ingredients
  • Baguette, sliced ½” thick
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 T. chopped sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
  • 1 T. sun-dried tomato oil
  • 2 T. chopped capers
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 T. chopped fresh basil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush the tops evenly with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 5-6 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the goat cheese and ricotta with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, 1 T. of the oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes, capers, salt, pepper, and chopped basil.
  4. Spread toasted baguette slices with the cheese mixture, and garnish with additional basil, if desired.

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis.

Farfalle with Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

farfalle with oven roasted tomato sauce

farfalle with oven roasted tomato sauce

Once upon a time, this pasta was a soup.

Well, not really.

Once upon a time, I made a soup recipe and thought, “wouldn’t this method be a great way to make a quick pasta sauce?”  (Incidentally, if you’re always on the lookout for easy, creamy soup recipes like I am, definitely hop over and check this one out.  It’s crazy delicious).

oven roasted tomatoes

This sauce is great because it takes less than half an hour to get a sauce that tastes like you cooked it all day.  And, it’s perfect for a simple weeknight dinner, too.  It doesn’t take much time from start to finish as it is.  But, you could make this sauce over the weekend, refrigerate it, and then just heat it up while you cook some pasta on a weeknight.  Easy.

If you’re looking for something heart healthy, you can omit the cream.  But….you know.

It’s better with the cream.

Farfalle with Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce
 
Author:
Makes: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. plum tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1” chunks
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. dried basil
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 12 oz. farfalle (or any short pasta)
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place tomatoes, cut side down, and onions onto the baking sheet and brush with the olive oil (it will seem like a lot, but the extra that spills onto the sheet will protect the garlic from burning). Sprinkle garlic, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and thyme evenly over the tomatoes.
  3. Roast until tomatoes and onions are soft and brown around the edges, about 22-24 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  4. Place tomatoes, onions, and all the juices from the baking sheet into a blender. Add the red pepper flakes and cream. Blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. (I like the garlic to totally disappear into the sauce, but you could leave this sauce chunkier if you prefer that consistency).
  5. Pour sauce into a serving bowl, reserving some of the sauce for serving.
  6. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  7. Drain the cooked pasta, and place it into the serving bowl with the sauce. Add parmesan, fresh parsley, and fresh basil, and toss to combine. Serve with reserved sauce and extra parmesan on top.

Adapted from Taste of Home.

Light & Creamy Roasted Squash Soup

light-and-creamy-roasted-squash-soup

light-and-creamy-roasted-squash-soup

Yesterday was a rare dark and dreary day here because we had a “cold front” (in Gulf Coast speak, this translates to temperatures being in the mid-80s instead of the high 80s for the next few days, which…whatever.  I’ll take it!) moving through.  I tend to get a little jazzed up when we have weather like that.  It’s so infrequent that it always makes me want to bust out some sort of soup or stew or chili.

roasted-squash

As we head into fall and winter, I love the idea of buzzing up roasted vegetables to make soup.  Roasting makes everything taste great, even veges that are out of season.  And, it just doesn’t take as much babysitting when you can throw vegetables into a hot oven and let it do its thing.

This roasted squash soup is great for weeknight meals because it’s so light.  More often than not, I try to do healthier options for Monday through Thursday cooking.  Not always, but I try.

This would also be great if you’re pressed for time for weeknight meals.  You could make a batch of this pretty quickly on a weekend, refrigerate it in the pot that you used to cook it, and just throw it on the stove to reheat when you’re ready.  Ten minute dinner.

Light & Creamy Roasted Squash Soup
 
Author:
Makes: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ lbs. zucchini, cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 lb. yellow squash, cut into ½” pieces
  • ½ medium red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 small poblano pepper, cut into 1” pieces
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • ½ tsp. hot sauce
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt (I use Fage 2%)
  • 8-10 basil leaves, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray two baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place chopped zucchini, yellow squash, onion, and poblano onto the two baking sheets. Drizzle each sheet with 1 T. olive oil, sprinkle with ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Toss to coat each piece and spread them out evenly. Roast for 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  3. Working in batches, process roasted vegetables in a food processor with ½ cup chicken stock. Pour pureed vegetables into a soup pot set over medium heat.
  4. Add milk, the remaining 1 ½ cups chicken stock, the remaining ¼ tsp. of salt, goat cheese, and hot sauce. Stir to combine.
  5. Cook for 15-20 minutes until soup is heated through and goat cheese is melted.
  6. Off the heat, add yogurt and chopped basil. Serve with additional goat cheese and hot sauce, if desired.

Inspired by Ina’s roasted vegetable soup.

Goat Cheese, Leek & Fresh Tomato Pizza

goat-cheese-leek-fresh-tomato-pizza

goat-cheese-leek-fresh-tomato-pizza

The thought of pizza makes me hungry.

The thought of homemade pizza makes me happy and nostalgic.

And hungry.

I was a lucky kid for many reasons.  (I could list those reasons for you, but that’s not why we’re here.  We’re here for the pizza).  One reason was that my mom made pizza with homemade dough ALL. THE. TIME.  Seriously.  It was awesome.  Of course, when I was a kid, I didn’t really see the novelty of this, so I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have at the time.  But, that’s neither here nor there.  I totally appreciate it now!

The toppings here are my creation.  But, the dough?  The dough is my mom’s recipe.  It really is so simple and inexpensive to make your own pizza dough.  And, there’s something therapeutic about all that kneading.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you must.

This pizza, considering the cream sauce, is surprisingly light.  I love the flavor of leeks, and when you combine a leek sauce with fresh tomatoes and crumbly goat cheese, you get a pretty bright result.  You can adjust the type of pan and baking times to your liking.  I like a sturdy, almost crunchy crust, so that’s what the times in this recipe will give you.  I also used a round pizza pan that has holes in the bottom (like this one), so that choice added to the extra firm crust as well.

Ok, let’s get to it!

Goat Cheese, Leek & Fresh Tomato Pizza
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ~~~Pizza dough~~~
  • 1 ( ¼ oz. ) envelope rapid rise dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup warm water, divided
  • 3 cups flour
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ~~~Pizza topping~~~
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts), thoroughly cleaned and roughly chopped
  • 2 T. flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¾ cups shredded parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and sliced
  • ½ - 1 cup grated mozzarella or fontina cheese
  • 8 large basil leaves, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. For the dough: Mix the yeast, sugar, and ¼ cup of the warm water together, and let sit for 3 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the flour, olive oil, salt and remaining ¾ cup warm water together in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture. Stir well and then turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 7-10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. Drizzle some olive oil in a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it over so it is all coated in the oil. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let the dough rise until double in size (mine took a little more than an hour).
  4. For the topping: Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook for 7-8 minutes until they’ve softened and started to brown. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  5. Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thick. Off the heat, add salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.
  6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  7. Shape the dough onto a baking pan (16” round or 12x18” cookie sheet). Leaving a 1” border, poke the middle of the crust multiple times with a fork so it doesn’t rise too much during the first baking. Bake for 10 minutes.
  8. Top with leek sauce, again leaving a 1” border around the outside. Top with sliced tomatoes, and crumble the goat cheese evenly over top. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Place shredded cheese on at the last minute and melt. Garnish with chopped basil.

 

Creamy Sausage & Mushroom Dip

creamy sausage mushroom dip | sunsets on the side

creamy-sausage-mushroom-dip

I’m always on the hunt for great dips to serve throughout football season.  There’s just something that screams “game time,” when your guests walk into a house that smells incredible and already has some food on the (coffee)table.

It’s on.

I based this recipe on a crab dip that I’ve made a number of times (check that one out, too…it’s delicious).  But, I have some VIPs in my life that either don’t care for seafood or who are allergic.  So, I created this alternative version that’s chock full of savory sausage and mushrooms but brightened up with the fresh tomatoes, basil, and lemon juice.

My boys have a big game tonight.  Hopefully this dip will bring them (and your team) some much-needed luck!

Creamy Sausage & Mushroom Dip
 
Author:
Makes: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ lb. loose sweet Italian sausage
  • ½ - 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
  • Salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 8” baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the sausage and cook, breaking it into small pieces with your spoon, until it’s golden brown and cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage to a paper towel-covered plate to drain and cool.
  3. Add the sliced mushrooms to the same pan (adding olive oil, if needed, depending on how much fat is left behind from the sausage), season with salt and pepper, and let cook for 8-10 minutes, until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated and they start to brown. Add the garlic and let cook 1 minute longer. Set aside to let cool.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and lemon juice until completely smooth. Fold in the grated cheese, red pepper flakes, tomatoes, green onions, and basil. Season with black pepper, and stir in the sausage and mushrooms.
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is brown and the dip is bubbling.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Adapted from Bobby.