The BEST Crab Artichoke Dip

I’m not kidding you guys.  This dip is delicious, so make sure you get in there before your guests have consumed it all!

Crab Artichoke Dip 3

If you want a little “kick” stir in finely diced jalapeño chilies or chili flakes.

  • 1 8 oz block cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • 1 tin good quality crab meat
  • 1 diced roasted sweet red pepper
  • 1 14 oz container artichoke hearts (diced)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar (I like white)
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced green onion or chives
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together the cream cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream … then add the Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire, & horseradish.  Give this mixture a good blend, I like to use my hand held blender for this to make sure it is all smooth and creamy.  If you do this before you add the rest of the ingredients all your flavouring will be evenly distributed before you stir in the rest.

Crab Artichoke Dip 1

Gently fold in the diced roasted red pepper, diced artichoke hearts, shredded cheese, sliced onion and lemon juice.  Stir carefully at this point so you keep all the distinct colours and textures.  Lastly stir in the crab meat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Crab Artichoke dip 2

 

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until it is bubbling.  Serve with crackers or sliced baguette, and stand back …. watch the crowd go wild.

 

Spinach and Artichoke Bread Pudding (Stuffing Muffins)

This is a great change from the usual stuffing – goes really well with any roast – beef, turkey, chicken or lamb. We’ve had it with all! Now a family favourite. Even better is that leftovers make a fantastic snack or breakfast.

Spinach Artichoke Bread Pudding

Trust me - this will be your new favourite savory stuffing or bread pudding!

Trust me – this will be your new favourite savory stuffing or bread pudding!

Preheat oven to 350

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 tbsp roughly chopped garlic

Saute until onions, celery and garlic are soft and translucent. Set aside to cool.

In large bowl combine:
12-14 cups cubed stale bread (I like calabrese or french)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp Italian seasonings
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 tin artichoke hearts, roughly chopped (tough outer leaves removed)
1/4 cup minced parsley

Toss gently to combine

Mix together:
4 large eggs
3 cups cream
2 cups milk

Add the onion mixture and the egg/milk/cream mixture to the large bowl with bread and vegetables.

If the bread does not absorb all the liquid right away – set aside until it does.

Put all the mixture into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish and sprinkle the top with more freshly grated parmesan and a dusting of salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for approximately 1 hour.

Our family really likes the crunchy bits of stuffing or bread pudding, so I baked this earlier in the day in muffin tins so there were lots of edges, then turned it into a clay baker and warmed it all up for dinner.

If you really want to take this over the top …. crumble a bit of brie cheese into the dry mixture before adding the onion and milk mixtures.

Seafood Paella

The seafood paella is so versatile, and can easily be transported between economy and luxury depending on what type of seafood you use.  This version is top of the line!  Nothing but delicious fresh shell fish, and  some chorizo sausage for that little bit of heat.

Preheat oven to 350

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 small red onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 1/2 cups rice

2 wine cured, dried chorizo sausages, sliced

4 cups chicken stock (hot)

1 tbsp saffron threads

1 tbsp each chopped basil and oregano

1 tsp turmeric

10 scallops

10 prawns (in shell – deveined)

10 clams

10 mussels

2 small lobster tails, split lengthwise

1/2 cup whole black olives

1/2 cup quartered artichokes

1/4 cup minced sun dried tomatoes

6 thin slices each – red, yellow, orange and green peppers

2 lemons

2 tomatoes

scallions (green spring onions)

parsley

In paella pan (or other flat saute pan that can go in the oven) heat oil and saute onion until soft, add garlic and chorizo sausage.  Stir briefly then add dry rice.  Toast rice lightly and continue to stir.

Add saffron threads, turmeric and herbs to chicken stock.

Add chicken stock one cup at a time to rice mixture, allowing rice to absorb liquid before adding more.  Once you have 3 cups chicken stock introduced and the rice is starting to soften, add the artichokes, sun dried tomatoes and olives.  Stir well, and gently nestle the seafood in – pushing the shells deep into the rice so that it is almost covered.  Reserve the lobster tails to arrange last.  At this point most of the liquid should have been absorbed so you can add the last bit of chicken stock.  Arrange the strips of colored peppers in a pinwheel on top of the paella – cover with tin foil and allow to finish in the oven – about 20-30 minutes.

While paella is in the oven, diced the tomatoes and warm gently in a saucepan.

Test for doneness with a fork – gently scoop out some rice and if it is cooked through take a peek to make sure your shells have opened – this should be all the cooking time the fish needs.  The shells are incredible when they fill with the rice mixture hiding the little nugget of a clam or mussel.

Remove from the oven, pile your cooked tomatoes in the center of the dish, and scatter parsley and green onions over top.

Make sure to serve with lemon wedges – encourage everybody to squeeze lemon on their serving – it really brings out the flavour.  Have a spare empty bowl at the table for all the shells.