Saying that I am behind on the Friday Football Foodie is a bit of an understatement, but in a weird way my performance is not that different from how many teams ended the season.
Week 16 – Dec 20, 22, 23 – In a Thursday night game against the Rams, Steelers running back and league leading rusher Willie Parker goes out with a broken fibula. FFF is not posted due to food poisoning from a bad turkey sandwich. (It was going to be about the above Steelers sugar cookies* with buttercream frosting and these great pumpkin spice cookies** that are perfect for the holidays. Sent batches out to all of the Ladies and Tuffy.)
Week 17 – Dec 29, 30 – Every playoff bound team is resting their starters if they can. FFF is not posted due to lack of internet at a spa retreat. (Athletes get deep tissue massages and feel a great sense of relief; I get a deep tissue massage and am sore for two days.) There is something to resting your starters though. Who knows when injury can happen. The FFF’s camera which had been on the fritz for awhile was dropped onto a marble floor at the spa from which it will never recover, thus hurting the FFF’s playoff run.
Wild Card Playoffs – Jan 5, 6 – Pressure, pressure, pressure, come up with a game plan THAT DOES INVOLVE BRUCE ARIANS HOW CAN YOU SAY HE’S COMING BACK NEXT SEASON. FFF is not posted due to poor clock management, stress, and more stress.
Which means the Friday Football Foodie is much like the Colts right now; Haven’t had a game that tested them since Week 14 against the Ravens and are completely beat up.***
But we solider on. No step-by-step directions. Instead of the usual 16-24 pictures that make up the Friday Football Foodie there is one photo, and camera phone picture at that.
Like the Colts though, it is still solid.
Spinach-Artichoke Dip with Harry & David Multigrain Chips and Dance Off, Pants Off Drinks
This recipe was given to me from a friend – who can be seen in the background of the homemade corn dog FFF – who got it from Cooking Light magazine. It is possibly the best spinach dip recipe I’ve ever come across and works just as well if you make it their “light” way or if you go ahead and use full fat cheese and sour cream. Which I do. And I use way more spinach than they call for.
You will need –
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided (Double this.)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened (Or just two regular cream cheese packages.)
1/2 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry (I use two whole packages of spinach.)
Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, sour cream, 2 tablespoons (or 1/4 cup) Parmesan, and next 6 ingredients (basically everything except for reserve cheese) in your baking dish and stir until well-blended. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons (or 1/4 cup) Parmesan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. (Depending on the oven, it can take up to 45 minutes.) ****
In that bowl is the greatest tortilla chip known to mankind; The Harry & David’s Multigrain tortilla chip.
How great is it? They try to keep them all for themselves as they are not even listed on their website. (Some guy in Michigan has even noted how many people look for these chips online.) Apparently, the only way you can get them is if you stop at one of their stores. Which means 3 out of 5 times we drive back from Santa Barbara, we stop at the outlet stores just to buy some of the chips.
Something about them – maybe it’s the black sesame seeds – is just downright magical. Sturdy enough to hold up to most dips and salsas and yet still light in texture.
Pants Off, Dance Off Drinks
We keep full bar at our place, which is good because what is the point of owning so many books about cocktails if you can never make them. You cannot taste pretty pictures.
Sometimes you just want to poor a bunch of different things in a glass and see what happens next. (The old college football just heave-the-ball-down-field-and-hope-it-works mentality if you will.)
Which is what we call the Pants Off, Dance Off in our place. Will light rum, cognac, and Frangelica mix? What about amaretto and vodka – which is called a Godmother – be ok if I cut it with a splash of ginger ale? What about grappa and… no. Not the grappa. You get the idea.
This is the weekend to Pants Off, Dance Off. Show them something that they have not seen before.
(Conf. to TSB – Did you know there was a store in Pasadena? I didn’t until now and if it wasn’t the middle of the night I would wake you up with this news.)
(Well now it is 6:30. I knew I should not have gone out last night.)
I thought that was pesto on top of the cookies at first; I wasn’t so sure about that.
Wasn’t TSB supposed to get you a new camera for Christmas? The hints were dropped quite a few times.
I am vouching for the healing properties of the Steelers sugar cookies, as if y’all needed any more evidence than that picture. They’re divine.
Hooray for the triumphant return of the FFF! That Spinach-Artichoke dip looks like the best thing ever. Yummmmm
Those cookies were so delicious – my brother, Baby Mets, and I were fighting over them.
Hey Sweetie —
I sent you money for your Bday — wasn’t that supposed to go for a new camera?
Doug – TSB and I didn’t exchange holiday gifts this year for a myriad of reasons.
My mom sent holiday money that I should have used to buy a new camera, but bought a new armchair instead.
Damn – mom types faster than I do. I combined birthday money with holiday money and bought a new armchair.
Oh, one more thing. For those of us not near a Harry and David’s I like the Multigrain cracker that Kebler has out — You know ones baked by elves.
The thing I like about crackers over chips for a dip like this is that these crackers are a thicker than chips and a little thicker than other crackers so they don’t break under the dip.
The pumpkin spice cookies healed my rash. Also, I ate them.
You know what would make that dip better? Olives.
Tuffy – At one point last night I almost posted our IM debate over maybe adding olives to the dip. Then I realized that would only be funny to about three people.
(And if you fill up on heavy crackers, you don’t get enough dip.)
I’m glad TSW owned up to the fact that I made this dip. And also, let that same something about the ease of making this thing. Usually I manage to mess up the easiest portion of any baking recipe and wind up with, oh say overdone chocolate chip cookies that have become brown, muddled messes because I didn’t FOLD the chips into the dough, I just used the Kitchen Aid mixer to beat them in. (Oops.)
This dip turned out incredibly successfully (fed us for two days) and made me feel slightly more gormand than an average episode of Rachel Ray. (Yeah me!)
And yes, there were hints and allegations of a new camera for TSW. But then we made the mistake of sitting in this cute, comfortable little chair in a furniture store and leaning back in it to test out its fortitude at being able to allow us to comfortably play the Wii and OHMYGOD IS THIS A RECLINER?! And that was that.
Besides, who needs a whole camera when I’ve got one built into the phone so I can take fun and exciting pictures of: 1) A guy in a Greg Lloyd jersey in Disneyland, stalker-azzi style, 2) Maddox (of THEBESTPAGEINTHEUNIVERSE.com fame)?
Full Bar is necessary and likely to be depleted if the Pats advance.
Way ahead of you Ape.
Last night that I went to the bar that we reviewed in the FFF and you serendipitously posted a picture of in one of your genius posts this week and accidentally overdid it with an old friend during our discussion of the Steelers crushing loss, conflicted feelings about New England, the Piston’s woes, and how the guy living in my friend’s garage finally moved out. (And something about a naked Google employee having sex in his shower during a pool party.)
All was well after our second Pink Panties shot from the big drink wheel of death.
That dip looks amazing, I have to make it. Maybe for football on Sunday, actually. Woot!
I just wanted to make sure and go on record as saying those cookies are HEAVENLY. I used them as sugar fuel during a long drive I had to make, and the leftovers were fought over by my friends at a foobaw watching party.
Will it be okay to leave the spinach out of the dip? I love artichoke dip and that looks delicious, but I absolutely detest cooked spinach (raw is grand). Or will the consistency get all funky?
I am sure you could double up on artichokes.
I love those football helmet cookies so much I want to take them behind the middle school and get them pregnant. They are the cutest!
I would love some cookies. Bob loves cookies We all love cookies.
Bob loves the special oatmeal raisin cookies that I never make anymore. I cannot think of the last time I made those.
Yeah. I made them once and he said that they weren’t as good as yours.