Chicken Spinach and Artichoke Nachos

You read that right. I took everything good about nachos and spinach and artichoke dip and married it. Happily. Ever. After.
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I had a bunch of apps on my ever running “to make” list of ideas so a few became dinner one night.

Ingredients:

3 cups fresh spinach, chopped fine
1 pkg frozen artichoke hearts (not jared in oil)
8 oz cream cheese (or plain greek yogurt)
½ cup prepared alfredo sauce
1 tbs chopped garlic
1 chicken breast, shredded
8 oz shredded mozzarella
multigrain tortilla chips

Directions:

Cook chicken breast and shred when cooled slightly.
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Add artichoke hearts, cream cheese, alfredo sauce, and garlic to a large large saute pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Once the cream cheese is melted, add the chicken and ½ cup of the shredded cheese.
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Stir the dip well, turn the temperature to low, and begin layering chips, dip and shredded mozzarella. Make one layer with about ⅓ of the dip, cheese, and chips.
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Melt in the oven at 375 degrees until melted.
Layer more chips, dip, and mozzarella.
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Melt in the oven at 375 degrees until melted.
Top with remaining.
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Trust me. The layers melted before more layers are crucial. If you layer, layer, and layer and then melting will mean your bottom layers aren’t going to be melted and the top will be cooked too much.
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I had some leftover chicken and sundried tomato alfredo pasta with lots of leftover chicken. I shredded it up which made for a wayyy better use of the leftovers than I planned!
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Apple Cheesecake Dip

It is almost Thanksgiving and I have an easy 3 ingredient dip/dessert for you to have on hand if you’re worried about what you’ve planned to make. Or maybe you need one more thing to keep the masses fed.
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I saw this apple cheesecake dip on pinterest and thought it sounded awesome. It is one of those foods that just can’t LOOK as good as it tastes. I added it to a dinner of appetizers and it was awesome.

Apple Cheesecake Dip

Adapted from Cooking Classy

Ingredients:

8oz cream cheese
¼ cup caramel ice cream topping
¼ cup toffee pieces
apples for dipping

Directions:

Allow the cream cheese to soften slightly.
Beat cream cheese, caramel sauce, and toffee bits.
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Serve with sliced apples.

This has such great flavor for just a few ingredients. I liked the apple dippers but graham crackers would be good, or animal crackers.

The original recipe has the apples dipped into the cream cheese dip and then into crushed graham crackers. I added the toffee in the dip instead for a pop of crunch.
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This is a crowd pleaser and a super easy one to whip up. Something about it says fall to me, but apples are available all the time so I’m not sure where my season-ness is coming from. I definitely recommend this dip for an easy appetizer or light dessert. I love to be sure there are a few simple items when I’m hosting for an easy check mark on your list.

Tip: a few drips of lemon juice will help the apples not to brown. Prep the dip and refrigerate until you serve it. Slice the apples when you’re ready to eat!

(Plus, this one got Mr. J eating some fruit. Shhh! Don’t tell him!)

Oreo Dip

Awhile back I made a dip that was sooo easy it made me think kids would have fun making it. The original source on Pinterest was a blog that seems MIA or maybe they’re just under construction.
The Three Bite Rule - Oreo Dip

Ingredients:

1 box white chocolate pudding (I used instant)
2 cups milk
8 oz cool whip (aka frozen non-dairy whipped topping)
½ package Oreos (or about 25 oreos)
1 box chocolate graham crackers

Directions:

Mix pudding and milk until thickened (about 2 minutes)
The Three Bite Rule - Oreo DipAdd cool whip and crushed oreos mixing well.
The Three Bite Rule - Oreo Dip
Refrigerate for at least and hour before serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Oreo Dip

I liked this for a twist on a regular dip. It was an easy one that didn’t require any baking. Serve it with chocolate graham crackers.

Mr. J thought this was great. It made a ton so I took half to a small meeting and we enjoyed the other half at home. The photo above is half of what I made! This stayed good for a few days, after that, the oreos were a bit soggy. I thought it was a bit loose or soupy but the original post included mini marshmallows too so that would change the consistency.

I was thinking these would be great as chocolate graham cracker “ice cream” sandwiches. Maybe next time I’ll whip in some cream cheese to thicken it and I’ll freeze graham sandwiches filled with it.

Cost Breakdown:

1 pkg chocolate sandwich cookie: $2.75
1 pkg white chocolate pudding mix:  $1.00
1 pkg cool whip: $2.49
1 pkg chocolate graham crackers:  $3.49
total: $9.73/10 servings = $0.97 per person (with graham crackers and oreos leftover!)

I skimped on the cookies and bought the cheapest ones I could find, and went “high end” on the dippers but this whole thing could be made for even less.

Portland Pie Pizza

The vacation of eating continues! Seriously, Portland ME is a foodie mecca (donuts & duckfat fries). I really hoped we’d make it to Portland Pie and it was everything I dreamed of. I buy their refrigerated pizza dough at the grocery store and love it. It is the best, hands down. It worked out to be a great dinner option for the last night we were in town.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie

I was really torn as to what I was in the mood for. Their fall specials looked amazing. I might need to recreate one of their fall dishes. There was a mustard/sauerkraut/bratwurst/pumpkin ale pizza that sounded amazing. I also was intrigued by a maple balsamic dressing for salad.

We got an app (even though Mr. J was all about the pumpkin cheesecake for dessert). I knew after all our eating we could not eat an app, pizza, and dessert. Way. too. much.

We chose the sweet potato smoked cheddar dip with rosemary biscotti.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie

They were working the kinks out on this one. We actually sent it back to be reheated. The breadbowl it was in was nicely warmed, the cheddar on top of the dip was melted, but the dip was cold. It wasn’t just “not piping hot” but it was cold. We neverrr send stuff back but this was meant to be warm. It then took forever. Other tables got their salads, drink refills, salads cleared and pizza served while we waited.

The kitchen wasn’t sure the best way to reheat it while maintaining the dip. I wanted to cancel it but our server was a bit MIA. She returned telling us it would be ready when the pizza was and the kitchen made a new app. I really would have just cancelled it or they could have offered to take it off the bill. Instead they offered us dessert. That made Mr. J one happy guy.

Our server thought it would be ready when the pizza was so we asked for whatever was ready to come out. I didn’t want the pizza sitting to stay warm. I’m not sure it was worth all the hype for all of this process, but it was good. Smoked gouda would have been better.

We ordered 2 pizzas so there’d be some leftovers to take home for the next day. We got one Bar Harbor which was super exciting now that Mr. J eats scallops! Woohoo! It was scallops, bacon, mozzarella with alfredo sauce. It was amazing. The scallops were cooked nicely and every bite was flavorful. The topping to crust ratio was spot on.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie

The other pizza we got was called Dead River. It was red sauce and had spinach, red peppers, ricotta, and we swapped out hamburger for sausage. It is finished with garlic and crushed red pepper. Some bites definitely have a kick to them. I liked this one a lot and it was a great contrast to the sweet & smokey scallop pizza.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie

One of my favorite things that happened was just too funny. For some reason our server didn’t seem sure that we were together. She packed the dessert to go as separate containers and asked if we each wanted some of each pizza packed up. I was so amused since we were celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary weekend!

I love their menu. I wish there was a Portland Pie near me! I’d be happy to drink the delicious local-to-Maine brews and dine on their expansive menu if they wanted to come further south!
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie

What I Ate: At a Wedding Cocktail Hour

Wedding cocktail hour is my favorite. I love the vows, and the dancing (especially since Mr. J is a rockin’ dancer), but then I love the cocktail hour. Contrary to the name I like it for the food. I don’t worry about the drinks…it is all about the snacks. I love passed aps, Mrs. K had baked brie that I’m still raving about (3+ years later), Mrs. M had an amazing cheese selection. Serious love for the aps.

I don’t review many weddings but I went to one with the best cocktail hour ever. Ever. I know, I go to my share of weddings every year. I snapped a few pics with my phone but when I heard the next morning that the bride didn’t have any of the amazing aps I knew I HAD to blog ‘em. She writes Flying on Jess Fuel (stop by her blog, say hello, wish her congrats, and check out her recipes).

The chef was Chef Roland. I loved their cocktail hour. I cannot get over how many aps there were. I was so impressed that the hot ones were actually hot! The chilled ones were actually cool! The servers all knew what they were offering to us. It was amazing. Here are my favorites:

Shrimp ceviche with mango salsa on an edible spoon.
The Three Bite Rule - Wedding Aps  Yes, that’s right. There’s a crisp bite of spoon with each bite. Delicious!

Dill scone topped with lobster salad. It was lightly dressed and so fresh. I mayyy have stalked the servers whenever I saw these!
The Three Bite Rule - Wedding Aps

Lamb and quinoa cakes. The bride loves quinoa so these seemed even more perfect.
The Three Bite Rule - Wedding Aps

There were some mean lookin’ pistachio crusted lamb lollipops but I figured the lamb cake bite was probably my red-meat maximum for the day. I popped the lobster mac & cheese bite before I got a photo. Yum!

We had some bruschetta, coconut shrimp, spanakopita, cajan shrimp & kielbasa…I don’t even remember what else. There were so many. I had to chose wisely. There were just so many.

Ohh then we had dinner. It started with a salad of greens, beets, peaches, and candied walnuts. Seriously amazing.
The Three Bite Rule - Wedding Aps
Dinner options were beef, fish, or vegetarian. I got the fish. It turned out to be sole stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, and lobster. You had me at lobster.

Mr. J and I are off for the weekend to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary! Can you believe it has been a year?!? I’ll be sure to let you know how that year old piece ‘o cake fared this past year!

Nail Polish Colored Potluck

In honor of Ms. K’s last day we had a tearful potluck to say goodbye and good luck to our nail polish loving coworker. It was along the lines of our Rainbow Potluck but this time we chose our colors based on a nail polish to each give her as a parting gift. I’m always so impressed with what everyone comes up with to bring! It’s tricky! We only have a fridge, microwave, and toaster oven to use but once again, it was a good one!

There was an awesome chilled watermelon soup. The watermelon color was Pretty in Punk.
The Three Bite Rule - Nail Polish Potluck

There were delicious (and healthy!) Granola-ish balls. They were like cookie dough but full of great ingredients like flaxseeds, peanut butter, and oats. The oatmeal color was Sand Tropez.
The Three Bite Rule - Nail Polish Potluck

We loved this avocado black eyed pea salad. It was fresh and creamy and delicious. The black eyed pea color was I Don’t Drink Cheap Wine.
The Three Bite Rule - Nail Polish Potluck
Our office can eat nachos and guacamole like we’ve never had it before! The guac green was Go Overboard.
The Three Bite Rule - Nail Polish Potluck

We had a re-creation from the sandwich shop downstairs with everything bagels, cream cheese, tomato and avocado. It was the right mix of filling and freshness. The tomato red was Forever Yummy.
The Three Bite Rule - Nail Polish Potluck
I made puff pastry bites with brie and blackberry sauce. More on them later. The nail polish was Henna Things Possible.
The Three Bite Rule - Nail Polish Potluck

Sauce

More vacation fun! I wanted to get this amazing meal recap out before I spill the beans of my next vacays scheduled! :D You can check out what else I loved eating on vacation here.

I eat at this restaurant (Sauce) every year when I travel to San Fran for work and I fell in love the first time. They had me at mushroom jenga.
Sauce sign
Sauce serves this ap of lightly breaded mushroom “fries” stacked like jenga or lincoln logs. It comes with ranch dipping sauce. Even people who don’t like mushrooms like these.

mushroom jenga
After another crazy-filled day of sightseeing Mr. J and I were starving (as in this was the day we didn’t have Ghirardelli sundaes for lunch). We also had endured a somewhat impromptu hike. I don’t mean the regular crazy hills, I mean up the side of a peak.

I mentioned this spot and the menu caught Mr. J’s eye too. Sold! It was near our hotel and I was pretty jazzed at the prospect of splitting a bunch of small plates.

Needless to say, I got the portabello fries. Mr. J got bacon wrapped mini meatloaves served on mashed potatoes with gravy. What a fun idea for a potluck or dinner party?! Then we split everything else. Put your fat pants on, there was a lot of food.
mini meatloaf
We got Dungeness crab rangoons. It was pretty much all crab, no filler. Swoon. They were really good. I kind of changed my tune when we calculated the cost per Rangoon. Whatever, we were on vacation.
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Next up was a side of Mac & Cheese. It was baked with a delightful cheese and cracker topping. I’m pretty sure the deliciousness came from a good quantity of butter.
Mac & cheese baked
And then the server asked us about dessert. Mr. J felt like we had to get the mini doughnut holes with vanilla bourbon dipping sauce. I wasn’t impressed with them earlier in the week because they weren’t warm and soft. Same story this time. Womp womp. We did a good job at them nonetheless.
mini donut holes
I was really interested in the PB&J cake with strawberry perserves, chunky peanut butter layer, and vanilla ice cream center.
pb & jelly cake
That’s when it went downhill. There was a sampler and we went for it. You can see above that it had the doughnuts, the PB&J cake. It also came with rum raisin cookie dough ice cream sandwiches.
cookie dough ice cream sandwich
They put some strawberries dipped in whipped cream and brown sugar on for good measure too. Why? Probably because these are full servings and intended for 4 people.

Mr. J was adamant that we finish. We were laughing so hard about how stuffed we were that we gave it a good shot but it was a doozy. I had a serious case of the giggles and Mr. J was doing some Lamaze breathing. Our waitress kind of thought we were insane.

It was such a fun meal. I kind of love the last night of vacation. Do you? I means it is almost time to go home and by the end I’m ready. It was such a fun dinner of sharing and there was PLENTY of food. Mr. J and I truly got to just enjoy ourselves and relish the moments.

source: Sauce

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

I was thinking I wanted to make salsa once my work event was over I was thinking not just any salsa. Something crazy! I haven’t made salsa before but I winged it and it came out good. I wish it was spicier but I wasn’t sure that would appeal to the crowd.

I also can’t say I actually knew how spicy it was going to be anyway.
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Ingredients:

5 tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced (seeds and
1 onion
2 garlic clove minced
1 lime, juiced & zested
½ pineapple, grilled
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp hot sauce
¼ tsp salt

Directions:

Blend 4 tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapeno.
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Add the jalapeno, then the last tomato, lime juice, lime zest, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, and salt.
Grill pineapple 2-3 minutes per side until lightly charred.
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Chop the pineapple and add to the salsa.
Let it sit at least 2 hours before serving.
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Salsa was totally easy. I was worried after I blended the tomatoes. It seemed too pink but it was a good amount of liquid to add the chunks to. I like it super chunky so I left the pineapple really big chunks.
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Any salsa tips for me next time? It was good, but maybe the next one can be great!

Greek Dip with Some Assembly Required

This is the easiest dip ever. There’s no cooking involved…some assembly required. Make this for your next BBQ or pool party and you’re guaranteed to wow people. I really enjoy the simplicity of this in relation to how much folks rave about this dip! Yesterday was Ms. L’s bday and she likes this one ;)
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Ingredients

8 oz hummus
2-4 oz feta
1 cucumber
2 tomatoes
3 tbs Italian salad dressing

Directions

Spread hummus onto a plate
Chop cucumbers and tomatoes and toss with feta and dressing
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Arrange on top of hummus
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Serve with pita chips, wheat thins, or your favorite crackers

That’s it!

It is a nice alternative to other dips served. It is lighter but really fresh tasting and goes with anything. I’ve made the topping and assembled on-site when it was time to eat so I can attest to how portable it is.

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged it before. It tends to be a crowd pleaser. Even when people tell me they won’t like it, they try it and are surprised. Happens. Every. Time.

It would be good as a crostini if it is easier for you not to serve a dip. If you do make it as a dip I assure you folks will be standing around devouring this one! (I love when that happens at a party but crostinis would help when serving a crowd.)

Cost Breakdown

Hummus: $3.50
Feta $1.99
Cucumber $0.75 (English cuke $2.00)
2 plum tomatoes $1.00
Wheat thins $3.00
Total = $11.49 (for the dip & dippers to serve 6-8 for <$2.00) That’s even using an English cuke which is totally worth it not to have to peel it!

Everything Bagel Cream Cheese Dip

I’m pretty obsessed with Pretzel Crisps right now. I love them…especially the everything ones. They remind me of everything bagels which then brought me to a cream cheese dip for them!

I made it for mother’s day brunch but am just getting around to posting it. Make this. Take my word for it. It’s a fun brunchy item that nobody else will have. It is super addicting too.

Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese (softened to room temp)
1 tbs crushed garlic
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp dried onion
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
3 tbs milk/cream
Pretzel thins (everything or sesame or plain)

Directions:

Mix softened cream cheese with garlic, spices, and sesame oil.
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Add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until the mixture is dip-able.
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Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight before serving.
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I think everyone liked it. I chose flavors I thought we’d like with the pretzels but there are tons of alternatives. Crushed garlic, garlic powder, and chives would be good. Or bacon and scallions (my fav at Breuggers).
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What is your go-to brunch item?