Seven Layer Greek Dip

I've pretty much been cyber-stalking Our Best Bites.  I'm obsessed with that blog because everything is so good and most of the recipes are very "homemade" but simple which is my "style".  I was quite skeptical about this dip when I first read the recipe because I wasn't so sure about the cream cheese/hummus combo.  But-- it was a Monday and we have small group Monday night and I had everything to make the dip on hand, so I did.  I did not regret that decision.  It is SO good.  The pie plate was scraped clean afterwards. The dip itself is much more colorful than it looks in this picture.

Seven Layer Greek Dip

8 oz block cream cheese, softened
1 tsp dill or Greek seasoning ( I used Pampered Chef dill mix)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 c. hummus
1 c. seeded, chopped cucumber
1 c. seeded, diced tomatoes
1/2 c. chopped olives ( I used green, kalamata or black would be great)
1/3 c. green onions, chopped (or red onion)
1/2 c. crumbled Feta
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

Combine soft cream cheese, seasoning, garlic and lemon juice.  Spread that mixture in the bottom of a pie plate.  Spread hummus over the top of the cream cheese.  Sprinkle on cucumber, tomatoes, olives, onions, feta and parsley.  Chill for at least two hours.  Serve with pita chips or tortilla chips or even veggies.

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Jello Cake

My grandma used to make this cake all the time when we were kids.  I loved it.  I haven't made this cake in years, but the other day when we were having company for dessert in a few hours and it was 110 degrees outside and my kids were sleeping so I really really didn't want to go to the store, I glanced in the pantry to find a box of white cake mix--and it came to mind.  Then I missed Grammy.

This cake comes together really quickly with only a few ingredients and it really is a crowd-pleaser, even though it's not exactly gourmet!

Any flavor of Jello will work, I think I used raspberry because that's what I had.  It also calls for Cool Whip for the topping and you could certainly whip up some cream, but something about this cake just  needs Cool Whip.

Jello Cake
recipe from Grammy

1 box white cake mix
eggs, water, and oil called for on cake mix box
1 c. boiling water
1 3-oz box Jello
1/2 c. cold water
1 tub Cool Whip, defrosted

Prepare cake mix as directed and bake in a 9x13'' pan.  Once it comes out of the oven, prepare the Jello mixture.  Combine the boiling water and Jello in a bowl and stir until the Jello is dissolved.  Stir in the cold water, set aside.  Poke holes in the cake using a fork and pour the Jello mixture over the cake.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours before topping with Cool Whip and serving.  Store in the fridge.

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Caprese Burger

We're kind of obsessed with burgers these days.  Rob is always obsessed with burgers, but I'm joining in.  In the winter, if you could call Phoenix "winter" ever, we usually make pizza once a week and it seems like in the summer I've been making burgers once a week.  I'm having fun trying out different types.  This is one of our new favorites.

I LOVE caprese salad so when we got a bottle of 20 year-aged balsamic on our vacation I immediately thought of making caprese salad, which turned into a caprese meal. 

I used homemade pesto I had in the freezer, but use whatever you have.  A jar works fine.  I think that a ciabatta roll would be great but Rob isn't a big fan of those so we used some wheat bakery buns.

Caprese Burgers

For the burgers:
2 lbs ground beef, I use 93% lean
1 tsp. granulated garlic or 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. garlic pepper (or just sub 1/2 tsp pepper)
1/2 tsp. sea salt

For the pesto mayo:
3 Tb. prepared pesto
1/2 c. mayo

Balsamic syrup for drizzling
fresh mozzarella
tomato slices
red onion slices
8 fresh bakery buns or ciabatta buns

To prepare the balsamic syrup, bring 1 c. balsamic vinegar to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Let simmer, but not boil, for about 5 minutes or until it has thickened a bit.  It will continue to thicken as it cools so remove from heat and let cool before it's comepetely syrup-y. Pour into a small jar and keep in the pantry for up to 3 months.

Mix together the pesto and mayonnaise and refrigerate until needed.  In a mixing bowl combine beef, garlic pepper, garlic and salt.  Form into 8 patties.  Grill a couple minutes on each side or to your desired done-ness.  Top with fresh mozzarella cheese and close the grill lid for just a minute to let the cheese melt.  Top toasted buns with 1 Tb. pesto mayo, lettuce, onion, the cooked burger, tomato slices and drizzle the top with the balsamic syrup.  Enjoy!

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BBQ Beef Sandwich with Slaw

We love barbecue.  Almost anything barbecued, smoked, or smothered in barbecue sauce is good to us.  Two summers ago we all traveled to Tennessee for a family reunion and got loads of barbecue and one of our favorite sandwiches was topped with slaw.

When I make barbecue in the crockpot I like to generously coat the meat with a dry rub first and add sauce after it's cooked.  I make a batch of this rub and keep it in the pantry all the time. You should try it!  I used this great recipe.

BBQ Beef Sandwich with Slaw

3 lb beef roast
bbq dry rub (2Tb-1/4 c. depending on how much you smother on there.  I used a LOT.)
1/2 c. water
Bottle of barbecue sauce for finishing and serving
Pickles (optional)

The Rub:
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. paprika
1 1/2 Tb black pepper
2 Tb granulated garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt

Mix together and keep in an air-tight container or ziploc baggie for up to a year.

Rinse and pat dry the roast and coat generously with the barbecue rub.  Put in a crockpot and add in water and cook on low 6-8 hours or until it falls apart when pulled with two forks.  If it doesn't pull apart, cook longer. Drain off the liquid and shred the beef and pour on barbecue sauce.  Don't over-do the sauce you want to just coat the beef and not over stir it or it will get mushy. 

Serve on toasted buns topped with coleslaw and extra bbq sauce and pickles on the side.

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