Category Archives: Dips and Sauces

Saffron Tomato Confit


Saffron Tomato Confit is a luscious way to use tomatoes that
perhaps aren’t as pretty as they once were.  It brings out their flavor intensely and can be served on toast, over meats, or as a sauce for pasta.  Best of all, it’s extremely simple to make.

1 pound cherry tomatoes
½ cup olive oil
1 pinch saffron (about 20 threads)
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Sauté tomatoes in olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add saffron, salt and pepper.
  2. When the tomatoes start to blister, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for one hour, stirring every ten minutes or so.
  3. Remove pan from heat and let cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

This is delicious served warm, room temperature or chilled and can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

A Note About Saffron:  Saffron is a very expensive spice because
1) it’s fabulous and 2) it is an extremely labor-intensive crop.  The great news is that a little goes a long way. 
You can learn more about it at


Bacon Onion Garlic Butter

BOGB BarInstantly add the
flavor of bacon,
onion and garlic to eggs or steak or burgers with this compound butter. It’s simple to make and adds savoriness to whatever you are cooking.  It can even be used as a spread on a sliced baguette and toasted for a quick hors d’oeuvre.  Will last up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

BOGB Final

1 cup butter (two sticks, softened)
10 strips bacon, diced
1/3 cup onion, finely diced
1 Tablespoon  Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon garlic pepper
BOGB Ingredients

1.  Sauté bacon and onion until lightly crisp.  Drain.

2.  Combine all ingredients and mix well.
BOGB Mixed

3.  Store in airtight container or for a log and roll it in plastic wrap.

Now you’ll have this butter on hand to add to eggs, steaks, burgers, or to use as a spread on a sliced baguette.
BOGB Baked

Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip


Quick, easy and tasty Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip

1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach
1½ cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts
6 oz. cream cheese
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Tip:  I like to chop the artichokes while
they are halfway between frozen and
thawed — easiest to cut at that texture.


  1.  Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender.  Drain.

2.  Heat cream cheese for 1 minute in microwave, just until hot and soft.

3.  Combine all ingredients and stir well.

Serve hot, but it’s yummy cold, too.

Quick & Easy Cranberry Sauce


So simple to make delicious cranberry sauce and tastes ever-so-much better than the canned stuff.   It’s not just for turkey dinner.  Try it over some vanilla ice cream!

1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
12 oz cranberries

1.   Over medium heat, stir sugar and orange juice until sugar

2.  Add cranberries and cook until cranberries burst, about 10 minutes.

3.  Let cool for 10 minutes to serve warm or let cool completely and chill to serve cold.   The sauce thickens as it cools.


Hot Bacon Crab Dip

Bacon Crab - finished 2

Bacon is always a hit, but this Hot Bacon Crab Dip vanished quickly.  Everyone raved about it.  It would probably taste just as yummy cold, but I doubt it will ever last long enough for me to find out.

Bacon Crab - ingredients

8 oz cream cheese
8 oz crab meat
1 cup crumbled cooked bacon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 green onions, chopped
Juice of one lemon, about 3 T

Combine first 6 ingredients.  Spread in baking dish.  Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top.
Bacon Crab - breadcrumbs

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Serve hot.

I doubled the recipe so it filled a 9×12 baking dish.

Print recipe:  Hot Bacon Crab Dip





Yummy guacamole.  Always a hit and actually quite simple to make.

Let’s start with a disclaimer as to the amount of each ingredient.  I just eyeball it, so my guacamole tastes a bit different every time—sometimes heavier on the garlic, sometimes more oniony, sometimes saltier.  And of course, there are hundreds of varieties of guacamole you can try using various spices and your own secret
ingredients.  But here’s generally how I make my guacamole, and it’s a big hit every time.

4 large avocados
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup mild green chilies, diced
1/4 cup tomato skins, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Lime juice, to taste (start with half a lime)
Salt, to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon)

With guacamole you don’t want the juicy pulp of the tomato, just the skin and a little flesh.  I generally use Roma tomatoes because I like the flavor.  Slice off the ends and cut the tomato in half lengthwise.  Then using a large flat edge knife, separate the skin from the pulp of the tomato.  Pop the wonderful juicy pulp center into your mouth and enjoy as you repeat with the second half.  Then chop the skins.
Guac--chop tomatoes

I generally buy my chilies canned and diced and drain them in a small strainer.
Guac--drain chilis

When I made this batch of guacamole, I suddenly discovered I was out of fresh garlic.  What?!  After the panic subsided, I used freeze dried garlic and soaked it for a minute in a bit of the juice of the chilies.  It was okay, but I definitely prefer fresh garlic.
Guac--chopped ingredients

There are many ways to slice an avocado, but my go-to method when making guacamole is to make small slits lengthwise and then crosswise and scoop out with a large spoon.  Since I like my guacamole chunky, this makes the avocado bits the perfect size.
Guac--sliced avocados

Then I mix all the ingredients and give it a good stir until it’s creamy (but still chunky) and all the flavors are well mixed.  I taste
it—but of course!—and then add whatever I think it needs more of (salt, onion, garlic, lime).  Then I taste it again… and again… and again… until I remind myself I made it for other people, too.

The meat of an avocado turns brown when exposed to oxygen, so if you are not serving your guacamole immediately, put one or two of the pits in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap, smoothing the wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole to keep as little as possible exposed to the air.
Guac--save for later

With all the health conscious people these days, I generally offer veggie sticks for dipping in the guacamole in addition to tortilla chips.  But the tortilla chips still run out much faster.

Print-friendly version:  Guacamole Recipe

Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball


A simple cheese ball with the added yum of bacon.


Two 8oz bars of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I use the Mexican cheese blend)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch

Mix in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until soft and creamy.  Add the lemon juice, shredded cheese, Ranch mix and half of the bacon and mix thoroughly.20150502_214701-1

Form the mixture into a ball and roll it in the remaining bacon pieces.  This part is REALLY messy, and my only suggestion is that, if you are taking pictures of the process, you should have someone else available to hold the camera.  I did not and so had to keep stopping to wash my hands off, dry them, take the next picture and start again, only to have my hands completely covered in sticky cheese a moment later.

Actually, if you don’t like to get messy, you could simply put the dip in a shallow serving dish and just put the bacon pieces on top.20150502_215731-1     20150502_215914-1

This can be made up to three days ahead, just cover and refrigerate.  Serve with crackers, pretzels or crudités.


Crudités Art & Roasted Red Pepper Dip


Absolutely simple yet so impressive!

You can see that I simply sliced some carrots, cucumber, radishes, celery and green onions, but instead of loading them on a platter around a bowl of dip, I arranged them into a picture.

You could use pretty much any type of veggie to create any scene you want.  One warning though: I had a terrible time getting my guests to eat any because they didn’t want to disturb the picture.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip 2For the dip, I served roasted red pepper dip.  So easy and yummy.  Finely chop 1/2 cup of almonds and one clove of garlic.  Add 1 cup of roasted red peppers from a jar, drained, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Whisk together and chill.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

There you have it … and very simple yet impressive tray of veggies and dip.

Crudites and dip

Printable recipe:  Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Enjoy this along with many of the easy brunch recipes to come.