Parmesan-Spinach Spread

March has certainly come in like a lion this year, good grief! Thankfully, regardless of the weather, there is much to celebrate this month: St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, March Madness for basketball fans, and Easter weekend at the end of the month. All great reasons to gather with family and friends! My sister called earlier this week and asked for my favorite appetizer recipe for her St. Patty’s Day soirée this weekend. This is definitely my “go-to” recipe and I wanted to share it since some were looking for appetizer ideas during the holidays as well. This savory and delicious dip/spread is easy and quick, can be made ahead of time, doubled, and be dairy-free using vegan ingredients. It’s even green for St. Patrick’s Day! I serve it with a sliced baguette or simple crackers and there’s never ever been a drop left in my dish. This would be a welcome addition to any of your gatherings this month, enjoy!

1  10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

3  ounces cream cheese, SOFTENED

3/4  cup mayonnaise

1  1/4  cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4  cup minced onion

1  teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1  teaspoon hot sauce

1/2  teaspoon garlic powder

1/4  teaspoon pepper

1/2  teaspoon paprika


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain spinach; press between paper towels to remove excess moisture.

Combine softened cream cheese and mayonnaise in a bowl, stirring with a wire whisk until smooth. Add spinach, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, onion, and next 4 ingredients. Stir well; pour into greased 1-quart casserole dish. If serving the next day, cover and refrigerate. Make sure to take it out and leave at room temperature about 10-15 minutes before baking.

Bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Combine remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese with paprika and sprinkle over spinach. Bake 10 more minutes and serve warm with a sliced baguette or assorted crackers.

Dairy-free Option: Use dairy-free or vegan alternatives for the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese.


From The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, 1999


Veggie Burritos

If you follow my blog, you know that I love to make one AG safe meal that can meet different needs and tastes with topping bars and “choose your own ingredients” options. These YUMMY Chipotle-like burritos fit that bill perfectly! I combined two different recipes to make this version and the end result was so good I just had to share it. The original recipe called for making your own cilantro-lime rice and I tried that the first time. I used my Vitamix, and it turned out fine; however, it took more than one wash to get the cilantro smell out of my Vitamix (ugh!). Needless to say, when I found a box of cilantro-lime rice on the grocery store shelf, I picked up 2 and found it to be just as delicious and way less clean-up (SCORE!). Additionally, the original recipe called for black bean soup. I didn’t have any “soup” on hand and thought it might make the burritos soggy. So I used the bean recipe from this Easy Beans and Rice with Cilantro and just added the spinach. Admittedly, the bean mixture does not LOOK appetizing, but don’t be fooled y’all! This combination of beans, rice, and corn salsa packs a big punch of flavor and can be dairy free or accommodate even your pickiest eaters. I would love to know how you adapt this for your family!


Cilantro Lime Rice (I used Zatarain’s), cooked as directed

4  burrito size tortillas

Shredded pepper jack cheese (or dairy free cheese of choice)

Chopped cilantro

For the bean mixture:

1  15-ounce can of black beans

3  tablespoons lime juice

1  teaspoon chili powder

1/2  teaspoon ground cumin

1  10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Drain beans, reserving 2 tablespoons of the liquid. Combine beans, reserved liquid, lime juice, chili powder, and cumin in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until heated through; stir in the spinach, mix well, and keep warm.

For the corn salsa:

2  cups frozen corn (fire-roasted, if desired), thawed

1  large tomato, diced

Juice of 1 lime (or 2 tablespoons lime juice if you don’t have fresh)

3  tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/2  teaspoon salt

Chili powder to taste (I used just a dash)

Toss all above ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

To assemble:

Warm the tortillas in a dry skillet or in the microwave. Place desired amount of rice, bean mixture, and cheese on warmed tortillas and top with corn salsa. Fold up the bottoms of the tortillas, then the sides, and roll up. Serve with remaining corn salsa and cilantro as desired. Serves 4.




Banana Chip Muffins

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought it was a good time to post a little bit of a sweet treat for a change. These muffins are my “go-to” recipe for just about everything: school snack, breakfast while camping, any brunch menu, kid’s sleepovers, bus/train/plane ride, with a sympathy card, for new Mom’s who are sleep deprived, Christmas (or any other holiday you can think of) morning, birthday breakfasts, after school snacks, and, well, I think you get the idea. I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t LOVE them and I have served them to a LOT of people over the years. They are quick and easy to put together, the recipe can be doubled or made into mini-muffins, and they even freeze beautifully. They’re pretty much a staple around here and I hope your family loves them too! 


1  stick butter (or butter substitute), softened

3/4  cup sugar

1  cup mashed ripe banana (about 3)

2  eggs, lightly beaten

1  teaspoon vanilla

2  cups flour

1  teaspoon baking soda

1  teaspoon salt

3/4  cup MINI chocolate chips (I don’t recommend using regular sized chips, but if you MUST, chop them up)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12 -cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the mashed banana and vanilla and beat again (batter will be lumpy). Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until flour is moistened. Add mini chocolate chips. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or cooled.