Cheesy Crab and Artichoke Dip

Even before this dip was ready, I was hovering by the oven, mouth watering, impatiently waiting to dig in and burn the absolute life out of my mouth.  I knew it was going to be good.  It was loaded up with cheese, lump crab meat, and artichokes.  There was no way it was going to be anything but amazing.
 
Cheesy Crab and Artichoke Dip. SWOON.
 
Just look at that golden brown cheese, begging to be broken up by crusty slices of bread.  I can’t believe I even managed to get a picture before shoving it all in my face.  I’m a grown woman and still have no self control when you put something cheesy in front of me.  NO SELF CONTROL AT ALL.
 
I was on a diet for about 15 seconds before this baby came out of the oven.  I ain’t even mad ’bout it.
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Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

There is not enough coffee in the world to save me today.
 
I woke up at the crack of dawn yesterday to get my cooking done (look out for the Carrot Cake Cheesecake recipe coming up– it should be illegal, it’s so sinfully good) and then took a long, hurried drive/train ride to Newark for the hockey game.
 
Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
 
Don’t get me wrong, the whole experience was great– James, four of our close friends, and I got free tickets to the VIP suites and Platinum lounges at the Prudential Center with complimentary food and drink and a great view of the game.  The event organizers recognize James and I now, as this is our third (and technically fourth) Dream Seat Series win, and I think people are under the impression that I’m actually good at Hold ‘Em at this point.  As my friend Rachel says, “Morgan– Food Blogger by day, Poker Shark by night.”
 
Unfortunately, that’s not true.  I’m actually pretty mediocre (if that) and get really lucky every once in a while.  Either that or I’m really great and I get really unlucky A LOT.  I like to think it’s the latter, but who am I kidding?  It’s James who’s actually talented at the game, and I’m just adding it on to my long list of hobbies to hoard.
 
Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
 
Speaking of luck, can we talk about this Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip for a second?
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Cheesesteak Potato Skins

For all of my life, I’ve lived only minutes away from Philadelphia.  I’ve been to Pat’s and Geno’s, I’ve had my cheesesteaks wiz wit or with a generous amount of provolone, I’ve made them at home, I’ve laughed when people call them “Philly Steak and Cheeses”, and I’ve firmly asserted my old belief that green peppers do not belong on real Philly Cheesesteaks. (However, hot cherry peppers are perfectly acceptable.)
 
Cheesesteak Potato Skins.  These appetizers are so tasty and pretty simple to put together!
 
But I’ve only vaguely stepped into actually toying with what I defined as a cheesesteak, breaking my golden rule once and adding green peppers into a super easy calzone inspired by the infamous Philadelphia sandwich.  And guess what?  It was good.  I also used Steak Ums.  And I added mushrooms.  I can feel the Philadelphian disapproval growing, but just hear me out, guys… ok?
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Jamaican Jerk Chicken Quesadillas

I take after my dad in many ways– my endearing disorganization (can’t blame me for trying to make it sound like a good thing), my creativity, and of course, my desire to cover anything and everything in jerk seasoning if given a chance.  There was always a jar of Walkerswood in the fridge growing up, and I loved it more and more every time we rubbed it on chicken, turned it into a marinade for shrimp, or just straight-up scooped it on to our plates to use as a condiment for whatever we were eating.  (Seriously, and I still do this.  It’s that good.)
 
By the way, this isn’t a sponsored post by Walkerswood or anything like that, but Walkerswood is the only jerk seasoning brand worth buying, at least in my area.  There are varying degrees of spiciness, so make sure you pay attention to the label when picking up a jar.
 
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Quesadillas-- with shredded jerk chicken, red beans, tostones, and havarti cheese, this quesadilla is the BEST QUESADILLA I've ever had.  And I've had a lot.
 
Anyway, jerk seasoning got me started, but I’ve come to realize that I really just love Jamaican food in general.  The crunchy tostones, the red beans and rice, the flavorful fruit– it’s all got it’s own special place in my food-loving heart, and I’ve been trying to think of a cool way to combine it all for months now.  Finally, I came up with the idea of throwing it together in a quesadilla, but I had NO IDEA how amazing it would turn out to be.
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Cannoli Dip

A few years ago, my then-roommate Allison and I were broke college students who could barely afford to pay our rent and cable bills, let alone buy anything for anyone else.  When we realized Father’s Day was just around the corner, we panicked a bit.  Dads are hard enough to shop for in the first place (I swear they have everything they want, and how many years of football-themed gifts can you really give them?)  but throw being penniless into the mix and there’s nothing you can get them.  Moms like heart-felt cards, or collages of pictures, or hand-written poems, but dads… what do dads like that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on?
 
Cannoli Dip!  This guilt free recipe is delicious and NO ONE can believe that it's lightened up!
 
Well, for one, dads like cannoli.
 
With this revelation, Allison and I decided to make mini cannoli cups for Father’s Day with ingredients we had in the house already, ingredients that happened to make our mini cannoli much less guilt-inducing than your typical, traditional cannoli would be.  Guess what?  They were still amazing, and no one could get enough of them.  No one could believe that they weren’t insanely bad for you.  But they weren’t.  Not at all.
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