Sunday, March 21, 2010

Steak, Roasted Vegetables and Extra Spicy Spinach Artichoke Dip

My kids managed to not only have a four day weekend but get a break from sports too. I’m not sure if the break was wanted in The Ballplayer’s eyes. He is learning to manage his time better and prioritize his free time. Having a lot of free time this weekend, we had to remind him what to do with his time. It was so easy for us adults when we were kids. We had little television to watch. I think we got maybe two channels and cartoons only played on the weekends. The only video game available was at the arcade and cost money or then there was the Atari. But that was terribly expensive. My parents had one, but I wasn’t allowed to touch it. So our options were sports or “going out to play.” My son, now is learning that he has to study, has to do his chores, has to go to practice and then he can have some time to play on his games, watch T.V. or hang out with friends. But something new has clicked…he has learned that even natural born talent has to work at their craft. So we are trying to help him manage his time. It's hard enough for us adults to do it. Now try getting a child to understand it. So far he understands it. I love that he is wanting to work at it and enjoying watching him enjoy time off from it all too.

Adults sometimes need a break too. The Fireman and I, we sure do like to do nothing together. It has become a hobby for us. Figuring out what to cook, where we can eat it and what we can not do during it. This springtime weather lately has us using our patio more. We are lucky enough to live in a part of California that can eat outside 10 months a year. We BBQ a lot. This part of the state takes BBQ serious. “Santa Maria Style BBQ” has been written in Sunset Magazine and covered on Food Network. It is known for slow cooking over Oak wood and using a distinctive seasoning. Most Santa Marians buy Susie Q’s ( or make their own. I won't try to teach you how to BBQ, each place has it's own way. This is just the way we do ours.

Tonight’s dinner is two beautiful steaks cooked Santa Maria Style over oak wood and Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower. The low carb dinner makes up for the carb-full appetizer that is consumed while BBQ’ing. I love to make Spicy Artichoke Dip. I’ve made it countless times. But tonight’s is different. I accidentally bought the wrong chilis. So I decided to mess with a good thing. I know, why didn’t I just go get more chilis? But sometimes a little creativity is a good thing! So I added some spinach and its an entirely new dish. (Remember the doc told The Fireman to eat more Fiber…) Equally good, and completely different! It may become my new standby! The extra spiciness was a good contrast with the cheese and went well with the beer. I can see myself making it and packing it up in the cooler to take up to the lake. It was that good! I could have just ate that for dinner and for go the steak. But hey that's just me! Sometimes in the summer The Fireman and I will just open a bottle of wine and eat spinach dip with crackers on the patio for dinner. I know, what an example we are setting!

Santa Maria Style Steak
Santa Marians like to cook over a pit.

Once the fire/wood is ready for the steaks, season the steaks with Susie Q’s seasoning on both side.

Cook until desired doneness. I like mine to be medium while The Fireman likes his to be burnt to a crisp. Must be a fireman thing or maybe he is afraid the meat will talk to him on the plate!

Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli

Cut cauliflower and Broccoli into flowerets. I had a beautiful red pepper that was begging to jump in the pan so I had to use it! I like to use a baking sheet. I drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Then I take 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkle that over the top.I dont measure so add more if you like. It wont melt to a cheese consistency but a crispy, salty, crunchy that you didn't expect. Bake 375 for 40 minutes or until you can put a fork into the vegetables. I like them a little on the brown side. The more brown the sweeter they become.

Extra Spicy Spinach and Artichoke Dip
1 cube cream cheese (regular please…reduced fat just doesn’t work as well)
Leave out on the counter for a couple hours to soften first
1 cup mayo (never tried with reduced fat-let me know if you do and again I do not measure-I just spoon it in)
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (again I dont measure but its about a handful or so)
1 small can HOT Ortega fire roasted chilis-juice and all
1 box spinach, defrosted and drained in a kitchen towel (you cant imagine how much water you will squeeze out of that spinach)
1 can artichoke hearts drained quartered

Mix cream cheese up to soften, add mayo, then chilis, cheese, spinach and artichokes. Mix well. Place in a baking dish.
Cover with ½ cup of Mexican Cheese (I don’t measure I just cover it)
Bake for 30 minutes at 350

Cover with one small diced tomato and one green onion diced. The Tomato and green onion didn’t even make the dish this time. It happens! It smelled so good we had to just dig right in.
Serve warm with tortilla chips or even sourdough bread (tortilla chips are our favorite!)

Perfect with a cold beer by the BBQ!

The dip could be made in the crock pot. Try it when you are crunched for time. Set it on low.


Biren said...

The steak looks great and I am sure the dip must be tasty. BTW, that's a cool pit!

Shamrocks and Shenanigans said...

Thanks Biren! They sell the pits at Costco here! We added some granite where the cutting boards were years ago. It's a bit aged but sure has seen some use! I have seen some mini ones that would be cool for tailgating but they are pricey!
The dip came about from the Mister and I going out to eat. We would pay an arm load for it and a bottle of wine and I figured "I can do that!"

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