Bean Dip Recipe

Bean Dip Recipe

Seven Layer Bean Dip

Whenever I am invited to a party or event that I am required to bring a dish to, I usually put in a request to bring an appetizer. I just love dipping and snacking, so creating fun and tasty appetizers is right up my alley!

The following recipe is for one of my all-time party favorites:  Seven Layer Bean Dip! The fun thing about bean dip is that everyone makes it just a little different from the next person. This dip has been a party favorite for us for many years now.

What makes this dish a bit more fun than some other bean dips I have tried is how attractive it looks. By layering the dip as I suggest, you will end up with a very colorful appetizer, which will appeal to the eye as well as the taste buds! I suggest a flat, square dish or an oval shape for the best effect, but the dish should be shallow, so that the layers really show up.

Ingredients:

1 15 Oz. can refried beans

1/2 C. Sour Cream

1 pouch guacamole (spicy, if preferred)

1/2 C. Medium Salsa

1/2 C. Shredded Cheese (Shredded Cheddar or a Mexi-Blend work well!)

1/4 C. Chopped Scallions

1/4 C. Chopped Plum Tomatoes

Method:

Using a rubber spatula will really help you layer this dish. Start by opening your can of refried beans, and scraping it into your dish. Flatten out the beans as much as possible for the first layer, all the way to the edge of the dish.

Rinse off your spatula between layers.

For the Sour Cream layer, spread it evenly over the beans almost to the edge, leaving a circle of brown under the white.

Guacamole spreads very nicely for the next layer, followed by the salsa.

Over the salsa, spread your shredded cheese evenly and top with colorful tomatoes and chopped scallions.

I have always found that this dip is BEST when served with Frito-Lay Scoops. The flavors are outstanding with tortilla chips as well. Enjoy!

Beer Reviews St Pauli Girl

St. Pauli Girl is an export only lager style beer brewed at the Beck’s Brewery in Bremen, Germany. The primary export market for St. Pauli Girl is the US, and today, it is reportedly one of the leading-selling German beers on the American market.

The beer’s original brewery, which was founded in the 17th century, was supposedly built on the site of a monastery named in honor of St. Paul, which gives the beer the first part of its name. The St. Pauli “Girl” was invented in the 19th century with the advent of bottling beer. The brewery needed a symbol to emblazon its bottles and the image of a barmaid was selected.

There has been some controversy concerning the St. Pauli Girl “girl.” The original girl in St. Pauli Girl was more of an homage to the hard-working girls who worked in pubs and beer gardens throughout Germany, whereas today, the Girl is essentially nothing more than a pin-up model. Six recent Girls have been featured in Playboy magazine as Playmate of the Month. Some believe that this crass form of promotion belittles the beer.

Which brings us to the beer. Due to the less than sophisticated manner in which St. Pauli Girl is advertised and the fact that the beer is basically brewed exclusively for the American market, the actual quality of the beer has been belittled. And, in my opinion, unfairly so.

First of all, it should be understood that St. Pauli Girl is brewed in accordance with the “Reinheitsgebot.” Which is the German Purity Law that was set down in 1516 and has been the guiding force behind German brewing ever since. So there are none of the questionable ingredients, such as rice or corn, added to St. Pauli Girl. It is a pure German beer that uses two-row spring barley, and the highly regarded Hallertau hops from Bavaria.

In regards to my personal empirical experience, I see a nicely golden beer without a trace of yellow that is common in many pilsner style lagers. I can get a healthy white head when pouring from a bottle, and it contains a good amount of carbonation. The head is able to sustain itself, providing a nice lacing around the glass. It’s a smooth tasting beer with a fair amount of hoppy bitterness. It’s an easy to drink beer where the bitter qualities do not overwhelm the taste of the actual beer.

Best Cheap Meats to Buy

erie-meats

Some of the best cheap cuts of meat are among the most tasty. Most family menus are geared toward the less expensive cuts of meat. The less costly cuts of meat usually take more time to prepare and require a longer period of cooking time. Budget cuts of meat are often tender when they have been stewed, casseroled, braised or boiled but they often benefit from being cooked with plenty of seasoning or herbs. Cheaper cuts of meat tend to have some fat running through them, this fat renders and produces the base for a very flavorsome gravy.

Minced beef is possibly one of the all time favorite cheaper cuts of meat. Do remember that the cheapest minced beef is not always the best. It may be false economy to buy cheap minced beef that contains a high percentage of fat. Minced beef is so versatile. The average family on a tight budget can enjoy a rich lasagne, a tasty Shepherds pie, a spicy Chilli, meatballs and many more nutritious dishes besides.

Do not rule out the less expensive roasting joints such as boned and rolled shoulder of pork. This cheaper joint of pork roasts well, tastes fabulous and cooks tender. Buy a piece of leg of pork and the family budget may feel stretched, purchase a boned and rolled shoulder joint and it is one joint that is very affordable.

Likewise pot roasts make a tasty winter meal that cost far less than a topside or silverside of beef roasting joint. Buy a piece of beef brisket and pot roast it along with seasonal root vegetables. You can purchase brisket boned and rolled but if the beef brisket is pot roasted with the bone in then it enhances the flavor of the dish.

Cheaper cuts of meat such as offal are an acquired taste. A liver and bacon casserole makes a warming meal but not everyone likes the stronger taste of the liver. Stuffed lambs hearts are not a costly meal but again they would not appeal to many.

Casseroles and stews are good rich meals that are packed with nutrition. Cheaper cuts of beef can be stewed or casseroled. Chuck steak is a safe bet and stewing steak costs less but tastes good. As long as these cheaper cuts of meat are prepared and cooked as they should be then the family will enjoy their budget meals. Rich casseroles can be served with rice, potato or chunks of warm crusty bread.

Beer Reviews Ak Damm 1876

AKDamm

AK Damm 1876 was produced to celebrate the founding of the Damm brewery in (wait for it) 1876 in Barcelona by a guy called Augustus Kuentzmann. Yes, you guessed right, he wasn’t a native of Catalan, but an expat from Alsace. He decided to brew a type of beer he was familiar with, but the locals weren’t. And so a legend was born…or at the very least, an uninteresting story.

These days, the Damm brewery produce a modest range of different beers, the most famous being Estrella Damm and Voll Damm, but here’s what they say about AK Damm:

“Pure malt from selected varieties and hops from the German Hallertau region give this beer its smooth personality.”

This beer pours a deep golden colour with masses of tiny bubbles rising to form a huge, rocky head of pure white foam which, with great reluctance, hangs around to the very end and coats the glass with liberal amounts of sticky lace.

The aroma has a deep malt tone with some bready dough and hints of biscuit. There’s a good hop presence there too with earthy, grassy notes and a sheaf or two of mown hay.

It’s full-bodied with a smooth mouthfeel and an initial sweet taste. It soon turn bitter though, with a hefty slice of citrus tang and a little hint of fruit. The flavour seems to bounce between bitter ans sweet with a strong sense of pale malt appearing midway, and a rich crunchy feel, almost like oatmeal. The finish is dry, bitter and sharp with a clean and refreshing aftertaste.

At 4.8% ABV, I liked this. It’s very ale-like for a lager, and not overly carbonated which makes it slip down a treat. There’s nothing thin or wishy-washy about it  though – it’s a very satisfying and filling beer. I’d say that it compares really favourably to most other Spanish beers, although it was a little more expensive than the run-of-the-mill brews. Having said that, I think that it was worth the extra few eurocents I paid.

I can’t say I’ve seen this beer in the wider world (although, to be fair, I haven’t looked all that hard), but it was pretty easy to come by in the Barcelona area (bit of a trek for a quick pint, but if you’re there anyway…). All in all, a very nice beer.

Would I drink it again? – Damm straight!

Baked Tilapia

Fake-Fried Tilapia (Baked)

When I first started cooking, I had to google “how to boil an egg.” Yes, that bad. So, for those of us unskilled in the art, special consideration is given in the following recipe. I apologize to those persons who stumble upon this article for the elementary nature of its instruction; it’s an article meant for the younger me – the non-chef who’d like, every once and a while, to cook something edible.

Tilapia is one of the easiest fish to prepare. It’s not a “fishy” fish, so it can be widely enjoyed by even those persons who “don’t like fish,” which just so happens to include me. Fried is wonderful, but fake-fried is just as tasty yet significantly healthier. Bake-fried is becoming a popular way for people to eat their favorite fried food without all the calories and fat. The batter in this recipe mimicks the fried taste and texture successfully. The following is for two, but simply double or triple the recipe for families.

Ingredients:

2-3 Tilapia filets

1 egg white, beaten

½ cup flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

A pinch of teaspoon white pepper, optional

½ cup cornmeal

2 tablespoons Creole seasoning OR your favorite all-purpose seasoning

Cooking spray

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450F, and spray a baking sheet with cooking oil. For easy clean-up, use foil. Don’t forgo the oil, though, or the batter will stick to the pan. Mix flour, salt and pepper in one bowl. In another bowl, mix cornmeal and seasoning. Dip fish into egg, then flour mixture, then egg again, then cornmeal mixture and place onto the pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning once if necessary. The batter will begin to brown, and the fish will be white and flakey when fully cooked.

Be careful with the white pepper if you choose to use it, just a little goes a very long way. That’s where the spice-kick comes from in this recipe. For children, I’d suggest omitting white pepper altogether. It’s important to keep an eye on the fish and not overcook it.

A new Kind of Vegetarian Food

squash

When Quorn came onto the market, it offered vegetarians a choice of different products which gave them a great supply of flavors, rich in protein and low in fat. The product range available from Quorn includes varieties which use the basis of looking and tasting like meats without the cruelty involved in actually killing animals. Quorn isn’t meat. Although many would argue and say “Why would vegetarians want a food that imitates meat?” the fact of the matter is that up until recently most vegetarian foods were relatively tasteless. Quorn provides a range of foods which has flavor and which can be used as main course meals, supplemented with a choice of fresh vegetables and sauces.

What is Quorn made from?

There are many who question this, as it’s a relatively new food. Some think that Quorn is a little like Soy, but they’d be wrong. Its flavor is more delicious. Its texture is different. It’s calorie content is less. So what is it? Truth be told, it comes from the mushroom family, and is a mycoprotein. Still none the wiser? Within the fungus family, Fusarium venenatum is a very high fiber fungus which has been found to give good nutritional value and in fact has been compared with truffles and such delicacies. Manufacturers have found that by adding glucose and minerals, nitrogen and oxygen to this fungus, what they produced was something now labeled as mycoprotein.

Due to the fine strands that this fungus is known for, the composition of Quorn is very similar to that of meat, and the flavors which can be used to enhance both the taste and the presentation of the product have made it a winner with vegetarians.

The health benefits of Quorn are such that it helps to keep cholesterol levels in check. In fact, replacing meat with Quorn will keep fat content to a minimum, since the fat within Quorn is already less than that of meat. Another advantage is that Quorn is filling and thus less is needed to sate the appetite. The fiber within Quorn provides this filling feeling and also aids good transit of foods, making it a great regular contributor to good stomach health.

Another area where this has been shown to be beneficial to health is that Quorn users appear to have more stable body glucose levels.

So what is Quorn when you buy it?

The product itself has been shaped into many formats, and flavorings added to imitate different meat products. Chicken pieces for example, are just Quorn, but can be added to stews or casseroles to bulk out a vegetable stew into a “meat” style meal, making it more substantial for the vegetarian. Quorn sausages are shaped into sausage shapes and cook in a very similar manner to original sausages. The beef steaks have had added peppers and flavorings to imitate beef, and have been shaped into small steaks suitable for frying.

One thing to look out for when buying Quorn products is any allergy to wheat or any of the products used to produce the breadcrumbs used on chicken nibbles and escalopes. Apart from the ingredients shown above, Quorn is basically the pure product from the fungi, though shaped into more traditionally acceptable meat shapes for recognition purposes.

A nut allergy is another to be aware of when purchasing the Quorn nut roasts, though these are clearly labeled as having nut content.

For an alternative to meat, the Quorn range of fungus based products come in frozen format, and do have date limits which should be respected. These products do not keep well in the refrigerator and instructions for their use should always be adhered to, in order to gain maximum health benefits. For the amino acids which may be lacking from the diet, Quorn offers ample of these and may just help to balance the diet of those vegetarians or non vegetarians who want to ensure that their amino acid levels are correct. The products may resemble meat, but indeed this fungus is very clever at taking on a disguise that is suited to all ages and all tastes.