Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fiesta Hot Artichoke Dip got the new year off to a warm, healthy start

No big New Year's weekend party at our house. Just Hubby and me, plus a little 4-month-old munchkin who arrived for a sleepover so his parents could have a much-needed, 24-hour break before the ratrace of work resumed this week.

But that didn't mean we couldn't party like the best of 'em. Grandmunchkin was too little to appreciate it, but for Hubby and me I prepared a dip that had been on my wish-list since a friend brought this unforgettable item to a covered-dish Christmas buffet two years ago.

Fiesta Hot Artichoke Dip is the sort of appetizer that lifts dips out of the doldrums. It makes you want to stand over the veggie tray and graze ad infinitum. It tasted great with chips and crackers, too (as well as atop a barbecue sandwich I had for dinner last night.)

Made with Neufchatel cheese instead of the higher-fat-content regular cream cheese, you can graze on it without guilt (especially when you think about all the fresh veggies that are going down alongside it). An ample contribution of fresh green onions and artichoke hearts (rinse the hearts thoroughly to help lessen the sodium content) into the dip mixture makes this a healthy option.

Even though the word "hot" is in the recipe, we found it just as delightful served cold and straight out of the fridge. But taking time to warm it makes it easier to scoop the veggies and chips into. (Save this recipe for your Super Bowl Blowout Party next month.)

The new year of 2011 got off to a great start, tastebuds- and health-wise, with the introduction of Fiesta Hot Artichoke Dip into our culinary fare.

Fiesta Hot Artichoke Dip

1 (1-ounce) package taco spices and seasonings (I used the lower-sodium variety)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (8-ounce) package Neufchatel cheese
2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained (cut each heart into several sections)
1 (8-ounce) package Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup sliced green onion (divided into two 1/4 cups)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl combine all ingredients except 1/4 cup green onions. In 2-quart greased baking dish spoon artichoke mixture. Bake 25 minute or until heated through. Garnish with remaining green onions and serve with assorted fresh vegetables or tortilla chips. Makes 5 cups.

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