Creamy Feta Dip with Toasted Pita Chips

feta and pita

Everyone needs a go-to dip to have for a special occasion, one that requires little work but tastes like a million bucks! NYE is a couple of days away and then game day will be right around the corner, so I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce this creamy feta dip with toasted pita chips.

dip

This dip is so creamy and full of flavor, a little swipe goes a long way. Feta cheese is the shining star along with Greek yogurt and some cream cheese, it’s the perfect blend for a nice smooth dip.

The feta dip itself can be served with an array of fresh sliced veggies, for a healthier version or with my favorite dipper, these toasted pita chips.

cutting pita

I was introduced to this way of preparing the pita chips by a friend of mine years ago, she made it for a girls lunch and we just couldn’t tear ourselves away from them. The chips are thin and crispy but yet sturdy enough to hold up well when dipping.

I’ve made them many times since and they’re always a hit!

One bag of pita yields so many chips! You’re going to cut the pita into 6 or 8 strips with scissors, then snip the tops and end off so you can open it up.

separate. pita

One strip will give you 2 thin pieces. So for 1 whole pita you can get 12 to 16 chips out of it, so if you do a whole bag that’s quite a few chips!

brushed olive oil

Then place the inside rougher side up on a baking sheet and brush each strip with oregano infused olive oil.

pita crackers

I think what makes these so special is definitely the shape and the thinness, as opposed to the thicker triangle shaped ones, and of course the olive oil flavor coming through. I can’t say enough about these dippers, they’re amazing!

They’re the perfect accompaniment to the creamy feta dip. But don’t get me wrong, honestly they go well with any dip! Think crab, shrimp, hummus, white bean, onion, spinach artichoke, I could go on and on.

feta dip

I garnished the top of my dip with olive oil, parsley, red pepper flakes, pistachios and olives but be creative and do what you like.

can of pita

I would encourage you to take the time and make these chips, you won’t be disappointed, it’s the ultimate combo along with the creamy feta dip.

They can be made well in advance and they stay perfect for up to 3 weeks, that is if they last that long! Once you put them out you’ll see them disappear!

I like to store them in a tin can layered between wax paper.

Enjoy!

Creamy Feta Dip with Toasted Pita Chips
 
This dip recipe can be doubled because it stays very well in the fridge, and the dipper chips can be made well in advance.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. feta, good quality Greek in brine, patted dry
  • 4 oz. full fat cream cheese, room temp
  • ¼ cup full fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons of oregano infused olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • FOR THE TOASTED PITA CHIPS
  • 1 bag of fresh, Greek pita
  • ¾ cup of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • a light sprinkling of kosher salt to top the chips before toasting
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl add the oil and oregano together and let it sit for 15 minutes to infuse.
  2. Then in food processor first add the feta to break it down, then add in the cream cheese, yogurt, lemon juice and garlic.
  3. Give it all a whirl until it's nice and creamy.
  4. Remove from processor and place into a serving bowl and garnish with a little of the olive oil, parsley, lemon zest, olives or whatever you like.
  5. If making the pita chips, take 1 pita at a time, with a scissor cut 6 to 8 strips then snip the top and bottom off of each strip so you can gently open up the pita and have 2 pieces. (See blog post for example)
  6. Continue cutting the pita into chips then brush each one on the inner rough side with the oregano infused olive oil.( see blog post for visual)
  7. Place onto a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle them all lightly with a little kosher salt, then into a 400 degree oven for 7 or 8 minutes until golden. Ovens vary so watch closely, you want them golden not burnt, they cook fast.
  8. Remove chips and place on a rack to cool.
  9. Chips can be stored in a tin can layered between wax paper for up to 3 weeks.

 

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Luxurious Pasta With Vodka Cream Sauce

pasta and vodka cream sauce

If you want mid week rave reviews on a dinner served or if you just want to wow your guests with something special, this is the dish for you! Serve them this luxurious pasta with vodka cream sauce.

This sauce tastes like you spent hours cooking it on the stove, but you really didn’t. It has a deep, rich flavor with a silky and luxurious texture that coats the pasta inside and out in every groove.

Speaking of pasta I recommend using mezzi rigatoni, it’s the shorter version of traditional rigatoni, go for the one with the ridges.

Don’t get me wrong you can use other shapes, I’ve made it with penne pasta before, but my heart belongs to mezzi!

vodka sauce ingredients

Get yourself a bottle of vodka that has a nice smooth character to it, you don’t want to use anything too harsh. Right now I’m enjoying Trader Joe’s TX vodka it’s 6 times distilled and it really pairs well with this sauce. (not sponsored).

Have your ingredients ready to go and your salted water boiling and you’re on your way to a fantastic meal!

saute onions and garlic

Onions and garlic are the foundation to this sauce but the star of the show is tubed tomato paste!

tomato paste

Triple concentrated tomato paste to be exact, this is the game changer to this recipe! No more cans of tomatoes, no more doctoring up a marinara sauce with cream, no chopped tomatoes added, nothing!

Triple concentrated tomato paste is the secret ingredient!

deglazed

Let the tomato paste cook down a bit, then you’ll deglaze it with the vodka. Now is the time to start cooking your pasta.

heavy cream

You’ll be adding pasta water and heavy cream together stirring and stirring until it reaches a vibrant pink color.

 

creamy sauce

Like this!

pasta

Now add in your pasta (al dente) and incorporate all that sauce with the pasta really well.
sprinkling cheese

Shut the burner off and sprinkle in the cheese and toss gently.

pasta and vodka sauce

Now get a big scoop so you can fill your plate!

pasta

Add more cheese of course and a sprinkling of parsley, after you take one bite you’ll know exactly what I mean.  This sauce is to die for!

You’ll want to make it often and the best part is that it comes together so quickly, so make sure you have a full bottle of vodka and tubes of tomato paste on hand.

If you want to go all out and show off a little, you can sear up a few scallops to have on the side, but honestly a little green salad would be perfect!

pasta and sauce

You need this in your life!

eaten pasta

Enjoy!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Luxurious Pasta With Vodka Cream Sauce
 
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ lb. mezzi rigatoni with ridges, or penne with ridges
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 oz. triple - concentrated tomato paste in a squeeze tube
  • ¾ cup of grated parmesan cheese, more for plated garnish
  • 2 oz. vodka ( smooth character )
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup or so of reserved pasta water
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • olive oil
  • parsley for garnish
Instructions
  1. Start your water boiling for the pasta, make sure it's salted
  2. Have all your ingredients ready to go.
  3. Drizzle olive oil into a heavy bottomed pan.
  4. Saute the onion and garlic until the onion starts to brown around the edges, could take 5 or so minutes.
  5. Squeeze tomato paste in along with red pepper flakes.Sir well until the paste coats the onion.
  6. Continue stirring until the paste reaches a deep red color and starts to brown on the bottom of the pan, around 5 or so minutes.
  7. Add the vodka and deglaze the pan, stirring to incorporate, reduce heat to low.
  8. Using a heatproof measuring cup scoop ¼ cup of the boiling water from the pot, then add all the cream to the hot water, this will temper the cream so it doesn't break when added into the sauce.
  9. Slowly add the warm cream into the pot, stirring to incorporate.
  10. Remove from heat for a few minutes.
  11. Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook it al dente according to box instructions.While pasta is boiling, add a little pasta water so it's not so thick.
  12. Reserve a good cup of the pasta water to add to sauce to thin out later if needed.
  13. When cooked, transfer the pasta into the sauce pot using a spider (as pictured in post).
  14. Toss everything together, adding pasta, then the grated cheese, plus enough of the pasta water to have the right consistency.
  15. Sauce should be smooth, glossy and coating each piece of the pasta, not runny.
  16. Toss in some chopped parsley.
  17. Garnishing each plate with a drizzle of olive oil, cheese and more parsley.
  18. Enjoy!

 

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Ham Bone Split Pea Soup

split pea

Let’s face it, most families don’t often make a bone in, baked ham on their weekly rotation of meals, but on special holidays it’s often the star of the show.

Thanksgiving was a just a few days ago and ham was on the menu at my sister-in-laws house. Since she didn’t feel like doing anything with the ham bone she wrapped it up, rang my doorbell and gifted it to me!

ham bone

Lucky me, there was still a lot of meat left on the bone so split pea with ham was surely going to happen! If you’ve never made split pea using a ham bone, you’re missing out. It gives it a ton of flavor and elevates the soup to another level, even pea haters love this soup!

sofrito

Just a few ingredients to start the soup off, then it’s a nice slow simmer so all the flavors can meld together.

making soup

Grab a big pot with a lid and nestle the ham bone right into the center, then in a couple of hours you’ll be able to pick the meat off the bone.

pot of soup

As you stir the soup while it’s simmering the peas will break down and become nice and creamy!

split pea

Just the smell of of this soup simmering on the stove makes your home feel all comfy and cozy, it’s such a hearty and satisfying soup.

croutons

Keep in mind, you need something crunchy on top for garnish. So if you have any leftover bread, please make your own croutons. I had some leftover ciabatta bread that I cut up in cubes, drizzled it well with olive oil, then sprinkled it with salt and pepper then into a 400 degree oven til nice and golden.

hearty soup

Crunchy croutons on top of such a hearty, creamy, smokey, meaty delicious soup, I could go on and on!

There are many variations of this soup, some add potatoes ,but I don’t think you need them at all. Some add bacon instead of a ham bone, it may be good, but it’s just not the same. There are vegetarian versions but today we’re not going there. Try this once with a ham bone and you’ll be hooked!

Ham bones freeze well so if you don’t feel like making this right away, tuck it into your freezer for when you do.

And lastly this soup freezes well, so don’t be afraid to make a big batch!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Ham Bone Split Pea Soup
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 meaty ham bone, make sure to leave meat on that bone
  • 1- 1lb. bag of green split peas, rinsed well
  • 1 quart of chicken stock, low sodium
  • 5 cups, water ( more to thin out soup if it thickens too much later)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 thyme branches, stripped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • olive oil
  • good knob of butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Homemade croutons for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a large stock pot with lid, drizzle the bottom with olive oil and add the knob of butter.
  2. Throw in the chopped onion, carrots, celery and garlic, saute til soft.
  3. Add the split peas and stir well.
  4. Sprinkle in the thyme leaves along with the 2 bay leaves and a grind of black pepper.
  5. Hold off on the salt until the end for taste because some hams tend to be saltier than others.
  6. Pour in the chicken broth then nestle the ham bone right in the center.
  7. Add additional cups of water, stirring well, then bring it to a boil, reduce, and let it simmer with lid on almost covered completely.
  8. Cooking times vary somewhere between an hour and a half to 2 hours, mine took almost 2 hours on very low. The peas will break down and get nice and creamy
  9. Keep checking and stirring.
  10. When you start to see the meat falling off the bone, remove the bone, let it cool a little then start picking the meat off and placing the shredded meat back into the pot.
  11. Discard bone.
  12. Taste for salt, pepper and thyme, adding more if needed. Always stirring to check for thickness.
  13. If need be, add a little more water for a looser soup. It's up to you on how thick you want your soup.
  14. Garnish with homemade croutons.
  15. Use a hearty style bread, cut into cubes, drizzled with olive oil, black pepper and a touch of salt.
  16. Place into a 400 degree oven until crispy and golden, it goes fast so keep checking.
  17. Enjoy!

 

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