This is one of those crazy, thrown-together-at-the-last-minute recipes that happened to be such a success it's been a part of our regular rotation. Back in January (yes, I've been meaning to post this for more than 6 months now!), we got a somewhat last-minute invite to have a somewhat last-minute Super Bowl get together. For all of us involved, the Super Bowl is mostly an excuse to sit and gossip and talk and ignore the game and watch the commercials and indulge in lots of noshing on snacks.
Since I'm not brave enough to attempt a trip to the grocery store on the day of the Super Bowl, knowing what a madhouse it would be, I dug around in the fridge and freezer and pantry and came up with a handful of ingredients and figured I would throw them together and see what happened. And the result was awesomeness.
I started with the base of a recipe my friend Larry had introduced me to- peppers stuffed with a mixture of cream cheese, sausage and ground beef. Building on that idea, I started with the sweet mini peppers I had on hand. I chopped and seeded them and layered them in a glass pie pan, opting to use them as a part of the dip rather than as the dip holders.
In my trusty cast iron skillet, I browned some homemade sausage and ground beef. When that was done, I moved it to a large bowl, and tossed some spinach and chopped mushrooms into the leftover fat in the skillet, until they cooked down, then added them to the bowl. On a whim I added some chopped artichoke hearts, and since we like it spicy, I added some diced pickled jalapeno peppers.
I happened to have some cream cheese on hand, and decided to go with that, as well as some cheddar and parmesan cheeses to help hold the whole thing together (with a little homemade mayonnaise thrown in for good measure). I know, I know, it's not exactly paleo, but sometimes it's okay to bend the rules, right? Especially in the interest of party noshing!
I added a little salt and pepper to taste, a little garlic, and then spread it over the chopped up peppers. It got topped with a sprinkling of parmesan, and popped it into the preheated oven for about a half hour, until it was bubbly and melty and smelled amazing.
And, yay me!, I only burned my mouth 5 times on sampling it before it was cool enough to eat.
We ate this with veggies to scoop it up- it could easily be made without the peppers being chopped up and instead the rest of the ingredients spooned into the halved-and-seeded peppers and baked, and I've made it several times since. The complex flavors, the sweet of the peppers and the depth of the veggies, the hot creaminess of the dip all combine to make an incredibly flavorful dip.
Even if it isn't all paleo.
1/3 lb homemade sausage
1/3 lb ground beef
18-24 sweet mini peppers seeded and sliced in half or chopped
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
4 cups spinach leaves
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise
6 artichoke heart quarters, chopped
15 pickled jalapeno rings, diced
6 oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 oz parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt, pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400F.
Place peppers (either chopped or sliced in half) into the bottom of a casserole dish.
Brown ground beef and sausage together, breaking up the meat as it cooks to have small chunks as well as crumbles.
Remove the meat when cooked through, and add mushrooms and spinach to drippings in the pan, cook down.
Turn off heat; stir in cream cheese and let melt.
Fold in mayonnaise, jalapenos, artichoke hearts, cheddar and parmesan cheeses and remove from heat.
Smother chopped peppers- or fill halved peppers- with the dip.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and bake 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and melted.
Let cool 15 minutes, and serve.