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Dinner for 7

This is probably the only week of the entire year where I will think, “Nooooo it’s Thursday already!”  I am so sad that there are only two days left of my vacation :(.  Yesterday was another glorious day on the beach, the water warmed back up and we were actually able to tolerate it for more than 30 seconds.  My uncle and cousin borrowed a kayak from some of our beach neighbors and went on a little ocean adventure.

It was hilarious to watch them tip over and try to get back in the kayak, a good 10 minutes of entertainment.  To beat the heat, my sister and I drug our chairs down to the water and sat at the edge of it.  The breeze coming off the ocean really helped to keep us cool.  As of right now, I’ve finished two books and am about to start book number three.  You really cannot beat reading on the beach in my opinion.  Here are some other pics from the beach yesterday.

bf and I

beach horse shoes

abandoned kayak

Then I took on the task of cooking dinner, including appetizer, for the entire family.  On the menu?  Spinach and artichoke dip, sweet potato fries, taco salad, and grilled Caribbean Jerk chicken.  All of my favorite things, and everything was a hit.

Gorgonzola Spinach and Artichoke Dip

  • 2 10 oz boxes chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 box frozen artichoke hearts (I used 1 can)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup Gorgonzola crumbles
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Parm

Defrost the spinach, and then wring out the water.  Melt the butter in a large pot, add the garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes.  Add the flour and combine for 1 minute more.  Whisk in the stock and milk, add the pepper, salt, and nutmeg, and allow to thicken.  Remove the pot from the heat and add the Gorgonzola cheese.  Stir in the spinach and artichokes, 1/2 of the Parm cheese, and then transfer to a casserole dish.  Cover the dip with the remaining half of the parm.  Cook at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes and serve.

I served some Stacy’s pita crisps and tortilla chips with it.  For the sweet potato fries, I added some olive oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a plastic bag and then added the sweet potatoes and shook it up.

Spread out onto two baking sheets, and cooked at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.  Some people use Paprika and not nutmeg, but I really enjoy the cinnamon/nutmeg combo.

ready for eatin!

Then I got to work on the taco salad, while the men took care of the chicken outside on the grill.

brownin the meat

grill grill grill!

taco salad

This taco salad is so easy and delicious.  All you do is brown some ground beef with a packet of taco seasoning, and then add it to some iceberg lettuce.  This also had two tomatoes, and some Monterey Jack cheese.  We use a Light Katalina dressing, but Ranch is good as well.  You can also add in some crushed up tortilla chips, but since we ate a lot of them with the dip, we left them out this time.  Dinner was a success, and we ate almost everything.  I am not cooking for the rest of the week now, haha.

This morning, my sis, bf, and I went out for another run.  We did another 3 miles, which brings my vacation workout total mileage to 9 miles so far!  If you take into consideration that I did exactly 0 miles of running on my last vacation, this is a big improvement.  Alright well I’m off to make some lunches, pack up the cooloer, and head to the beach!  I hope everyone has a great Thursday!