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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chew on This | Cheesy Artichoke Appetizer

My family did a lot of traveling throughout my childhood, and beyond. I was very fortunate. I had the opportunity to see and experience so many things. Long trips, short trips - we did them all and we were never disappointed with the time spent exploring and seeing the world outside of our community.

I've never lost the travel bug, the Wanderlust. In fact, I've done nothing but fan the flames of my desire to traverse the Earth. I think that my wanderlust could possibly be genetic, or maybe just securely implanted. Either way, I have been indoctrinated with the need to travel. I've married someone that is bent the same way. And, I am programming two little souls to hunger for exploration, as well.

We've just recently traveled to our special place in the south. It was warm, relaxing, and presently quenched our sightseeing urge. While we traveled, I remembered a vacationing moment from my childhood when my parents stopped at a roadside fruit stand for some perfect Georgia peaches. A young girl was at the stand, dirty, barefoot, and immensely interested in our family. She spoke in her sweet, thick southern accent and charmed my Mom and Grandma. She actually climbed into the backseat of our woody station wagon and   asked to travel back north with us. My Mom declared that the darling southern belle would come home with us. And I had a fit.

I was appalled. Who did this kid think she was? All cute and dirty and mesmerising my family with her southern ways. She already had a family selling delicious peaches at the fruit stand. What more did she want? I wasn't having it, so I growled some sort of objection and pouted with a majorly protruding lower lip. And I'm sure, for just a moment, my Mom thought that swapping out a snotty daughter for a southern belle might have been a good idea. But it didn't happen and we drove away from that fruit stand with only perfect peaches. 

I wonder about that child, now an adult, and hope she is still as happy and sweet as she was back then. I hope she has forgiven my childhood self for my bratty ways. And, I hope she has had the chance to travel and see the world. Because she had it - The Wanderlust.


Here's our recipe:

A recipe from Mimi to die for! Artichokes and cheese…need I say more? Give it a try, ou'll love it!

Cheesy Artichoke Appetizer

2 (6 ounces) jars marinated artichoke hearts
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 medium onion, small dice (about a half cup)
1 T butter
1/2 t salt
2 C sharp cheddar, grated
2 t hot sauce
1 C bread crumbs, divided
1/2 t Italian seasoning
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350℉. Generously butter a 8x8" pan.

Drain artichokes and reserve 2T of the marinade. In a small sauce pan, sauté onions, garlic, salt, butter, and reserved marinade, until tender. Pour in artichokes and break up with a fork. Sauté artichokes, and pan ingredients, an additional three minutes and then pour into a medium bowl. Add in cheddar cheese, hot sauce, 1/2 of the bread crumbs, and Italian seasoning. Stir to blend and pour ingredients into the buttered, 8x8" pan.

Bake artichoke mixture for 30 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and top appetizer with the remaining bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and cut into squares. Allow the appetizer to cool for 10 minutes and serve. Enjoy!

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