Saturday, October 9, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Cream Cheese Spread

It's good to be back!  We were back in Minnesota last week and both my parents' internet and ours since we got home have been highly unreliable.  Thanks to my dear (and technically-savvy!) husband, we are back online and I am thankful!

Warning: this cream cheese has addictive properties.  It's really swell.  But if we're being perfectly honest, doesn't just about everything that contains cream cheese pretty fabulous?  Sweet, savory and a little bit smoky all at the same time, it has a really complex flavor for something so simple.  Whip up a batch and let it hang out in your fridge (I doubt it'll last long) to await adorning the most delicious sandwiches or dress a simple cracker or celery stick...

Roasted Vegetable Cream Cheese Spread
1 8 oz. block cream cheese, softened (I always buy the reduced fat variety and it works great!)
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 small zucchini, sliced
1  small yellow squash, sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced into rounds
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1-2 medium-hot pepper(s) , cut into rounds (*see note)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Spread all vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Drizzle olive oil and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with salt.  Roast vegetables at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Remove from oven and let cool. In a food processor with the blade attachment (or a blender), process cream cheese for a few seconds.  Add vegetables and process until smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary).  Spoon into container.  Use as a dip with veggies, pita chips or crackers, a spread on sandwiches and wraps or as a filling for stuffed chicken breasts.  I have even used it as part of the filling for enchiladas, but enchiladas in our house are often the catch-all for using up leftovers (see my white bean enchilada recipe).  By the way, I just figured out how to link (please don't laugh, I really am that inept!) and am very, very excited! 

*Note:  Feel free to use your favorite variety of pepper depending on your preference of flavor and heat (Poblano, Anaheim, jalapeno, pick!).  If you are fortunate enough to have access, my most favorite is the Mariachi pepper found but once a year at Berry Patch Farms in Brighton, CO.

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