Lately I just haven’t been enjoying cooking very much. You may even have noticed fewer recipes being posted than usual. Most days it seems like there’s just never enough hours in the day to do all the things I need to do. Getting creative with meal planning and meal prep tends to get lost in the shuffle. If you’re a mom too, you just might be familiar with what I’m talking about.
Sometimes I just need to try something new to get interested again and out of my rut. I recently had the chance to test out some meal prep shortcuts from Epicure, a 100% Canadian (based out of Victoria, BC, actually!), 100% family-owned, women-led company that works on a party-plan direct sales distribution model. Maybe this would help?
Epicure is probably best-known for their signature pre-mixed spices for dips, but I discovered they also make a wide range of seasonings, teas, spices, mixes, and meal shortcuts, as well as specialty cookware and tools. I received a box full of products designed to help me make quick and healthy appies and inspire me to enjoy cooking for my family again.
Hot Spinach Dip
I decided to start by making hot spinach dip. Even though it’s one of my faves at any party or gathering, I’d never made spinach dip before. I’ve always thought of it as being too much work, but not anymore! I assembled the base ingredients – sour cream, my homemade mayo, and a defrosted package of frozen spinach along with my special ingredient – minced water chestnuts for texture and a little crunch. I added Epicure’s Spinach Dip Seasoning and mixed everything together in the Aubergine Baker ($25). I sprinkled grated goat cheddar and some smoked paprika on top and popped it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
The baker is the perfect size for parties, but unless you’re the Brady Bunch it’s probably too large for just the family. Epicure does offer a miniature baker that would make the right serving size for everyday family use. I really like the rich deep purple colour of this dish – it’s perfect to go from the oven to the table. I served this with raw veggies alongside some roasted chicken and coconut mashed sweet potatoes. Yum!
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons Epicure Seasoning for Spinach Dip
- 1 - 10 oz (284 g) package frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and chopped
- 1/3 cup minced water chestnuts
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- pinch of smoked paprika
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix sour cream, mayonnaise, Epicure seasoning, frozen spinach, and water chestnuts together and add to oven-safe baking dish.
- Sprinkle grated cheese on top and smoked paprika on top of cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until dip is hot all the way through and cheese is bubbling.
Pizza Oven Sweet Potato Fries & Dip
We like our sweet potato fries, but it’s always a challenge getting them crispy in the oven. So I was especially interested in trying Epicure’s Crisper ($20) basically a baking sheet with a rippled and perforated bottom designed to circulate heat around the fries so they can cook and crisp evenly, without having to turn them. I tossed my fries with avocado oil, coconut flour, and Seasoning for Pizza Oven Fries ($7) to kick them up a notch, then baked them at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.
To be honest, I didn’t find the fries were noticeably crispier than when I make them on a standard baking sheet, but I didn’t have to flip them, and that saved me so much time and aggravation right there.
I served our sweet potato fries with a dip made from half a cup of sour cream, half a cup of mayo, and two tablespoons of Crab Dip Seasoning ($8.50). I left the crab out of the dip as Kay’s allergic to shellfish, but it was still really tasty. The secret is to mix it up ahead of time to allow the flavour of the seasonings to permeate throughout the dip. The instructions for the basic dips are conveniently printed right on the jars, but if you want to try something different, Epicure also has a large database of recipes, organized by each product.
Fresh Pico de Gallo
Yes, I get that the jar says salsa which technically just means sauce, but when I think salsa, I think of the cooked tomato saucy dip served with nacho chips in bars. To me, this makes pico de gallo – a fresh, uncooked salad condiment. I love fresh pico de gallo, but I usually only get it when we’re out at a Mexican restaurant. Epicure’s Poco Picante Salsa Mix ($9) promised I could make it at home with just diced tomatoes and cilantro. Sounds easy, right?
I diced up a couple of tomatoes (about one cup), chopped up two tablespoons of cilantro, stirred in three tablespoons of salsa mix, and let it sit for 30 minutes. I served it with corn chips on these adorable Mini Appetizer Plates ($17) for a bedtime snack.
I think this is my favourite mix from Epicure. The pico de gallo is so fresh and bright – I love it! To be honest, I find it a bit addictive and I can’t stop until it’s all gone. A note of caution though. It’s called poco picante which means a little spicy in Spanish, but it actually has quite a kick. The kids enjoyed it, but both commented that it was very spicy. If you know you can’t tolerate much heat, you might need to pass on this particular mix.
So am I enthused about making dinner now? Well, I may not be chomping at the bit to get in the kitchen all day, but I have been having fun experimenting with the seasonings. I really appreciate that Epicure has tons of recipes beyond just dips that I can make using their seasoning mixes.
Win 1 of 3 Epicure Omelets & Fries Prize Packages!
Three lucky Canadian readers will win an Epicure prize package containing the following items:
- Good Omelets. Real Fast. Collection ($25) – Dig in to satisfying eggs, wraps, and more with this collection of ‘egg-cellent’ blends. Includes Paris Bistro Secret Sauce, Fines Herbes, Sun-Kissed Tomato Dip Mix, and Good Omelets. Real Fast.™ Recipe Cards.
- Omelet Maker ($18) – Features built-in steam vents, raised walls, and curved corners for no spill cooking. Pair with Good Omelets. Real Fast.™
- Crisper ($20) – Bake golden oven fries with no turning necessary. Perforated, Eclipse® coated, carbon steel design maximizes heat and air flow for crispy, golden results.
- Pizza Oven Fries Seasoning ($7) – The best Italy-inspired herbs with garlic and basil, rounded out with a little Parmesan cheese the name and the aroma both say pizza. Dip Pizza Oven Fries or use mix in your favourite Epicure Pasta Sauce or Caesar Dressing.
- Rosemary Garlic Oven Fries Seasoning ($7) – Indulge in the aroma while these potatoes cook – you’ll think an entire meal is in the oven. Garlic and rosemary is roasting at its best.
- Creamy Ranch Dip ($8.50) – The healthier, homemade version of everyone’s go-to dip. Can be used as a creamy, kid-friendly dip, a lighter salad dressing, or blended into your favourite recipes for a little extra zest.
Enter to win in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada only. All entries will be verified.
Disclosure: I received sample items for review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Giveaway ends on May 25, 2015 at 23:59 ET. No purchase necessary to enter or to win. Contest is open to legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority in their respective province/territory of residence at the time of entry. Prizes are generously sponsored by participating brands who are responsible for fulfillment of prizes. Odds of winning are dependent on number of entries received. Three winner will be be randomly selected and notified via email. The prospective winners will then have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Residents of Canada will be required to enter a skill-testing question to claim their prize. Administrators are not responsible for prize fulfillment nor for any technical failures. Void where prohibited. Please contact Olivia at This West Coast Mommy with any questions or to inquire about having your brand featured on This West Coast Mommy.