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Recipe: Chef Kevin's Caramelized Onion & Spinach Dip, Taco Egg Rolls and Red Velvet Cookies

Chef Kevin Belton is celebrating National Eat Outside Day.

NEW ORLEANS —

Caramelized Onion & Spinach Dip

Ingredients 

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 sweet onions, sliced thin
  • 1 Tbsp. Creole seasoning 
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 (8-oz) cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half or milk
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese

Directions 

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to sweat about 5 minutes.

Decrease the heat to medium add Creole seasoning and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to turn deep brown, about 25 minutes.

Add a couple of tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan and decrease the heat again to medium-low. Continue cooking until onions are deep brown in color and caramelized about 20 more minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Add the spinach to a pot and cover it. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally until wilted, about 3-5 minutes.

Once the spinach is cooked, add the remaining ingredients, except for ½ cup of the mozzarella cheese, to the saucepan. Stir and heat until it's all well-combined, about 5-8 minutes.

Transfer the hot dip to a small oven-safe casserole dish and sprinkle it with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cheese is golden-brown and the dip is bubbly. 

Taco Egg Rolls

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning, see below 
  • 1 cup Rotel tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup refried beans, warmed and seasoned to taste with garlic, cumin, and kosher salt 
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or lard, melted 
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 15 egg roll wrappers from 1 lb package
  • sour cream or guacamole
  • green onion for garnish
  • vegetable oil enough to cover half an egg roll

Directions 

Brown ground beef in a frying pan over medium heat. Drain grease. Add in taco seasoning and tomatoes. Stir and heat through.

Heat refried beans, and add seasonings and oil or lard. Set aside.

Place one egg roll wrapper on work surface with one corner pointing up so it looks like a diamond. Top with refried beans, meat, and cheese. Fold the bottom corner up over filling, tucking the tip under slightly. Fold in sides to resemble an envelope. Brush the top corner and top sides with water. Gently roll the egg roll toward the remaining corner and press to seal. Place seam side down on a plate. Repeat with remaining egg roll wrappers.

Heat oil to 350 degrees in a frying pan. Cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes, turning over once halfway through cooking.

Transfer to a paper towel-lined dish to drain any excess oil.

Serve immediately with sour cream, or guacamole and green onions for garnish.

Taco Seasoning 

Ingredients 

  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder 
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1 tsp white pepper 
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder 
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 
  • 1/2 tsp oregano 

Directions 

Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl.

Red Velvet Cookies

Ingredients 

  • 1 box (16 ounces) red velvet cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  •  granulated sugar

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-3 tablespoons milk

Directions 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place cake mix, vegetable oil, and eggs in a mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, combine the ingredients until all the dry mix has been absorbed, scraping the bowl regularly.

Place the sugar in a shallow dish or on a plate.

Form the dough into round, 1-inch balls in a consistent size. Roll each ball in sugar. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, one baking sheet at a time, until cookies are set. Cookies will puff and surfaces will appear cracked. Do not overbake.

Remove baking sheets from the oven. Allow cookies to sit for 2-3 minutes before using a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack. Cool completely to allow cookies to set, about 30 minutes.

While cookies cool, make the glaze. Use a spoon to combine together powdered sugar, and milk. Add additional milk 1 teaspoon at a time to get the right consistency. Drizzle glaze over cooled cookies.

Store cookies in an airtight container using waxed paper or parchment paper to separate layers.

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