There's very little a cheese concoction can't correct. That's the opinion of mom blogger and PR gal Jackie Hennessey – who delivers it in mouth-watering fashion in her new book, How to Spread Sanity on a Cracker: Mom-to-mom Whines, Cheese, Rants and Recipes. This Rhode Islander, who also regularly spouts off on Venting Sessions, expertly pairs funny tales of "kid related frustration" with a variety of cheese-based dips, spreads and other cinchy recipes sure to make that parent-prompted angst melt away into a soothing, cheesy state of bliss.
"Motherhood is universal – and so are good recipes for tasty cheese dip," Hennessey shares with Metro Parent. "The book is short because I designed it to be 'consumed' in real mommy time."
Hennessey was cool enough to share a few of the tantalizing – and truly fast and simple to make – comfort food recipes she gathered up with southeast Michigan moms and dads here in Crumbs (just in time for Cheese Ball Day next Tuesday… seriously, like we needed an excuse). Enjoy!
Baked Brie from Shannon in Connecticut
One of Jackie's own rants accompanies this book-launching classic. Here's what she sank her teeth into while adjusting to a 3,000-mile cross-country move from Seattle – while pregnant with her second kid.
- 1 piecrust
- 2 egg whites
- 1 (8 oz.) wedge of brie
- Strawberry jam
- Start with a ready-made sheet of piecrust (because everything is better with pie crust). Defrost, wipe with egg whites (this just makes it look fancy and crispy.)
- Take one wedge (8 ounces) of your favorite brie and chop it up into pieces.
- Make a giant "sack" by placing the cheese on the sheet of piecrust and wrapping it up. The cheese gets gooey and oozes out of the top when it's baked. (Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.)
- Get creative and add blackberry or strawberry jam, any type of fruit preserve, nuts, dates, cran-raisins – whatever you like with cheese.
- Jazz it up with some fancy or unique crackers (both sweet and salty varieties) and let your guests attack.
Cheesy Layered Dip from Jeanne in Rhode Island
This one accompanies the tale of a "little potty seat snafu." A mom's imaginative daughter decidesd to be a princess with a potty-seat crown – which, naturally, gets stuck on her little noggin. One police officer a jar of Vaseline later – voila!
- 1 (8 oz.) package of softened cream cheese
- 1 jar chunky fresh salsa
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 (6 oz.) can sliced black olives
- Mix cream cheese and salsa until well blended.
- Spread this mixture at the bottom of casserole dish.
- Layer on the remaining ingredients in the order listed, topping with the sliced olive.
Beer Cheese Dip from Molly in Massachusetts
A Boston family restaurant outing with mom, dad, two toddlers and Baby No. 3 goes slightly awry when mom and dad realize they (briefly!) forgot the newest arrival out in the car. They'll have whatever's on tap, please.
- 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
- 2 (8 oz.) packages shredded cheddar cheese
- 1⁄2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1⁄2 cup beer
- 1 (1 lb) loaf round bread
- Place cheeses, garlic powder and beer in a large bowl. Blend using an electric mixer.
- Remove top of round bread and place to the side. Hollow out the loaf, saving bread pieces.
- Scoop cream cheese mixture into the hollowed loaf. Use the bread pieces for dipping.
- Replace sliced-off bread top between servings.