Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Creating Dips For Entertaining

Whenever I plan on having guests over, I always think of various dip recipes I have. To me, a party is just not a party without an assortment of dips with a combination of both vegetable and chips to accompany the dips.

While you can certainly buy pre-made dips at almost any market, I find dips so quick and easy to make, that I always make them myself.

One of my favorite dips is a cold crab dip. It only takes minutes to make and I almost never have any left over:

Crab and Cream Cheese Mold

1 package softened cream cheese
1 can crab meat
a few strands of finely chopped green onion (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
cocktail sauce

Mix the cream cheese, crab meat, green onions, salt and pepper. Form into a mound and plate. Pour cocktail sauce over the dip. Serve with vegetables or crackers. Try both mild and spicy cocktail sauces for different flavors.

One other cold dip that almost everybody likes is guacamole. I have seen many variations on how to make guacamole. This is my favorite guacamole recipe:

Guacamole

1/2 pint sour cream
1 large avocado
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dry minced onion
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Mash avocado with fork. Add sour cream slowly and mix until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.

What about those who prefer a hot dip? One of my favorites is hot artichoke dip. Again, I’ve seen many variations on this recipe. I prefer my artichoke dips with cheese in them. Here is one of my favorites:

Hot Artichoke-Cheese Dip

1 can (8 1/2 oz.) artichoke hearts (packed in water, drained)
1 jar (6 oz.) marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Chop the artichokes, then place evenly over the bottom of a well greased shallow 2 quart baking dish. Scatter the chilies on top of the artichokes. Carefully spread the mayonnaise over the mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350° for about 15 minutes. Serve warm. I love tortilla chips with this dip.

This is a dip you can make ahead of time. Make the day before serving, but do not cook. When ready to serve, cook at 350°. For 30 minutes.

For a "lighter" version of this recipe use light mayonnaise and use 1 cup regular cheddar cheese and one cup light or no fat cheddar cheese, mixed together.

These three dips are favorites when I entertain. Try them and see if your guests enjoy them also.

Audrey :)

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