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WHAT'S COOKING? Upcoming celebrations require delicious appetizers
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WHAT'S COOKING? Upcoming celebrations require delicious appetizers

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Teresa Hatchell 2005

Teresa Hatchell

Our family is continuing to grow and we are celebrating about it! We had showers for three babies born this year, and we are gearing up for a family wedding on October 30. In fact we already had a family and friends “shower” for those wonderful young people to equip them to set up their home. A few weeks after that celebration, my nephew proposed to a young lady who was his best friend for years, became his girlfriend and because they are so meant for each other, now they’re betrothed. We’ll be planning a shower for them before too long.

Judging by the influx of reader emails, many folks are planning various events in the months to come … birthday and engagement parties, on-site or at home tailgating … and of course the many holiday gatherings between now and January 2. If you and your “crew” all contribute food as co-hosts to these various events, you may want to whip up a batch of one or more of the following veggie-containing recipes and taste-test to see which ones you enjoy most. These are good for any occasion, and if there are dietary concerns, always remember that you may omit or substitute a "problem" ingredient. Too, you may substitute quality low-fat or fat-free sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise or other such ingredients. Again, I remind you to adjust your “quantity” according to the number of guests.

Aunt Marilyn’s artichoke dip

2 jars (6 ounces each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained, chopped

1 garlic clove, pressed

1-1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Drain and coarsely chop the artichoke hearts with a food chopper. Mix the artichoke hearts and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Two options: Spoon the mixture into a baking dish and bake the dip for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through OR put the mixture into a small crock pot and heat it on "medium" until heated through, stirring every five minutes. Reduce the setting to "low" and keep the pot plugged in during serve time. This is good on fresh vegetables, cocktail bread slices, toast points or your favorite crackers or chips.

Spinach dip supreme

1-1/2 cup sour cream

8-ounce block of cream cheese, room temperature

10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained

1 ounce package Knorr dry vegetable soup mix

1 cup real crumbled bacon bits (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, cream cheese, spinach, dry soup mix and crumbled bacon. Chill for several hours. Serve with assorted vegetables or toast points.

Broccoli-bacon-cheese dip

1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

3 cups chopped broccoli florets, steamed just until tender, well drained

6 slices cooked bacon, drained, crumbled

2 cans Campbell cheese soup, undiluted

Saute the onion in a pan with margarine until the onions are lightly browned. Stir in the cooked broccoli, bacon and cheese soup. Allow these ingredients to low-simmer until the flavors are well combined (10 minutes at most). Serve this dip warm (from a small crockpot if you have one) with raw vegetables, Frito-Lay Scoops or any other of your favorite crackers or chips. Too, you may add some Texas Pete hot sauce or a hefty sprinkle of Cayenne pepper if you want to add some heat.

Guacamole-tomato dip

2 slices bacon, fried crisp, crumbled

1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 medium avocado

1-1/2 tablespoon lime or lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1-1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise

1 medium tomato, peeled, finely diced

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the bacon, onion and garlic until the onions are almost transparent. In a large bowl, mash the avocado and add lime (or lemon) juice, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise and tomato. Stir in the sauteed mixture. Stir the ingredients well, and add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate and serve as a dip on a vegetable tray or with chips or crackers.

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