We had a wonderful first birthday party for my nephew Sawyer on Sunday, May 5. Of course we had a Cinco de Mayo theme complete with awesome decorations inside and out and an immense amount of Mexican food. There were two huge crock pots of homemade mildly spicy queso dip, homemade quacamole, and bowl after bowl of salsa of varying degrees of spiciness. As a palate alert, my niece borrowed a phrase from an old song -- "Can't Touch This" -- to inscribe that contained extremely spicy contents.
There was a tremendous variety of fixings with which guests created their own soft or hard tacos and burritos. Too, there were several pans of mild Mexican rice prepared. For dessert there were thick sugar cookies and cupcakes both decorated like colorful sombreros. And, of course there was a special little fiesta-style cake decorated for the birthday boy to dig into on his first birthday.
All of that shared, I once again confirm that I’m one of those people who has an affection for dips of almost any kind. While I do enjoy raw vegetables, melons and any kind of plain fruit, along with toast points, party crackers and dip chips of almost any variety, I also enjoy these foods when they have been "dunked" into a smooth, creamy dip or lively salsa. In case you are feeling adventurous, I am sharing an array of dips with you that are popular at our family-friends gatherings. I am starting with The Times and Democrat Publisher Cathy Hughes' simple but totally delicious recipe for Fruit Dip that she shared with me. I am also sharing a recipe for an oh so flavorful Guacamole Dip by my sister Sharon. Next is a Spicy Sausage and Cheese Dip that is always a crowd pleaser.
Always remember that you can substitute quality low-fat or fat-free sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise or other such ingredients as available at your local grocer. Too, you may double or triple these recipes if you are having a crowd over.
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 ounces apricot preserves
1-1/2 cup whipped cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
In a medium bowl, stir the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy. Add all other ingredients and stir until the dip is of smooth consistency. Serve this dip in a decorative bowl in the center of a tray of fruit balls, strawberries or other favorite fruits.
2 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small avocado
1-1/2 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tomato, peeled and 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.
Spicy Sausage and Cheese Dip
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese
1/2 pound mild Cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon jalapeno peppers, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tube ground sausage, well browned and drained of fat
For this dip, place all of the ingredients except the sausage into a food processor and process them until the dip is smooth and creamy. Stir in the browned sausage. Pour this mixture into a crock pot and keep it warm. Serve it warm with tortilla chips, nachos, large corn chips or crackers. (OPTION: You may add 1 teaspoon of cumin and a half teaspoon of chili powder to create a totally Mexican flavor.)
Hot Spinach-Artichoke Dip
2 jars (6 ounces each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
10-ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Drain and coarsely chop the artichoke hearts with a food chopper. Mix the artichoke hearts, spinach 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 on "medium" until heated through, stirring every five minutes. Reduce the setting to "low"and keep the pot plugged in during serve time.
Cold Spinach-Apple Dip with Bacon
1-1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup diced red-skinned apple
1 ounce package dry vegetable soup mix
1 cup Hormel Premium Real Crumbled Bacon
In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise or salad dressing, chopped spinach, apple, soup mix and crumbled bacon. Chill this dip for several hours. Serve it with assorted vegetables, toast points or various crackers or chips. This recipe serves 16.
3 medium carrots
3 medium dill pickles
1 small jar pimientos
2 green peppers
1 small onion
2 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
With a food grinder, grind carrots, pickles, pimientos, peppers and onion. Drain this combo on a thick layer of paper towels. Put it into a medium bowl and add chopped eggs and mayonnaise. Stir it until the ingredients are smooth. Add salt and pepper and stir, repeating until the dip reaches a taste that suits you. Serve this dip with a tray of your favorite vegetables.