Hands down, dips and spreads make the all-time favorites list when it comes to appetizers, but are as equally yummy as the finger food appetizer counterparts like deviled eggs, chicken wings, nachos and quesadillas. That said, dips and spreads are in a class of their own.
The list of possible ingredients is endless, although many have a standard base ingredient, a cream cheese or a sour cream. The added ingredients are wide-ranging too: anything from some of the more savory things like artichokes, avocados, bacon, mushrooms, olives, herbs, spices, beans, cheeses, nuts and seafood to sweets like yogurts and fruity mangoes and apples.
They are so versatile and come in so many variations and easily complement any holiday, event or occasion. And when you are planning a party, your appetizer menu is one of the first things you consider, including some of the more preliminary questions to ask yourself when adding a dip or spread to your menu. It’s important to consider how easily the dip or spread transfers. Is it scoopable? Is it spreadable? Do you need a sturdy cracker or chip to pair with it? Which utensils are best suited for the job? Is it served in a bowl or on a plate? Is it served warm or chilled?
So whether it’s a tailgating or football party, a barbecue or beach picnic, a bridal shower or a holiday get-together, dips and spreads are sure to be crowdpleasers. Here are five of my personal family recipes, some have been passed down more than four generations already.
Creamy Spinach Dip
8 oz cream cheese, cubed
¼ cup whipping cream
5 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp diced pimento
2 tsp finely chopped onion
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp ground thyme
¼ tsp garlic salt
Combine cream cheese and whipping cream in greased “Little Dipper” Crockpot (warming slow cooker). Cover and heat until cheese is melted, 30 to 60 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and heat 30 minutes. Serve with raw vegetables, crackers or bread pieces.
8 oz cream cheese, softened
¼ cup chopped walnuts (or almonds or pecans)
1 Tbsp cooking sherry
½ cup chopped Spanish olives
¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
In medium bowl, combine first four ingredients. Shape into a ball and chill, covered for at least three hours. Roll in toasted walnuts to coat. Serve with crackers; Triscuit or any sturdy cracker work best. Makes about ½ cup.
Seven Layer Taco Dip
Mix 16 oz sour cream and a package of taco seasoning in a medium bowl. Spread this mixture in a 9×11 casserole dish. Layer the following ingredients over the sour cream mixture in thin layers.
16 oz can of refried beans
1 lb browned ground beef, drained
6 oz can black olives, chopped
1 cup iceberg lettuce, shredded small
1 cup diced tomatoes
2 cup shredded cheese
Three things that I switch up each time I make this. Sometimes I soften the refried beans in the microwave for 30 seconds before I drop small teaspoons across the sour cream mixture. It does not spread that easily.
Other times, I mix the beans with the ground beef and then spread it. Sometimes I serve the dip cold, other times I warm it in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes so the cheese melts.
If I serve it warmed, I leave the lettuce out of the recipe altogether.
Sour Cream And Chives Dip
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
pinch of garlic salt
Mix ingredients together and chill for 30 minutes before serving.
Creamy Hot Artichoke Dip
14 oz can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 clove garlic, finely chopped
Combine all ingredients in glass dish and bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.