Kitchen Wit and Wisdom: Dip into these dips

Bacon lovers will be all over these dips, a savoury and spicy addition to any appetizer plate.

I’ve decided to talk about dips today. Such a small word, but with meanings that can vary from a smokeless tobacco (jammed into one’s cheek – yuck!), to leaving abruptly (as in escape), to a pickpocket, to someone who is stupid or does something stupid, to a dance move, to off colour sexual remarks, to a brief plunge in liquid or water, and finally, to a food or something used to add flavour or texture to food — the latter to which I’ll refer in today’s column.

I love making, serving, and eating homemade appetizers, and dips fit this category well. Summer is a great time to make a whole meal of appies, or to get all your friends to bring one for the evening or day’s gathering.

Somehow I think vegetarians and vegan readers will be referring to me as a “dip” with today’s recipes because they both include bacon (referred to by some, as man’s favourite food.) But I promise, I will make it up to them in a following column.

Both these recipes are served warm and will be a hit for most people. The second can be made as spicy as you like by simply adding some of the seeds to the mixture. If you’re a popper lover, this dip will disappear so fast you’ll wish you had doubled the recipe.

Enjoy.

BLT Dip

1-1/2 pound bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled, and divided

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded) or to taste

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste) or

I use 1 large minced clove garlic

1 tablespoons mustard

2 cups chopped seeded tomatoes

1-1/2 cup shredded Iceberg lettuce

Pepper and salt to taste

Toasted bread rounds, crackers, or pita chips.

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Spray a 1-1⁄2 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Set aside 3/4 cup crumbled bacon. In a large bowl, combine remaining bacon, cream cheese, shredded cheeses, sour cream, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and mustard. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle chopped tomatoes, remaining 3/4 cup crumbled bacon and lettuce over hot dip. Serve immediately with toasted bread rounds, crackers, or pita chips. Delicious!

Jalapeño Popper Dip

6-8 slices of bacon, diced and cooked crispy

2  8-oz packages of cream cheese, soft

1 cup of mayonnaise

4-6 jalapenos, chopped and de-seeded. The seeds will make it fiery hot.

1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/4 cup diced green onion

Topping:

1 cup of crushed crackers ( I used Ritz)

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 stick of butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine all of the ingredients into a medium bowl. Stir well.  Transfer to an oven proof dish. The size of the dish depends on how thick the dip is. The thicker the dip the longer it may need to warm up. I use a  stoneware dish that is round and measures 12 inches across. My dip is usually about an inch thick.

Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle all over the top of the dip. Bake the dip for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly. Note: If you like a spicier dip, include some of the seeds, but beware!

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s cooking columnist.

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