We like to entertain here at Boystown. Even if we’re only having a couple of friends over for dinner, its still an occasion to whip up something awesome- not just order a pizza.
Not that there’s anything WRONG with pizza. I’m a big pizza fan- huge! And -if we’re being honest here- there are times when pizza just sounds DANG good and nothing else will do.
But when I’m having friends over, I aim to impress them with my culinary skills- not my INSANE ability to order out.
Sometimes, though, it can be a pain and OH-so-expensive to go all out with homemade goodies, and, the more the people, the more expensive.
Like New Year’s.
It was SUPPOSED to just be a small thing- just a couple of friends. Nothing big. It was practically an after thought, anyways. Why go through all the trouble of making a lot of food for a couple of people?
But the problem is, we don’t just HAVE a couple of close friends. We have what we like to call “our crowd”. They’re the people that we invite to everything, and you can’t invite just a couple of them without inviting the rest. What makes it better (or worse?) is “our crowd” keeps growing every year.
So, what do you do for a huge crowd, that isn’t pizza, that doesn’t break the bank, but that stills calls out “Made from scratch!”?
I didn’t know either so I went on -that’s right- Pinterest.
After scouring the boards, I came up with the conclusion that everyone likes dips. Its one of the favorites to order at restaurants, they’re usually the first things that disappear at get togethers, and *BONUS* they’re usually cheaper than buying tons of meat appetizers and other food items. Plus, they aren’t hard to put together.
The dips I chose were all pretty easy to do and, just like I figured, they were a hit. Hopefully they’ll be a hit for you, too.
Hot Spinach Dip (check out the original HERE)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for baking dish
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- about 1-1 1/2 lbs of spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
- 1/2 cup milk
- 6 ounces reduced-fat bar cream cheese
- 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 3 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- Baguette slices, breadsticks, or crackers, for serving
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic; cook until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add spinach in two additions, letting the first batch wilt before adding the next; cook until completely wilted, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander; drain, pressing to release all excess liquid.
- In the same pot, warm milk over high heat. Whisk in cream cheese until melted, about 3 minutes. Add spinach, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and 1/4 cup mozzarella; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a lightly oiled 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.
- Bake until bubbly and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot with accompaniments, as desired. I made some herbed foccacia bread, but only because I have a bread maker and it did all the work for me for the most part.
- 2 cups shredded chedder cheese
- 1 cup shredded Montery Jack
- 2 tbs chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced small
- 1 small can (4oz) diced green chilies, undrained
- 1/2 cup Mayo
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 11oz can of corn, drained
- 1 small tomato
- 2 tbs cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbs green onions, sliced thin
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix the cheeses, chiptole and green peppers, mayo, garlic powder and corn together. Pour into an oven safe dish.
- Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly
- Top with diced tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. Serve immediately with tortilla chips
Spicy Chorizo Dip (check out the idea for this HERE)
Ok, so this dip was SUPPOSED to be a Taco Dip, but a funny thing happened on the way to my pantry- I realized I’d forgotten to buy the ingredients I needed. No worry, though- I switched it up a little and made a HUGE hit. I had one of our friends gushing… repeatedly… over and over… how I needed to give his wife the recipe. And I could have written off his compliments as due to the vast quantities of alcohol he was consuming, but everyone else seemed to love it, too. Its a bit on the spicy side, so if you are sensitive to that sort of thing, you might want to steer clear.
- About a pound of chorizo (I used 2 links that had 9 oz. each)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces light cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup light ranch dressing
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2- 2 cups of refried beans (if you have pinto beans on hand, you can always follow this recipe HERE, without adding all the spices it calls for.)
- Tortilla chips
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray and set aside.
In a skillet, cook the chorizo until completely done. I just followed the directions on the links which said to cook the meat for about 10 minutes, but see what your package says. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, ranch dressing, chili powder, and ground cumin. Add the chorizo and half of the shredded cheese. Stir to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups of refried beans and taste to see if you want to add more. The beans just cut through some of the spice.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared pie plate, and sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips.
This was -by FAR- the favorite of almost everyone. Its gooey and cheesy and completely drool worthy. Just make sure you have a mini-crock pot or something that you can put this in to help keep it warm, because its MUCH better when its warm and gooey and… I might have to make some more tonight.
1 pint grape tomatoes, tomatoes cut in half (if you don’t have grape tomatoes, I’m pretty sure you could just diced a couple of tomatoes into 3/4 inch chunks (enough to make a pint) and roast that.)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 (12 ounces) blocks cream cheese, softened
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
8 ounces provolone cheese, freshly grated
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese + more for garnish
4 (or more) garlic cloves, roasted and minced
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil leaves
2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 tablespoon freshly chopped oregano leaves
crackers, bread or chips for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil then place tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt, then roast for 20-25 minutes, until bursting. Set aside.
While tomatoes are roasting, mix softened cream cheese with about 7 ounces each of provolone and mozzarella, then and parmesan. Stir in fresh herbs, garlic and roasted tomatoes, mixing well to combine. Transfer mixture to an oven-safe baking dish (mine was 6 x 4 round). Sprinkle with remaining provolone and mozzarella. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden and bubbly. Serve immediately with crackers, chips or toasted bread. I actually served this with the same foccacia I used for the Spinach Dip.
There now! 4 dips that you can break out at YOUR next get together- or anytime! Let’s celebrate Tuesday with a mini party and some dips!
Happy Tuesday! I’m off to eat- let me know what you think!