I thought I’d try a different twist on my cream cheese dip tonight. I decided to go with a southwestern flair; cilantro, lime, and jalapeno just sounded tasty. The sweetness of the red pepper and the tartness of the lime worked very well with this spicy combination. I don’t think I would change a thing. I couldn’t decide if bread or tortilla chips would be better; I tried both but enjoyed the crusty toasted baguette the best. This can be made ahead and baked just before serving. It also reheats very well should you be lucky enough to have leftovers!
Southwestern Cream Cheese Dip
1 8 o.z. package cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbs mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet red pepper ~ diced
1/4 cup jalapeno ~ diced ~ I used 1 large jalapeno
2 Tbs green onion ~ thinly sliced
1/2 tsp lime zest
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp chili powder
3/4 cup cheddar cheese ~ shredded
1 tsp cilantro ~ chopped
Allow cream cheese to soften at room temperature for about an hour. Mix in sour cream and mayo until fully incorporated. Add pepper, jalapeno, onion, lime zest and juice, chili powder, 1/2 cup of cheddar, and cilantro. Spread into small buttered baking dish or pie pan. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 – 40 minutes until hot and bubbly.
I had a bit more fresh mozzarella to use so I decided to make a bruschetta tonight. I love toasted italian bread anyway so adding some fresh ingredients was a no brainer. You can use any type of mozzarella although the softness of the fresh mozzarella pearls was tasty.
Bruschetta ~ fresh tomato basil and garlic
2 Tbs fresh basil ~ thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups fresh diced tomato
2 clove garlic ~ finely minced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Bread ~ crusty italian baguette works perfectly
Prepare basil ~ I like the technique I posted in my fresh basil post seen here. Combine basil, tomato, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Set aside and slice bread as desired. Lightly toast bread on one side just enough to dry surface. Flip over and toast other side. Flip back over and top with bruschetta mixture and mozzarella cheese.
Toast 2 – 3 minutes longer about 4 – 5 inches from broiler or until cheese is melted and edges of bread have browned.
Spinach and artichoke dip is one of my favorite appetizers. We make this quite often; sometimes we use different herb combinations and other times we add jalapeno and different cheeses. This is the version that Charles made for me Sunday night. It was very delicious; this makes a very large batch so cut in half if desired or make more for a crowd.
10 o.z. fresh spinach
1 tsp crushed red pepper
5 cloves garlic ~ minced
16 o.z. cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup mozzarella
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
1/2 tsp italian herb
salt and pepper
1 can artichoke hearts – drained; quartered
Place half of the spinach in large pan; sprinkle crushed red pepper and garlic on top and add remaining spinach. Add 1 cup of water and bring to simmer over medium heat; cook until spinach is wilted about 5 minutes; drain well squeezing out excess liquid.
In large bowl combine cream cheese and spinach until well blended. Add sour cream, mayonnaise, herbs, and about 3/4 cup mozzarella and 1/3 cup of the parmesan; add salt and pepper to taste. Fold in artichoke hearts.
Pour into buttered 2 quart baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly and beginning to brown. Serve with toasted bread.
I must share the great dip we had tonight. With the upcoming Super Bowl this will be perfect for a game day party. Serve with toasted bread ~ baguettes are our favorite.
8 o.z. cream cheese
1 small jalapeno
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1 slice thick cut bacon ~ cooked crispy and crumbled
6 o.z. lump crab meat ~ we used the claw meat available in the seafood department
Allow cream cheese to soften. Add jalapeno and garlic ~ both minced using a microplane.
Add paprika, pepper, thyme, half of the parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, crab meat, and crumbled bacon; blend well. Spread into buttered baking dish ~ a pie pan is the perfect size. Top with remaining half of parmesan and 1/4 cup of mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.