Saturday, February 9, 2013

Charleston Cheese Dip

Okay, so I'm a little late with a Superbowl post, so I can just call this a "good appetizer" post. I wish I could post some good recipes before each holiday, but I'm usually posting after the fact because I cook it the day of. Maybe I'll get smart and repost some of my old posts for each holiday! Duh!
Well, for the Superbowl this year, I made homemade guacamole, a yummy Charleston cheese dip, sausage hors d'oeuvres, and I brought some shrimp for my poor gluten-free child who is obsessed with shrimp and requested that for her fun Superbowl snack!
The little sausage appetizers and the cheese dip were recipes I saw on Trisha Yearwood's new cooking show. I really like her new show. She makes everything she makes look easy, and she has some great recipes. The sausage hors d'oeuvres were pretty good, but not my favorite. They didn't hold together that well when you shape them into balls, and on the health side, they were just sausage, bisquick, and cheese molded together into balls, so not very healthy. They reminded me of a breakfast sandwich. They were good, just not something I would just have to have. Watch me crave it after writing that!
This cheese dip, on the other hand, was simple and super tasty. You can buy anything to go with it that suits your fancy! You could just do crudite, or I got some bagel crisps, toasted ritz crackers, and just some plain tortilla chips. The sky's the limit!
It's super easy to mix together, and it will impress your guests! You can also substitute the crumbled bacon on top for turkey bacon, which works fine also!

Charleston Cheese Dip
Adapted from Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood (c) Clarkson Potter 2010

1/2 cup mayonnaise
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 dash cayenne pepper
8 butter crackers, crushed, such as Ritz
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Corn chips, crackers or bagel chips, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, green onions, and cayenne pepper. Transfer the mixture to a shallow baking dish, such as a 9-inch pie pan. Top the mixture with the cracker crumbs and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and top with the bacon. Serve with whatever sides you would like!!

There are so many ways you could make this a lighter cheese dip. You can use a light mayonnaise, a light cream cheese, swap out whatever cheese you like or prefer (low-fat, or just different varieties), or make it gluten-free by omitting the crushed crackers on top, or just leaving them off a portion of the dip. 

Serve this at your next party and enjoy!!

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