Brenda’s Cheesy Dip

It’s the weekend, hurray! Time to cut loose, invite some friends over, and eat some corn chips!  Well, for some of you anyway. I thought it would be fun to post an easy and oh-so-tasty little dip. Hey, not everybody is clean eating these days, and for those who take occasional days off… Here’s to having a little fun! My friend Brenda brought this retro-style deliciousness to a party not so long ago. She called it “Bean dip”, and she was like “I don’t know why, there’s no beans in it.” Lol. Stuff like that cracks me up! Regardless, it was yummy and I had to have the bean-less recipe to share with you! (Call it what you want.)

Now the original calls for Velveeta, which even my favorite celebrity home cook Ree Drummond herself condones at times. However, I’ve listed a more “natural” option that I’ve come to appreciate- for all of you purists out there. (I can see both sides.)

4 – 15 oz. cans Hormel chili (no beans)

8 oz. Sour Cream

1 – 16 oz. block of Velveeta (or 2 – 8 oz. jars of Trader Joe’s Chipotle Queso)

2 – 10 oz. cans original Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies

2 bags of your favorite corn chips

Family and/or friends (optional)


Place all of the ingredients into a crock pot and turn on low, stirring occasionally. When all ingredients are well incorporated and warm, bust out those corn chips and dip on. Whoot Whoot!


Brown Eyed Baker’s Spinach Artichoke Dip

A good dip is hard to beat. I mean, how many times have I spoiled my dinner filling up on a crazy delicious appetizer… with no regrets? Too many to count probably, and totally worth it every time. I love the combination of creamy artichokes, slightly bitter spinach (for a little depth), smooth cream cheese, and salty Parmesan. Who doesn’t? I’m drooling just thinking about it. I owe my friend AnnMarie credit for bringing this winner to my attention.

As organic as possible: (you know I have to say that)

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1½ cups (6 ounces) finely shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Paprika, to taste (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Press the excess moisture from the spinach.

Combine the artichokes, spinach, 1¼ cups of Parmesan cheese, 1¼ cups of Monterey Jack cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and garlic in a bowl and mix well.

Spoon the artichoke mixture into a 1½-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheeses on top, and then sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla or pita chips, crackers or vegetables.

Thank you Annie for sharing this recipe with me! View the original at www.browneyedbaker.com

Buffalo Chicken Dip

I know what you’re thinking. That is an unnatural shade of orange. And yes, I agree. But don’t let that stop you from trying this… because it’s SO GOOD! I mean super delicious. It’s flavor packed in every bite. I’m crazy about the stuff. It lets you enjoy the taste of buffalo chicken wings without the mess! But here’s the secret, you have to use Frank’s Original Red Hot Sauce. I know, I know, it’s not organic. (Hey, I always say as organic as possible.) There is no comparison. You just have to believe me on this.

As organic as possible:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast

8 oz cream cheese, softened

2 Tbsp butter, softened

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup Frank’s Original Red Hot Sauce

4 oz. Gouda, shredded and divided (or cheddar, but really Gouda)


I love using organic chicken that has already been cut into tenders for dips like this (although that may not be the most economical). They are so quick to boil, about 10 minutes, and easy to cut. If you are using whole breasts it could take longer (about 20 mins), make sure the chicken is cooked through.

In the meantime preheat the oven to 350°. Using a standing mixer (or your powerful arm and a utensil), cream the cheese, butter and salt together.

When the chicken is cooked, chop it into small diced pieces. (Shredding is an option, but I really prefer the small dices.) Add the chicken, hot sauce and a 1/3 of the Gouda shredded cheese to the cream cheese blend. Mix until all is well combined. Then spread the mixture in a 9 x 9 inch baking dish (or equivalent). Top with the remaining cheese (*note it won’t cover the dip completely). Place the dish in the oven and bake until bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.

Serve with corn chips (not flimsy corn chips)… and maybe a personal bowl for yourself? Enjoy immensely.


Marsh-bani Fruit Dip & Fruit Salad

It doesn’t get easier or tastier than this. Honestly it’s just delicious. The fruit dip is sweet and a little tangy, ridiculous when you think about how easy it is. Did I mention it is fat-free? Your taste buds will never know. The yogurt goodness coats the fruit nicely as a dip, but why stop there? The next thought was, oh my goodness, this needs to be in a fruit salad. And can I just tell you, it was stellar. As in: this is what fruit salad needs to taste like for the rest of my life. If you are having a party this weekend, it’s great to serve dip style or in individual cups. So because I really can’t decide which way I like more, I’m sharing both. Lastly, let me just add that if you have any left over, you should throw it into a morning smoothie, because it is awesome… and so are you.

1 cup Marshmallow Creme

1/2 cup Chobani Fat Free Vanilla Greek Yogurt

1 pint blueberries, rinsed and drained

2 pints strawberries, rinsed and drained

2 large bananas (or 3 medium), I leave mine in the peel and third or quarter

2 apples, cut into wedges (with a couple center slices reserved for garnish)

Dipping fruit of your choice

Garnish with apple slices and fresh mint (optional)

That’s it! Two parts marshmallow creme to 1 part Chobani Vanilla Greek yogurt. Brilliant! I used a hand held mixer (with a whisk attachment) to blend the marshmallow and yogurt in a medium sized bowl. If you are blending by hand, just mix until they are incorporated. Place the mixture into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or until party time), and the marshmallow and yogurt blend will continue to infuse.


Now if you want to turn it into fruit salad…

Hull and half (or quarter depending on size) your strawberries, peel your bananas and cut them along with the apples into bite size pieces. Place the fruit into a bowl, drizzle with the Marsh-bani Fruit Dip and gently toss. I take the extra step of tossing the fruit salad in a separate bowl from the one I am serving in, especially for a party… but that’s up to you. The dip can be made a day in advance, but I would not dress and toss the salad until ready to serve. Present in a bowl with a serving spoon or in individual serving dishes for guests to help themselves. Indulge yourself in this sweet treat!




Hot Artichoke Dip

I am a sucker for hot cheesy dips. Melted flavorful cheese is hard to resist. Period. Give me a cracker, a chip, or a spoon.  I know I’m not alone. The best part of these dips is that they are good all year round. Bring ’em to a pot luck or a party; you won’t disappoint anyone. I am also fond of artichokes. They are great hearty and healthy vegetables that can stand up to a lot of flavor. The combination is perfect as an appetizer, for a midday snack or a light meal …A little reminder that food can taste really good.

As organic as possible:

1 – 12 oz jar Marinated artichoke hearts, drained

1 – 14 oz can Artichoke hearts, drained

8 oz Cream cheese

1 cup Mayonnaise

1 tsp granulated Garlic

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground Black pepper

1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper

3 Scallions (green onion), chopped

3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place half of the jar of marinated artichoke hearts into a food processor and set the rest aside. Add the can of drained artichoke hearts, cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne and scallions into the processor and pulse (not to liquify) until all is incorporated together.

Chop the remaining marinated artichoke hearts into small bite size pieces. In a large bowl add artichoke mixture, chopped artichokes and Parmesan cheeses. Stir until combined. Check for taste, and adjust seasonings accordingly.

Spoon cheesy artichoke goodness into a medium sized baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, until hot and bubbly (and maybe just starting to brown around the edges). Serve with tortilla chips or crackers. Savor.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

The Curry, Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich

I was eating my daily dose of vegetables and enjoying them thoroughly because they were generously doused with my Gram’s Curry Dip. And the thought occurred to me, “I wish I had a piece of bacon to dip in this right now.” (Admittedly I have issues). It was a total “light-bulb” moment, except you have to say it like Gru from Despicable Me. So let’s take Gram’s dip to the next level… a spread. Oh my goodness, you won’t be sorry.

Serves 2

As organic as possible:

4 slices thick white country bread

6 thick bacon slices, cooked crispy but meaty (you bacon lovers know what I’m saying)

2-4 leaves iceberg lettuce (depending on their size)

4 slices ripe juicy tomato

4 Tbsp Gram’s Curry Dip

Place the bread in a toaster oven (or toaster obviously) and toast lightly, for a little texture but maintaining softness. Spread some of Gram’s Curry Dip on the insides of all four slices (so the goodness is on the top and bottom of your new favorite sandwich). Layer on the lettuce, tomato and bacon. Top your sandwiches, cut them in half and serve. Then gloat, because those cute little cafes with their fancy sandwiches have nothing on you right now.

Gram’s Curry Dip

This dip graced the table of almost every holiday growing up. It’s beautiful color adds life to any table setting and the curry gives a flavorful burst I find myself craving. Something this special shouldn’t be so easy to make.

1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise**

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp horseradish

1 tsp dry onion (can substitute with fresh minced)

1 tsp vinegar

1 tsp curry powder

Put it all in a bowl and mix. Now you’re awesome because you just made something delicious which happens to be treasured by many (I have a big family). Let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours to let the flavors mingle. Serve as an accompaniment to your favorite dipping veggies.

**Gram used Hellman’s mayo and it is classic and delicious; but if you’d like to sub for organic I understand.

Guacamole Salsa

Guacamole is a perfect summer dip. It’s a guilt free creamy indulgence. When combined with other bold fresh flavors and piled high on a salty corn chip it screams “fiesta!” Of course don’t limit yourself to corn chips; it also makes a great sandwich spread. For an even healthier treat, stack it tall on cold crunchy leaves of romaine or roll it in cool pockets of iceberg lettuce.

Serves 8

As organic as possible:
1 small onion diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced small

3 small tomatoes, seeds and juice discarded (as much a possible, don’t work too hard)

½ tsp coarse salt

1 dash cayenne pepper

4 ripe avocados; pitted, diced and scooped out of the skins
Juice of 2 medium limes

Place the onion, garlic, jalapeno, tomato, salt,  and cayenne in a bowl. If you’ve never worked with avocados, don’t worry; I’ll step you through it. On a ripe avocado, one with a little give when pushed, the skin may appear tough, but isn’t. Using a chef’s knife, cut lengthwise (top to bottom) all the way through to the pit. Continue all the way around the avocado until you have cut a full circle. Set down the knife and hold the fruit in your hand. Twist half of the avocado at the cut, holding the other half steady in your hand. Once it gives, separate the two halves. One of the halves should have retained the pit. Use the chef’s knife (being very careful not to cut yourself) and give the pit a little whack, just enough to get an edge of the knife inside. Then holding the avocado twist the knife enough to loosen and remove the pit. Carefully pull the pit off of your knife and discard. While the fruit is still in its skin, I like to cut a diamond pattern (dicing it) in the flesh and use a tablespoon to scoop it out along the skin.
Place the diced avocado in the bowl, and add lime juice. Gently toss, just mixing until combined, not to mash the avocado. (I like big chunks.)


Serve immediately (pool side if possible) as avocados have a tendency to turn brown when left in open air too long. If juice settles, feel free to re-toss. Happy Eating!

Side note: If you need to store it in the refrigerator, gently press plastic wrap against the guacamole to eliminate as much air as possible from contacting the avocados… and the lime juice will help.

Hummus Lover’s Hummus

I am a huge fan of hummus. At any given time, I can eat unladylike amounts with ease. Let’s pretend we just had a hearty meal followed by dessert, and then for some unknown reason, you bring out some hummus and pita chips. I’d be like, “yeah, I have a little room for some hummus.” Smooth, chunky, creamy, pasty, garlicky, spicy, pine nutty…

As Organic as you can…

3 cloves garlic

1 scallion

2 -15 1/2 oz cans chickpeas rinsed and drained, (about 3 cups cooked)

6 tablespoons tahini

6 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

3/4 tsp salt

2 Sprinkles of cumin

Sprinkle of cayenne

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tsp chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Do a rough chop on the garlic and scallions and throw them into the food processor. Pulse a couple times. Add chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, salt, cumin, and cayenne. Then turn your processor on and walk away. Check your processor and if need be scrape down the sides with a spatula. If it seems very pasty and not blending well, this is a good time to add a tablespoon or so of water. (You don’t necessarily want to add more lemon juice, or olive oil at this point). Then turn it back on and go do something else. Don’t be scared to let it run for what seems like a ridiculously long time, we want it creamy. When it looks incorporated and smooth slowly drizzle olive oil in. (Sidenote: sometimes my tahini is oilier than other times. If it seems thick to you, and you’d like to, add another tablespoon of olive oil.) Then using a spatula, and being careful of the blade, scoop the hummus into a bowl. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Do not skip this step! Because the hummus you taste right now is not going to be the better hummus you taste in two hours. However you can do a little taste for seasoning, and if need be and more salt and any of the spices you’d like. Then in a couple hours or even the next day when you’re ready to eat the hummus, remember not to eat it all by yourself at one sitting because that is a lot of hummus! (That last note was for me.)