By Mary Hunt- I have to be honest about sports. I’m there for the good times: the World Series, the Olympics and, of course, the Super Bowl. Even then, for me it’s all about the food. I’m right there, front and center, on Super Bowl Sunday, cheering on the underdog, breathlessly waiting for the next commercial while enjoying some decadent party food.
Today, I want to share with you my most favorite, best-ever party dips. No one would consider any of these healthy food choices, and for that I do not apologize. After all, we don’t do this every day. So let’s lighten up and get ready to feast.
SLOW COOKER BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 10-ounce cans chunk chicken, drained
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup ranch dressing
3/4 cup pepper sauce (like Frank’s RedHot or Tabasco)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken, breaking up the large pieces with a fork. Add the hot sauce, stirring until heated through. Stir in the cream cheese and ranch dressing. Continue stirring until well-blended and warm.
Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and then transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
Cover and cook on low until hot and bubbly, or two to three hours.
Lower the setting to warm. Serve with celery sticks, crackers and chips, or just dig in with a spoon.
ROASTED GARLIC DIP
3 heads garlic, unpeeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Cut off the top of each head of garlic, about 1/4 inch, to expose the cloves. Brush the cut cloves with a small amount of olive oil. Then, wrap the heads loosely in a piece of aluminum foil. Bake until they are tender and nicely browned, about one hour.
Remove garlic from the oven, and allow it to cool to room temperature. Once cool, squeeze the cloves out of their skins into a mixing bowl. Mash well with a wire whisk. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, green onion, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk until evenly blended. Refrigerate for two to four hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve with chips, crudites or slices of toasted baguette. Yum!
HOT CORN DIP
2 tablespoons butter, divided
3 1/2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup jarred red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces Monterey jack, shredded
4 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Tortilla chips or Fritos Scoops for dipping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn, salt and black pepper. Stir occasionally for about five minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Add the chopped white onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring often for about two minutes. Add the green onions, jalapeno and garlic. Stir for two minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the corn.
Add mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, half of the Monterrey jack and half of the cheddar, and mix well.
Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish or equivalent, and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot with chips.