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Slice of Life

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It’s the time of year for party dips

Serving a multitude of friends and family typically includes an appetizer of some sort. While the ubiquitous cheese platter, a mess of hot wings and mini egg rolls come immediately to mind, I’m a big proponent of the hot dip.

Typically a cheesy concoction of herbs, spices and did I mention cheese, the dip is one that can be whipped up a day before the company descends and heated to perfection moments before they arrive.

The following recipes, perfect for entertaining year-round, offer a wide variety of ingredients to tempt just about any palate and are so delicious you may just want to serve them while watching your favorite football team.

Dippers for the dips can be chips of all kinds, celery, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, snap peas, red peppers, mini breadsticks, pitas and crackers.

Roasted Corn Dip

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 to 5 cups fresh or frozen corn

1 onion, chopped fine

1 red pepper, chopped fine

6 green onions, the green and white part chopped

1 jalapeno, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 cup mayonnaise

8 ounces sharp cheddar

Salt and pepper

Cayenne

Tortilla chips for dipping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet heat the olive oil and add the corn, stirring constantly until the corn is lightly browned. Immediately place it in a large bowl. Don’t clean the pan, just add 1 tablespoon of oil and the onion and red peppers. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes then add the green onions, garlic and jalapeno. Stir to combine and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the onions are soft.

Add the onion mixture to the corn mixture. Add the mayonnaise and half of the cheese and season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Spoon the mixture into a greased oven proof serving dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling. Cool 2 to 3 minutes and serve with corn chips, potato chips or pita chips.

Makes 5 to 6 cups.

Hot Seafood Dip

2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of celery soup

2 cups grated Munster cheese

1 1/2 cups chopped cooked shrimp

1 1/2 cups chopped cooked crabmeat

Pinch nutmeg

Coarse ground black pepper

Paprika

4 to 5 sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Grease a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. In a bowl combine the soup, cheese, shrimp and crab. Mix to combine and season with the nutmeg and pepper. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake 30 minutes until the mixture is bubbly. Cool for 2 minutes then sprinkle the green onions and paprika on the top. Great with French bread, pita bread or water crackers.

Makes 6 to 7 cups.

Spicy Hot Tex-Mex Dip

16-ounce can refried beans

15-ounce can black beans, drained

1.25-ounce package taco seasoning mix

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup salsa, any kind and degree of hotness

1/2 cup minced green pepper

1/2 cup chopped black olives

1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

2 large green onions

1 package tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl combine the refried beans, black beans and taco seasoning mix. Spread the bean mixture in an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish. Spread the sour cream over bean layer, then spoon the salsa over the sour cream. Top with green peppers, black olives and cheese. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover, bake for an additional 15 minutes or until cheese is melted Sprinkle the green onions over the top and serve.

Serves 8 to 12.

Feta Garlic Dip

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

2/3 to 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degree. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir until mixed. Place mixture in a glass pie pan and bake until dip is heated through and bubbly. Makes 2 cups dip.

– Submitted by Rochelle Maters of Chicago – Modified from About.com Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at eztlog@gmail.com or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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