Sunday, June 21, 2009

Jackson's Birthday Appetizers

Since it was Father's Day I took the night off from cooking. Actually my main taste tester Doug was at the US Open so we had take-out with Grandpa Kurtiak & the family. So no pictures of that. BUT....Jackson's B-day party was yesterday and I have 2 appetizer recipes to share. The pictures are absolutely terrible but I was so crazed that I took the pictures literally seconds before the hungry crowd dug in. I finally found the key to easy party hostessing---Have almost all the food catered or made by other "awesome" family member AND have the party as someone else's house. It was a great party and we hope everyone had as much fun as the Birthday boy.

These could not be any simpler appetizers and I have a feeling these will be heavy in my summer rotation
7 Layer Taco Dip
but I just realized it should have been 8 maybe 9--OOPSIE!
So in my haste I forgot the cheese....HOW did I forget the cheese!
this is what happens when I don't have any recipe in front of me. I think it was pretty delicious without it anyway and almost all of it was gone and no one asked where the heck the cheese was.

1 can of fat free refried beans
1 8ozs low fat cream cheese--softened
1 low sodium taco packet
1 jar salsa
1 16 ozs container of low fat BREAKSTONES sour cream * Breakstone is the only brand I use
3 Roma tomatoes diced small
2 cups of shredded iceberg lettuce
4 ozs can of sliced black olives chopped
**2 cups shredded cheddar optional **
I use a deep glass dish for this but you can use a aluminum pan also. I believe its and 11x7 inch pan but you can also use 13 X 9 and it should be fine but not as deep to dip.

Heat the beans in a microwave safe dish for 40 seconds. Then spread them in the bottom of your serving dish. In a separate dish microwave the cream cheese for 25 seconds and then stir in the taco packet until mixed through out the cheese. Then layer that on top of the beans. Then spread the salsa on top of that. Then spread the sour cream on top of that. Sprinkle the diced tomatoes. Sprinkle the cheese. This is where I would have added the cheese on top and then if you like Olives they would go on last. I only add it to 1/4-1/2 because I don't like olives. I have also been known to add chopped green onions as the absolute last layer but I didn't feel like chopping them on Saturday. As you can see this is a very flexible recipe.

OH can also add ground beef to it as well. You can brown a 1/2 lb of ground beef and add 1/2 the taco packet to that instead of all of it to the cream cheese.
That's it, its done. I don't refrigerate it because I think that would make it soggy. I just try to make it close to when people will eat it.
Its a cant miss, really simple and easy appetizer that will keep people standing in one place and dipping until there is no more. I am seriously wishing I had a big dish of it right now.
Jalapeno Popper Spread
These pictures really stink so when I make it again I will try to get some better pictures. But you really should make it yourself because it was so easy and it got lots of rave reviews.

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
2 ounces canned diced jalapeno peppers, drained
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese * I used an extra 1/2 cup also

optional--3tbsp. panko breadcrumbs, tortilla chips, baguette sliced thin

Original Directions from

Stir together cream cheese and mayonnaise in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in green chiles and jalapeno peppers. Pour mixture into a microwave safe serving dish, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Microwave on High until hot, about 3 minutes.

My directions

After reading the many many reviews I altered the directions so I am not sure how it would come out as written. I am sure it would be just good but I thought I would listen to the popper experts on this one. I also think the presentation was probably a bit nicer since it had a golden crust.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together cream cheese and mayonnaise in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in green chiles and jalapeno peppers and 1/2 cup parm cheese. Pour mixture into a microwave & oven safe safe serving dish. I used a 9 inch pie plate. Sprinkle cheese and bread crumbs on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the topping is a golden brown. When you are ready to serve, Microwave on High until hot, about 3 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips & baguette sliced (which I didn't have time to toast but would have been very yummy)


My first bit was REALLY spicy but I think I must have gotten a seed. No one else seemed to think it was overly spicy. It got lots of raves and some requests for the recipe so I consider that a hit. It is so incredibly easy to put together so in my book that makes it a keeper.

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