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Dips and Dunks

Day Ahead Seven Layer Taco Salad Dip

13x9 pan or 14" platter without meat or avocado, counts as 50 appetizer bites. Make 3-4 for 100, depending on other items.
Tex Mex classic, 5 layers topped by a layer of vegetables, then smothered in cheese and garnished with black olives. The vegetables may be varied according to taste.
Cream cheese layer may be halved. Best if beans, cumin and taco seasoning are mixed the day before and allowed to mellow.

1 ounce mild taco seasoning mix, commercial or homemade
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2-4 cups (1-2 16 ounce cans) refried beans (refried black beans preferred)
1 cup (8 ounce package} cream cheese, softened
2 cups (16 ounce container) sour cream
2 cups salsa fresca OR 1 (16 ounce) jar chunky salsa
1 large tomato, chopped and drained
2 green bell pepper, shredded
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded 3 cups shredded lettuce
1 (4-6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
OPTIONAL layer: 2 cups guacamole OR diced ripe avocado sprinkled with lime juice
OPTIONAL layer: 1 1/2 pounds ground beef/ turkey, browned with 1 ounce taco seasoning and drained
OPTIONAL garnish: sliced jalapenos on half of the top layer

In a medium bowl, blend the taco seasoning mix and refried beans. Refrigerate overnight. If using a meat layer, saute meat with taco seasoning, drain and refrigerate. Spread the bean mixture onto a large serving platter. IF USING MEAT, spread meat layer over bean layer.
Mix the sour cream and cream cheese in a medium bowl until very smooth, which is easiest if the cream cheese has been at room temp 1/2 hour or microwaved for 2 minutes. Spread over the refried beans/ meat.
Top the layers with an optional layer of guacamole or diced avocado sprinkled with lime juice, then with a layer of salsa. Place a veggie layer of tomato, green bell pepper, green onions and lettuce over the salsa, and top with Cheddar cheese. Garnish with black olives. a quarter of a purple onion, quarter of a white onion, a half of lime juice, about 2 shakes of salt, garlic salt, and garlic powder and a handful of cilantro


Pita Bread Wedges

preheat oven to 350 °
Allow 1/3 to 1/2 piece/loaf per person

To make baked pita bread wedges, split each of the pitas into two thin circles, then stack and cut the circles into 6 or 8 wedges, depending on the size of your bread. Place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp.


Luscious Spinach Artichoke Dip

12 1/2 cup servings: fills a 9x13-inch baking dish or 4 quart crock pot. You need 8 times this amount for 100.
Appetizer dips are usually 1/3 cup, but people eat more of this one. May be mixed one to two days ahead and refrigerated or mixed and frozen in zipper freezer bags.

2 (14 ounce) jars/cans marinated artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
1 pound fresh spinach, steamed, drained and chopped OR (2 10 ounce) packages frozen spinach, thawed, drained and chopped
1/2 cup sour cream (may use fat free or reduced fat)
1/4 cup mayonnaise (may use fat free or reduced fat)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) cream cheese (may use neufchatel, fat free or reduced fat)
1/4 to 1 cup grated Romano or asiago cheese (thicker with more)
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
OPTIONAL 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice or a little crushed red pepper or cayenne pepper,
OPTIONAL additions: 6 ounces of crab meat if not freezing; 6 ounces of shredded mixed Italian cheeses
OPTIONAL garnishes: shredded Monterey Jack cheese, chopped red bell peppers, parsley, sliced mushrooms, grape tomatoes or diced, drained tomatoes or bread crumbs
Serve with 1 pound tortilla chips (Tostito Gold or Fritos Scoops) OR slices of toasted French bread OR celery sticks

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Mix together artichoke hearts, spinach, sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese, grated Romano/Asiago cheese, and garlic. If using optional crab or Italian cheeses, put half the mixture in the buttered 9x13 baking dish, then a layer of half the Italian cheese or all the crab, then the rest of the mixture and topped with the rest of the Italian cheese. Cover dish and refrigerate or cover and bake.
Bake until heated through and bubbly. Bake covered for 20 minutes if fresh or about 40 minutes if it has been refrigerated. Remove the cover, and let the dish bake uncovered for 5 more minutes, or until the surface is lightly browned.
Alternately, place in a buttered crock pot and heat for 1 hour on high, then up to four hours on low.
If frozen, omit the crab, place the unthawed dip in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake 50 minutes, uncover and stir, bake uncovered for 5 more minutes, or until the surface is lightly browned.


Make Ahead Bread Bowl Spinach Dip

Serving in a toasted bread bowl is traditional. Dip can be warmed or used chilled
12 1/3 cup servings- you need 8-9 times this amount for 100

2 pounds fresh spinach, steamed, chopped and drained
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 to 1 cup (4-8) ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
OPTIONAL fresh crushed garlic or garlic powder to taste
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
pepper or nutmeg to taste
OPTIONAL: fresh crushed garlic or garlic powder to taste
OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts OR julienne sun-dried tomatoes
1 (1 pound) loaf round, crusty Italian bread, rye bread, or round sourdough loaf,
OR mini pita breads and melba toast, bread sticks and crackers
OPTIONAL garnish: diced grape tomatoes and diced red onions

Don't microwave your bread, oven toast the loaf. You can put the dip straight into the toasted loaf, but if you are transporting it, you can also hollow out the loaf to hold a small bowl and bring them separate, so you CAN microwave the dip to reheat it.
In a large mixing bowl, combine spinach, sour cream, mayonnaise, green onions, parsley, lemon juice, and salt. Mix until well blended, then refrigerate.
To make a bread bowl, cut a circle out of the top of the bread and scoop out the inside. Tear the inside into pieces for dipping. Place the lid and bowl and the torn pieces in a 375 degree oven until just toasted, check after 8 minutes.
Spoon the dip into the center of the toasted bread bowl. Garnish with diced grape tomatoes and red onions for added color and flavor. Serve the toasted bread pieces for dipping.


Black Bean Hummus 8 servings- you need 12 times this amount for 100

1 clove garlic
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika or sumac for garnish
OPTIONAL 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup diced tomato, seeded and drained, for garnish
10 Greek olives

Mince the garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Add black beans, 2 tablespoons water liquid, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, tahini, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper; process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add additional seasoning and liquid to taste.
Spread in a fairly thin layer on a platter. Drizzle with optional olive oil. Garnish with paprika, diced tomato and Greek olives.


BLT Dip 3 cups dip OK, too simple, but people do seem to like it...

1 pound of bacon, fried and crumbled
1 large diced, seeded tomato
1 cup quality mayonaisse
1 cup sour cream
1 pound toast corners or bagel chips

Toast bread; cut each slice diagonally into triangles.

Mix the dip ingredients, serve with the dippers.