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Tag: appetizers

My Mexican dip takes a little while to prepare properly but simple variations of it can be thrown together in a few minutes.

You will need a large microwaveable bowl, ideal with a flat bottom, wide and shallow. This is a party dish so the bowl should be brightly colored in a Mexican style, all red, green, and yellow.

Start by chopping up some iceberg lettuce with a little coriander, and mixing the two together. This will be your middle layer, separating the hot bit underneath from the cooler bits on top. Set that aside in a separate bowl for the moment.

Heat up some refried beans or refried black beans and then generous layer them into the flat inside of the bowl. Immediately cover with grated cheddar and/or Monterey Jack cheese. Not too much, just enough to fully cover the beans. Then microwave quickly until the cheese just melts. Top this with generously scattered red or green chillies, of the flavor and intensity that you or your family most enjoy.

Place the lettuce/coriander mix directly on top of this and ensure that all the bowl is fully covered. If you’ve got a good bowl of the right type, it should be nearly full now and you can put the rest on show.

Okay, you’ve got four ingredients in, now time for the prettiest, most colorful parts of this dish.

Take a generous amount of guacamole (it’s easy to make, just mash up some avocado with the juice of a lemon and a touch of salt), and spread this over the lettuce mixture. I find it easiest to just spoon it on, and spread each spoonful a little with the spoon itself.

Then get some sour cream, and spoon this on as well. You don’t need a huge amount of this, just enough to provide a coolness in the spicy flavours of the rest of the dish.

Finally, top off with a bit of delicious red salsa, to your taste. Set this out beside a bowl of slightly warm fresh tortilla chips and just watch it disappear!

I’ve talked more about Mexican food elsewhere – you can get some tips on the best burritos recipe!

Want to impress your friends with a great appetizer or side dish? How about fried stuffed potato balls? I came up with this recipe after visiting one of my favorite restaurants. On their menu, they have beer battered mashed potato balls with a sweet dark beer reduction sauce. Well, let’s just say I LOVED it! Being an amatuer chef (highlight the ‘amatuer’!) I decided to make them myself. As good as they were, they were NOT the same. So with some tinkering, and some additions, I came up with a recipe that I DO like, and it has been a HIT with my friends and family ever since!

What you need:

2 Large Idaho Russet Potatoes (or 3-4 small)
5 strips of bacon
1 medium white onion
6 ounces of shredded cheddar/cheddar blend
One egg
Bread crumbs

Assembly for these is not difficult, and you can make them as big or as small as you like. I recommend something bigger than a golf ball, but smaller than a baseball. Any thing smaller will be hard to wrap, and anything bigger (like softball size) will not heat through to the center while fying. Once you have the technique down, you can play with the size a little more and make them more bite size.

First thing you need to do is cook all the ingredients. Chop the bacon into half inch pieces or smaller, and cook off till just crispy. Remove bacon but leave the fat in the pan. Add the onion, diced. Cook until caramelized and then remove from the pan. Boil the Potatoes and mash, add milk or water to get a nice creamy consistency. Add any spices you may want to the potato now. I use chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Once you have everything in its own bowl or container, set up your assembly line. You need some plastic wrap, and I recommend taking two feet of it and folding it over itself so you have a one foot sheet double thick. Place some mashed potato on the plastic and fold the plastic wrap over and smash into patty/pancake. It should be a thin flat round disc. Add bacon, onion and cheese to the center and fold all four corners of the plastic wrap up so the potato closes in on the filling. Twist the potato and the wrap in your hand to make a ball. Set aside.

Next is the breading station. Drop the balls into an egg wash (one egg, beaten with a little water added) and then into the bread crumbs. Take the potato balls and place on cooking sheet in the refrigerator. When you are ready to serve, just drop the balls in hot oil for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Makes 10-15 servings.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. For more great meal ideas check out Gordon’s View

Guacamole is a typical Mexican side dish, that goes well with a lot of food, but is especially great as a dip with tortilla chips or even french fries. Below you can find an easy recipe to get you started, plus two variations, in case you feel more adventurous.

Basic Guacamole Recipe
Cut a very ripe avocado in half, remove the big seed and scoop the flesh in a bowl, sprinkle with lime juice and salt. Traditionally you would now use a pestle and mortar, to mash all together, but a fork will do also. After you have achieved a smooth consistency, taste and add more salt or lime juice as necessary. This is the very basic form of Guacamole, on which you can expand further.

Spicy Variation
To make a more fiery dip, you can add finely diced tomatoes, hot peppers like Jalapeño or other chili peppers, garlic, cayenne pepper and / or cilantro. Cover the tomatoes shortly with hot water, to make it easier to peel them, and remove the seeds. Dice the tomato flesh in small cubes and set aside. Remove the seeds from the peppers and dice also finely. Chop the garlic, cilantro, and other herbs you want to add, and mix everything in your basic avocado mix. Add seasoning to taste and carefully mix the tomato dices into this, to make sure that the tomato pieces stay as intact as possible.

Roasted Variation
Roasting some of the ingredients, like the onions and garlic, adds some additional flavor to the mix. Just make sure the ingredients have cooled down before mixing them with the avocado. You can even fry some bacon cubes, until they are crunchy, and sprinkle them over the finished guacamole, to give it some extra taste and crunch.

After having tried out these variations, you will soon find your favorite combination. Don’t be afraid to try out something new and unique, Avocados go together with a lot of other ingredients and soon you will have developed your very own, special Guacamole recipe.

Doug Cullen is the owner of a Mexican restaurant in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and an avid cook. You can find a great guacamole recipe and many great Mexican recipes at his site MexicanFoodie.

Do you need a few new recipes for your next family get-together? Are you hosting a party and need a few tasty Tex-Mex appetizer dip recipes that are easy to prepare and taste delicious? If so, I have 4 fantastic recipes to share with you. All of these dips will need to be prepared a few hours before serving time so that you can refrigerate them to allow for the flavors to infuse in the dip…in most cases, 2-4 hours in advance.

Taco Tortilla Chip Dip Recipe

1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese
12 oz. container cottage cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 packet taco seasoning mix
1 bag shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup chopped tomatoes

In a large mixing bowl combine together the cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream and the packet of taco seasoning mix with an electric mixer until well blended and creamy. Spread the mixture onto a large dinner plat or round platter. Sprinkle the shredded lettuce on top and then spread a layer of the tomatoes on top of the lettuce. Finish up by sprinkling the shredded cheddar cheese on top. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving with Tortilla chips.

Mexican Chili Chip Dip Recipe

1 (8 ounce) block Cream Cheese
1 (8 ounce) can beanless chili
1 bag shredded cheddar cheese

Let cream cheese soften at room temperature for 10 minutes and then spread the cream cheese onto the bottom of a small baking dish. Using a rubber spatula, spread the beanless chili on top of the cream cheese layer. Sprinkle the bag of shredded cheddar cheese on top making sure to cover the chili layer. Place baking dish in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove and serve with Tortilla chips. This dip is best served warm.

Mexican Shrimp Taco Dip Recipe

1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese
2 tablespoons cold milk
1/2 cup chili sauce
1 cup frozen tiny shrimp (thawed, drained and dried)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 (3 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

In a medium sized mixing bowl with an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese and milk. Spread mixture onto the bottom of a small baking pan. Let it sit for 1 minute and then layer on the remaining ingredients. Cover the baking pan and place into the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving it with Tortilla chips.

Tex-Mex Caviar Dip Recipe

1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
3 oz. jar diced pimentos
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried or fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
8 oz. bottle Italian Dressing

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the above ingredients together in the order that they are given. You can hand mix it or use an electric mixer on low speed. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving with Tortilla chips to allow the flavors to infuse together.

Shelly Hill is a mother and grandmother living in Pennsylvania who enjoys cooking, baking and canning. You can visit Shelly’s popular foodie blog called Shakin ‘N Bakin in the Kitchen at for free menu ideas, cooking tips and free recipes.

When it comes to entertaining friends and family at various get-together’s that I host every year…I like to prepare easy recipes that taste delicious. Just like my party guests, I want to enjoy my party and not spend 2 or 3 days making all of the food. With that said, these 4 recipes are super easy to prepare and make great appetizer spreads served with a variety of your favorite crackers.

Three of these 4 cracker spread recipes need to be refrigerated for a few hours before serving them to allow the flavors to infuse. The fourth recipe is best served warm fresh from the oven.

Green Pepper Cracker Spread Recipe

2 large eggs, beaten

1 Tablespoon butter, softened

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons white vinegar

1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened

1 green pepper, chopped

In a double boiler pan, combined the eggs, butter, granulated sugar and vinegar and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from burner to let cool and then pour mixture into a mixing bowl. Stir in the softened cream cheese and chopped green pepper and stir until they are well mixed in to the other ingredients. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

Artichoke Cracker Spread Spread Recipe

1 (16 ounce) can artichokes

1 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Drain artichokes, rinse and then slice them into quarters. In a medium mixing bowl combine together the sliced artichokes, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder until mixture is creamy. Spread mixture into the bottom of a 9″ round pie pan and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 35 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving it. If there are any left-overs, promptly refrigerate them in an air-tight container.

Cream Cheese Cracker Spread Recipe

1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened

1 cup walnuts, removed from shell and crushed

1 to 1 1/2 cups plump raisins

In a small bowl, combine together the softened cream cheese, crushed walnut pieces and the raisins using a rubber spatula until all three ingredients are combined. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.

Cheesy Spinach Cracker Spread Recipe

2 boxes frozen chopped spinach

2 cups low-fat mayonnaise

1/2 cup onions, finely chopped

1 (8 ounce) bag cheddar cheese, shredded

Remove spinach from freezer 30 minutes before preparation. Once it has thawed, rinse, drain away the water and place it into a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir in the low-fat mayonnaise, chopped onions and cheddar cheese. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Shelly Hill is a mother and grandmother living in Pennsylvania who enjoys cooking, baking and hosting parties for her friends and family members. Shelly is the owner of the popular foodie blog called Shakin ‘N Bakin in the Kitchen at where you can find free party ideas, cooking tips and free recipes.