Believe it or not, there was a time before tortilla chips and salsa when chip-and-dip sets held regular old potato chips and luscious, creamy dips. For a delicious change of pace, maybe it's time to return to those days, if only for a night.
Bring back the chips and dips
Thinking about how food and eating trends have evolved over the years is always interesting. I often think about what has become more healthful and interesting, and what might have been lost. Take creamy dips: They were standard snack fare years ago. While they aren't exactly healthful by today's standards, they certainly are tasty, and I think they still have a place on the coffee table when you're gathering with friends. Better yet, have a retro food party!
These dips go great with plain old potato chips, of course, but you also can serve them with crackers and crudites. If you want to lighten up these dips, you can use reduced-fat cream cheese or sour cream. Because I make these only as a special, occasional treat, I don't bother. I love the fuller flavor -- in moderation, of course.
Retro dip recipes
Similar to the soup mix and sour cream classic, but better.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and salt, and saute until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on it for the last few minutes so it doesn't burn, but a little caramelization around the edges is okay.
2. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool about 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to the onions and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup seafood cocktail sauce
1 (16-ounce) container lump crabmeat, drained
2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
1. Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt, lemon pepper and Worcestershire sauce and beat until blended. Transfer to a 9-inch serving dish; cover and chill at least 20 minutes.
2. Spread cocktail sauce evenly over cream cheese mixture. Top with crabmeat. Sprinkle with cheese, green onions, bell pepper and ripe olives.
Beer and Cheese Spread
1/2 onion, cut into pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons catsup
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3/4 pounds sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and at room temperature
1/2 cup flat beer
1. In a food processor, process onion, garlic, mustard, catsup, horseradish, cream cheese, 1/3 of the cheddar and 1/2 of the beer for 40 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl.
2. Add remaining beer and another 1/3 of the cheddar; process another 60 seconds. Scrape down again and add remaining cheese; process another 60 seconds.
3. Transfer to a serving dish and let sit in the refrigerator in a covered bowl for several hours to several days to allow the flavors to meld. Bring to room temperature before serving.
10 ounces canned clams, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons clam juice
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons minced shallot
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. In a food processor, combine the garlic, shallot, mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, cream cheese, spices, clam juice, zest, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce; pulse until smooth. Scrape into a serving bowl.
2. Stir in the clams and refrigerate overnight. Serve at room temperature.
Spinach and artichoke dip
2 cups Parmesan cheese
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix Parmesan cheese, spinach and artichoke hearts. In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise and garlic, then combine that with the spinach and artichokes. Scrape into an oven-proof serving dish.
3. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
You can even extend the creamy dip theme to dessert!
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup marshmallow creme
1/4 cup pineapple juice
Fruit slices for dipping
1. Blend cream cheese and marshmallow creme in mixer. Slowly add the pineapple juice and mix well.
2. Scrape into a serving bowl and serve with the fruit slices.