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It seems like we keep really busy late in the year attending events and activities that involve food. Whether it’s a company party or a family get together, a welcome addition to any gathering is an appetizer. The term “appetizer” usually refers to a small plate or single bite of food served before the meal to stimulate the appetite. The same food item might be served as an hors d’oeuvres at cocktail parties and receptions, where no dinner is served afterward. There are many recipes freely available, and here are a few of our own.

Texican Street Corn Scoops
Texican Street Corn ScoopsThis is a delicious treat that accents the freshness of corn on the cob with butter, cheese and homemade Emeril’s Essence! Texican Street Corn Scoops are a terrific way to deliver wonderful flavors in a bite size finger food. We cook the ears of corn in the microwave for our Texican Street Corn to retain all the flavor and sweetness which other methods often cook out, and we show you how to create this flavorful bite size version that will bring them back for more. Get the recipe here.

Twice Baked Potato Skins
Twice Baked Potato Skins Treat the family to an oven baked potato recipe dish that has the ideal texture and taste. Load these twice backed potatoes with butter, sour cream, cheese, chives, and top with crumbled bacon. They boast the ultimate level of silky creaminess, cheesiness, and buttery goodness . . . then top it with bacon! The perfect recipe for your memorable Christmas meal! Many folks also enjoy smaller versions as finger food, whether served hot or cold. Get the recipe here.

Shrimp Boats
Shrimp In A BoatThe original recipe for this appetizer was a shrimp salad that dates back to the early 1970s when our next door neighbor, Karen Flessner, introduced this. She served the salad in a large bowl with a dipping spoon and snack crackers on the side so we could fix our own. This deliciousness can also be elevated to bite-size morsels served in tortilla cups, as we show here, or on crackers, croutons, or any other vessel that is available. Get the recipe here.

Curried Carrot and Pear Bites
Curried Carrot and Pear Bites with RaisinsAdapted from our Carrot and Pear Salad, this tasty morsel on a stick is a party of flavors in an attractive burst of colors. Combining a zesty marinade with the pallet-pleasing tastes of fresh pears and raisins is counterbalanced by the earthy tones of the carrot ribbons. This eye catcher is a favorite, and they are easy to assemble, so be sure to make plenty. Get the recipe here.

Fingerling Hasselback Potato Bites
Roasted cheddar potato fanThe Hasselback potato is clearly the most eye-catching spud to ever call itself a side dish. Elevate the baked potato into an eye-catching side dish or appetizer with these potatoes roasted in a hot oven to produce a crispy skin and creamy interior. Adding seasoning and cheese, these appetizers will leap off the serving tray. These are called “Hasselback” potatoes, which refers to the luxurious Hasselbacken hotel and restaurant in Stockholm, which originated this technique. Get the recipe here.

Rye Bread with Dill Dip
Dill Dip in Rye Bread LoafLarry’s mother got this dill dip recipe from a St. Louis grocery store that made it fresh daily. We have served it many times over the years, and it eventually found its way into a hollowed out loaf of rye bread. Break the center of the loaf into pieces and place around the loaf. When the broken pieces are gone you break bread from the loaf itself. Enjoy! Get the recipe here.

Roasted Cheddar and Bacon Jalapeno Poppers
Cheddar and Bacon Jalapeno PopperStems sliced down the middle give these jalapeno poppers additional eye appeal. Poppers are fun to experiment with and we like making these a variety of ways. This recipe uses flavored thick cut bacon, and a little bread or cracker crumbs to add a tiny bit of texture to the filling, to complement the crunchiness of the exterior. Get the recipe here.

Easy to assemble appetizers and hors d’oeuvres are fun to make, and even more fun when they become the hit of the party. Try putting together one or more of these for your next get together, and let us know how it went. Have a favorite you’d like to tell us about? We always enjoy hearing from you!

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Pitch-in (or, Carry-in) dinners are fun! We always enjoy getting together with friends and family, and when we can do it over food, that’s an even better good time! One of the reasons we enjoy those dinners so much is because of the variety of dishes that we find on the table(s). We might get a chance to try two or three versions of the same dish, and wonder at the variety of flavors that were mixed up. Here are a few of our recipes that offer up a little, sometimes whimsical, fun in being just a bit different than the regular dishes.

Rye Bread with Dill Dip
Dill Dip in Rye Bread LoafOur extended family started serving this treat several years ago. Marjorie, Larry’s mother, got the dill dip recipe from a grocery store that made this fresh daily, and was one of their best selling products. We have served it many times over the last thirty years, and it is one of our family’s favorites. Hollow out the middle, fill it with dip, and break up the center you removed and place around the loaf. Find the recipe here.

Roasted Cheddar Potato Fans
Roasted cheddar potato fanOne dish we don’t often see at a carry-in dinner is baked potatoes due to the difficulty of transporting them safely. Here’s an innovative way to bring a stand-out dish that isn’t likely to be duplicated. These can be made from quite small potatoes, right down to fingerlings or bite-size Russets. Have fun with this one, and soak in the oohhs and aahhs when you put them out. Find the recipe here.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Spinach Artichoke DeipThis is a silky textured dip that pairs perfectly with tortilla chips. I like to finish mine with a slice of mozzarella cheese and a little dried parsley before baking. I like to finish it with a little bit of browned cheese on top, just to add an additional dimension of flavor and color. Your fellow diners will appreciate the eye appeal of the cheese, and the additional hint of flavor from the parsley. This is going to be a hit! Here is the recipe.

Seasoned Olive Oil for Bread Dipping
Seasoned Olive Oil with Balsamic ReductionThis is a fun dish that folks return to time and again. Fill up a large dinner plate or platter with this dipping oil, season it up with any combination of flavors you prefer along with cubes of three or four types of bread, and you’ll have them coming back for thirds and fourths. Our favorite breads to dip include; ciabatta, baguettes, French loaf, focaccia bread, Italian bread, and bread sticks. Have fun with this one! Find our recipe here.

Green and Gold (Pea) Salad
Green and Gold Pea SaladThis is a recipe that Lea has used since her Junior High School days. She made this in her Home Economics class when she was in the seventh grade. It’s a fun dish, easy to put together, and always brings “yums” when it is uncovered at carry-ins. Silky smooth and earthy in flavor, this is sure to become a favorite with your family. The recipe is here.

And, just for fun: Purple Pickled Eggs
pix-2008-purple-pickled-eggsOur family really loves these pickled eggs, and we used to make up a batch of them each year at Christmas time when our far-flung family got to be together at our bed and breakfast, the Asher Walton House! We printed up funny labels for the eggs, and that always adds to the fun. Boiled eggs and beets get evenly mixed, in a glass container, with sweet-sour mixture, horseradish and cloves to deliver great flavor and a bright purple color. This dish always strikes up a lot of conversation. Enjoy! Here’s the recipe.

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