It seems like everyone has their own go-to appetizers for potluck type parties. If you don’t have a good hot dip on your list then you definitely need one. I have a few. I like this one because it’s different than the standard spinach-artichoke dip that a lot of people bring, yet is has the same warm, gooey, cheesy appeal. You can make it with regular monterey Jack too, but I love the flavor you get from pepper jack cheese. It’s not spicy at all, it just adds an extra kick. And you all know how much I love roasted red peppers. If you’ve never bought them before they’re usually found in the same section as the jarred pickles, often on the top shelf. Or you can easily make your own with these instructions. They are smoky and flavorful and full of little charred bits that add extra yumminess. And yes, there’s cheese. A lot of cheese. And mayonnaise. And cream cheese. But who counts calories on New Year’s eve?! Go dunk some carbs and enjoy yourselves. It’s probably the last chance you have before that diet you promised yourself you’d start on Jan 1st!

Grocery list:
dijon, roasted red peppers, pepper jack, cream cheese, mayo, onion & garlic

Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper Dip

7oz jar roasted red peppers (about 1C diced) buy ’em or make ’em.4 C grated pepper jack cheese (3/4 lb)
8oz cream cheese (I use low-fat)
3/4 C mayonnaise

2 T minced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 T Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350.Remove peppers from jar and blot excess water with paper towels. You want to make sure they are dry so they don’t add moisture to the dip. Then dice ’em up.

In a bowl, soften cream cheese in microwave so it will be easier to stir. Add in mayo, onion, garlic, and dijon. Stir to combine and then add in grated cheese and the diced peppers. Place in an 8×8-ish dish (pie plate works). At this point you can pop it in the fridge if you’re going to cook it later and you can even make it a couple of days ahead of time. Place in the oven and cook for 30-45 minutes. Baking time depends on the dish. It will start to bubble and brown on the outside edge, and you want it to be bubbly all the way through to the center. It will be nice and golden brown on top, especially around the edges. Mine usually takes 40-45 min..

Serve immediately. If the dip is done and your party hasn’t started, just keep it warm in the oven. If you’re eating left-overs, or you cooked it ahead of time, reheat in the oven as well. Funky things happen in the microwave. Don’t ask me what, I’m sure Alton Brown could explain it, but I’m no food scientist.
You can serve it with anything that sounds good- tortilla chips, pita chips, crackers (choose a plain flavored one) or veggies. However my favorite is soft, warm baguette slices. There’s something about toasty, chewy bread with gooey garlicky cheese that just makes me happy. (I’m sure a psychotherapist somewhere is making a lot of connections with that one…)

Hope everyone has fun tonight ringing in the new year. Remember to eat lots and drink responsibly!



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