I’ve mentioned before that I have an almost embarrassing number of cookbooks in my house. I firmly believe that one of the reasons I have so many is because I truly love to cook, but I’m not very good at creating my own recipes.
I do tweak recipes quite often, though. As long as I have a framework, then I can comfortably alter a recipe to my heart’s content and nine times out of ten, I’m glad I did. This is one of my favorite quick and easy appetizers because it’s easy to change up. I’ve made it countless times and have changed up what tops the melted, gooey, cheesy base almost every time.
So, let’s start with the cheesy, ooey, gooey, (Can you tell that I love it?) yummy stuff on the bottom.
As my oven preheated, I mixed together a block of cream cheese (I always use reduced-fat), some shredded mozzarella cheese, a little bit of mayo, some minced garlic and a dash of salt and pepper. Once that was blended together, I spread it into the bottom of a pie plate.
The pie plate goes into the oven for about ten minutes, which helps that ooey, gooey stuff I was mentioning before get to the ooey, gooey stage.
While the cheese base is baking up, it’s time to choose your toppings. This time, I went with some store-bought Sun Dried Tomato Pesto and chopped artichoke hearts.
Top it with whatever suits your mood, though!
- swirling in some pizza sauce and throwing some of your favorite pizza toppings on top?
- going Greek with roasted red peppers, Kalamata olives and feta cheese?
- caramelized onions, bacon and pineapple?
- salsa and cheddar cheese?
- regular, basil pesto and toasted pine nuts?
or, my all time favorite,
- New Orleans style olive salad, like you’d find on a Muffaletta sandwich. (You would have seen this on the blog, if I had been able to find it. 🙁 )
This night called for Sun Dried Tomato Pesto and artichokes, though, so after taking the pie plate out of the oven and giving the cheesy, ooey gooey a quick stir, I swirled in some of the pesto, topped it with the chopped artichokes and grated some fresh Parmesan cheese on top.
Then, I popped it back into the oven for ten more minutes until it started to bubble around the edges.
Since Emily has a sixth sense when it comes to artichokes showing up in the kitchen, she was the first one to dive in…but not the last. Before long, I had an empty pie plate on my hands. Once again, the dip was a hit! It’s always something new, but always something good.
Which combo are you going to try? Throw some more ideas my way!
“HAVE IT YOUR WAY” DIP
Adapted from Kraft
- 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Toppings of your choice!
- or...about ¼ cup of Sun Dried Tomato pesto, 1 cup of chopped artichoke hearts, and 2 Tbsp. of freshly grated Parmesan
- Preheat oven to 350*. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, mayo, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread into a pie plate that has been sprayed lightly with nonstick spray.
- Bake the cheese mixture for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir. Top with the desired toppings and pop back into the oven for 10 more minutes. Serve with a heartier cracker, not too thin. I used Triscuits.