So many times, I’m asked if I have any easy appetizer recipes for drop-in guests. My answer is always the same: use what you have on hand! I challenged myself to this task just the other day. I had friends dropping by for an afternoon card game, and didn’t have a chance to run to the grocery store. I opened the fridge and found deli meats, cheese and mayo. Now there’s something I can work with!
Up first, the national cheese of the Southwest: pimento cheese. I made mine with Cheddar cheese slices, Provolone cheese slices, cream cheese, mayo and sundried tomatoes in place of pimentos. (Cook with what you have.)
Up next was ham salad. This is a simple combo of deli ham, mayo, sweet pickle relish and a bit of white onion.
Lastly, I did a take on my mother-in-law’s salmon dip that we make and devour during the holidays. I used deli chicken in place of salmon and it was delish! I placed chopped deli chicken slices into the bowl of a food processor. I added a bit of onion, cream cheese and mayo.
I wanted a crunch aspect, so I looked for celery. No luck there, but I did find some fresh fennel. In it went! I pulsed the ingredients into a smooth dip. I seasoned with fresh dill, salt and pepper. After blending the seasonings into the dip, I added chopped-cooked bacon left over from breakfast. It was yummy!
Instructions for Toasty, Spicy Crackers
No big deal. I spent an extra 10 minutes to make seasoned crackers. I laid out a sleeve of Saltine crackers onto a baking sheet. I stir my favorite seasonings (a tablespoon of the seasonings found in a Ranch salad dressing packet is perfect) into melted butter and brush this onto the tops of the crackers. I bake these in a 350° oven until the tops are golden, about 5 to 6 minutes. There you have it! A food processor helps you reach the spreadable consistency that you are looking for. But, if you don’t have one, you can substitute chopping and stirring for your daily work out!
Next time you are caught in a time-pinch, remember to look in your fridge for inspiration. I’d love to hear your favorite dip recipes!
Pimento Cheese with Sun-dried Tomato Dip
3 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, about 4 deli slices
4 ounces Provolone cheese, about 4 deli slices
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
2 to 3 green onions, chopped, about 2 tablespoons
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
Place the cream cheese, cheese slices and mayonnaise into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until creamy. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, green onions, garlic powder and paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until just combined.