Dear food-loving friends: I am posting today with a heavy heart for all the families in Connecticut who are dealing with the aftermath of this week's tragic and mind-numbing school shooting. I debated whether to post at all this weekend, but ultimately decided to move forward as planned. To me, food is the ultimate comforter and healer...and I strongly believe that fellowship with friends via this #SundaySupper event helps us all cope with the sorrow we are feeling. -- WWG
This time of year is perfect for appetizers…between holiday parties and playoff football, it seems like I’m always on the lookout for new dips and finger foods to try. That’s why I was so eager to take part in this week’s #SundaySupper theme: Holiday Drinks & Appetizers! This week's event is hosted by Conni at Foodie Army Wife. I wanted to try something new for our Texans game-watching snacks last week, and I kept thinking back to all the Jalapeno Popper Dip recipes I had seen online over the past year or so. I wanted to put my own unique spin on it, so I put my thinking cap on. We always dip our jalapeno poppers in ranch dip when we eat out, so I decided to incorporate that flavor into my dip.
My creation is Baked Jalapeno Popper-Ranch Dip. It’s got all the flavor of jalapeno poppers…without all the work of stuffing, breading, and frying. This time of year, I’ll take all the time savings I can get! The base of this dip is softened cream cheese and low-fat Greek yogurt. I incorporated a bit of dry ranch dressing mix into both the creamy base and the panko breadcrumbs on top. The ranch flavor wasn’t overwhelming, but you could definitely taste it. Everyone who tried it agreed that it tasted exactly like a crispy jalapeno popper dipped in ranch dressing. I served my dip with festive red & green holiday-themed tortilla chips, but toasted pita triangles would work nicely too. Wait until you see how easy this dip is to whip up!
Baked Jalapeno Popper-Ranch Dip
adapted from Kraft Kitchens
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375. Add the following ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer: 8 ounces softened cream cheese, one container lowfat Greek yogurt, and 2 tbs. dry ranch dressing mix. Combine on low speed until everything is evenly incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Step 2: Add the following ingredients to the cream cheese mixture: 1 can chopped jalapeno peppers (drained), 2 sliced green onions, and 1 cup shredded co-jack cheese. Mix on low speed until everything is evenly incorporated. Spread the mixture into a shallow dish or casserole.
Step 3: To make the topping, add the following ingredients to a bowl: 1.5 cups panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, 2 tbs. dry ranch dressing mix, and 2-3 tbs. olive oil. Stir to evenly combine and coat the crumbs with the oil. Evenly sprinkle the crumbs on top of the dip in the dish.
Step 4: Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the crumb topping is golden brown and the dip is bubbly. For even browning, turn the dish around halfway through the baking time. Let cool for about five minutes before serving...the dip is like hot lava straight from the oven! Serve with your choice of chips or other dippers.
This dip is really good…and it really does taste like jalapeno poppers, right down to the crispy topping! The jalapenos gave the dip a spicy kick, but it wasn’t overly fiery. It was a nice slow burn that was the perfect heat level for me. It was very popular with everyone who tried it, so that’s always a good sign. I can see a lot of uses for this dip…it would be fabulous stuffed in chicken breasts that are then breaded and baked. The leftovers – if there are any – are great wrapped up in a tortilla and briefly warmed the next day. I highly recommend this dip for your next party or game-watching snack…men especially seem to dig this dip.
In light of the lives lost in Connecticut on Friday, the weekly #SundaySupper Twitter chat this evening has been cancelled. However, please check out all the fabulous dishes and drinks the #SundaySupper food bloggers are featuring this week...you're sure to find something that's perfect for your holiday dining enjoyment!