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Chef's Corner: Get pot-lucky this holiday season

Janet Pole | Interrobang | Lifestyles | November 28th, 2005

With the holiday season just around the corner, those potluck invitations are just around the corner. This season, think past the crock-pot and your grandmother's meatball recipe and try one of these simple and tasty dips, whether you're looking for something fancy and rich or simple and refreshing, there's something here for everyone to dip into!

Chili Cheese Dip
1 package cream cheese, softened
2 cans of Chili (no beans)
1/4 cup chopped Jalapeno peppers
3 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Layer each ingredient in a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees until cheese has melted and bubbling on the sides. Serve with Fritos or tortilla chips.

Best Crab Dip
2 cup finely chopped crab
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (for garnish)

Combine first seven ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well. Sprinkle with cilantro if desired. Serve with crackers, pita chips, or raw veggies.

Chicago Style Spinach Dip
12-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup chopped canned artichoke hearts (not marinated)
1 tablespoon chopped white onion

1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmegiano Reggiano cheese (not regular parmesan!)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Mix together the spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, and onion in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then cut a small slit in the centre of the wrap so that the steam can sneak out. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Keep spinach mix covered while you prepare the cream sauce. Combine the cream, sour cream, jack cheese, grated Parmegiano Reggiano cheese and garlic salt in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat. Heat this up slowly for about 10 minutes or until the sauce reaches a simmer and thickens: just don't let the mixture boil. Add the spinach mixture to the sauce and continue to heat over medium/low. Cook for about 10 more minutes or until mixture reaches a thick dip-like consistency. Pour into a bowl and serve with tortilla chips for dipping.

Bacon and Tomato Dip
1 lb. turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

Combine all ingredients and let sit, refrigerated for a few hours to let the flavours meld. Serve with crackers or toasted bread slices cut in triangles.

Fruit Dip
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon rum extract

Place sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt in a small bowl and stir until well combined. Stir sour cream into sugar mixture. Add vanilla and rum extracts and stir. Spoon into serving dish, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve with your favourite fresh fruit.

Janet Pole is a second-year Hospitality student on extended lick leave. As soon as her computer is fixed she can be reached at
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