KATIE WORKMAN Associated Press
During the colder months, we all look for bright spots, and football fans have had plenty of them this winter.
The Super Bowl, which takes place on Sunday, is always a highlight of winter. And while gatherings may be smaller than in pre-pandemic years, we can still make the most of snacks and food.
My Super Bowl menu changes from year to year, but there are recurring themes: sliders, chilis, nachos, pulled pork, pizza and always, always a dip. Most of the time, it’s a hot dip placed on the table for a very warm welcome. I have yet to find a person who isn’t a little weak in the knees at the sight of a creamy, often cheesy, dip bubbling up in their baking dish.
First, let’s talk about what’s going on with these dips. I offer an assortment of dips, from healthy (whole grain chips and crackers, and heaps of cut vegetables like carrots, celery, cucumber, radishes, sliced peppers, etc.) to indulgent (apple chips earthenware and tortillas, butter crackers, breadsticks, slices of baguette, slices of focaccia, pita chips, pretzels). Each person can decide which direction they like the most and switch between a kettle fried fries and a spear of endive lettuce depending on their mood.
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Hot dips often involve some kind of dairy, like sour cream or cream cheese, and often other melty cheeses as well. They can be vegetarian or contain a meat or seafood protein. Many vegan hot dip recipes include non-dairy ingredients like nut milks, soft tofu, vegan cheeses and nutritional yeast.
Most hot dips are baked or reheated on the stovetop, and the recipe may require occasional stirring. You can also make and serve hot dips in a slow cooker or instant pot.
I often divide hot dip mixes into two small pans or pans and heat them one at a time, so that by the time the first half is served and eaten, the other is just ready in the oven. If you use two small pans instead of a larger one, the cooking time might be a bit shorter.
Cooking times and temperatures for hot dips are flexible overall – it’s usually about reheating the dip so that any cheese is melted and hot throughout. If your oven is set for a slightly higher or lower temperature than the recipe calls for, just add or subtract a little cooking time. Look for the dip to be hot in the center, lightly browned on top, and bubbly around the edges.
Popular hot dip recipes include Buffalo Chicken Dip, Cheesy Artichoke Dip, Queso, and Spinach Goat Cheese Dip. As you begin your culinary adventures, you’ll find that many combinations of creaminess, vegetables and proteins can be turned into a bubbling pot of delicious dip.
Feel free to make substitutions. If a recipe calls for scallions but you don’t like going to the supermarket, use finely chopped onions or shallots instead; no problem. Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and if you’re out of cheddar, try Havarti, Monterey Jack, or maybe even Gouda. Use a grated cheese that becomes nice and melty.
Use shredded chicken from a roast chicken in a chicken dip. Replace the crab with shrimp. Try thyme instead of oregano. Use hot sauce instead of cayenne pepper.
Here is a recipe for one of my favorites:
This dip combines sweet and luxurious crabmeat with corn. I first made this at the end of a summer, with fresh corn, but frozen or canned and drained corn works great.
You can use just about any grade of crabmeat here, depending on how much you want to spend and how soft you want the dip to be. I suggest skipping colossal or jumbo crabmeat, which is expensive and should be saved for dishes in which it’s the star, rather than mixed with other ingredients. Go for one of the mid-tier ones, like the special, chunk, or backfin.
1 package 8-ounce cream cheese, at room temperature
2 green onions, trimmed and sliced (white and green parts)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
16 ounces fresh crabmeat, scooped for shells, excess liquid squeezed out
1 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen and thawed, or canned and drained)
Preheat the oven to 475°F. Place the cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, green onions, cayenne pepper, parsley, Worcestershire, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl and use a fork, spoon or an electric mixer to mix well. Stir in crab and corn until well combined.
Pour the mixture into a shallow 1 or 2 quart baking dish, spread evenly and cook for about 12 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Give it a last minute under the broiler to brown the top if you like.
Serve hot with crackers, fries, fresh vegetables or the side dishes of your choice.
Links to other hot dips to try:
Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip (https://themom100.com/recipe/instant-pot-buffalo-chicken-dip/)
Hot Spicy Artichoke & Cheese Dip (https://themom100.com/recipe/spicy-cheesy-artichoke-dip/)
Hot Creamy Mushroom Spinach Dip (https://themom100.com/recipe/hot-creamy-mushroom-spinach-dip/)
Queso Fundido with Chorizo (https://themom100.com/recipe/quesdo-fundido-with-chorizo/)
Creamy Spinach and Goat Cheese Dip (https://themom100.com/recipe/hot-creamy-spinach-and-goat-cheese-dip/)
Easy Slow Cooker Hot Chili Cheese Dip (https://themom100.com/recipe/easy-slow-cooker-hot-pimento-cheese-dip/)
Hot Cheesy Clam Dip (https://themom100.com/recipe/hot-cheesy-clam-dip/)
Katie Workman writes frequently about food for The Associated Press. She has written two cookbooks focused on home cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook”. She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman. She can be reached at [email protected]