Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Dip

roasted red pepper dip

Our infamous event planner neighbor, Ms. Jackie, went above and beyond for her latest party. She hosted an 80s prom night last night in her backyard oasis, Possum Grove. She even rented a dance floor and had a balloon arch photo area. In honor of this big event, I cooked up a new party dip to share with guests rather than making one of my old reliables. This hot and cheesy roasted red pepper dip was better than I expected. I think throwing the bacon bits on the top before baking really elevated the flavor satisfaction levels.

The cream cheese base in this dish reminds me of the Hot Artichoke Dip and the Charleston Cheese Dip, which have always been favorites of mine. If you need appetizer ideas for football watching this fall or are cooking for a cocktail party with friends, I recommend this roasted red pepper dip recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 T. finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-5 sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped (~4 oz)
  • 1/3 c. chopped roasted sweet red peppers
  • 1 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 c. shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
  • Ritz and/or Club crackers for serving

Directions

  • In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, and garlic until blended.

roasted red pepper dip base

  • Stir in tomatoes, red peppers, mozzarella cheese, Italian cheese blend, and 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese.

roasted red pepper ingredients

  • Spread mixture in a greased baking dish. I used an oval baking dish, but a 9-inch pie pan would work too. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and bacon bits.

roasted red pepper pre baked

  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until edges are bubbly and lightly browned.
  • Serve warm with crackers.

Notes

  • Can be doubled.

roasted red pepper dip bite

Charleston Cheese Dip

charleston cheese dip

We grilled hamburgers with a few friends after the Thanksgiving eat-a-thon last week, and I needed a little snacky bite while people were waiting for dinner. Since I had not consumed enough rich, calorie filled food prior to the hamburger dinner (ha!), I decided we needed a really good dip with lots of melted cheese. I made a Charleston Cheese Dip that is incredible. The consumption rate may have been faster than the Hot Vidalia Onion Dip, which I did not think possible.

charleston cheese dip pre baked

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c. grated sharp Cheddar cheese (I used Cracker Barrel)
  • 1/2 to 1 c. Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 8 butter crackers, crushed (I used Ritz)
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Frito scoop chips, more Ritz crackers, or pita chips for serving

charleston cheese dip close

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, green onions, minced garlic, and cayenne pepper (if using).
  • Transfer the mixture to a shallow baking dish. I used a quiche dish. A 9-inch pie pan will work too.
  • Top the mixture with cracker crumbs and bake until heated through, browned on the top, and bubbly around the edges.
  • Remove from the oven and top with the bacon.
  • Serve immediately with chips or crackers.

charleston cheese dip bite

Sugar Bacon

sugar bacon piece

Gather round, bacon lovers. One of my dearest friends from the ATL e-mailed me about my sugar bacon recipe. This unbelievably delicious treat has been off my radar for awhile. It is so good I actually requested it as a passed hors d’oeuvres at my wedding. I made a batch today and practically fell over while eating (the entire plate I might add– by myself) because it is so good. Let me know if you think it is as delicious as I do.

sugar bacon stackedIngredients

  • bacon (I use about 1/2 lb. for 4 people)
  • light brown sugar
  • dry mustard (optional)
  • Silpat, Tephlon bakeware liner, or foil to line your pan
  • jelly roll pan, roasting pan, or something with a lip

sugar bacon ingredientsDirections

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut bacon slices in half. Scoop about 3/4 c. of brown sugar into a wide, flat dish. Add a few dashes of dried mustard if using and mix with a fork, so the brown sugar is separated.

teflon liner

  • Line your baking pan with some sort of liner. I like the Tephlon bakeware liners or tin foil. You want the liner to come up around the edges of the pan, so carmelized brown sugar does not get on your pan. That makes the clean-up very difficult.

sugar bacon procedure

  • Pat each slice of bacon in the brown sugar on both sides. The bacon will NOT be thickly covered with the brown sugar.
  • Place bacon slices side by side in the pan. Try not to let the edges touch. The bacon gets very sticky while cooking.

sugar bacon pan

  • Bake bacon for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn slices over (tongs work best). Put bacon back in the oven and cook another 5 minutes until browned and crispy. Watch carefully after the first 10 minutes of baking because the bacon changes from slightly undercooked to burned in a blink.

sugar bacon finished

  • Remove the pan from oven and get the bacon slices off the pan immediately. Lay the bacon slices flat on a cooling rack or a non-stick cookie sheet. I put paper towel under my cooling rack. Do not put the bacon directly on the paper towel! Let cool to room temperature before serving.

sugar bacon coolingNotes

  • I like regular Oscar Mayer original slice bacon. I have tried fancy bacon or a thicker cut, and the bacon does not crisp as well or get the good candy texture.
  • These are great served at a brunch or party. Stack the strips of bacon like Lincoln Logs on a serving plate. Serve as finger food.

sugar bacon platter

Breakfast Cups

breakfast cups 2

My holiday houseguests arrived Thursday night (about 5 hours after school let out for Christmas break). I did not make it to the grocery store before they arrived, so I offered a few leftover rosemary nuts and some slices of cranberry bread that I received as a teacher gift for breakfast Friday morning. We did not even have milk for coffee– my husband had to run out to the gas station.

breakfast cup close up

This morning, I actually had breakfast food for my guests after a major trip to the grocery store (courtesy of my husband– I almost considered that a Christmas gift). I served up some Breakfast Cups to the group, and people were not disappointed. I need another quick prep meal for tomorrow morning. Can anybody help a hostess?

breakfast cup filling

Ingredients

  • 1- 10 oz. Can Ro-Tel tomatoes (I use mild version)
  • ½ c. mayo
  • 1 c. grated cheddar and Monterey Jack (or just cheddar)
  • 1 t. dried basil
  • 8-10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ½ small onion chopped
  • 1-2 cans 10 oz. refrigerated flaky layered biscuits (I use Pillsbury Grands Original Flaky Layer Biscuits)

separating biscuits

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl, stir together tomatoes, mayo, cheese, basil, bacon, and onion.
  • Separate each biscuit into 3 layers.
  • Press each layer into a lightly greased mini muffin tin and fill with tomato mixture.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

unbaked breakfast cups

Then I Considered Gifts for Christmas 2012 (Day 11)

SPOILER ALERT family blog followers– this post may contain information about your gifts this year.

After this post, I will have tapped out all of my gift suggestions, but I am only one post away from wrapping up the 12 Days of Christmas Gift Series. There is usually one gift idea I have each year that really nails it. I have not found that one perfect gift idea yet, but the list below is the starter list of gifts that I am considering for my extended family this year. Readers, I am open to suggestions!

Bacon Olive Oil: Umm, does life get any better? Why have I not thought of this before? The interesting part about finding the Queen Creek Olive Oil website where you can order the bacon olive oil is that my web browser tab reads “Vegan Bacon Olive Oil”. After reading the description, I located the words bacon flavored. I still want to try it.

Preppy Dog Collar: Our puppy, Birdie, will be sporting one of these Christmas morning and perhaps other extended family member’s pets. These collars have the contact information engraved on the buckle. The ShopMimiGreen website has a variety of pet accessories.

Wrap Bracelets: These brightly colored bracelets are available on an Etsy site. Sunkissed Sisters makes a variety of neon colored cord bracelets and necklaces. I think they would work well for teens through mom-aged gift receivers. I know I want a set with a variety of colors and charms to wear stacked together.

Casserole Carrier: Almost all members of my family like to cook and love party food. We all seem to have occasions where we need to transport a hot casserole dish. I love the style of these casserole carriers. According to the AllAboutBlanks website, you must add the monogram on your own. It can not be done via the website. I am a little bummed because I thought the monogram was the best feature. It adds an extra step to take the carrier to a local monogrammer.

Return Address Stamp: There are a variety of places to order a custom return address stamp. I liked this one that looks like calligraphy. I also liked an Etsy site called ChattyPress that had unique designs and better prices. If you read previous gift posts, you may be aware I shop for a large family. I like these stamps because I could give them to a whole family unit, which would reduce the shopping list.