7-Layer Dip

7 layer dip finished

Watching football this weekend? Attending a family friendly New Year’s Eve party? Me too. There is no better tailgate snack food for football watching and potlucks than a Mexican 7-layer dip. I will be bringing this crowd favorite to a friend’s house tonight, and I made individual sizes, so we can keep eating more dip during football games tomorrow. Normally, I like to use a layer of diced tomatoes instead of salsa. I forgot the tomatoes at the grocery store, so I went with the salsa layer, which is a totally acceptable substitute. You can see my original recipe with the diced tomatoes HERE. I know many people have a version of this recipe, but I think the Fritos Original Bean Dip and the taco seasoning mixed in with the sour cream makes this variation a little special. Happy New Year!

Ingredients

  • 2 (9-oz) cans Fritos Original Bean Dip
  • 1 container guacamole (about 10 oz.)
  • ~2 cups salsa
  • 1 pkg mild taco seasoning
  • ~12 oz. sour cream
  • 2 c. Mexican cheese blend, grated
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • scoop Frito’s or tortilla chips

Directions

  • Scoop the 2 cans of bean dip into a 9 x 13 casserole dish and spread evenly across the bottom with a spatula.
  • Dollop the guacamole on top of the bean dip and gently spread out using the spatula. Try not to disturb the bean dip layer. It’s kind of like frosting a cake.

7 layer dip guac

  • Dollop the salsa on top of the guacamole layer and spread gently.

7 layer dip salsa

  • In a small bowl (or the sour cream container), mix the taco seasoning with the sour cream. Combine well. It will be a light orange color. Spread the sour cream mixture over the guac and salsa. Gently spread with the spatula trying not to disrupt the layer beneath.

7 layer dip sour cream

7 layer dip sour cream layer

  • Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
  • Sprinkle the green onions over the cheese.
  • Serve with Frito scoops or tortilla chips.
  • Can be made ahead. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

  • Make individual layered dips in ramekins or the clear 9-oz. plastic cups.

7 layer dip individual

Swimming Food

baked ham sandwich

We are summer swim team people. Mr. Star Wars moved up an age group this year, and his practice time is now an hour later than Miss Priss’. That means we spend every evening at the pool from 5:30 until about 7:45. Prime dinner hour. I was bringing snacks with us to practice and then we would eat really late dinner– like a bowl of cereal– when we got home but that was a disaster. I have started just bringing meals to the pool. My goal for pool meals is food that does not require utensils or dishes.

Yesterday, I brought a pan of those baked ham sandwiches that people serve at tailgates or football parties. The classic recipe with the Hawaiian rolls is really greasy and has too much butter for me (I can’t believe I am saying that), so I combined a few different recipes to reduce the butter amount– a little.

Mini Baked Ham Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. butter, softened
  • 2 T. horseradish mustard
  • 2 T. finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb. deli ham, very thinly sliced– almost shaved (I like maple glazed)
  • 1 lb. baby Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 pkg dinner rolls (you will use 9 rolls)
  • 9×9 inch metal baking pan (disposable aluminum pans work well)

Directions

  • Mix the softened butter, horseradish mustard, chopped onion, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Combine well.

ham sandwiches spread

  • Cut the rolls in half horizontally. Keep the top and bottom halves separate.

ham sandwiches rolls

  • Spread a layer of butter mixture on the bottom half of each roll and place in a 9×9 pan.
  • Cut the Swiss cheese slices into quarters. Place one piece of cheese on the buttered bottom half of each dinner roll.
  • Top the cheese slice with ham.
  • Add another quarter slice of cheese.
  • Spread the remaining butter mixture on the top half of each roll and place one on each cheese/ham stack.

ham sandwiches assembly

  • Cover the pan of sandwiches with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

ham sandwiches baked

  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

ham sandwiches in pan

What kinds of snacks do you bring to eat at the pool? It is amazing how hungry swimmers get!

Grown Up Kid Food

chicken nuggets bite

TheRoomDad was reminiscing about the days when I used to prepare delicious meals most evenings. That was before we had children, and I was trying to impress him. Fast forward to today. I only get excited about preparing food for parties and school snacks. If it is bite sized food, snack food, or party dips, I am all about it. Otherwise, I don’t want to be bothered.

One recipe that I have not used in awhile is something from my childhood– a recipe for homemade chicken nuggets. They may seem like kid food at first glance, but they actually have a slightly more sophisticated taste than your average chicken nugget, and I used to make them for TheRoomDad. It is a recipe adults and kids enjoy. I was gracious enough to dust off the family cookbook and make the chicken nuggets last night. I was going to say how much healthier they are than a box of nuggets from the freezer section of the grocery store, but then I remembered that the chicken is dredged in melted butter before being coated in seasoned bread crumbs. Enjoy!

chicken nuggets ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2-3 boneless chicken breasts (or 1 pkg of chicken tenderloins, ~1 lb.)
  • 1/2 c. Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 t. dried basil
  • 1 t. paprika
  • 1/4 t. thyme
  • 1/2 c. melted butter

Directions

  • Cut chicken into 1 1/2″ squares. If you are using the chicken tenderloins, cut each piece into 2 or 3 nugget-y pieces. The tenderloin can also be left as is to make a chicken strip.

chicken nuggets assembly

  • Mix dry ingredients in a shallow dish.

chicken nuggets coating

  • Pour melted butter in a separate shallow dish.

chicken nuggets melted butter

  • Dip chicken pieces into the melted butter and then into the dry mixture to coat.

chicken nuggets bread crumb coating

  • Arrange coated chicken pieces on a jelly roll pan (baking pan with a lip).

chicken nuggets covered

  • Bake at 400 degrees about 20 minutes or until browned and chicken is cooked through. If you are using larger chicken pieces, you may need to turn once while baking.

chicken nuggets cooked

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

American Girl Birthday

American Girl Party Tent

Well, you had to know this day was coming. Miss Priss asked for an American Girl birthday party, and TheRoomMom complied. We have attended a few AG birthday parties recently, and we needed a new spin to the theme. I was already working on the American Girl camping supplies, so we opted for a backyard American Girl campout birthday (sleepover NOT included– I did recognize my limits on this one).

American Girl Party Invitation

The Invitation

I know it is popular to use Paperless Post or Evites right now, but I really like paper party invitations delivered via snail mail. There were several fun camping party choices on Etsy. I ordered through a store called Memories Too. The store owner e-mailed a JPG file to me after about 4 business days. I had one edit, which she turned around in a few hours. I uploaded the image to FedEx Office and had the invitation printed in color on white cardstock. I found plain pink envelopes at a local paper store.

The invitation asked guests to bring a doll or stuffed friend with them to the party, so they would have a camping buddy.

The Activities

When guests arrived, they received a doll sleeping bag that had a name tag with a number. We grouped the guests based on the tag numbers on the sleeping bags and rotated the party guests through three stations. That kept all of the guests spread out for most of the party and gave everyone something to do until it was time for cake.

American Girl Dolls Camping

  • Station 1— We set up 3 camping tents in the backyard. This group played in the tents with the dolls and the sleeping bags. TheRoomDad monitored this area and provided some monster invasions from time to time.

American Girl Party Activity Bug Jar

  • Station 2— This group searched for small twigs in the yard then used the twigs to make small bug jars and marshmallows on a stick. I had a table with the supplies as well as my regular babysitter to run this station. My sitter showed everyone how to set up the bug jars, make the fake marshmallows, and she monitored supplies. For full bug jar and marshmallow instructions, visit the American Girl Camping Post.

American Girl Party Activity Campfire

  • Station 3— This group made a doll sized campfire. I ran this station, and it was set up in a similar way to the bug jar area. For full campfire instructions, visit the American Girl Camping Post.

Each guest had a paper plate with her name on it. When the child finished a craft, she put her item on the paper plate. We set the plates to the side, so parents could easily carry the crafts to the trash can at their home home at the end of the party.

American Girl Mini Brownie Bites

The Cake

Miss Priss wanted chocolate! We ordered a mini chocolate fudge cake from the grocery store. I call these “smash cakes” and see this mini size at first birthday parties a lot. We put candles on the cake and sang, but we did not cut the smash cake. Instead, guests ate mini brownie bites that had been decorated with pink and white flowers.

The Food

Keeping with the doll theme, I tried to do all mini or bite sized food. After we sang, the kids went through a buffet line and picked up the little snacks and brownie bites. It was all finger food, so it eliminated a need for any forks or spoons.

IMG_3918

  • Pigs-in-a-blanket— Basically, a mini hot dog. I used 3 rolls of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and 2 packages of Lit’l Smokies, which yields about 60 pigs. I cut each crescent roll into 3 triangles and then wrap a triangle around a Lit’l Smokie. I follow the baking instructions on the Pillsbury Crescent Roll package.

Mini Dill Dip Party Food

  • Dill Dip— This is Miss Priss’ favorite snack, and one of my signature recipes. I purchased 1-oz plastic shot glasses at the party store and put a dollop of dill dip at the bottom of the cup. We stacked mini carrot sticks, mini celery sticks, and mini red pepper slices in the cups, so they were ready to serve. Click here for the Dill Dip and Chex Mix Recipes.

IMG_3902

  • Chex Mix— We saw mini pink popcorn boxes at our independent party store, but I also considered using Wilton mini cake boxes from Michael’s Crafts to hold the snack mix. I did a variation of one of my Chex Mix recipes. This version has popcorn. Click here for the Dill Dip and Chex Mix Recipes.

Marshmallow Smore Party Food

  • S’More on a Stick— We used brightly colored cocktail sticks and stabbed marshmallows. I melted semi-sweet chocolate chips and plain Hershey milk chocolate bars in a double boiler. I crushed graham crackers and placed the crumbs in a flat bowl. I dipped the marshmallow in the melted chocolate, and Miss Priss rolled the chocolate end of the marshmallow in the graham cracker. I must say, these were delicious and much safer than having 17 six and seven year olds standing around a fire pit.

The Party Favors

Guests took home the bug jar and campfire crafts. They also took home the doll sleeping bag. If you have a sewing machine, the sleeping bags are easy to make. However, had I known I would need 17 doll sleeping bags, I might have rethought my decision to have these as party favors. For full doll sleeping bag instructions, visit the American Girl Camping Post.

American Girl Party Favor Sleeping BagsI am exhausted and am considering canceling Halloween. Anyone with me?