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

Family Picnic

sun dried tomato pasta salad

We attended the annual end of year family picnic for my son’s Cub Scout den. The other moms usually request my Pasta with Pesto and Peas side dish that both adults and children love, but I decided to go rogue this year and bring a sun-dried tomato pasta salad.

The recipe is a little risky because it uses black olives. Many people (meaning TheRoomMom) avoid olives. However, this recipe has just enough olives to give a salty/briny taste without actually having a super olive-y flavor. I originally got the recipe from an Ina Garten cookbook and have tweaked it a little over time. With Memorial Day picnics just around the corner, this recipe might be something to consider.

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fusili pasta (corkscrew pasta)
  • kosher salt
  • good olive oil
  • 1 lb. ripe tomatoes, medium-diced
  • 1/4 c. black kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 lb. fresh mozarella, medium-diced
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
  • 1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 c. basil leaves cut in chiffonade (thin ribbons)

Dressing Ingredients

  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 6 T. good olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1 t. capers, drained
  • 2 t. kosher salt
  • 3/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for the time given in the directions on the box (about 12 minutes). Drain well. Add pasta to a large bowl, and toss with a little olive oil (~2 t.) to keep from sticking together. Let the pasta cool.

sun dried tomato tomatoes

  • While pasta is cooling, seed the tomatoes and dice. I used Roma tomatoes because they looked like they would be the reddest and tastiest of my choices in the store. If you can get really good homegrown tomatoes in another variety, use them.
  • Pit (if needed) and chop the black olives into a very small dice. Chop 6 sun-dried tomatoes. Cut the mozzarella into medium dice.

sun dried tomato ingredients

  • Add diced tomatoes, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and mozzarella to the cooled pasta and toss gently.

sun dried tomato dressing

  • For the dressing, combine the dressing ingredients (sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper) in a food processor and run the food processor until the dressing is almost smooth.

sun dried tomato add dressing

  • Pour the dressing over the pasta and toss well.
  • Just before serving, add basil and Parmesan cheese and toss again.

Notes

  • Can be made ahead.
  • It is served at room temperature, so it works well for tailgates, picnics, or group meals.
  • Diced artichoke hearts are a good addition.
  • Pairs well with grilled chicken or grilled steaks.

sun dried tomato paste close

 

Fancy Dill Dip

dill dip in bread bowl

You may not recognize the dill dip in the picture above because I shared the recipe previously as a kindergarten snack idea. Even though it is the same recipe, it looks totally different when presented in the grown up way. I brought the fancy version of the dill dip to a neighborhood party, and the adults and kids dug in. You know it is a hit when even the bowl gets eaten (no after photo available).

Dill Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 c. sour cream
  • 2 c. mayonnaise
  • 3 T. chopped fresh dill
  • 3 T. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 T. grated onion
  • 1 T. seasoned salt

Directions

  • Combine ingredients and chill at least one hour or overnight.
  • Serve with raw vegetables, pita chips, pretzels, etc.

dill dip in bread bowl w veggies

Bread Bowl

  • Purchase a round loaf of crusty bread. I think the loaf in the picture was called “Mountain Bread”. Sour dough loaves work well too.
  • Using a serrated knife, cut the top and center off the bread. It is similar to cutting the top off a pumpkin when carving.
  • With your fingers, pull out some of the squishy center, so you have a good amount of hollowed out area for the dip.
  • Cut the removed bread into bite sized pieces and serve with the dip.
  • Pour dip into the center of the bowl.

bread bowl

Twice-Baked Potatoes Two Ways

mini twiced bake potatoes

I love twice baked potatoes all ways, but I am posting recipes for two of my favorite versions. The casserole is great for pot lucks, tailgating, and casual parties. The mini twice-baked potatoes are a great appetizer, look fancy, but have that comfort food factor, and… are mini. As some of my readers know, I live for mini. Unfortunately, there is no way around baking the potatoes twice, so both recipes require time. It is worth the wait, though!

twice baked potato casserole

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole

Ingredients

  • 8 medium-size baking potatoes (~4 lbs), baked and cooled
  • 2 c. (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 (16-oz.) container sour cream
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ c. milk
  • ½ c. butter, melted
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T. chopped fresh chives
  • 1 ½ t. salt
  • ½ t. pepper
  • 6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

Directions

  • Scoop pulp out of potatoes into a large bowl and coarsely mash with a potato masher (discard the empty skins).  Stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese, sour cream, and the next 7 ingredients.  Spoon into a lightly greased 13×9-in. baking dish.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and bacon.  Can garnish with additional chives too if desired.

twice-baked new potatoes

Twice-Baked New Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 12 new potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 4 oz. sour cream, softened
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 1/2 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese or white cheddar
  • 1 T. minced chives
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
  • salt and pepper to taste

scooping potatoes

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle the potatoes with the olive oil and toss to coat. Roast the potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes until tender, and the skin is slightly crisp. If your new potatoes are on the large size, you will need longer roasting time.
  • Remove potatoes from the oven and let cool slightly. Halve the potatoes. Use a small scoop (I like my little gelato scooper) and remove the insides leaving a little margin of potato. Put the scooped out part of the potato in a mixing bowl.
  • Add cream cheese, sour cream, grated cheese, chives, garlic, salt, and pepper to the potato pulp. Mash until the potato mixture is smooth. Taste and add salt as needed.
  • Scoop potato mixture back into the shell (gelato scooper works well for this too). Sprinkle bacon bits on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown on top.

twice baked potatoes pre baked