Tag Archive for Cream cheese

Mexican Spinach Dip

My sister and I are always looking for new appetizers to make. She turned me on to a very similar version of this Mexican Spinach Dip a few months ago. I’ve made it a couple of times and it is always a huge hit! 

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 15 min; Cook Time – 30 min.

Ingredients:

1 10 oz package of chopped spinach, thawed & drained

1 8 oz. package of light cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 c. chopped white or sweet onion

1/4 c. seeded, chopped jalapeño

2 cans Original Rotel, 1 drained, 1 undrained

14 oz. shredded Mexican cheese blend

1/3 c. sour cream

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1 package of tortilla ships

Preparing Mexican Spinach Dip:

Preheat 350. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Turn into a baking or casserole dish. Bake 30 min. or until hot and bubbly. Serve with tortillas chips. 

Mexican Spinach Dip

Variations:

If you want to add some extra heat, use more jalapeños or a spicier pepper. You can also use “hot” Rotel!

Got Leftovers?:

This dip actually heats up very well. 

Smoked Salmon Appetizer

After making the Smoked Wild Salmon on the Big Green Egg the other day, I had some leftovers. I decided to make a little appetizer with the smoked salmon. Yum!

I actually ate this for a snack lunch but it would be great to serve to guests too.

smoked salmon appetizer with cream cheese and horseradish

Level of Difficulty:Easy
Time Required:Prep Time – 10min (smoked salmon already prepared); Chill time – 15min+

Ingredients:

2 cups smoked salmon, chopped

1/4 cup cream cheese, softened

2T mayonnaise

2T Greek yogurt

2T prepared horseradish

salt and pepper to taste

parsley or chives for color (optional)

Quality cracker like the 34 degrees savory crisps (whole wheat shown)

Preparing Smoked Salmon Appetizer

Take your leftover smoked wild salmon and flake it apart.

Mix the softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, yogurt and horseradish until well mixed. Add the salmon and stir until just combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on a great cracker and add some parsley or chives for color.

Serve.

Variations:

Add some capers to the mix and you’ll love the pop of vinegary saltiness!

Bacon Cheese Ball

As much as I love cheese, I am typically not a huge fan of a cheese ball. However, since “everything tastes better with bacon, ” I thought I’d try this Bacon Cheese Ball to see if I could learn to love it. Yep! Everything really does taste better with bacon…plus it just looks so pretty!!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 10 min; Chill Time – 30 minutes

Ingredients:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 c. sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 c.  sour cream

16 cooked bacon slices, finely chopped, divided in half

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 c. chopped chives

Thick Cut Potato Chips for serving

Preparing Bacon Cheese Ball:

In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream, half of the bacon crumbles, and Dijon mustard. (This is one of those times when the best tools to mix the ingredients together are your hands).

Form into a large ball and place on a dish. Put in the refrigerator to chill. Before serving, roll the ball in the rest of the bacon crumbles and chives and serve with potato chips.

Bacon Cheese Ball

Variations:

You can add in whatever types of ingredients you would normally enjoy on a baked potato! Be creative!

Marinated Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs

I have made these cute little bundles several times since last summer and they are always a hit. Not only are bacon wrapped chicken thighs are delicious, but they look impressive without taking too much to prepare. The marinade came from www.tasteofbbq.com. The rest came from ideas from my sister! Gotta love the experienced cook!!! Costco sells the chicken thighs in their vacuum packed chicken section. There are 5 to a pack and 6 packs total!!

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 20 min plus marinating time of 2-4 hours; Cook Time – 20-30 minutes

Ingredients for 8 people:

Marinade:

1/4 c. olive oil
Juice of one lemon
2 T. lemon zest
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
1/2 – 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 T. dijon mustard
1 T. freshly crushed peppercorns
1 tsp. salt

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs with Brown Sugar and Pineapple:

16 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
1/4 c. light brown sugar
2 cans pineapple rings, cut in half
16 pieces of bacon

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs with Jalapeños and Cream Cheese:
16 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
8 fresh jalapeños, seeded
4 oz. whipped cream cheese
16 pieces of bacon

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Grill
Citrus Zester
Toothpicks

Preparing the Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs:

Combine marinade ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. Place the chicken thighs in a glass baking dish and pour the marinade over the pieces, turning once to ensure all sides are covered. (You can also marinate them in a ziploc bag if you prefer) Marinate for 2-4 hours.

Marinated chicken thighs

This post is so popular, we created a video to help show you how to make these little bundles of joy.

For the Brown Sugar and Pineapple:

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Pat one side of the thigh with brown sugar. Place a half of pineapple ring on an edge and roll.

Brown sugar and pineapple stuffed chicken thigh

Start wrapping the bacon around the seam and continue wrapping until the whole thigh is covered. Secure with a toothpick and set aside.

Bacon wrapped brown sugar and pineapple stuffed chicken thigh

Grill for 20-30 min, turning as frequently as needed to prevent burning from the flare ups, until cooked through!

For the Jalapeño and Cream Cheese:

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Take a knife and spread cream cheese in the half of a jalapeño. Roll the chicken thigh around the jalapeño. Start wrapping the bacon around the seam and continue wrapping until the whole thigh is covered. Secure with a toothpick and set aside. Grill for 10-15 per side until cooked through!

Bacon Wrapped Chicken thighs

Important Tips:

The key is not to overstuff the chicken and too make sure you wrap the bacon completely around the thigh.

Variations:

You can really stuff these with just about anything you want. When I make these I usually make half with brown sugar and pineapple and the other half with jalapeño and cream cheese. It gives guest the option of sweet or spicy!

Meal Ideas:

Last time I made these, I served them with Roasted Potatoes with Dijon, Garlic Green Beans, and Tomato Onion Cucumber Salad!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeños with cream cheese and bacon

I absolutely love jalapeños and everything tastes better wrapped in bacon, right? I found this Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers recipe on allrecipes.com  (submitted by MELISSAGAR). The first time I made it, I grilled the jalapeños as the recipe says. It was a little difficult, especially when I was turning them over. Some of the cream cheese started oozing out. I was willing to give it another shot a few months later for a 4th of July party we were having. Of course, right when I was about to start grilling, it started to rain sideways as it does from time to time in Atlanta. I hit Plan B…the broiler! They came out perfectly and there was no turning involved or gooey cream cheese on my grill!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 10min; Cook Time –  25 minutes

Ingredients:

8 fresh jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 8 oz. container of cream cheese
1 package of bacon

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

broiler pan

Preparing Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers:

Preheat the broiler. Spray the broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the cream cheese to fill the jalapeño halves. Wrap with bacon and place seam side down on the broiler pan. Place in broiler until bacon is crispy, about 15-20 minutes.

Jalapeños with cream cheese and bacon

Jalapeños with cream cheese and bacon

Important Tips:

When taking out the seeds of the jalapeños, make sure you wear gloves. If you get the seeds on your fingers and then touch your eyes, you will be very sorry!!!

How to seed a jalapeno

I’ve been told (on fairly good authority) that a jalepeno that has more tiny, light brown lines on them (they kind of resemble a crack in the pepper), the spicier the pepper is. One that is smooth with none of these is supposed to be less spicy. -Melissa

Variations:

You don’t have to stick with cream cheese, that’s just the traditional cheese used in jalapeño poppers. Mix it up with cheddar or another cheese of your choice. Not spicy enough? Add horseradish to your cream cheese.

Amazing Buffalo Chicken Dip

Easy Cheesey Buffalo Chicken Dip

Every year, we have a “Kickoff to Football Season Party”. About 5 years ago, I thought I’d try something new and easy and decided to make amazing buffalo chicken dip. Little did I know that it would be such a hit and one of my most requested dishes. For Melissa’s birthday this past May, her husband asked if I could bring the dip to her party…..yes it was the milestone birthday (40) – so she had a party!!! I believe he wanted the dip more for himself since she had no idea he had even asked me to bring it! Personally, my husband insists I make it about every time we have a party because if I don’t “everyone will be disappointed since they expect you to make it”. That’s code for “I want the dip”!!! So, if you’ve been struggling with how to make a good, hot, easy buffalo chicken dip, here is your answer!

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken or 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar of MARIE’S light bleu cheese dressing
1 8 oz. container of low fat cream cheese
1 jar of Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 bag of Stacy Chips (Naked Flavor) or Tortilla chips

Poach the chicken
– don’t be afraid, this is no big deal and makes all the difference

Making the Amazing Buffalo Chicken Dip:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the chicken is shredded into your prepared 8×13 dish, pour the entire bottle of Frank’s wing sauce over the chicken and mix well.
Buffalo chicken layer of buffalo chicken dip
Place the bleu cheese dressing and cream cheese in a saucepan. Mix together over medium heat, stirring constantly until the cream cheese has melted. Pour over the chicken.
Bleu and cream cheese layer of buffalo chicken dip
Place the dip in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the dip and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top to cover the dip. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with Stacy chips or tortilla chips.

Important Tips:

The key to this recipe is the LOW FAT dressing and LOW FAT cream cheese. I didn’t intend to make this a “healthier” dip, it just turned out that way. The first time I made it, I was so disgusted with the grease pool that formed after the cheese melted that I couldn’t serve it. I knew a lower fat cheese wouldn’t melt very well, so I used the lower fat bleu cheese and cream cheese and it made all the difference.

Variations:

This dip is too awesome to change a thing!! Trust me.