Take a Holiday Dip
At the top of my list of no-fuss appetizers and snacks are dips. When people drop by for a quick visit or an evening-long party, dips are ready to roll when you are. You can make them ahead to serve chilled or at room temperature, or, for the dips meant to be served warm, prep them ahead and pop them into the oven just before serving.
The perfect all-around “dippable” is crostini, or (a super-easy version) toasted day-old bread. Also keep a variety of fresh vegetables such as carrots and celery on hand to slice in a pinch. And keep a some boxed crackers in the pantry (you might want to try thin, rice-wafer crackers or crisp rye toasts).
If you’re looking for something warm and cozy, you simply can’t go wrong with hot artichoke dip. It’s on the richer side, but during the holidays is an appropriate time to indulge. Serve it with fresh toasted bread for a delicious appetizer. I’ve made so many variations on the artichoke dip theme and they have always involved melted cheese and artichokes. The last time I made one I did my own take on this recipe for Hot Fennel-Cheese Dip but added artichokes as well. Using canned artichokes is a time saver and I used pink peppercorns instead of black pepper, which added great flavor and a splash of color.
Another delicious option for Christmas dinner is a Classic Cheese Fondue. It’s guaranteed to be festive, as you bring everyone together to dip their vegetables around the dinner table. Choose fondue for an interactive Christmas dinner, a fun activity for everyone to share.
Hummus has become a must-have, all-occasion dip. Not only does it require just a few ingredients (chickpeas, sesame paste, and olive oil), it’s a healthy choice, too. I like to top my hummus with sautéed mushrooms for a more festive presentation. It’s a dip that’s easy to store in the fridge, so you can always have it on hand. (It’s a great before-dinner snack!)
Ready to take a dip (or four)? We have dozens of recipes for dips and spreads.
• Classic French Onion Dip (the homemade version will blow you away!)
• Crab Dip
• Baba Ganouj (this creamy roasted-eggplant dip will be the hit of your party)
Want to cook better? Watch Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine’s fabulous how-to videos on Better TV.