One of the first things my son asked to learn to make was dip. I suspect he's envisioning all the parties he'll host, many of which will involve sitting in front of a screen watching movies or sports, or playing video games with his friends. (We don't have a television, so this is obviously the first thing on our sons' list to buy when they move out.)
What he doesn't know is that, when he and our other kids are out of town, I've been known to eat chips and dip for supper. Dips are an excellent thing to have in your arsenal, because they make everything from crudites to potato chips taste even better.
My kids have seen me use my mini food chopper many times, for everything from chopped herbs to single-serve smoothies. And I recently scored a second mini processor at a thrift store for a few dollars, and this one has a grating attachment. (Well, I had to order the grating attachment, but it wasn't too expensive.) I really love a mini food processor or chopper, so I'll probably get one for each of our boys when they leave home. But I digress.
I taught my son to make a basic white dip. We added cream cheese, sour cream, a handful of fresh basil from outside, salt, pepper, and a few dashes of Tabasco. It was delicious on vegetables, but would have been just as good on chips.
I want him to be able to ad lib plenty of dips, but I'll also start him with a list of good ones.
Delightful Dips to Know By Heart
- The perfect guacamole. This simple dip is great on chips or as a condiment.
- A really simple salsa. This recipe would be a great use for the mini chopper.
- French onion dip. This recipe is great because it includes caramelized onions (yum) and Greek yogurt, which makes it healthier than some other options.
- Basic basil pesto. It's great as a dip on its own, and can also be used for a quick and simple pasta dish, or mixed into yogurt for a creamy dip.
- Black bean salsa. I'll give them my recipe, because it works great with fish tacos or as a side to something else, but there are less healthy meals than black bean salsa and chips. And it's so easy to make.
- Awesome cheesy sausage dip. All it takes is cooked, crumbled sausage; Rotel tomatoes; cream cheese; and a handful of grated cheddar. Serve it warm in a slow cooker. People will love you.
- Spinach and artichoke dip. This has been a party staple forever. No need to stop now!
- Aunt Virginia's Parmesan artichoke dip. My sister-in-law keeps it simple: one can artichoke hearts, chopped; one cup each mayo and shredded Parmesan. Heat at 375°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve, and accept the gratitude of your guests.
- 7-layer dip. My kids don't really need a recipe for this, but this is a good one from Southern Mama on Food.com. I've been known to serve this for supper on occasion.
- Baba ghanoush. This is one of my personal favorites; a great use for the late-summer bounty that is eggplant, and the kids like it, too.
You may wonder why I didn't add hummus. It's because I don't like it. There, I said it; come at me. But I know I'm in the minority here, so here's a good recipe. If I were going to teach them to make hummus, I might mention that they could use different kinds of beans, depending on what was available, and that in a pinch, peanut butter can be substituted for tahini, since they might not have that around the house. And that's all I have to say about hummus.
I want my kids to study hard in college, and work hard at their jobs when they're finished with school. I want them to keep their homes nice, find time to exercise, and get plenty of sleep. But I also want them to have friends, and be able to throw a decent party at a moment's notice. Learning to make a few easy dips will go a long way!
What are your favorite dips? And which ones, if any, do you think can be reasonably considered to be a meal?