This week’s appetizer posts haven’t tipped the scale like this one will. In a good way, of course. Wink, wink.
Look, I don’t want to be the one responsible for leading you down the wrong path, or become a bad influence on you. So I need to point out a couple of things before you go there. I think this dish covers all the nutritional bases. It’s got protein, vegetables and dairy, and if you scoop it with a multi-grain cracker you can splurge without guilt. How’s that?
Not buying it? Here’s the skinny:
Once you dip into this rich, creamy dip punctuated with bits of chicken and peppers, you will not be able to leave it alone. Anyone with a pulse will immediately fall victim to its addictive quality. This dip is crazy good and different from any of those other hot dips you may have previously tried. It’s got pizazz and when you dip in for the first time, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
In my haste to find any vessel that will transport this dip into my mouth, I have discovered pita and tortilla chips offer the greatest satisfaction although I am not beyond enlisting the help of a simple water cracker. I’ll do whatever it takes.
But ever the eternal optimist, I look at it this way: bad is the new good.
A rich and satisfying warm dip that is perfect for any party, potluck or game day festivities.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise into thirds
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
- 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Thinly sliced green onions for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Season the chicken breasts with garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper. Saute the chicken breasts in the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until cooked through but not overcooked. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and finely chop.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Add the chicken and stir until completely blended. Transfer to a lightly greased 8-inch-square oven proof ceramic dish or pan. Sprinkle top with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. To get more color on top, place under a broiler for 3-5 minutes. Garnish with thinly sliced green onions or chives. Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips or crackers.
Well-seasoned chicken is the secret to the success of this dish. If time permits, you can allow the garlic and seasonings to marinade for more flavor.
If you want more heat, leave some of the jalapeno seeds in and omit the crushed red pepper. I like having more control over the heat by adding the crushed red pepper.
I have made this with regular and reduced-fat cream cheese and skim milk. Obviously the regular cream cheese produces a richer result, but this is already a rich dish, so I prefer the reduced fat cream cheese. You could also use one regular and one reduced-fat cream cheese if you're making the full recipe.
*This recipe is loosely adapted from The Junior League at Home: Meals and Menus for Everyday and Special Occasions