Mexican Dip

Um, so here’s the deal. I love making appetizers and party food – I think I could eat finger foods for meals 5 days out of the week and be perfectly content!

One of my favorite “party food” recipes (read: super easy) is a Mexican Dip my mom passed along to my sister and I. It’s seriously easy and is always a big hit. I am pretty sure it’s the first thing to disappear at any gathering.

So for our 4th of July celebration (which we held on Tuesday, because who wants to go to work after a night of celebrating?) my husband really wanted to make some pulled pork and have tacos. I know, tacos for the 4th sounds crazy, right? But it was a fun little food theme and nobody really seemed to mind. Especially when I busted out the Mexican Party Dip. This recipe is so easy to “lighten up” by using fat-free cream cheese, turkey chili, fat-free cheddar and some baked Tostitos!

Mexican Party Dip (Serves 8-10)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 can of Hormel No-Bean Chili

2-3 Tbsp. chopped yellow onion

2 Tbsp. chopped jalapeno (I use the jarred kind opposed to fresh)

14 oz. Pace Picante sauce

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Take a medium, but fairly deep, baking dish and spread cream cheese in a layer, covering the entire bottom of the dish. I use a spoon to make sure it’s pressed up against the sides, creating a seal.

Pour chili over the cream cheese and spread evenly with a spoon.

Sprinkle chopped onions and jalapeno over the chili.

Pour Picante sauce on top – you don’t need a whole jar, maybe 3/4 – just enough to create a layer and cover the jalapenos and onions.

Now sprinkle the cheese on top of the salsa and you’re ready to bake.

Place dish in the oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and dip begins to bubble.

Remove, scoop with chips and devour!

Now, what usually happens when I make dishes for a party to put on my blog is that I get a lot of great pictures of the process. Then I cook the food. Then I put the food out. Then I forget to take a picture. Then I’m left with this to show you…

At least the dip being demolished shortly after coming out of the oven is a testament to how delicious it is! So try it soon – you won’t regret it!

Happy Friday the 13th everybody!

Taco Won Tons

So the husband and I have been on a huge Mexican food kick lately.

I am normally a total Mexican food snob – I don’t like the “hole in the wall” type places – but lately I’ve learned, some of them tend to have the best food and are incredibly and deliciously authentic. Previously it was hard for me to determine authentic since all I ordered were quesadillas and cheese dip!

I also think our two amazing trips to Mexico (one being our honeymoon) probably expanded my horizons quite a bit! I’m still not a huge fan of the rice or beans though – and I  am actually quite disgusted by re-fried beans.

However, the spices used in Mexican food and fresh avocados have definitely been game changers. And being introduced to chorizo. And obviously, melted cheese.

Also, throw in an ice-cold cerveza or margarita and I am one happy lady!

So for Cinco de Mayo, I knew we were going out later for Mexican – but I wanted to make something “light” for lunch that was also festive. Enter Taco Won Tons. I made them for lunch, but it was more testing out an “appetizer” – and I could totally see this one being a hit during the summer! A little spicy, pretty substantial, and goes great with a Corona or well, anything involving tequila. (I know, what doesn’t – right?)

The best part? These are 1 WW point per item. You. Are. Welcome.

Taco Won Tons (Meal – serves 2; Appetizer – serves 4-6 or more if doubled)

4 oz. extra lean ground beef (I used 94% lean)

2 Tbsp. yellow onion, chopped

1 Tbsp. green bell pepper, chopped

3 3/4 oz. fat-free refried beans

2 Tbsp. shredded fat-free cheddar

1/2 Tbsp. ketchup

3/4 tsp. chili powder

3/4 tsp. taco seasoning

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. hot sauce (optional – we didn’t use but put a few dashes on top of won tons)

12-16 won ton wrappers

1/2 cup taco sauce

Preheat oven to 375.

In a medium skillet, brown ground beef with onions and bell pepper.

Once beef is cooked through, scoop into a medium bowl. Add cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning.

Add your cheese, refried beans, ketchup and hot sauce. Mix until everything is incorporated.

Now, take your won tons and place one on a plate. Spoon about 1/2-3/4 Tbsp. in the center of each wrapper. Dip a pastry brush in water and spread a light amount over the edges of half the wrapper.

Fold “dry” half over on top of “wet” half and press together. Using the tip of a fork, press into the edges to “crimp” and ensure a good seal. (It also looks pretty!)

Repeat with all of mixture and add to baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and bake 5-7 minutes on one side. Flip and bake another 5 minutes until edges are lightly browned and won tons are crisp.

Serve with taco sauce for dipping – and devour!

So I’ve had these for lunch, and now I want to make them as an appetizer. First, I’d probably have to have a party though. Surely I can come up with a reason…




Homemade Guacamole

Man oh man. These past 2 weeks have been absolute insanity for me and it has certainly been reflected in my lack of blogging – and I apologize for that!

As you know based on my naughty post, the husband recently celebrated his birthday. As did my middle nephew. So there have been parties and dinners to attend!

Also, last week my group at work had a department retreat which was so much fun, but you know when you go out singing karaoke on a Tuesday night – Wednesday might be rough – especially when you are in one big meeting all day! It was such a blast, but wow was I drained the rest of the week from it!

Having my parents dogs around did not do much to keep me from being lazy…

Watching a movie in bed...

…until this weekend, when I started going through my room of shame (read: spare room filled with “junk”) to sort through and label for a garage sale.

The husband and I decided to go out that night and we tried a new Mexican place (well, it was new to me!) – I’m very picky and don’t do the “hole in the wall” thing very well for Mexican or Chinese. So we were expanding my horizons.

I read reviews online and heard about their guacamole – and it did not disappoint! The interesting part of it was that the avocado is left in large chunks and then mixed with the other ingredients. Delicious, but I do like my guacamole to stay on the chip without careful maneuvering!

Luckily, I had some avocados hanging out in my fridge that needed to be used – so I tried my hand (oddly enough, my first time ever) at making homemade guacamole! I wasn’t incredibly diligent with measurements, so just start off small and add as you go. Remember – you can always add more, but you can’t “take away”!

Homemade Guacamole

3 ripe avocados

1 medium tomato

1 lime

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (if you have it)

1-2 Tbsp. onion, minced

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. minced garlic

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. dried cilantro (if you don’t have fresh)

Dashes of cumin, cayenne pepper and garlic powder.

Dashes of Tabasco

Begin by coring your avocados. I just take my knife and slice down one side until I hit the pit, and then turn the avocado and continue cutting. Once I’ve made it all the way around, I twist and voila – two perfect (ish) avocado halves!

Now simply remove the pit and scoop out the meat!

Add avocado to a bowl and smash with a fork until you’ve reached your almost desired consistency – I don’t think it warrants a food processor unless you’re really making a big batch!

Add salt, cumin, cilantro, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder. Dice your tomato and mince your onion and add to the avocado.

Add lime juice, hot sauce and garlic and stir until incorporated.

Refrigerate until you are ready to eat! We had taco night at home – but I just ate my guac with some baked tortilla chips…

While the husband enjoyed his on his actual tacos…and on some chips too!

This is such a yummy dish that is great to enjoy during the summer – even if Mexican isn’t on the menu for the main course!