Just because the temperature drops in the winter that doesn’t mean your social life has to pay the price. The colder months of the year are great opportunities to invite people over for fun, food, and friendship. For these informal gatherings, you don’t have to prepare a four-course meal. Simply having finger foods and other appetizers will suffice. One of the most versatile and wonderful finger foods are easy to make dips. Dips come in all forms, temperatures, and tastes, so creating a few for your guests to enjoy will practically ensure warm feelings all around.
Some like it hot
There’s something addictive about a salty chip and a warm dip. Spinach and artichoke, crab, queso… these are a few of our favorite things. Many warm dip recipes can be prepared in advance and then baked or warmed up the day of the party. Other warm dip recipes can be prepared in a slow cooker, so you can get it going in the morning and simply remove the lid as your guests arrive. Using fresh herbs, spices, and vegetables will ensure your dip is fresh and flavorful. If you’re preparing spinach and artichoke dip, for example, go for fresh spinach rather than frozen. Queso is always amazing but is always better with fresh jalapeño and tomato. With warm dips, you’ll want something that can take the heat. Tortilla chips are up to the job, but you can also use sliced baguettes or thick apple slices.
Some like it cold
When you’re planning a party you need to plan ahead. No matter how late the party is set to begin and how early you start getting ready, there’s always a mad rush to finish last minute tasks before guests arrive. Making and refrigerating a few cold dips will mean you’ve got one less thing to worry about as people start knocking on your door. This family of dips can also include those served at room temperature, but they all have a shelf life. To make these dips last longer into the night, place the dip container in a slightly larger bowl filled with ice. Another option is to use a small serving bowl that you refill from a larger batch you keep in the refrigerator. Onion dips are always delicious, and you can choose to elevate yours from the standard pre-bought version to a homemade one by caramelizing your own onions and mixing them with sour cream, mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Other cold dip options include guacamole, pico de gallo, and chive dip.
Make your party hot, hot, hot by offering one or two spicy dip options. One favorite recipe is for buffalo chicken dip. For this recipe, you’ll need to combine shredded chicken (either canned or made in the slower cooker) with cream cheese, half a bag of shredded cheese, a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce, and either ranch or blue cheese dressing. All of these ingredients should be mixed together in an 8 x 8 baking dish and cooked at 375 for half an hour. At that point, you can take the dip out, sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese on top, and bake again for ten more minutes. Serve this dip with tortilla chips or provide slider buns so people can turn the dip into the main ingredient of a delicious little sandwich.
Who says dips can only be savory? Sweeten the deal by making dips that appeal to your guests’ sweet tooth too. They’re tons of great dessert dip recipes online, ranging from Samoa dip (yes, as in the Girl Scout cookie), dips for fruits, dips made with Nutella, and even a Maple Bacon dip. With these dips, you’ll need a different variety of dippers. Broken up waffle cones are incredibly versatile, or you can go the cookie route and use thin chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, or pretzel chips. If you make a fruit dip, you’ll want to use larger, sturdier fruits like strawberries, apples, and cantaloupe. To add a little flair, consider setting out a bottle of caramel or fudge for guests to drizzle over their creations. Now you’ve created a delicious beginning to a sweet new year!