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‘5 Pretzels’ Category

  1. Cuban Sandwich In A Dip (#20)

    January 13, 2012 by admin

    I admit this dip ain't pretty, but it sure is good.


    Kealoha and I love sandwiches. We do. It’s kind of ridiculous. High on our list are two sandwiches: The Reuben and The Cuban. I’d already made a Reuben Dip…so I thought….by god…what if I created a Cuban Dip? What if you could put all the flavors of that sandwich with the pork and ham and pickle, but then make it dippable. It couldn’t be possible! It wasn’t possible. And then…you know what…I did it anyway.

    I’ve made enough dips to know the basics. I’d need some cream cheese and then mix everything in. Voila! A Cuban Sandwich in a DIP FORM. Wow.

    I share this with you know, just in time for one of those football type parties.



    4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 block), softened

    ¾ cup honey mustard dressing or dipping sauce

    1 tablespoon stone ground mustard

    1/3 cup dill pickle, diced

    1 pkg. Swiss cheese slices, diced (about 7 ounces or 1 cup)

    1 cup diced pork chop (use a leftover pork chop, or buy one at the deli)

    1 cup ham, diced


    Mix cream cheese and mustards until combined. Add remaining ingredients. Spoon into a greased shallow pie plate or casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until it’s nice and bubbly.



    Here, I present to you the process of mixing this dip to prove I actually did make this, and didn’t just create the fantasy while using photoshop.

    Mix the cream cheese, honey mustard dip or dressing, and stone ground mustard.


    Mix in your meat and pickles. You have to have pickles. It's not a cuban sandwich without it.


    Spoon it into a pie plate.


    Bake until the edges get golden. It'll be melty and gooey when you spoon it out.


    The Verdict

    At first I thought it was 4 out of 5 Pretzels. I couldn’t eat a ton of it, but that’s probably a good thing. Kealoha on the other hand went crazy over it. Plus, he ate it for the next three days. I guess it proves that you could make this ahead of time and it heats up great. We give it 5 out of 5 pretzels, because it’s a sandwich in a dip. So exciting.


    Check Out

    Check out my other “Football Party MAN Dips“. They’re not just for men nor are they dips just for football viewing. They’re just good, hearty dips that a big guy named Bob would probably like.

  2. Amped Up Artichoke Dip (#19)

    January 2, 2012 by admin


    For years, my aunt and uncle brought artichoke dip to our family get-togethers. It was my first taste of what I considered “gourmet cooking”. I loved it. I’d eat it nonstop, even forgoing turkey or whatever. The recipe is simple: chopped and drained artichoke hearts, 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 cup parmesan and a dash of tabasco sauce. Combine and bake.

    It’s still my favorite dip. It’s actually my Gateway Dip, if you will. I still make the simple version, but I’ve experimented with different ratios and ingredients. I love the following recipe from “Delicious Dips” by Diane Morgan. The addition of shallots and lemon give it a little kick and just that amped up flavor that is really awesome.

    This is the kind of dip where people take a bite, nod, and say “Mmmm”. This dip is one of my all-time faves. It gets 5 out of 5 pretzels, plus a bonus celery stick for introducing me to the Foodie world. (With thanks to Aunt Connie and Uncle Dave.)




    1 large shallot, halved

    2 cans (13.75 ounces each) artichoke hearts packed in water, well drained

    ½ cup mayonnaise

    ½ cup sour cream

    3 tablespoons lemon juice

    1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    salt & pepper

    1/3 cup unseasoned dry breadcrumbs

    ½ teaspoon dried oregano

    2 teaspoons olive oil


    1. In food processor with the metal blade, pulse the shallot until coarsely chopped. Add in the artichoke hearts and pulse again until coarsely chopped. (By pulsing the shallot first, you’ll make the pieces a bit smaller, which I prefer.)


    2. In medium bowl, combine the mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Add the chopped shallots and artichoke hearts and mix until well combined. Transfer to a buttered 1 ½ quart shallow baking dish.


    3. In small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, oregano, and olive oil. Sprinkle over the dip.


    4. Bake in 400 degree oven until the bread crumbs are toasty brown and the dip is bubbling at the edges. About 20-25 minutes, longer if you like it a little more bubbly.


    NOTE: You can make this ahead of time. Make through step two and refrigerate. Just before baking, combine with step three.


    PROCESS (In Pictures!)

    Pulse those shallots and arty hearts. Get violent. It's okay.


    Combine smooth and creamy ingredients placidly in separate bowl.


    Mix it all together. Par-tay! Par-tay! (Not really. Just mix it.)


    Sprinkle with topping and bake until it looks like this.


    The Verdict


    Eat it. Just eat it. And dunk with bagel chips, bruschetta, Club crackers, etc. Sometimes I just eat it as a side dish. I’m ashamed of that, but it’s true. And sorry for not taking a picture of what it looks like on a cracker. I was too busy eating.


  3. Reuben Dip (#17)

    December 22, 2011 by admin


    I saw this recipe in a free cookbook from Philadelphia Cream Cheese. You had to buy a crap load of their cream cheese to get the book, but I’m a sucker for that kind of thing….plus it was an excuse to make cheesecake. When I saw this recipe, I had the same reaction I did to the recipe for ‘chicken wing dip‘: It was either going to be horrific or awesome.

    It was awesome.

    That’s right. I’m deviating from my dip format, and I’ll just tell you up front: this is a 5 PRETZEL DIP. It’s gooey. Comforting. Delicious. I think I’m becoming obsessed with dips-that-taste-like-sandwiches. Really, it is a spreadable sandwich (but that sounds kind of gross).




    I forgot to take pictures at first. Here’s one of a couple of the ingredients. Imagine the rest:




    4 ounces (1/2 pkg.) cream cheese, softened

    1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing

    1/4 lb sliced deli pastrami, chopped

    3/4 cup well-drained sauerkraut

    1 pkg (8 oz) Swiss cheese slices, chopped


    1. Heat oven to 350.

    2. Mix cream cheese and dressing in medium bowl; stir in remaining ingredients.

    3. Spread onto bottom of 9-inch pie plate or shallow dish.

    4. Bake 20 minutes, until heated through. (Or you can microwave it.) Serve warm with rye bread or crackers.




    I thought since it’s served in a pie plate, I could use a smallish mixing bowl. So I mixed the cream cheese and dressing, trying to smooth it to get out the clumps. Then I added the sauerkraut.




    Then I added the pastrami and Swiss and promptly realized I should’ve used a bigger mixing bowl. Ah well. It required me to mix slowly and gently while making myself breathe meditatively.




    Put it in the pie plate. Ready to go. I actually made this during the morning, and then popped it in the oven when our friends arrived at night. Perfect.




    Bake that puppy up! Cook it until it’s bubbly and luscious looking.

    You can serve this with pickles too, but when I tried it…all I tasted was pickle.

    We also decided that it needed a stronger sauerkraut taste. I think this comes down to quality of ingredients. I got cheap stuff, but next time I’ll get the fancy 1000 Island dressing and some sauerkraut from the meat area.


    And happy holidays.




  4. Goat Cheese Holiday Spread (#16)

    December 6, 2011 by admin

    I asked for some suggestions on what kind of dips to post, and one reader recommended a recipe with goat cheese. I’m a huge goat cheese fan, so I immediately did some research. This one looked great because it could also work beautifully for Christmas, or if you’re having Italians over for dinner. You know, white, green, red. Whatever.



    1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
    4 ounces goat cheese
    1 garlic clove, minced
    ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    ¼ cup prepared basil pesto
    ½ cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

    Garnish: paprika, or sundried tomatoes and fresh basil made to look like a wreath


    1. Put peeled garlic clove in food processor. Pulse until chopped. Add in cream cheese, goat cheese and oregano and blend until smooth.

    2. Line a small bowl with plastic wrap. Spoon 1/3 of cheese mixture into bowl in even layer.

    3. Spoon pesto in even layer over cheese layer. Top with 1/3 cheese mixture. Spoon sundried tomatoes (I chopped them in the food processor) over cheese mixture. Finish with remaining 1/3 of cheese mixture. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or until firm.

    4. Invert onto serving plate, remove plastic wrap. Garnish if desired.



    This was, all in all, a pretty easy dip/spread to make. You do need a food processor or blender. I pulsed the garlic first, then added the cream cheese, goat cheese, and oregano and blended until smooth. Then I cleaned out the processor, and chopped the sun dried tomatoes. After that it was just layering the three spreads. The first layer was the hardest as it was a little messy, but after that it was easy.


    Pulse cheeses and oregano and garlic until smooth.


    Mmm. Smooth. The cream cheese balances out the goat cheese.

    Plastic wrap, cheese layer, then pesto layer

    Cheese layer again then sun dried tomato layer.

    Final cheese layer...then wrap and refrigerate.

    Once firm, flip it over onto a plate and remove plastic wrap. Viola!



    I had some dips over (AKA my friends) and they dove into this spread. It was immediately declared a 5 out of 5 pretzels! It’s creamy, sweet, salty, garlic-y, and just plain delicious. It was hard to stop eating it. And, yeah, it’s more of a spread than a dip, but get over it. It’s creamy. Dip your finger in it, but only if your guests aren’t looking.




    Crackers, any kind but my favorite are Club


    Bagel Chips




    Probably really good on toasted bagels or homemade pizza.






  5. Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip (#13)

    October 13, 2011 by admin

    This dip post is late, but there’s a good reason (besides getting married). I searched about a hundred recipes (literally) and tried three of them to find the right one. Some of them were too spinachy, some lacked flavor, some were just weird. Recipes all had the same basic ingredients, but some used fresh garlic, some garlic powder. Some used canned artichokes and blanched the spinach in boiling water. As much as I love Alton Brown, his recipe rated only a three…so I had to keep looking. And then I found it. It was posted on a general recipe-sharing website, and while like many other recipes it had the same basic ingredients with one exception: mozzarella cheese. Who knew this would be the magical ingredient needed to create a truly gooey and decadent dip.

    It’s luscious. Gooey. And you can’t stop eating it.

    The Recipe


    Copycat of TGI Friday’s Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip


    ½ cup sour cream

    ½ cup mayonnaise

    ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

    ½ cup cubed mozzarella

    1-2 teaspoons of minced garlic

    ½ package (about 8 ounces) frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of its juice

    1 (14) ounce can artichoke hearts, chopped




    1. Combine all ingredients.

    2. Place in shallow casserole dish.

    3. Bake dip for 15-20 minutes at 325, or heat in microwave until bubbly.


    The Process


    The hardest thing is squeezing water out of spinach. Take the defrosted spinach (you can do this in the microwave if you need), put it on a clean kitchen towel and squeeze. I used to do this to dry sweaters when I washed them and was too poor to get dry cleaning. It works great.



    Chop ingredients and add in bowl and mix. Easy.



    Bake or heat in microwave.



    The Verdict


    I wanted to find a 5 Pretzel recipe and I think I did. This baby gets 5! The fresh garlic lightly adds bite to every mouthful and the slight acidity of artichoke balances the creaminess of the spinach and cheese. It’s simply awesome.

    Be careful not to overbake. You’re not really baking, just heating it through. If you bake it too long, the spinach will cook through and the dip will suffer for it. In fact, heating it the microwave works just as well.









    The Dunkables






    Root chips

    Tortilla chips

    Bagel chips


    Try it in an omelette. Dip also freezes well.


    Like this dip? Let me know! I’m hungry for comments. Want me to find or try a certain dip recipe? Please email me at



  6. Tiramisu Dip (#12)

    September 27, 2011 by admin

    Gah! I forgot to post last week. No worries. Christmas is coming up…the perfect time for dips. And Kealoha has been looking for some old school 1950s dips to try.

    Today, it’s the first dip I’ve created on my own. I wanted a dessert dip and made a great tiramisu a while ago. It was complicated and time consuming, so I wanted something simple. I pulled a dozen or so recipes, and then figured this one out. At the dip party, it was a big hit.

    The Recipe



    1 cup heavy whipping cream

    ¾ cup sugar, divided ( ¼  and then ½  )

    1 (8 ounce) package of mascarpone or cream cheese, room temperature

    1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

    ¼  cup strong black coffee (to taste)

    1 teaspoon cocoa powder (optional)

    shaved chocolate (optional)


    The Process


    In a standing mixer with beater, combine ¾ cup of whipping cream with ¼ cup sugar. Whip until soft peaks form. Put in bowl, cover, and refrigerate.


    In the same mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, ¼ cup whipping cream, ¼ cup brewed coffee, and remaining ½ cup sugar.


    Mix until light and fluffy.


    Fold coffee mixture into reserved whipped cream. Top with cocoa powder and shaved chocolate.


    The Process

    All in all, this is a pretty easy dip. You’re really just whisking stuff and doing it in two steps. I use instant espresso to make a cup of strong coffee and then add about 1/8 a cup to start with. Depending on how much coffee flavor you want, add more. That’s all there really is to it.

    The Verdict

    For me, a 5 pretzel dip must be a great dip AND ALSO have other uses. This dip does that. It’s great as a dip, served with cookies and lady fingers, or it would also be great served into wine glasses, layered with ladyfingers and espresso.

    So, I give this dip 5 pretzels!! Yay! I’m certainly making this again. The dip is light, creamy, with a hint of coffee. You can eat it with a spoon. Spoon it between cookies. Dunk chocolate into it. Probably not for kids though, which is great, because then there’s more for the adults.


    The Dunkables




    Your finger

  7. Dip #11 — Curry Mango Dip

    September 13, 2011 by admin


    After looking over the last 10 dips, I realized three of them have black beans in them. Maybe I’m sort of obsessed with black beans or something. (I have a great recipe for a black bean cake. Cake as in burger not yummy-with-frosting.) But it’s time to move on.

    Here’s a great dip I served at my Dip Party. Explanation to follow. (To make it look a little prettier, I swirled some extra chutney on top. That’s optional.)


    The Recipe



    4 ounces cream cheese, softened

    8 ounces sour cream

    1 teaspoon curry powder

    ½ cup mango chutney


    The Process



    In medium bowl, combine cream cheese and sour cream. (Or use mixer with paddle attachment.) Add curry and chutney. Stir well to combine and chill.

    When making this, I actually screwed up and put all the ingredients in together. I had to overmix it a little, so the chunks of mango in the chutney got a little liquified. Ah well. It still tasted great. I would recommend creaming the cheese and sour cream first though.


    The Verdict


    In Japanese cooking there’s some approach (that I can’t remember) which seeks to create harmony in food. It attempts to balance both flavors and color. For instance, you want every plate of your food to have the colors white, red, black, brown and green. So let’s say you have a tuna sandwich. Wheat bread, white filling, green lettuce, red tomato and black olives on the side. You also want to create harmony with flavors. Something truly satisfying is at once sweet, sour, salty, bitter.

    In short, this dip does this. There’s heat from the curry and mango dip, but it’s also cool from the cream cheese and sour cream. The mango chutney adds sweetness, and if you use a bagel chip for dipping, you also get a tang of saltiness.

    I love this dip. I give it 5 out of 5 pretzels, as did many at the dip party. Kealoha wasn’t crazy about it, but he’s not a fan of things with spice. He gave it a 3.


    The Dunkables


    Bagel chips (Our favorite. Plain bagel chips with sea salt.)

    Pita chips




    You could try regular chips but the dip is a little thick and might break them.













  8. Dip #8 — Buffalo Chicken AKA Hot Wing Dip

    August 25, 2011 by admin

    A reader sent me a recipe for this ages ago, and then I lost it. I remember thinking “Holy cow. Like hot wings in a dip? Really?” I was both repulsed and drawn to the recipe. I never made it though because the recipe called for canned chicken, and I just couldn’t swing that way. Then I lost it. (I lost ‘it’ as in the recipe, not I ‘lost it’ as in my sanity.)

    I found another recipe in a free book by Gooseberry Patch, but as I started to put it together, I knew the ratios couldn’t be right. Almost an entire jar of hot sauce AND bleu cheese dressing? That sounded awful. And spicy. And soupy.

    So, I tweaked the recipe. This is the tweaked version…but if you make it, do it to taste. Start with these ratios, and if you want more heat or more dressing, simply add it in to taste.


    The Recipe


    8 ounces cream cheese, softened

    2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (great use for a rotisserie chicken)

    1/3 cup hot sauce

    ½ cup bleu cheese dressing

    1 cup shredded cheddar


    The Process

    Mix everything but the cheddar. Taste. Add more hot sauce and dressing if you need to. Pour into casserole dish.

    Top with cheddar cheese and bake in 350 oven for about 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

    The Verdict

    The original recipe called for 15 ounces of hot sauce and bleu cheese dressing, but that’s almost the whole jar. I just couldn’t do it. So I added less. (See above.) It’s an easy recipe; you just mix it all together. The next time I make it, I’ll probably get a higher quality bleu cheese dressing.

    So what’s the verdict? WE GIVE THIS DIP 5 Pretzels!! Yay!!

    Why 5 pretzels? As my cousin Jennie said “This dip is like life-changing”. Or something like that.

    I threw a dip party for my dippy friends Debbie, William, Jason, Karen, and Kealoha, and everyone agreed that this dip is a rock star. It’s full of flavor, surprising, spicy, creamy, cheesy, salty, and just plain terrific.

    I think you could even put this on mini rolls and have Buffalo Wing SLIDERS. Oh, man.


    The Dunkables


    Tortilla Chips

    Pita Chips

    Bagel Chips


    Or on mini rolls with a little lettuce for sliders

  9. Dip #7 — Hot Crab Dip

    August 19, 2011 by admin

    Before I even get started here…I just have to say that so far this is my favorite of all the dips I’ve made. In fact, even though I made it last week, I’m still thinking about this dip. AND I WANT TO MAKE IT AGAIN. I’ll tell you more in a minute. Anyway. Hot Crab Dip.


    The Recipe




    • 1 (6 ounce) can crabmeat, drained and flaked
    • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
    Optional: Old Bay Seasoning and chopped chives

    The Process

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    2. In a small baking dish, mix the crabmeat, cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, sour cream and garlic.
    3. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 45 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned.

    Mix your ingredients. You'll need a heavy spoon.


    I thought the garlic pieces were too big, so I minced them instead of crushing it. Then I added chives because it just looked so white. And then I decided that it needed something on the top so I sprinkled on some Old Bay Seasoning. It’s kind of hard to mix. You’re more or less squishing it together with the back of a spoon.


    Ready to bake...


    And then into the oven. It really does take about 50 minutes.


    Not the prettiest picture, but man, does it smell and look good.

    Wait. This one is a little bit better.



    The Verdict


    I will shout it from the rooftops! I LOVE THIS DIP! It’s hot, creamy, sinful, with the sweetness of crab, the salty bite of parmesan. Oh, my. And it makes a ton! Kealoha and I couldn’t stop eating it. And we couldn’t even talk while eating it. It heated up great too, and then we shared some with friends. I’d love to make this dip again, and try stuffing it into the cap of a portobello mushroom.

    I’m soooo making this at my next party…which is actually tomorrow, so maybe not at my next party. I’m trying to do only new recipes for a while but I so want to eat this again.

    It’s a solid 5 out of 5 pretzels. With another half pretzel just because.


    The Dunkables




    Great with any kind of cracker (wheat, sesame, club)

    Tortilla chips

    Fried wonton wrappers

  10. Dip #6 – Black Bean Spread with Lime and Cilantro

    August 11, 2011 by admin

    Kealoha and I were invited to his parents’ house for dinner. I was narrating all day and didn’t have a lot of time to make a dip or go shopping. This dip used all the ingredients we happened to have in our house, except I made a quick stop at the store for cilantro. It’s a healthy dip, but don’t let that scare you.


    The Recipe

    From “Cooking Light” Magazine


    3 garlic cloves, peeled

    ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

    ½ teaspoon salt

    1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

    1 (15-ounce) can black beans, undrained

    diced tomato and avocado (optional)

    The Process


    1. With food processor on, drop garlic through food chute; process until minced. Add chopped cilantro and next 5 ingredients, and process until smooth.

    That’s it. Basically, put it in a blender and mix until smooth. It’s really easy. Instead of chopping the garlic myself, I put it in the processor first and let the machine do the work.


    The Verdict


    When it was finished, it looked a little weird. Simple. Next time around, I might reserve a little of the liquid from one can to make sure it doesn’t get too soupy. To add texture, consider adding in chopped tomatoes and avocado.

    I was a little leary about Kealoha’s parents liking it…but they LOVED it. We couldn’t stop eating it! It’s a great spread, with or without putting in anything extra.

    It’s got that kind of fresh taste with the zip of lime, hint of cilantro. The little bit of salt really brings out the flavor. And then there’s the garlic and smooth black beans. Mmmmm. Honestly. I love this dip. Easy. Fast. Low-call and high fiber. Delicious!

    This gets 5 out of 5 pretzels. Really. It’s super easy, and you can make it any time of the year. And you can’t stop yourself from eating it. If there’s any left, it keeps well for days.

    The Dunkables


    Nacho Chips

    Corn Chips

    Fried Plantains