They told me to bring it again.
When my husband’s extended family gets together for holidays, everyone brings food and we eat until we can’t fit through the doorway.
The Thanksgiving and Christmas menus are generally different, but this year, I was ordered to do a repeat.
You know you’ve got a good recipe when people tell you to bring it again.
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Because this is a hot dip, it had to be near an electrical outlet and wasn’t right with the other food. I supremely enjoyed hearing people walk around with their plates, ogling others’ dip and saying, “Where’s that chicken stuff? Where didja get the spicy dip there?”
It’s the best compliment a chef can receive, right?
I originally got this recipe six years ago or so from a friend, but as our family transitioned to real food, it was one of those that landed in the “packaged food ingredients” pile. It had SIX ingredients that came in boxes or cans that I just didn’t purchase anymore.
One day I decided it was just too delicious NOT to try to reverse engineer. It’s in my eBook titled Better Than a Box, the purpose of which is to teach you to reverse engineer your old favorites that use packaged ingredients.
The book will be in three parts: first instruction on how to make recipes into real food, then the recipes I’ve successfully redone, then a section with all the recipes to make the ingredients you’ll need to make your own recipes.
Nobody said real food was easy, but it sure tastes great (and feels great, more importantly!).
I’m pretty excited about it, and I can’t help but share this recipe with you all today. You can make it in time for any parties you might be heading to this weekend and evangelize about how awesome real, whole ingredients can be!Print
- 8 oz. cream cheese or 1 c. yogurt cheese, softened
- 2 c. cooked, shredded chicken
- 1 1/2 cups homemade cream of chicken soup
- 8 oz. sour cream
- 8 oz. cubed cheddar (any kind, although sharp is always fun)
- 4 oz. jalapeno jack
- approx. ½-1 whole fresh diced jalapeno, to taste
- 1 small onion, chopped (or ~1 Tbs. dried minced onion flakes)
- ½ green pepper, chopped
- to taste – often needs 1/4-1/2 tsp., especially with homemade chicken broth in the ‘cream of’ soup
- Prep the cheese in cubes (or shreds).
- Mix all ingredients in a medium pot (optional: saute peppers and onions first in butter).
- Then set that pot into a larger pot of water (a homemade double boiler, see photo below).
- Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then cook over medium or low heat, stirring often until cheeses are all melted. It does take a while; just plan to have something else to do while you’re in the kitchen.
- Serve hot with homemade crackers. Also good with tortilla chips. I use a mini slow cooker to keep it warm.
- Makes about 6 cups worth, feeds plenty!
* The chicken needs to be boiled so it shreds well, not just baked chicken breasts. They don’t taste or act the same. A perfect opportunity to use slightly mushy chicken from making homemade chicken stock, if you want my humble opinion.
* The whole jalapeno is frugal for me because I buy in bulk (a quart for a dollar or so) at our local Farmer’s Market in August and freeze them. You can freeze jalapenos without blanching, already diced, simply cut in half and seeded, or even just washed and whole to be cut while frozen, depending on how much time you have in August and how you might use them. Dried chili powder, chipotle or something else spicy would be a possible alternative if you still like a little spice, but not enough to go out and buy a jalapeno.
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In Better Than a Box I even include one-pot instructions! My site editor Helen LOVES to use this method – make your “can of soup” then mix everything else in. It’s also great to store jars of pre-made “cream of anything” soup in the freezer, provided you remember to thaw them in time.
Other Great Appetizers
I had a tough time deciding today between this dip and our family’s other favorite dip, a 7-layer Mexican dip that’s already in The Everything Beans Book. Our little family with just two kids can nearly polish off a 9×13 pan of this stuff if we don’t hold back, it’s that good. It includes homemade guacamole and homemade refried beans, plus this creamy layer that makes it the best chip dip I’ve ever met! But you’ll have to grab the book to get it…
If you want to know how to reverse engineer a dip with Velveeta, by the way, just make a basic roux/cream sauce and add cheese and spices to your heart’s content. Mix with already-made taco meat and salsa, and oh, my – you’ll be a real food hero.
Click for more real food party and pot luck food ideas!
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