CREAM CHEESE BLACK BEAN DIP

This dip has been a favorite in our home for years, so the recipe card bears the marks of having been consulted often. The dip can be made with or without black beans, but the added texture of those little guys is worth one more time around with the can opener. Enjoy!

1-8 oz pkg reduced fat cream cheese, softened

8 oz sour cream

8 oz salsa (I use medium heat)

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1 tbsp diced jalapenos

3 tbsp taco seasoning

1 can reduced fat refried beans

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Tortilla chips (Tostitos “Hint of Lime” is our chip of choice)

Optional toppings: sour cream, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, avocado, parsley or cilantro, sliced jalapenos

1) To large, microwave-safe bowl, add: cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, cheese, jalapenos, and taco seasoning; stir well to combine; add refried beans and black beans; stir well

2) Microwave dip on high 5-7 minutes until heated through (pause and stir every couple of minutes); remove from microwave, add your favorite toppings, and serve with tortilla chips

Serves: 4-6 as dinner

Serves: 12-16 as appetizer

BEEFY FIESTA DIP

This dip is a decade-long family favorite, and to celebrate Friday, it was our big meal of the day. If beef isn’t your thing, consider substituting black beans or chicken. Either way, it’s tasty good!

Beefy Fiesta Dip

1 lb lean ground beef, divided

1-8 oz pkg reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

1 cup reduced fat sour cream, divided

1 cup salsa

1 pkg taco seasoning

1-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (we like sharp), divided

1 can fat-free refried beans

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1/2 avocado, sliced thin and cut into 1/2″ pieces

3 tbsp diced jalapenos

Tortilla chips (if you haven’t tried Tostita’s Hint of Lime chips, do!)

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees; lightly oil a large casserole dish

2) In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until browned (7-8 minutes); remove from heat, drain fat, and set aside

3) To large mixing bowl, add cream cheese, 3/4 cup sour cream (reserving 1 cup), salsa, taco seasoning, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese (reserving 3/4 cup), refried beans, and half the ground beef; mix well to combine; spoon into casserole dish

4) Scatter remaining ground beef and cheese over top, pop in oven, and cook 12-15 minutes until heated through; remove from oven

5) Scatter tomatoes, avocado, and jalapenos over top; spoon remaining 1/4 cup sour cream in sandwich bag, snip bottom corner, and squeeze sour cream over top; press a portion of tortilla chips into dip around the edges and serve with a bowl of chips; yummer!

Servings: 4 as an entree (many more as an appetizer)

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 04/13/12

BLACK BEAN-BACON DIP

I know dips are usually reserved for appetizers, but from time to time our family enjoys making a meal of chips and dip. Though our favorite remains Cream Cheese Black Bean Dip, this Black Bean-Bacon Dip is a contender. The only complaint was from Junior Too: “It could be spicier.” In which case, you can always substitute hot salsa.

Black Bean-Bacon Dip

6 slices bacon (I used turkey bacon; if you use regular fatty bacon, you probably won’t need the olive oil)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 medium-sized onion, chopped fine

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped very fine

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1-1/2 cup salsa (I used medium)

2-15 oz cans black beans, rinsed, drained, and coarsely mashed (leave some beans intact)

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup grated Colby-Monterey Jack blend, divided (cheddar is good too)

2 tbsp taco seasoning

tortilla chips

1) In large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until just crisp; remove from heat and chop; set aside

2) Add olive oil to skillet and heat over medium-high; add onions and jalapeno and, stirring often, cook 5 minutes until veggies soften; reduce heat to medium and stir in cilantro (reserving 2 tbsp for topping), salsa, mashed black beans, sour cream, 3/4 cup cheese (reserving 1/4 cup for topping), bacon (reserving 2 tbsp for topping), and taco seasoning; cook, stirring often, 10 minutes until heated through; remove from heat

3) Pour bean dip into medium-sized serving dish, top with reserved cheese, bacon, and cilantro, and serve with tortilla chips

Servings: 10-12 (appetizer), 4-6 (entree)

LAYERED WHITE BEAN AND AVOCADO-PEA GUACAMOLE DIP

Friday night and it’s finger foods in front of a good video. Though our family is most fond of hot dips, this cold dip was so refreshingly delicious with its white and black beans and lower-fat avocado-pea guacamole that it earned “keeper” status in our household.

Layered White Bean and Avocado-Pea Guacamole Dip

1-15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup reduced-fat sour cream, divided

2 tbsp taco seasoning, divided

2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and coarsely chopped

1-1/4 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1 tbsp + 1 tsp fresh-squeezed lime juice

1/3 cup diced red onion

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, divided

1/4 tsp salt

pinch ground black pepper

1-15 oz can seasoned black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups salsa (I used mild)

1-1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 cups chopped romaine lettuce

1 large tomato, diced

2 green onions, sliced thin

1 tbsp finely diced jalapenos

Tortilla chips

1) Place beans, sour cream (reserving 2 tbsp for topping), and taco seasoning (reserving 1 tsp for guacamole) in bowl of food processor; puree until smooth; spread bean mixture in bottom of large bowl (preferably clear so you can see the pretty layers); set aside

2) Clean food processor bowl and fill with avocado, peas, lime juice, onion, cilantro (reserving 1 tbsp for topping), reserved 1 tsp taco seasoning, salt, and pepper; puree until smooth; spread guacamole mixture over bean mixture

3) Evenly distribute black beans over guacamole, followed by salsa, cheese, lettuce, tomato, reserved 2 tbsp sour cream, green onions, jalapenos, and reserved 1 tbsp cilantro; chill in refrigerator at least an hour and serve with tortilla chips (or thinly sliced baguette)

Servings: 12-16 as an appetizer (though, by all means, make a meal of it if you can’t help yourself)