Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What do aunts and cows have in common?

Whatever terrible, offensive thing you're thinking, you've got it all wrong!  In my experience, aunts and cows both have the makings for delicious chip dips.  In the case of my relatives, though, it's more culinary knowledge than raw ingredients that they bring to the table...  I feel as though I might be digging myself into a hole here.  Maybe I should just get to the stories and recipes.

For Halloween a few weeks ago, I was asked to bring a suitably-themed appetizer to my coworker/friend's party.  So, I whipped out my dear Aunt Lois' recipe for tortilla dip.  It's a lovely orange colour, and I thought it would be appropriately festive with blue-black corn chips.  Mmm. 

I first tasted this over a decade ago.  Aunt Lois would always have the most wonderful parties at her beachfront house, with some very tasty treats-- this was one of them.  Being the ever-gracious hostess, she shared the recipe with me and my sisters, and I still have it to this day.  It's a great one to throw together for a game night, potluck, etc.  I love to put it in my fondue pot and keep it warm with the little candle flame... the temperature makes all the difference!

Didn't have time to present this nicely... just whipped it out of the microwave and snapped a few shots.  Forgive me!
Aunt Lois' Tortilla Dip
No clue what her original source was... and I hope she doesn't mind me sharing!

Makes enough to accompany a large bag of tortilla chips
  • 1/2 package cream cheese
  • 1/2 regular-sized jar of Cheez Whiz
  • 1/2 regular-sized jar of salsa (you can shake things up here and use spicy if you like; I kept it medium since I was making this for a large crowd)
  • 1/2 regular-sized jar of queso cheese dip (for example, Tostitos brand)
  1. Cut up cream cheese into cubes.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl
  3. Microwave on high for about ten minutes, stopping to stir every 2 1/2 minutes or so, until all the ingredients have melted together are smoothly and fully incorporated.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips; keep warm in a fondue pot if you desire (it really is best warm!)
To give you an idea of scale... this is my second-largest mixing bowl.  It barely fits in my microwave.  I made a double-batch of this dip, not wanting its constituents (*coughcheezwhizcough*) to be lurking in my apartment, waiting for me to do all sorts of terrible fattening things with them (like pouring melted cheese-like edible oil product over cooked pasta... mmm...) Ahem.  Sorry.  As it turned out, much of the leftovers went to Sherri, who doled out containers to those who enjoyed it.
On to aunt #2, my fantastic Aunt Lisa.  Being only about 15 years older than me, I've always thought of Lisa as more of a big sister than an aunt.  She would do my nails, let me put on her lipstick, let me watch as she and my Uncle Peter played Nintendo games (now I'm really dating myself here...).  She was (and continues to be) a fabulous baker, cook, and hostess.  Even now, she still makes me a special birthday cake every year to help distinguish my special day from Christmas.  It's so incredibly sweet of her.

Among her many amazing dinner party exploits, every year Lisa and her husband Dave host a Boxing Day feast at their home.  It's characterized by great wine, family, good conversation, fabulous appetizers, tempting holiday pastries for dessert, and... wait for it... some of the best Windsor-style pizza for an entree.  After all the work of the holidays, it's nice to kick back and not have to cook the main dish!  I look forward to this day every year, for all the reasons above... and also for Lisa's dill and green onion chip dip.  I could eat this, and only this, the entire day if I were allowed to (somehow I think my mother would frown upon this).  I wanted to make some for a welcome party I hosted for Hubs when he came to visit in July, so I called up Lisa via Skype and she kindly gave me the recipe.  Hubs absolutely loves it.  I made it again recently for my American Sign Language 101 class this past weekend, since I was hosting a study group.  It was (unsurprisingly) well received... Hubs even requested that I email some to him!  If only technology had come so far...

Aunt Lisa's Chip Dip
Again, original source unknown

Makes enough for a jumbo bag of Ruffles plain ridged chips, which I recommend as a vehicle for this dairy-based deliciousness.
  • 1 package cream cheese, at room temperature (I use light, it works just fine too)
  • 1 small tub of sour cream (again, light is okay here)
  • About 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill (don't ignore me and use dried, you'll regret it!)
  • Three green onions, chopped
  • About 1/2 tsp of salt, to taste
  1. Using a mixer with beater attachments, blend together the salt, cream cheese, and sour cream until fully incorporated and smooth.
  2. Stir in the dill and onion.  Check for seasoning; add more salt/dill/onion, as you like.
  3. For best flavour, chill and let the flavours meld for at least a couple of hours (I chilled mine overnight).  Serve with plain ruffle chips.
Suggested serving!!
It's entries like this that make me miss my family.  I know I'll be seeing Lisa at Christmas, but since moving to Ottawa, I haven't seen Aunt Lois in some time (except for when I Skyped into my family reunion!)  I'm just looking forward to the impending nuptials (the planning for which has been keeping me quite busy) to bring everyone together.

Using my current illness as an excuse to eat chips and dip (it's comfort food!!),


  1. You're taking American Sign Language? I'm so jealous! And, the first pic of the chip dip looked professional! Makes me hungry even at 8:40 am. :-)

  2. Haha, you have an excuse to be hungry, what with all the feedings Nico's been asking for! Yup, I'm taking ASL 101 at Deaf Centre Manitoba... my final exam is tonight! I'm totally taking ASL 102 as well; it's been a ton of fun. If only Windsor still had ASL classes... :( Alas, St. Clair discontinued theirs some time ago.