First off, a caveat: this is not a remotely Mexican recipe. :) But it does fit the bill for blog-inclusion by being Midwestern. And more importantly, it is a gooooood recipe, probably because it is endowed with the hallmarks of Midwestern cooking: dairy, dairy, and more dairy, with the occasional smattering of vegetables well-disguised by cheese.
The illustrious Pizza Dip has gained national fame in the US after its appearance at basically every social event that I attended or hosted in Boston & Washington DC. Those who recognized its excellence helped to spread the word; I am told that it swept Bern, Kansas by storm one holiday season. Even my brother, a budding culinard in his own right, is a Pizza Dip connoisseur– most recently making it for a Ninja Turtles-oriented gathering he hosted in Delaware. (BTW, Tim, well done on tying the food into the theme.) The Pizza Dip is now sharing its love here in Mexico.
Anyway, I pass the Pizza Dip recipe along to you for any upcoming holiday festivities where you’re just not sure what to bring & can’t be bothered to spend more than 20 minutes prepping something. Thanks to Aunt Kathy via my mom, as the original recipe source!
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (a.ka. 2 cups)
- 1 jar pizza sauce (a.k.a. 14 oz)
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- Pre-heat oven to 350F
- Spray a pie plate with PAM cooking spray
- Mix together cream cheese & Italian seasoning in a small bowl; spread onto bottom of pie plate
- Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese on top
- Pour most of the jar of pizza sauce on top of cheese & spread out evenly
- Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese on top of sauce
- Sprinkle with red & green peppers
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350F (or until a bit bubbly & cheese is melted)
- Serve with Tostitos chips (or something similar)
While this appetizer may not seem particularly trendy or cosmopolitan, I will be so bold as to almost guarantee its popularity. You will win double bonus points by making something vegetarian-friendly (by sheer accident), as well as for coordinating your food colors with the holiday season (during December at least). If you have any lingering concerns, try renaming it something more glam-sounding like “Fromage et Poivron”. This should impell people to taste it just so they can claim to like French food.
Any testimonials out there for the good ol’ Pizza Dip?? There can be no fewer than 300 of our acquaintances who have sampled this at one time or another. In fact, I almost shudder to think how many times I’ve eaten this over the last 10 years… But all that cheese has certainly helped to keep my coat shiny.
P.S. Here is a photo of one of the Pizza Dip’s biggest advocates, showing off a gift he received during a going-away dinner we had for him in our apartment (where we served the very Pizza Dip depicted above!). Note him highlighting the t-shirt’s use of classic government bureaucracy at its finest.