Creamy Mediterranean Dip

cm dip 2I first tasted this dip quite a few years back when a friend brought it over to my house. Yummy! I had to have the recipe! Although it’s been quite awhile since I last had it, it recently popped in my head and I had to make it. It’s very creamy (hence the title) as well as crunchy, garlicky, and very fresh tasting. Great summer appetizer, but delicious at any time of year.

Well, my parents raved about it when they ate it. And my mom told me I must post it on my blog. I’ve altered the original recipe to fit finicky taste buds and along with that, gave it a new name because what used to be an “Italian” dip, now seems to me to be very much Mediterranean. Here it is!!

Creamy Mediterranean Dip

  • 1, 8 ounce block cream cheese, softened
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 large green onion or 2 small green onions, sliced
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 baby cucumber, diced small
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced small
  • 2 tbsp. red or white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Italian dressing

cm dipIn a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, garlic, green onions and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread onto a plate to form an even layer. In another bowl, mix together the cucumber, tomato, onion and dressing with a dash of pepper. Spoon over the top of the cream cheese mixture in an even layer. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with crackers or pretzel crisps.

P.S. Check out my vintage milk glass platter. This one happens to be my FAVORITE platter EVER. I’ve recently become over the moon for milk glass and am building up a collection. Best part is that these beautiful pieces have been gifted to me by loved ones!

Vanilla Bean Fruit Dip

vb dip 6Did I have you at vanilla bean? Hope so! Well, I love the flavor of vanilla beans. But they’re expensive! Luckily, a friend told me about vanilla bean paste. Yay! Where has this product been my whole life? Sad that it took me so long to “discover” it, but glad I now have it in my possession. And I’m taking every opportunity available to use it.

vanilla bean paste

Me love you long time

That being said, I made this dip for Easter brunch last week. It was born out of necessity. I had some pretty strawberries and it was absolutely necessary that we have a cream cheesy type of dip to go with those red gems. First thing I thought of was this dip that my aunt made throughout my childhood. You’ve probably had it or something similar. Hers consisted of cream cheese, marshmallow fluff, and amaretto. And I always LOVED it when she brought that out. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any marshmallow fluff OR amaretto. But I did have turbinado sugar (think Sugar in the Raw). Which also reminded me of another childhood memory. Another aunt of mine would always serve strawberries with Sugar in the Raw whenever we came to visit. I also LOVED that whenever she brought it out. With those two memories in mind, this lovely dip was born.

Vanilla Bean Fruit Dip

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (or Neufchatel), softened
  • 1/2 c. sour cream (I used light)
  • 1/4 c. turbinado sugar (granulated sugar will do just fine too!)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste

Add the cream cheese to a stand mixer. You can also use a bowl and use a hand mixer. Beat cream cheese until smooth and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with strawberries, blackberries, pineapple, etc. Whatever fruit you fancy.

vb dip 4

Lovin those specks of vanilla bean in there

Don’t save this recipe for holidays! I will definitely have this dip and some fruit at my next BBQ.

vb dip 3

This fruit dip is also great without fruit. And just on a spoon. Don’t judge me.

Yo Quiero Queso

quesoI really like queso. A lot. And this recipe uses real cheese. Not that other stuff. I’m not going to talk smack, but I’ll just say that I don’t cook with it.

We eat this in my house, often. It’s very easy to make and eat straight out of the pot, or you can transfer to a small crockpot, keep on low and serve to guests. It’s also versatile as far as using different types of cheese. And I bet if you make this once, you won’t go back to that orange-ish block of expensive “cheese”.

queso ingredientQueso Blanco

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 c. onion, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, chopped (if you like it spicy, leave the seeds and membrane)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/8-1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 c. milk (I use 1%)
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese *see note below

Melt butter in a saucepan or small pot on medium heat. Add onions and jalapeno and sauté for approximately 3 minutes. Add garlic, stir, then sprinkle with flour and stir together. Add milk, cilantro and tomato. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat. It should be a thicker consistency. Add cheese a little bit at a time, making sure to stir and let it melt before adding more cheese. *If you like a little kick, half Monterey Jack and half pepper jack is a great choice. Or half sharp cheddar and half Monterey Jack makes for a sharper flavor. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

queso 2

You want to eat just this for lunch? Go ahead. I’ve done it myself.

Ranch dip/dressing

Who doesn’t like ranch? I’m sure there are some of you weirdos folks out there, but most people love it! In case you weren’t aware of this little tidbit, homemade dressing tastes a lot better than bottled. It’s pretty easy and the benefit is, it’s fresh! And most likely, you will have most of the ingredients to make dressing in your pantry or fridge. You can also say, hey I made that, instead of, hey I bought that at the grocery store and took off the cap for you. Seriously, which one is more impressive?

A bell pepper makes a great vessel for serving your ranch dip

A bell pepper makes a great ranch dip vessel. Prettier than a bowl, huh?

Now, this recipe is primarily for a dip. However, you can add more milk to it to thin it out a little more for dressing. However, I like my ranch dressing a little on the thick side so this recipe works well for me. It tastes delicious as a dip for veggies, chicken strips or nuggets, or on your favorite green salad. Try it, you’ll like! (If you know what show that’s from, bonus points for you.)

Ranch dip/dressing

  • 1 c. plain greek yogurt
  • 3/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. worcestershire
  • 1/4 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. frozen basil cube, melted (ever see these in the frozen section of the grocery store? love ’em!) or 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. milk (more can be added if you like your dressing thinner)

Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate. Best if served after it has set awhile. Let those flavors meld together! And if you think it’s too thin, it will set up further in the fridge. Enjoy!

ranch dressing