Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bean Dip

I think most of us have had this bean dip at a party, or at least some variation of it. This version is about as simple as it gets. There's a reason it's so popular. It's good, solid comfort food. Plus it takes only ten minutes to assemble before baking. It's such a crowd pleaser in fact, that I didn't manage to take a photo of it baked and whole before everyone descended on it. High praise indeed.


1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
8 oz. neufchatel (1/3 less fat cream cheese), thinly sliced
1 (11 oz.) jar salsa (I use Newman’s Own medium)
3 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, thinly grated
3 oz. monterey jack cheese, thinly grated
tortilla chips for serving

1.     Preheat oven to 350º F.
2.     Layer ingredients in 9” x 9” glass baking pan (in the order listed above). When layering the cream cheese, it helps to flatten each slice with your fingers before layering on top of the refried beans. Can be made ahead and refrigerated (covered). Bring to room temperature before baking.
3.     Cover with foil (trying not to touch the cheese) and heat for about 40 minutes (or until warm and a little bubbly). Remove the foil and heat uncovered for about 5 more minutes (or until cheese is fully melted).
4.      Let cool for 5-10 minutes.  Serve with tortilla chips.

I think my friend Mary McHugh gave me this recipe about 20 years ago. But I have no idea where she originally got it. Only the version she gave me had no amounts. I've played with it over the years and I think these proportions are now spot on.

refried beans spread
you may have never even noticed the little  "neufchatel cheese  "
written in the bottom, right corner there
once you flatten out each piece with your fingers,
it will be enough to cover the whole pan
cream cheese layer
salsa layer
cheese layer
side view of the layers (before baking)
By the time I got to it with my camera, it already looked
like this (you can see it was attacked by several angles).
dipping a chip

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