Taco Dip

IMG_0077

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
16 oz. sour cream, room temperature
1 packet of taco seasoning (my favorite brand to use here is Ortega)
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1 cup shredded cheese (I usually use some sort of Mexican or taco blend)
1 – 3.8 oz can of sliced ripe olives, drained

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whip the cream cheese with an electric mixer until soft, about 90 seconds. Add the sour cream and taco seasoning packet, and continue using the mixer to combine all three ingredients until well mixed. Stir in the diced jalapeño before spreading the flavored cream cheese mixture into the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan/dish in an even layer. Next, sprinkle the shredded lettuce evenly atop the base layer. Repeat that step with the three remaining ingredients. Using seeded tomatoes is important because you want to remove as much moisture from them before tossing them onto the taco dip. Cover and refrigerate for an hour so the cream cheese mixture firms up. Serve with your favorite brand of tortilla chips and enjoy! If there are any leftovers, cover and return to the refrigerator. The dip lasts for two-three days before the lettuce starts to brown and the tomatoes release their remaining moisture.

Variations: (1) I often put black olives on only half of the dip, as shown in the picture above. That way, those who are not particularly fond of olives can enjoy the dip, too. (2) To spice things up, add anywhere from 1/4 tsp. to 1 full tsp. of cayenne pepper to the cream cheese, sour cream, taco seasoning, and jalapeños. Be sure to taste the mixture as you add the cayenne pepper so as not to over-spice the dip. (3) Not too fond of the layered idea? Stop after combining the cream cheese, sour cream, taco seasoning, jalapeños, and optional cayenne pepper – the base is a good dip by itself. (4) For an extra punch, add a layer of your favorite salsa between the cream cheese mixture and the lettuce.

CJC

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