I come from a family that likes to be creative in the kitchen. I enjoy dreaming up new recipes, as well as putting a spin on old favorites.
A Twist on a Party Appetizer
This dip started out as a filling for stuffed mushrooms. I wanted a filling that had some flavor notes that varied from the typical Parmesan cheese–flavored ones I had had before. After testing a few seasoning and cheese pairings, I settled on the one that appears in this recipe.
One day it came to my mind that, with some tweaking, the filling could be transformed into a tasty hot dip. My test run worked, and now I have an appetizer dish that is sure to please any mushroom-lover. Everyone who has tried the dip at the gatherings I have served it at has enjoyed it, and I hope you will as well!
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Serves 8-10 people
- 8 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon sage
- 2 tablespoons half and half
- 3/4 cup white cheddar, grated
- 1/4 cup Asiago cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup bacon bits
- 2-1/2 cups chopped portobello mushrooms
- 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the Neufchâtel cheese, lemon juice, and olive oil. Add all of the herbs and spices to the cheese mixture and stir well. Next, add the half and half. Then mix in the cheddar, Asiago, and bacon bits. Finally, add the mushrooms and bread crumbs to the bowl and stir until well combined.
- Spread the dip over the bottom of the 8x8 dish. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Allow the dip to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Tips and Suggestions
- This dip can be made the night before and left uncooked until needed. I would suggest adding 1/2 tablespoon of half and half to the mixture if you do make it ahead of time, as the bread crumbs will have absorbed a lot of the moisture after sitting in the refrigerator overnight.
- While I believe this dip tastes best with portobello mushrooms, you can substitute white mushrooms.
- Cream cheese can be substituted for the Neufchâtel cheese.
- If doubling this recipe for a larger crowd, bake it in a 9x13 dish and add 5-6 minutes to the cooking time.
- I chop the mushrooms roughly and allow for some larger pieces, as it adds textural interest to the dish.
- If you forget to take your Neufchâtel or cream cheese out of the refrigerator to soften (or are in a hurry), you can soften it quickly by doing this: place the foil-wrapped cheese in a zip-top bag, then put the bag in a bowl of warm water. The cheese will soften to a mixable consistency in about 5-8 minutes.
- As I mentioned in the introduction, this dip is also great as the filling for stuffed mushrooms. Just reduce the amount of chopped mushrooms to 1 cup (I often use the stems I pop off the caps I'm going to stuff). Also, reduce the bread crumbs to 1/4 cup. This fills about 16-20 medium-sized mushroom caps. Bake the stuffed mushrooms at 400° F for 15-20 minutes, until mushrooms caps are tender.