Favorite dips to enjoy during the summer

By DEANA SEXTON,

Since the weather is getting nice, I thought I would share some of my favorite dip recipes. I love having family and friends at my home, and good food is a must, even if it is just snacks. My closest friends are used as taste testers for many of my new recipes. They do not mind it at all. But they will truthfully tell me if it's a keeper. I hope y'all enjoy these.

Jalapeno Popper Dip

1 4-ounce can diced jalapenos, well drained OR 4-6 fresh jalapenos, roasted and diced (include seeds if you like it really spicy)

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 cup sour cream

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

3/4 cup plus 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1 tablespoon dried parsley

In a mixer or by hand, combine cream cheese and sour cream.

Add cheddar cheese, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, and diced jalapenos, mix well.

Spoon into 8x8 baking dish, spreading evenly.

Blend bread crumbs, melted butter, 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese, and dried parsley, using a fork or your fingers, until crumbly.

Sprinkle the buttery crumb topping evenly over the cream cheese mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until hot and breadcrumbs are golden brown. Do not overcook.

Serve with bread or crackers.

Hot Seafood Dip

2 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese, softened (you can use light cream cheese)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/4 cup sliced green onions

6 ounces crab meat

6 ounces shrimp, chopped

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 cups Mozzarella cheese

Blend cream cheese, mayonnaise and horseradish. Add in the Worcestershire, Tabasco and all of the seasonings and blend well. Add the green onion, crab meat, shrimp, Parmesan cheese, and one cup of the Mozzarella cheese. Spread in a shallow baking dish or a pie plate works well that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Sprinkle the other cup of cheese on top. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly or just starting to brown on top. Let this stand for about 10 minutes before serving to set up and to cool slightly. Serve with crackers, tortilla chips or Frito Scoops are really good with this!

Buffalo Chicken Cups

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup Ranch dressing

1/2 cup Buffalo wing sauce (Frank's is the brand I like)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 1/2 cups cooked and shredded chicken

24 wonton wrappers

1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray brownie pan very lightly with kitchen spritzer.  In a medium bowl, combine softened cream cheese, Ranch dressing, wing sauce and 3/4 cheddar cheese (save remaining 1/4 cup for topping). You can soften the mixture slightly in the microwave if needed to make it come together. Stir in shredded chicken.

Start layering your cups. Begin with a wonton wrapper and press it into the bottom of each muffin tin. Spoon about a tablespoon of the chicken mixture. Top with another wonton wrapper and add another tablespoon of chicken mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and a little blue cheese.

Bake for 18 minutes or until edges are brown. Check cups after 10 minutes into cooking and if edges are browned cover the cupcakes with foil for the remaining cooking time.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. To remove, use a knife to loosen the edges, then remove cup.