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It's time to get your dip on for football season, and this oven-baked recipe is a good start

Think of old-school garlic bread, the kind where the garlic smacks you in the face, strong and fragrant, topped with a mound of golden-brown mozzarella that still appears to be bubbling even after it has been pulled from the oven. Now combine those flavors in a dip and serve with toasted crostini.

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Kick off the football season with Sarah's bubbling hot and delicious Cheesy Garlic Bread Dip.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum
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FARGO — High school and college football are in full swing, and with the NFL season just about to kick off, now is the time to get your dip on.

I love a good party dip, especially one that is hot and full of savory, melty goodness, like this Cheesy Garlic Bread Dip. Think of old-school garlic bread, the kind where the garlic smacks you in the face, strong and fragrant, topped with a mound of golden-brown mozzarella that still appears to be bubbling even after it has been pulled from the oven.

Now, picture those flavors combined in a dip and baked in the oven, with toasted crostini on the side just waiting to take a swim. Sign me up.

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White cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan and cream cheeses are combined with six cloves of garlic to form the base of flavors for Sarah's Cheesy Garlic Bread Dip.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Cream cheese forms the base of this oven-baked dip, and it gives this dip a velvety-smooth and creamy finish. A stand or hand-held mixer is ideal for this recipe, as the cream cheese must be beaten with sour cream until smooth and that would take forever if doing it by hand. Well, maybe not forever, but certainly longer than the two minutes with electric appliances.

For the garlic, I use six large cloves for this recipe, which I mince as finely as possible. I do not have a garlic press, but if I did, this would be the time to use it.

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In addition to the fresh garlic, I also add some garlic salt and onion powder, as well as a generous amount of fresh parsley. I love fresh parsley, which adds a pop of color and lifts the other flavors. Once these aromatics are blended into the cream cheese mixture, prepare to be hit by a satisfying wave of savory fragrance.

I like a lot of cheese on my garlic bread, and the same goes for this dip recipe which calls for a blend of shredded mozzarella, sharp white cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. I love this flavor combination — the mild mozzarella melts beautifully, the sharp white cheddar packs a tangy punch of flavor and the Parmesan has just the right touch of nuttiness. The cheeses are added just at the end, all at once, and mixed on the lowest speed just until incorporated.

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Using an offset spatula or a knife to smooth the top of the dip will promote even baking in the oven.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

The cheesy garlic mixture then gets poured into a small casserole dish, or an 8-by-8-inch baking dish greased with butter or a nonstick cooking spray. At this point, you can bake the dip in the oven and serve it immediately or refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking. The dip is baked until the cheese is fully melted and bubbling, and it is best when served piping hot with toasted crostini, crusty bread or hearty crackers.

If you are looking for a new dip to spice up your game day fare, this crowd-pleasing Cheesy Garlic Bread Dip is sure to help you score a touchdown. Ready, set, dip!

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This Cheesy Garlic Bread Dip is best served hot with toasted crostini, crusty bread or hearty crackers.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Cheesy Garlic Bread Dip

PRINT: Click here for a printer-friendly version of this recipe

Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ cups sour cream
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking dish, or small casserole dish, with butter or nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

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Use a stand or hand-held mixer to beat the cream cheese and sour cream on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. After the first minute, turn the mixer off and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then continue beating for at least another minute. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again.

Add the minced garlic, onion powder, garlic salt and parsley and beat on medium-low speed until incorporated, about 20 to 30 seconds. Add the cheeses and stir on the lowest setting until well-combined.

Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula or knife until evenly distributed. Bake until the cheese becomes golden brown, bubbly and fully melted, about 30 to 35 minutes, depending on your oven.

Remove from oven and serve immediately with toasted crostini, crusty bread or hearty crackers.

Sarah’s tips:

  • The dip can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated (covered) until ready to bake. Let the dip sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before baking. You may need to add an additional 10 to 12 minutes to the baking time.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes until warm.

Recipe Time Capsule:

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Recipes can be found with the article at InForum.com.

“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.
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