Today’s finger food is for the kids. It was inspired by my neighbor’s youngest son who, several months back, starting referring to my Finger Food Fridays as “Fun Fridays.” My neighbor has three boys around the same ages as my gang. They are always together, unless one of her boys has ball practice or a game. On sports-free Friday evenings, she’ll typically mosey on down to share a beer and finger food out on my patio. Our children love it because they know those impromtu visits mean they’ll get to play outside until after dark. We love it because we get to unwind and catch up.
Now my neighbor’s two youngest boys are cautious eaters. As such, they shy away from anything I make with seafood and any dish that has visible signs of vegetables (that nixes a lot of my finger food). So when those types of picking foods are on the menu, we’ll usually call out for pizza (yes, food bloggers order out too) to fill their bellies It’s that default dinner that led to the creation of this dip. The dip has all the familiar flavors of a pepperoni pizza without the dough. Actually, I serve it with dough in the form of pizza breadsticks for dipping which I guess makes it more like a deconstructed pizza. In any event, it’s simple to make and super-tasty. But Finger Food Fridays have and always will be about more than just the food. They’re about chilling out with family and friends at the end of a busy week. No planning. No ceremony. No expectations. That always makes for a fun evening. And little Joe obviously get that!
Until next week …
Pepperoni Pizza Dip Recipe
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves
Pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup thinly sliced pepperoni
Pizza breadsticks or bagel chips, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, half the mozzarella cheese, half the Parmesan cheese and the garlic powder. Spread mixture evenly over the bottom of a lightly greased pie dish. Place tomato sauce, onions, garlic, oregano, basil and sugar in a blender; process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour tomato sauce over cream cheese mixture. Top with pepperoni and reserved cheeses. Bake until dish is heated through, about 15 minutes. Turn oven temperature to broil and cook until cheese is golden brown and bubbly, an additional 3-5 minutes. Serve warm with pizza breadsticks or bagel chips. Makes 6-8 appetizer servings.