Let's talk easy appetizers... Chicken Dip !!!

And what could be more Southern for an appetizer than Chicken!

Are you always looking for any of these:
~~that 'special' appetizer when company's coming that's quick and easy to make but looks and tastes like the prep time was unappealing? 
~~an appetizer which travels well if you, in a moment of ignorance said "I'll bring the appetizer"?
~~a great dip for tailgating at the ballgame?
~~a picnic 'quickie' which goes well between two slices of white bread?

 Well, here it it!

Simple enough!.  Everything you need is in the picture, and one of the spices is actually OPTIONAL!  

Just start with a large mixing bowl.  About an hour before the preparation, lay out two packages of Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese to come up to room temperature.  No biggie if you forget to lay it out, just "squishes" easier at room temperature.  Into the bowl, add the two blocks of cream cheese.  Open two large tins of either Hormel or Swanson Chicken Breast.  With the lid still on, press drain the liquid from the tins, then add the chicken on top of the cream cheese.  To these ingredients, sprinkle over one package of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix.

Believe it or not, you have just added all but one OPTIONAL ingredient!

SSHHHH!!! DO NOT tell ANYONE how easy this dip is to make.

Let the fun begin!  I use nitrile gloves for any prep which is 'messy', so go dig out a glove and let the 'squishing' begin.  It's kind of along the same line as 'stomping' or 'pressing' grapes, except that it's chicken!

Continue to kneed the mixture until it looks entirely of the same consistency, then simply transfer it to your serving bowl.

Whatever feels best for you in the way of serving dishes is fine by me, but I tend to make what I think will be extra, so that I can enjoy it all by myself on a couple of pieces of 'white bread' the following day, soooo...
I tend to go with the clear glass Pyrex type bowls.  They come in a variety of sizes, to have the size which fits whatever amount of dip you prepared, and they have the added bonus of the 'burp' lid for storage.

As a garnish, you have a multitude of options.  I have found that one of two options, in keeping with the old Southern tradition of sprinkling everything from potato salad to deviled eggs with something red, work best.  If you have all adults, try ground red cayenne as the 'duster'.  If you have children or animals like My Mann Maxx around who like to be pampered from time to time, I'd go with the classical Southern Paprika.  But don't let your creativity here be dampened.  You can make this same dip, over and over, for the same people, with just a different 'dusting'.  Did I say poultry seasoning, crushed red peppers (for Mex night, maybe).  As long as your dusting is not too spicy nor too hot, the rich chicken and cheese flavor will outweigh it so that it truly just acts as a presentation garnish.  Be creative, and enjoy.

Serving crackers are your choice.  If Kimberly was the shopper, it's usually something splashy in the cracker family.  I'm pretty much whatever I have, and in this instance, with fishermen coming to the river, I felt like they would appreciate Club Crackers just as much as a stone ground wheat thin with all kinds of built in flavors...

Hey, I wasn't cutting a corner on the appetizer crackers.  I served Boston butt, homemade slaw and my 25 years of cooking "All In" beans.  But that's another blogpost.  The chicken dip actually worked to 'wake up' their taste buds for the ensuing meal...





2 large tins (flat cans) Swanson or Hormel Chicken Breast
2 8 ounce blocks of Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese
1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch flavor salad dressing and seasoning mix

1/2 TSP ground cayenne pepper OR
1/2 TSP ground paprika


Into a mixing bowl, combine both packages of cream cheese, preferably at or near room temperature.  Open both cans of chicken breast, and using the lids, press out all of the liquids in each can.  Add chicken to cream cheese.  Pour over the envelope of Hidden Valley Ranch mix.  Mix well.

Transfer to serving bowl and dust with ground cayenne pepper or ground paprika, southern style  (that means fairly heavy, but not completely covered.)

Add a side of your favorite crackers, and serve.

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