Two tasty dips should keep hungry hordes at bay

Million Dollar Dip, also known as Neiman Marcus Dip, combines three cheeses, bacon, almonds and green onions for a flavorful appetizer. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)
Million Dollar Dip, also known as Neiman Marcus Dip, combines three cheeses, bacon, almonds and green onions for a flavorful appetizer. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

How to keep the hungry hordes at bay until feast time this holiday season?

May I suggest an assortment of dips, crackers and crudité.

The following dips whip together in minutes and can be made ahead.

Million Dollar Dip

Whether you call it Neiman Marcus Dip or Million Dollar Dip, it's hard to beat this irresistible combination of cheese, almonds, bacon and green onions made famous by Helen Corbitt in the 1950s. Or perhaps you know it by its pre-fame name: almond bacon cheese spread, as a version made with American cheese was called in a 1949 recipe in the Arkansas Gazette.

This 21st-century version adds cream cheese for body and spices for flavor.

- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

- 3/4 cup mayonnaise, plus more to taste

- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

- 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne), or more to taste

- 2 1/2 to 3 cups freshly shredded cheese -- I like a combination of sharp cheddar and gruyere

- 6 green onions, thinly sliced

- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

- 8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, crumbled

In a mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, garlic and cayenne until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients. If the mixture seems too dry, add a tablespoon or so more mayonnaise. Taste and add more black pepper, cayenne or garlic, if desired. Chill until ready to serve.

Makes about 3 generous cups.

Loaded Ranch Dip

This dressed-up ranch dip is another crowd-pleaser. I use both sour cream and Greek yogurt, but it's fine to use all sour cream.

- 1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) sour cream

- 1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt (can use all sour cream)

- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

- 3 tablespoons buttermilk or milk

- 1 ounce envelope Hidden Valley Ranch mix

- 4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, crumbled

- 1/2 to 3/4 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese

- 1 tablespoon chopped chives or green onion tops, plus more for optional garnish

- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for optional garnish

- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill, plus more for optional garnish

Blend the sour cream, yogurt, cream cheese, buttermilk and ranch dressing mix until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Chill until ready to serve. Garnish with additional herbs, if desired.

Makes about 2 cups.

photo Loaded Ranch Dip (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

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