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Dunk Into Your Dips

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Morgan's Fresh Break Cheddar and Tomato Ranch Fondue

(Family Features) - Basketball season is the perfect excuse to gather friends together for a viewing party -- especially when your team makes it to the "big dance." Watching your team attempt to pull out a win in triple overtime may be stressful, but entertaining doesn't have to be. Settling for delivery isn't the answer either; instead, make like your favorite ball player and "dunk it" with a spread of easy dips and dunkable snacks that will leave you free to cheer your team on to the final game.

Diane Morgan, entertaining expert and author of "Delicious Dips," has simple tips and a great recipe to turn your next game day gathering into a slam dunk.

Get 'Em Off the Bench. Pull in little helpers to do easier tasks, such as grating cheese and measuring and pouring ingredients. This will help get kids excited about the game and make them feel accomplished in the kitchen.

Fire-Up the Crowd. Encourage guests to wear team colors or their favorite player's jersey to the party to boost team spirit. You can dress up the table by incorporating napkins and plates that match team colors, as well as hang team pennants and pom-poms to bring the game into your home.

Make a Fast Break. Game day snacks should be just as easy to prepare as they are to clean-up. Packing leftovers in GladWare and sending them home with guests will minimize clean-up time and make sure nothing goes to waste.

Most Valuable Player. Reduce prep work by incorporating all-in-one seasonings, such as Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix, into your dishes for a quick way to dress-up dips, soups, casseroles and snacks for game-watching guests.

For a great make-ahead, crowd pleaser, try Morgan's Fresh Break Cheddar and Tomato Ranch Fondue. Have a variety of veggies, breads or chips ready to dunk.

Morgan's Fresh Break Cheddar and Tomato Ranch Fondue

Ingredients
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) medium Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) pepper Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 1 ounce packet Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons store-bought minced roasted garlic
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2/3 cup heavy (whipping) cream
Foods to Dip
  • Florets of broccoli or cauliflower
  • Baby carrots
  • Crusty-hard peasant bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Celery sticks
  • Unseasoned breadsticks
  • Tortilla chips
  • Pita chips

Preparation
    1. In a medium bowl, toss together the cheeses and seasoning mix. Set aside.
    2. In heavy, 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and tomatoes and sauté, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes just begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
    3. Add the cheese mixture and stir until the cheese is completely melted. Add the cream and stir until smooth. Transfer to a fondue pot set over an alcohol or sterno flame to keep it warm. Alternatively, transfer to a mini electric slow cooker and keep warm. Serve immediately.

Preparation Time
15 minutes

Cook Time
5 minutes

Serves
8 servings

SOURCE: Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix


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