As we race in to the Christmas season, I begin to look ahead to my families annual Christmas Day Open House. Since my husband and I were first married, we’ve never really had family living near us, so we have been free to celebrate as we wish. Many, many years ago, (too many to disclose!) we started the tradition of having other ‘orphans’ over for Thanksgiving dinner. This has now extended to our christmas morning Open House. For a few hours in between the flurry of package opening and Christmas dinner, we open our home to those who would like to stop by for one of my husbands famous Bloody Marys, and a snack or two.
I put out various homemade cocktail nuts, a veggie tray, some sweet treats and an absolute must is Stacys Dip.
Stacy was a gal who lived across the street from us when we first moved here to the iceberg they call Minnesota. She and her family were from Georgia (and subsequently moved back there) and had brought with her that warm, generous and welcoming southern hospitality. (something i think the natives here could learn a thing or two from) I am reminded of the afternoon our children were playing together outside, I had stopped in for a chat and she presented me with a glass of wine and in mere moments pulled together this dip. It warmed my heart to have someone so willing to stop what they were doing to spend time just sipping, noshing and chatting. It is a reminder to me, and I hope for others, that sometimes we need to stop the clock for a moment and take the time to smell the roses before speeding off again.
I think that is why it is the perfect appetizer to put out on Christmas afternoon, right smack in between presents and prime rib roast. It’s reminiscent of that ‘bus stop’ in time that was given as a gift to me from a wonderful woman across the street.
1 package of Jimmy Dean sausage, cooked, crumbled and drained (**GF see note at end of post)
1 package of cream cheese
1 can of Rotels tomatoes
After draining the sausage, add the brick of cream cheese and melt over a low heat. Add the canned tomatoes and continue to stir until it is melted and combined.
*I serve this with tortilla chips (gluten free), but it can be served with sliced baguettes or crackers also.
*I use the ‘hot’ jimmy dean sausage (see updated note below). In a pinch, you could use any seasoned breakfast sausage, but for it to be ‘authentic’ jimmy deans is the brand to use.
*You can substitute any market brand of tomatoes that are like rotels. The sizes of the generic brands vary, some being a little bigger. It just makes the dip a little looser, but will be just as good. I prefer the spicier version of rotels, because we like it spicy.
*Keep the dip warm in a little mini warmer of some sort. Mini-fondue pots, mini-crock pots or those little dip warmers that are set above a tea light will do nicely.
****(2014 note! Jimmy Dean Sausage is NOT certified Gluten Free. Substitute your favorite gluten free breakfast sausage for a GF option)