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12.03.2012

Mini Chili Dip Cups

I've been thinking again.


I'm now convinced that there's more than one way to spend the perfect afternoon.  Turns out that acrylic paint, wine, good friends and family, taco dip cups, happy accidents, mint oreo popcorn, and an open mind can also shape up a pretty complete Sunday afternoon.

Gosh, what am I even talking about?

This Sunday, I spent the afternoon with some family and friends at Painting with a Twist, a unique local painting experience where a blank canvas, laughter, wine, munchies, and genuine surprise at your previously unknown artistic ability mix it up in the most fun way imagineable.

And guess what?  It also turns out that I have at least half an artistic gene somewhere in this Type A body, although those who know me best were quick to chuckle at some of my severe lines and uniform shapes.  Some things are just inate, you know?

Some highlights:  Reindeer Popcorn.  It took every ounce of will power and self control I possess to resist diving head first into this bowl of popcorn covered in white chocolate, Oreo cookies, and candy canes.  Insanely delicious and not at all good for you.


Lovely ladies hard at work.  It felt like the ultimate indulgence to spend three hours thinking about nothing but brush strokes and highlighting. 


Family time.  Moms getting messy and sharing in the fun.


Best friend fake-contemplating a blank canvas's potential. Sister in the background doing it on the real.



Mini Chili Dip cups!  Hearty beef chili layered with creamy guacamole, salsa, and cheese.  Who needs a fork when taco chips do the dipping?  Leslie says "Oh crap!  I keep eating my spoon!"  Exactly.


Finished product.  I want to live in there.  With hot chocolate and marshmallows, a glowing fire, and some cozy PJs.  Can you tell how my Friday nights have changed?


Every Sunday should be so lovely, I tell ya.  Clearly I will be doing this again but next time I'll probably shove less Oreo popcorn into my face.  Probably.

In the meantime, I share with you the "recipe" for Mini Chili Dip cups.  These little gems come courtesy of my friend Laura who brought these to a mini baby shower this summer.  It was the perfect light meal, and is ideal for an informal get-together with friends or for when you need to bring a little something to a party or a pot-luck.  Bring along tortilla chips for dipping or cut up carrots and celery for healthy chili scoops instead.

Word to the wise:  the less "watery" your chili is the easier it will be to spread on the guacamole layer, so you may want to go a little lighter on the liquids your chili recipe calls for.  And my apologies for the vague ingredients measurements.  I didn't really keep track as I went, I just know how many jars/packages I ultimately used up.

Enjoy!

Mini Chili Dip Cups
Inspired by Pinterest and Laura Musselman
Makes 12 individual cups

Ingredients:
1 batch of your favorite homemade chili (I used Ellie Krieger's recipe)
1 batch of homemade or store-bought guacamole (I used storebought but for 12 cups you'd need about 3-4 avocado's-worth)
2 jars of mild salsa
1 package of shredded Mexican blend cheese (preferably low-fat)
3-4 scallions, finely chopped
1 bag of Tostitos or your favorite tortilla chips (I adore Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt tortilla chips)
Carrot/celery sticks (optional)

Preparation:
Prepare your chili per the recipe instructions (potentially reducing the amount of liquid by about 1/4 to make a really thick chili).  Let cool.

Prepare your guacamole if making from scratch.

Fill a small, clear plastic cup about 1/2 of the way up with your chili.  Then spoon about 2 tbs of guacamole on top of the chili and spread to form an even layer.  Repeat with the salsa.  Then sprinkle about 1 tbs of cheese over the salsa and top with about 1/2 tbs of chopped scallions.  Garnish with a tortilla chip.

Repeat this process with the remaining cups, and serve at room temperature with the rest of the tortilla chips and carrots/celery if desired.

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