I’m a total cheese girl from way back. One of my mom’s pregnancy cravings when she was pregnant with me was Limburger cheese, so I used to liken my fancy for strong and stinky cheeses to that. When I was pregnant with Nick, I went a solid month eating sweet potatoes every day. He can’t stand them. There went that theory.
Whether it’s just chunks of cheese on a platter with crackers, or some hot melty cheese in a fondue … you name it, and I like it. I definitely like some cheeses more than others, but suffice it to say I haven’t met a cheese I didn’t like. We had company for dinner tonight, and I had already planned on Penne with Vodka Sauce for the main course and Pretty in Pink Strawberry Cupcakes for dessert. Next I looked for an appetizer that would be adult-friendly but that would go over well with the five kids at the table. Once I saw the recipe for Pepperoni Pizza Spread in a special Appetizers issue of Taste of Home magazine, my search was done. After all, with four cups of cheese in the dish, it spoke to my inner cheese girl. It was adult enough that when served alongside a basket of crusty baguette slices, it made the perfect starter, but kid-approved enough that they were diving in to. I mean, hello? A pizza dip? Say no more!
The recipe is super simple to make. Mix nine ingredients together and bake for 25 minutes. Serve with crackers or bread. We can handle this, right? Totally! There are some little pockets of vegetables hidden inside the dip, and I bet we could get away with hiding even more, but I didn’t want to push it. I’m a total saltaholic, and with the green olives and bits of pepperoni throughout, it was a total party in my mouth. Just a fun little dip that warms you from the inside out.
Pepperoni Pizza Spread
Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home magazine
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
1 cup chopped pepperoni
1 can (6 ounces) ripe olives, drained and chopped
1 can (4 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained and chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
Crackers, breadsticks and/or French bread
In a large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Transfer to an 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until edges are bubbly and lightly browned. Serve with crackers, breadsticks and/or French bread. Yield: 6 cups.
Cate’s Notes: The recipe cautions against using low-fat or fat-free mayo, but I used low-fat Hellmann’s and all was fine. Hormel makes a pouch of pepperoni that has the meat in little mini pieces. I used that to save on the chopping.