Baked Pizza Dip & A Giveaway

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My sister makes a pretty mean batch of stuffed shells.  A blend of herbs, spices, and three cheeses make the cheese stuffing not only incredibly cheesy (in the best kind of way), but also more flavorful than most that I’ve had.  One Sunday afternoon not too long ago, we were at my parents’ house and she was whipping up a batch for a family dinner.  It happened to be getting close to dinnertime (yet dinner was not close to being ready!) and I was in serious need of a snack. 

I swiped a cracker into the stuffed shell filling and then placed a dollop of tomato sauce on top.  Let’s just say that after that, it was hard to wait around for the stuffed shells (amazing as they may be) when the pre-dinner snack was that delicious.  After that day, of course I wasted no time making a legitimate dip (read:  a dip that won’t get my hand slapped away because it’s supposed to be for dinner!  ;) ) out of the whole concoction.

For this dip I make a chunky tomato sauce that comes together from start to finish in less than 10 minutes using a can of diced tomatoes.  You can look for pre-made chunky pizza sauce, but it may not have the thickness we need for this dip (this homemade sauce is thickened up with a bit of tomato paste).  Also, I like a decent amount of garlic and herbs in my sauce, along with the perfect balance of sweet and salty flavors (and I have yet to find a pre-made sauce that is perfect in every way…it could always use a dash of salt or a pinch of sugar or some sautéed garlic…or just something).  Really, by the time you’re finished doctoring up a jar of pre-made sauce, you could have probably made this sauce twice, lol.

Every year on Christmas Eve my family feasts on huge spread of appetizers for dinner…this dip will definitely be making an appearance this year! 

(For the giveaway, scroll down below the recipe!)

Baked Pizza Dip

Serves 8

Butter (to grease the baking dish)

1 cup Chunky Tomato Sauce (recipe below)

8 oz Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup ricotta cheese

6 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 sprig fresh parsley (optional; for garnish)

Crackers or bread (for serving)

Preheat oven to 400F; grease the bottom and sides of an 8 by 8-inch casserole dish with butter.  Make the Chunky Tomato Sauce (recipe below).

Mix together the Neufchatel, ricotta, half the mozzarella (reserving the remaining half to sprinkle on top), Italian herb seasoning, salt, and garlic powder.  Spread in the prepared dish, then spread the Chunky Tomato Sauce on top; sprinkle on the remaining half of the mozzarella. 

Bake (uncovered) until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown in places, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Chop the parsley leaves and sprinkle on top of the dip, if using.  Serve with crackers or bread.

Chunky Tomato Sauce:

Yields about 1 cup

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, with about 1/3 of the juice drained off (I used Redpack)

3 tablespoons tomato paste (I used Redpack)

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch black pepper

Preheat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add the tomato, tomato paste, Italian herb seasoning, sugar, salt, and pepper, and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently and using a wooden spoon to break up the tomato pieces a bit.  Cool slightly, and then use to make Baked Pizza Dip (or eat it tossed with pasta — delicious!).

* * * * * 

Now for the fun part — the giveaway!  A while ago I had the opportunity to work with Red Gold/Redpack (a company that takes their tomatoes seriously!), and they are generously sponsoring another giveaway on An Edible Mosaic!  This time of year canned tomatoes are a staple in my kitchen, and I find their canned tomatoes to be consistently high quality. 

One winner will get everything you see here…

1 large storage tin that’s made to look like a can of Redpack tomatoes, 1 (28 oz) can of whole peeled tomatoes in thick puree, 1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes in thick puree, a pizza cutter, a pasta utensil, a rubber spatula, a can opener, a couple magnets, and a few recipes featuring Redpack products. 

You don’t need to have a blog to enter this giveaway!  To participate, you can do any or all of the following; please leave a separate comment for each so I can count it as another entry:

  1. Leave a comment here letting me know your favorite thing to make with canned tomatoes.
  2. “Like” me on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know.  (Or just let me know if you already like me on Facebook.)
  3. Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know.  (Or just let me know if you’re already a follower on Twitter.) 

This giveaway ends Sunday, December 11 at 9PM EST; after that the winner will be randomly chosen and notified by email.  Good luck to all! 

Disclaimer:  I received a sampling of Redpack products to try for free from Red Gold, and they are also sponsoring this giveaway; as always, opinions stated are my own.

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Hello! I’m Faith and I write An Edible Mosaic. This is my recipe collection of international favorites and updated American classics, with an emphasis on seasonal dishes. I focus on real foods that sustain body and mind, bring people together, and make a house a home. Welcome to my mosaic of recipes.

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