Barbie Butz is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at barbiewb@hotmail.com.

How about that rain last week? I called it a “twig and leaf cleansing.” Now it’s “pick up the rake time” and “watch the weeds pop up time.” Oh my, the seasonal cycles never change. But who would want to live in a concrete jungle where those cycles don’t exist?

Seriously, we live in an oak forest, and we watch our trees very closely when we have so much rain. We dodged the bullet this past storm and didn’t have any trees fall. That was a good thing!

As I write, it’s Feb. 1 and I’m another year older today. This is the first year in my long life that I find myself wearing a mask. The only good thing about the mask is that it hides my wrinkles, and I save money on lipstick since no one ever sees my lips!

So much for a little levity. Now it’s time to continue with the menu for the Superbowl this Sunday (Feb. 7). Go Chiefs!

Getting through this together, Atascadero

This first recipe has only three ingredients and is a great recipe for veggies or chips. It should only take about 3 minutes to prepare, thus the name.

Three-Minute Tomato Green Chili Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can (14 ½ ounces) Mexican-Style stewed tomatoes, drained well
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, drained, or 2 to 4 fresh jalapeňo peppers, seeded and finely chopped

Directions:

Combine cream cheese and tomatoes in a food processor; blend until smooth. Add chilies; blend well. Serve with fresh veggies or tortilla chips. Makes about 4 cups.

Note: 

Use diced green onion or chopped cilantro for garnish on top of the dip.

Herb Dip

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion chopped (green and white parts)
  • 2 tablespoons red sweet pepper strips, diced (I use marinated strips that come in a jar)
  • 1 teaspoon Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Directions:

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, and lemon juice; mix well. Stir in parsley, tarragon, chives, garlic, green onion, diced red sweet pepper strips, and Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute; mix well. Season with freshly ground black pepper if using. Refrigerate, covered, for several hours. Serve as a dip for vegetables or chicken nuggets. Makes 1 cup.

Jazzy Spaghetti Sauce Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 package (8 ounces) pepperoni, thinly sliced
  • 1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Breadsticks or garlic chips for dipping

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine spaghetti sauce, bell pepper, onion, pepperoni, and cream cheese. Cook over low heat until cream cheese is melted and the mixture is hot. Pour hot dip into a fondue pot or casserole dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve warm dip with warm breadsticks or garlic chips. Makes 4 cups.

As my husband says, don’t forget the Onion Dip!

Cheers!