With a few more weeks of winter left, we still have plenty of time for indoor get-togethers with friends and family to watch movies, play games or just hang out. Of course you can’t have guests without serving snacks or appetizers, and what tastes better than chili when it’s cold?

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making a big pot of chili, though, you could make this Chili Cheese Dip instead. The dip is especially great for a small crowd or if your get-together is held after dinner hours.

The cream cheese in this recipe adds a different flavor when added to the Monterey Jack cheese and southwestern spices. Served warm, it’s perfect for a cold winter evening snack.

CHILI CHEESE DIP

4 (10-inch) flour tortillas

1 (15-ounce) can chili without beans

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon chili powder or other Southwestern seasoning mix

4 ounces (1 cup) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 small plum tomato, chopped

1 green onion with top, thinly sliced

1/4 cup pitted ripe olives, chopped

Sour cream, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a pizza cutter, cut each tortilla into 12 triangles and arrange in a single layer on a flat baking stone or pizza pan. Bake 6-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and crisp. Remove from baking stone or pan; cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

In a 2-quart bowl combine chili, cream cheese and seasoning mix. Add shredded cheese into bowl. Using a garlic press, press garlic over chili mixture; mix well.

Spread over bottom of an 8-inch baking dish. Bake 20-25 minutes or until hot. Chop tomato, slice onions and chop olives and sprinkle the vegetables over the dip. Garnish with sour cream, if desired. Serve warm with tortilla chips. Makes 12 servings.

Note: I like to sprinkle a little shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese on the flour tortillas before baking for added flavor.

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