You Should Consider a Pasta and Dip Dinner

You Should Consider a Pasta and Dip Dinner

It’s no secret that pasta is one of the world’s most dependable carbs for filling out a meal. And dip? Well, dip is a savoury flavour-pudding we eat with sturdy carbs. You could say, then, that macaroni and chip-dip were destined for one another. Let them unite, and treat yourself to a cheap and delicious meal with little more than a tub of dip and a handful of pasta. But you should probably make a whole casserole.

You can use dip as pasta sauce

Before you get insulted by the idea, consider chip dip merely as a tubbed sauce. Adding a heap of creamy cheese dip to a pot of elbow macaroni sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? Blend that leftover pico de gallo and toss it with hot linguine and some shredded parmesan. The flavour of fresh chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and peppers is robust and downright delicious. Make a faux cacio e pepe with garlic parmesan dip, cracked black pepper, and fettuccine.

Other chip dips, like spinach dip or caramelised French onion dip, have a backbone of mayonnaise, cream cheese, or sour cream. All of these ingredients distribute well with heat, provide flavour, and have the ability to impart a luxurious coating. If you have a leftover sausage or a stray strip of bacon, chop it up and toss it in, and you’ll have an easy dinner in no time. One of my favourite combinations involves heaping a spoonful of Trader Joe’s garlic spread and dip onto spaghetti and grinding a thick layer of black pepper over the top. It’s delicious, and the resulting garlic breath is only a reminder of how tasty dinner was.

Make a chip dip pasta casserole

If you’re looking to feed several people or meal prep your lunches for the week, turn this handy idea into a full-blown casserole. Use any dip you have on hand, toss in shredded cheese, cooked spaghetti, chopped protein, and maybe some frozen vegetables. Top the entire thing with more cheese. Bake in a casserole dish at 350°F for 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted. If using a creamy dip, I usually blend a couple eggs into the mixture to act as a binder and help make the casserole more sliceable later.

My most recent pasta-dip casserole was composed of fettuccine, cubed ham, Trader Joe’s caramelised onion dip, spinach, and two eggs. I happen to enjoy most onion dips, and this one has an especially potent onion flavour, so I was delighted with the way it shone through. Chop up herbs or toss in sautéed vegetables that match well with the flavours of the dip. You can even experiment with combining dips and sauces. Depending on what you add in, the flavours of the dip can fall into the background or take centre stage. (And please don’t hesitate to crack open a bag of chips as a side dish.)

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