Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dip In by Linda O. Johnson

Hi, Mystery Lovers Kitchen.  I'm back!  I've guest posted here before.  This time, I want to particularly thank Lucy Burdette for inviting me.
I'm Linda O. Johnston, and I write, among other things, the Pet Rescue Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime.  I'm excited to say that my fifth Pet Rescue Mystery, TEACUP TURBULENCE, is a January 2014 release.  It features a very special kind of pet rescue in which dogs are moved by private plane from an area where they're unwanted and unlikely to find new homes to another locale where people are eager for them.  And, yes, that kind of rescue is very real.  Plus, my protagonist, dedicated pet rescuer Lauren Vancouver, gets to do something else she's become quite good at: solving a murder.

When I was here last time, I provided a recipe for cookies that I obtained from a neighbor who's a really great chef.  But I'm not a particularly good cook.   Neither is Lauren.  She's too busy saving pets. 

Me?  Well, I really admire people who cook good and tasty food, like the bloggers at Mystery Lovers Kitchen.  Unfortunately, I'm not one of them.  Although I used to have a lot of fun cooking when I was younger and my sons were still at home, I now take advantage of my husband's patience when it comes to what I serve for dinner.  I keep things simple and use packaged food mixes whenever possible--although I do doctor them a lot for our tastes.
This time, I borrowed a recipe again--from my wonderful mother-in-law, who had obtained it from a friend.  I'd tasted it at my m-i-l's home and really enjoyed it.  I brought it home, tested it and played with it, and I've included it in this blog.  One nice thing about it is that it's easy to do, and you can even experiment with it a bit, trying different ingredients.  You can serve it at home for family or at parties.  My own dogs have tummy issues so they can't try it, but you might even be able to give tastes to your pets--or at least the crackers or chips you serve it on.  I thought about that, of course, since--as you've probably figured--I write a lot about pets.

So, here it is.  I hope you enjoy it!

Easy, Cheesy Dip: The Tastiest, Simplest Dip Around

16 oz. cream cheese
1 can of chili
shredded cheese

Spread the cream cheese at the bottom of a large glass baking dish.  Then spread the can of chili on top of it.  Finally, cover it all with a thick layer of shredded cheese.

Bake it at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, let it cool, then serve it, preferably warm, with chips or crackers.

You can experiment with the kind of chili you choose.  I prefer turkey chili that's fairly mild, but there are hotter chilies, some with meat and some without.  You can also use chili dog sauce.

You can also try different kinds of crackers and chips.  My favorite is the Tostito party-size scoops.

Hope you enjoy it!

Linda O. Johnston’s first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year.   Since then, Linda has published more short stories, plus 35 mystery and romance novels, including for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Nocturne. 

Linda’s Pet Rescue Mysteries, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, feature Lauren Vancouver, a determined pet rescuer who runs a no-kill shelter.  In this cozy series,“no-kill” refers to pets, not people!   And watch for Linda's Superstition Mysteries from Midnight Ink.


  1. Chili, cheese, dairy, crackers for dogs? Then they'd all have tummy issues at the very least.

  2. Welcome back, Linda O!

    This looks like great fun for a crowd. I think I'll make it this month when there will be a lot of young people with big appetites.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. This looks great--so easy and perfect for Super Bowl Sunday! Good to have you back at MLK!

  4. You're probably right, Linda, but there are some dogs that can eat a lot more stuff than mine can without having problems. But sticking with the chips or crackers, if any of this, would be a lot better.

  5. Peg is right -- this recipe is perfect for Super Bowl!

  6. Welcome, Linda, and congrats on the publication of your 5th Pet Rescue mystery! Your Teacup Turbulence cover is adorable--and the subject not only fascinating but uplifting (pun intended). It sure is a good week for Super Bowl snack recipes, and this one is so easy. Great addition to our Kitchen. Thanks for joining us today and have a wonderful week. ~ Cleo

  7. Hi, Cleo, and thanks. I love being here and am delighted that I could contribute a recipe that could be fun for people. And, yes, I love the Teacup Turbulence cover, too! Enjoy your week as well.

  8. It is a fun recipe. I decided not to wait for the Super Bowl and made it tonight for the play-off game.....Sundays are very casual for us. Don't care who wins, but the dip is so yummy!!!

  9. Delighted that you tried it already, Sharon--and really happy that you enjoyed it!

  10. Hi Linda, welcome back! I think you posted this recipe at the perfect time. So easy, and super perfect for the Super Bowl! I bet it's great. How could those three ingredients not work well together? Yum!



  11. Hi, Krista-- Thanks! And I hope everyone who tries this recipe enjoys it, especially during the Super Bowl!