Grown-up Onion Dip is just one of a trio of dips you can whip up for your holiday celebration. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

Have we ever been so happy to put an old year behind us and look ahead to a new one? I don’t think so.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

I was on the phone with my sister the other day reminiscing about long-ago New Year’s Eve afternoons when our busy mother would put up a party for the four of us kids before she and dad settled into their fancy romantic dinner for two after they had tucked us in.

As we played king of the mountain on some ridiculously high snow bank, we looked forward with great anticipation to the delicious delights we would indulge in later on. We hoped for, and often got, buttered popcorn, Chef Boyardee pizza, thick slices of Hickory Farms beef stick, strange but yummy swirly pink and orange “wine cheese” spread on Sociable crackers with cunning little knives, Lipton California Onion Dip with potato chips and, for dessert, homemade peanut butter fudge.

All this was accompanied by the strictly-withheld-except-for-very-special-occasions 7UP. Oh yes, it was quite a spread. After coming in from outside play and shedding our snow-encrusted outerwear, we put our new Christmas pajamas on early and sprawled across the living room. Soon enough we were munching and crunching our snacks while watching an old movie chosen from the three stations on our black-and-white television set.

This was really livin’!

I have to admit that I still love a good chip and dip fest, complete with a sparkly, bubbly drink. So as we celebrate the new year, here’s a threesome of dips for you to try.

Buffalo Chicken Dip is traditionally made by my niece Carly and brought to family gatherings. I miss seeing her and I miss the dip enough that I texted her recently to see if she would share her recipe and, lucky for me, she did!

Carly’s notes include that you may want to adjust the amount of hot sauce to tone down the heat a little. You can also use more ranch dressing and cheddar to make the dip creamier. She uses the canned chicken the recipe calls for, but any cooked, shredded chicken does nicely for this recipe. Carly also pointed out that Fritos are her go-to dipping mechanism.

As for the Grown-up Onion Dip, you’ll never reach for that packet of instant onion soup mix or container of refrigerated dip in the store again. This dip is a cinch to make in a food processor, if you have one. However, simply using a sharp knife to chop those onions works just fine, too. And yes, you’ll want to make a lot of it.

Serve both these dips warm with assorted crackers, chips and crudité or toasted baguette slices.

For a dip that’s mellow and cool, try my mom’s quick and easy Curry Dip. As a bonus, this dip can be thinned with a little white wine and used as a salad dressing.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 (10-ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup ranch dressing
3/4 cup pepper sauce (such as Frank’s RedHot Original)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 scallions, sliced (optional)

Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook and stir until well blended and warm. Mix in half the shredded cheese and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Cover and cook on low setting until hot and bubbly. This can also be spooned into a casserole dish and baked for about 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Garnish with scallions, if desired. Yield: 5 cups

Grown-up Onion Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 cup onion, finely diced
A dash or 2 of Tabasco sauce (optional)

Beat cream cheese with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in all other ingredients. Spoon into a small baking dish or individual ramekins. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, until browned and bubbly (less time will be needed for individual dishes). Yield: 3 cups

Curry Dip

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely diced onion
2 teaspoons white wine or plain white vinegar
2 tablespoons chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon curry powder, to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper

Combine all ingredients and chill for several hours. Yield: 1 1/2 cups

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