Ritz Mushroom Dip

There’s a story behind every recipe and this is mine. My very own Ritz Mushroom Dip is an adapted version of the So Good Clam Dip: http://tinyurl.com/372jekp. I’m the youngest of my siblings and third youngest in a big group of first cousins so if there’s one thing I can do… it’s adapt. I adapt many recipes and, more often than not, resort to a “Little of this and a little of that.”  Our two daughters along with a few nieces and a sister-in-law have been vegetarians for years. For this reason, I’ve gotten very creative in swapping meat and seafood for other garden-grown options. I’ve made tofu (non-meat) balls, vegetable lasagna, veggie kabobs and this recipe… my very own mushroom version of the So Good Clam Dip.

When one of my vegetarian loved-ones headed south, she happened upon a restaurant serving typical southern fare. She excitedly asked the waitress for their “Vegetarian options.” The waitress replied in a southern drawl, “Well, not the green beans since they’re fried in pig’s fat!” Another of my veggie loved-ones claimed she was, “Dying for a meatball” when she peaked into a pot of sauce (or gravy) bubbling on my stove. I informed her that I usually eat two, but would gladly eat only one if she wanted to have my second (and pretend that whe wasn’t committing a carnivore’s offense). She declined.

This compensation-thinking came out of a Friends TV episode when vegetarian Phoebe was pregnant and wanted to eat meat. Sandwich-loving Joey generously offered to forgo eating meat throughout Pheobe’s pregnancy in order to make up for it. In our Big Beautiful Italian Family (BBIF), our vegetarians have their moments of temptation while the rest of us have our moments of humor (and gratitude that we’re not vegetarians). But for now, our veggie relatives can rest assured that my very own Ritz Mushroom Dip is green, lean and, when it’s all gone… mean.

Ritz Mushroom Dip
1 stick Ritz Crackers (plus two sticks to serve with)
½ to ¾ stick Butter (4 to 6 Tablespoons – the more butter, the better)
½ cup Vegetable Bullion
2 ½ cups Fresh Mushrooms, chopped
1 small Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, diced
1  tablespoon Lemon Juice
Pinch of Italian Seasoning or Fresh Herbs

Preheat oven to 375
Sautee butter, onion, mushrooms and garlic in sauce pan.
Remove from heat.
Add bullion.
Crush Ritz Crackers, add and stir together.
Stir in lemon and Italian Seasoning.
Cover and let sit to soften – about 5 minutes.
Stir together again before transferring to baking dish.
Bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
Let sit five to ten minutes before serving with Ritz Crackers or spread on Toast Points.

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