Muffaletta dip

I was unfamiliar with the word "muffaletta" a mere five months ago. I was sitting at a table in Jason's Deli, probably munching on a spinach veggie wrap (my favorite!), when I spotted a photo of a scrumptious-looking sandwich. Layered in between the bread were olives, cheese and layers of sliced meat. Yum! The next time I was there, I ordered one of those delicious sandwiches all for myself. Actually, I ordered a quarter of one because the whole sandwiches are enormous. It was olive-y and gooey and fabulous!

Since then, I have been extra aware of my newly-learned word, muffaletta. I saw a recipe for muffaletta dip as I flipped through a magazine a few weeks ago and knew that it had to be made soon. Like the sandwich, it was olive-y and gooey and fabulous!

Gather the following ingredients:

16-oz. jar pickled mixed vegetables (giardiniera), rinsed, drained and chopped (remove stems from peppers if there are any)

8-oz. package cream cheese, cubed

4 oz. provolone cheese slices, cubed

2 oz. cooked ham, finely chopped

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, rinsed, drained and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Throw everything into a small crock pot and stir.

Cover and cook on low setting for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in enough milk to reach dipping consistency. Serve immediately or keep warm on low setting in crock pot for up to 2 hours. Add milk as necessary and continue to stir occasionally.

Serve over salami, atop a square of toasted Focaccia bread.

Click here for a printable recipe!