Really Homemade Seven Layer Dip

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Thanksgiving is coming! A peek at the grocery fliers tells me it’s true. I love Thanksgiving. It just might be my favorite holiday.

Remember, I’m just here for the food.

Last year I caused quite a stir with some of you when I suggested omitting the turkey from our Thanksgiving celebration. Well, I’ve been musing that thought again this morning. And I think I’m gonna do it.

[Gasps heard round the world.]

Don’t get me wrong. I may still stock up on sale birds since it’s such a great deal on poultry. But honestly? Dealing with a huge turkey on Thanksgiving Day just makes me grumpy. Last year hubs and I discussed doing tri-tip instead, but today I’m leaning toward chicken. It’s affordable and still goes with all the trimmings that we love: stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce.

Alternatively, I might just cook a turkey in advance and freeze it. I dunno. The jury’s still out. Anywho….

This month on URS we’ll be waltzing through the Thanksgiving meal, swapping ideas for the other courses. You’re free to debate the turkey v. no turkey question in the comments section.

This week, let’s start with starters. I love to have a variety of hors d’oeurves available on Thanksgiving so that if my meal is late, as it’s apt to be, my people aren’t starving. Or whining.

This typically includes a relish tray, a veggie assortment, nuts, and maybe some cheese and crackers. If we have a crowd, I might add my Healthier Spinach Dip.

One dish that my mom often included in her Thanksgiving spread was Traveling Taco. I have no idea why she called it this; you might have heard it called Seven Layer Dip. I loved this dip growing up.

Usually we made it with processed bean dip, packaged taco seasoning, canned salsa…. you get the picture. It was a highly processed, if not convenient appetizer to make and to share at a pot luck.

I decided to give Ye Olde Seven Layer Dip a make-over by making it as unprocessed as I could, but still make it easy. You gotta have easy if you’re a mom and it’s Thanksgiving.

It’s the law.

I think you’ll be surprised at how yummy the healthy version is. Feel free to use all Greek yogurt or all sour cream if you prefer. You’ll need to mix up a batch of my taco seasoning mix and do a little mashing and stirring. But, you had to do that with the traditional recipe, too.

Funny. Remember last week when I shared my Stovetop Mac and Cheese? That’s not any harder to make than the boxed variety! Neither is this. This definitely has me rethinking the “convenience” of the box.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Tina says

    We have not had a whole turkey on thanksgiving for a few years. I ususally do a turkey breast and sometimes I add a drumstick or two. I do a whole turkey at some other time to make stock and freeze meat. It is just TOO MUCH WORK on thanksgiving. I spend the entire day in the kitchen and dont enjoy myself at all. :o)

    • When I am cooking the main courses I often do a turkey and ham. One year I got a small enough whole turkey that it fit into my 6 qt oval crockpot. I have also done my sweet potato casserole in a crockpot. Crockpots make a great time saver especially for holiday & party get togethers. =)

      • I’ve also done my bone in spiral cut ham in the crockpot.

        • One year I was determined to not spend the day in the kitchen and I did an all cold Thanksgiving dinner: deli turkey breast (the good all natural stuff), a raw sweet potato salad, potato salad….not very traditional and haven’t done it again. Wish I could find the recipe for the sweet potato salad. All I rremember was Catalina dressing and shredded, raw sweet potatoes. Haven’t been able to find the recipe even in a Google search. =(

  2. Paula Wells says

    I just picked up my (4) Turkey Breast today and we will put 1 in the rotisserie, 2 on the BBQ pit and 1 in the roaster. Those are the easiest methods for me to put them to cook and forget about them. We eat a lot of turkey all year long (like 1 breast a week) but they stay .99 lb. at Target so it is very economical for my family.

  3. Alyson says

    The roasted turkey is my least favorite part of the Thanksgiving dinner. I could definitely do without it. In fact, there have been a few years when it was just my immediate family that we had turkey and noodle soup with mashed potatoes (a family favorite!) instead.

    • Diana says

      I always have my Mother In Law make the turkey- she always makes a beautiful bird! And I do all the rest, she has one of her sons carry it over (we live next door) and we eat here since all the rest of the food is here and our house is babyproof and hers is not. It has worked well for us!

  4. Laura C says

    Ever since I’ve been hosting Thanksgiving (about 6 years now) we’ve done chicken. That was the husband’s family tradition since some didnt like turkey and my side didnt care. Fine with me, its easier! I do have a turkey in the freezer I got for $0.59/lb so I will make that at some point.

  5. I am fairly sure the Earth will in fact STOP TURNING if you forgo Thanksgiving turkey. I’ve used this recipe the last 4 years: I use William Sonoma brine bags because they are worth the extra cost. The bird cooks FAST and then I cover it in tinfoil while I make the other stuff…2 hours later it’s still HOT for carving.

  6. karen says

    My family doesn’t like turkey very much. They like the idea of having a turkey but not the actuality of it. So, I always used to make a small turkey and a ham. Then last year I decided to make cornish game hen. They are small enough for everyone to have their own and it is quite novel for the (5) kids. Not something that necessarily saves any money but as you mentioned, it goes with all the fixings!

  7. jan says

    I’m the one you see in the store grabbing all the 11 pound birds … we fry about 6 each year … one for us, one for our friend, one for Hubby’s office (he takes to work on Friday) one for leftovers (freezer) and another for a friend. As much hassle as it is to fry ONE bird, we figured it’s just as easy to fry 6 or so 🙂 I don’t like turkey any other way so if we decided NOT to fry, I’d probably just say lets do something unconventional, like grill some super burgers or something 🙂 Not a ‘big’ Thanksgiving foodie fan.

  8. Jeanine says

    I understand your pain at not wanting to cook a turkey, but as we live far away from relatives, last year was the first year that I cooked my own turkey. I am going to do it again this year, but I am going to need your post on how to cook a turkey, which saved me last year. Can you repost? Or would it be easier for me to just search for it? (or do you have it in a certain spot?) Thanks!

    I wish I’d pinned it! (I sure will this time!)

  9. deseray yeo-jones says

    My husbands fries our turkey every year. We think it tastes great, and it frees me up to take care of the sides. Plus, I make some things ahead of time. I’ve made mashed potatoes, sweet potatoe casserole and pies the day before.

  10. Becky says

    Two things:
    1. I think the turkey is the easy part of the T-giving meal but here in PA Dutch country, we go food wild at the holidays 😀 so if you don’t love roasting it T-giving day, I have several friends who roast it ahead of time and stick the meat in the crockpot with the broth. They say it’s very moist and yummy.
    2. Your dip is missing one key ingredient for layered dips- Guacamole!

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