Give Leftover Chili New Life With Cream Cheese And Chips

Chili makes for delicious leftovers because all of the flavors from ingredients like onion, garlic, peppers, and spices like chili powder have more time to meld. For that reason, you might think it tastes more flavorful the next day, but if you can't fathom digging into another bowl of chili straight away, turn it into a creamy dip with the addition of cream cheese and extra toppings. It's like a meaty version of a cheese dip that's perfect to serve with chips.

You can make this chili dip as simple or as complex as you want. For the former, you can soften about six ounces of cream cheese for every two cups of leftover chili. Many blocks of cream cheese are eight ounces, so you can use it all if you don't have other uses for the rest of the block to avoid food waste. Don't use too much more cream cheese, though, or the dip won't have the right consistency. You can always add more chili if you have it, or add some shredded cheese to fine-tune the consistency. Serve it with your favorite tortilla chips, corn chips, pita chips, or vegetable sticks such as celery or carrots.

Turning leftover chili into dip

If you want to take your chili dip to the next level, go beyond plain cream cheese. There are many types of cream cheese available, like jalapeno, vegetable, and garlic herb, so use one of those varieties if you want more flavor. Only have plain cream cheese on hand? Give it more flavor with a dash of hot sauce, canned green chilis, or leftover vegetables like diced tomatoes from when you first cooked the pot of chili. And, if you don't have cream cheese, you can substitute it with sour cream or Greek yogurt.

You don't have to stop after mixing the cream cheese and other ingredients into the chili. Why not make a nice topping to serve the chili dip as a snack or appetizer for guests? Top the chili dip with shredded cheese and put it under the broiler briefly to melt it and get a nice top layer. Add pickled jalapeños for heat, a garnish of cilantro for herby flavors, chopped scallions, or diced avocado for creaminess.