People-pleasing pizza dip
March 6th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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My folks have the kind of house where people walk in the door and feel like they’ve come home. It always smells like my mother's latest culinary creation and it pleases me to no end when someone who doesn’t live there feels comfortable enough to kick off their shoes and dig in at the dinner table.

This outwardly barren time of year makes me think of gatherings that brought a full-bodied glow to our home.

Like all good gatherings, it started out small and became a necessity because it was such a success.

It was junior year of high school, and my friends and I were slogging through AP U.S. history. The class was a behemoth of information that made it feel as though we had to relearn the entire history of our young country. After nine months of that oddly rewarding torture and joy, I can safely say that our country didn’t feel so young. But nevertheless, the study session snack marathon was born.

We were already known for hosting a New Year’s Eve party that featured homemade pizza and decadent desserts for a few of my closest friends, and the study session became a spin-off.

It was a great excuse to spread our confusing notes out on the floor while erratically discussing various high school clique dramas, the next football game, Martin Van Buren’s presidency and why the school dress code was just getting ridiculous.

Meanwhile, we would devour my mom’s homemade pizza and chomp down on freshly baked cookies. At one point, my dad had to run out for more milk when one of my football-playing friends managed to gulp down an entire half-gallon on his own.

The sessions included more people with every exam - especially as the word got out about the fabulous fare. Just as well, we were getting better grades with each passing test. The sessions, which included a think tank of varied minds, helped us draw connections and remember facts and dates. To this day, I’ll never forget that barbed wire was essential to creating the state boundary lines in the American West.

When the weather turned cold, peppermint hot cocoa made the rounds and kept us caffeinated, along with my mom’s famous sugar cookies. Sugar really is tackling fuel when it comes to studying, after all.

The ritual continued at my house for some time. We would gather, study, gossip, laugh, memorize, laugh some more and feast. As we varied the menu, one particular snack began to emerge as king. And when we ate it at the study session, we all swore that it helped us to pass our exams.

It’s not fancy or sophisticated, but it sure is good. Whether you’re having a party or hosting a haven for studying (and gossiping) teenagers, this pizza dip is a true ace.

Ever since we discovered this recipe in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Food section in 2004, it has been a staple. Pizza dip can be dinner on a lazy Sunday afternoon or a quick fix if your family, friends or neighbors drop by for a surprise visit.

When the study sessions migrated with me to college, I always made sure I had these ingredients on hand – and some Fritos Scoops, which were made to go with this. Hands down, this dip promises good things - and good luck.

BB’s Famous Pizza Dip
Used with permission by the AJC’s “What Can I Bring?” column; recipe originally submitted by Bonnie Burnett of Jonesboro, Georgia.


  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared tomato sauce
  • 1/2 small Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 to 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained, chopped and squeezed in paper towels
  • 1 (3.8 ounce) can sliced ripe black olives, drained
  • 2 to 3 ounces sliced or chopped pepperoni

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a glass pie plate or round dish, spread the cream cheese. Top with tomato sauce, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with onion, mozzarella cheese, artichoke hearts, olives and pepperoni.
  3. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cheese melts and dip is hot and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Ashley Strickland is an associate producer with She likes tackling English toffee, channeling summer with sunflower cheesecakes, sharing green soup, cajoling recipes from athletes and studying up on food holidays.

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Filed under: Dip • Make • Recipes • Super Bowl • Tailgating

soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. read more

    This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want�HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

    May 14, 2014 at 3:06 am |
  2. Tyson Wlach

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    December 26, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  3. Alberta Belshaw

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    December 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  4. Brazen_Woman

    Good Lord, does everyone always have to "fight" about everything? Seems like the recipe isn't the only "DIP" :)
    Sorry, I couldn't resist.

    Enjoy it or not.. this IS America.. we're free to choose.

    March 9, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  5. Jowl

    I would make it for an adult party but I wouldn't dream of making it at home for my family. Way too unhealthy for snacking and unlike the article suggests, corn chips and this do NOT a dinner make.

    March 8, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • randoid1234

      Nowhere in this article does it tell you to cook this up as a dinner.

      February 5, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
  6. Dee

    Another in CNN's series promoting obesity in America. Way to go.

    March 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • LP

      Nobody said you had to eat the whole thing youself . . .

      March 7, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  7. ala-kat

    Sounds good. For those that want it healthier, make it healthier. Use low fat cream cheese, low fat cheese, skip the pepperoni, add some great veggies (spinach, peppers, onions come to mind, and there are many more). Skip the scoops and use pita chips. Enjoying this on occasion is not going to be a problem. Scarf it down all the time, then you have bigger issues.

    March 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Dee

      Better yet, skip the whole thing.

      March 7, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  8. Sandra LeVin

    How about a sprinkling of Italian seasoning?

    March 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • ala-kat

      It does kinda beg for it, doesn't it? :)

      March 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  9. mike collins

    what is it with women and dip? seriously, every female I've known craves this crap...then wonders if they're fat.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  10. Mike litoris

    It's a dip. You don't sit and eat the whole thing. Sheesh! Some of you aren't happy unless you're miserable, and you feel you need to take others with you.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  11. Lola

    I think it sounds delicious, and I'm thinking of ways to make it healthy, because I'm not some idiot who says, "I must make the recipe exactly as they say!"

    Lowfat/fat free cream cheese, low fat mozzarella, and leave out the pepperoni–maybe even replace it with fresh tomatoes or chopped bell peppers.

    Thank you!!!

    March 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  12. Loopman

    For some of you health freaks that turn up your nose at this recipe, there's nothing carved in stone that you HAVE to use these exact ingredients. You can substitute spinach for the artichokes if you want. It's a snack, be creative.

    March 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  13. Pappy

    What is wrong with some of you people? I see posts commenting on Heart Attacks, Zocor, and healthy ideas? So this recipe calls for cream cheese, cheese, and pepperoni amongst other vegetable items. What do you friggin people eat? Sprout Salad without dressing? I take it Dana, Sybaris, and Really never eat anything that has a cheese or meat product. So pizza, lasagna, casseroles and a wide variety of other meals never hit your stomachs. Perhaps the onion, artichokes, olives, or tomato sauce in this are also taboo and never to be digested by the human life form. It's not like this has 3 sticks of butter, 2 pounds of sausage, 6 pounds of cheese and you must eat all of it at one sitting.

    March 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • tanna

      I agree, and I bet this dip would be a big hit at a party

      March 7, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • NOLA native

      I agree with you, Pappy. And I also agree with the poster a few posts back who apologizes to the author for others' rude comments. Who would have guessed that an article with a recipe would cause so much controversy? Goodness gracious! (And for the record, I think the dip sounds yummy...anything with cream cheese usually is!)

      March 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  14. Lise

    Thank you for sharing your recipe with us and I'm sorry that some people just don't have the decency to keep their rude comments to themselves. I read some of the comments posted on your previous story about your grandmother's secret cookie recipe and couldn't believe how horrible some of the trolls out there can be. Your efforts are appreciated!

    March 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  15. Really?

    'Cause obese americans really need this recipe... CNN- Why not highlight some healthy ideas?? You can find this junk anywhere.

    March 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • dd23

      wait – since when is it CNN's responsibility to monitor what people eat? You don't have to make it or eat it. Skip the article.

      March 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • @Really

      Save the planet.
      Kill yourself.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  16. Sybaris

    Pass the Zocor please.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  17. ddaniels

    Why not use a pizza sauce instead of just plain tomato sauce? Skip the artichokes hearts. I am sure this is tasteful too, but just saying....

    March 7, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  18. lazurite

    Sounds like a great recipe. I'll try it! Yum!

    March 7, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  19. Dana

    Sure, more heart attack on the way.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  20. Rus

    Well-written, and sounds delicious. Plan on trying it for sure. While I was reading it, I could imagine the scene as she described it, down to the smells. Nice job.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:06 am |
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