Garfield is lording over 34th Street and the relatives are strolling through the front door, heaped with flowers and cling-wrapped dishes. Somewhere one of the aunts is uncorking the wine while a cousin runs to check the score of the big game. It must be Thanksgiving.

So what are you bringing to the table this holiday (other than charm and charisma)? The host has the entrée set and the desserts have already been claimed (is eight kinds of pie too much for 15 people?) so what’s left? Appetizers.

Now, if your hosts are anything like my host (hi, Mom), then they probably will already have the veggie platter/cheese platter combo on the snack tables. You have to bring something — just showing up with a smile doesn’t really work unless you’re a child or a broke college student.

As far as appetizers go, you don’t want to make something too heavy because you don’t want to step on the host’s toes by feeding your friends and family something that will fill them up before they actually hit the table. And since the turkey is going to be the star of the show, it might be best to stick with a meatless appetizer. You’re reading this and probably haven’t figured out what you’re bringing yet, so you’ll want something super easy to throw together.

Over the years I’ve honed a recipe for my crowd-pleasing Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip and it hasn’t failed me yet. As a bonus, the ingredients for it aren’t key pieces for standard Thanksgiving fare, so you won’t have to wrestle with any overwhelmed shoppers for the last can of mushroom soup or cranberry sauce.

Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

  • 10 oz. frozen, chopped spinach (thawed)
  • 10 oz. artichoke hearts, drained
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup shredded romano cheese
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup softened cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well before placing them in a baking pan. Sprinkle the top with a little extra mozzarella cheese before putting it in the oven to bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and serve with tortilla chips or small slices of bread. Voilá an easy last-minute appetizer for the holiday. The dip also pairs well with relatives cheering or screaming at football players on the television screen.