Local Flavor loves a good dip.

Party dips are great because they are light and noncommittal. There are endless combinations of dip ingredients, but Anne Kessler is here to make it easier for you.

The Newton Twp. woman’s Cheese and Sausage Dip is sure to be a hit at your next get-together, since it’s made with hearty Jimmy Dean sausages, smooth cream cheese, and spicy chiles and tomatoes. The dip also earned Ronald McDonald House of Scranton a $50 gift card to Riccardo’s Market, 1219 Wheeler Ave., Dunmore, through Local Flavor Gives Back. Kessler is event chair for the nonprofit’s annual Gourmet Gala fundraiser.

After getting the recipe from her girlfriend, Kessler has made it ever since. The simple, quick recipe makes for the perfect addition to a winter party or Sunday watching football. Kessler advised that cooks should drain the can of tomatoes about halfway before adding it so it doesn’t get too watery.

“It’s such a great party dip,” Kessler said. “It’s like my signature.”

Local Flavor knows nothing feels as comfortable as creating a dish in a warm and welcoming kitchen. RMH Scranton knows that, too, which is why the nonprofit — which works to support families and ease the hardships of children’s illnesses — recently installed a new kitchen equipped with state-of-the-art appliances.

If a child is sick and needs to be hospitalized for extended periods of time, families are welcome to live at RMH Scranton in one of its eight bedrooms for free during the hospital stay. To make it feel more like home, the full kitchen holds two large sinks as well as two microwaves, ovens, stoves and plenty of counter space. There also are two large refrigerators stocked with the basics for any family to create a home-cooked meal while staying there.

“We’re here for the families,” Executive Director Richard T. Bradshaw said. “Anything to make them feel as comfortable and as at-home as possible, we’re here to support them.”

Kessler, originally from Long Island, New York, got involved with RMH when her daughter was in nursing school. Her daughter volunteered with the organization, and Kessler was touched by its commitment to keeping families together during trying times. When she relocated to Northeast Pennsylvania, Kessler jumped at the chance to help with RMH Scranton.

This spring, Kessler will serve as event chairwoman for the Gourmet Gala on Sunday, March 22, at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Plains Twp. With a Roaring ’20s theme, the gala will feature foods from dozens of area restaurants that guests can snack on throughout the night. Kessler looks forward to the fun and food but is focused on the mission.

“This is what it’s all about,” Kessler said. “Whether it’s a nice, big kitchen to cook dinner in or a warm bed to sleep in, it’s about those things that take the burden off of the families. If you have a sick child, that’s your priority. Ronald McDonald House is here to take care of the rest.”

Anne Kessler’s Cheese and Sausage Dip
1 pound Jimmy Dean sausage
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with chiles
Crumble and cook sausage for 10 to 15 minutes in a frying pan. Drain the fat. Add the cream cheese and let it melt.
Drain can of tomatoes about halfway and mix it into cream cheese and sausage.
Place in oven-safe dish and bake at 350 F for 15 to 20 minutes.