Let's clear two things up. You cannot actually find happiness in a pan, and this recipe is made in a rectangular casserole dish, but if happiness could be found at the bottom of a glass receptacle, this recipe comes close to it.
It is basically home-made three-layered party dip, and I got the idea from a family friend who is called Helen, and who served a version of this several years ago, to my great delight. Helen actually calls it something else, but this is a family blog, so I can't repeat what she calls it.
This makes an excellent and filling party dish, serving approximately 10 people, and can be made for very little cost.
Bottom layer: spicy chunky salsa
Two tins chopped tomatoes (25p each from Tesco), strained to remove superfluous juice.
1 red pepper, diced.
One finely diced red onion
Some fresh parsley, chopped.
3-4 small dried chilies, finely chopped. Use more or less according to taste.
Mix everything and set aside in a long dish. I use one nine inch by 21 inch 'pan' so it is fairly big.
Second layer: cool cream and chive
2 pots of sour cream
1 pot of cream cheese
I grow my own chilies, chives and parsley in wee pots on my kitchen windowsill - if you have the motivation to water and tend to these regularly you can save a lot of money.
Top layer: grated cheese
I buy mature cheddar in bulk to save money and grate it myself. It lasts much longer and is more cost-efficient than buying bags of pre-grated cheese.
Sprinkle the top of the cheese with paprika or freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Buy some corn chips/nachos to dip into it. I tend to use various supermarkets' own brand or budget bags of corn chips, as these are really good value for dipping and you can buy several big bags for £2, which works out in terms of volume and cost to be much better value than spending £2 on one bag of Doritos.
And that's it - just get dipping, right down through all those layers!
The teenagers I often have round really love this - they are always asking me if I am going to make it. And I love it too. Which is why I'm fat. Well, one of the reasons anyway...