pen rainbow

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tuesday's Cupboard—Dipping Into A New Year

Delicious & healthy, Feta & Spinach Dip
2 fast & healthy dips to start the year off right!  

Creamy Mexican Dip and Feta & Spinach Dip

I made these dips over the holidays, so they have been kitchen tested by moi.  They are low-fat (from Weight Watchers online), easy to make, and excellent served with burritos, tacos (Creamy Mexican Dip), and homemade baked pita chips (Feta & Spinach Dip).  They are also great for brown bagging it with fresh, cut-up veggies and chicken wraps.  :::nom nom nom nom:::

Creamy Mexican Dip
Adapted from Weight Watchers online - Makes 8 servings - 1/4 c. per serving
Prep time:  15 minutes

1 c. plain fat-free Greek-style yogurt (I use Fage)
1/2 c. fresh mild salsa (in the refrigerated case at the grocery store); chipotle-style, if they have it *
3/4 of a med-size avocado, diced (leave the last 1/4 avo for the garnish)
1/3 c. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 c. red onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

* If you can't find fresh salsa chipotle-style, add 1/2 tsp. McCormick chipotle chili powder, or leave it out altogether if you don't like chipotle.

1/4 avocado, diced
1 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 T. red onion, chopped

Make It
In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt & salsa until blended.  Stir in remaining ingredients except garnishes.  Cover & refrigerate a few hours, or serve right away.  Note that the avos in the dip will start to turn brown if you leave the dip in the fridge overnight.  It tastes just as good, but it's not as pretty.

Add garnishes before serving.

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Feta & Spinach Dip
Adapted from Weight Watchers online - Makes 8 servings - 3 T. per serving
Prep time:  15 minutes

Needed equipment:  food processor

4 c. fresh, prewashed baby spinach
1/2 c. Neufch√Ętel cream cheese (or, any low-fat cream cheese) (1/2 of an 8 oz. package)
1/2 c. nonfat sour cream or 0% fat Fage Greek yogurt
1/4 c. crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese (Athenos makes reduced-fat feta)
1/4 c. fresh chives, chopped (I used one whole small, plastic container of fresh chives)
2 tsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Make It
Place fresh, prewashed baby spinach into a food processor & pulse a few times to chop it down to medium-sized pieces.  Add the cream cheese + sour cream + feta cheese + chives + lemon juice + salt & pepper (everything, but the paprika).  Foop to combine.  The spinach will chop down even further, so don't overprocess it or it will become a smooth, green spread.  (That would be good, too!)

The original recipe says to chop & cook the spinach for 1 minute, then blend in the rest of the ingredients in a blender.  Why lose some of the nutritional value of the spinach if you don't have to?  4 cups of fresh spinach, even if it's chopped, would be a tight squeeze in a blender, but you could try it if you don't have a foop.

Serving Suggestions
Spoon into a serving bowl.  Sprinkle top with paprika.  Refrigerate or serve right away.  This holds up well for leftovers.  Delicious on 100-cal, whole-wheat Smart tortillas that have been cut into wedges & oven toasted!