Dips are one of those things that kind of get thrown together at the last minute without much thought. Which is nice really, because it’s an easy way to add a little extra oomph to your fruits and veggies. Trouble is, there are a lot of bland, boring dips out there that don’t produce any sort of excitement for the nibbler. There’s nothing worse than going to a party, dipping your carrot stick into what looks like a bowl of awesomeness, only to come away with a bad taste in your mouth. This is why I’ve found the perfect veggie and fruit dip for you!
I have to say, this dill dip is especially good. After finding this recipe, I knew I would never need another one as long as I lived. Now can I just give you a couple pointers for making dips? These are very important. The first tip is to choose your calorie-saving components wisely. Some low-fat substitutes can be used without anybody being the wiser. Some will make your dip taste like cardboard. In my experience, not only is low-fat cream cheese just as delicious as the regular stuff, it also doesn’t need to be softened before using so it saves on time! (This just applies to dips… using reduced fat cream cheese for other items such as baked goods can really screw them up… I know from experience). I used low-fat cream cheese for both of these recipes with great results. The one low-fat item I never ever buy is sour cream. It tastes HORRIBLE. It will make your dip taste horrible. And then you will be left with a giant bowl of dip that nobody wants to eat. Now, I guess if you’re on a really strict diet and want to make some crappy dip for yourself, go right ahead. Just don’t punish everyone else with it. One other option that is often used in place of sour cream is Greek yogurt. I cannot vouch for this. I’ve never really tried it in dips. However, from my experience using it elsewhere, it doesn’t have the same creamy, thick texture that sour cream does (even though everyone claims it does…). Plus it’s way more expensive. I guess my point is, if you’re really watching your waistline, eat less of the delicious dip instead of buckets of the crappy tasting stuff.
The second important rule when making great dip is to make it ahead of time! If you taste the dip right after you make it, then taste it again after several hours (or even better, overnight), you will be amazed at how much different the flavor is. All those herbs and seasonings really do need time to mingle in order to taste right. So plan ahead!
Now, fruit doesn’t necessarily need dip to accompany its already sweet, delicious taste, but if you want to add another fun element to your fruit platter, this dip is an easy way to do it. I liked this recipe because there were only two ingredients and it wasn’t sickeningly sweet. I mixed mine by hand, but if I were to do it again, I’d use an electic mixer. That marshmallow fluff is pretty slippery and a little resistant to mixing. I thought this dip paired especially well with strawberries!
While planning a football party for the big Utah vs. BYU rivalry game this weekend, I stumbled upon this Football Stadium monstrosity.
I immediately wanted to make it just because I thought it would be funny. Now, our little get-together wasn’t going to be that big and although the complete stadium looked awesome, it was lot more work than I wanted to put in and would have been way too much food. So, I took things down a notch and made just the football field. I did change a few things to suit my tastes, but feel free to follow the original recipe if you so desire (I’ve also seen the stands made with Rice Krispie Treats instead of Twinkies). Don’t be intimidated as this was incredibly easy to do.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 packages guacamole ( I used Wholly Guacamole… not sure how big the packages were)
- 16 oz. sour cream
- 12 oz. salsa
- 2 15 oz. cans refried beans
- 1 15 oz. can nacho cheese or queso dip
- 4 oz. Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese, divided
- 2 long Slim Jims
- Sliced olives
- Green onions
First I put together the green part of the field. I used 2 cans of refried beans mixed with 3 tablespoons of sour cream and about 1/4 cup of salsa. This makes the dip a little softer to dip into even if it’s been refrigerated. Although, if you wanted to use straight-up refried beans it would be just fine. Spread the beans out in a 13×9″ pan, leaving about 2-3″ on either end for the end zones. The original recipe used straight up guacamole for the field, so go ahead and do that instead if you’d like… you’ll just need way more guacamole.
Top the beans with about 2 oz. of shredded Monterey jack cheese (probably 2 cups or so). Over that spread a layer of sour cream ( I didn’t use all 16 oz…. probably closer to 8 oz… just put on as much as you like), then top it all off with the guacamole. I used a cake spatula to make the spreading easier and used a flat plastic scraper to push up against the edges of the beans on the end zone sides so they wouldn’t spread out too much while putting each layer on.
Pour the salsa into one end zone and the nacho cheese in the other. Put a couple spoon fulls of sour cream into a small zip-lock baggie and cut a small hole in the corner (to use like you would a pastry bag). Draw line a line to divide the nacho cheese and salsa from the guacamole. Draw a center line down the field and as many other yard line markers as you’d like. Mark the yard lines with numbers if you want. Or don’t. Doesn’t matter.
Cut each Slim Jim into 4 pieces (I actually used a little less than 1 full Slim Jim for each goal post) and hook the posts together with toothpicks (I broke mine in half) to form your goal posts. Cut a chunk of Monterey jack cheese (sort of wide and thick) and stick the goal post to it to anchor it. Put 1 goal post in each end zone, pushing it down into the nacho cheese or salsa to anchor it. Place sliced olives and sliced green onions on either side of the 50 yd. line for your players and you’re done! TA DA!
Now, I wouldn’t recommend making this too far ahead. If you want to get some of the work done ahead of time, you could do the beans through the sour cream and build your goal posts, but that’s about it. Guacamole will start to turn brown as soon as it’s exposed to air, so you’ll want to wait until just before you’ll need the dip to add the guacamole and yard lines. This is sure to be a big hit so give it a shot!
The other night Seth and I wanted a snack, but there wasn’t much around the place to eat. Somehow I managed to scrounge up enough ingredients to make this salsa dip from my America’s Test Kitchen cookbook, which we promptly inhaled along with some tortilla chips. I honestly thought the original recipe was a tad on the bland side. I ended up doubling the amount of salsa it called for and added probably 1/2 teaspoon or so of Chipotle Chile Pepper to give it a deeper, more smokey flavor. This recipe was a little different in that the cookbook gives you a “dip base” to which you can add a couple more ingredients to make the kind of dip you would like. I chose the salsa version, but there were several others to choose from like Jalapeno-Lime, Olive Dip, Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil, etc. so you could easily take this base recipe and add anything you like!
Creamy Dip Base
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Desired flavorings
- Salt and Pepper
Stir all of the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate the dip for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. The prepared dip will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days. Season with additional lemon juice, salt, and pepper before serving.
To make salsa dip add the following ingredients to the dip base. If you want to make this recipe as it was originally written, use only 1/2 cup salsa and omit the Chipotle Chile Pepper.
Use fresh lime juice instead of lemon juice in the dip base.
- 1 cup salsa, drained thoroughly (oops, I just realized I never drained mine! HA!)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Chile Pepper
This is the second recipe I’ve tried from The Daily Garnish blog, and I’d say we’re two for two. As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. Plus, I had all the ingredients! And how could this possibly be anything but delicious with kalamata olives, tahini, and garlic? I made this as stated in the recipe, except instead of thinning it out with more water, I added about a tablespoon or so of olive oil. This is a great healthy snack and it could be yours in less than 5 minutes! Try it with some Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits for an extra boost of deliciousness.
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