Monthly Archives: February 2014

Spinach Dip Recipe Makeover

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* I posted this recipe last year but included some soup dip as seasoning. As my cooking evolves, so does my definition of healthy and premade soup packages no longer make the cut. I am honestly surprised I used it a year ago. I am reposting this with the updated recipe using separate herbs and spices instead of a spice package that included additives and preservatives.

Super Bowl is coming up and is notorious for big parties with lots of terrible for you appetizers. Wings, pizza, mayo based dips, etc. When I go to a party like this I usually try and bring something that I can snack on that’s relatively healthy. Therefore if there are no other healthy options I am not stuck eating velvetta cheese dip and wings for dinner. If I ate an entire dinner out of it, I’m pretty sure my stomach would revolt against me. I made a great secretly healthy spinach dip for company this weekend and it went over quite well.

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You know the kind that’s usually served in a bread bowl and you dip the extra bread and veggies into it? Its usually made with lots of mayo and sour cream. People usually see it and think “oh it has spinach in it, its healthy”. When in reality you’d probably be better off eating the wings than huge glops of mayonnaise. I switched out the mayo for pureed cottage cheese and swapped in Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. I swear, you’ll never know the difference!

It takes about 5 minutes to prepare and its even better when it sits in the refrigerator for a day or two, so its perfect to make in advance. I have a feeling this will be one of my new go to appetizers to bring places.

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Healthy Party Spinach Dip Recipe

Makes 24 servings (2 Tbs each)

2 cups reduced sodium 2% cottage cheese

1 cup plain non fat greek yogurt

1 tsp honey

2 tsp dried minced onions

heaping 1/4 tsp each garlic powder, dill, ground mustard, italian seasoning

10 oz package spinach

1 can artichoke, drained and chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Puree cottage cheese in blender or food processor until smooth. I used my magic bullet.

Defrost the frozen spinach and wring out as much excess water as possible.

Stir together cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, honey, spices, spinach, and artichokes.

Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Serve in a loaf of bread that is scooped out. Use the innards for dipping. Or serve in a bowl with cut up vegetables like carrots, celery, or sliced cucumber.

The single teaspoon of honey helps to cut the tartness of the plain greek yogurt.

And if there’s nothing else at the party that’s remotely appealing, make an entire meal out of the dip. I mean look at the nutritional information, its low in calorie and high in protein. Say you have like 8 servings (like I may have had as part of my lunch today). That’s only 240 calories but 32 g protein! Its health food disguised as a dip.

Nutritional stats:

Calories: 29

Fat: 0.5 g

Sodium: 153 mg (6%)

Carbohydrates: 2.5 g

Protein: 4 g

Compared to the normal mayo and sour cream version, also 2 tbs serving size, of 100 calories, 8 g fat, 9% daily value sodium, and only 1 g of protein.

Talk about a recipe makeover!

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

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We try to eat seasonally and locally. That means in the summer it’s a lot of berries and zucchini and in the winters it’s a lot of greens and broccoli. I usually roast our broccoli but I was wanting to switch it up so we didn’t get too tired of it. This broccoli cheddar soup was perfect on a chilly winter day.

Traditionally broccoli cheddar soup has heavy cream and processed cheese like Velveeta. This soup is light and simple and super healthy. It has pureed beans added for thickness and texture without the extra junk. We ate the entire batch with dinner in one night and Alyssa was disappointed when she requested 4ths and it was gone.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

serves 6

2 cups chicken broth (I use homemade.Use reduced sodium if you use store bought)

1.5 cups cooked great northern beans (preferably from dry beans, but if using canned use reduced sodium and rinse well)

4 cups chopped broccoli, fresh or 10 oz bag frozen

4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 onion, diced

1 tsp chopped garlic

salt and pepper to taste

block of parmesan for topping

Bring chicken broth to boil. Add broccoli, onion, and garlic. Cook until onion and broccoli are very tender (about 20 minutes).

Use immersion blender and blend until desired thickness. I like to leave some chunks. Puree beans separately and stir into soup. Add shredded cheddar and heat until beans are warmed and cheese is melted (about 10 more minutes), stirring frequently. Salt and pepper to taste.

If using a blender: blend beans first, then add the majority of the soup (reserving some broccoli if you want some chunks) and puree. Pour it all back into pot, add cheese and let melt.

Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 159

Fat: 6 g

Sodium: 320 mg (13%)

Carbohydrates: 15 g

Dietary Fiber: 5 g

Sugars: 2 g

Protein: 11 g

“Creamed” Spinach

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Before kale took the spotlight, spinach seemed to be the popular super green food. While we do love kale, we have not forgotten about spinach. Its also nice that it comes nicely packaged in the frozen section so you can enjoy it year round. I was at a loss of what vegetable to have for dinner the other night so I decided to try something new, creamed spinach. Its usually so heavy that its far from healthy. This spinach was light and flavorful and everyone’s favorite part of dinner.

Creamed Spinach

serves 4

1 Tbs grass fed butter

3 Tbs finely minced onion (or 1 tsp dried minced onion)

1 tsp minced garlic

1 Tbs flour (any kind)

1/2 cup milk

10 oz spinach, fresh or frozen

2 Tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese

dash each salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste

Melt butter in skillet over medium low heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. This should only take a minute or two since the onion is so tiny. Add flour and onion and cook for a minute. Pour milk in little by little, working it into the butter/flour mixture as you pour. Add spinach, fresh or frozen and let it either wilt down or defrost. Stir frequently until hot. Add seasonings and cheese and stir throughout.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 88

Fat: 5 g

Sodium: 156 (6%)

Carbohydrates: 6.5 g

Dietary Fiber: 1.8 g

Sugars: 2.2 g

Protein: 5.6 g