Taquito Layered Dip: Cinco De Mayo

Taquito Layered Dip

Happy May and Cinco De Mayo! I am finally back from Italy, and now is the time to spice it up for summer entertaining just in time for Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, graduation, lake and beach parties. I made this Taquito Layered Dip today when I was having some friends over, and I saved a ton of time by using Chicken Taquito’s by Jose Ole. Feel free to use the chicken or steak varieties, and add your favorite southwestern toppings such as black olives, cilantro, avocado or jalapeños. You can also make your life simpler (and sometimes save money) using frozen foods to create fabulous appetizers, main dishes and even desserts. There are a huge variety of different cuisines represented in the freezer aisle, including options that cover snack-time, breakfast, lunch, dinner, entertaining and specialty food occasions. If you like southwestern food, the options of frozen food choices are endless. For more recipes such as these using frozen foods see Easy Home Meals.

This post is sponsored by Easy Home Meals, but all opinions are my own.

Acai Pomegranate Smoothie and Blendtec Blender Giveaway

I hope everyone has had a great holiday weekend. Did you go shopping? I am so excited about sharing my recipe for Acai Pomegranate Smoothie (my kid’s favorite). It tastes great, and it’s full of vitamins and antioxidants. Now, I can’t wait to announce my Blendtec Blender giveaway: One lucky winner will receive the Total Blender Combo including the Fourside and Wildside Jar, a $474 value. This blender is my newest all-time favorite all-in-one kitchen appliance. Not only does it make the best smoothies, but I have used it to prepare dips, fondues, ice cream, salad dressings, sauces, soups, milkshakes and even bread dough.

My kids have been making smoothies and milkshakes daily, and I feel great letting them try different fruits and yogurts to create new concoctions. Whether you’re in college, single or have a family, using a Blendtec is a great way to stay healthy this time of year. The winner will be able to choose a white, red or black model, and this is one of the best holiday presents ever.

To enter this giveaway, follow the steps below. Winner will be chosen by random.org on Thursday, December 1st, at 9 a.m EST.

1. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know

2. Like Ingredients, Inc. on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know

3. Follow Alison Lewis on Pinterest  and leave a comment letting me know

 4. Follow Blendtec on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know

5. Like Blendtec on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know know

6. Join the Blendtec Mailing list and leave a comment letting me know

7. Join the Ingredients, Inc. email list and leave a comment letting me know

8. Tweet about this giveaway by mentioning the following or something similar:  check out @alisonlewis @Blendtec giveaway just in time for the holidays

Lightened-Up Pimiento Cheese Recipe

Since it’s Labor Day weekend (and the start of college football), I thought I would share a lightened-up version of pimiento cheese perfect for a game day appetizer, Labor Day picnic, or weekend snack with crackers. Most of our friends will be at the Alabama game, Auburn game, the lake or the beach (that is how it goes around here in the south). I will be at the Auburn game because my daughter’s cheerleading team gets to cheer during the Auburn halftime show. How cool is that? Anyway, this Lightened-Up Pimiento Cheese uses Greek yogurt and mayonnaise. It tastes great, and no one will know the difference. I also like to add smoked paprika or chipotle seasoning for an added kick. Have a great, safe weekend!

25 Minute Appetizer: Buffalo Chicken Dip

When I was thinking of recipe ideas for my upcoming Super Bowl television cooking segment (this Friday on NBC “Daytime Alabama”), I asked a close friend and assistant, Nancy, what she likes to serve for her Super Bowl parties (she is one of the best cooks I know). She told me about her favorite Buffalo Chicken Dip which she says is a must. I was reluctant at first (although my kids are huge fans of buffalo wings) because when I judged a cooking contest last year, I saw over 800 recipes for buffalo wing dips. She later convinced me to let her make it for me, and oh my, was she right! The night after I taped the television segment, I had a party with several couples and their children. Everyone went absolutely nuts over the dip, and they were begging for more. Nancy told me to be sure to use “Franks RedHot Sauce”, but any hot sauce will work. I also used rotisserie chicken to make things a lot easier and reduced-fat cream cheese to lighten it up a bit. Enjoy this for the Super Bowl this year or anytime you need a simple and sure to please appetizer.

St. Patrick’s Day Appetizer: Fresh Herb Dip

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Since Saint Patrick’s Day is one week away, here’s a quick and easy dip that is sure to be a party pleaser. This low-fat, low-calorie delight is perfect for spring. It’s filled with fresh dill and fresh basil. Guests won’t believe that this dip is low-fat, and don’t tell them it took only 10 minutes to prepare.

Easy Low-Fat Appetizer: Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

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This is one of my all-time favorite dips, and it’s low in fat and so high in flavor! I have made this numerous times for parties and showers, but I brought it up to the baseball field for my son’s 5:30 game, and everyone went nuts over it. I like to use rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes that are already chopped. These are less fat since they’re not packed in oil, and they can be found in the produce section of your local grocery store. This recipe is so quick, light, simple and delicious. What else can you ask for?

Easy Low-Fat Appetizer: Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

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This is one of my all-time favorite dips, and it’s low in fat and so high in flavor! I have made this numerous times for parties and showers, but I brought it up to the baseball field for my son’s 5:30 game, and everyone went nuts over it. I like to use rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes that are already chopped. These are less fat since they’re not packed in oil, and they can be found in the produce section of your local grocery store. This recipe is so quick, light, simple and delicious. What else can you ask for?

Light and Scrumptious Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach-Artichoke Dip from Real Simple

Whether it’s a huge football game like tonight’s National Championship game, the Super Bowl, weekend entertaining or just for the fun of it, I love to make a hot Spinach-Artichoke Dip. Probably because my kids love to eat it! This is a lightened version that works great with light cheese, low-fat sour cream and reduced-fat mayonnaise. Processing it in the food processor contributes to its awesome texture. So, if you’re watching your weight right now and trying to keep your New Year’s resolutions, you can still enjoy this hot dip.

 

Low-Fat Spinach Artichoke Dip

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 cloves garlic

1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, excess liquid squeezed out

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise

1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese

1/2 cup shredded 2% milk cheddar cheese

1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Pita wedges or crudites, for serving

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until onions are light-golden but not browned. Remove from heat and cool.

3. In the bowl of a food processor combine the artichoke hearts, spinach and next 7 ingredients. Process until smooth. Fold vegetable puree into sauteed onions, then spread into an 8-inch glass square baking dish or 9-inch glass pie plate which has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through. Serve with pita wedges or crudites.

Easy Holiday Appetizer-Fresh Basil Dip

IMG_0712 by you.

Since now is the time for holiday parties galore, I thought I would answer a question I get so often this time of year: What type of easy appetizer can I bring or make for a holiday get-together? The options are endless, and I could write a book on this topic, but with all the heavy holiday foods, I like something light. This dip is fresh, healthy and refreshing made with fresh basil, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic. Serve it with fresh vegetables for a pretty presentation, and you can feel great about digging in.


Fresh Basil Dip  

This dip is also great served alongside cooked salmon, shrimp or scallops.

Prep: 15 minutes

Yield about 1 1/2 cups 

Ingredients

1 clove garlic 

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1 cup light mayonnaise 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 

1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Fresh Vegetables, crackers

Preparation

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic and next 7 ingredients: process until smooth. 

2. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve with fresh vegetables and/or crackers.

Appetizers-Hummus for Thanksgiving

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My family prepares an array of appetizers for Thanksgiving, but one that’s not very traditional, yet stays on our menu is this Hummus Dip Recipe. It’s so delicious with fresh vegetables, toasted pita or pita chips, and it gives us a light note to start off the Thanksgiving meal. What I really like about serving this type of appetizer is that my kids love it and eat it, and I feel like they are getting something truly healthy. Enjoy it anytime of the year, but why not start now.

 

Hummus Dip

Prep: 10 minutes

Yield: about 3 cups

Ingredients

4 garlic cloves

2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas

4 dashes hot sauce

Cayenne pepper, paprika and olive oil (optional)

Directions

1. Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it’s minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature topped with cayenne, paprika and olive oil, if desired.