Fruity Hatch Chile Cheese Ball – #FreshTastyValentines #sponsor #giveaway

If you’ve been keeping up with #FreshTastyValentines this week, you couldn’t have missed yesterday’s Earthy Crackers with Garlic and Dill. And you certainly don’t think I’d let you go all week without sharing with you the perfect spread for these crackers.

Fruity Hatch Chile Cheese Ball | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

Wine, cheese, crackers=perfection! I just love digging into a creamy cheese ball based with low fat cream cheese and coated with heart healthy nuts. Pour me a glass of Woodbridge white wine by Robert Mondavi and I think I just may eat the whole cheese ball. Well, I’ll share with my sweetheart of course.

Fruity Hatch Chile Cheese Ball | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

This cheese ball is special though. It’s Fruity. It’s Zangy. It’s Not Ketchup! Not Ketchup is one of the 13 sponsors for this week’s Valentine event. Not Ketchup is the manufacturer of all-natural, paleo gourmet dipping and grilling sauces that doesn’t taste like ketchup. In fact, it isn’t even made with tomatoes. It’s fruit based with unique spices.

Fruity Hatch Chile Cheese Ball | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

The Tangerine Hatch Chile flavor is what I’ve used here. It is the first Not Ketchup flavor without any added sugar, and in fact it only contains 1 gram of sugar and is naturally sweetened with tangerines, apples and dates. It’s deliciously unique and the perfect pairing for this cheese ball loaded with dried fruit, diced jalapenos and creamy Colby jack cheese.

Fruity Hatch Chile Cheese Ball | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

 

You can find Not Ketchup online through their website, at these stores, and even on Amazon with free prime shipping.

I got the inspiration for this cheese ball after visiting a friend’s house for her son’s birthday. An appetizer that was served was a large block of cream cheese smothered in a spicy chipotle berry sauce. It was so addictive with the crackers. I-could-not-stop-eating-them. So when my tastebuds tingled with the sweet and spice from the Tangerine Hatch Chile Not Ketchup sauce, I thought it had to be made with cheese and crackers. So here ya go!

Fruity Hatch Chile Cheese Ball | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

Grab some wine and tempt your Valentine.

Fruity Hatch Chile Cheese Ball | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

First soften the cream cheese, seed the jalepeno, dice it up, chop the dried fruit and the walnuts.

Fruity Hatch Chile Cheese Ball | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

In a stand mixer, combine the cheeses and 3 Tb Not Ketchup sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

Fruity Hatch Chile Cheese Ball | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

Add the chopped fruit and diced jalapeno.

Fruity Hatch Chile Cheese Ball | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

Mix well and shape into two cheese balls. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 hours to 5 days.

Fruity Hatch Chile Cheese Ball | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

Roll in the chopped nuts and serve.

Fruity Hatch Chile Cheese Ball | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

Fruity Hatch Chile Cheese Ball

Prep Time: 6 hours, 20 minutes

Total Time: 6 hours, 20 minutes

Number of servings: 32

Per Serving 86 calories

Fat 7 g

Carbs 3 g

Protein 3 g

32

Fruity Hatch Chile Cheese Ball

Makes TWO cheese balls. Serve with crackers, pita chips or baquettes.

Ingredients

    For the Cheese Balls

  • 2 8 oz packages Neufchâtel cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz shredded Colby jack cheese
  • 3 Tb Not Ketchup Tangerine Hatch Chile Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup mixed dried fruit, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
  • {For the Topping]
  • 1 walnuts, chopped, divided
  • 2 Tb Not Ketchup Tangerine Hatch Chile Sauce

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixer or food processor, combine the cheeses and sauces and mix well.
  2. Add the dried fruit and diced jalapeño and mix until combined.
  3. Form mixture into two balls using hands and wrap in plastic wrap.
  4. Refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 5 days.
  5. Roll in nuts before serving and garnish each cheese ball with additional 1 Tb Not Ketchup Tangerine Hatch Chile Sauce.

Notes

Cheese balls can be frozen up to 3 months before rolling in nuts.

This post was sponsored by NotKetchup. I received complimentary product from the sponsor for participating in #FreshTastyValentines. No additional compensation was received by me. All opinions, text, images, and recipe are my own, unless otherwise noted. Feel free to substitute the branded ingredients as needed with a like for like product. *This post contains affiliate links.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto #TripleSBites

Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto |  Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

It’s funny how spicy food can bring people together. In the most hysterical ways sometimes.

 

Are you ever sitting across the table from someone and you both take a bite of something spicy – your eyes immediately get round and you look for that big glass of water or milk to chug down the spice, and then you start laughing hysterically at each other’s expressions. Yep that is spicy food bringing people together.

Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto | Famished Fish, Finicky Sharkb

When I received my chocolate samples from Spicely Organics, I immediately thought that I would use the chocolate infused with black tea to make some spicy mole for chicken skewers. I had planned to cook the chicken in a little bit of cilantro infused oil from Acala Farms but I was having a conversation with my daughter one day (yes, my four month old and I talk!) and suddenly the idea struck – cilantro pesto.

Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

Oh my gosh this was serious food-spiration (inspired by food). The combination of spicy ancho chiles and fresh earthy cilantro pesto was like magic. These two flavors went so well together I felt like I was interrupting an intimate datebetween the chiles and cilantro. This is a meal that will make you laugh and a meal you will enjoy. And something about these skewers just keeps you coming back for more. Just ask my friend Kat who’d already had dinner, then came over to the house and couldn’t resist sneaking little bites.

Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto

Ingredients:
Chicken Mole Skewers
2 lb chicken breast
3 Tb canola oil, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 canned ancho chiles
1 7.7 oz can chipotle sauce
2 roma tomatoes, grated so the peel falls off
1/4 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 Tb Spicely Organics Chocolate with Green Tea
1/4 cup almonds
Cilantro Pesto
1/2 cup Acala Farms Cilantro infused Cottonseed Oil
1 bunch cilantro, stems on, washed and shaken dry
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cups hard Mexican cheese, such as cotija

Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

Directions:
Begin by slicing the chicken breast lengthwise into strips about half inch wide. Heat 2 Tb canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper and place it in the hot oil. Cook the breasts on each side about five minutes until lightly browned and juices run clear.

While the chicken is cooking, begin making the mole. In a small sauce pan heat 1 Tb canola oil with garlic and diced onions and sauté until soft. Using a grater, grate the two Roma tomatoes into the onion and garlic.

Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto b(11)

Add two ancho chiles from the can and the can of chipotle sauce. Stir and heat through and set aside.

Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark
In a food processor, combine 1/4 cup almonds and the Spicely Organics chocolate. Pulse until the nuts and chocolate are finely ground. Add the vegetable and tomato mixture and pulse until smooth. Add the mole to the chicken and toss to coat well. Heat through until bubbly. Remove from heat.

Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark
Wash the food processor and prepare the cilantro pesto. In the food processor, combine the almonds, Mexican cheese, cilantro and clove of garlic. Pulse until smooth. The mixture will be thick. With the processor running, stream in 1/2 cup Acala Farms Cilantro Infused Cottonseed Oil until the pesto is smooth.

Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

Recipe testing sauces (Famished Fish original recipes I must add!!) before cooking the chicken! Oh yea!!!

Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark
Using tongs, thread the chicken onto skewers and serve with the cilantro pesto.

Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

Enjoy and don’t forget your cold beverage.

 

#TripleSBites #Giveaway | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

This post was sponsored by Spicely Organics and Acala Farms. I received two samples of chocolates and two bottles of cottonseed oil from the sponsors for participating in #TripleSBites. No additional compensation was received by me. All opinions, text, images, and recipe are my own. Feel free to substitute the branded ingredients as needed with a like for like product. *This post contains affiliate links.

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Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Number of servings: 8

Per Serving 448 calories

Fat 35 g

Carbs 6 g

Protein 28 g

8

Chicken Mole Skewers with Cilantro Pesto

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 12

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

    For the Chicken Mole Skewers

  • 2 lb chicken breast
  • 3 Tb canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 canned ancho chiles
  • 1 - 7.7 oz can chipotle sauce
  • 2 roma tomatoes, grated so the peel falls off
  • 1/4 large onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 Tb Spicely Organics Chocolate with Green Tea
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • For the Cilantro Pesto

  • 1/2 cup Acala Farms Cilantro infused Cottonseed Oil
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems on, washed and shaken dry
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cups hard Mexican cheese, such as cotija

Instructions

  1. Begin by slicing the chicken breast lengthwise into strips about half inch wide. Heat 2 Tb canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper and place it in the hot oil. Cook the breasts on each side about five minutes until lightly browned and juices run clear.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, begin making the mole. In a small sauce pan heat 1 Tb canola oil with garlic and diced onions and sauté until soft. Using a grater, grate the two Roma tomatoes into the onion and garlic.
  3. Add two ancho chiles from the can and the can of chipotle sauce. Stir and heat through and set aside.
  4. In a food processor, combine 1/4 cup almonds and the Spicely Organics chocolate. Pulse until the nuts and chocolate are finely ground. Add the vegetable and tomato mixture and pulse until smooth. Add the mole to the chicken and toss to coat well. Heat through until bubbly. Remove from heat.
  5. Wash the food processor and prepare the cilantro pesto. In the food processor, combine the almonds, Mexican cheese, cilantro and clove of garlic. Pulse until smooth. The mixture will be thick. With the processor running, stream in 1/2 cup Acala Farms Cilantro Infused Cottonseed Oil until the pesto is smooth.
  6. Using tongs, thread the chicken onto skewers and serve with the cilantro pesto.

Notes

Feel free to substitute the branded ingredients as needed with a like for like product.

Game Day Appetizers

Game Day Appetizers | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

This Super Bowl Sunday, I’ll have to be honest, I have absolutely nothing planned except a bit of shopping and then going over homeschool studies with my 9 year old, while yes, watching the big game. I haven’t thought much about any snacks. Just dinner. I do plan to make some juicy grilled steaks tonight.

But perhaps you want to fill the coffee table buffet with plenty of grub, so here are some ideas for today.

Game Day Appetizers | Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

And did you hear we are due for another 6 weeks of Winter? Phil saw his shadow today. Good ol’ Groundhog Day.

So here are today Superbowl Sunday suggestions:

I have a few good for you appetizers…

Baba Ganoush (Classic Eggplant Dip)

Baked Taro Chips

Puffed Spinach Poppers with Cheese

Lowfat Caramel Cheesecake Dip for Apples, Fruit and Crackers

And a few that are extremely full of flavor…

Buffalo Hot Wing Popcorn

Hot Cheesy Spinach Dip with Bacon

Game Day Buffalo Fried Chicken Livers

Turkey Bruschetta Sliders

Whole Wheat Deep Fried Artichokes with Tarragon Dipping Sauce

Inside Out Jalapeno Poppers

Have an eventful Superbowl Sunday!

And don’t forget to comment below what your favorite Superbowl commercial was!

Herbed Tilapia with Yogurt Dill Sauce and Tomato Feta Salad

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I was walking with my friends this afternoon and perusing through Pinterest at the same time, and by the time our walk was over, I was hungry! Then we thought, gosh if only we could just look at food images and be satisfied, rather than having eat it and get fat. And in that case, wouldn’t it be nice of we could watch a workout video and lose weight in the process!?

My husband commented to me this morning, “When did people get so obsessed with their phones?” Our society just can’t be without them. For me, I find it extremely useful for networking. I can even write on this page while my husband is driving. For others it is the convenience of always having a listening ear. People like to be heard. And people like to share. And I love the sharing part-hence all the Pinterest perusing 😉

Greek fish

So it got me to thinking that that is exactly how I came about making this Herb Rubbed Tilapia with Dill Yogurt Sauce and Tomato Feta Salad. By being influenced by what I find on my good old phone. While networking, such as Facebook that is. My friend Ilonka posted in one our motivating Fitness groups that she had made a delicious flaky fish that evening. And then I made some too!

A fit meal made for a healthy eater, this is flaky tender tilapia fillets rubbed with lemon juice and herbs and a bit of healthy oil glaze. Served alongside a dollop of dilled yogurt sauce and a fresh side of sweet grape tomatoes tossed with lean feta cheese and heart healthy kalamata olives. Yum!

Greek fish yum

Herbed Tilapia with Yogurt Dill Sauce and Tomato Feta Salad

Ingredients:
Dill sauce:
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tsp dry dill weed
1/2 tsp garlic salt
2 Tb lemon

Fish rub:
2 Tb oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/4 tsp black pepper

Tomato Feta Salad:
1 cup sliced grape tomatoes
1/3 cup feta mixed
1 Tb oil
2 Tb chopped kalamata olives
Dash pepper

1 lb tilapia

Follow these simple steps for a meal in less than just 20 minutes…really!

First preheat the oven to 450F.

Then mix all the Dill Sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside to mingle the flavors.

IMG_2697

 

 Then mix the Fish Rub ingredients well and rub the mixture all over the tilapia. Bake this on baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray in a 450F oven for 10-12 minutes.

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Finally, while the fish is baking, prepare the Tomato Feta Salad by combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl. (I had a picture of this, but my camera ate it.)

Serve the fish with 1/2 cup of the Tomato Feta Salad and 2 Tb of the Dill Sauce.

Greek fish bite

Makes 4-flavor packed good for you and good for your mood-servings.
We served this meal with my Greek Herb and Citrus Quick Roasted Potatoes.

*Finicky Shark note: my boys like the fish with ketchup and love the tomato salad with the olives.

Herbed Tilapia with Yogurt Dill Sauce and Tomato Feta Salad

Prep Time: 13 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Number of servings: 4

Per Serving 273 calories

Fat 17 g

Carbs 6 g

Protein 27 g

4

Herbed Tilapia with Yogurt Dill Sauce and Tomato Feta Salad

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 7

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

    For Dill sauce

  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp dry dill weed
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 Tb lemon
  • For Fish

  • 1 pound tilapia fillets
  • 2 Tb canola or olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • For Tomato Feta Salad

  • 1 cup sliced grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup feta mixed
  • 1 Tb canola or olive oil
  • 2 Tb chopped kalamata olives
  • Dash pepper

Instructions

  1. First preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. Then mix all the Dill Sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside to mingle the flavors.
  3. Then mix the Fish Rub ingredients well and rub the mixture all over the tilapia.
  4. Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray and place the seasoned fish fillets on it to cook.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Finally, while the fish is baking, prepare the Tomato Feta Salad by combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl.
  7. Serve the fish with 1/2 cup of the Tomato Feta Salad and 2 Tb of the Dill Sauce.

What is one thing you can’t live without?

You may also enjoy Cajun “Fried” Tilapia

 

Eating Clean Around the World and a Book Giveaway

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What’s your resolution for the New Year? Is it organizing your life? Is it getting rid of household clutter? Is it spending more quality time with the family? Is it getting more exercise? Perhaps it is making better food choices for better health, like eating clean?

So what exactly is eating clean? Eating clean doesn’t always have to mean steamed vegetables and plain proteins. I love to shop along the outside of the grocery store. Take a look at your pantry and your refrigerator. Which of these has more abundance of foods? Which of these has a longer shelf life? We all know, the longer the shelf life, the more processed crud is crammed into the food right? But yet we still buy them! And the foods in our refrigerator are consumed quite quickly-because of their freshness factor!

You can learn more about clean eating in my friend Chris Freytag’s eBook and even WIN a copy from Chris herself! Chris Freytag is a nutritional and fitness expert who has literally helped me find a new and healthier self. I have followed Chris on Facebook for 2 years now, beginning with a motivational fitness group she started with her 10 Pound Slim Down workout series. I’ve used her eBook and love it! Check out my review on her page!

Famished Fish, Finicky Shark has teamed up Chris to give away a copy of her eBook Getting Started with Clean Eating.  Continue reading to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

Now the challenge. I challenge you this year to shop more on the outskirts of the grocery aisles and less in the middle. Buy whole wheat pastas and fresh herbs and vegetables and skip the packaged “helper” meals. Buy lowfat milk and natural cheeses and skip “cream sauces”. Stock up on packaged beans and lentils and skip the canned ones packed in sodium.

Orange is the new white! Substitute sweet potatoes for white. Choose fresh or frozen vegetables and avoid the ones sitting on the shelf for months. Eat more fruit! Fresh and frozen are all the rave.

Whole grains are cool! You don’t know how many times I’ve swapped whole grains in my kid’s food, or added oats to their pancakes and they had no clue. Make a cake from scratch and sneak in some whole wheat flour and ground flax seeds. Substitute apple sauce and fat free greek yogurt for the oil and butter in your baking. Look for raw cookie recipes like raw date cookies over butter filled sugar cookies.

Add plenty of healthy fat foods like avocados, olive and canola oil, nuts and seeds to your diet. And don’t forget that ever forgiving and satisfying rich dark chocolate. Consumed in moderation, it is a guilt free treat.

I spent the last month of last year preparing some additional clean eating meals for my family and readers. These meals are so rich and delicious, you will forget they are good for you. And some may be a bit higher in calorie, but added up with the healthy fats, they are still body beneficial.

Here are some of my original recipes, scattered from around the world.

America and Extra Fiber

Pumpkin Sage Quinoa

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Herb and Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops

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Mini Quinoa Quiches

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Pumpkin Black Bean Chilis

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Greece and Herbal Sauces

Greek Chicken Meatballs

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Baked Falafels in Pita Pockets

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Greek Herb and Citrus Roasted Potatoes (try these with sweet potatoes!)

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Garbanzo Bean Patties with Tzatziki Yogurt Dip

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Cuba and a Juicy Burger

Pineapple Avocado Turkey Burgers

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Italy and Tomatoes

Penne with Sundried Tomatoes with Baby Lima Beans and Crumbled Bacon

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Whole Wheat Stuffed Crust Personal Pizzas (sneaking in whole wheat for the kids)

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Lasagna Cupcakes

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China and Stir Fry

Spicy Shrimp with Cashews

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Mexico and Beans

Lightened Up Charro Beans

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India and Chicken

Baked Indian Chicken Drumsticks

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Thailand and Peanut Sauce

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

thai

And the treats

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies

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Banana Key Lime Protein Smoothie

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So do you accept this challenge? A challenge to do good by your body and enrich yourself with good, clean nutrition. And your family’s?

What diet changes have you made this year? Please comment below and let me know if one of these meals is a favorite of yours!

And don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hot Cheesy Spinach Dip with Bacon

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With cold fronts coming in at their blusteriest and invitations arriving in every mailbox, we get ready for our holiday parties and family gatherings, and again we rifle through our recipe boxes for a hot appetizer to take to that next get together.  Try this appetizer at your next holiday gathering to warm up the party.

I brought this Hot Cheesy Spinach Dip with Bacon to my dad’s Thanksgiving get together and before I could even grab my camera to snap a shot, it was nearly 1/4 gone! It should almost be renamed Vanishing Spinach Bacon Dip. Maybe it’s the loads of rich flavorful cheese or zesty garlic. Or maybe it’s the yummy spinach or savory crispy bacon. Either way, it’s delicious!

This recipe take just minutes to throw together, especially if you have leftover crumbled bacon lying around. (Gasp! Did she just say leftover bacon???) I know right, like THAT ever happens.

Okay, so let’s first make some bacon, and then lets make some dip 😉 This recipe actually makes a double batch to divide into two 2 quart casserole dishes. Make some now and freeze some for later, or make two to take to two parties, as I typically do.

Hot Cheesy Spinach Dip with Bacon Ingredients Needed:
12 oz bacon
1 pound bag frozen chopped spinach
2 – 8oz packages Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
2 cups monterrey cheddar cheese blend, shredded
6 oz shredded parmesan cheese
1 1/3 cups Best Foods Mayonnaise with Olive Oil
4-5 cloves garlic, pressed
1 Tb whole grain mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.

First cook the bacon until very crisp. Drain well and crumble. Reserve 1/3 of it for garnish.

Thaw and drain the spinach in a colander. In a large stand mixer or by hand, combine the cream cheese and garlic. Add the shredded cheeses, mustard and spices. Mix in the spinach and finally 2/3 of the crumbled bacon

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Pour mixture into two each 2 quart casserole dishes or 8×8 inch square dishes, or one 13×9 inch casserole.

Bake in oven at 400F for 15-20 minutes, until browned and bubbling.

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Sprinkle with reserved crumbled bacon.

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Serve with vegetables such as carrots or celery stick, tortillas chips, crackers, or spread onto pita bread.

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Optionally you can serve this inside a bread bowl and dip the bread pieces as well.

We like ours with crackers and chips. Even the finicky sharks love this stuff!

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Thanks sis for being my hand model!

Hot Cheesy Spinach Dip with Bacon

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Number of servings: 64

Per Serving 101 calories

Fat 10 g

Carbs 1 g

Protein 3 g

64

Hot Cheesy Spinach Dip with Bacon

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 3

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz package bacon
  • 1 pound bag frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 - 8oz packages Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups monterrey cheddar cheese blend, shredded
  • 6 oz shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/3 cups Best Foods Mayonnaise with Olive Oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 Tb shallots, chopped
  • 1 Tb whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. First cook the bacon until very crisp. Drain well and crumble. Reserve 1/3 of it for garnish.
  3. Thaw and drain the spinach in a colander. In a large stand mixer or by hand, combine the cream cheese and garlic and shallots. Add the shredded cheeses, mustard and spices. Mix in the spinach and finally 2/3 of the crumbled bacon
  4. Pour mixture into two each 2 quart casserole dishes or 8×8 inch square dishes, or one 13×9 inch casserole.
  5. Bake in oven at 400F for 15-20 minutes, until browned and bubbling.
  6. Sprinkle with reserved crumbled bacon.

Notes

Serve with vegetables such as carrots or celery stick, tortillas chips, crackers, or spread onto pita bread. Optionally you can serve this inside a bread bowl and dip the bread pieces as well. This recipe actually makes a double batch to divide into two 2 quart casserole dishes. Make some now and freeze some for later, or make two to take to two parties, as I typically do. *Each serving is about 1/4 cup.

How will you enjoy your Christmas and New Year’s holidays? Do you have a favorite VANISHING appetizer you like to bring to family gatherings?

You may also enjoy Zucchini Lasagna Bites

An Oxymoron Called Delicious-Whole Wheat Deep Fried Artichokes

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Fried vegetables–um, yea, they’re healthy.

I went on a lunch date with a really cool chic years ago. We went to Mimi’s Cafe and fell in love with a specific item on the menu that we ordered-deep fried panko crusted artichoke hearts. Those artichoke hearts were served with a delicious tangy mayo dipping sauce.

Well this chic and I have a few things in common. For one-she’s my mother, two-we both LOVE to cook, and three-we are pretty good at deciphering seasonings.
She immediately knew the artichokes were covered in panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. And the sauce-as we sat there tasting it-came to the conclusion that it starred lemon and tarragon.
We went right home and recreated those delicious morsels of fried veggies and sauce. I mean, we had to let the family enjoy that appetizer too!
Well my Jesse bear adores artichokes-full of potassium and Vitamin C, fiber and protein, so he and I decided to make these together one evening. I was already making Quick Chicken Parmesan, so I thought it would pair well together. He loved them. He REALLY loves the dipping sauce. Especially with steamed artichokes-check out how to cook them by Elise Bauer from Simply Recipes, or on this page.
So I adapted the original recipe my mother and I created to an even healthier one, made with natural whole wheat bread crumbs with no artificial ingredients, like these from Fresh and Easy, fresh fat free Greek yogurt, and health beneficial olive oil mayonnaise. And any changes that make a recipe healthier always benefit my son’s autism. Also, for a vegan version, see changes below. So here’s the recipe and I hope you love them too!
Whole Wheat Deep Fried Artichokes with Tarragon Dipping Sauce
Artichoke Heart Ingredients:
1 can artichoke heart quarters, drained
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour mixed with 1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 egg beaten with 1 Tb water
1 cup natural whole wheat bread crumbs mixed with 1 tsp Italian seasoning
Canola oil for frying
2Tb Parmesan cheese for garnish
Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup mayonnaise made with olive oil
1 tsp tarragon
Juice of 1 lime
Directions:
Arrange flour mixture, egg mixture and bread crumb mixture on three platters or pie plates.
Dip artichoke pieces individually first in flour, then egg mixture and finally bread crumb mixture, coating well and evenly with each mixture. Use one hand for the dry mixtures and one hand for the egg mixture to avoid “gooey fingers”.
Heat canola oil about 1 inch deep in a pan over medium high heat. You know the oil is ready when you drop a bit of bread crumbs in and it sizzles.

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Dipping in Eggplant-Baba Ganoush

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I’ve always been a big fan of hummus, a creamy, savory spread made with chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil. I spread it on my veggies, on my pitas, use as a substitute for mayo, or dollop on falafels. I’m sorry hummus, but I’ve found a new love. A low carb, high fiber eggplant dip originating in the Middle East called Baba Ganoush. I’ve heard of this delicious spread and dip before, but have never tried it. Well, of course I’m all for trying new things. I absolutely love it!

I have had baba ganoush with pita chips, spread it on my egg sandwich this morning and even made a delectable Spinach and Tomato Lavash Wrap with Goat Cheese and Baba Ganoush for lunch. I think I’m obsessed and will be sure to have this on hand all the time.

Baba Ganoush

1 large eggplant
1/4 cup tahini
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
3/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tb olive oil
1 Tb fresh flat leaf parsley or 1 tsp dried parsley
5 kalamatta olives, sliced in half

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place eggplant over stove top burner flame on medium heat and roast, rotating and allowing skin to blacken and blister on all sides, about 5 minutes-8 minutes.

Place eggplant on cookie sheet transfer to oven. Bake 20-25 or until soft.

Allow to cool slightly. Peel off skin.

In food processor, pulse eggplant until smooth. Pour pureed eggplant into a medium bowl. Combine eggplant puree, tahini, garlic, lime juice, cumin and salt. Mix gently. Drizzle with olive oil, olives and parsley.

Serve with flat bread, pita chips, vegetables or spread on a sandwich.

Makes 8 – 1/4 cup servings or 16 – 2 Tb servings. Prep 10 min. Cook 35 min.

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Spinach and Tomato Lavash Wrap with Goat Cheese and Baba Ganoush

I’ll Take Some Caramel Cheesecake with My Apples

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I love bringing fruit to BBQs. It’s fresh and sweet without all the guilt of a traditional dessert. But I always ponder on what combo I could bring. A mixed fruit tray may leave me with all the reject fruits after the party. Nuts or marshmallows mixed in may not please any picky eaters. Arranging the fruit on skewers may cause a bit of a sword fight amongst the youngsters.
So maybe a fruit dip would work. I remember making my boys a fresh and healthy fruit dip a couple years back that they raved about. So I thought I’d do that again. And this one takes only 5 minutes to throw together and take to a party. Convenient for last minute potlucks!

 

Gobble ‘Em Up Lowfat Caramel Cheesecake Dip for Apple and Fruit

1 8oz package Neufchâtel cream cheese
1 cup Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup unpacked brown sugar
3 Tb caramel sauce
1 tsp cinnamon
6 apples sliced into wedges and any other firm fruits, ie bananas, pears, melon

Serves 20, about 2 Tb per serving. Prep 5 min.

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and blend with hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth and creamy.

Place dip in an airtight container for travel. Place apples in a ziplock storage bag and squeeze juice of half a lemon over slices to keep from browning. Sprinkle with cinnamon and seal until serving.
Your fruit tray is ready to serve upon arrival at your party. Or as a weekday snack at work. I think I’m going to add this to the boys’ lunchboxes!
This was gobbled up very quickly at today’s BBQ. The kids killed it-nutrition and all. It’s full of Vitamin C and Iron in the fruit and Calcium and Protein in the dip. I hope you enjoy this one as much the whole family did.

Lowfat Caramel Cheesecake Dip for Apples, Fruit and Crackers

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Number of servings: 20

Per Serving 98 calories

Fat 5 g

Carbs 13 g

Protein 2 g

20

Lowfat Caramel Cheesecake Dip for Apples, Fruit and Crackers

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 3

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

  • 1 8oz package Neufchâtel cream cheese
  • 1 cup Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup unpacked brown sugar
  • 3 Tb caramel sauce
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 apples, sliced into 8 wedges

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and blend with hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth and creamy.
  2. Serve with cut fruits or crackers.

Notes

About 2 tablespoons dip per serving.

Do you have a favorite fruit dip?

Tahini Yogurt Sauce

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Sauce so delicious and good for you, you’ll try to see what else you can dip in it.

 

Tahini Yogurt Sauce
 
1/2 cup tahini (sesame butter)
3/4 cup Fage Total 0% Plain Greek yogurt or other plain yogurt (for a vegan version of this sauce, you may substitute 1/2 cup water or almond milk and omit the 1/4 cup water; this will change the consistency slightly)
1/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
Zest of one lime
Juice of two limes
Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender until smooth. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator to marry flavors.

 

Serve with Baked Falafels (recipe in Meals and Vegan) on warm pita bread or flatbread, or with fresh veggie sticks.
Serves 4, about 3 Tb per serving.

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Baba Ganoush