Kick off the new year with some dip and bowl gamesDecember 6, 2017 9:16pm

Dec. 04-- New Year's Day has become a bigger event in my household over the years. My husband and I either go out with friends or have them over. What draws everyone together is football bowl games and having the day off. But today there's more reason to continue on with party foods: bowl games. Time to binge on and continue with party foods.

Dips are the ubiquitous party food. But they are the downfall of so many of us.

Dip. Scoop. Dip. Scoop. Have a chip? Dip. We all know the drill. It's easy and yet so hard to resist. And most dips have a good amount of fat.

So the easiest thing to do is to lighten them up a little. Today's dip recipe was originally called something ridiculous like 5-minute Dip. No recipe that has more than five ingredients, takes five minutes.

But what this recipe does is take feta cheese to a different level texture-wise. Crumbled feta is whipped to form the airy base of this dip. It also adds the tanginess and saltiness that feta has to offer. With the feta is a mix of mayonnaise, cream cheese, plain Greek-style yogurt and lime juice. Factor in cilantro and garlic, then add some jalapeno or serrano pepper for some heat. Now comes the sweetness of roasted red peppers. So you end up with a sweet and tangy dip with a little bit of heat.

One of my favorite ingredients is roasted red peppers. You can roast your own or buy them jarred. Most of the time, I go for the latter because it's easy and cost-effective. I bought a good size jar of roasted red peppers at a warehouse club for something like $6. It was an incredible buy. Once opened, of course, you want to use them within about 10 days. And if you don't, you can freeze them. Place them flat in a row on plastic wrap. Wrap completely and place in a freezer bag. They'll keep several months. And when you're ready to use them, they thaw quickly.

That's the beauty of roasted red peppers. They are so versatile. While raw red peppers are already sweet, roasting them intensifies their flavor. Once you added them to dishes, it adds another level.

The jar I bought was labeled piquillo peppers. These are smaller peppers and hail from Spain. Because piquillos are smaller, they come whole in the jar. So you can stuff them.

Today's dip goes together in about 10 minutes. It's best to chill it before serving. You can serve the dip with any raw vegetables, crostini (little bread toast) pita bread or pita chips.



Makes: About 2 cups / Preparation time: 5 minutes / Total time: 10 minutes

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled in big chunks

4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese

\ cup sour cream or plain nonfat Greek yogurt

\ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons lime juice

{ cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry

1 jalapeno roughly chopped

1 large clove garlic, peeled

\- to {-cup loosely packed cilantro

\ teaspoon cumin, optional

\ teaspoon oregano

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, place the feta, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise and lime juice. Process for 3 to 4 minutes until mixture is smooth. Scrape down sides occasionally, if needed.

Add remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth. Don't worry if the dip seems too thin; it will thicken after refrigerated.

Chill at least one hour before serving. Serve as a spread for crostini or a dip with pita chips, crackers or vegetables.

Adapted from several recipes on

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.


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