Black Bean Dip

Black Bean Dip

I haven’t had much luck with black bean dips until now. This one is excellent. I served it at a small get-together recently and it disappeared quickly. I think the recipe can be easily doubled, if need be. I adapted this recipe from one for Black Bean Hummus with Queso Fresco found in the April 2015 issue of Cooking Light.

Black Bean Dip

For the dip:
1 15.5 ounce can black beans, drained (set aside about a tablespoon of the black beans for topping)
3 tablespoons water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

Toppings:
goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 tablespoon)
red onion, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1/2 tablespoon)

Serve with:
tortilla chips  (or pita chips)
fresh crudités (carrots, celery, cucumbers, etc…)

Process all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Transfer the dip to a serving dish and top with the reserved whole black beans, crumbled goat cheese, chopped red onion, and fresh cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips and/or fresh crudités.

 


Carrot Hummus

Carrot Hummus

I let my 5 year old pull the remainder of the carrots in the garden to make room for something else. I decided to use them to make carrot hummus. My carrots were lighter orange than the ones you typically find in a grocery store. My hummus is not as vibrant of an orange color as I assume using more deeply colored carrots would produce.  No matter, the overall result is a tasty variation of hummus and would be a colorful addition to any table of food.

Carrots

I adapted this recipe from one found in the April 2015 issue of Cooking Light. This issue has 7 variations of hummus and they all look interesting.

Carrot Hummus

1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
shredded carrots
sliced almonds (optional)
paprika

Place the chopped carrots in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the carrots are very tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Save the water to add to the hummus.

In a food processor, add the chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, kosher salt, cumin, and cooked carrots. Add about 3 tablespoons of the water the carrots cooked in and process, stopping to scrape down the sides from time to time, until smooth. This may take up to 5 minutes. Spread carrot hummus in the serving dish and top with shredded carrots and sliced almonds (if using). Sprinkle with paprika.


Hot Cheesesteak Dip

Hot Cheesesteak Dip

I made this hot dip to take to a New Year’s Eve party. It’s super rich and loaded with beef and cheese. Paired with toasted baguette slices, it tastes just like a cheesesteak sandwich, although not exactly like the cheesesteaks we had in Philadelphia. Cheez Whiz, not provolone, was the “cheese” on the cheesesteaks we had in Philly.  I’m glad I took this to a party and shared it with other people. I could easily see myself eating the whole thing.

Hot Cheesesteak Dip 2

Hot Cheesesteak Dip

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded, quartered, and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 cups provolone or a mix of provolone and mozzarella, shredded (I found a shredded provolone and mozzarella mix at Target)
8 ounces roast beef (from the grocery store’s deli), sliced thin (not shaved, but not too thick)
salt and pepper, to taste

Baguettes, sliced (and toasted if you like)

Heat the 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the sliced onion and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until veggies are tender and starting to caramelize. There will be browned spots on the vegetables and that’s fine. Add the minced garlic and cook one minute more. Turn off the heat and let the mixture sit while you prepare the rest of the dip.

In a large bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, provolone cheese together. Season with salt and pepper (I added about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper). Mix in the cooked onion and pepper mixture. Coarsely chop the roast beef and add to the dip. Mix well to combine. Pour the mixture into a small baking dish that has been lightly coasted with cooking spray.

Bake at 375° F. for 20 minutes, or until heated through and slightly browned around the edges. Serve with toasted sliced baguette.

You can prepare this dip up to a day in advance. Cover the dish with foil and place in the refrigerator until ready to bake.


Hot Collards and Artichoke Dip

Hot Collards and Artichoke Dip

This is a delicious spin on a classic spinach and artichoke dip. I may even like the collards version better. Collards and artichokes are both nutrient dense foods, so I feel less guilty about indulging in this rich dip. I don’t think that using low-fat cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream would alter the taste much.

This dip is also wonderful as a sandwich spread. I smeared some leftover dip on a piece of baguette and sprinkled shredded carrots (pulled from my garden) on top. Yum.

Hot Collards and Artichoke Dip

1 smallish bunch of collards, washed well
1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Remove the stems and tough ribs from the collards and slice thin. In a pot of salted water, cook the thinly sliced collards until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander. Squeeze the remaining liquid from the collards and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt, and garlic powder together. Mix in the prepared collards and chopped artichoke hearts. Pour mixture into a small baking dish that has been lightly coasted with cooking spray.

Bake at 375° F. for 20 minutes, or until heated through and slightly browned around the edges. Serve with toasted sliced baguette, toasted pita bread, or crackers.

You can prepare this dip up to a day in advance. Cover the dish with foil and place in the refrigerator until ready to bake.


Queso

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I’m a Texan so when I think of chile con queso I automatically think of Velvetta and Rotel. I’m perfectly fine with admitting that. That stuff tastes good. Normally, I would look down my nose at a processed “cheese food” product, but it really is essential for the smooth texture of a Texas-style queso.

I would love to create the perfect Texas-style queso without using processed cheese. I have tried. Over the years, I have made many different versions. Some turned out well, some didn’t. This particular version turned out fine, maybe even better than fine. I even reheated leftovers in the microwave the next day and it was still fine. Sometimes when using “real” cheese to make queso it can clump up or become a stringy, greasy mess. I didn’t have that problem with this version.  Make sure to lower the heat and stir a lot to make the queso smooth (although it won’t be smooth like a queso made with processed cheese). You can add more milk if needed.

I love chunks of fresh avocado (and even pico de gallo) in my queso. You can add other ingredients like black beans, chili, chopped fajita meat, or cooked ground beef to make the queso a little more substantial.

Queso

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely minced (you can substitute pickled jalapeno or roasted poblanos)
1 medium tomato, peeled, seeds removed, and finely chopped (or use1 – 2 tablespoons canned diced tomatoes)
4 teaspoons flour
8 ounces of cheddar and monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a bowl, toss the cheeses with the flour and set aside. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and then stir in the cheese and milk. Lower the heat to low and cook, stirring, until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and serve immediately with tortilla chips.


Spinach Dip

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I love this spinach dip! I had it at a party years ago and the hostess shared her recipe. She served her dip in a pumpernickel bread bowl with additional bread for the dip. I like the dip with raw veggies and Ruffles potato chips. This dip also make a nice spread for sandwiches and wraps.

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Spinach Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 envelope (1 ounce) ranch salad dressing mix
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained completely
1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained, chopped

Beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sour cream and ranch salad dressing mix and beat until well combined.

Microwave the frozen chopped spinach for about 3 minutes (until it is defrosted). Drain the spinach in a colander. When the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Stir the drained, chopped spinach and the chopped water chestnuts into the cream cheese mixture. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. Serve with raw veggies (carrots, celery, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, etc…), crackers, and/or (toasted or not) pumpernickel bread.