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Dip In!

From party staples like gooey, cheese fondue to classic French onion or 7-layer fiesta dip, we all have our favorites.

These days dips are getting lighter and healthier. We’re whipping up our favorites not with full fat sour cream and mayo but with Greek yogurt as well as lite sour creams and mayos. Even this party staple can’t escape the better-for-you revolution!

Hummus is all the rage lately – made with protein-rich garbanzo beans. It’s quick-and-easy to make from scratch, but also available in a wide variety of flavors like roasted pepper and sun-dried tomatoes. Cruise the hummus isle these days and you’ll find brilliant beet hummus and emerald green edamame varieties!

Creamy white bean dips are also popular and fall into the better-for-you category, too. It’s tasty paired with bold flavors like in my Tuscan White Bean Dip Layered with Green Olive and Lemon Tapenade.


Cranberry- Orange Holiday Goat Cheese Dip

For a festive dip, whip up a batch of Cranberry- Orange Holiday Goat Cheese Dip. Creamy goat cheese mixed with walnuts and cranberries, and sweetened with citrus and honey. Yum!

Now, we all love our dips with potato and tortilla chips but you can also lighten up your dippables. Try something new, like pita chips and rice crackers, OR go the veggie route with endive leaves, slices of crunchy fennel, or colorful bell pepper.

So whatever the occasion, get out of your DIP RUT, lighten up –and try something new! –Kathy

Tuscan White Bean Dip Layered with Green Olive and Lemon Tapenade
I love to make the tapenade with those brilliant green Castelvetrano olives available at olive bars. If you want to take some extra time and pit them rather than buying pitted jarred olives, it is worth it! I like to serve this dip with pita chips or rustic crackers.

Makes 3 cups, or about 8 to 10 servings

Dip
1 (15-ounce) cans white beans, drained well
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. very finely minced lemon zest
1 tsp. very finely minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Tapenade
1 1/2 cups pitted manzanilla or other green olives, drained
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. very finely minced lemon zest
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or oil from sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes in oil, drained

Garnish: extra-virgin olive oil and fresh rosemary sprig

To make the dip: In a food processor, combine the drained beans, cheese, if using, and garlic, and process for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the pepper flakes, lemon juice and zest, rosemary and salt. With the motor running, add the oil through the feed tube in a slow stream. Process until smooth. Taste for salt and adjust if desired. Store the dip, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

To make the tapenade: In a food processor, combine the olives, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and oil, and pulse till the ingredients are thoroughly chopped, but still have some coarseness to them. Add the parsley and sundried tomatoes and pulse until just integrated. The tapenade can be stored, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.

To serve: Put the dip in a pretty bowl, smooth out the surface, then layer the tapenade on top. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil, and garnish with the rosemary.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com

Cranberry- Orange Holiday Goat Cheese Dip
Serve this dip with leaves of Belgian endive, apple slices, celery, and crostini or rustic crackers.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

3 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre), softened
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed Sunkist tangerine or orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries (or dried cherries chopped fine )
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts or hazelnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the goat cheese and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the juice, zest and honey, and mix until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated. The dip will keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com

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