A popular snack now days are dips. Not dips into a cooling pool of water, but a food mixture to accompany potato chips, vegetables, fruits or crackers.
Potato chips are what we usually think of to use with various dips, but fruits and vegetables can also be used instead for a more healthy diet.
Dips can be served in a nice bowl, or use peppers to hold the dip. Peppers come in colors of not just green or red but purple, yellow and orange also. Just remove the top and seeds and wash the inside. If the peppers will not stand up by themselves, gently slice off areas on the bottom to make it do so without cutting through the bottom. Any vegetable with a cup shape can be hollowed out and used. A glass container should probably be set inside a cabbage bowl so the dip will not leak. Bread bowls are also interesting to use. Some dips are baked in an oven. Dips will add calories to the vegetables or fruits but, as with all things, moderation is the key.
Dips are a delicious way to incorporate vegetables into one’s diet. With so many fresh vegetables available, both in the home garden and farmer’s markets, they can take the place of cake or cookies as snacks. To have them readily available when needed, take some time after bringing them home to remove foliage, clean, and cut them to size. Placed in plastic containers or bags, they can be quickly assembled. Pretty much any vegetable, may be used but keep in mind eye color. That is, do not place several green vegetables together but separate by colors. Crisp vegetables may fill a need to crunch with the teeth for a satisfying feeling.
As some fruits such as pears, peaches or apples may turn brown after being cut, cored, or peeled, this may be prevented by dipping the cut fruit into an ascorbic acid powder. Directions for use are given on the container. This is available in the home canning section of the super market. Lemon juice and water may also be used or crush six Vitamin C tablets in water. Do not let the fruit soak in the water, but drain and serve. Various pieces of fruit may be placed on kabob sticks for additional interest. Using round toothpicks or decorative picks placed on the fruits will enable it to be picked up easily and dunked.
When making dips containing avocados, keep the seed and when the recipe is completed, add the seed to the mixture. It will keep the mixture from turning brown.
Using low-fat cottage cheese instead of creamed cheeses will reduce some of the fat calories. Other spreads, such as lower calorie ones, can be substituted in recipes. Small slow cookers can keep hot dips hot as they are being used.
Some easy dips are combining a can of diced tomatoes and green chilies with 16 ounces of a processed cheese food. Melt over low heat until the cheese melts, stirring frequently. Serve with chips or crackers.
Something to think about: “Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.” AU
CREAMY VEGETABLE DIP
Four 3-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
In a bowl mix cream cheese until smooth. Mix in all but paprika. Cover bowl and refrigerate to meld flavors. Before serving, dust with paprika.
Serve with fresh vegetables.
HOT ARTICHOKE SPREAD
1 can artichoke hearts, cut in pieces
1 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Garlic salt to taste
Drain artichokes, combine with remaining ingredients. Bake in a serving container 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Serve with crackers.
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
7-oz. jar marshmallow creme
1 Tablespoon orange juice
Makes a flavorful fruit dip.