As the NFL Championship games wrap up and teams begin to look forward to the Super Bowl my mind fills with thoughts of the incredible journey laid out before us. For the next couple of weeks we will all be scouring the web looking for Super Bowl recipes and ideas.
That’s right, the biggest junk food eating day of the year is ahead of us and you have a choice to make. Are you going to stick to your new year’s resolution and maintain your hard earned goal weight or are you going to stuff yourself full with cheesy, salty, and sweet snacks while you cheer on teams that you never before really cared about? This year doesn’t have to be like the last.
Over the holidays my Mom made this awesome spinach dip that everyone went nuts over. It was rich and cheesy and she served it with crunchy tortilla chips. My mom doesn’t normally cook like this. When we were kids if we asked for a snack she’d tell us to heat up a chicken breast. In fact, when I asked her for her spinach dip recipe she said she threw it away after Christmas because it was so unhealthy. So, I set out to come up with a healthy version of her well-loved spinach dip recipe.
Her version had sausage, cream cheese, mayonnaise, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and number of other things. I’m going to make a healthy spinach dip recipe by using fat free cheeses and fat free yogurt instead of mayonnaise.
To prepare my dip I cooked turkey breakfast sausage and onions in a large pan until the meat was brown and the onions were translucent. I then drained any excess grease and returned the meat to the pan. I added in chopped artichokes and frozen spinach that had been thawed and drained and cooked until warmed through. I then added in my garlic and cooked until fragrant making sure that I didn’t burn the garlic and make it bitter.
I then added in my fat free cream cheese, yogurt, Parmesan cheese, and reduced fat cheddar cheese. To this I added salt, pepper, and red pepper. I stirred this all together until everything was melted and smooth. To cut back on the richness and add a little depth of flavor I stirred in lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. When combined I put all this into an oven safe bowl and sprinkled cheese on top. I baked it at 400 for 30 minutes until the cheese on top was browned and the dip bubbled.
When it was ready I let it set for about five minutes to cool before serving (nothing ruins a good meal more than a burnt tongue). We finally got to dig in and enjoy our dip. It was very much like my mom’s full fat recipe. It was smooth and cheesy and full of flavor. The caramelized onions and artichokes give everything a nice balanced flavor. It didn’t taste like a low fat spinach dip.
This, just so you know, is not a health food. It is not a meal for you to eat every night and expect to loose weight because it is still higher in fat than most meals I share here. It is, however, a great substitute to feed your friends and family on a night that they would normally stuff themselves full without thinking twice about it. Substituting in healthier recipes, like this one, in place of your normal indulgences is a great way to save hundreds of calories.
I think you will find that everyone at your party will really enjoy this recipe and will never know that it is a much reduced calorie version. I served mine with gluten free sweet potato chips but it would also be good with tortilla chips.
What is your favorite Super Bowl snack? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Low Fat Spinach Dip Recipe
1 Pound lean turkey breakfast sausage
1 Cup chopped onion
2 Cups coarsely chopped artichoke hearts
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
3 Cloves of garlic, minced
12 ounces fat free cream cheese
1 Cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Cup fat free plain yogurt
½ Cup shredded fat free cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon red pepper or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease an oven safe bowl. In a large pan over medium high heat brown sausage and onions. Cook until onions are translucent and meat is no longer pink. Drain off any excess fat. Return meat to pan over medium heat. Add in artichoke hearts and spinach and cook until warm. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Be sure not to burn your garlic.
2. Add cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, yogurt, and cheddar cheese to pan stirring frequently until all cheeses are melted and smooth. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, red pepper, and salt and pepper until well combined. Place mixture into prepared bowl and sprinkle top with additional shredded cheddar cheese.
3. Bake for thirty minutes or until top is browned and sides are bubbling. Let set for about five minutes before serving. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, or toast. Dig in!
If you would like to see more healthy Super Bowl recipes visit eat-yourself-skinny.com for a Superbowl recipe round up from across the web.