Bravo Nacho Cheese Dip
by Missy Chase Lapine
When family and friends are visiting, it can be hard to maintain a healthy approach to eating. Snacks during that Sunday football game, or appetizers before the main course can be especially troublesome. You don't want to deprive your guests or your kids of the tasty foods they love, but you want to make sure everyone's getting the nutrition they need. That's when you have to get sneaky.
Here's a great recipe for a favorite hors d'oeuvre: Nacho Cheese Dip. This is normally an intensely rich snack, but the same dip can be prepared with a significant amount of sweet potatoes and carrots pureed and snuck inside. For a one cup serving, this reduces the calories by 28 percent and the total fat by 40 percent. At the same time, the makeover is delivering over ten times the amount of Vitamin A, and outshines regular cheese dip in most of the other vitamins, as well. There's also added fiber to an otherwise fiber-less food. Now there's a dip I like to see my kids dip into!
Makes about 1 cup:
4 ounces (or 6 slices) American cheese
¼ cup milk
¼ cup Orange Puree (see recipe below)
Combine cheese, milk, and Orange Puree in a microwave-safe bowl Cover the top of the bowl with a wet paper towel and microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to check and stir every 30 seconds until fully melted. Alternatively, you can cook mixture over a double boiler or in a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water.
This dip thickens as it cools, so if there is a delay in serving it, simply put it back in the microwave for another 30 seconds first.
Serve with pretzel sticks, or over broccoli or other veggies.
Sneaky Chef Make-Ahead Recipe: Orange Puree
1 medium sweet potato or yam, peeled and rough chopped
3 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced into thick chunks
2-3 tablespoons water
In a medium pot, cover carrots and potatoes with cold water and boil for about 20 minutes until yams, and especially carrots, are very tender. If the carrots aren’t thoroughly cooked, they’ll leave telltale little nuggets of vegetables, which will reveal their presence (a gigantic no-no for the sneaky chef).
Drain the potatoes and carrots and put them in the food processor with two tablespoons of water. Puree on high until smooth; no pieces of carrots or potatoes should remain. Stop occasionally to push the contents from the top to the bottom. If necessary, use the third tablespoon of water to make a smooth puree, but the less water the better. This makes about 2 cups of puree. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of puree. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days, or freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.
Missy Chase Lapine is the former publisher of Eating Well magazine. A mother of two young daughters, she knows how picky kids can be—and she’s got the kitchen experiments to prove it! She is on the Culinary Arts facility of The New School, in New York City, and also gives cooking classes and coaching to busy families hoping to learn how to eat healthier. Her book, The Sneaky Chef, is published by Running Press. Her next book The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on Your Man (In the Kitchen) will be out in April 2008. You can learn more about Missy at her website, www.thesneakychef.com