1.23.2015

Quick and Easy Spinach Bleu Cheese Dip with a Better for You Twist

I created today's recipe post as part of a nationally sponsored campaign. 

Apparently, there is a big game coming up on Sunday, Feb. 1. I don't watch NFL football. Well, I like the Carolina Panthers because I like cat mascots in general, and the Panthers are located in North Carolina. I like the Dallas Cowboys because I always wanted to be one of their cheerleaders. Seriously, they were BIG celebrities in 1978, and guest starred on the "Love Boat."  Those two teams are not in this year's Super Bowl so I just plan to socialize, but I've heard that the game will be fun to watch, according to my husband's college friends. Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson, played for NC State in Raleigh, N.C at one time. I remember his name, but I remember the cuteness of the Wolfpack mascot more.


Quick and Easy Spinach Bleu Cheese Dip using Naturally Fresh Lite Bleu Cheese Dressing. All-natural ingredients. Quick and Easy recipe.
Spinach Bleu Cheese Dip 

 I don't care who wins the big game, but I care about what is served. My Spinach Bleu Cheese dip is quick, easy, and game-day worthy. It even has a "better for you twist."

I was given the opportunity to create a recipe with Naturally Fresh salad dressings, which are found in the refrigerated produce section in grocery stores. Since I'm really just a journalist who likes food, and do not have the skills of a trained chef or recipe developer, I wondered if I could really pull this task off and score a recipe touchdown. When I was approached, I liked what I heard about these products. Naturally Fresh contains wholesome ingredients. I can read the ingredient label and understand every word I'm reading. The dressings are made with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
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Quick and Easy Spinach Blue Cheese Dip. Great for game-day. Easy list of ingredients.


I chose to purchase Lite Bleu Cheese, which is made with Naturally Fresh's own nonfat buttermilk and aged blue cheese chunks to create my recipe. I did not go to the Internet for my recipe inspiration, but rather I opened my cabinet and started with a Southern-based cookbook that I use a lot. The cookbook is published by the Rocky Mount Junior Guild in North Carolina. In the South, it is not uncommon for mayonnaise to be used as a base for dips, dressings, casseroles, and salads. We put mayo on or in everything. It is absolutely delicious on bread in a banana and peanut butter sandwich or a tomato sandwich. However, mayonnaise is a high calorie food with about 100 calories per tablespoon. Most recipes don't call for just a tablespoon either.

After studying several recipes, I decided that I would try to substitute the Lite Bleu Cheese salad dressing in place of mayonnaise. I chose the lite over the regular Bleu Cheese dressing because I wanted to reduce calories even more. Two tablespoons of Naturally Fresh Lite Bleu Cheese dressing has just 80 calories compared to the 100 calories for one tablespoon of Duke's mayonnaise. I chose to make my version of  Spinach Bleu Cheese Dip. Because I was substituting a bleu cheese dressing for mayonnaise, I did use less bleu cheese chunks than the original recipe recommended because I didn't want to overpower the recipe since I was using the bleu cheese dressing base which already had that bleu/blue cheese taste.

Spinach Blue Cheese Dip has all-natural ingredients including Naturally Fresh salad dressing.
Spinach Bleu Cheese Dip is quick and easy

Spinach Bleu Cheese Dip

Ingredients:

1 6 oz. fresh bag of organic spinach or one bunch of spinach from your produce box. 
3/4 cup of low fat organic cottage cheese
3/4 cup of Naturally Fresh Lite Bleu Cheese salad dressing
1/4 cup of chopped onions (green parts, too)
1 to 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce
A dash or two of hot pepper sauce
2 teaspoons of minced green jalapeno pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
6 tablespoons of aged, crumbled blue cheese (I used Trader Joe's brand and it was spelled Blue Cheese). 
(Note: the original recipe using mayo called for 1/2 pound of blue cheese)

Serve with raw vegetables or/and blue corn chips 

Directions: 

Wash spinach. Remove longer stems, and put in large saucepan using only the water clinging to the spinach leaves. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted. This takes about 5 minutes.  Drain spinach, rinse with cold water. Squeeze water out gently, and chop coarsely. 


Quick and Easy Spinach Blue Cheese Dip


Place cottage cheese, Naturally Fresh Lite Bleu Cheese Dressing, spinach, green onions, and seasonings into bowl of food processor. Process until well combined. Add crumbled blue cheese and pulse on and off to just combine the cheese into the dip. There should be chunks of blue cheese in the dip. 

I loved it with celery, red pepper, corn chips, and crackers.  Also, adjust taste by adding more Worcestershire sauce or hot sauce, if needed. 

Will got home after working late on the evening I made the dip. He asked, "what's that green stuff in the fridge?" I told him it was for a food post I was working on for the blog. As soon as I turned around, he was eating it with crackers. He said,"that stuff is pretty good!" I've told him that I don't really like the his description of "pretty good." However, after being married to him for almost 13 years, and when he tells me I look "pretty good" when I ask him how I look,  I've learned to translate his "pretty good" to mean "awesome." I feel pretty good sharing my new recipe with you all as a result.

Spinach Blue Cheese Dip works well with crackers, raw veggies, and blue corn chips
I love this dip with red peppers and celery. 

If you would like to make this recipe or try the  Naturally Fresh line of salad dressings,  I am giving five readers a coupon to receive a free 12 ounce bottle of Naturally Fresh salad dressing from your local store.   You can also download the Naturally Fresh free mobile app, which will help find all of the Naturally Fresh products along with recipes. Five winners will be drawn at random. Just leave a comment and let me know in your comment that you would like to try the dressing.  I will contact the winners on Feb. 9, 2015. 

Disclosure: This post is part of the blogger program by Naturally Fresh® and The Motherhood, who compensated me for my time and the development of this recipe. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are my own, and I hope you enjoy them.




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