National Chip and Dip Day doesn't have to be a fattening holiday. Food Columnist Judi Leaming says sub in veggies or potato chips and start snacking on Mexican Fiesta Dip, Surprise Dip or Western Olive Dip.
National Chip and Dip Day will be celebrated this year on Friday, March 23, and should not be confused with National Potato Chip Day, occurred on March, March 14. I had some misgivings and feelings of guilt about writing a column on chips and dips — after all, most of us are trying to watch our diet, aren’t we?
Then I realized that chip doesn’t necessarily have to imply calories. Can’t we responsibly supplement our diets with carrot chips to go along with the dips? And cucumbers can be cut into chips, can’t they? It might be a bit more difficult to “chip” a stalk of celery but certainly celery sticks will work. The origin of the food term potato chip is unclear but I did locate a mid 1850’s recipe for Fried Potato Shavings that sounds remarkably like what we today call a potato chip.
So now let us move along and consider what it is that the potato, corn or carrot chip can be dunked into. Generally you begin with sour cream (regular, low-fat or no-fat) or plain yogurt and then stir in herbs and spices to add the flavor. Why buy ready-made dips (with a listing of ingredients that you might not always be able to identify) when you have herbs on your shelf crying out to be used?
The Mexican Fiesta Dip Mix is a grand example of a make-ahead herb mixture just waiting to be blended together.
Recently I saw a photo of an easy way to serve dips and vegetables at a party. You mix up your dip, spoon individual portions into what Hefty calls their 9-ounce party cup (clear plastic), stick in a few carrot and celery sticks and offer these out as individual dip dishes for your guests — easy clean-up and no double-dipping. This works well also for late afternoon snacks for children or teens who might otherwise be vegetable-shy.
This column concludes with two more recipes that I hope you’ll enjoy – a Surprise Dip that will bring up the question of “What’s in this?” and a slightly spicier Western Olive Dip. Get our your vegetables and start dipping.
Mexican Fiesta Dip Mix
1/2 cup dried parsley
1/3 cup minced dried onion
1/4 cup dried chives
1/3 cup chili powder
1/4 cup ground cumin
1 tablespoon salt
In a large bowl combine all ingredients to mix well. Store in an airtight container. To prepare dip: stir 3 tablespoons of this dry mix with 1 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise and 1 cup sour cream. Whisk to mix well; cover and chill for several hours to allow flavors to blend and mellow.
1 cup finely grated carrots
1 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together carrots, mayonnaise and cheese. Pour into a shallow 1-quart baking dish or 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving with tortilla chips or crackers.
Western Olive Dip
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon grated onion
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup chopped or sliced ripe olives, well drained
1/4 cup thick and chunky salsa
Beat softened cream cheese with sour cream until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and chill for several hours to blend flavors. Allow to sit at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving with corn chips or tortilla chips.