Game Time Decision

It’s that time when the new year commences, in which I try to implement some healthier cooking & eating habits. You know, your standard, eat-more-green-vegetables-and-less-mac-&-cheese resolutions. Though, some of my healthy plans will need to be put on hold temporarily, due to pressing circumstances… NFL… Football…. Playoffs. Oh yes, it’s serious football viewing time, and with the only 2 games left until Superbowl, we have to get our game day snacks in gear. Something about kale & carrot sticks just doesn’t scream football, so we’re just going to have to suffer through a few more Sundays of delicious appetizers. With so many snacking options, what should we make? Usually it’s a game time decision for me. I go with whatever sounds good at that moment, or use what ingredients I have on hand. However, this Sunday I already know what is on the menu, and it starts with a little something you’ve seen before on the dinnervine – bacon. Well, there’s more to it than just that, though I’m not above simply serving-up some crispy strips & enjoying a blissful bacon coma. Though, we’re going to get a little more creative with my take on a bubbly Hot BLT Dip.

BLT’s make their appearance here fairly often in one form or another, but we’re turning all the flavors of the coveted Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato sandwich into an easy party app. There are many recipes out there I’ve seen for both cold and hot versions, but I opted to use of cream cheese and sharp cheddar cheese that I use commonly for other dips. I can assure you, this one will get devoured faster than you can crack open your second game day beer. This dish is dairy-based, with a only few ingredients. It is rich; though I created my recipe using lower-fat varieties of sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise & shredded cheddar cheeses. After pre-crisping the bacon, we bake our deliciousness for about 20 minutes in the oven, and serve with slices of a lightly toasted sourdough baguette.

So get all your greens in Saturday because come Sunday, bacon’s in the lineup! 

Dinnervine Hot BLT Dip

51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: small casserole-sized party dip

enough for a crowd

A BLT fit for football! This dip is a little lighter but tastes very indulgent with the flavors of a fresh BLT sandwich. Easy & a crowd pleaser!

What to get...

  • 1 package bacon (strips crisped on stove)
  • 1 basket (11oz) small red grape tomatoes (deseeded ~1.5 cups chopped)
  • 2 green onions, chopped finely (greens & whites)
  • 1 green onion, chopped finely (just green, for topping baked dip)
  • 1 T garlic minced
  • 1 8-oz block of Neufchatel cheese (A low-fat version of standard cream cheese, softened)
  • 1 cup sour cream (Light, Daisy brand)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (Light, Best Foods brand)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2% milk fat cheese)
  • 1 cup Colby-Jack shredded cheese blend
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • black pepper & kosher salt to taste

What to do...

  1. Soften cream cheese to room temperature on counter.
  2. In large skillet, or in batches crisp bacon slices from one package, drain on paper towels, set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Prep small red grape tomatoes, by cutting crosswise, and simply 'squeezing' out seeds/guts to deseed tomatoes (may help to use small cocktail fork).
  5. Chop deseeded tomato halves & set aside.
  6. Chop green onions finely, setting aside one of the chopped greens for topping dip before serving.
  7. Peel garlic cloves & mince (enough for ~ 1T worth0.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese block, sour cream, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, and shredded cheeses well, using a thick wooden spoon and then a large whisk.
  9. To the cheese mix, add chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, just stirring to incorporate evenly.
  10. Next, crumble all of the crisp-cooked bacon slices into the mix, combining until just incorporated.
  11. Oil a small-medium ceramic baking dish or 8" pie dish and evenly spread BLT dip mix.
  12. Bake in 375 degree oven for ~20-25 minutes, when dip is heated throughout and bubbly.
  13. Let dip cool slightly out of oven & then toast sliced sourdough baguette lightly in oven (couple of minutes).
  14. Serve dip hot with warm sliced bread & top with freshly chopped green onion.

Notes

This one is easy & you can pan cook and crisp the bacon a day ahead as helpful. This one bakes up in only 20 minutes and stored well leftover in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap. Make sure the bacon is cooked on the very crispy side and even though I use lower fat versions of the dairy ingredients, you won't be able to taste it, because this is very rich and satisfying!

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A little bacon, a little pigskin, the perfect combo! You may be wondering where the ‘L’ is in our BLT, but there is something about hot lettuce that sounds like a hot mess to me… So, instead we’re using fresh green onion to give our dip some extra flavor, and take the place of the leafy green. You also can add more tomatoes if you fancy. I used the entire basket of little grape tomatoes, and would have added more if I had extra, and hey, they make this healthy right?! Just make sure to deseed the lil’ guys so your dip isn’t full of tomato guts. I think warm and toasted sourdough baguette slices are the perfect vehicle for eating this, and together really give us the taste of the homemade sandwich. You can also use tortilla chips and change it up; bacon doesn’t discriminate. I am excited for this game this Sunday, though truthfully, I think I’m more excited about the food!

Enjoy this dip with some football watching-friends, and you’ll have a true winner, even if  the same doesn’t go for your favorite team…

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