Saturday, January 23, 2016

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip

I hope your holidays were fantastic!  I bet you think it's odd that I'm starting off the new year with a post about dip, huh?  When everyone else is in a frenzy to start the year off right with healthy foods and exercise programs here I am posting a dip recipe.

So let me just say that although we do, indeed, eat a few more candies, cookies and other decadent treats at my house between Thanksgiving and New Year's day, we don't attend a lot of parties, we don't entertain a lot ourselves and we are, in general, super laid back about the whole holiday season - participating just enough to enjoy seeing family - but not so much that we are constantly going here and there, and constantly eating rich, sure to add 10 lbs to your hips foods. In addition, I am much more likely to trot out new recipes at the holidays in an effort to add something new to my tried and true repertoire and that, inevitably, leads to the need to tweak said new recipes.

Case in point this "Crack Dip"I found on Pinterest right around Christmas time.  My gaming group, which I host in my home, managed to get together 3 times in just about 2 weeks thanks to our holiday schedules and I decided to try this recipe out on them.  I made it a day ahead, as instructed, and although I did taste it before it went in the fridge, it was readily apparent that I wouldn't really be able to judge final product until the flavors actually had the opportunity to develop.  I served it with lunch for my group the next day and everyone dived in - at first I though "oh good, it's a winner", but then I noticed that after a good sampling of the dip, they were walking away and choosing other snacks to accompany their lunch.  So I finally joined in and gave it a good taste test myself - it was horribly salty.  My husband commented on it the next day when he tried it - he couldn't even continue to eat it.  I managed to eat most of it in the days that followed, but every time, I could only eat a few chips dipped in it before I had to give up for the saltiness.

I'm convinced that the culprit is the ranch dressing mix so I immediately decided to re-vamp this recipe from scratch and I wanted to do it right away while it was fresh in my mind.  Besides, my gaming group is coming over again tomorrow and they are always a good test group and generally willing to provide thorough reviews of recipes - hopefully they won't be afraid to give it another chance.

I've renamed my version  "Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip", I've used plenty of herbs and spices including fresh chives, fresh cracked pepper, reconstituted, freeze-dried parsley, garlic and onion powder and of course, crispy bacon and sharp cheddar cheese all added to a base of sour cream.  You can certainly lighten up the recipe by using a light or fat free sour cream or a fat-free Greek yogurt would be yummy too.

Do be sure to make this dip 24 hours in advance!  It's crazy simple - just put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix them up, cover and refrigerate.  If you like, you can reserve some chopped chives and one strip of the bacon to sprinkle on top as a garnish.

I wanted to try a zesty version too, so I reserved about 1/4 of the final mixture and added hot sauce to it (I used Tobasco sauce) and stirred well.

Here's the recipe...

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip

16 oz sour cream
3 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 TBLS fresh, chopped chives
1 tsp freeze-dried parsely, reconstituted
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
salt to taste
hot sauce to taste (optional)

Place sour cream in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients, reserving a pinch the chopped chives and a spoonful of the chopped bacon for garnish if you like, mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.  Serve with chips, vegetable sticks, crackers or whatever you like to dip.

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