Trader Joe’s Caramelized Onion Dip

After trying the Trader Joe’s Bacon Cheddar Ranch DipI decided to pick up the Trader Joe’s Caramelized Onion Dip to give a whirl. Just by looks it looked like one of my favorite dips that can be made with Lipton onion soup mix … but the caramelized onion made it seem that more enticing.
One day I decided to pull this out of the fridge because I was in the mood for a snack. Opening the container it definitely resembles my beloved favorite ‘homemade’ dip although I could see small pieces of caramelized onion throughout it.  I took out two tablespoons and took a bite with one of my chips … and my face puckered. I was overwhelmed with an overpowering salt flavor. At first I thought perhaps it could’ve been the chips … so I ended up dipping a raw carrot into it and found that overwhelming salty flavor was still there.  I’m not a big salt fan, I only use it very sparingly in cooking to boost flavoring in cooking.  This was just so jam packed with salt that I couldn’t even offer it to guests because I would have felt bad.  Needless to say the container ended up finding a permanent home in the circular file (i.e. the trash). I’ll definitely stick to the bacon cheddar ranch dip because that is flavorful and not salty.
A serving is 2 tablespoons which is 70 calories or 2 points plus values.
Have you tried any of the dip selections available at Trader Joe’s?

Spinach Dip

I had some spinach to use up, so I decided to do a quick Google search to find out what I could make with it. Originally I wanted to make a spinach pasta dish my mother made when I was younger … but in all honesty, I cannot remember exactly what it was, and when I asked her she couldn’t recall. I found a Hot Spinach Dip recipe from Skinnytaste’s website see here.
Looking over the ingredients I realized I didn’t have all of them and I felt it would be wasteful to go to the store just to buy the items I was missing … so I decided to shake it up. It came out perfectly! I ate it for a few days and even shared some with my mother and her friend, who in turn asked me how I made it so they could make it at home.  This will become a staple recipe for me because it makes for a perfectly filling snack.
Serves 5-10. Serves 10: ¼ cup serving, 2 points plus values. Serves 5: ½ cup serving, 3 points plus values.
  • 10 oz frozen spinach, dry (all liquid squeezed out)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (I used jarred garlic)
  • 5 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • 2 1/3 tbsp reduced fat parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup fat free shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
Place diced onion in a microwave safe bowl, add 1 tbsp of water and microwave for 30-40 seconds until onions are translucent.
Squeeze all liquid out of the spinach and place into a bowl.  Add in cooked onion, garlic, mayonnaise and sour cream. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
Sprinkle in parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder and shredded mozzarella cheese. Blend until combined.
Cover mixture and let marinate in the refrigerator for at a minimum 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place dip into baking dish which has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and the edges are golden brown.

Trader Joe’s Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip

I admit I have seen this Trader Joe’s Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip numerous times while shopping but have never picked it up because I assumed it would be too unhealthy to even bother with. Now, I enjoy chip and vegetable dips … but I typically make my own at home when I’m in the mood for one.  But after seeing this so many times, I figured I’d just check out the nutrition facts … and I was surprised with them, so I put the container into my cart.
This sat in the fridge for a few days until one night my boyfriend and I were going to watch a movie.  So I asked if he’d like some chips (we enjoyed this dip with the Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Kettle Cooked Potato Chips) and dip … so chips and dip is what we had.  Opening the container I was surprised with how thick it was. Most store bought dips, at least the dips in my local grocery store, are on the looser/wetter side. This was moderately thick.  I didn’t see any bacon or cheddar in it … until I dipped a chip into it, then I was rewarded with a surprise. Thinly sliced shredded cheddar cheese run all throughout the dip, while there are pieces of bacon throughout it as well. It’s tasty with all flavor combinations working together. You get the ranch, you get the cheddar and you get the smokiness from the bacon.  It’s a delicious dip – right up there with my all time favorite Heluva Good bacon horseradish dip.
A 2 tablespoon serving is 90 calories or 2 points plus values.
What is your favorite chip dip?

Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant Caponata is a dish my aunt actually introduced me to. She’d make this for parties at her house and it is totally delicious. I enjoyed it so much she gave me the recipe.  I decided to whip this up (actually, I tripled the batch – which wasn’t the original plan but I peeled two eggplants which gave me 9 cups of eggplant) to bring it to my aunts party as an appetizer dish to put out on the tables.
The tedious task sits in cutting up all the vegetables, but once that’s done its smooth sailing. It comes together quickly, simmers for a short period of time and can be eaten either hot or cold. The caponata does taste so much better after it’s had a chance to marinate in the fridge 1-2 days.  I would say, I’d eat the caponata over pasta while it’s hot, but then after its cold I prefer it with crackers.
Serves 15. ~ 1/4 cup serving. 2 points plus.
          3 cups eggplant, peeled and cubed
          1/3 cup olive oil
          1 medium onion, chopped
          3 cloves garlic, crushed (or you can use minced jar garlic)
          ½ cup chopped green pepper
          2 celery stalks, chopped
          ½ cup black olives, chopped
          1 can tomato paste
          ¼ cup water
          2 tbsp red wine vinegar
          1 tsp oregano
          1 tsp salt
          1 tsp black pepper
          ½ tsp sugar
Place a large pot over medium, high heat.  Add in oil, garlic and onions and sauté until onions are slightly translucent.
Add in eggplant, celery, and green pepper. Stir frequently and cook down until eggplant begins to soften.
Add in olives, sugar, black pepper, salt, oregano, and red wine vinegar.  Mix tomato paste and water together and gently fold into the mixture until all ingredients are well combined.
Lower heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Serve hot or cold.

Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip

So many people talk about using Greek yogurt as a substitute for mayonnaise, sour cream, and even cream cheese in recipes.  I had a coworker who was mixing Greek yogurt with a number of spices and using that as a mayonnaise on her sandwiches, etc.  I’m not a big lover of mayonnaise, BUT I am a lover of French onion and ranch dips for vegetables and potato chips. I had tried the Oikos Greek yogurt dip and enjoyed it, so I finally decided to give making my own ranch dip a shot using fat free greek yogurt.
I found it was quite good. The only noticeable difference was the dip was a lot thicker – but taste wise differences are unrecognizable.  The greatest part was that I could eat the entire cup of dip knowing well ahead of time that it was only 2 points plus values.
Dips can be a downfall because dips made from full-fat ingredients add up in calories/points plus values rather quickly. Making a dip this way really allows you to have a pretty fair amount without any guilt (well, not including whatever it is you’re dipping into the dip).
Here’s what I used to make my dip:
Serves 1. 2 Points Plus Values. (Note: This can make 2 servings for 1 Points Plus Values each).
          1 individual container, Dannon Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
          ¼ of McCormick Ranch Dip packet
Stir the ranch dip packet into the greek yogurt. Mix well then serve with fresh veggies (or chips if you choose).

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chucky Guacamole

I picked up this Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole at Trader Joe’s after hearing that it was pretty good.  I checked out the nutrition label and was duly impressed, so I made sure to bring it home with me to try out.  Guacamole is typically higher in fat and calories when made the regular way – but Trader Joe’s found a way to make it a friendly food by incorporating the dish with greek yogurt.
Trader Joe’s really does impress me with some of the items they come out with – needless to say, this is one of them.  I can’t say I’m a huge guacamole fan, but this particular guacamole easily became my favorite (I don’t love avocados).  I was incorporating this into my nachos, chicken burgers, or plain right alongside some tortillas/crackers. It’s a smooth and creamy guacamole which is packed with flavor. There are smaller chunks of vegetables (and even pieces of avocado if you’re lucky) running through the guacamole with a cilantro, lime flavor in the background.  I don’t find it to be spicy even though the label does state there are jalapeno’s in the dish. It’s creamier than your average guacamole, which I feel is to be expected because there is Greek yogurt in the dish.
Amazingly, a 2 tablespoon serving is only 1 points plus values!  Definitely worth a shot if you’re even remotely a guacamole fan OR just living life on the edge!
Have you tried the reduced guilt guac?

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip

I purchased this Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip going into the purchase rather blindly.  I had never had kale before, but I know that I love spinach and artichoke dip.  Figuring it had to be along those lines, I decided to give it a shot … and I am glad I did.
The dip is creamy and packed with flavor.  I’d go out on a limb and say if you’re not a fan of greek yogurt, then perhaps you won’t be head over heals for this.  But if you don’t mind greek yogurt and like healthy alternatives to snacks, then this will work for you.  The dip itself is made from fat free Greek yogurt, kale, spinach, water chestnuts (which give it a great little crunch), red peppers, carrots, green onions, garlic, seasonings, mayonnaise and it’s lightly sweetened with agave nectar.
A serving is 2 tablespoons, which is 1 points plus value.  You can also have 4 tablespoons for 2 points plus values or even 6 tablespoons for 3 points plus values.  I find this is an excellent dip to either have with fresh vegetables, crackers or even as a condiment on a sandwich.  It’s a healthy snack, but it’s flavorful which really eliminates the boring factor that sometimes is associated with “healthy snacks”.
Have you tried Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt spinach and kale dip?

Trader Joe’s Queso Cheese Dip

This is by far one of the greatest food finds I stumbled upon at Trader Joe’s their Queso Cheese Dip.  Such a great find that I have repurchased it a number of times.  I am a huge nachos fan … this love started in my childhood because my mother (in my honest opinion) makes THE best nachos known to man!
Before I stumbled upon this jewel, I had found and had been purchasing a great nacho cheese alternative at Walmart (incase you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, it’s Walmart’s brand of queso dip it’s got salsa mixed in it and is 1 points plus for 2 or 3 tablespoons), but this particular cheese dip takes the cake for me.  It is a looser consistency, so it’s not going to stick to the container, it can pour right on out.  It does have a little bit of a “fake cheese” taste to it, but honestly, if you’re making nachos or pairing this with other items you can’t even tell. If you’re eating it on its own it does have an underlying soury flavor to it — but I’ve noticed that flavor completely gets canceled if you’re eating it with additional salsa or nacho toppings (fresh vegetables) or even guacamole. The dip itself appears to be a finely ground salsa which gives the cheese a little kick of spice.
I’m a cheese lover and this allows me to have cheese “whiz” on my taco salads and nachos without any guilt or pondering if I should use the points on it.  You could use this to dip sandwiches into, pretzels, drizzle over a broccoli stuffed potato, etc.  The possibilities are endless.
The greatest things about this dip is a 2 tablespoon serving is 0 points plus!  Yes, ZERO points plus!  Whereas you can have 4-6 tablespoons for 1 points plus values!  If you were feeling adventurous you could even eat the entire jar for 5 points plus values.  I’m not saying you should, but I’m just throwing that out there incase you’re wondering.
I cannot rave about this queso dip enough.  Two thumbs up, Trader Joe’s!  Well done!
Have you tried the Queso Cheese dip from Trader Joe’s?  If not, what is your favorite queso dip (if you have one)?

Snack: PB2 Dip

This is a delicious little snack I whipped together because I had whipped cream and strawberries in the fridge. I can’t say I gravitate towards strawberries and whipped cream – but I wanted the dip to have a different flavor.  Since I had purchased my PB2 on Amazon I decided to experiment with it.  I typically use my PB2 in smoothies and in dessert recipes, so I thought this could either be good or a complete fail.  Thankfully, it turned out to be an A+.
I put 1 ounce of fat free whipped cream into a bowl along with 1 tablespoon of PB2.  I mixed it together until well combined and then garnished with my cut up strawberries.  It was seriously delicious! The only thing that could have made it better would have been a little drizzle of chocolate syrup.  Then it would totally have a peanut butter cup theme going on.
The dip was a 2 points plus snack and totally worth it.
How do you like to use PB2?

Walden Farms Chocolate Dip

Walden Farms has been out for years. Their big claim to fame is providing food products (condiments, salad dressings, dips and ice cream toppings) guilt free as well as calorie free.  I’ve tried some Walden Farms products in the past and wasn’t a fan, but I’ve also found others that I quite enjoy.
I was eyeing the cream cheese dip in the prepared fruit section of the grocery store, then spotted the Walden Farms Chocolate Dip and I decided to pick it up. I hadn’t tried the chocolate variety – but I had tried a calorie free caramel dip and absolutely hated it.  But I felt chocolate was safer because it was less able to be screwed up – and I was right.
The consistency of this dip is along the lines of a thick pudding. It can be a little “clumpy” but if you dip fruit into it, it’s really not bad. I quite enjoyed it with strawberries, apples and even bananas.  I didn’t find that it had a significant aftertaste and it did taste like chocolate to me.
Calorie wise is listed as 0 and to calculate the points plus values it comes out as 0 points plus.  Granted, some folks give this a point or two when they eat it – but it’s up to those who eat it and how much they’re eating it to be the judge.
Have you tried any Walden Farms products? If so, what have you tried and what have you liked/disliked?