Friday, December 5, 2008

Healthy Holiday Dip

The Holidays are here in full effect and so are all the parties, but the big question is
"What should I bring??" I have found the perfect delicious and festive dip to wow your guests, or guests at any parties you will be attending. I found this recipe while attending a healthy cooking class at the University of California San Diego. I adjusted it a little and decreased the amount of heat, but if you like it hot, just add more jalapeno! It is a Cranberry Salsa Dip with non fat or low fat cream cheese. The colors are ideal for the season with the lovely red of the cranberries and the crisp green from the cilantro and jalapeno!

3 cups fresh or frozen (defrosted) cranberries
4 green onions minced
1/4 jalapeno minced with seeds removed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh cilantro minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 8oz package of fat free/low fat cream cheese
*Reserve a few fresh cranberries and sprigs of cilantro for garnish

Place your cranberries in your food processor and pulse into finely chopped, but not mushy. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in your green onions, jalapenos, sugar, cilantro, ginger, and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours to let the flavors mingle. (If you taste the dip immediately the flavor is too sharp..with time it mellows and sweetens!)
Although the salsa is delicious alone, to arrange it with the cream cheese place the block on a pretty plate and pour the salsa over the cheese. Add cranberries and cilantro sprigs for garnish and serve with whole wheat crackers or mini toasts.

Other serving ideas are to prepare the bites ahead of time for guests. Spread 1/2 teaspoon of cream cheese on each cracker and top with 1 teaspoon salsa. If you will be bringing this to a party get a holiday mini loaf dish (Michaels has them for $1!) , spread the cream cheese on the bottom and pour over the salsa and the mini loaf dish makes a festive hostess gift!

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