Guiltless Blue Cheese Dip/Dressing


Healthy Blue Cheese Dressing

With summer quickly approaching, I’m doing my best to eat healthier without sacrificing flavor. I’ve been marinating chicken wings (yes, I’m baking them), and decided I wanted a blue cheese dip to accompany them this time, but know that packs a punch with fat and calories, so was on the hunt for a lighter recipe. I found quite a few using non-fat Greek yogurt, and went with the one I wanted to try, making a couple of modifications. I love that this is about half the calories of your traditional blue cheese dressing and the only fat comes from the blue cheese/gorgonzola. Blue cheese lovers rejoice!!!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (I used Fage)
  • Juice of 1/4 small lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • Pinch onion powder
  • Drizzle of honey or agave

Directions

  1. Combine blue cheese, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, Worcestershire and vinegar in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Add all seasonings and a drizzle of agave or honey and stir well with a fork.
  3. Serve with chicken wings, your favorite salad, veggies, etc.

The thickness of the dressing will vary depending on the brand of Greek yogurt you use. If necessary, add water (one tablespoon at a time) and stir until dressing reaches desired consistency.

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Ranch Dip/Dressing


Being from Upstate New York, I grew up consuming a LOT of Buffalo wings, which were normally served with blue cheese dressing on the side. Flash forward many years… and now, when I do eat wings, I usually dip them in Ranch. However, I don’t keep Ranch dressing in my fridge, so decided to make my own the other day since I recently made some delicious drumettes. I’m no Ranch dressing connoisseur, but I think this easy recipe is incredibly tasty!

The consistency of this is more of a dip, so if you desire it thinner to use on a salad, eliminate the sour cream.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 1/8 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. dried chives
  • 1/4 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. dried dill weed
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. onion powder
  • Generous pinch of seasoned salt
  • Generous pinch of ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Combine mayo & buttermilk in a bowl.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, and whisk well.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.

* Tip: If you’re a blue cheese person, simply add 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire to the recipe and some gorgonzola, and voila… blue cheese dressing!

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Cornbread and Bacon Muffin’ Stuffin


I was watching The Chew last Friday (again) and saw Carla Hall & Daphne Oz make this incredible muffin stuffing recipe, and decided this was going to be on menu this year since I’m just cooking for one (me). I really love the idea of individual servings, and the fact that you can customize these babies when serving a group. The original recipe calls for using sausage, but I substituted bacon since I had some in the fridge. I also halved the recipe, which produced six “muffins”, but am giving you the ingredients to make a dozen. I made these tonight to test them out, and have to say, they’re seriously delicious! I plan on reheating them tomorrow in the oven to accompany the rest of my turkey day meal.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups prepared cornbread (cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 thick slices of bacon
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup red onion (small diced)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced Scallions
  • 1 cup celery ribs (small diced)
  • 1/2 cup red pepper (small diced)
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup Swanson’s chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh Sage
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg (beaten)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Have the cornbread in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add bacon. Once the bacon is cooked, remove it & break into pieces to the bowl of cornbread.
  4. Add the butter to the pan and then toss in the onions, scallions, celery and red pepper.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the vegetables to the bowl. Then, add the chicken stock, the seasonings, milk, and egg. Toss lightly to combine.
  7. Butter the muffin tins and then spoon the cornbread in. Compress the muffins and then add more stuffing on top.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until just lightly browned. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from tins.

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Cafe Nordstrom’s Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette


UPDATE: My expert Nordstrom Cafe taste-tester friend came over to my office yesterday to try out the dressing, and after she paused for a minute, I knew something wasn’t right with the vinaigrette . She said it was still very good, but not THE dressing. So, it was back to the drawing board. I did another search last night, and came across a recipe that credited the Nordstrom’s cookbook as the original source. I was fairly confident this was the one, but decided to wait since I was having lunch there today with my friend. We both ordered the same item as mentioned below, so I got to taste the dressing. Yep, it was different. I also decided to purchase the cookbook to be absolutely sure I had the correct recipe 🙂 Both recipes do have all of the same ingredients, but in different quantities. I’ve noted the changes below, with the correct measurements in bold. I just made this again using the updated, official recipe from Nordstrom’s cookbook, and am thrilled to report that this is the real deal and tastes exactly like what is served in the restaurant!

The OFFICIAL Nordstrom’s Chipolte Lime Dressing

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A few months ago, my good friend, Danette, invited me to join her and some other coworkers for lunch at Cafe Nordstrom. My first thought was, whaaaaat… they have a restaurant? Being that I’m a HUGE fan of Nordstrom’s, of course I was going to try it out. We went to the one in the South Bay Galleria mall in Redondo Beach, which ironically, is pretty close to where I live. The way the cafe operates is you place your order and pay at the front counter, sit down at a table of your choice, then a server brings your meal, beverage, etc., and continues to wait on you. It’s pretty cool, in my opinion. Okay, moving on to the food. I ordered their California Grill sandwich, which consists of roast turkey, tomato, bacon, swiss cheese, avocado, and garlic aïoli, on grilled sourdough bread (SO GOOD) and a side salad with… cilantro lime vinaigrette. My friend told me the dressing was amazing and addicting, and she was spot on! So of course, I was on a mission to find the recipe, and after just a little research, I did. Happy happy, joy joy!

The First Attempt

Ingredients

  • 1/4 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. 2 tsp. chipotle purée *
  • 3 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 big bunch 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped, most stems removed (I used approx. a little over a cup) stems & leaves
  • 3/4 cup canola oil

* Making the chipolte purée is super simple. I purchased a can of La Costena chipolte peppers in adobo sauce (pictured below), and simply put the contents of the can in a food processor (can use a blender), and voila, you have purée! You can also buy the purée already made, which comes in a jar.

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine lime juice, rice wine vinegar, garlic, purée, honey, and salt. Blend together well until thoroughly processed and smooth.
  2. With the machine running, gradually add the oil in a thin steady stream to form an emulsion. (I found this difficult using my blender as it splattered a bit, so I added a little oil at a time, pulsed, then repeated until the oil was gone)
  3. Add the cilantro, and pulse or process to combine.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  5. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Whisk well before tossing the dressing with the salad.
Source: Nordstrom Entertaining at Home Cookbook

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Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce


Here’s a healthier version of the traditional blue cheese dressing/dip to accompany my healthy chicken wings, or use in your salad.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup light or fat-free small curd cottage cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. fat-free/skim milk
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. crumbled blue cheese

Directions

  • Place cottage cheese, vinegar, milk, white pepper, garlic and half of the blue cheese in a blender or food processor.
  • Cover and blend on low speed until smooth & creamy.
  • Spoon into serving dish and stir in remaining blue cheese.
  • Cover and refrigerate until serving.

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