4/7/10

Pimento Cheese Dip & Non-vegetarian Crock-pot Chicken Cacciatore

The other day, my friend asked me if I could make her a healthy Pimento Cheese Dip for a party this weekend. I was up for the challenge!
First thing I did to re-create this recipe was look up a few recipes on the internet to see the common ingredients. Most of the recipes called for Mayo, Pimentos and Sharp cheese as the key ingredients.
Next thing I did was go grocery shopping.....I LOVE grocery shopping! It's quite easy and quick for me since we have a set grocery list but if I am ever at the grocery store more than 20 min. (most of that time is spent bagging up fruits and veggies) I'm usually checking out new products, reading labels and dreaming up recipes in my head.
BTW-my weekly grocery tab for Karel and me (typically wal-mart) is $70-80. On top of that, I probably head to Food Lion, Publix and Big Lots 1-2 times per week to pick up any "extras" that I run out of or need for new creations. This will run me around $30-50 a week, depending on how many new creations I decide to make. I am a BIG discount shopper and a BIG fan of off-brands. However, when it comes to fruits and veggies, I love reading weekly ads to find out what is on sale and where I can find it at a cheap price. Since the weather is warmer, I plan on heading to the Farmer's market as much as I can.

So, when I arrived at Wal-mart I gathered my typical foods and headed to the cheese section. In order to truely re-create this recipe, I needed to find out what is in the original food that Kathryn (my friend) enjoys with her Pimento party tradition.

I was quite surprised when I read the ingredients for Pimento Cheese. Let me share them with you:

Knott's Old Fashioned: Pimiento Cheese Spread

Processed Swiss/American Cheese Food (Swiss Cheese (Pasteurized Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), American Cheese (Pasteurized Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Water, Cream, Whey, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, And Artificial Color (Annatto And Paprika)), Salad Dressing (Soybean Oil, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Modified Food Starch, Egg Yolks, Salt, Cider Vinegar, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Spice, Xanthan Gum, Calcium Disodium EDTA (To Protect Flavor), And Natural Flavors), Red Pimientos (Diced Red Pimientos, Water, And Citric Acid).

Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 2 tbsp
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 100
Calories from Fat: 70
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 2.50g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 15mg
Sodium 340mg
Total Carbohydrate 4g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 1g
Protein 3g

You may be asking yourself...if this is Pimento Cheese, why is Pimento listed as the very last ingredient? I was able to find plenty of cheese in the dip but I was a bit surprised by all of the other ingredients. Then again, I guess my shock factor is low compared to many other people since I have spent the last year and a half reading labels before re-creating recipes.

As I was finishing my shopping, I knew this dip would be a piece of cake to make..and it was! Not to mention, super yummy and cheap! Karel, who is a big on homemade sandwiches for lunch (oh how he loves our Panini maker), absolutely LOVED the dip. We both had it on a WASA cracker after I made it.

Enjoy my latest creation!

Homemade Pimento Cheese Dip

1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar (If you want to reduce fat and a few ingredients, you can go with Cabot reduced fat sharp cheddar)
1 cup non fat Plain Yogurt (you could use 0% Greek Yogurt)
1/8 cup pimento's (I bought them whole in a jar and then diced them)
2 tsp. Parmesan cheese

1. Mix all ingredients in a container and refrigerate.





Campy and I are off to my parents tomorrow morning after my workout. I will be speaking at Fit 2 Run at Tampa International Mall on Thurs for the Iron Girl Pre race clinic (Race is on sat!). Since Karel will be without his personal chef for 4 nights (Karel is a great cook but I think he enjoys coming home to a home cooked meal at 7:20pm) I decided to throw a bunch of foods in the Crockpot so that he can create his own meals for the next few days. I think his options are endless with my creation and speaking from a non-vegetarian, Karel thinks this meal is delicious!


Non-vegetarian Crock-pot Chicken Cacciatore

(vegetarians - you can substitute 1 cup boca crumbles for the chicken)
1 zucchini sliced
1 can vegetarian baked beans (Rinsed)
2 cloves garlic
1 small purple onion
5 large mushrooms (sliced)
1 lb boneless chicken cutlets (defrosted/thawed and then cut)
1 cup Ziti noodles
1/2 cup water
Basil, Pepper

1. Turn Crockpot to 6-hour timer (you could also make this dish in a large pot on the stove.
2. Add zucchini, beans, garlic, onion and mushrooms to crockpot.
3. 10 min. later add chicken and stir (try to get the chicken to go towards the bottom of the pot).
4. 1 hr later, add noodles and water. Stir.
(if you are making this dish and won't be around, you could easily make the noodles later and just add to the crockpot when you are ready to eat.
5. Let cook for at least 4 hrs (Karel said it was ready at 4 hrs).