Kitchen Fun, Recipes
Comments 16

5-Minute creamy cheese dip and tantalizing ways to jazz it up

Herbed dip with chilled cucumbers, orange, red and yellow tomatoes and organic crackers

Spice up a holiday party, summer barbecue or your every day with these super easy, creamy cheese dips that start with just one five-minute, make-ahead basic recipe. Make it thick, it’s a spread. Make it thin, it’s a dip or creamy garnish.

On this page, the basic 5-minute recipe, two more recipes that build on it, lots of ideas to change it up, and two lists–one for the fridge, one for the pantry, so you always have what you need on hand to make plain and fancy dips, spreads and healthier sour cream-like sauces in a trice.

 

PearsCrackersDip847_s

The basic dip, garnished with a sprig of mint, is as tasty with fresh-cut pears as it is with homemade whole wheat crackers

With this fruit and cracker plate, we made the dip just thick enough to grab a little on the end of our juicy pear slices. Oh, the taste of fall sunshine in those pears with the slightly tangy flavor of the dip! We liked it just as much with the nutty flavor of the whole wheat crackers. That’s how versatile this condiment is.

Here, we jazz it up a tad with cinnamon, maple syrup and fresh berries for a sweet fruit-plate dip.

Fruity dip with berry kabobs makes a fun after school treat the kids love to make as much as they love to eat

Fruity dip with berry kabobs makes a fun after school treat the kids love to make as much as they love to eat

Add the piquant, salty flavors of chopped Mediterranean olives to the basic dip for a savory cracker spread. Or make it hot and spicy with chopped jalapenos, toasted garlic, and fresh red onion for a chippy-veggie dip or spread.

Any one of these--bell peppers, fresh herbs, minced jalapenos-- infuse the basic cheesy dip with its own unique flavor

Any one of these–bell peppers, fresh herbs, minced jalapenos– infuse the basic cheesy dip with its own unique flavor

The variety of dips, sauces and spreads you can make in just two or three minutes is limited only to what’s available in your kitchen that day and your imagination.

And they’re good for us

Don’t tell anyone, but these dips are as good for us as they are tasty. The probiotics in the cheeses and yogurt provide valuable “good” bacteria for intestinal and digestive health. Unlike full-fat versions or sour cream, both the low-fat cottage cheese, and the Neufchatel, if you can find it, save our waistlines, without sacrificing taste. In fact, we think they taste better!

Basic creamy cheesy dip, spread and sauce
One 5-minute recipe saves time all week

Five minutes, that’s all it takes to whip up the basic recipe. Use as is, or fancy it up a bit. This easy blender recipe is delicious all by itself. But it’s all the ways you can dress it up that make it a must-have staple in your fridge.

With a jar of this basic cheese dip in your fridge, your ready for guests, an after school treat or a ten-minute supper any time

With a jar of this basic cheese dip in your fridge, you are ready for guests, an after school treat or a ten-minute supper any time

 

A YayYay's Kitchen Recipe

Basic creamy cheesy dip and sauce recipe

Three ingredients and a blender are all you need to make this five minute spread that subs nicely as a topping on baked potatoes or a sauce next to roasted veggies, with all their caramelized goodness. It is also a fun starter recipe, with supervision, for older children just learning their way around the kitchen.

For a thicker, spreadable mixture, reduce yogurt. For a thinner dip or sauce, increase the yogurt by a tablespoon or two. If I’m making ahead for multiple uses throughout the week, I make the basic dip thick. Then, when I need a thinner dip or a sour-cream-like sauce, I whisk in a little yogurt, along with any herbs and other goodies.

Time and such

  • Servings: 15-20
  • Total time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 pt organic low-fat cottage cheese, preferably with live cultures
  • 8 oz organic cream cheese or Neufchatel, chunked, also live-culture cheese, if available
  • 2-4 T Fresh, live-culture organic yogurt

Directions

  • Dump yogurt and cottage cheese, in that order, into blender and pulse to combine.
  • Add chunked cream cheese, one-third at a time, pulsing to blend with each addition. Blend until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds more.

Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers up to one week.

 

A stick blender makes mixing and cleanup easy

In the beginning, I made this with a stand blender, but I’ve found that a powerful stick blender like my Breville immersion blender makes for quicker work and easier cleanup.

 

Six ways to use the basic dip

During the week, as you need a sweet or savory cheese dip or spread, take two to three minutes to add a favorite spice or bits of fruit or vegetables, or a combination. We like it stirred with bit of curry for serving aside roasted vegetables, or fresh dill for dipping crudites.

Dilled dip, ready for an impromptu picnic--All you need is a baguette, a bunch of grapes and a bottle of wine--or a thermos of icy lemonade

Dilled dip, ready for an impromptu picnic–All you need is a baguette, a bunch of grapes and a bottle of wine–or a thermos of icy lemonade

 

Here are six ways you can use these dips, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll find a whole lot more once you start keeping this condiment on hand.

  • Make a quick supper for two of roasted veggies served with little dipping pots of herbed sauce
  • Treat the kids and their friends after school with healthy fruit kabobs and Fruity Cheese Dip they make themselves.
  • Kick-start a party with an inexpensive herbed cheese spread–or three–you whip up in a scant few minutes.
  • Tuck a baguette, a bottle of wine, some grapes and a jar of dilled dip into a bag and you have an impromptu picnic in five minutes.
  • Stir in curry to taste and serve with yam fries or even potato chips for a fun appetizer.
  • Use the basic dip in place of sour cream on tacos, tostadas and enchiladas

 

This is a kid-friendly recipe

Kids love the opportunity to be a part of grown-up work, especially in the kitchen. Preparing food together builds confidence, especially if we listen to our little ones while we work. You might be amazed at the conversations you inspire!

The fruity dip and kabobs recipe that follows makes for a fun starter cooking session with little ones and older children alike.

A couple of minced strawberries, a little maple syrup and some cinnamon are all you need for a delicious, fruity snack dip

A couple of minced strawberries, a little maple syrup and some cinnamon are all you need for a delicious, fruity snack dip

Older children, who are learning to use a knife, get a kick out of washing the fruit, removing stems and mincing the strawberries for the dip. If they are old enough, they may also enjoy cutting and chunking other fruits, such as melons, mangoes and papayas. Closely supervise every movement.

Let the younger children whisk the berries and syrup into the dip. Don’t worry about a little mess here and there!

Everybody gets to build their own kabobs, but again, age-appropriate supervision is important, as the skewers have sharp points on one end.

A YayYay's Kitchen Recipe

Fruity dip with fruit kabobs

Finely minced strawberries and a smidgen of maple syrup make this fruity dip fun. You could substitute any fruit that minces well and adds a little color and flavor. Try raspberries, kiwi, pineapple, mango or peaches. For a little more zip, squeeze a bit of fresh lime, lemon or orange juice into a thicker spread, rather than adding yogurt, to thin it to dipping consistency.

You’ll need four bamboo skewers. I never let children use metal skewers. For the littler ones, blunt the point of the skewer before beginning, just enough to make it less sharp, but not so much they can’t pierce their fruit. Maintain close supervision throughout assembly, eating and cleanup.

Time and such

  • Servings: 4
  • Total time: 5-10 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C Basic Creamy Cheese Dip and Spread (see first recipe on this page)
  • 1-2 T Minced strawberries or fruit of your choice
  • 1 -2 t Organic maple syrup, to taste
  • 1/8 t Ground cinnamon
  • 2-4 C Berries and/or skewable fresh fruit chunks
  • Warm hugs and giggles

Directions

  1. Wash and drain all fruits; if necessary, pat dry between the folds of a clean kitchen towel.
  2. Whisk dip, minced fruit, maple syrup and cinnamon together and set aside.
  3. Take a moment to teach children safe handling of skewers.
  4. Let each child build two or three kabobs with the berries and fruits of their choice.
  5. Dip and eat.

Serve immediately with more giggles.

 

Herbed cheese dips and spreads start with a few simple ingredients

Add some pizzazz to the basic dip with chopped dill and chives, roasted bell peppers, Greek olives, chopped mint, or any number of other tasty ingredients. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and your taste buds.

Olive herb dip with crackers and crudites

Olive herb dip with crackers and crudites

Olive dill spread

It takes just a couple of minutes to chop a few olives, snip and mince the herbs and whisk them into the basic dip for a quick after-work appetizer for unexpected guests, or a make-ahead lunch.

A YayYay's Kitchen Recipe

Olive dill spread and dip

Mediterranean olives give the basic sauce a savory saltiness that is just the right counterpoint for cool cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. For a quick lunch–or sometimes a light, quick supper–I like to serve it just like this, with a few crackers and crudites.

Time and such

  • Servings: 4
  • Total time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 3 -5 Olives of your choice
  • 1/2 t Fresh dill
  • 1/2 t Fresh chives
  • 1/2 -3/4 C Basic Creamy Cheese Dip & Spread (See recipe earlier on this page)

Directions

  1. Pit and finely chop the olives.
  2. Using your kitchen shears in a deep bowl or glass measuring cup, snip the dill into bits.
  3. Mince the chives.
  4. With a fork or small whisk, whip the olives and herbs into the basic dip.

Serve as a dip with crudites or small crackers or as a spread on larger crackers or torn bits of artisan bread.

 

What to keep on hand so you can always whip up a tasty appetizer on short notice

Keep these items in your fridge and pantry, and a quick appetizer or creamy garnish will never be more than five minutes away.

Keep these (organic) items in the fridge

  1. Fresh, live-culture, plain yogurt (Make your own!)
  2. Cream cheese, Neufchatel, or your own homemade
  3. Cottage cheese (we like Nancy’s Organic Live-Culture cheese–so good for us!)
  4. Fresh bell peppers in green, orange & red
  5. Fresh jalapeno peppers or other spicy peppers of your choice
  6. Cucumbers
  7. A variety of fresh herbs (dill, chives, basil)
  8. Greek or Mediterranean olives

What would you add to the list? Tell us in the comments, won’t you?

Keep these items in the pantry

Use your imagination to change up the dips. As long as you have these ingredients on hand, you will always have a treat, an easy supper or impromptu picnic ready in minutes.

  1. Fresh fruit–grapes, apples, berries–whatever is in season
  2. Fresh mint (Keeps well in jar of water on the windowsill)
  3. Assorted organic crackers
  4. Whole grain breads and baguettes to serve with savory spreads
  5. Fresh, whole tomatoes in various sizes
  6. Fresh lemons and limes
  7. Fresh garlic bulbs
  8. An assortment of seeds and nuts, such as sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, as well as walnuts, pecans and pine nuts

Storing the dips
Fido-type jars keep the dip fresh longer

You can store the plain dip up to a week in a properly cooled refrigerator. I used to store my dips in ordinary glass Pyrex storage containers. I discovered how much longer food keeps in Fido jars almost by accident.

We use Fido jars for all our bulk-food items as well

We use Fido jars for all our bulk-food items as well

Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but one time I forgot I had already made the dip. It got shoved to the back of the fridge after a big family gathering and lots of leftovers.

Two weeks later, I found it, and it looked and tasted as pristine as the day I made it. I don’t recommend storing it that long, and ours rarely lasts a whole week, but I do recommend using jars like these to keep your foods fresher.

How would you use this basic dip, and what would you add to it?

By now, you’ve probably thought of half a dozen ways to use this basic creamy sauce. What would you add to it, and how would you serve it? Can you see using it as the basis for a ten minute supper after a long day?

♥  ♥  ♥

Dear Reader: If you think you’ve seen this recipe before, you may well have. In May 2012, as a writer on the now-defunct site Squidoo, I first published this recipe under the user name graceonline. In August 2014, HubPages, where I am known as ecogranny, bought Squidoo. I opted to have my Squidoo pages, including this recipe, transferred to the new site. Now, in February 2016, I’ve brought it home–to YayYay’s Kitchen.

16 Comments

  1. Pingback: Asparagus quiche with dill-laced whole wheat crust | YayYay's Kitchen

  2. Pingback: Savory lentils with rice, peppers and tomatoes | YayYay's Kitchen

  3. Pingback: Broccoli potato skillet–A one-dish meal | YayYay's Kitchen

  4. Pingback: The Friday 5: Real food recipes #6 | YayYay's Kitchen

  5. Hi Kathryn
    This all looks so tasty -makes my mouth water – all those delicious fruits and that wonderful healthy dip would be great for any time of the day or year. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & tweeted!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sharon L. Grace says

    Made the basic recipe yesterday. Oh my! It is sooo good! And the versatility is marvelous! Your pics are mouth watering 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This one is a keeper! I can just imagine it with some blue cheese crumbles and a little garlic (minced) mixed in as a salad dressing. Talk about versatile. How long will it hold in a closed jar in the frig do you suppose?

    By the way Ludwig we might just start a bidding war on that house next door.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Giggles, you guys! Thanks. I admit, Poor Robert, I’ve used it as old as two weeks, keeping it refrigerated in a Fido jar, but that was a mistake. I don’t recommend keeping perishables that long.

      Your blue cheese and garlic dressing sounds marvelous. I’m going to give that a try!

      Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s