Side Dishes & Dips

Side Dishes & Dips Recipes, in order:

The recipes in bold, black text below are links to the updated versions of these recipes. Please click on the names to see the full recipe! 


Fresh Homemade Garden Salsa

Homemade salsa is so much better than store bought – and so fresh! You can make this salsa as sweet or spicy as you want. If you are looking for a sweeter salsa, use mini sweet bell peppers. If you’re looking for a spicier salsa, use regular bell peppers, and add extra jalapeño peppers and chili powder.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cherry punch tomatoes (I usually just use one container)
  • 12 small sweet bell peppers
  • 1 medium white onion (I only use about ½ an onion because my family doesn’t like too much of it)
  • 3 jalapeno peppers (optional – for spicier salsa)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 limes
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 tsp of chili powder (optional – for spicier salsa)

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Instructions:

  • Wash all produce thoroughly and dry using a paper towel.
  • Chop tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos and onions and add to bowl.
  • Chop the long stems off the cilantro, and tear off the leaves. Chop up finely and add to vegetables.
  • Cut limes into wedges and squeeze limejuice over the top of the vegetables.
  • Add cumin, salt and pepper, and chili powder (if desired).
  • Add to food processor and pulse until you reach the desired texture.

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  • Serve with multigrain chips or over tacos and enjoy!

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Side Note: I have a Ninja (best purchase of all time btw), so I barely have to chop the vegetables up. If you have a powerful blender or food processor, save yourself some time and let the blender do the chopping for you!

And voila! Beautiful, and delicious. 🙂

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Whipped Cauliflower

Here’s another one of my favorites. Whipped cauliflower –- an amazing substitute for mashed potatoes! Sounds crazy I know, but trust me. They are so delicious and taste a lot like mashed potatoes; in fact, they are even better, if you ask me! By substituting cauliflower for white potatoes, you are slashing the amount of carbs and calories, plus getting way more nutrients, because cauliflower is full of good stuff. I have served whipped cauliflower at Thanksgiving the past two years, and the whole family loves them, even the picky ones!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 tbsp Smart Balance light buttery spread butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

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Instructions:

  • Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer.
  • Cover and bring water to a boil over high heat. Add cauliflower, re-cover pan and steam until soft (10-15 minutes).

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  • Transfer steamed cauliflower to a small blender or food processor and add half of the butter and half of the milk.
  • Blend for a minute, scrape down the sides using a spatula, add the remaining tbsp of butter, and slowly add more milk as needed. (Be careful; you may not need the full amount of liquid, and if you add too quickly it could become watery.)
  • Season and blend until spices are evenly distributed and cauliflower has reached the consistency of mashed potatoes.

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  • Enjoy!  

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Mexican Greek Yogurt Corn Dip, also known as {cowboy caviar}

I’ve made this Mexi dip countless times and I’d be lying if I said it’s not one of the top 5 most addicting things I’ve ever eaten. You will not be able to walk away from this stuff. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Mexicorn, drained
  • 1 can Rotel, drained
  • 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Drain Mexicorn and Rotel.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Chill in refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving.
  4. Serve with bell pepper strips, carrots, or multigrain chips!

mexi dip


Best Ever Southwestern Black Bean Dip [courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats]

I just made this for the first time this past Fourth of July, and I immediately fell in love and added it to my top 10 favorite recipes. Why? Because it’s fresh and healthy, but it’s also beautiful! So many colors! I love nothing more than food that is just as tasty as it looks. 🙂 You’ll be very popular at any party if you bring this as your side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz can black beans (no sodium added), drained
  • 15 oz can corn, drained
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ red onion, chopped (I used about 1/3 red onion because I don’t like it to overpower the other ingredients)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed then minced
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro (more or less depending on preference)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup Zesty Light Italian salad dressing (I probably only used ~1/3 cup)

Instructions:

  1. Drain and rinse black beans and corn.

IMG_24182. Rinse and chop all remaining produce.

IMG_24223. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then mix to combine.

IMG_24254. Serve with whole grain tortilla chips.

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Note: Can be prepared 1 day ahead of time. Store covered in refrigerator.


Tortilla Roll-Ups

Roll-Ups. Pinwheels. Whatever you wanna call them. They are my best friend but my worst enemy because I can never stop at just one. Or two. Okay, more like six. But hey, these have been healthified with some low-fat cheeses & low-carb tortillas, plus the MVP of all recipes – GREEK YOGURT. (Protein-packed and fat-free: can I get an amen?)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz) package reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 package dry Fiesta Ranch dressing mix
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • 1 ½ cups reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 low-carb whole wheat flour tortillas

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, Fiesta Ranch mix, chunky salsa, and cheddar cheese.

IMG_25562. Spread even amounts of the mixture onto the tortillas. (Leave about ½ inch around the edges so you don’t squeeze a bunch out when you roll them up.)

IMG_25573. Roll tortillas, wrap individually in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

IMG_25584. To serve, slice the chilled, rolled tortillas into ¾ inch slices and arrange on a serving platter.

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Serve with extra salsa for dipping!


Oriental Cole Slaw

My family likes to call this “Crocodile Cole Slaw”. Don’t ask me why, but it is the bomb.com. It’s super simple and tasty and makes a great side dish. Remember not to add the dressing until JUST before serving time to keep it from getting soggy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz package of pre-made coleslaw
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 package of chicken flavored ramen noodles, crushed
  • ½ jar of sunflower seeds
  • 1 small package of slivered almonds
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½-3/4 cup of Wishbone Light Asian with Sesame & Ginger Vinaigrette Dressing (or any other Asian vinaigrette you may find). Note: I substituted this for the original dressing so I’m estimating on the amount needed. Add more as desired.

Instructions:

  1. Combine coleslaw mix, green onions, crushed ramen noodles, almonds, and sunflower seeds in a salad bowl. Chill, covered, until serving time, up to 1 hour.
  2. Before serving, shake dressing; pour over salad and toss to coat.

oriental cole slaw

The recipe actually calls for the following ingredients for the dressing, but I love Wishbone dressings, and the Asian Vinaigrette sounded like a lighter and equally delicious option. It would also require a tiny bit less work (but possibly a few extra bucks). BUT if you want to stick with the original recipe, here are the ingredients.

Original Coleslaw Dressing ingredients:

  • ½ cup canola oil
  • Seasoning from ramen noodle packet
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar (or ½ tbsp of Splenda Sugar Blend)

Instructions:

  • Mix ingredients in a small Tupperware container and chill until serving time. Before serving, shake dressing; pour over salad and toss to coat.

Fresh Homemade Guacamole

Now you don’t have to go to Chipotle just to feast on chips & guac – you can make it in your very own home! This recipe can easily be altered to fit your taste. Add or subtract certain ingredients to make it spicier or more garlicky, etc.!

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe Hass avocados, scooped from peel
  • 1.5 Tbsp fresh lime juice (I used the juice from 1 whole lime, which was more than 1.5 T)
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 large Roma tomato, seeds and pulp removed then diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1-3 pinches cayenne pepper, optional (I ended up doing about 10-12 shakes of our little jar of cayenne pepper. I liked the spice and thought it could use the extra flavor.)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*Just a couple side notes: I wish I would’ve used 2-3 cloves of garlic instead, and I did not add any cilantro. Sometimes I feel like the taste of cilantro can be too overpowering (and some people don’t like it) so I didn’t want to add it this time, but next time I probably will add the 2 tbsp to see how it affects the overall flavor.

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Not pictured: cilantro and cayenne pepper. Also, this jalapeño pepper was not harmed in the making of this guacamole, but next time it will be. 🙂

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I feel like I have to tell you this short story because it was an important part of my first avocado/guacamole making experience. I got 4 avocados from the grocery store based on what I read online. “If it yields to gentle pressure, then it’s ripe and ready to eat.” Well, apparently I’m not a good judge of this, because I came home, cut them all open and they were ALL ROTTEN. Imagine my disappointment. Luckily, I called Price Chopper and they let me come exchange my yucky avocados for some new, perfectly ripened ones. On my second trip, I wasn’t messing around. I asked for a produce manager to help me choose avocados that she thought would be ripe, but not too ripe. Many of the avocados that were out on display were way too soft and most likely rotten, so she went to the back to retrieve some perfect avocados for me. I came home, cut them open, and they were all beautifully green inside! Moral of the story: don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re not sure! When you’re experimenting with new foods, it’s important to get some guidance so you don’t wind up at home with 4 spoiled avocados (or other unfamiliar rotten food)! Silly me.

Instructions:

  1. Partially mash avocados with a fork in a large bowl, squeeze limejuice over the top and continue to mash to reach desired consistency.

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This veggie chopper is a life saver; no crying from cutting onions for me!

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2. Add chopped red onions to avocado mixture along with diced tomato, garlic, cilantro, cayenne pepper and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

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3. Serve with tortilla chips or alongside Mexican dishes.

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Baked Sweet Potato Fries 

Here in the US of A we looooove our burgers and fries. Unfortunately, our waist lines are showing it. So what can we do to satisfy those cravings without packing on the pounds? I know – find a healthy alternative! Deep fried white potatoes Sweet potato fries! (Note: I’m talking about homemade sweet potato fries people – the ones you eat in restaurants are still fried, therefore, cooked in bad fats.) This version is BAKED and equally the bomb.com. All it takes is some sweet taters and spices and you have an awesome, nutritious side dish that’ll please anyone and everyone.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, rinsed and dried
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne (optional)

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Cut the potatoes into 1/4″ strips, or to your desired thickness and length.
  • Combine oil and spices in a storage-sized Ziploc bag.
  • Add cut up fries to bag, seal zipper, and shake to evenly coat with oil-spice mixture.
  • Spread the potatoes out evenly onto baking sheet prepared with cooking spray or parchment paper. Try to make one layer of fries so they are not overlapping.
  • Place baking sheet in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, turning the fries a few times throughout so they cook evenly. Cooking time may vary depending on thickness. Remove once the edges slightly brown and fries begin to crisp.
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Sweet potato fries alongside pretzel crusted chicken tenders! Recipe in WFTW Cook Book!
Sweet potato fries with baked salmon, grilled shrimp, and whipped cauliflower!

3 thoughts on “Side Dishes & Dips

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