6 March 2013

Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club Goes Green with A Creamy Spinach Feta Dip

Spinach Feta Dip
After what has seemed like an eternity, the northern hemisphere (read that The Great White North) can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Heavy winter coats are lifted along with people’s spirits.  With the turn of the calendar Spring has finally arrived!!!!Although in truth winter never really seemed to arrive here in the valley this year. It was mild, warm and almost snow free!! We are hovering between seasons here in the valley, the robins are back and they will be counting daffodils soon. Nevertheless it’s time to give winter staples "the boot" and dedicate suppertime to everything the change in seasons has to offer.

Spring is when everything seems to come alive!!!!! The days are longer and the markets begin to burst with the colours of the bountiful fruits and vegetables of the season. For those who are lucky enough to live near a farmers market as I am, we would be hard pressed not to be aware of which fruits are at the peak of their season. Pods of fresh peas and stalks of beautifully green asparagus will cook beautifully in a sauce of lemon zest, butter, mint and tossed with pappardelle or fettucini noodles. This is the time to enjoy fresh rhubarb, sweet garden peas and furled fiddleheads. It is the season for escarole and a wide variety of lettuce handplucked from the garden for green salads. The delightful fragrance of chives, mint, chervil and tarragon fill the air to season your dishes. All of these tastes of Spring are bursting from our gardens, forests, markets and window boxes. I am chomping at the bit.


Teanna of Spork and Foon says, "The advantages to cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients are endless. The produce tastes richer, fresher, and is more nutritious. The beauty of cooking with ingredients that are freshest in the Spring months are their pure simplicity.  The standout flavours are the fresh, natural ingredients themselves... the sweet taste of a carrot or the pop of a freshly shelled pea. Toss arugula with cherries, red wine vinegar, a touch of extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and thyme with some creamy goat cheese and you will have a dynamic spring starter. Top poached halibut with an orange vinaigrette and serve with asparagus sautéed in a bit of olive oil and topped with a dash of sea salt and shaved parmesan cheese or sauté fresh peas with spring onions in butter and delicate chervil for a side that is surprising ripe with flavour."

For these reasons we are so glad you have decided to join us once again for our Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club. This is a monthly event where a group of ladies and one gent in two neighbouring countries get together on the first Wednesday of every month to create a delicious meal from appetizers to dessert with a theme in mind. This is our fourth year of the Virtual Supper Club where we continue to share a love for Cooking Light magazine with an emphasis on healthy eating and living. This is a team effort. For the month of March we have been seen "wearing of the green" for St. Patricks Day enjoying each others company virtually  and honouring the season with this months theme "All Things Green" which was chosen by one of our newest members Susan of The Spice Garden. 

Although distance always prevents us from gathering as a group in each others homes we have enjoyed sharing a well balanced meal through our Virtual Supper Club this month and hope you have enjoyed our healthy Spring menu. These dishes from Cooking Light magazine are sure to bring "daffodil smiles" to your own table.

I brought along a lightened up Creamy Feta Spinach Dip . If you enjoy our favourite artichoke dip you will love this lightened up version. If you added some Spring onions it would taste very similar to one of my favourite appetizers spanakopita. Serve it with toasted or untoasted flatbread or pita bread.



Roz of La Bella Vita  offers a twist on a family favourite with a Pesto Caesar Salad.

Sarah of All Our Fingers in the Pie brings our main dish of  Shrimp in Green Sauce.


Now on to the recipe...


**Creamy Spinach Feta Dip**

1 (8-ounce) carton plain low-fat yogurt
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 cups finely chopped spinach (I used frozen spinach and squeezed all of the liquid out)
1 tablespoon minced fresh or 1 teaspoon dried dill
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Fresh Dill (optional)

Spoon yogurt onto several layers of heavy-duty paper towels; spread to 1/2-inch thickness. Cover with additional paper towels, and let stand 5 minutes. Scrape into the bowl of a food processor using a rubber spatula. Add the cheeses, sour cream, and garlic, and process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl once. Spoon yogurt mixture into a medium bowl, and stir in the spinach, minced dill, and pepper. Cover and chill. Garnish with fresh dill, if desired.

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12 comments:

  1. A fabulous and healthy dip! This combination is wonderful.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Now who doesn't love a spinach dip. I needed a good recipe and now I have yours! Thank you.

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  3. I don't know, Val. We in Florida are due for yet another cold front Thursday. And we just had one last weekend...in the 40's at night. (My daughter was visiting from NYC and was hoping for warm weather. No luck there.)
    But dips work any time of the year and a tasty yet healthy one like yours is perfect. I do love serving toasted whole wheat pita with dips.

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    Replies
    1. I did write this post last week and as you now if you're not happy with the weather "wait 5 minutes" Barbara. We can continue to dream, wait and hope although Spring is here.

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  4. Spinach artichoke dip is a huge guilty pleasure of mine...I eat it all by itself for dinner! This lightened up version looks perfect for spring.

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  5. Love this idea! I'm looking forward to all of these posts, as I definitely need to lighten up the fare I have been preparing with spring rapidly approaching...though it feels far way given we have about a foot of snow on our lawn. I do need something to bring to a St. Patty's party later in the month...I think this will have to be it!

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  6. How do we always have opposite weather? We got another cold spell this week!

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  7. Gah I really wish that spring WERE finally here but it's snowing today...so my hopes are low. This dip is the perfect thing to brighten up a grey day, however!

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  8. What a wonderful healthy spin on spinach dip, Val! I will be serving this as a starter before our Easter dinner! I've been making pita breads this week and by the time Easter comes around, I think I'll have them down pat!

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  9. I cannot wait to try this dip Val . . . I'm crazy about spinach (and artichoke) dips and so you've got me wanting to experiment further with more healthful choices. My post is up and running and I cannot tell you how happy I was with this lighter, and green recipe for this month's get-together. What a wonderful theme (as always!)

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  10. This looks great and I can't wait to try it. I love that there's no mayo in this, since I'm a mayo hater. ;)

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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