Cook with Katie–Party Edition!

By Katie Shepherd

The weather is warmer and spring is in the air! Just a few more weeks and we’ll be able to put another semester behind us!

This is a very exciting time of year—Little 5 is this week, and some of you will be graduating very soon! Early congrats to you!

With multiple celebrations on the horizon, there will be plenty of parties and as usual, lots of food. In today’s Cook With Katie, I’m going to share with you one of my favorite party dishes, Katie’s Layered Taco Dip.

My mom used to make this recipe when I was growing up, and over the years, as a nutritionist, I’ve tweaked it make it a bit healthier. This recipe uses many simple ingredients and simply requires mixing and layering—it’s super easy! I’ve taken some of the traditional ingredients, like sour cream and cream cheese, and replaced them with lower-fat and higher protein alternatives, like greek yogurt and reduced fat cheeses. There is so much flavor with all of the seasonings and ingredients, your guests won’t notice the difference. Now let’s get cooking–rather, let’s get layering and mixing!

Here’s the first set of ingredients to mix:

  • one 8 ounce package of “1/3-less-fat” cream cheese
  • one 8 ounce container of 2% plain greek yogurt
  • homemade taco seasoning: one tablespoon of chili powder, ½ teaspoon of onion powder, ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, and ½ a teaspoon of salt

Mix the cream cheese, yogurt, and seasonings together until evenly blended. It will help to place the cream cheese on your kitchen counter for 20 minutes or so to bring it closer to room temperature. This makes it a lot easier to mix the three ingredients. If you have an electric or a stand mixer, get it out–and if not, hand mix thoroughly!

Here come the layering ingredients:

  • the mixture we just created
  • 1 can of fat-free or vegetarian refried beans
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • lettuce, spinach, or another leafy green of choice
  • green onions and/or cilantro
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar, Mexican, or taco cheese
  • olives, sliced avocado, and lime or lemon juice (this it entirely optional)

Next, get out an approximately 9″ x 13″ casserole dish. Spread the refried beans on the bottom of the dish. Next, layer your previously created mixture on top of this. I use a rubber spatula to spread evenly. Next, layer salsa, veggies, cheese, and (optional) sliced olives and avocado. When using avocado, sprinkle a little lime or lemon juice on it to prevent browning.

That’s it! Serve this up at your Little 5 or grad party with your favorite tortilla chips!

This recipe is healthy because the beans provide protein and a lot of soluble fiber which help keep hunger at bay. Using greek yogurt in place of sour cream provides additional protein, along with calcium and vitamin D. Also, making your own homemade seasoning cuts back on the salt in traditional packaged varieties. And the best part? This dish is so yummy!  I guarantee your guests will be going back for more!

Have fun with Little 500, graduation, and the rest of your semester activities! Cook with Katie will be back in the fall!

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