Top Ate...Dips and Spreads

There is not one dip in this post that I haven't eaten with a spoon...and we aren't talking just a taste test.  I get right in there.  I make it a meal.  Are you familiar with peanut butter jar syndrome? Or the Ben and Jerry's ailment? You take one spoonful and you tell yourself, that's it, no more.  But you just can't help it, you keep going back!  While I am not the biggest fan of ice cream, (I know, it's weird) I do go for the peanut butter. <big sigh>
Certainly you are not obligated to overindulge, as I have. You can eat dips the conventional way with chips, veggies or fruit.  In case you couldn't tell, I LOVE dip.  In fact, I love dip so much that I couldn't pick just 8.  Watch for a Top Ate...Warm Dips.  Stay tuned!

1. Crunchy Spinach Dip: A guest brought this to a party that I hosted several years ago.  I am ashamed to say I really didn't eat much else that night.  I wouldn't let her out the door without giving me the recipe.  The water chestnuts give this recipe a crunchy twist on an otherwise traditional dip.
2. Baked Pita Chips: You need to have something to dip, right?  This recipe could not be any easier AND it beats the bagged, processed stuff by a mile.  The chopped rosemary gives a little extra freshness that will have your guests saying..."ooo yum, what is that?"  I used whole wheat pitas in this recipes, but you certainly could substitute white pitas if desired.

3. Tabouli with Goat Cheese: Yes, you read that right...goat good!  I've yet to meet a savory dip whose yum factor wasn't amped up by goat cheese!  I went a little heavy on the bulgur and light on the parsley. That's just the way I like it. Add an extra 1/4 cup of parsley if you prefer a more traditional tabouli.

4. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: The creaminess, the smokiness...  This hummus gives you a lot of flavor bang for your caloric buck!  Using some of the water from the can of chickpeas allows me to use less oil and no tahini, which is where most of the calories come from. I am all about amping up flavor without amping up calories!

5. Chunky Guacamole: My husband and I are BIG fans of the table side guacamole at Mexican restaurants.  The waiter always asks right away if we would care for the table side guacamole.  The answer is always yes (with our mouths watering).  Within seconds, the cart is wheeled to our table.  All the fixings, the fresh avocados, the chopped cilantro, onions and tomatoes, the freshly squeezed lime juice, are all right there...we are holding ourselves back from attacking the cart to avoid embarrassment and to ensure we are allowed to return. This recipe is a combo of some of my favorites.

6. Roasted Garlic and Artichoke Aioli: So, I could eat roasted garlic by the spoonful.  In fact, I did the last time I made this.  I would put this on ANY sandwich.  I would dip ANY fries in it...oh, I just had a moment....eggplant fries. While this recipe is not made from scratch (I use mayo) it is so easy and comes together in less than 5 minutes.

7. Pesto: I try not to play favorites with my recipes, but I have a true love affair with this pesto recipe.  My family has made it for years.  I often make a giant batch in the summer with basil from my garden and freeze it in a tupperware.  I cut off chunks all winter long and melt it into pastas, polenta, chicken dishes, and all different salads.  I spread it on pizza, sandwiches and countless other dishes.
8. Banana Bread Dip: How could my top ate be complete without this dip?  When I found a version of this recipe on Pinterest, I actually got up and did a little dance.  My son appreciated the dance, my husband rolled his eyes...typical. And it COULD NOT BE EASIER....the smooshed ripe bananas give the recipe a little bit of needed freshness.  Check out the Finnster page for a picture of my son finishing the bowl.  It didn't last long in this house!

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