This was originally published in January, 2008.
As a nutritionally minded blogger, I normally advocate fresh, whole, prepared-from-scratch meals in modest proportions.
But, dude. The Super Bowl’s coming.
With the possible exception of Thanksgiving, no other event requires Americans to consume their body weight in onion dip. Nor can I think of another quasi-holiday where quesadillas are designated as health food. Sure, your party of choice might have a token crudite platter buried behind the wings, but essentially, Super Bowl Sunday is to diets what Lawrence Taylor was to Joe Theismann’s leg. (Caution: this video might kill you.)
Yet, us weight-conscious folks need options come February 3rd. And that’s where Lightened Seven-Layer Taco Dip comes in. I got the original dish straight off AllRecipes last year, but subbed in reduced-fat and fat-free ingredients, which saved 30 calories and 4 grams of fat per serving. Fortunately, there were so many loud, proudly competing flavors nobody could tell the difference. I’m making it again this year. And while the initial expenditure might look daunting (see Calculations below), just know three things:
1) With 56 servings, this is a hulking behemoth of food. It is the Mount Kilimanjaro of taco dips. If it was people, it’d be William “The Refrigerator” Perry bear-hugging John Goodman. Last year, my friends N and I barely put a dent in it, and they once downed a Ben & Jerry’s Vermonster by themselves.
2) There are ways (WAYS!) to save a little extra dough. This year, I’m going to buy ingredients on sale, make my own taco seasoning (total cost: about a quarter) and shred a block of Kraft Cheddar with my grater. Depending on how much I buy the block for, it will probably run $0.50 to $1.00 less than a bag. Good times.
3) I live in Brooklyn. Even when bargain priced, everything is more expensive here. Except maybe Chinese food.
If you’re interested in keeping it extra-healthy, the dip can be paired with self-baked tortilla chips or possibly celery. (Which, eat quickly, because people will inevitably bogart the veggies for their hot wings.)
On a final note, the rest of this week is being dedicated to Sunday’s game. Tune in tomorrow for some pigskin-appropriate links, and then again on Wednesday for a monster list of cheap, healthy Super Bowl fare. After that, it’s Thursday’s Football Favorites of the Week. Friday is anyone’s guess, but there are seven lonely leftover jalapenos sitting in my fridge. Suggestions are most definitely welcome.
Lightened Seven Layer Taco Dip
56 servings (seriously)
Adapted from All Recipes.
1-oz. package taco seasoning mix (or make your own )
16-oz. can fat-free refried beans
8-oz. package fat-free cream cheese, softened
16-oz. container fat-free sour cream
16-oz. jar salsa
1 large tomato, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
6-oz. can sliced black olives, drained
2 cups reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese (or shred your own 8-oz bar)
1) In a medium bowl, mix taco seasoning thoroughly with refried beans. Transfer it to a large platter or bowl, spreading it out on the bottom
2) In a separate medium bowl, mix sour cream and cream cheese. Pour it over refried beans and spread.
3) Pour salsa over sour cream/cream cheese mixture. Spread out. Then, layer with: tomato, bell pepper, onions and lettuce. Finish with cheese and sprinkle olives over everything.
Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price per Serving
36 calories, 1 g fat, $0.25
1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix: 45 calories, 0 g fat, $0.25
1 (16 ounce) can fat-free refried beans: 385 calories, 0 g fat, $0.89
1 (8 ounce) package fat-free cream cheese, softened: 218 calories, 3.1 g fat, $2.69
1 (16 ounce) container fat-free sour cream: 336 calories, 0 g fat, $1.20
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa: 123 calories, 0.7 g fat, $1.50
1 large tomato: 22 calories, 0.2 g fat, $1.00
1 green bell pepper: 24 calories, 0.2 g fat, $0.50
1 bunch chopped green onions: 32 calories, 0.2 g fat, $0.79
1 small head iceberg lettuce: 45 calories, 0.5 g fat, $0.99
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives: 80 calories, 6 g fat, $1.49
2 cups reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese: 720 calories, 48 g fat, $2.50
TOTAL: 2030 calories, 58.8 g fat, $13.80
PER SERVING (TOTAL/56): 36 calories, 1 g fat, $0.25