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Skinny snacks just in time for March Madness

By Jessie Price, March 17, 2009 - 4:36am

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Skinny snacks just in time for March Madness

I get excited for March Madness not because I like college basketball (to be honest it’s really lost on me): I like the excuse to get together with friends, drink beer and eat some seriously junk-a-delic food.

Chile con queso is one of my favorite guilty pleasures, along with homemade pizza and my favorite beer. If you’re not familiar with chili con queso, it’s a cheesy, gooey dip usually served in a crockpot to keep it hot. My family (the half from Texas) makes it with Velveeta, jack cheese, salsa (preferably Herdez brand) and maybe some green chiles.

Get the recipe: Chile Con Queso

Last fall the food team here at EatingWell decided to work on makeovers of classic dip recipes. When it came to deciding which recipes to make over, everyone on the team wanted to do Queso...except me. I stomped and moaned and said no way! I suggested all sorts of other ideas like French Onion Dip, Hot Artichoke Dip or Spinach Dip. I thought there was no way to keep Queso delicious and make it healthy. How could it be done without Velveeta? How could we possibly cut down the saturated fat? But the Test Kitchen ladies kept insisting. I finally gave in, and Hilary Meyer, our assistant editor, took on the challenge of developing the recipe. When we tasted Hilary’s first attempt at the makeover, it was actually decent. It didn’t quite pass the test, but we were on the right track. It just needed a bump up in richness and depth of flavor. I suggested adding beer to the mix. Hilary cooked it again, with the beer, and it was really fabulous. We made it with Rotel brand diced tomatoes that have a nice little kick. I am ecstatic, especially since my metabolism has started to slow down (your metabolism slows by 2 to 3 percent per decade once you hit your thirties).

If dips aren’t what you have in mind for a tasty snack, we have a whole collection of healthy game-day recipes that you’ll love. And if you can’t wait to test out that Queso for yourself, here’s the recipe.

What's your favorite unhealthy dip? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Jessie Price, Food Blog

Jessie Price
Jessie Price is the editor-in-chief of EatingWell magazine. Besides her work on 11 other EatingWell books, she is the author of the James Beard Award-winning The Simple Art of EatingWell and EatingWell One-Pot Meals. She lives in Charlotte, Vermont where she stays busy growing her own vegetables in the summer and tracking down great Vermont food products when she’s not working.

Jessie asks: What's your favorite unhealthy dip?

Tell us what you think:

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