This past weekend was filled with lots of adventures which included Wade visiting, weiner dog races at a local festival, saving a turtle from the road while out driving (always on the lookout to save the turtles), the Arkansas Razorbacks winning their football game (Go Hogs!), trekking through nature to discover beautiful scenery and waterfalls, and partaking in one of the best game day meals I have had in quite a long time. Which included this skinny spinach dip I came up with for our football feast.
Before I get to the skinny spinach dip, I wanted to do a brief recap of these fabulous events from this fabulous weekend that left me feeling so dang happy and….fabulous!
First, the weiner dog races. Yes, they do exist. And these annual weiner dog races have only grown in popularity in Bella Vista, AR each and every year. Since Wade was visiting for the weekend, we decided to get out on Saturday and take a short drive to a local festival. This was my first year actually attending the races when they were held at the Bella Vista Hay Days Festival. Wade and I decided to go see what all the fuss was about with these famous weiner dog races and we met up with a couple of new friends to enjoy the show.
The races started with a short parade of the weiner dog king and queen for the year with all of the dog contestants entered into the races this year following behind. I bet those dogs felt like royalty. Or maybe they just felt ridiculous dressed up in costumes and being paraded around on a wagon…(I kinda have a thing against dressing dogs up in outfits. I just…I can’t.)
The event was definitely an interesting one! How often do you get to say you’ve witnessed weiner dogs racing for trophies and prizes?
After those festivities, we headed over with our friends to grab a snack for lunch at the local Dairy Queen before Wade and I headed back to the house to start prepping for the game day feast. The menu included grilled BBQ ribs with homemade bourbon BBQ sauce, grilled corn on the cob, roasted okra, and skinny spinach dip. While my parents prepared the ribs, corn and okra, I whipped up the bourbon BBQ sauce and spinach dip.
By the way, these were the “best damn ribs” we have ever had. My parents used a dry rub and baked them in the oven on low heat for a couple hours prior to grilling. That’s the secret to keeping ribs extra juicy and tender. You know, the kind of ribs where meat just falls off the bone? If you’re looking for a recipe, try this one I found from Bon Appetit that’s pretty similar to the method we used. My mother made up a mixture of dry rub spices while I made the bourbon BBQ sauce to baste on the ribs while grilling and also save afterwards for extra sauce on the side.
And HERE is where you’ll find the recipe I used for reference in making the bourbon BBQ sauce. I went with a Jack Daniel’s Tennesee Honey Whiskey Bourbon. It’s delicious, but I managed to not take a shot of it while cooking. Points for Kaylin.
I did change up the BBQ sauce recipe a bit from this one found on Allrecipes based off of what we had in the kitchen and my own creativity. Either way, this recipe will get you similar results of awesome sauce.
Best. Damn. Ribs. EVER! Excuse my vulgarity, but these ribs deserved it. Try them, folks. You won’t be disappointed.
The other contribution I made to our football feast was the spinach dip. Of course, I had to create my own healthy spin on it. I wanted to cut out some of the cream cheese and cheese topping. I’m not a big fan of cream cheese anyways. After finding some inspiration from a few recipes around the web, I decided to replace the cream cheese with a mixture of greek yogurt and cottage cheese. I also reduced the amount of cheese topping and included my own healthier topping of nutritional yeast. If you don’t have nutritional yeast, that’s a-okay! Just add a bit of additional parmesan and/or mozzarella on top before baking.
Whether you’re needing a dip to prepare for some weiner dog races or a football watching party, this is the perfect spinach dip. It is very rich, so you don’t need much. But the richness is due to the fact that it’s packed full of healthy nutrients; particularly healthy fats and proteins.. So you don’t even have to feel guilty about double dipping.
Skinny Spinach Dip
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp. oil
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of water
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup full fat plain greek yogurt
3/4 cup 2% fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
Start by sauteing chopped onion in 1 tsp. oil in pan over medium heat. While onion is cooking, combine garlic cloves, cottage cheese, and greek yogurt in food processor and process until smooth.
Thaw spinach and squeeze of excess water. I did this by placing spinach in 2 layers of paper towels and squeezing water out of spinach over a bowl.
Once onions are translucent in color and tender, add the cinnamon, pepper, salt, and spinach to pan and mix well.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use coconut oil to grease a small baking dish. Empty cottage cheese and greek yogurt mixture into prepared baking dish. Add the spinach and onion mixture from the pan to the dish as well. Gently fold the ingredients together until it’s mixed well and evenly throughout.
Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and nutritional yeast on top. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve right away with veggies, chips, or crackers for dipping.
Healthy Recipe Tidbits
- The cottage cheese and greek yogurt add a whopping 35g of protein to the entire dip recipe.
- By using cottage cheese and greek yogurt in substitution of cream cheese, you greatly reduce the amount of saturated fat in this spinach dip.
- Nutritional yeast is one of the few plant-based foods to find folic acid and vitamin b-12. This is why nutritional yeast is a major player in the nutritional wellbeing of vegans and vegetarians.
- Nutritional yeast is also known for being high in fiber, protein, and is a gluten-free food.
The next day was just as great as the last. Except for having to say goodbye to Wade for now of course…he made the 3 hour drive back to where he lives that afternoon. But Sunday started off with some trekking through nature to get the best views of some beautiful waterfalls in Bella Vista. The sun was just peaking out around 11am after it had been raining and cloudy all morning and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful for Fall in Northwest Arkansas. Here’s a summary of our Sunday adventures in pictures.
What is the craziest or quirkiest festival/event you’ve ever attended? (Like weiner dog races…)
What’s your favorite type of dip?