Want to hear something strange? I barely cook on the weekends. In fact, I try to avoid it at all costs, other than helping Jeff make Saturday Night Tacos. In this regard, things have really changed in the last five years. Back when I was working in advertising (before culinary school), the weekends were my time. Time to cook. Time to make bolognese sauce that simmered all afternoon on the stove. Time to bake elaborate three-layer cakes to take to work the following day for a co-worker’s birthday (but really, just so I’d have a reason to bake). Time to make a big pot of soup or chopped salad fixings for lunches throughout the week.
Years later, here I am living a dream. My most-loved hobby has become my profession. Monday through Friday, I’m in the kitchen cooking and taking photos for at least half of each day. I couldn’t love it more. But the lines between work and play get blurry when you do what you love for a living. And now, as much as I love (LOVE!) cooking and where it’s taken me in life, I try to avoid the kitchen on the weekends. Because somehow, it feels like work. Enjoyable work, but work, nonetheless.
Additionally, when I went camping with friends a few months back, my mantra was “I’ll go, but I will NOT cook.” I’m sure it disappointed a few people who thought I would turn into some sort of campground gourmet. But I just wanted to relax (as much as I could relax while camping, which is not really my cup o’ tea).
But some damn jalapeño poppers made me break my mantra. I saw a friend making some campfire poppers, and I was bored out of my mind waiting for my dinner to cook. I wandered over just to see what he was making, and somehow found myself stirring the filling and showing him how to make a piping bag out of a Ziploc bag to fill the peppers. Turns out, even when I think I don’t want to cook, I really DO want to cook.
This lightened-up dip version of a jalapeño popper is my ode to my hobby which became my profession which is my obsession and my true love, which I’ll never be able to tear myself away from, ever.
Love lightened-up versions of your favorite dips? Try my Lightened-Up Buffalo Chicken Dip and Lightened-Up Pimento Cheese Dip!
- 4 slices turkey bacon (or regular bacon), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 package (8 ounces) light cream cheese
- 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (add some seeds to dip if you like it spicy)
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 slice whole wheat bread, torn in large pieces
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Tortilla chips or crackers, for serving
1. In large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp. Transfer to medium bowl. Add cream cheese, jalapeño, cheddar cheese, yogurt and lime juice; stir until well combined. Transfer to medium baking dish.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In food processor, pulse bread until it becomes small to medium breadcrumbs. In small skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.
3. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over dip; transfer to oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until edges are bubbly. Serve warm with chips or crackers.