Whether you are celebrating the Run for the Roses with a Kentucky Derby Day party, or just looking for a gooey good new appetizer recipe, take the cheesy goodness and bacon love of the classic Southern sandwich and bake it into this Kentucky Hot Brown Dip.
Kentucky Hot Brown Dip
The horses and jockeys may be running for the roses this weekend, but come August 1st, I’ll be running for cheese. Well, maybe not literally, though I’m sure some cheddar will be consumed over the weekend, but I am so excited to be part of the Cabot Fit Team 2015. I am currently training to run my first 10K race – make that my first 10K and my first race, all rolled up into one – at the TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race in Cape Elizabeth, Maine on August 1st. I can’t tell you how excited I am!
You know I love all things Cabot cheese, so it means more than words can express how honored I am to be running with this group of ladies on behalf of Cabot Creamery Cooperative. While fitness has been a part of my life for quite awhile, my attempts at running have been in fits and spurts through the past several years. But in the back of my mind I’ve always had this nagging desire to fully commit and train for a race, which is why being part of the Cabot Fit Team is so ideal – the mission of the team is to increase awareness about the importance of wellness through nutrition and exercise.
While I try to keep my photos to just food and, since I can’t resist, my super cute boys, you may have seen me posting some personal achievements and sweaty selfies on Instagram. The reason for this is twofold, actually. The first a a leeeeetle bit selfish. As I said, I’ve attempted to be a runner, but never quite kept at it, my previous attempt being halted because of massive pain in my Achilles. The first few weeks of training were tough as I battled shin splints, soreness, my natural tendency to do too much too soon, and just getting my body used to it. I’m still working on my endurance and speed, and some days it’s a struggle to just go two or three miles. That’s when I start to doubt myself and feel like I’ll never make almost six and a half. Plus, the other ladies on the team do actually run regularly, they’ve run races, some have even done marathons. I’m the total newbie and don’t want to let the team down. So any virtual cheerleaders I can recruit are a huge help.
But the second is that I want to inspire all of you. You guys, I was the chubby kid most of my life. I was terrible at sports, and never lasted more than one season with anything I tried because I felt so pathetic. I hated gym class. In college, I’d follow up my occasional trip to the gym with a trip to pick up Chinese food in the student center. The only fruits and vegetables I ate for the longest time were bananas and corn before I finally started to accept apples and iceberg lettuce into my life. I didn’t start working out and making changes in my eating habits until I was out of college. Now I am 35, have two kids, and I am training for my first 10K. I know not everyone is a runner. I know people are busy. But making the choice to move our bodies a little and maybe have a salad or smoothie instead of a double cheeseburger or donut is just the first step. We can all take even small steps to make wellness a priority.
Beyond that, though, close to home and to my heart is my family. I hope to be an example to my boys that it is important to do things that are good for your body. You all know I try to feed them an overall healthy diet (though of course there is room for treats now and then). But I also want to encourage them to be active. The Bug is now taking karate and playing tee ball, and loving it. This summer we will be joining our community pool, and I try to take him and Little Dude for a walk around the block a few times a week. And you know what? I think it’s making an impact. The Bug has been asking why I keep getting up early to exercise and for for runs, and on our walk the other evening, The Bug started running ahead of me, calling back, “Mommy, I’m training for my race!”
This is why I run, and this is why I am part of Cabot Fit Team!
Of course, as I am training, I am trying to understand my body’s needs, and I am finding that even though I am not running marathons, I still need fuel, and especially protein. Which is why something like this is perfect…
Kentucky Hot Brown Dip takes the best parts of that traditional open faced sandwich – turkey, bacon, creamy goodness, and a few tomatoes for a fresh and acidic balance – and combines it all into one ooey gooey appetizer. The best part is, you really aren’t blowing your diet with this one – instead of a heavy cream and butter-based béchamel, I bring in the velvety texture with light cream cheese and Greek yogurt, and lots of flavor from Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar.
While you can certainly spread this dip onto some crackers or slices of bread, instead load it onto some veggies and you can enjoy it as a protein-packed, low carb snack. Believe it or not, we actually had it over a salad for dinner. A small serving is actually super satisfying!
I hope you’ll keep up with the team and our progress on this exciting journey by following the hashtag #CabotFitTeam on social media. You can also check out my #ckcfitfamily posts on Instagram to see how my family tries to stay active and eat healthy. I hope that through this journey maybe I can inspire someone to step outside their comfort zone, start or continue to make fitness and wellness part of their life, try a new activity, or even just try a new recipe. Keep me posted – tag me on Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #ckcrecipes if you cook up any of my dishes or #ckcfitfamily if you want to show how your family is keeping active.
What are your fitness goals? How are you stepping out of your comfort zone to achieve them?
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- 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (I used light)
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 6 oz. (about 1½ cups) shredded cheddar cheese, divided (I used Cabot Extra Sharp)
- 2 cups chopped cooked turkey
- one small tomato, seeded and chopped
- 6 slices bacon, crumbled
- ¼ cup grated pecorino romano cheese (can also use parmesan)
- Crackers, sliced baguette, vegetables for serving
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a bowl, stir together the cream cheese, yogurt, nutmeg, 4 oz. (about 1 cup) cheddar, and turkey until thoroughly combined.
- Transfer to a glass baking dish and spread evenly.
- Top with tomato, bacon, the remaining 2 oz cheddar cheese, and the pecorino romano cheese.
- Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly, and lightly browned.
- Serve with crackers, baguette slices, and veggies for dipping.
Here are a few more healthy recipes featuring Cabot products…
- Baked Cauli-Tots
- Ultimate Cobb Salad with Greek Yogurt Maple Dijon Salad Dressing
- Banana Berry Cheesecake Greek Yogurt & Quinoa Parfaits
And some recipes from other members of Cabot Fit Team…
- Cheesy Deviled Eggs from RDelicious Kitchen
- Whole Wheat Cheddar Crackers from The Baker Chick
- Cheesy Baked Turkey Taco Dip from Little Leopard Book
- Salsa Baked Huevos from Pass the Sushi
- Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese from fantastic Food