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Mix It Up With Jenny - Terrific Tailgating

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Layered Monterey Pumpkin Dip
Hint of Honey Pumpkin Spread

(Family Features) - Autumn brings one of my favorite weekend activities: tailgating!

Whether we're heading for the stadium or watching the gridiron action on TV, I like to offer a winning menu to help the crowd cheer for the home team. Here are a few of my party-perfect tips:

  • Offer sure-to-please food that can be eaten without silverware, while walking around or watching the action.

  • Provide heavy-duty disposable (or unbreakable, reusable) plates and sturdy napkins.

  • Show your spirit with team colors on the table.

  • Play the team's fight song-and see if anyone actually knows the words!

No matter how many touchdowns there are, you'll score big with crowd-pleasing dips and spreads. Try two of my personal favorites-a classic layered dip and a creamy spread for chips and crackers-that include the delicious, yet nutritious twist of pumpkin. It's a win-win: the pumpkin is creamy, colorful and allows the flavors of the recipes' complementary ingredients to come charging through. 

The power of pumpkin is indisputable. It's a rich source of nutrients, is low in calories and fat, and is naturally sodium-free. One-half cup of pumpkin provides more than a day's worth of powerful antioxidant Vitamin A, plus a significant amount of your daily fiber requirement. All this, and it's tasty too!

I've discovered delicious new tastes by adding pumpkin to some of my favorite tailgating dishes. Give these a try:

  • Stir a little pumpkin into a tomato-based pasta sauce for added fiber and body
  • Add it to mashed potatoes to cut fat and add flavor
  • Mix it into chili to boost fiber and cut sodium

For football-season favorites and everyday, family-pleasing treats, count on VeryBestBaking.com for the most delicious ideas on the field.

Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.
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Layered Monterey Pumpkin Dip

  • 1 can (15 ounces) Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 package (8 ounces) 1/3 less fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sliced jalapeños juice
  • 1 container (8 ounces) reduced fat sour cream
  • 1 can (4 ounces) diced green chiles
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, sliced jalapeños
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • Tortilla chips
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    1. COMBINE pumpkin, cream cheese and jalapeño juice in medium bowl. Spread into 8-inch-square baking dish.
    2. COMBINE sour cream, chiles, jalapeños and garlic salt in small bowl. Spread over pumpkin mixture. Top with tomato, olives, green onions and red onion. Cover; refrigerate for 2 hours.
    3. SERVE with tortilla chips.
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Calories: 25g     Total Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 5mg     Protein: 1g
Carbohydrates: 2g     Sodium: 65mg

Makes 12 about 45 servings, 2 tablespoons servings each
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Hint of Honey Pumpkin Spread

  • 1 package (8 ounces) 1/3 less fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon

    1. STIR cream cheese, pumpkin, honey and cinnamon in medium bowl for 1 minute or until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate in tightly covered container for up to 4 days. Makes about 1 1/3 cups.
    2. SERVE with apple slices or whole-wheat crackers.

Makes 10 servings - 2 tablespoons each
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SOURCE: Nestlé USA, Inc.

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