Double dipping. One of my pet hates.
You know, that bad party buffet etiquette when someone licks the hummus off their carrot stick and then goes back into the communal pot for more? Yuk!
Or when people are cooking and they use the same spoon to taste and stir. Uuuurrgg!
Anyways, in today’s context ‘Double Dipping’ is a good thing. On my never-ending mission to make my life simpler, and not have to cook separate things for all the different members of my family, I’m a big fan of ‘multipurpose’ food.
So I’m sharing with you my top 3 recipes for tasty dips that double up as nutritious baby food! These are also the ideal consistency if you have toddlers or strong-willed babies who want to spoon feed themselves but aren’t very good at it, so need foods that stick to the spoon rather than sliding off mid-air! And they are way healthier, lower in salt, and cheaper than shop bought dips if you have older kids who enjoy dipping.
I always get the 5pm munchies when I’m giving my kids their dinner…… But the idea of actually sitting down with them at that time for a family meal has been shelved (along with most of the other parenting ideals that I held before I actually had children. Seriously, if anyone has figured out a way of enjoying a meal while feeding 3 toddlers please let me know!).
So, the solution to the problem? Double Dips!
I give the kiddos each a little bowl of dip with a spoon as their 'starter', and I graze on dip with some veg sticks or pitta while getting the rest of their meal ready. They get some spoon-practice in while eating a nutritious little pot of goodness and I have a snack to get me through until wine-o’clock. Everyone's a winner!
I tend to make a batch of these dips which last in the fridge for 3-4 days, and make a good ‘appetiser’ for toddler meals (or a complete meal for babies!)
None of these take more than 5 minutes to prepare – though you do need a food processor or smoothie blender. As the dips are all vegetable based, they’ll help boost the whole family’s veg count if you’re struggling to get enough of the good stuff into your Littles (and yourself!)
Pea & Mint
Boil 500 grams frozen peas for 2 minutes, then drain and run cold water over them to cool them. Blitz the peas with 1 whole spring onion, 2 heaped tablespoons cream cheese, 10-12 fresh mint leaves and the juice of a lemon in a food processor until it’s as smooth as you like. Add salt and pepper to taste to the adult portions.
This is delicious with crisps or pitta bread, and also works well stirred through hot pasta as a pesto alternative.
Cheese & Sweetcorn
Put 500 grams of sweetcorn kernels in a blender (either tinned and drained, or frozen and defrosted), and blitz together with 1 small peeled garlic clove, 2 tablespoons cream cheese, and 100 grams grated strong cheddar. As the cheese is quite salty it shouldn’t need seasoning, but I like a sprinkle of smoked paprika on top for colour and flavour.
This dip is delicious hot or cold. Try sprinkling extra cheese on top and baking it in the oven to serve as a warm dip with crudités. It’s also a great sandwich filling combined with sliced avocado and tomatoes, or chicken and salad leaves.
Spinach and Butter Bean
Defrost 200 grams frozen spinach in the microwave or in a pan (or wilt 200g fresh leaf spinach). Blitz together the spinach (including any water that comes out of it), a drained tin of butter beans, a whole spring onion, the juice and zest of a lime, and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until smooth. you may need to add a splash of water to achieve the right consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste to the adult portions.
This dip is also good with some feta cheese crumbled over it. And it makes a great vegan alternative to spinach & ricotta in pasta or pizza dishes.
What other dips do you make?! Please do share!