Is it just me, or does anyone else wish it were socially acceptable to eat party dip with a spoon and skip the chips altogether? Those pesky little things are but a mere vehicle for shoveling delicious, cheesy, but often belly-ache-inducing shmear into my mouth (not to mention how quickly you can go form 0 to 200 on the calorie scale when “picking” at the chip bowl.) And by the way – who can stop at just 2 tablespoons or a 1/4 cup of dip? In other words, what would probably be a “reasonable” serving.

So this year I’m putting the infamous “crack dip” (aka, buffalo chicken dip) in a bowl and handing you a spoon. You could throw some chips or celery sticks on the side, but really, who needs ‘em?

And for the record, I’ve never actually made “crack dip.” Nor have I allowed myself too many mouthfuls when I see it at parties, because I know all that cheese is not going to leave much room for me to enjoy anything else. But I know plenty of people love it. Why else would it earn that name?

By now you all know that anything “normal” isn’t going to be my “crack.” Hence the sweet potatoes in this creamy, almost chowder-like soup. Sounds a little weird, I know. But judging by how many pingbacks and pinterest comments I’ve gotten on my recipe for Buffalo Chicken Sweet Tater Skins, I know I’m not the only one who finds this combo deliciously “crack”-like.

And while I won’t go claiming this recipe as “health food” I think we’ll all agree that it’s not nearly as bad as eating a bowl full of dip, with or without chips. And sometimes “not so bad” is just what we need to feel good.

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Creamy Buffalo Chicken & Sweet Potato Soup

Yield: 4 servings

Everyone's favorite party dip, served up in a bowl with less-guilt, healthier ingredients.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
12oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 medium sweet potato, about 10oz, peeled and diced
1/2 cup frozen corn
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
4oz firm silken tofu
2 tablespoons Tobasco sauce (Original Red)
2 tablespoons fat free milk or non-dairy milk of choice
2 oz reduced fat cream cheese
2 oz reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
1oz blue cheese, crumbled
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and saute for 4-5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, chicken, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Saute for 2-3 more minutes, stirring often.

Increase heat to high. Add sweet potato, corn and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 12-15 minutes, until sweet potato is tender.

Meanwhile, combine tofu, Tobasco, milk, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, parsely and dill in a food processor and blender, and blend until smooth. Add arrowroot and blend again.

Uncover soup and stir in blended tofu mixture. Increase heat to medium and gently boil for about 5 minutes, until thickened (the creamy mixture might appear to separate at first, but it will come together as the soup heats through and thickens.)

Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with crumbled cheese and sliced scallions.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories 385.8
Total Fat 14.8 g
Saturated Fat 7.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.2 g
Cholesterol 80.8 mg
Sodium 727.4 mg
Potassium 717.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 29.8 g
Dietary Fiber 3.7 g
Sugars 4.5 g
Protein 34.0 g

Cara Lyons, www.caraascravings.com