Add some fun to the lunch box or snack menu with cream cheese and celery. The simple flavor of cream cheese pairs nicely with a variety of ingredients to make a healthy snack. Spread it on celery sticks or use it as a dip. Soften cream cheese by allowing it to warm up to room temperature or use whipped cream cheese for an easy spread. Low-fat cream cheese is also available for a healthier option. Celery and cream cheese mixtures are quick to prepare, but allow an hour or two in the refrigerator for the flavors to mingle.
Spread cream cheese directly onto celery. Top the cream cheese with olives, nuts, raisins or small pieces of fresh or dried fruit, or mix it with shredded cheddar cheese and season with chopped pimento, chopped olives or pickles. Scrape a sliced onion with a knife to free the juice, along with a little pulp. Mix the onion juice into cream cheese with crumbled blue cheese for another flavored cheese spread. Any of these cheese spreads are suitable for spreading on celery or using as a dip for celery and other vegetable sticks.
Cream cheese makes a good carrier for fruit and other sweet ingredients. Mix any fruit bits or fruit pulp into cream cheese and spice it up with cinnamon or sweeten it with a little honey. Make a quick fruit dip by mixing fruit preserves into cream cheese. Or combine mashed canned fruit with cream cheese and yogurt for a quick fruit dip. Spread any of these sweet dips on celery and top with nuts or dried fruit. Or, serve the spreads in a small bowl for your child to dip.
Add dressing mix to cream cheese for a quick savory spread. More adventurous kids will love herb-flavored mixes. Add shredded carrots or minced fresh vegetables for flavor and texture. Make a garlic and herb cream cheese mixture that pairs perfectly with celery and crackers. Mix whipped cream cheese with minced garlic and scraped onion juice. Add Italian or ranch seasoning mix and salt. Mix thoroughly and allow time for the flavors to develop.
Mix cream cheese with mild salsa for a quick and spicy topping to spread on celery. Garnish with fresh diced bell peppers or sprinkle with paprika. Most kids prefer mild salsa, but feel free to try spicier varieties if yours like it hot. This spread is also good spread onto a tortilla and rolled for a quick snack. Slice them into small rounds for a quick kid-friendly appetizer.
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