Have you ever used Neufchâtel cheese? The American version is a low-fat alternative to cream cheese. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it.
French Neufchâtel is a soft, slightly crumbly, mould-ripened cheese made in the region of Normandy. One of the oldest cheeses in France, its production is believed to date back to the 6th century. It looks somewhat similar to camembert, with a dry, white, edible rind, but the taste is saltier and sharper. It has aroma and taste of mushrooms. Unlike other soft-white-rinded cheeses, Neufchatel has a grainy texture. It is usually sold in heart shapes, however it is also produced in other forms, such as logs. It is typically matured for 8–10 weeks. In 1872, a New York dairyman, in the township of Chester, created cream cheese as the result of an attempt to create a batch of Neufchâtel.
American Neufchâtel is a lower-fat cream cheese product marketed as a healthier alternative to cream cheese. It is not identical to French Neufchâtel. American Neufchâtel is somewhat softer than cream cheese due to its 33% lower fat and higher moisture content. In the United States, this Neufchâtel is occasionally called farmers' cheese.
I don't usually promote name brand products without their permission, but Philadelphia Brand is the only one I know of in my area that makes Neufchâtel.
This spread recipe goes equally well with crackers or vegetables and it only requires a few ingredients!
1 (8 oz.) package of Neufchâtel cheese, softened 2 T. grated Parmesan cheese 3 T. chopped fresh chives 2 cloves garlic, minced
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until well blended. Cover and chill thoroughly. Serve spread with unsalted crackers or fresh raw vegetables. YIELD: 1 cup ( 40 calories per tablespoon)