Saturday, July 3, 2010

Homemade Pita Chips

I've mentioned using pita chips with some of the dips and snacks I've covered this week, so I thought today would be a great opportunity to share with you an easy pita chip recipe!

What you'll need:
1 pita bread -- whole-wheat Greek-style

Extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic -- minced
1 pinch dried oregano

What you'll do:
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 425 degrees.

Brush pita bread with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic and oregano. Place on small baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Cut into quarters and serve with Festive Southwest Cheese Dip, Summer Chicken Salad or your favorite dip / salad. Enjoy!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Chicken Salad

Looking for something to do with your leftover chicken? Everyone loves a chicken salad sandwich, and what better way to honor the summer than by making some yummy additions to the classic chicken salad your mom used to make. Tired of sandwiches? Enjoy this recipe on crackers or pita chips as a quick snack or for your next pot luck.

What you'll need:
1 - 1 1/2 c. chopped chicken
1 tsp. chopped onion
1 tbsp. chopped green bell pepper
1 tbsp. chopped walnuts or pecans
2 tbsp. mayonnaise (not salad dressing) - add more if you prefer a creamier chicken salad
3-4  hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
1/4 c. chopped green onions
1/4 c/ chopped red apples (with skin)
1 tbsp. sweet relish
1 tbsp. dill relish
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/4 c. chopped red grapes

What you'll do:
Combine all ingredients listed above, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Festive Southwest Cheese Dip

So this is THE BEST dip known to woman (or man). The ingredients are a little pricey (partially because there are so many!) but it is well worth adding this special treat to your rotation. Keeps well for a pot luck, party or even in a lunch bag. This dip is best served with pita chips or a Triscuit type cracker. The next time I make it, I'll be sure to add a photo.

What you'll need:
1 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c. grated Monterrey jack or pepper jack cheese
1 c. grated Velveeta cheese
1 sm. can sliced black olives
1/2 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 finely chopped seeded jalapenos
1/4 c. finely chopped green onions
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
dash of lime / lemon juice
8 oz. soft cream cheese
3/4 c. mayonnaise (not salad dressing)

What you'll do:
Smash cream cheese, salt, juice and 1/2 c. mayonnaise together in a large bowl.

Stir in chopped red bell pepper, jalapenos, black olives and green onions.

Stir in cheeses. Stir in spices and the rest of the mayo to desired consistency.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Roasted Asparagus Salad

Asparagus is one of my favorite veggies! I didn't really "discover" it until I became an adult but now I love it. The only thing is that I'm really picky about how it's served. It must be fresh, still crunchy and served warm.  So without further ado, check out this quick and easy side.

Here's what you'll need:
1 1/2 lb fresh asparagus
1 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground white pepper
2 tbsp vinegar

Here's what you'll do:
Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare the asparagus by cutting off the last inch or so of the woody stalk.

Place the asparagus stalks on a baking sheet or wrap them in aluminum foil. Brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, until the stalks begin to get slightly tender on the outside. (Thin asparagus spears will take less time than thick spears).

Toss with the vinegar. Serve and Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Fruit Salad

Ok, so what's better than ice cold fruit on a hot summer night? Try ice cold fruit over ice cream! A yummy treat for after dinner during the week or a quick and easy pot luck contribution.

Here's what you'll need:
1 c. mixed berries
1 mango peeled, pitted and cubed
1 nectarine pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons orange juice
Ice cream or sorbet (optional)

Here's what you'll do:
Mix the fruit in a bowl. Sprinkle with orange juice. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Use as a side dish or serve over ice cream or sorbet for dessert.

(Serves 4 as side dish and about 6 as ice cream or sorbet topping)

Monday, June 28, 2010


I'm super excited to share this recipe with you. I got the basic recipe from a Frenchman at the office (I know, right?!?) it was SO good, but I thought I could kick it up a notch so I've added my own special ingredients. I bring this recipe to EVERY pot luck, backyard BBQ, holiday, dinner, party, cookout, get together I'm invited to. Be careful - once you introduce this at parties you will be asked again & again to bring it. I introduced it to my family last year and now my Dad won't eat anyone else's guacamole recipe. It goes great with any Mexican food dish, veggies, chips, even grilled chicken!

Here's what you'll need:
4 ripe Haas avocados
1 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped
1/2 c. red onion, minced
2 Serrano peppers, stems and seeds removed, minced
1/4 c. cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 c. lemon or lime juice
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly grated white pepper, to taste

Here's what you do:
Prepare all the ingredients before cutting the avocados and lemon or lime, keep separate.

Cut the avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avocado from peel and put in a medium mixing bowl.

Using a fork, mash the avocado. Stir in lemon, chopped red onion, garlic, cilantro, tomato, serranos, garlic, garlic powder, garlic salt, cumin and cayenne pepper.

Nestle two avocado pits (seeds) in the top of the guacamole, cover tightly with plastic wrap to prevent oxidation from the air. You can also use additional lemon or lime juice to prevent oxidation and add a tangier flavor which I LOVE! Refrigerate until ready.

Uncover, remove the avocado pits, and ENJOY!

Love avocado, try these shrimp stuffed avocados!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Potato Salad Success for Summer BBQs!

In the spirit of summer, Independence Day, and outdoor dining, here's an Ah-mazing (!) recipe for a potato salad that's sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Here's what you'll need:
5 lb bag of red potatoes
1 c. mayonnaise (NOT salad dressing)
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 tsp. celery seed
Sea Salt, to taste
3 boiled eggs

Here's how you make it:
Clean and roll potatoes in paper towels. Bake in microwave. You should be able to do several at a time.

Cool slightly and then chunk into a large bowl. Leave skin on.

Add salt, chopped green onions and celery seed. Then add may to your desired consistency (so you may use more or less than 1 c. of mayo depending on what you like). Mix well.

Chop and stir in eggs.

Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

National Pudding Day?!?

Did you even know such a day existed? In the spirit of pudding, I thought I'd throw one out for all the low fat, low sugar, eating "healthy", guilt-free friends out there in blog-land. My dad was recently diagnosed with diabetes so for his first "diabetic holiday" my nephew and I made him this chocolate mouse pie, so we were all able to enjoy a piece of the same dessert!

Here's what you'll need:

1 1/2 c. skim milk (cold)
2 packages of chocolate fat-free/sugar-free gelatin instant pudding mix
1 pre-packaged low-fat graham cracker pie crust
1 8 oz. tub of fat-free non-dairy whipped topping (optional)

Mix the milk and gelatin instant pudding mix in a large mixing bowl.

Beat with an electric mixer for about 1 minute or until well mixed. (It will be a thick consistency)

Fold in the fat-free non-dairy whipped topping.

Pour mixture into low-fat graham cracker pie crust.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve & Enjoy!

To make a frozen chocolate mousse pie: Put the completed pie in the freezer for 4 hours instead of the fridge!

For a frozen (or regular) chocolate mint mousse pie: Add 1/2 teaspoon mint extract to the pudding with the whipped topping. Pour mixture into low-fat graham cracker pie crust. Freeze or refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Black Bean & Corn Salsa

Looking for something quick and easy to take to the potluck tomorrow or a fun new dip for game day? Try this yummy salsa! Serve with corn chips, veggies, or pita bread for a fun snack.

What you'll need:

1/4 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1 can black beans (rinsed & drained)
1 can whole kernel corn (rinsed & drained)
1 c. quartered cherry tomatoes
1/2 c. chopped red onions
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp. chopped Serrano pepper, diced (optional)

Blend mayonnaise, lime juice and cumin together well in a medium bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Chill for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.

Try this with Fish Tacos!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tilapia Parmesan Saute

The great thing about tilapia is that you can buy individually wrapped frozen fillets in the freezer section at the grocery store. I often will just pull out one or two for dinner and a package will last me the entire month. Tilapia is a nice fish to "ease into" cooking. It is really hard to mess it up & it defrosts quickly in a bowl of room temperature water.

What you'll need:

4 - 4 oz. frozen tilapia fillets
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp parsley flakes
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder

Mix parmesan cheese, garlic powder, parsley flakes; set aside. Heat a large saute pan and add olive oil, butter, and lemon. Saute fillets 2-3 minutes per side until white and flaky. Sprinkle cheese mixture on fillets and saute each side for another minute, then serve & enjoy!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Onion Rings

Holy Cow, Batman! It's National Onion Rings Day! Not only is this my favorite vegetable, it is also my favorite bar food. MMMMMM fried goodness!

What you'll need:

1 large yellow or white onion

2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. seasoned salt
1 cup buttermilk

Cut onions into 1/4-inch thick slices then separate into rings.

Mix all dry ingredients into a large bowl.

Pour buttermilk into a separate bowl.
Heat oil to 370°. Using metal tongs, dip a few onion slices into the buttermilk and then into the dry ingredients coating thoroughly. Then carefully place them in the hot fat. Fry onion rings about 2 minutes, turning them once or twice until they're an even delicate golden color .
Dipping Sauce
2 tbsp. tomato ketchup
½ cup sour cream
1½ tsp. fresh horseradish
½ tsp. seasoned salt
¼ tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Top with paprika. Serve & Enjoy!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Peaches & Cream

Happy First Day of Spring! It is also National Peaches & Cream Day! (who knew, right?!?)

So in honor of Peaches & Cream Day delight in this delicious dessert tonight.

What you'll need:

4 fresh peaches OR 1 package of frozen sliced peaches
1 tub of Cool Whip

Cut pitted peaches into bite-size slices and place in a martini glass (or other dessert cup). Top with a generous dollop of Cool Whip. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Grilled Fish Tacos

Looking for something different to do with tilapia? Discover these AMAZING fish tacos! Topped with avocado cream sauce for a flavorful addition. Grilled or pan sauteed you will be so happy you discovered this dish.

What you'll need:

2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 -  4 oz. raw tilapia fillets (or other white fish)
4 corn tortillas (taco size)
1 c. shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
1/4 c. chopped tomato

Avocado Cream Sauce
1 whole mashed Haas Avocado 
4 tbsp. fat-free sour cream or plain yogurt
1/4 tsp. lime juice
Dash of sea salt (to taste)
Dash of garlic powder (to taste)
Dash of chili powder (to taste)
Dash of cumin (to taste)

Combine lime juice and spices for the tacos together in a large bowl, mix well. Add fish fillets and cover both sides well. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.

While the fish is marinating, combine all the ingredients for the avocado cream sauce in a small bowl, mix well. Refrigerate until tacos are ready.

Spray grill or pan with nonstick spray and bring to medium heat. Grill fish for 5 minutes, then flip (being very careful not to break fillet). Grill for 3 more minutes. Set aside.

Heat tortillas on grill or pan until warm (about 45 sec per side). Plate the tortillas and spread evenly with avocado cream. Split the fish between the tortillas. Top with cabbage and tomatoes, fold and ENJOY!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Baked Pesto Chicken

Pesto is one of the BEST things I've recently "discovered" with wonderful flavor, amazing versatility, and it tastes great any time! As a topping for chicken it will change your world - PLUS it is SO easy, it won't be a big deal to make on a weeknight.

Here's what you'll need:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 c. of basil pesto (I like Classico Traditional Basil Pesto®)
1.5 c. mozzarella cheese (or any Italian blend)
Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F

Place 2 tablespoons of basil pesto on the bottom of a 8x8 ceramic rectangular dish. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of chicken and place in the dish. Top chicken with the remaining basil pesto. 

Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove aluminum foil, top chicken with cheese and bake for 5 more minutes uncovered.

Remove from oven & enjoy!

P.S. This goes GREAT with ciabetta bread as a sandwich leftover!