Spinach and Basil Pesto Spread


I love a good pesto sauce, but it’s always been one of the things that my kids (and honestly, my husband) aren’t usually very excited about.  And let’s face it…pesto sauce can often be very oily, high in calories, and can sometimes be a bit ‘in your face’ in flavor.  So, I needed a way to satisfy my pesto craving in a little more healthy fashion, while not listening to anyone complain.  Isn’t this the basis for fifty percent of the new recipes created by moms?  I’m just over here looking for a way to eat what I want, without continually expanding my waistline, and without having to listen to anyone gripe about it!  This Spinach and Basil Pesto Sauce fits the bill on all fronts.  You can freeze it too, and have fresh basil flavor all year round! ~Tracy


  • 1 c. fresh basil leaves
  • 2 c. fresh baby spinach
  • ½ c. chopped walnuts
  • ½ c. shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ c. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy, pausing occasionally to scrape down sides.

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Use this pesto as a spread with cream cheese or just by itself on a cracker.  It also works wonderfully on pizza and with grilled chicken.


This recipe makes approximately 1 ¼ cup and is 2 WW Freestyle Points for a 2 Tablespoon serving.

Quick & Easy BBQ Sandwiches

It seems like we are always on the run, wrestling matches, piano lessons, school this – school that, whatever it is it puts a pinch on time to fix dinner.  I know everyone can relate with their own busy schedules. I love a tasty recipe that can be on the table in a jiff on a busy night. This one literally just takes a few minutes to throw together and no one will even know it’s a speedy recipe!!  This recipe is also easily adjusted to make double the amount if you need to feed a crowd.  



  • 2/3 c. ketchup
  • 4 T. water
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ T. mustard
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 ¼ lb. thinly sliced lean deli roast beef

In a small saucepan, combine everything except roast beef, over medium low heat.   Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.  

Heat roast beef by stirring into sauce and mixing to combine well.  (You can also heat roast beef separately in skillet or microwave, serving sauce on top.)     Serve on hamburger buns with thinly sliced red onion.    

Instant Pot Peach Butter

Summer is finally here and I plan on taking full advantage of my time off. This will be my first summer off in 10 years!

Sidenote:  My sister, Dr. Robin, who is a strong advocate for teachers, will want me to remind you that a teacher’s summer off is NOT paid time off.  We are only paid for contract hours worked, though most schools will distribute your pay over 12 months, to make budgeting easier.

Anywho, my first year back was great and I’m looking forward to spending the summer with my family.  What’s on the agenda, you ask? Lake time, a cross-country road trip (more on that later), pool time, lazy mornings sleeping in, baseball games, lots of cooking, and frequent trips to the farmers market for fresh produce and eggs.  

I love the farmer’s market.  The produce is so much more fresh than you’d find at the grocery store and, to me, it tastes better.   I love to see what I can find there each week, and I can’t wait for peaches to come in season! Peaches are one of my favorite fruits.  I always pick up plenty because they freeze well and they are so versatile. I use them in pies, of course, but I also love to make peach butter!  This Instant Pot Peach Butter is the perfect combination of sweet peaches and warm spices… it’s my favorite summer toast topper. So quick and easy to make in your electric pressure cooker, you’ll never buy the prefab stuff again.  ~Erin


  • 2 lb. peaches, peeled and pitted
  • ¾ c. water
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • ¼ to 1/3 c. packed brown sugar
  • ½ to 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, optional
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves, optional
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice, optional

Cook peaches and water at high pressure for 20 minutes; natural release.

After all pressure has been released, turn off the pressure cooker, open the lid, remove the pot, and carefully pour off ¾ c. water.  Return the pot back to the cooker.

Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.

Add cornstarch, lemon juice, brown sugar (I used 1/3 c. but start with ¼ and add more if too tart.), and spices to taste, if desired; continue to blend well with immersion blender.

Turn the pressure cooker to simmer mode and simmer for 3-5 minutes, with the lid off, to thicken.  It splatters a lot so cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, if needed, and monitor closely.

Turn off cooker and allow the mixture to cool.  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 10 days.  This can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

WW Freestyle Info.:  This recipe makes 18 servings (about 2 ¼ cups).  Each 2 Tablespoons serving is 1 SmartPoint.

Creamy Cilantro Sauce

One thing I have missed since I started eating healthy (most of the time) is sauces.  Sauces – especially creamy ones – are often high in calories/Weight Watcher points.  When you have a tight points budget each day, you don’t want to waste points on things like sauces.  For this reason, I have started creating my own sauces.  I can make them in small batches, instead of having a large bottle sitting around until after its expiration date; I can make them as rich or as low-fat as I choose; and I can avoid all the preservatives and additives that are often present in bottled/jarred sauces.

This Creamy Cilantro Sauce is one of my favorite sauce concoctions.  It can be used a veggie or chip dip, a sauce for Mexican dishes (it’s great on tacos!), or a dip for something like these Chicken Fajita Meatballs (photo below)!  The possibilities are endless!  If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen dipping everything in this sauce.  Best part is, I can enjoy this with NO guilt.  Check out the stats at the end of this post!  Dip, dip, hooray for zero WW point sauce!  ~Erin


  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. fat-free cream cheese
  • 1 (7 oz.) can salsa verde (I use Herdez brand.)
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ a bunch of cilantro, stems removed
  • The zest of one lime (optional)
  • 2 T. fresh lime juice – about one squeezed lime

Blend all ingredients in a blender, scraping down the sides occasionally, until smooth.

WW Freestyle Info:  Makes 2 cups of sauce.  Up to 2 Tablespoons is zero points.  3-6 tablespoons is 1 point.  7-10 tablespoons is 2 points.

Fry Sauce

I moved to Utah more than 15 years ago.  Until then, I had never heard of Fry Sauce. Utahns take their fry sauce seriously!!  It is served everywhere. Standard fry sauce is a combination of mayonnaise and catsup.  To me, it always lacked a little something. This recipe has been updated from the classic.  Try it on fries, tater tots, burgers, or if a fresh veggie falls in and you sample it that way, I won’t tell!   My two favorite ways to eat Fry Sauce are with, of course, fries but also slathered on a bacon cheeseburger.

My son says it’s the “best fry sauce he’s ever had.”   I’ll take that as a rave review. It can easily be doubled, tripled, etc. to make the amount you think you’ll need to feed you crew.  It will keep in the refrigerator, sealed in a container, for up to two weeks. Try it. It may become a staple in your house soon!  ~Kathy


  • 1/3 c. mayonnaise
  • 3 heaping T. catsup
  • 1 T. ranch dressing (I used Hidden Valley)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ to ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground mustard
  • ¼ tsp season salt (I used Lawry’s)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper


Combine all, ensuring that the spices are well incorporated.

Place in container with lid.

Allow to chill, covered, for at least 30 minutes before use.