People seem to either love hummus or hate it. Personally, I’m not a fan of plain hummus, but I LOVE the flavored ones. I make my own at home a lot. My favorite variation, up to now, has been my Roasted Garlic Hummus. A while back, I created this new flavor for a Cinco de Mayo cookout, and have made it several times since. It’s been a hit every time… even with my husband who doesn’t usually love hummus. It’s a totally different flavor variation from my Roasted Garlic Hummus, and just as good. I paired it with homemade, air-fried tortilla chips, but store-bought would be just as good. Let us know if you try it! ~Erin
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas
2 T. chopped cilantro
1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
½ a fresh jalapeno, seeded, veins removed, & finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tablespoons)
½ tsp. salt
1 T. water
2 T. avocado oil
Tortilla chips or veggies, for serving
Drain, rinse and remove the skins from the chickpeas. Removing the skins will make finished hummus smooth and creamy. The best way to remove them is to pinch each one between your fingers, and they will pop right out.
Add all ingredients, except the water and avocado oil to a food processor; blend until smooth. Finally, add the olive oil and water (stream in while the food processor is running, if possible) and blend until smooth.
So, the name of this soup… Why “Oklahoma Ice Storm Soup”, you ask? A friend of mine makes a version of this soup she calls Ski Soup. Apparently, that’s a thing. The internet tells me so. So named because it’s perfect for eating after coming off the slopes. Who knew? All I know is it’s delicious. My friend kindly shared the recipe and I adapted it slightly to be a tad bit more healthy – swapping regular macaroni for whole wheat and regular Italian sausage for turkey Italian sausage. I also upped the veggies a bit, but the flavor is the same as her original. The main change is the name. We don’t have a lot of ski slopes in Oklahoma – okay, none – but we have the occasional ice storm. Since this is the kind of soup you could make with staples from your pantry and freezer, without getting out on treacherous roads, I think this soup would be perfect for icy weather. It’ll warm you from the inside out!
Don’t skip the secret ingredient — I was skeptical about putting vinegar in my soup at first, but I promise it’s amazing. It’s not overpowering… just a hint of tartness in the background. Can’t wait for you to try it! ~Erin
1 1/4 lbs. (5 links) Hot Italian Turkey Sausage, casings removed
2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large peeled carrots, diced small
2 large (or 3 small) ribs celery, diced
2 small (or one medium) zucchini, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (14 1/2 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
2 (14 oz) cans cut green beans, drained
1 (14 1/2 oz) can who kernel sweet corn, drained
1/3 cup distilled apple cider vinegar (NOT the kind with the mother)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
6 c. reduced sodium chicken stock or broth
6 oz. whole wheat elbow macaroni
crackers or croutons and grated parmesan, for serving (optional)
In a large stock pot, brown the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks until fully cooked and starting to brown. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Use a paper towel to clean out any residual grease from the pot. Heat 2 T. of olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onions, carrots, and celery to the pot, cooking and stirring occasionally for about 7-8 minutes. Add the zucchini and garlic and cook for about 2 more minutes. Add chicken stock, diced tomatoes, green beans and corn. Turn up the heat to bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper, dry macaroni noodles, and the cooked sausage. Bring to a boil again. Reduce heat and simmer the amount of time shown on the pasta box (about 10 minutes). Turn off the heat and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with crackers or croutons and grated parmesan, if desired.
I’m going to admit that’s it’s pretty darned rare that there is leftover steak at my house. However, if I’m smart and plan my meals the way I know I should, I cook a little extra so that I can make this pizza. It’s so easy, so good, and looks like something you’d get at a fancy restaurant (at least the “fancy” restaurants that I go to). The best thing about it is that you can use almost all pre-made ingredients for a quick dinner that your whole family will love. ~Tracy
4 naan flatbreads
1 T. butter
1 jar of your favorite Alfredo sauce (I use Prego or Classico Light)
In a large saucepan, melt butter. Sauté onions in the melted butter until translucent and just beginning to turn brownish/caramelized. Add spinach and garlic to sautéed onions. Cook just until spinach fully wilts. Add the jar of Alfredo sauce and cook all together until bubbly. Stir in ½ c. of parmesan cheese until incorporated into sauce.
Preheat oven to 425℉. Place naan flatbreads on a large sheet pan or pizza pan. Top each with Alfredo sauce mixture making sure to get equal amounts of onion and spinach on each flatbread. Add an equal portion of steak, approximately ¼ pound to the top of each flatbread. Finish off each pizza with an equal portion of the feta cheese and mozzarella balls (you can always substitute shredded mozzarella).
Bake at 425 until cheese melts and just begins to brown and bubble.
Wow, what a school-year! Between quarantines and trying to enforce social distancing and masking guidelines, it was a wild ride and this teacher is tired. I will say, this school year was much better than I initially predicted and for that I’m grateful. That being said, I’m soooo ready for summer!
Summer makes me want to cook, but I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. This quick dinner is just my speed. The sausage is fully cooked so, with minimal prep time, this can be on the table. It makes a lot and the leftovers make a fantastic breakfast with a couple of over-easy eggs. Supper leftovers that can be made into breakfast are the best kind of meals! ~Erin
3 T. oil, divided (I used avocado oil)
Non-stick cooking spray
2 packages (13 oz. each) smoked turkey sausage, thinly sliced (I used Hillshire Farm)
1 medium onion, diced
1 (32 oz.) bag frozen Southern style hash browns
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s)
1 (16 oz.) bag tri-color coleslaw mix
Spray a large, high-sided non-stick skillet cooking spray. Add the thinly sliced turkey sausage and cook over medium-high heat until the sausage pieces are brown on both sides. Transfer to a large serving dish. Next add 1 T. oil and reduce heat to medium. Add the diced onions and stir and cook until onion is translucent – a couple minutes; then add garlic and cook about another minute. Add the coleslaw mix and Cajun seasoning and cook and stir until the cabbage is tender, about 4-5 minutes; transfer to the serving dish with the sausage. Lastly, heat the remaining 2 T. of oil over medium-high heat. Add the hash browns in an even layer; cook until fork-tender and browned, flipping every 2-3 minutes. Transfer the hash browns to the serving dish and gently combine with the cabbage and sausage mixture.
WW info: This recipe makes 7 large 2-cup servings. Each serving is 9 points on both Blue and Green plans, and 6 points on the Purple plan.
Are there foods that you wouldn’t touch as a kid that you later realized were actually really tasty? There are several things on that list for me, but one of my adult-discovered favorites is pimento cheese. Looking through random recipes one day, I realized that with the addition of a little spice, pimento cheese had a lot of potential! By adding the jalapenos for just the right kick and using a good quality cheddar cheese, I turned pimento cheese into one of my favorite snacks or lunches. I really think you’ll love it too! ~Tracy
8 oz. softened cream cheese*
¾ c. mayonnaise (don’t use Miracle Whip)*
1 T. Sriracha sauce
3 T. finely chopped yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. celery salt
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 T. finely chopped pickled jalapeno
1/3 c. chopped roasted red peppers
2 chopped scallions (using all of white and approx ½ of greens)
1 8 oz. block reduced fat sharp white cheddar, grated (equal to about 4 cups)*
toasted French bread or crackers for serving
In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese, mayonnaise, and Sriracha. Stir in onion, garlic, celery salt, and kosher salt. Add the jalapeno, scallions, and red peppers. Stir gently to avoid breaking up the peppers further. Finally, gently stir in the cheddar cheese. Serve on toasted French bread or with crackers. Refrigerate unused portion.
Note: Depending on the level of spiciness you like, you can add more or less jalapeno. Keep in mind that jalapenos sometimes become a bit more spicy the longer they sit within a mixture.
*Use either Fat-free mayo and cream cheese or reduced-fat mayo and cream cheese (see WW Info. below for points). Both versions were figured using reduced-fat cheddar.
WW Info: 5 points per half-cup serving on all three plans if using fat free mayo & cream cheese; 8 points per half-cup serving on all plans if use reduced fat mayo & cream cheese. Both points values are figured with reduced-fat cheddar. Points values do not include crackers or bread.
WW Info: If use fat free mayo and cream cheese, this recipe is 5 ww points on all plans for a 1/2 c. serving; with reduced fat mayo and cream cheese, it’s 8 ww points on all plans for a 1/2 c. serving. Makes 8 servings. Bread or crackers not included in points.
I absolutely love chipotle flavors with chicken, and this recipe was invented out of my wondering what it might be like if I could turn a chipotle chicken bowl into a stew. The fresh red onion and cilantro at the end really kick it up giving it an amazing fresh taste, but you could leave out the cilantro if that’s not your jam. I am so glad I followed my wacky whim to see how this would shape up, as it’s become a family favorite and is SO different from anything else. Super hearty and layered with flavor for days, you’re going to be glad you have leftovers – like most soups/stews, it just gets better each day, and if you don’t get to it all in time, it freezes well too. ~Robin
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped (pretty small pieces – about ¾ to 1 inch chunks)
2 tsp. olive oil
1 T. diced chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce (I use a La Costeña)*
¾ tsp. chipotle chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. jarred, minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp. salt (divided – 1 tsp. for cooking chicken, another ½ tsp. added to soup)
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
½ white onion, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (11 oz.) can shoe peg corn
32 oz. chicken broth
½ tsp. chicken bullion
1/4-1/3 c. red onion depending on preference – I love the fresh kick of the red onion, so I use 1/3
1 can original Rotel (can use mild if prefer less heat)
2 c. cooked minute rice
½ – ¾ bunch cilantro (depending on how much you love it)
juice of 2 limes (I usually just add a touch more to my bowl when I serve it up but see what works for you)
½ tsp. garlic powder
Add two teaspoons of olive oil to a large stock pot and heat to medium-high heat. Add chicken, minced garlic, chipotle peppers, onions, jalapeño, chipotle chili powder, cumin, & 1 tsp. salt.
Cook minute rice according to directions on the box while your chicken is cooking.
Once chicken is fully cooked (will no longer have any translucency or pinkness), add chicken broth, chicken bouillon, black beans, corn, Rotel, garlic powder, and salt if desired (may not need this salt if chicken broth isn’t low-sodium).
Cook on medium heat, stirring often to avoid sticking, for about 10 minutes.
Add cooked rice, red onion, cilantro, and fresh lime juice and continue to simmer for about 5 more minutes or until heated throughout and flavors have a chance to mingle a bit more.
WW Info: Makes 11 filling 1-cup servings at 3 points/serving on the green plan; 2 points/serving on blue and purple.
*This recipe will not use more than a bit of the can; however, I freeze mine in ice trays so I can grab a serving size as needed for cooking later. To do this, fill ice trays about ¾ of the way full with chopped peppers and sauce, then cover the top with plastic wrap. Once the cubes are frozen after about 24 hours, I dump them into an airtight freezer-safe storage container. They can last up to six months in the freezer this way. Don’t worry if it’s a little messy; they don’t freeze quite as hard as other things, but they’ll stay good & fresh like this for the next time you need some chipotle in your life.
We love all cookies at our house, especially those that are part of a holiday tradition. These are a simple recipe that taste like they are very complicated. They’re the perfect whipped shortbread cookie that isn’t overly sweet, but is filled with jam and rolled in pecans and delicious coconut. As the cookie bakes the coconut and pecans become toasted. Delish! Our favorite filling is plum jam, but other great options would be strawberry, blackberry or raspberry. This recipe can also easily be doubled. Any way you make them, they will be fabulous! ~Kathy
½ c. butter, softened
½ c. shortening
½ c. brown sugar, firmly packed
3 egg yolks
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
2 c. flour
¾ c. coconut
½ c. finely chopped pecans
½ c. plum jam, stirred smooth
Heat oven to 350˚ F.
Beat butter, shortening and brown sugar in large bowl with mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, vanilla and salt. Mix on medium until combined. Add flour and mix just until blended.
Mix coconut and pecans on a plate. Roll dough into 1” balls. Roll in coconut and pecans to coat. Place on cookie sheet. Using your knuckle or fingertip, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.
Bake for 8 minutes and remove from oven. Press indentations carefully again if needed. Spoon ½ teaspoon jam onto the center of each cookie. Bake an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until the cookie is just slightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
I love to bake, especially in the Fall. Unfortunately, I don’t always have time to wait for bread to rise. Plus, I’m very impatient. That’s where this bread comes in. Have basic pantry ingredients? Have a beer in the fridge? Then you have the ingredients to make this quick bread. My family loves it and begs for it on holidays. It’s perfect for a dinner bread or as a dessert bread, spread with butter and drizzled with extra honey. I think that’s why we love it so much… bread with dinner and bread for dessert! ~Erin
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
¼ c. honey, plus 2 T. for drizzling (optional)
1 (12 oz.) bottle of beer
¼ c. butter, melted
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
In a non-metallic bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Make a well in the center and pour in a ¼ cup honey and the beer.
Using a non-metallic spoon, stir the dry ingredients together with the beer and honey until just combined. Do not over mix.
Pour a little of the melted butter in the bottom of a loaf pan and brush it up the sides of the pan.
Pour in the batter and spread it evenly.
Pour the remaining melted butter over the top of the loaf.
Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Optional: Microwave about 2 tablespoons of honey for 5 seconds to thin it, and drizzle it over the loaf during the last few minutes of baking. This gives the top a sweet, buttery glaze my family loves.
Let the bread cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing to a bread board/cutting board.
It’s the time of summer when I’m watching my garden’s production dwindle. The days are finally beginning to stay out of the 90 and 100 degree temperatures and our daylight is getting noticeably shorter. As much as I love fall, it makes me sad when I know I’m picking what are probably the last of my summer tomatoes and peppers. After tending my little plot for many months, it is a bit hard to let it go, but I make sure to let nothing go to waste! This weekend I made a batch of this Roasted Tomato and Pepper Salsa. It’s such a fresh addition to your favorite foods and also tastes pretty darned good while you sit on the couch with a bag of chips (I mean, if you’re into that kind of thing)! ~Tracy
6 – 7 cups of halved tomatoes (enough to lay flat on 2/3 of a 12×17 baking sheet)
1 large yellow onion, quartered
5-7 jalapeno peppers, halved with seeds and ribs removed
8 – 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 T. coarse salt
½ to 1 bunch of cilantro leaves, washed and chopped
Juice from half a lime
Line a 12 x 17 baking sheet with parchment.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice tomatoes in half and lay them skin side up on the baking sheet. Use enough tomatoes to take up about 2/3 of your baking sheet. You can use Roma tomatoes or any variety that you have on hand. I grow several varieties in my garden and use a mixture of all of them.
Arrange halved jalapenos on the other end of your baking sheet, skin side up.
Disperse your onion pieces among the tomatoes and peppers.
Roast the vegetables in the 375 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes, rotating the pan half way through cooking.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and allow to cool completely.
After the vegetables have cooled, carefully peel the skin from each tomato. You should be able to pinch the skin on each tomato and peel it off easily. If you don’t mind the tomato skins in your salsa, you can certainly leave them, but my family prefers that they be removed.
Gently mash each clove of garlic with a knife or back of a spoon (this allows it to mix more evenly into the salsa).
Place the tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic into a food processor. Add the cilantro and salt. Pulse the food processor until the salsa comes to your desired consistency. Add freshly squeezed lime juice and stir.
Salsa will keep for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Freeze extra in air tight containers or freezer bags.
Sometimes something light and refreshing is just what I need. I have come to love an old classic again. Gelatin salads, or fluffs (that have whipped cream), were very popular when I was young but have seemed to lose popularity over the years. The title of salad is a loose one. A gelatin salad generally has some fruit, but gelatin is definitely the star. They are one of the easiest ways to have a summer (or anytime) dessert without the oven. This recipe is a fluff, which I prefer. It is just the perfect little treat at the end of the day.
I have tried lots of variations of lots of recipes during these hot summer months, and this one is definitely my family’s favorite. My father-in-law even said he was hoping I’d have some when we came over for dinner one night…that’s a win in my book!! We all love this gelatin fluff (or salad if it makes you feel better). Call it what you want, but I know you will love it too. ~Kathy
1 large package (4.6 oz.) Cook and Serve Vanilla Pudding
1 large package (6 oz.) Cherry Jell-O
2 ½ c. water
12 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
2 heaping c. strawberries, stems removed and sliced
2 c. mini marshmallows
In a sauce pan, combine dry pudding mix, Jell-O powder, and water over medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring to ensure all the powder is dissolved and well combined.
Remove from heat and pour carefully into a large mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool slightly.
Refrigerate until it has thickened (about 4 to 6 hours, but overnight is fine).
Once it has thickened, using a hand mixer beat until smooth and creamy.
Fold in Cool Whip (one and a half 8 oz. containers). This may take a couple of minutes to get well incorporated.