Copycat Taco Bell Quesadilla Sauce

Taco Bell Quesadilla Sauce (Copycat)

Ask almost anyone who’s had a Taco Bell quesadilla and they’ll agree: The sauce is BOSS. It provides that little extra something in your quesadilla that keeps you coming back. Quesadillas are so easy to make at home! Can the same be said for the sauce? Is it possible to make yourself? I say yes! 😀 What’s in Taco Bell’s Quesadilla sauce? I am not Taco Bell therefore I do not have the exact recipe, but we all know the result we crave. It starts with sour cream and mayo for a smooth and creamy base. Then, add some chopped

Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast: 13 ways

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Avocado Toast. Most of you have probably tried it. Here are a few variations to keep you from getting bored with this very healthy take on toast! First, a few ground rules. Start with some really good bread. Think whole grain, seedy, healthy. Words to live by: Good bread makes good toast. Next, pick a ripe avocado. Be sure to follow my avocado tips for cutting and storing your avocado. I generally use up to half an avocado per slice of bread. Avocado is very healthy, but the calories do add up. So, be

Baked corn tortilla chips

Baked Corn Tortilla Chips

Fresh baked, homemade chips = Yum! I don’t know about you, but my first impression of a Mexican restaurant is based on its tortilla chips. Bringing that freshly baked, crispy, salty taste home is even better. Fantastico! How to make your own baked tortilla chips I’ve been trying for some time to make these at home, many attempts until I finally found the right combination of techniques. Tip: While this may take you a couple attempts to get it right, you can combine a meal and cooking chips. Very efficient. For instance, when I make Burrito Pie or Cauliflower Tacos

Potstickers Chinese Dumplings

Potstickers (Chinese Pan Fried Dumplings)

I’ve been on a Chinese takeout kick lately, have you noticed? First Egg Rolls, then Vegetarian Egg Roll in a Bowl. Well, no Chinese menu is complete without Potstickers. For some, it’s the best thing offered. What is a Potsticker? It’s a type of Chinese dumpling cooked with a combination of frying and steaming. It is said that they were invented by mistake when a chef left his pan unattended too long and the dumplings  “stuck” to the pan. Turns out that fried dough makes the dumpling mighty tasty! Typically potstickers are filled with a combination of meat and vegetables

avocado egg salad

Avocado Egg Salad

March 2 is Dr. Seuss Day. What a great day to celebrate! And what a great story behind that fanciful character: Did you know? In May 1954, Life magazine published a report on illiteracy among school children which concluded that children were not learning to read because their books were boring. William Ellsworth Spaulding was the director of the education division at Houghton Mifflin (he later became its chairman), and he compiled a list of 348 words that he felt were important for first-graders to recognize. He asked Theodor Geisel (Dr Seuss) to cut the list to 250 words and

Nutella fat bomb

“Nutella” Fat Bombs

February 5 is World Nutella Day and I couldn’t let that pass without recognition! Nutella is so good! Chocolate and hazelnut in spreadable form, what could be better? Well, before I give up my seat on the Keto Bandwagon I thought perhaps a keto version of Nutella fat bombs is in order. Now, if you read the nutrition label for Nutella the first ingredient is…sugar. Hmm… To state the obvious, if you’re on ANY kind of diet, this will be a problem. Lucky for us, there are now sugar-free alternatives. I found the original recipe for “Keto Nutella Bars” at

marinated shrimp appetizer

Marinated Shrimp and Olives

(Playoff-worthy shrimp appetizer) This is the final week of the football season and I have loved doing an appetizer each week of the season. During these playoff weeks we expect our teams to “up their game” so our appetizers should follow suit! And for me, I’m going big with small: a shrimp appetizer! Now, you could just stick with cooked shrimp and cocktail sauce, a perennial favorite. But for playoff-worthy appetizers you can produce a snack with lots of wow and little work. The best kind 😏. I found this recipe at Taste of Home and – so easy! Start

strawberry fat bombs

Strawberry Fat Bombs

You’ve seen me rhapsodize about chocolate cream cheese bombs. Naturally, that led me to another favorite taste: strawberry. I thought the transition from chocolate to strawberry fat bombs would be relatively simple. And I was right, although it did take some experimentation. My first couple of approaches were unsuccessful. Something was missing. Somehow, the “strawbs” weren’t sweet enough. So I reached for a dependable, old school reliable: Jell-O! Sugar-free, of course, to keep things keto-friendly. The addition of strawberry Jell-O provided the added burst of flavor these strawberry fat bombs needed. Just as with the chocolate version, assembly is simple.

avocado fries

Avocado Fries

If you told me 10 years ago that I would absolutely LOVE avocado fries, I would have considered you crazy. But I really do love them, and in my quest for keto supremacy, I was led to making these “frites,” as the French call them. I’ve seen recipes several places. The one I follow is from tasteaholics. There are really only a few decisions involved in making this: 1) How many avocados would you like? 2) What’s your cooking method? And, 3) Dipping sauce or no? The original recipe is for 3 avocados, which makes a LOT of avocado fries.

keto chocolate

Chocolate Cheesecake Keto Bombs

If you’ve heard of “Keto” then you’ve probably also heard of “Fat Bombs.” Some, who don’t like using the “f word,” call them “Keto Bombs.” That’s the curious thing about the Keto diet. We have been told for years that fat is bad. Now, the opinion-tide is turning and the consensus is that SUGAR is bad. And fat?  Maybe not so bad. The heart of the Keto approach is to ensure you are consuming fat instead of sugar (carbohydrates). Crazy, huh? I’m not an expert by any means. All I know is that limiting carbohydrates really works for me. I’m

keto crackers

Keto Snack Crackers

I’ve really been enjoying all the low carb/keto recipes I’ve tried out this month and REALLY love the results! But let’s face it, nothing delivers like a cracker. There’s the crunch and the salt . . . Can’t be beat! That’s where these carb-friendly, keto crackers come in. They only require two ingredients (plus water) and are incredibly simple to make. Win! I found this recipe at Kirbie’s cravings and love how it comes together. One caveat: it does call for a food processor to mix, and I have only made this using my mini food processor. So I cannot

keto pecan cluster

Pecan Clusters

Keto/Low Carb Most traditional approaches to losing weight follow a simple formula: eat less, exercise more. But in my case, the more I exercise, the hungrier I get! Sigh . . . So, it’s crucial for me to find snacks that satisfy my urges and stay within my dietary goals. That’s what I love about keto – I get to eat what I love! That includes yummy sweet treats like these Pecan Clusters, found at heyketomama.com. It’s one of the few keto bombs I have found that are not based on cream cheese (like chocolate or strawberry). Just think: crunchy

tuna salad boats

Tuna Salad Boats

Sometimes, an appetizer is just a different way of presenting favorites. Tuna, a fish food favorite (say that fast five times!) and the deliciously sour crunch of a pickle make a fast and easy tuna boat that will sail through the shoals of just about anyone’s tastes. And, if you tack carefully, you can make a tuna salad that will navigate your nutritional goals. Using water-packed tuna and low-fat mayonnaise, you’ll find smooth sailing and low calories. Greek yogurt boosts protein. And, the choice of full-fat, low-fat or no-fat Greek yogurt give you the opportunity to ratchet up or down

Keto Cream Cheese roll-ups

Low Carb/Keto Cream Cheese Roll-ups

It’s almost a new year and for many of us that means new resolutions. According to Inc.com, the top 3 resolutions last year were: eat healthier, exercise more, and lose weight. Sounds about right. It usually takes the first two to accomplish the third. And for me, the best dietary approach to promote weight loss is to shed carbohydrates. Low-carb diets have been around for a while. But “keto” takes it to a whole ‘nother level. In the past, I avoided keto diets. My impression was that they were a version of Atkins, with an emphasis on bacon and red

Salmon Dip

Salmon Dip

Today’s recipe for Salmon Dip includes a small lesson in French that I learned while making this. I thought I’d share it with you. No, you don’t have to wear Coco Chanel or Dior while making this, but – why not? This recipe  for a classy salmon appetizer is so simple you actually could wear your best. Perfect for the holidays when you get caught short and have to quickly improvise. Many salmon dips use smoked salmon, which is very popular. This one, from saveur.com, uses baked salmon, which I think gives it a fresher taste. Comme ci, comme ca

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms

If you need a recipe sure to please, stuffed mushrooms work great. As in most of my recipes, I look for something that is easy and delivers great taste. That’s what I love about this recipe, courtesy of Pioneer Woman. Here are the ingredients: Mushrooms (duh 😀), Brie cheese, onions, parsley and garlic. Oh, and butter…don’t forget the butter. So good. I tried two different types of mushrooms for this: simple white button mushrooms, and Baby Bella or Cremini mushrooms. I fully expected the Cremini mushrooms to win the taste test, but after cooking I preferred the common white button

grinch holiday appetizer

Holiday Appetizer: Grinch Kabobs

Time for another cute holiday appetizer! Remember the penguins? If you enjoyed those little guys you’re gonna love these Christmas Grinch kabobs, courtesy of CNM Catering. Contrary to their personality, this Grinch appetizer is sweet because we can’t let the Grinch bring us down. Right? This Grinch’s sweetness comes naturally, from fruit. A little more sweet plus the cute comes courtesy of a mini marshmallow. The hat? A strawberry works well, although strawberries can be a challenge to find this time of year. So I tried both strawberries and raspberries. Looking closely at the picture you can see the two.

Cream cheese holiday appetizer

Holiday Appetizer: Cream Cheese Penguins

These penguins are adorable There’s something about holidays . .  . I just love cute food! Fourth of July, Halloween, and now Christmas. It can’t be helped, just have to go with it! This Cream Cheese Penguin appetizer is suitable all winter, really, which, BTW, seemed to start this year in October (Where’s my fall?!). I found this holiday appetizer on allrecipes.com and – I can’t help it – just makes me laugh whenever I look at it. It combines two sizes of black olives, cream cheese and carrots to make the most adorable little penguins. If you want to

Beer Cheese Dip

Beer Cheese Dip

I live in Wisconsin, the land of breweries, cheese factories and two of our favorite-est football teams: The Packers and the Badgers. So any recipe that combines beer and cheese during the football season has my attention. And what do we call such a recipe? Why, Beer Cheese Dip – as natural as a cheesehead at Lambeau Field. Now, I love a good Brie appetizer, but I know it’s not for everyone. And probably anything made with quinoa or feta cheese will scare off a few. Some think the ideal game time appetizer is beer and pretzels. Others say .

Raspberry Brie appetizer

Raspberry Brie with Honey and Almonds

Today’s appetizer is a great option for all upcoming holiday get-togethers. It combines warm and melty Brie with almonds and berries in a sweet-yet-tart sauce called Raspberry Brie with Honey and Almonds. This recipe comes from my neighbor, Karen, who brought it to our monthly Bridge-Club-Where-We-Don’t-Play-Bridge-But-Just-Eat-and-Talk get together. And it was devoured! I couldn’t wait to make it myself. The recipe, of course, starts with Brie, a nice base, with the many other flavors taking the taste to a higher level. To start, toast sliced almonds in the oven for 6-10 minutes. I chose 8 minutes and they were perfect.

pico avocado dip

Pico-Avocado Dip

A perfect last-minute dip So you’ve got people coming over and you need a quick snack, a dip of some kind. And perhaps you’ve got some ingredients for Pico de Gallo and guacamole, but not quite enough. Tah-dah! Pico-Avocado Dip to the rescue! Easy to customize The beauty of this recipe is that the base, the Pico de Gallo, customizes so easily giving you free rein to substitute. No cilantro? Skip it! No white onion? Use yellow! Forgot to buy jalapeno peppers? There’s probably a can of chilis or jalapenos buried somewhere in your pantry. Once you make this a

Feta dip

Lemony Whipped Feta Dip

If you like the distinctive taste of Feta cheese, then you will LOVE this Feta dip! With November here it’s time to up our game in the dip department. Be assured, this is not just a “game time decision” for football parties. This can be served any time. What I like is the “different” factor. Feta is not your standard cheese. It is designated a Protected Designation of Origin Product, meaning it can only be made a certain way and in a certain part of Greece to carry the Feta name. How to make whipped feta dip First, let’s talk

queso dip on plate

Queso Dip

(Spoiler alert: Velveeta rant ahead) I think we can all agree: Cheese is a wonderful thing (Why aren’t there more poems to cheese? Are there any poems to cheese?). And it’s even better when melted. Here’s a formula for cheese success: Melty cheese + Tex-Mex flavors = Queso Dip = Delicious! The only problem with recipes for Queso Dip is that 90+% seem to start with a so-called “processed cheese product.” Hmm.. Another curiously bland marketing name for the same thing is, “Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product.” You know where I’m going, right? Two words: “Vel” and “veeta.” Look – I’m

Silly Apple Bites

These Silly Apple Bites are delightful to all ages. Go ahead, take a look and try not to smile.

Pepperoni Cheese Ball

Pepperoni Cheese Ball

Skull shape for Halloween Halloween is coming so, of course, we need an appetizer! This Pepperoni Cheese Ball works great because, like all cheese balls, you can pick the shape. So go ahead and make a football for a tailgate party, but if you’re having a Halloween party, use your head . . . or skull shape instead. Ingredients for Pepperoni Cheese Ball I adapted this recipe from sugardale.com and it’s a crowd pleaser. Almost all cheeseballs start with cream cheese and shredded cheese, but this one adds pepperoni and a packet of Italian dressing seasoning to rev up the

mini bell peppers

Mini Bell Pepper Poppers

Turn mini bell peppers into a tasty appetizer or side dish for any Mexican-themed meal.

cilantro lime sauce

Cilantro-Lime Sauce

The right sauce can make a big difference Sometimes all you need is a great sauce to take a dish from good to great. Some people like a little, others a lot, so a sauce on the side pleases all palates. The idea for this cilantro-lime sauce was inspired by Café Rio’s Creamy Tomatillo dressing. Like so many others, I am a big fan of Café Rio. For those not familiar, Café Rio is a fantastic casual restaurant chain based in Salt Lake City. My daughter lives there, and a Café Rio visit is mandatory every time I visit. Hey

Cheese Ball, football

Cheese (Foot)Ball

Everyone likes a good cheese ball I once saw someone refer to a cheese ball as the Brad Pitt of appetizers: always looks good, everyone likes it, and you’re always glad to see it. Sounds about right, yes? 😀 A cheese ball is quite simple and fun to make (certainly easier than getting Brad Pitt to your party) and easy to customize to individual tastes. This particular recipe is a product of combining my recipe cards with my mother’s. Cheese balls are easy to form into shapes Cheese ball fun comes from forming it into different shapes. Of course, the

apple dip

Apple Brickle Dip

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. So dip that apple in something delicious for a tasty treat.

Avocado Dip

Avocado Dip

This avocado dip comes together in 10 minutes for a delicious and healthy option! Serve it with tortilla chips or as a lettuce wrap for a low carb option.

Salsa

Roasted Salsa

Got tomatoes? Tomatoes everywhere! Every farm stand, grocery store and farmer’s market is bursting with fresh, ripe, luscious tomatoes. Maybe you grow your own! If you are scouring cookbooks and the “Internets” for ideas to use these beauties, roasted salsa is easy and fun. How hot do you want your roasted salsa I found this in the August issue of Bon Appetit and although it took me three tries to get salsa the way I like it, that was the fun! Making roasted salsa at home provides free range for individual creativity and preferences. For the first batch, I followed

Energy Bites

No-Bake Energy Bites

A nutritious snack Once Labor Day is over, the pace of life picks up: It’s back to school for the kids; it’s back-to-school shopping for the parents; there’s more traffic, longer lines at the stores. Time for a shortcut – and a nutritious energy boost. Energy bites, adapted from allrecipes.com, are just the trick. They take minutes to make and are so tasty it’s easy to forget how healthy they are. Ingredients needed for energy bites Ingredients? Peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips, flaxseed meal, honey and vanilla. My granddaughter calls these “cookies,” and they really are like a cookie, only

taco dip, packers

Packer Party Taco Dip

Perfect for football season This week marks the start of the 100th season of the National Football League, or NFL. I’ve lived and died through so many Packer games, it feels like a century. Traditionally, each year in the NFL, the first regular season game is hosted by the defending Super Bowl champion (*Bonus question: Can you name that team?). However, this year, the season kickoff game will be fittingly played by, who else? the Green Bay Packers vs. the Chicago Bears, one of the oldest rivalries in the NFL. So, of course, a special game-day snack is required! Everyone

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Guacamole

Guacamole is everyone’s favorite with chips July 31 was National Avocado Day and probably everyone was surprised that I did not publish a guacamole recipe. Well, I saved it because this week the NFL begins the first pre-season football games of the year. In this house, on football Sunday, we call chips and dip “lunch”. To kick off the pre-season, let’s start with Guacamole. Originally from Mexico, the word guacamole is derived from two words in the Aztec language: ahuacatl (avocado) and molli (sauce). (Wikipedia)So basically it is avocado sauce. We of course use it as a dip 😀 Guacamole

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American Flag Taco Dip

Patriotic for the 4th of July I don’t exactly know why, but I simply LOVE to make red, white and blue food for the Fourth of July! When my kids were young, it was layered Jell-O. At some point, I graduated to layered cakes and other foods. No matter what direction I take, I always want to have at least one item with the right colors on July 4th and that’s why I have been eagerly anticipating this week leading up to the Fourth – and now it’s here! YAY! That is my theme from now until Independence Day –

Roasted Chickpeas

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

Chickpeas are great in a Buddha bowl! As I stated in my last post, I am focusing this week on ingredients for Buddha bowls: a grain, a green and a bean. Sometimes the bean can be a challenge, so I was really happy to discover that you can make roasted chickpeas for a crunchy treat. They can be eaten as a quick snack anytime you are in the mood. How do you make the roasted chickpeas crispy? I’ve tried a couple different methods to accomplish a nice crunchy chickpea. The ingredient list is short: canned chickpeas, olive oil, and seasonings.