Mediterranean Layer Dip!

Mediterranean Layer Dip!

This dip is a personal favorite.  You’ll be invited to more parties if you bring it!  This colorful appetizer is not only tasty, but healthy to boot.  A good source of fiber and protein, hummus is very versatile and vegan-friendly.  Chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions add color while feta and Kalamata olives boost the Mediterranean equity.  Serve with whole grain crackers, pita triangles or vegetables.  Leftovers are great wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.  Opa!


2 (10 oz) tubs of prepared hummus (original or garlic flavor)

15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

15 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

½ cucumber, cut into small chunks

¼ cup feta cheese

¼ red onion, chopped

2 tsp. olive oil

1 ½ tsp. oregano



  1. In a 9” pie plate, spread both tubs of hummus on the bottom of the plate.
  2. Layer tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and onion on top of the hummus.
  3. Sprinkle feta cheese on top of the vegetables and olives.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle oregano after the oil and serve.


Makes 12 servings.  Nutrition facts per serving:  130 calories, 6.9 grams fat, 14 grams carbohydrate, 5.7 grams protein, 5 grams fiber, 3 mg cholesterol, 270 mg sodium.

Honey glazed ginger carrots

Honey glazed ginger carrots

This holiday season, try something new that won’t wreck your waistline (like sweet potato casserole can).  Carrots are not only high in beta-carotene (a nutrient needed for healthy eyes and skin), they’re also a decent source of fiber and are naturally sweet.  Ginger paste was used in this recipe, but ground ginger would give a similar taste and texture.

Don’t shun canned vegetables.  You can buy them unsalted or drain and rinse them to reduce the sodium content by about 30%.  Libby’s canned carrots make the perfect healthy side dish.  They offer great taste and texture and are convenient, affordable and nutritious.  You won’t be disappointed with this recipe!  To boost texture, add chopped pecans or walnuts.  This also adds mono-unsaturated fat, protein and fiber to the dish.  I received free products from Libby’s to develop this recipe.  For more ideas, check out www.getbacktothetablecom.


1 (14.5 oz. can) Libby’s carrot coins

2 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. ginger paste

1 Tbsp. honey

½ tsp cinnamon

Pinch of salt


In a medium pan, melt butter and add ginger and honey.  Stir to make a sauce.  Drain and rinse carrots and add to the ginger sauce.  Coat the carrots in sauce and heat on medium heat for ~5 minutes.  Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.  Serve warm.

Makes 4 (1/2 cup) servings.  Nutrition facts per serving:  94 calories, 5.8 grams fat, 10.7 grams carbohydrate, 7.1 grams sugar, .7 grams protein, 1.5 grams fiber, 15 mg cholesterol, 79 mg sodium

Broccoli slaw and ham

Broccoli slaw and ham

I am a huge fan of broccoli slaw.  If you’ve never used it, it’s a combination of shredded broccoli stalks, shredded carrots and red cabbage.  I can usually locate it in Kroger next to bagged salads or containers of snap peas.  I love the convenience, fresh taste and versatility of the stuff, not to mention it being a nutritional powerhouse. Broccoli slaw is high in vitamin C, beta-carotene and potassium and can be used in in stir fries, fish tacos or cold salads.

Recently, I had some broccoli slaw in my fridge, but not enough to make anything significant for my family.  So I searched my fridge for what I could add in and came up with this simple salad. If you’re out of ham, turkey breast would work as well.


1 cup broccoli slaw

1 slice lean ham

1 tsp. light ranch dressing


Place broccoli slaw in a small bowl.  Rip up pieces of ham and add to the slaw.  Add ranch dressing and mix.  Voila!  You’ve got yourself a tasty side dish in seconds.

Makes 1 serving.  Nutrition facts per serving: 89 calories, 3.9 grams of fat,7.3 grams of protein, 7.6 grams of carbohydrate, 2.8 grams of fiber, 17 mg cholesterol, 446 mg sodium.  


Simple Indian Dal

Simple Indian Dal

This simple dish is a staple of Indian cuisine and is perfect for a cool, autumn day.  It is an excellent source of dietary fiber, potassium, protein, fiber and iron- a nutrient that is difficult to obtain in vegetarian diets.  Serve it over rice or with a loaf of warm, crusty bread or naan- traditional Indian bread.  You won’t be disappointed!  #autumnbites


1 cup red lentils
1 yellow or white onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. ground coriander seed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (15 oz. can) diced tomatoes
2 cups water
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp. cilantro (chopped, optional)


  1. Cook lentils according to instructions and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan and sautee onions and garlic.
  3. Add ginger, mustard seed, cumin and coriander seed. Add the diced tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft.
  4. Add 2 cups water and the lentils to the mixture and cook for another 5-6 minutes.

Makes 6 servingsNutrition facts per serving:  181 calories, 5.6 fat, 9.4 grams protein, 24.7 grams carbohydrate, 11.2 grams fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 20 mg sodium.

Orange (as in pumpkin) is the new black

Orange (as in pumpkin) is the new black

Fall is by far my favorite season.  I love experiencing the cooler temperatures, watching leaves change color and getting psyched up for Halloween.  I always enjoy the elaborate Halloween scenes my neighbors put together and getting “booed” with some treats on our doorstep.  In addition, it’s pumpkin season!  Those beautiful orange fruits are not just for Jack O’ Lanterns.

You’ve probably noticed everything from pumpkin dip to ravioli and the trend is not going away soon.  Pumpkins are part of a family of fruits and vegetables known as the Cucurbitaceae.  These include cucumbers, squash and cantaloupe.  The pumpkin gourd comes in many varieties and not all are orange.  The orange variety provides a serious dose of beta-carotene, folate, potassium and plant-fighting chemicals known as polyphenolic antioxidants.  These plant compounds help prevent disease.  Two important antioxidants include zea-xanthin and lutein, nutrients found to prevent cataracts and reduce the development of macular degeneration.

Pumpkin is also a good source of fiber and water, which help curb your appetite and may aid in weight reduction.  Pumpkin may also boost your immunity because of its high vitamin C content and beta-carotene.  You’ll need a strong immune system to fight off colds and flu this season!  The antioxidant nutrients in pumpkin may also reduce your risk for certain cancers including prostate and lung cancer. In addition, eating pumpkin (as long as it’s in a healthy form), may improve blood sugar levels in those with diabetes.

Below is a delicious pumpkin dip to try this season compliments of Cindy Silver, a Registered Dietitian in North Carolina who specializes in retail nutrition.

Tasty Pumpkin Dip:


1/2 can pumpkin puree (4 oz).

4 oz. low fat Cream cheese (Neufchatel)

2 Tbsp. real maple syrup

1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients together and store up to 4 days in the refrigerator.  Serve with apple slices, pretzel rods or whole grain crackers.

Makes 4 (1/4 cup) servings.  Nutrition facts per serving:  63 calories, .5 grams fat, 4.4 grams protein, 10.6 grams carbohydrate, .8 grams fiber, 2 mg cholesterol, 157 mg sodium.




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