Lentil Taco "Meat"


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I have not tried this recipe yet, but I'm posting it because it sounds super yummy and I have several friends who swear by it. They use this in burritos and tacos, on nachos.... basically anywhere you'd use taco meat!

1c chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp canola oil
1c dry lentils, rinsed
1 T chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
2 1/2 c veggie broth (might need slightly more)
1c salsa

In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add lentils, chili powder, cumin, and oregano; cook and stir for about a minute. Add broth bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Uncover; cook for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Mash lentils slightly. Stir in salsa. Serve as taco "meat."

Texas Caviar


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My mother was the first person I knew to ever make this and though, it has been several years since that first taste, it is still a family and friend favorite. This recipe is super simple, just follow the directions on the the ingredients and toss together. Buy some Tostito Scoops and you're set.

1 can of black- eye peas, drain and rinse
1/2 small sweet onion chopped
3 green onions chopped
1 small bottle Italian dressing
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 can shoepeg corn, drained
1 can Rotel tomatoes

Mix together. Give it an hour to come together and serve with tortilla chips.

Rosemary bread a la Macaroni Grill



If you've ever had the bread from Macaroni Grill, then you'll love this. If not, get ready for something wonderful. This is an excellent bread to dip into olive oil. The mixture we love best is EVOO with a little garlic salt, grated parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper. (Ground black pepper will work in a pinch!)

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  • Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select white bread cycle; press Start.

Best Machine Bread - White Bread



Notice that this recipe calls for you to dissolve yeast in water and sugar mixture for 10 minutes before you add the rest of the ingredients which is different from conventional machine bread thinking. With that said, you'll get the lightest, fluffy loaf of bread.

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 tbsp white sugar
2-1/4 tsp bread yeast (or 1 packet of yeast)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups of bread flour
1-1/2 tsp salt

Place the water, sugar and yeast in the pan of the bread machine. Let the yeast dissolve and foam for 10 minutes. Add the oil, flour and salt to the yeast. Select Basic or White Bread setting, and press Start.

Garlic Cheese Quick Bread


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  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (I actually use a little less than 1/4 c)
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cheese. In another large bowl, beat together egg, milk and oil. Stir the flour/cheese mixture into the egg mixture, stirring until just moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

Tomato Pie


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  • It's kind of funny. I don't like ripe tomatoes, but I love this dish. Maybe it's the combination of basil and bacon. Whatever the reason, we just love this dish! I often pair this with roast chicken, turkey or pork although it makes a fabulous main dish on its own. I normally leave the green onions out on this dish, but kept it in the recipe for you.

  • 1 (9 inch) deep dish pie crust
  • 4 large tomatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound bacon - cooked, drained, and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In alternating layers, fill pastry shell with tomatoes, basil, scallions, bacon, garlic powder, oregano, and red pepper. In a small bowl, mix cheese with mayonnaise. Spread mixture over top of pie. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil from top of pie and bake an additional 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Ham and potato soup


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There is nothing better than a pot of warm ham and potato soup on a chilly winter day. This recipe is so, so good. I just top it with a few scallions, a little bacon bits and shredded cheese for that extra bit of yummy goodness.

  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
  • 5 tablespoons light butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 1% milk

  1. Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.

Green Bean Bundles


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This is one of our favorite side dishes for the the Holidays. It would also be a great side dish for an elegant dinner, not that we have those that often with 2 small children.

I prefer the French (Haricot Vert) green beans because they are a little thinner so they don't have to cook as long, but if French green beans aren't available, you can use any old type of green beans, just parboil for 3-5 minutes and then place in ice bath to stop the the cooking. Once they are cool, wrap in bacon and bake.

1-1/2 pounds French/Haricot Vert green beans

3/4 pound bacon, cut in half

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Wrap 7-10 green beans with bacon and place in prepared dish. Repeat, using all the green beans and bacon. Combine butter with brown sugar. Pour over green bean bundles and sprinkle with garlic salt. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 25 minutes.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup


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My friend, Jill, came up with this Chicken and Wild Rice Soup that rocks my world! Besides being low cal and low fat, it is SIMPLE and that is a plus. Really it's so good that I thought I'd do a shout out here. Look below...

You know you want some.

Ok, so here's the recipe:

1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
3 cans RF cream of chicken soup
4 cups FF chicken broth
1 boxes long grain & wild rice mix with seasoning

Place chicken on bottom of crock pot. Add veggies, rice and seasoning packet from rice. Pour liquids over the top, cook on low 6-8 hours. Shred the chicken and stir well. Makes 12 cups.

Nutrition Info per serving:
Calories: 144
Fat: 3.14
Fiber: 0.9

IF you'd like to see more of Jill's Creations, click here.

Peach Slush Punch


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This is the best punch I have ever had. It is wonderful for any sort of shower or kids party and it's so easy to make!

2 pkg. peach jello
2 cups boiling water
1-1/2 cup sugar
1 (46 oz) can of pineapple juice
1 liter of Sprite

Dissolve jello in hot water; add sugar and pineapple juice plus enough water to fill 1 gallon milk carton. Pour into milk carton and freeze overnight. Approximately 3 hours before needed, take out of freezer and put into punch bowl. (You will have to cut milk carton open to get all of it out.) Add 1 liter bottle of Sprite and stir to make slush.

Make 36 small cups.

Southern Mama's Cornbread



This is what true Southern cornbread is. It's not sweet, but it's wonderfully crunchy and perfect with just about anything. My mother was a master with cornbread. I have often tried to make mine just like hers but I have never been successful. This is the closest I have gotten. Enjoy!


mixing bowl
9 or 10-inch cast iron skillet


1-1/2 cup self rising cornmeal
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1-1/2 cups buttermilk (see instructions for making it below)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (or bacon drippings if you happen to have any)


1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

2. Stir together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in mixing bowl. Add the beaten eggs and the buttermilk, stirring just until all the dry ingredients are wet. Do not overmix.

3. Add vegetable oil to the cast iron skillet and place in the hot oven for 3 to 4 minutes. You want the skillet hot, but you don’t want the oil to start smoking.

4. Remove hot pan from oven. Make sure that the pan is thoroughly coated with the oil, bottom and sides, then pour the excess oil into the batter and stir. Pour batter into the hot pan.

5. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.


If you do not keep buttermilk on hand (I usually don’t), you can make your own using white vinegar and milk. The ratio is 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup of skim milk (minus 1 tablespoon). So for this recipe, I use about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of vinegar. About 10 to 15 minutes before you make the cornbread, put the vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Add skim milk to the 1-1/4 cup line and allow it to sit at room temperature.

Chicken Primavera with Parmesan Pasta


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One of the best things about living in the South is shopping at Publix. They have cooking demonstrations, and more importantly, they give you an opportunity to taste their recipes. Last week, I tried their Chicken Primavera with Parmesan Pasta and really liked it. I changed up a few things, and this is my version of it.

Time saving tricks: Cook pasta while preparing/cooking Chicken Primavera. Use partially frozen chicken breasts and thin slice prior to cooking. I also subbed fresh garlic for some jarred mince garlic on hand. Use can also buy pre-diced onions and pre-sliced carrots to cut down on time as well.

Makes 6 large servings.

Chicken Primavera
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp EVOO
2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning, divided
1/2 c dry white wine
2 med yellow squash
1 med zucchini
1 c fresh green beans
3 fresh cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 c matchstick carrots
1 c diced onion
1 (14.5 oz) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes undrained

- Preheat large sauté pan on medium high 2-3 minutes, Season chicken w/salt and pepper. Place 1 tbsp oil in pan, then add chicken, cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until browned. While chicken cooks, chop parsley.

- Add parsley, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning and wine to chicken. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer 6-8 minutes.

- Cut squash and zucchini in half lengthwise; then cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Trim end of beans; cut into 2-inch long lengths. Chop garlic.

- Remove chicken from pan. Add tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, and garlic to pan; cook 1 minute. Stir in remaining ingredients (except tomatoes), cook and stir 5-7 minutes or until veggies begin to soften.

- Stir in tomatoes; cook 4-5 minutes or until veggies are tender. Transfer to serving dish. Slice chicken, arrange over veggies and serve with pasta.

Parmesan Pasta
12oz whole grain pasta
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp herb garlic butter

- Prepare pasta according to directions. Drain pasta; return to sauce pan. Stir in cheese and butter. Serve.

Warm Turnip Green Dip


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This recipe is a recipe from Southern Living that a friend introduced me to. I don't like turnip greens, but I love this recipe. It's like a spicier spinach dip and has been devoured at every time I make it. I usually serve it with Townhouse Corn Bread Crackers, but multigrain crackers or tortilla chips will work as well.

I also try to make it a bit healthier by subbing low fat items instead of the full fat versions. Enjoy!

Prep: 15 min., Cook: 20 min., Broil: 5 min. Transfer the dip to a 1- or 2-qt. slow cooker set on WARM so guests can enjoy this creamy dip throughout your party. To make it spicier, serve your favorite brand of hot sauce on the side.

Yield: Makes 4 cups


  • 5 center cut lower fat bacon slices, chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (16-oz.) package frozen chopped turnip greens, thawed
  • 16 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 (8-oz.) container light sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan


1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 Tbsp. drippings in Dutch oven.

2. Sauté onion and garlic in hot drippings 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of Dutch oven. Stir in turnip greens, next 4 ingredients, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Cook, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes or until cream cheese is melted and mixture is thoroughly heated. Transfer to a lightly greased 1 1/2-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

3. Broil 6 inches from heat 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Sprinkle evenly with bacon.

Apple cider vinaigrette dressing


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I've been on a homemade salad dressing kick for a while now and this is my absolute favorite dressing. It's an apple cider vinaigrette dressing and it's awesome!

The salad consists of mixed greens, thinly sliced purple or yellow sweet onions, thinly sliced cucumber, halved grape tomatoes, feta cheese, a sprinkling of walnuts and the apple cider vinaigrette. YUM!

The dressing:

2 tablespoons Grey Poupon Mild & Creamy Dijon Mustard (Made with white wine)

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1. Whisk the mustard, sugar, salt, pepper and vinegar together in a bowl.

2. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly, until thickened.

3. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

4. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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