Lately I’ve been looking for new healthy dessert recipes. I love something sweet, but I want to take care of my body at the same time. This Greek yogurt lemon pudding is a perfect everyday dessert that’s light and refreshing, with calcium, protein and nothing artificial. It takes literally 5 minutes to make, with only 3 ingredients.
I got this recipe from a cooking class I attended on a recent trip to Greece with my husband and 18-year-old daughter. The cooking class was one of the highlights of our trip! If you are ever in Athens, I recommend that you check it out. The teacher, Fofi, was a gracious hostess with a wealth of knowledge about Greek food. We made zucchini balls with tzatziki, dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), Greek salad, spanikopita (spinach pie), roasted lamb with potatoes, and this Greek yogurt lemon pudding. All this in 2 1/2 hours! At the end of the class, we got to eat the food at outdoor tables while listening to traditional Greek music.
This Greek yogurt lemon pudding is ultra-easy and was perfect at the end of our big meal. I made it again soon after I got home, because I’ve become such a fan of Greek yogurt. The ingredients for this recipe are simple: one large container of plain Greek yogurt, one can of sweetened condensed milk, and one lemon.
I’m used to cooking for a crowd, but this week everyone has gone out of town except me and my teenage daughter. With just two women in the house, I’ve been making easy, light meals like this 10-minute wonton soup. It’s another “Coscto hack” recipe that you can throw together in less time than it takes to get through the line at the drive-through. Cooking from scratch is something I love to do, but sometimes circumstances call for something ultra-easy.
During the past week we’ve celebrated a high school graduation, bought season passes to the water park, and fired up the grill at least three times. I guess you could say summer is underway! I love the tastes of summer, especially tangy citrus flavors like lime and lemon. I developed this recipe for Chipotle Lime Honey Vinaigrette to go with my Chipotle Lime Chicken Kabobs, but it goes great with any kind of salad, grilled fish or shrimp.
There are so many flavor directions you can go with a basic vinaigrette, but this combination of chipotle, lime and honey is one of my favorites. This dressing is tart, sweet and spicy without being overpowering. It’s fresher and less expensive than bottled dressing.
I love sour cream on all types of Mexican food – its creamy coolness tames the heat from chiles and adds richness and tang to tacos, burritos, nachos, tamales, and lots of other dishes. Sour cream also makes an excellent base for a flavorful sauce, like this Chipotle Lime Crema.
I developed this recipe as a dipping sauce for my Chipotle Lime Chicken Kabobs, but it also tastes great with Allie’s Black Bean Tacos, Cilantro Lime Shredded Chicken or just about any of our Mexican or Southwest recipes. It’s actually a faux crema – true Mexican crema is made with heavy cream and buttermilk, not sour cream. This sauce only takes about five minutes to make, and you can serve it with fish, shrimp, chicken, pork, beef, beans or vegetables.
I’ll confess I’ve never been the biggest fan of ranch dressing – at least the store bought kind. If a recipe called for ranch dressing or a packet of ranch seasoning, I used to just skip it. Once I started making homemade ranch seasoning and dressing mix, my attitude changed. The homemade version is super-easy and tastes much better than commercial packets.
It takes less than five minutes to make homemade ranch dressing mix or seasoning mix, so I make both, one to use for salad dressing and another to use for chicken, vegetables or other recipes. Both mixes are made with staple ingredients you might already have in the pantry, but the dressing mix includes a secret ingredient, powdered buttermilk, that makes it extra convenient.
Ranch is the most popular salad dressing in the United States, but at our house Italian salad dressing is a lot more popular. It’s probably because my husband’s family is half Italian (on his mother’s side), and they love to celebrate their Italian roots. Early in my marriage, I learned that the secret to my mother-in-law’s wonderful “homemade” salad dressing was Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix, and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s pretty good made according to the package directions, but I think it can be improved on just a little bit. It’s the basis for this Better-Than-Olive-Garden Copycat Italian Dressing recipe.
I don’t know how many times I’ve walked by one of those food carts that sell cinnamon almonds and just had to stop and enjoy the amazing aroma – I love to smell roasted cinnamon almonds almost more than I love eating them. This recipe for sugar & spice pecans will fill your kitchen with the scent of toasted nuts, brown sugar, vanilla and spices, but with a savory touch of salt and a little kick of pepper.
Sweet, salty and spicy is an addictive combination. When I make these pecans, I usually find my family hovering around them as they cool on a sheet of waxed paper, waiting until they’re ready to eat. I make these pecans as a topping for salads, especially my Berry Spinach Salad with Feta, but they’re also excellent by themselves as a snack.
I love salsa: salsa roja, corn salsa, pico de gallo, mango salsa, I’d be happy to eat salsa every single day. But I think salsa verde might just be my favorite. I bought salsa verde for years without thinking about making it myself, for some reason I always thought it was going to be difficult or require complicated ingredients. Last year my family planted a large garden for the first time and we made salsa verde from our own homegrown tomatillos. It was hands down the best salsa verde I’ve ever had, and I couldn’t believe how easy it was. After that summer I’ve never gone back to store-bought salsa verde.
While traditional red salsa is tomato based, salsa verde is tomatillo based. If you’ve never cooked with or purchased tomatillos, they’re those small green tomatoes with husks on them. They’re not actually tomatoes, just a member of the tomato family and they have a bright, fruity flavor that I think comes out especially well when they’re roasted.
Microwave popcorn is a popular snack with our family. The smell of corn popping brings people running from all corners of the house, hoping for a “sample,” or maybe a little bit more. People in our family have been known to hide their stash of microwave popcorn in dresser drawers and closets, just to keep it out of other family members’ greedy hands.
Reading the ingredient list on a package of commercial microwave popcorn might send people running in the other direction, though. Most microwave popcorn contains the chemical preservative TBHQ, and the strong “buttery” taste and aroma of some microwave popcorn comes from chemical flavorings, such as Pentanedione.
A better alternative is to make your own microwave popcorn, so you control the ingredients. The cost is a lot lower than commercial microwave popcorn, and you can experiment with creative seasonings and flavor combinations. Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s lower in calories than most microwave popcorn – 30 calories per cup, compared to 64 calories per cup for “movie theater butter” microwave popcorn.
Ah, Spanish Rice. It makes me think of one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in my home town – the type of place that serves huge combo plates of Spanish Rice, refried beans and carnitas, all covered in cheese. For years I ate Spanish Rice in restaurants and for some reason was overwhelmed by the idea of making it at home, but once I looked at a few recipes, I saw how easy it really was. When I finally made it myself, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done it before.