Simple Steps: Tailgating Treats

September 28th, 2017 | Posted by Kimberly Vanderpoel in Recipes - (0 Comments)

The chill in the air and the leaves changing colors can only mean one thing…it’s tailgating season. Take these simple steps to healthy treats and enjoy the pre-game!

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip


1/2 (8 oz) Package fat-free cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or low-fat sour cream)

1 1/2 tbs Spicy ranch dry salad dressing & seasoning mix (or the regular ranch dry mix will work)

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or blue cheese)

1/2 cup Red Hot™ Buffalo Wing Sauce (more or less depending on desired heat)

1 1/2 cup chicken, cooked and shredded (or pulled)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a small baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients. Add the pulled chicken, and stir until well combined.

Spoon mixture into baking dish, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until dip is warmed through and cheese is melted. Serve warm with baked chips, celery sticks, or other veggies!

Recipe source: Dashing Dish

Skinny Baked Sweet Potato Chips


1 large sweet potato, peeled

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

¼ tsp salt


Preheat the oven to 225° F, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Using a mandoline slicer, slice the sweet potato chips very thinly. On a slicer with three thickness settings, use the second.

Line the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheets, and lightly brush the tops with oil.

Season evenly with the salt.

Bake for 1 to 1½ hours, until the chips are crispy, rotating halfway through. Allow the chips to rest for 5 minutes before eating.

Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Video Demonstration

Recipe and Video Source:

Petite Pecan Tarts


8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed

2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated
margarine, melted and slightly cooled

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2/3 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch salt

1 egg, beaten

1 egg white, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare two mini muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.

Place one sheet of the phyllo dough on a cutting board. Spritz with nonstick cooking spray. Repeat with 3 more layers, spraying between each layer. Cut the dough into circles using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter or cut into 2 inch squares using a knife or pizza cutter.
Place one piece of dough into each well of the muffin pans. Repeat with the remaining 4 sheets of dough.

Combine all the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Spoon one tablespoon of the batter into each prepared dough shell. Bake for 23-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature. If serving the following day, refrigerate after cooled.

Makes 24 tarts, one serving each

Recipe Source: SparkPeople

When it comes to healthy meals~simple wins every time! When you’re short on time, instead of stopping for fast food, swing through your grocery store and pick up a rotisserie chicken, add some fresh cut fruit and veggies, or if some frozen vegetables and you have a meal.

If you are lucky and have left overs, here are a few ideas for other meals:

Shred the leftover chicken and make quesadillas.
Add some barbeque sauce for BBQ chicken sandwiches.
Add the shredded chicken to a lettuce salad.
Mix a can of low sodium, low-fat cream of chicken soup with a half cup of skim milk, add chicken~great for sandwiches or on top of mashed potatoes.

And a few additional recipes:


  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken meat
  • 3 big pieces jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed, drained and cut lengthwise into thin strips
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced thinly
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup sliced blanched almonds, roasted
  • 2 tbsp capers, with brine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, roasted peppers, red onions, almonds, capers and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste
  2. Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, honey and mustard in a blender and blend until emulsified. Pour in with the chicken mixture; stir to coat.
  3. Serve cold and enjoy!

Recipe Source:

Rotisserie Chicken Skillet

  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken, or 3 ½ cups cooked chicken meat
  • ½ cup orzo pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups carrots cut on the bias
  • 1 cup onion cut into thick strips
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Pick the meat from the cooked chicken and roughly cut up and set aside.
  2. In a large dry skillet pan over medium high cook orzo until lightly browned; about 3 minutes stirring frequently.
  3. Remove browned orzo to a bowl and add oil to hot pan.
  4. Add carrots and onion and sauté for 4 minutes.
  5. Add orzo back in along with stock, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cover and reduce heat to a medium simmer and simmer to cook the orzo, about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Uncover and add parsley, peas, and cream along with cooked chicken.
  7. Increase heat and cook just to bring the dish to temperature and incorporate the ingredients.
  8. Serve with grated Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Recipe Source:

Buffalo Chicken Flatbreads

  • 4 flatbreads
  • 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1/4 cup green onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup buffalo sauce + 1 tablespoon
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup bleu cheese
  • 1/3 cup Stonyfield Plain Greek Yogurt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Pre-bake flatbreads for 2 minutes. While the flatbreads are baking combine the shredded chicken, 1 tablespoon diced green onions, 1/4 cup buffalo sauce and minced celery stalk. Mix until well combined.
  3. Remove the flatbreads from the oven, divide the whipped cream cheese among the four flatbreads and smear on each flatbread. Divide the buffalo chicken mixture, shredded cheddar cheese, and bleu cheese among the four flatbreads evenly. Bake the flatbreads for 5 minutes or until golden brown in color.
  4. While the flatbreads are baking combine the Stonyfield Plain Greek Yogurt with 1 tablespoon of buffalo sauce. Set to the side once combined.
  5. Remove the flatbreads from the oven, cut the flatbreads, sprinkle the remaining green onions on top of the flatbread. Place the greek yogurt buffalo sauce in a baggy, cut the tip off one of the corners of the baggy and pipe the sauce on top of the flatbread. Serve immediately.

One of the best thing about August is fresh tomatoes!

Here are a few of our favorite tomato recipes:



Watch how to make this recipe.

Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter. Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Source: Rachel Ray Capress Salad




6 large ears white corn, husked

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1/2 cup (packed) thinly sliced fresh basil

5 plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Cut corn kernels from cob. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add corn; sauté until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add half of basil.

Transfer corn mixture to large bowl. Cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil and remaining basil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; chill 3 hours or up to 8 hours.

Recipe Source: Corn Tomato Basil Salad



Fresh Tomato Salsa (Pico de Gallo)

 2-3 medium sized fresh tomatoes (from 1 lb to 1 1/2 lb), stems removed

1/2 red onion

2 serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño chile (stems, ribs, seeds removed), less or more to taste

Juice of one lime

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of dried oregano (crumble in your fingers before adding), more to taste

Pinch of ground cumin, more to taste

Roughly chop the tomatoes, chiles, and onions.

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse only a few times, just enough to finely dice the ingredients, not enough to purée.

Place in a serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the chilies make the salsa too hot, add some more chopped tomato. If not hot enough, carefully add a few of the seeds from the chilies, or add a little more ground cumin.

Let sit for an hour for the flavors to combine.



Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

1/2 pound ripe tomatoes, at room temperature (3 to 4 medium)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 basil leaves, thinly sliced

Six 1/2-inch thick slices Italian or French bread

2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole

Halve tomatoes then remove and discard the majority of the seeds. Chop tomatoes into 1/4-inch chunks then add to a medium bowl with a generous pinch of salt, small pinch of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the basil. Stir and let sit 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium heat or prepare an outdoor grill for medium heat. Drizzle bread slices with remaining tablespoon of oil and grill 2 to 3 minutes on each side until warmed through and grill marks appear.

Rub one side of the bread while still warm with garlic — two to three strokes per bread slice should do it.

Stir the tomatoes one more time, taste then adjust with more salt or pepper as needed. Spoon a generous amount onto each bread slice. Drizzle a little of the juice remaining at the bottom of the bowl over tomatoes and enjoy.

Recipe Video

Recipe Tips and Source

How about you? Do you love fresh tomatoes? What is your favorite tomato recipe?


Last Sunday was National Hamburger Day, so we thought today’s Try It Thursday should be all about burgers.

The term hamburger is derived from the city of Hamburg, Germany, where beef from Hamburg cows was minced and formed into patties to make Hamburg steaks.

The origin of the hamburger in the United States remains debated, although most claim that the hamburger originated between 1880 and 1900.  Since then, this beef patty in a bun has become a global staple of the fast-food diet and the backyard cookout.  In recent years, these traditional beef patties have been transformed to include other meat and vegetarian options such as bison, ostrich, deer, chicken, turkey, veggies, tofu and bean patties. National Hamburger Day is celebrated annually on May 28th.1

Here are a few burger recipes to try:

Classic Veggie Burger

  • 2 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. mayonnaise, divided
  • 3/4 c. panko bread crumbs
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 4 slices white cheddar
  • 3 tbsp. ketchup
  • 4 Hamburger buns
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 4 Romaine lettuce leaves
  1. In a food processor, pulse black beans, onion, and garlic until finely chopped.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and combine with egg, 2 tablespoons mayo, and panko. Season generously with salt and pepper and form the mixture into 4 patties. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add patties and cook until golden and warmed through, about 5 minutes per side.
  4. Top each patty with a slice of cheese and cover the skillet to melt.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together ketchup and remaining mayo. Spread mayo mixture onto the bottom of the buns, then add burgers. Top with tomato, lettuce, and remaining bun halves.

Greek Stuffed Turkey Burgers

  • 1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/4 c. bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1/2″ slices feta
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 Hamburger buns
  • Romaine, for serving
  • Sliced tomato, for serving
  • Sliced red onion, for serving
  • 1/4 c. Low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c. Low-fatGreek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. chopped dill
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt
  1. Make burger patties: In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, bread crumbs, oregano, garlic, and egg and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Form meat into 8 thin patties. Place one slice of feta in the center of four of the patties. Top each with another patty and pinch edges to make one larger patty. Repeat for the remaining burgers.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add patties and cook until golden, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
  4. Make sauce: In a medium bowl combine mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, dill and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and stir until combined.
  5. Spread bottom bun with sauce and top with burger, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Serve.

Burger ‘n Fries Foil Packs

  • Cooking spray, for foil
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. bag frozen fries
  • 4 slices cheddar
  • Pickles, for serving
  • Sliced tomatoes, for serving
  • Ketchup, for drizzling
  • Mustard, for drizzling
  1. Heat grill to medium-high and spray 4 sheets of aluminum foil with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, Worcestershire, and garlic powder and season with salt and pepper. Form into four patties.
  2. Place each patty on a sheet of aluminum foil with frozen fries. Fold up foil packs.
  3. Grill 10 minutes, then open foil packs and top patties with cheddar. Cover grill to let melt, 2 minutes.
  4. Top burgers with pickles and tomatoes and drizzle with ketchup and mustard.

Pineapple Bun Burgers

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 pineapple rings
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into rings
  • 4 slices pepper jack
  • 4 pieces romaine
  • 8 slices cooked bacon
  1. Heat grill to medium-high. In a large bowl, combine ground beef and Worcestershire and season with salt and pepper. Form into 4 patties.
  2. Grill patties, pineapple, and red onion until charred, 3 minutes per side. Top burger patties with pepper jack and cover grill to let melt, 1 minute.
  3. Top bottom pineapple buns with lettuce, burger patties, bacon, and grilled onions, then top with pineapple bun.

We want to know. What’s your favorite type of burger?


1Burger Day

Recipes: Delish


  • 1 15 oz can unsalted chickpeas
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

Drain and rinse chickpeas; pat dry with a paper towel.

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add chickpeas to pan; cook 17 minutes or until golden brown and crispy all over, stirring occasionally.

Transfer chickpeas to a bowl. Add cheese, garlic powder, lemon rind, oregano and salt and pepper; toss gently.

Serve immediately, or cool chickpea mixture in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet before storing in an airtight container.

Recipe Source: Crispy Parmesan Chickpeas

Strawberry-Avocado Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

  • 2 tsps canola oil
  • 6 (6-inch) whole-wheat flour tortillas
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped peeled ripe avocado (about 2)
  • 1 cup finely chopped strawberries
  • 2 TBS minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp minced seeded jalapeño pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 3/8 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.

  2. To prepare chips, brush oil evenly over one side of each tortilla. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over oil-coated sides of tortillas. Cut each tortilla into 12 wedges; arrange wedges in a single layer on two baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until crisp.

  3. Combine avocado and remaining ingredients; stir gently to combine. Serve with chips.

    Recipe Source: Strawberry-Avocado Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips