This cool and creamy fresh vegetable dip is easy to make. It's a great appetizer or side dish!
Appetizers, Recipes, Sides, Vegetables

Our Favorite Fresh Vegetable Dip

This cool and creamy fresh vegetable dip is easy to make. It’s a great appetizer or side dish!

This cool and creamy fresh vegetable dip is easy to make. It's a great appetizer or side dish!

At my house, the best way to make sure we eat our veggies is to always have some prepped and ready to snack on. I think that’s why those bagged salads, precut baby carrots, and ready-made vegetable trays at the grocery store are so popular. Preparing vegetables can be so time consuming! On the weekends, I like to spend some time cutting bell peppers and cucumbers, then portioning them into little containers to pull out of the fridge for my lunchbox all week long. Wait. I just reread that sentence. I’m not sure I like to do that… but I sure like the results. And you know when I like the results even more? When I’ve thought ahead enough to make some veggie dip like this one!

This cool and creamy fresh vegetable dip is easy to make. It's a great appetizer or side dish!

It’s not that veggies aren’t tasty enough on their own, but sometimes we need some extra motivation, ya know? 🙂 My husband can testify to that, haha! Some people just like dipping their veggies in ranch dressing, but since my husband isn’t a ranch sort of guy, I have to be a little more creative. This fresh veggie dip meets both of our needs: it has a cool and creamy base with tons of flavor, but not that unmistakable ranch flavor. The ingredients are somewhat similar since it uses onion and garlic as the base flavors along with some herbs like dill and parsley, but what makes this vegetable dip stand out from the crowd is the addition of Worcestershire sauce! This adds a complex salty depth to the herby goodness.

This cool and creamy fresh vegetable dip is easy to make. It's a great appetizer or side dish!

Like most dips, this comes together in a flash but I do recommend making it ahead of time so it can chill in the fridge for about an hour before serving. This allows the flavors to marry and taste even better! 🙂 If you want to healthify the dip, you could substitute some plain yogurt for part of the sour cream. I think the recipe is amazing as-is though! Hope you enjoy!

one year ago: Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake
two years ago: Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
three years ago: Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins
four years ago: Pumpkin Graham Muffins
five years ago: Roasted Chicken
six years ago: Homemade Maple & Brown Sugar Almond Butter
seven years ago: Pumpkin Soup and Homemade Croutons

This cool and creamy fresh vegetable dip is easy to make. It's a great appetizer or side dish!

Fresh Vegetable Dip

  • Servings: ~ 2 cups
  • Print

from Taste of Home

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) sour cream
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • a few cracks freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh vegetables, for serving

Directions:

In a medium bowl, stir together sour cream and mayonnaise. Add seasonings: onion powder, dill, garlic powder, parsley, and Worcestershire sauce and stir well. Taste and season with black pepper as desired.

Cover and chill for one hour in the refrigerator.

Serve with fresh vegetables!

Notes: You can also substitute some of the sour cream for plain yogurt (Greek or regular).

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Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

Healthier Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Comforting and homey, poppy seed chicken casserole is a classic--and for good reason! This makeover recipe is a *little* healthier thanks to a (simple) homemade cream of chicken soup and the addition of greek yogurt instead of all that sour cream.

Comforting and homey, poppy seed chicken casserole is a classic–and for good reason! This makeover recipe is a *little* healthier thanks to a (simple) homemade cream of chicken soup and the addition of greek yogurt instead of all that sour cream.

Comforting and homey, poppy seed chicken casserole is a classic--and for good reason! This makeover recipe is a *little* healthier thanks to a (simple) homemade cream of chicken soup and the addition of greek yogurt instead of all that sour cream.

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole wasn’t something I grew up with. In fact, I had already graduated from college the first time I remember eating it! My husband made it for me when we were dating. 🙂 What a guy, I know. In my recent quest for simplifying the dinner routine, I’ve been putting some easy meals on our menu plan that I can prep on the weekend and stick in the oven after getting home from work. Casseroles are an easy choice for this–but so many have tons of butter, weird gloppy cans of soup, and other things I prefer not to eat (regularly).

Comforting and homey, poppy seed chicken casserole is a classic--and for good reason! This makeover recipe is a *little* healthier thanks to a (simple) homemade cream of chicken soup and the addition of greek yogurt instead of all that sour cream.

SO I decided to make-over this lovely little dish, healthify it per se. There are tons of recipes online–I didn’t use one in particular, just my memory and the plethora of versions on Allrecipes. Usually they call for some cooked chicken, sour cream, a can of condensed cream of chicken soup, poppy seeds, Ritz crackers, and butter. Good and all, but lots of sodium, MSG, and fat. Okay once in awhile but not all the time, please. Especially since I’ll be serving this to my cute little boy (and his daddy)! I know this isn’t the healthiest dinner–but it’s better than the original! And still pretty easy: I made a quick homemade condensed cream of chicken soup using simple pantry ingredients: butter, flour, chicken broth, milk, and seasoning… then I subbed some of the sour cream for greek yogurt, added herbs for color and flavor, and a bed of rice to bulk it up. We eat so many dinners with rice that this addition was only natural! I think quinoa, farro, or some other grain would be equally tasty.

Comforting and homey, poppy seed chicken casserole is a classic--and for good reason! This makeover recipe is a *little* healthier thanks to a (simple) homemade cream of chicken soup and the addition of greek yogurt instead of all that sour cream.

Since this casserole doesn’t include any veggies, be sure to add some on the side. I steamed some frozen broccoli in the microwave, tbh. Part of me didn’t want to take pictures of this dish with my frozen broccoli since it’s pretty obvious (and do you see my leftover naan too? Had to fill up the plate somehow, ha!). BUT guys… this is #reallife. And there’s nothing wrong with frozen veggies! 🙂 Better frozen, than none at all, I say. Green beans, broccoli, carrots… all would be great here! Salad–whether fresh or bagged–would be great too. These days, making a salad from scratch is the last thing I want to do after work. I can’t tell you how many heads of lettuce I’ve tossed (and I hate that). I didn’t mean to digress into this–and this is for ME TOO–get your veggies as you can… frozen, fresh, canned. Enjoy! 🙂

Comforting and homey, poppy seed chicken casserole is a classic--and for good reason! This makeover recipe is a *little* healthier thanks to a (simple) homemade cream of chicken soup and the addition of greek yogurt instead of all that sour cream.

one year ago: Kale and Brown Rice Gratin
two years ago: Crockpot Barbacoa 
three years ago: Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts
four years ago: Baked Strawberry French Toast with Strawberry Maple Syrup
five years ago: Maple Cornmeal Drop Biscuits
six years ago: Pumpkin Spread
seven years ago: Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

Healthier Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

  • Servings: 8
  • Print

Ingredients:

for homemade condensed cream of chicken soup from A Pinch of Healthy

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk, slightly warmed or at room temperature if possible (I’ve used anything from whole to skim – it thickens best with whole but anything is fine, really!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • dried herbs like oregano, basil, parsley, etc. if desired

for casserole

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice
  • 3 cups liquid – I used half chicken broth and half water
  • 2 cups chopped or shredded chicken – use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, or just bake/poach/cook some chicken
  • 10 ounces greek yogurt
  • 6 ounces sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • fresh or dried herbs, like rosemary, oregano, basil, etc. if desired
  • 1 sleeve buttery crackers – like Ritz, approximately 32 crackers
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Begin by preparing rice according to package directions. I like to make rice with half chicken broth and half water for extra flavor.

Then, start making the homemade condensed cream of chicken soup. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for one minute, stirring continually. Slowly pour in chicken broth and milk, whisking until smooth. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, cooking until mixture begins to thicken – about 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic powder, pepper, and herbs. Remove from heat and set aside.

Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish, or any similar size casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, sour cream, greek yogurt, and prepared homemade cream of chicken soup. Stir together then mix in poppy seeds and herbs, if desired. I like to use a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and some oregano.

When rice is cooked, spread in the bottom of prepared baking dish. Top with chicken mixture.

In a small bowl, mix together cracker crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over casserole.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and brown. Enjoy!

Note:

Casserole can be prepared in advance. Just wait until you’re ready to bake to add the cracker topping.

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.
Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

Sheet Pan Chicken Gyros with Lemony Yogurt Sauce

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

Chicken gyros–baked in the oven–are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

Back to school is here! At my house, it has come and gone. This week marks my husband’s second full week teaching at his new school and things are going well. His schedule is a little more flexible than last year, which has been so nice. Ben gets home earlier–even when he picks up our little guy at daycare. This means dinner isn’t quite as rushed and we have a little more family time in the evening. I’m sure things will ebb and flow a little as the year goes along, but so far, I’m just trying to enjoy the reprieve while it lasts! Especially since it’s still summertime, technically.

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

One way I’ve been trying to make the most of these longer late summer nights is by keeping dinner simple. I’ve probably talked about that a gazillion times since I went back to work after baby was born, but it’s still true. I can’t tell you how many meal planning and prep schedules, systems, and calendars I’ve tried to get my life in order. I haven’t paid for any yet (and don’t think I will). At some point, I’d love to write a post detailing my meal planning system, as it is… because I ***think*** I finally have something down that works for us. YAY! But I don’t know if anyone is really interested in that sort of thing–are you?

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

But anyways, the meal I’m sharing today… Sheet Pan Chicken Gyros with Lemony Yogurt is completely a by-product of my simple weeknight dinner theme. I know these aren’t true chicken gyros BUT they are truly delicious! Slicing the chicken before baking allows for quicker cooking… and seasoning the chicken with olive oil, lemon juice, and plenty of herbs makes sure your chicken is moist (sorry) and not a gross dried out mess. To dress up the chicken, be sure to serve it with some fresh pita, chopped veggies, and a super delicious (and EASY) lemony yogurt sauce. Sometimes I’m tempted to skip sauces when making recipes… “oh, I’ll just use hummus instead.” But seriously guys… please don’t! This lemony yogurt sauce is just THREE ingredients–plain greek yogurt, lemon juice, pepper. That’s it. Whisk together and enjoyyyy! This dinner is the best.

one year ago: Baked Burritos with Pinto Beans and Kale
two years ago: Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins
three years ago: Baked Honey Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Chick-Fil-A Sauce
four years ago: Churro Cheesecake Bars
five years ago: Pesto Potato Salad
six years ago: Salmon with Lemon, Tarragon, and Garlic Sauce
seven years ago: Summer Mexican Soup

Sheet Pan Chicken Gyros with Lemony Yogurt Sauce

  • Servings: 6
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Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

inspired by my sheet pan chicken fajitas

Ingredients:

for gyros

  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • juice of 2 lemons (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

for lemon yogurt sauce

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt (full fat!)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper

for serving: pita, romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced red onions, feta, lemon yogurt sauce, hummus, greek lemon rice, etc.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil, parchment, or a silpat for easy clean up. Alternatively, you could just spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread sliced onion and chicken on the baking sheet. Season with oregano, dill, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, then toss everything together with your hands. This could all be done in a bowl if you prefer… but I prefer fewer dishes! Spread in an even layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

While chicken is cooking, prepare lemon yogurt sauce by whisking together greek yogurt with lemon juice. Season with pepper as desired. Chill until ready to serve.

Serve chicken in a pita with romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced red onions, feta, lemon yogurt sauce, hummus, greek lemon rice, or any other desired toppings. Enjoy!

Beans, Main Dishes, Recipes

Deconstructed Falafel Bowls

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights. 

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights.

Spring is here! My birthday was yesterday, and #BabyVolde’s is next week. He’ll be ONE on Friday. I can hardly believe it. Last weekend we celebrated his birthday and his baptism. Almost our entire family came down for the occasion. It was a whirlwind weekend (and unfortunately it rained the whole time) but it was so fun.

Our little family

One of the best parts of spring (aside from the great running weather) is all the fresh produce at the grocery store! It’s almost farmer’s market season too. I can’t wait. I foresee quite a few lighter meals in our future, like these deconstructed falafel bowls. Regular falafel, while delicious, are a little too intense for weeknight dinners at my house. All that shaping and frying/baking. Noooo thanks! BUT if you just roast the chickpeas in the oven and layer them up with some grains, a tasty Mediterranean salsa bursting with fresh tomatoes, cucumber, and herbs, and drizzle a tangy tzatziki yogurt sauce over top, suddenly falafels on a random Wednesday night is doable. Even if you have a baby crawling all over the kitchen, getting into evvvvvvverything.

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights.

Though they take about 45 minutes to put together, most of that time is hands-off, waiting for the chickpeas to get all crispy in the oven. To make this meal faster, you can prepare the grain base (I used bulgur but anything goes–couscous, quinoa, rice, etc.) and tzatziki yogurt sauce ahead of time. Then, when the chickpeas are cooking you can throw the Mediterranean salsa together in a hurry… and presto! Dinner is served. 🙂 We loved all the textures/flavors in this dish, as well as the temperature contrast between the hot, smoky chickpeas and the cool, creamy tzatziki sauce. This is a great one dish meal that has definitely earned a spot on my spring/summer dinner rotation. Next time, I’ll be sure to pick up some pita bread and hummus to enjoy on the side. Happy Friday!

one year ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Oreo Dream
two years ago: Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers
three years ago: Easy Homemade New York Bagels
four years ago: Kale Fried Rice
five years ago: Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup
six years ago: Mexican Pizza

Deconstructed Falafel Bowls

  • Servings: 3
  • Print

adapted from Delish Knowledge; Tzatziki from my blog

  • 1 – 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted very dry with towel
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 cup uncooked bulgur, couscous or other grain/grain susbtitute of choice

for the Tzatziki

  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and grated, pressed dry with a clean dish towel
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill (or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped])
  • 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for the Mediterranean salsa

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Begin by making the chickpeas. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the chickpeas–they should be very dry–with olive oil, then spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cook for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and season with cayenne, cumin, and paprika.

While chickpeas are cooking, prepare grain according to package directions. I made bulgur but couscous, quinoa, farro, or even rice would be great choices! Basically, anything goes here.

Next, make tzatziki. In a small bowl, stir together greek yogurt with grated cucumber, then fold in dill. Season with pepper and salt to taste. If desired, add mayonnaise. It adds a little extra tang that I love, but it can be omitted. Cover and refrigerate to let flavors blend. Tzatziki can be made the day before if desired.

Finally, make the Mediterranean salsa. Stir together tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion in a medium bowl. Gently fold in parsley and mint, then season with a bit of pepper. Let rest while chickpeas finish cooking.

 

When ready to serve, place bulgur in individual bowls. Top with chickpeas, Medterranean salsa, and a drizzle of tzatziki. Enjoy!

Potatoes, Recipes, Sides

Mashed Potato Casserole

A cheesy, creamy, baked mashed potato casserole that’s perfect for ANY holiday or just a special meal with family and friends. 🙂

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

Sometimes it’s the simplest recipes that are the best, aren’t they? My family has long tried to find the best cheesy potato recipe because everyone loves them. My sister is pretty much the biggest cheesy potato fan I know, and my husband is pretty much the biggest mashed potato fan I know, so this is a dish to please them both!

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

Regular ‘ole mashed potatoes aren’t my favorite Thanksgiving side dish of all time, but add in a bunch of cheddar and parmesan, and you make this girl veryyy happy! All that cheese + some sour cream or greek yogurt jazz up plain mashed potatoes, but it’s the baking of them that take this dish over the edge! I don’t know what it is about baking dishes but that just adds an extra layer of deliciousness to the final product… especially when there’s cheese involved. Think about stovetop mac & cheese vs. baked mac & cheese. I’m right, aren’t I? There’s just no competition! Baked wins every single day. 🙂

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

I’ll admit that some may take issues with this dish because it’s not traditional enough… and there isn’t even any butter in it [gasp!]. But all the cheese and sour cream sure makes up for it. One of the best parts about this creamy ‘n cheesy side dish is that you can make it ahead AND it reheats beautifully in the microwave. Regular mashed potatoes can get kinda weird after the microwave but these absolutely do not! Have I convinced you to make them yet?!? I sure hope so, because they’re pretty much the tastiest version of mashed potatoes I’ve ever enjoyed and I bet you will too!

one year ago: Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter Cups
two years ago: Chipotle-Cilantro Mashed Potatoes

three years ago: Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese
four years ago: Crockpot Saucy Italian Chicken
five years ago: Layered Taco Dip

Mashed Potato Casserole

  • Servings: 8
  • Print

from The Kitchn

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 8 ounces sour cream or plain yogurt [regular or greek]
  • 1/2 cup half and half or milk
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 large shallots, minced – about 1/2 cup
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place potatoes in a large stock pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender, when a fork easily pierces through. Drain and return potatoes to pot.

Off heat, add sour cream and half and half to potatoes, then stir to combine. Use a potato masher to smash until desired texture is achieved. Stir in cheddar, shallots, and pepper. [If desired, shallots could be sauteed in butter or olive oil for a few minutes to soften.]

Transfer potatoes to a medium baking dish – a 10 inch round, 8×8 square, or the like, at least 2.5 quarts. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with Parmesan and extra freshly ground black pepper, and broil for about 2 minutes until golden brown.

Notes:

Dish can be prepared up until the baking step up to 24 hours in advance. Let dish come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before baking.

If desired, shallots could be sauteed in butter or olive oil for a few minutes to soften before adding to the potatoes. The flavor was fine when raw, but even though they were minced small, we found them a little crunchy, especially the ones that were left on the top of the dish.