Greek Yogurt…..

I have used plain non fat yogurt in my recipes for years.  I enjoy the challenge of lightening mayonnaise laden salads, dressings, and dips with non fat Greek yogurt.   Light and Creamy Egg SaladCreamy Yogurt Ranch Dressing, Light and Creamy Bleu Cheese Dressing are some of my most favorites.  Additionally, yogurt makes for a delicious twist in  Vanilla Yogurt Whole Grain Pancakes,  and makes for a fantastic marinade in Yogurt and Rosemary Marinated Chicken.   I love artichoke dip, but 1 1/2 to 2 cups of mayonnaise don’t love me!  Try my Light Artichoke Dip, you won’t miss the fat!  If you love sour cream on your potatoes or tacos, why not mix half yogurt with half sour cream?  Half the fat and none of the funky ingredients you find in low fat sour cream. 

You probably have noticed that Greek yogurt has soared in popularity over the past couple of years.   There are many health benefits associated with yogurt.   You’ve probably heard the term “probiotic.”  These are active cultures found in yogurt that is a friendly bacteria to aid our stomachs in digestion.

Non fat Greek yogurt is rich and creamy because it is triple strained, most commercial yogurts are strained only twice.  This means that most of the watery whey is removed, resulting in it’s rich texture.  Greek yogurt is also higher in protein and lower in sodium than other commercial yogurts.

There are many brands to choose from.  My favorites are Chobani and Fage.  Stonyfield Farm Organic and Yoplait make nice Greek yogurts as well.

Have a great day!

Light Egg Salad…..

This is the best egg salad I’ve ever made.  You will be a little surprised at the ingredients.  I love that it isn’t loaded with mayonnaise.  The perfect egg salad must start with the perfect boiled egg.  (Recipe below) I made the bread that is in the background, egg salad, soup stock, and chocolate chip cookies last weekend, Joe and Ryan were sick so we were stuck in the house.  Oh well, at least we had some good eats!
You’ll start with 6 perfectly boiled eggs.  Be sure to chop them fine.  If you have a Pampered Chef food chopper, use it here.  Otherwise, just chop with your chef knife until they’re finely chopped.
In a medium size bowl, add 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion, 1/2 cup finely chopped celery tops with leaves, and chopped boiled eggs.
In a small bowl, blend 3 tablespoons plain non fat yogurt (greek is best), 3 tablespoons vanilla non fat yogurt, two tablespoons mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons yellow mustard, 1/2 teaspoon ground celery seed, two pinches salt and one pinch of pepper, whisk to blend…
Add the dressing…..
Mix gently until well blended…
Enjoy open faced on a slice of your favorite toasted bread….DE-LISH!
Egg Salad

6 large eggs, hard boiled
½ cup finely chopped celery with leaves
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
3 tablespoons plain non fat yogurt
3 tablespoons vanilla non fat yogurt
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
½ teaspoon ground celery seed
2 pinches salt
1 pinch pepper

1)  While the eggs are cooking (instructions below), add finely chopped onion and celery with leaves to a medium size mixing bowl.  In a small mixing bowl, add the plain and vanilla yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, celery seed, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
2) When the timer goes off, bring the pan to the sink and run cold water over the eggs until cool enough to handle and remove shells. Finely chop the eggs. If you have a Pampered Chef food chopper, use it here! Place chopped eggs into the bowl with the celery and onion. Pour dressing into bowl and gently mix all ingredients until well combined. Immediately refrigerate unused salad. Makes about four ½ cup servings.

*Serve open faced over toast.

Baked Tortilla Chips and Strips…..

Baked Tortilla Chips
Baked Tortilla Strips are great in salads

Why not bake your own tortilla chips?  They’re much less expensive and have only 3 ingredients.  You will notice a big difference between these homemade chips and commercial ones, they have a true corn taste. You could also spice them up if you wanted to with a little chili powder and cumin, or a pinch of cayenne.

I love the baked tortilla strips.  When I make tacos for my kids I make a taco salad for myself with just a few of these.  Try these crunchy salad yummies on my Grilled Chicken Salad with Jicama.  Make a nice amount and store in an air tight container or a zip bag and they’re ready to go the next time you need them. 

Baked Tortilla Chips or Strips

1 dozen corn tortillas, for chips cut into 4’s, or cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon canola or olive oil
2-3 pinches of kosher salt

1) Preheat oven to 300’.
2) Place cut tortillas into a medium size mixing bowl. Drizzle olive oil over and add salt. Toss carefully with your hands to evenly coat. Spread the chips/strips over a cookie sheet being careful not to overlap. You will have to bake in a couple of batches. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until completely dry. Cool completely and store in an air tight zip bag or container.

*Serve chips with your favorite dip or strips over salads

Light Bleu Cheese Dressing or Dip…..

You simply have to try this dressing/dip recipe.  It is absolutely delicious….no kidding, it’s my favorite.  Compare this ingredient list to any bottled you’ve tried..made with real ingredients.  This will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, although I doubt it will last that long!  Get your hands on some heirloom mini tomatoes, aren’t they beautiful?  Try dipping spicy chicken wings in this dip, fantastic!!!

Bleu Cheese Dressing or Dip
1 cup plain low fat yogurt
2 tablespoons sour cream, use light if you wish
2 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise, or any you may have
¼ cup bleu cheese crumbles
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate. Serve with crudités (fancy word for cut veggies) or use as a salad dressing. Great for dipping spicy chicken wings! Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 1 1/4 cup.

*add a little milk if it’s too thick for salad dressing