Simple Salsa!

Sometimes you just need a little fresh salsa in your life! I threw this recipe together on a busy Monday night and it couldn’t have been easier. Another bonus: you can eat this with just about anything. I first served this fresh goodness on top of a grilled steak and then the next morning over my egg frittata. Yum!

Simple Salsa

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Let sit for several minutes before serving so the flavors blend and get happy! Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

img_4376Simple Salsa: Tara Tested, Tara and family approved! I love making my own salsa. You can’t mess it up! This is a very basic recipe which is nice because you can use it as a base and add as many other ingredients as you like – sweet peppers, black beans, mango, or pineapple! Salsa is also a low-calorie and nutritious snack option (just be careful of what you choose to eat it with)! How do you like to make your own salsa?

Halfway Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

It seems like there is always a container of hummus in the refrigerator – and with good reason! I love hummus as a snack with carrots, snow peas, or cucumbers and even as a spread on a sandwich. Although original hummus is delicious, sometimes I want a little added flavor without making a special trip to the store. Here’s a quick way to jazz up your original store-bought hummus:

  • 1 cup original hummus
  • 1-2 roasted red peppers (jarred with oil)
  • 1 tsp dried basil

Finely chop the roasted red peppers and pour into a bowl or food storage container. Add the hummus and mix well until the peppers and hummus are combined. Add dried basil and stir again. Enjoy!

Halfway Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! This revamped hummus tastes just like the flavored variety you can get at the store. You don’t need many ingredients or time to alter the flavor of the hummus you may already have at home. Try this method with different ingredients to create a “hummus bar” the next time you entertain, serve with fresh veggies and pita for an easy crowd pleaser!

Roasted Black Radishes

Have you ever tried a black radish? I didn’t know black radishes existed until the other day when I spotted them in the produce section. I’m used to brightly colored red radishes and was surprised to see these dark, dirty looking vegetables among the other colorful selections. With a little help from Google, I learned that black radishes can be roasted in the oven and decided to give them a try with that night’s dinner.


Roasted Black Radishes with Snap Peas:

  • 4 black radishes
  • 1 lb snap peas
  • 1/4 c green onions, sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Wash the radishes, ( I wanted to scrub off that black-ness so badly, to no avail) and chop them into large pieces. I halved the radishes, halved them again and then once more to get bite-sized pieces. Trim the snap peas, toss them with the radishes in a bowl, and drizzle the vegetables with olive oil. Spread the vegetables onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Top the vegetables with the sliced green onions and serve.

Black Radishes: Tara Tested, Tara and family approved! When I first bit into the roasted radish, I couldn’t quite put my finger on the flavor. After another bite or two, my parents and I determined that they tasted a little like brussels sprouts – a favorite of ours! Radishes are a great source of vitamin C and are also high in potassium, iron, and magnesium. Try adding these radishes to your next dish – they can be served raw in a salad, roasted, sautéed, or prepared like turnips.


Sunday Night Salmon…featuring Roasted Black Radishes and Snap Peas with Quinoa

BuzzFeed BBQ Chicken Nachos

I love BuzzFeed video recipes. If you haven’t seen any of these videos come across your favorite social media platform, check them out here: BuzzFeed Food – YouTube. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t see a new video recipe on Instagram or Facebook that piques my interest. Here is the latest recipe I tried…

BBQ Chicken Nachos

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 bag of tortilla chips
  • 2 cups shredded cheese blend
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 avocado, diced

Place the chicken breast in a slow cooker with the barbecue sauce. Turn the slow cooker on low and let the chicken cook all day (~8 hours) or until cooked through. When the chicken is done, shred it into smaller pieces with two forks. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cook 8 pieces of bacon in a skillet, set aside and let cool. Once the bacon is cool, crumble it into small pieces. Place a layer of tortilla chips in an oven-safe skillet or dish. Top the chips with about half of the shredded cheese, onion, tomato, and bacon. Add another layer of chips, cheese, onion, tomato, and bacon. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 min. Remove from the oven and top with the diced avocado, sour cream, and chopped cilantro.


We changed a few things from the original video recipe – it shows the chicken being chopped and cooked in the skillet, but we thought the shredded chicken would work better. We also used cilantro instead of parsley. 

BBQ Chicken Nachos: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! Trying these new video recipes has started to become a hobby of mine (in moderation of course, as they aren’t always the healthiest). It’s entertaining to see if the recipe is as easy to make as it looks in the video. With this one I think we made it #betterthanbuzzfeed by using shredded chicken. These nachos were delicious! The barbecue flavor works well with the bacon crumbles and you can’t beat fresh avocado. I encourage you to give them a try for an upcoming potluck or party – I know I’ll be making these again!

Rosemary Garlic White Bean Dip

Everyone loves a good dip. Unfortunately, some of our favorite dips can be laden with butter, sour cream, or cheese – which can pack a TON of extra calories. And who gets away with just having one scoop of dip at a party? I know I don’t!

I was on a quest to find a healthy, dairy-free dip when I stumbled across this recipe. White beans and olive oil make up the base of this dip so you don’t have to feel guilty about going back for seconds, or thirds.

Rosemary Garlic White Bean Dip

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, or 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2, 14-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over low heat. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic. After rinsing and draining the beans, add to a food processor or blender. Add the olive oil/garlic/rosemary mixture and lemon juice. Puree until the dip is smooth. Add the dried cranberries and pulse until combined. Before serving, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with dried cranberries and fresh rosemary. Serve with celery and carrot sticks.


Rosemary Garlic White Bean Dip: Tara Tested, Tara, Family and Friends Approved! I’ve made this recipe several times over the holidays and it has been a hit. A nice recipe to have on hand if you entertain guests with dietary restrictions (dairy-free, gluten free) or those who are watching their waistline. Cannellini beans add fiber, protein, and B vitamins to your diet, while olive oil is a source of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. It doesn’t take long to prepare and can even be made in advance. Dig in!

Pineapple (Chocolate Chip) Muffins


For me, 90 degree weather is no deterrent to turning on the oven – especially when it means ultimately enjoying and sharing a tasty treat. I picked up a pineapple from the store and had a hankering for muffins, so I decided to try something new and make pineapple muffins. The recipe made 21 muffins – 12 of them were plain pineapple, 9 of them I made with chocolate chips (couldn’t resist!).

Pineapple (Chocolate Chip) Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (I used 1/2 cup of skim and 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 slices pineapple, diced into tiny pieces
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl mix the eggs, milk, and applesauce. Pour the wet ingredients into the oat and flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add in the pineapple pieces and chocolate chips, mix together. If you don’t like chocolate chips, you can skip that step and bake the muffins as is. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray (or use cupcake liners) and use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to fill the tins 2/3 of the way full with the muffin batter. Bake at 400 degrees F for 16-18 minutes. Makes 21 muffins.


Pineapple (Chocolate Chip) Muffins: Tara Tested, Tara and Family approved! I had never baked with pineapple before trying these muffins and wasn’t sure how it would work out, but these are tasty! I used less sugar than normal, assuming that the juice from the pineapple would make up for it and also used applesauce instead of butter or oil. The only time I’ve had pineapple and chocolate together has been in Edible Arrangements (chocolate dipped pineapple), so I thought I would try the combination here. The chocolate chips stole the show with the pineapple flavor appearing subtly in the background. The nutrition information below is for a batch of 21 muffins, if all of them were made with pineapple AND chocolate chips. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information: 1 muffin – Calories: 146 kcal  Total fat: 3 g  Saturated fat: 1 g  Sodium: 563 mg  Carbohydrate: 27 g  Dietary fiber: 1 g  Sugar: 11 g  Protein: 3 g

Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

Happy Throwback Thursday! Today I am throwing it back to a few weeks ago when I was fortunate enough to do a live food demonstration on one of the local TV stations here in Springfield, MO. One of the components of my dietetic internship at Missouri State University is to complete media interviews…check that off the list! It was my first time on live TV and it wasn’t nearly as nerve wrecking as I thought it would be. It didn’t hurt that the anchor and other crew members loved the recipe! Check out the link here:

Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

  • 1-oz carton whipped cream cheese
  • 1 cup (8 oz) crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 6 oz dried cranberries
  • 4 – 10 in whole wheat flour tortillas (burrito size)

Wash the green onions and dice into 1/8 inch slices. In a large bowl, combine the feta cheese, whipped cream cheese, green onions, and cranberries. Mix together. Spread the mixture onto a plate and divide into 4 even sections (this way each pinwheel will have the same amount of filling). Spread 1/4 of the mixture on the tortilla and roll the tortilla up tightly. Repeat with the remaining cheese mixture and tortillas. Wrap each tortilla in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight. When ready to serve, slice off the ends (about 1 in on each side), and cut each roll into about 10 slices. Be sure not to cut them too thin or they will fall apart!

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Cranberry Feta Pinwheels: Tara Tested, Tara, KY3, and roommates approved! These super simple pinwheels are so tasty and a breeze to make. Perfect for luncheons or parties that you don’t have much time to prepare for. You can also customize the ingredients to your liking and experiment with different flavors – I’m thinking of trying a dessert pinwheel next!