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Black-eyed Pea Salsa

My mom’s family is from the South. According to her, you always eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s for luck in the upcoming year. More black-eyed peas meant more luck. That was the only time of year we ever ate these beans (why they are named peas, I don’t know), and I distinctly remember hating them. The only part I liked was trying to steal one or two of the okra my mom would cook in the beans.

But for some reason, it is stuck in my mind that you eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s. Last year, I found this salsa and really liked it. It’s really tasty, different enough to be interesting but not weird, and really fast to throw together. I was done within 15 minutes, including “help” from my lovely small assistants. And I think there might be something to what my mom said. I ate a lot of this salsa last New Year’s, and it was a pretty great year. Lots of things went my way. If you are looking to have a good 2016, you might want to throw some black-eyed peas in your mix!

Enjoy!

Black-eyed Pea Salsa (Serves 8)

Black-eyed Pea Salsa

1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed well and drained
5 roma tomatoes, chopped
½ jalapeno, diced small (seeds and membranes removed per preference)
⅓ medium red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 tablespoons lime juice

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir to distribute evenly. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 45
Protein: 3 g
Fat: less than 1 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 9 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 135 mg

Recipe notes: You can use any tomato you like. I just like a ratio of equal parts tomato to beans, so add tomato until you get there. This is basically a recipe for pico de gallo with some black-eyed peas thrown in. You can adjust any ingredient to you preferred level. I have been a bit skimpy on the red onion, because I find them quite strong when raw. The original recipe called for a poblano pepper. It was yummy when I did that, but either pepper works well. You might want a pinch of salt. Just depends on how well you rinse the black-eyed peas, since there is a lot of salt in the can liquid.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

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Israeli Nachos

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was quiet and filled with lots of delicious food. Couldn’t have asked for more.

For as long as I can remember, New Year’s Eve has meant a dinner of appetizers. As a kid, I loved that. We got to eat in front of the TV, which never happened. My husband and I have continued the tradition, although our selection is pretty different from what I had growing up. We vary some items, but some sort of chip/dip/nacho combo is always in there.

These are what I loosely call “Israeli” Nachos. They were originally inspired by nachos my husband got at Middle Eastern restaurant and then riffed off of this online recipe. I like that there is some substance, but easy on the cheese. The hummus kind of acts like the guacamole, the Israeli salad like the pico, and the yogurt sauce like sour cream. Whether you could find anything like this in Israel, I don’t know. But I’d eat it if I did.

If you are looking for other appetizer ideas for your New Year’s celebrations, look here.

Israeli Nachos (Serves 4)

Israeli Nachos

½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ red onion, diced
½ jalapeno, diced small (seeds and membranes removed if preferred)
1 clove garlic, mincedd
1 can reduced sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon curry powder (to taste, based on heat of your curry)
Tortilla chips
Shredded mozzarella cheese (about ¼ cup per person)
1 cup low fat plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
3 tomatoes, chopped
½ cucumber, chopped
¼ red onion, diced
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 recipe hummus

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil.

2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion and jalapeño until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add 1 clove garlic, cooking 1 minutes. Add chickpeas, garam masala, and chickpeas. Saute until combined and heated through, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

3. Spread tortilla chips evenly over baking sheet. Sprinkle chickpea filling evenly over the top. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 5-7 minutes, until cheese is melted.

4. While cooking, prepare yogurt sauce by coming yogurt, 1 clove garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and tahini in a blender until smooth.

5. Also prepare salad: combine tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and remaining olive oil and lemon juice.

6. Serve nachos with hummus, yogurt sauce, and salad.

Recipe notes: Pita chips seem like the logical choice here, but I remember them being tortilla chips at the restaurant. Either would work of course. You notice I didn’t put nutritional information on this one. This one is a little complicated, since it is very variable on how many chips you like and how much of the dips you use. You will have a lot more dip than bean topping. So, you could double the topping. I didn’t have any, but I think some chopped flat leaf parsley in the salad would be really nice.

Source: adapted from memory from Laffa restaurant in Tulsa (If you are ever in Tulsa, go there please. Yum!) and here

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Chips and Dip

Football season is here.  My husband is in heaven for the next few months.  Like all sports, I prefer watching football in person than on the television.  But some good snacks always make me more inclined to watch a game.

Chips and dip are a classic game day snack, but both can be overloaded with fat and salt.  Here are some homemade versions that won’t break your calorie bank.  You can feel good about the veggies in the salsa and guacamole.  And yes, avocados are high in fat.  But the monounsaturated fats in avocados can actually be beneficial to your health – when eaten in moderation and replacing saturated fats.  So eat that guacamole, especially if you are replacing a cheese sauce.

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Baked Tortilla Chips (Serves 5)

5 fajita-size whole-wheat flour tortillas or 10 small corn tortillas
Cooking spray
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Spray both sides of tortillas lightly with cooking spray. Stack tortillas and cut into sixths (flour tortillas) or fourths (corn tortillas). Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle with salt.

3. Bake for 5-7 minutes, watching to make sure they don’t burn. Once they look lightly “toasted”, flip over and bake for 2 minutes more. Serve with chips and salsa.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 132
Protein: 4
Fat: 4.5 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 19 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 241 mg

Source: adapted from online

Easy Pico de Gallo (Serves 4-5)

6 roma tomatoes, diced
¼ medium red onion, diced small
½ jalapeño, membranes and seeds removed, diced small
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Allow to sit in refrigerator for a couple hours for best flavor.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 34
Protein: 1.5 g
Fat: 0 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 8 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 126 mg

Source: adapted from family recipe

Guacamole (Serves 4-5)

3 large avocados, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup pico de gallo or salsa
pinch of salt

1. Mash avocados with 1 tablespoon of lime juice. (A pastry blender works well here.) Stir in remaining tablespoon of lime juice, pico de gallo, and salt. Serve immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 195
Protein: 2.5 g
Fat: 18 g
Saturated Fat: 2.6 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 11 g
Fiber: 8 g
Sodium: 44 mg

Source: adapted from family recipe

Recipe Notes: Using flour tortillas provides a little different taste than normal tortilla chips – a cross between tortilla chips and pita chips. Adjust the amount of onion and jalapeño in the pico de gallo to your preference. Raw red onion can become very powerful as it sits, so keep that in mind. You could use raw garlic, but I actually prefer powder here, as it can mix into more of the salsa than chunks of minced garlic.

Low iodine adjustment: Use non-iodized salt. You can make homemade tortillas or use salt-free tortillas.

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