Category Archives: Food

Italian Dressing Olive Dip_featured

Italian Dressing-Olive Dip That’s the Perfect—and Popular—Last-Minute Appetizer

Italian Dressing-Olive Dip Recipe

Italian Dressing-Olive Dip

Have you been searching for an easy, no-bake appetizer to pull together at the last minute? This Italian Dressing-Olive Dip may just be what you’ve been searching for!

Need a last-minute appetizer or a go-to dish to take to a party? You better have one, according to Southern Living magazine’s “Southern Charm” tips feature in a recent issue, as you should never show up to a gathering empty-handed.

If you’ve already got a signature party recipe, maybe you’re looking to add to your entertaining repertoire—at home and away. If so, this Italian Dressing-Olive Dip is easy, quick and delicious—so much so that if you make it, you’ll probably get several requests for the recipe!

On every occasion I’ve made it—including wedding shower and outdoor summer party—I’ve always been asked how to prepare it. And the guests have always been surprised at how simple it is.

For full disclosure, this recipe was passed along to me by a friend who I asked to share it after tasting the dip at a party. If I recall correctly, she got it from the Food Network. I searched, but couldn’t find the origin of this tasty dip online.

Even if you’re not a fan of black olives (like me), trust me, you’ll still love this dip. It only requires four ingredients, and it takes more time walking through the grocery store to pick them up than it does to make it—honestly!

A few more notes about the ingredients: Lately, the Ken’s Italian Dressing with Aged Romano I’ve seen is a “light” version that also includes basil. If that’s all you can find, I taste-tested the dip with it, and it’s still good.

If you want to experiment with the other versions of Rotel, feel free. My latest version incorporated the Rotel with the green chilies. It gave it a little extra kick, but nothing too spicy.

I’ve always used the cheese blends for more depth of flavor. Since it’s a very forgiving recipe, go ahead and experiment!

With apologies to the original source, wherever or whomever it is, here’s the recipe:

Italian Dressing-Olive Dip

8 oz Ken’s Italian Dressing with Aged Romano
1 can Rotel Original Tomatoes
1 4 oz can Sliced or Chopped Black Olives
2 cups Fine Shredded Cheese

Mix all four ingredients in a bowl and serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!


Rogue Chocolate Stout Brownies_featured

Baking the Beer Brownies From Men’s Journal Magazine? Good, but Grab an Apron

Men's Journal Magazine Beer BrowniesRaise a glass and a festive brownie this St. Patrick’s Day with this recipe for Rogue Chocolate Stout Brownies from Men’s Journal magazine. It gets messy—but it’s worth it!

If ever there was a case for wearing an apron while baking, the Rogue Chocolate Stout Brownies from the March issue of Men’s Journal magazine is it. This is honestly the messiest recipe I’ve ever tackled!

I ruined a white T-shirt; made a mess of my kitchen counter, sink and mixer; and I feel the stickiness of beer in the bend of my left elbow. How did that happen?!

As soon as I read the “Cooking With Beer” feature, I knew I had to try one of the recipes. Being a dessert girl, and my husband being a beer man, the brownies were the most logical choice.

The ingredients list was an easy one to tackle, and with a salad on the menu for dinner, last night seemed like the perfect night for homemade brownies. You know, to balance out the healthy salad.

One note about the ingredients: There is kosher salt on the list, but the recipe instructions never mention it again. Should I sprinkle it on top before baking? Should I melt it with the chocolate?

I opted to stir it in with the dry mix of flour and cocoa powder. That made the most sense to me. There was a enough batter that I feared it would slowly bake over the edges of the 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish, but I kept an eye on it and all was fine inside the oven.

The results after 45 minutes at 350 degrees? The house sure smelled delicious, that’s for sure. The brownies were more cake-y than fudge-y, which was fine with me, and a nice crispness on top protected the moistness inside. (My husband described them as “spongy,” but he prefers a more fudge-like brownie.)

With my first bite, I could smell the stout much more than I could taste it, and overall I’m very pleased. I found myself hoping that someone would show up at our house unexpectedly so that I could show off by offering a plate with a brownie, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder on top of everything. Who doesn’t love a from-scratch brownie, after all?

Oh, and, does anyone know a trick for getting chocolate, beer and egg out of a white T-shirt?


I love fruit and vegetables

Simple Tips to Take Away from National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition MonthMarch is National Nutrition Month, so even if you need a ‘do over’ on those New Year’s resolutions, these simple tips can help you get back on track.

If you’ve already fallen off the wagon with your New Year’s resolutions, maybe it’s a good thing that March is designated National Nutrition Month. If nothing else, it serves as a reminder that you can try, try again to eat more healthfully this year.

Attitudes toward healthy cooking and health foods have undergone such a transformation of late that it’s almost rare these days when a magazine throws calories and fat grams to the wind and celebrates our favorite comfort indulgences and sweet temptations.

Many of them still do, yes, but very often the recipes have been made-over so they’re lighter and better for you. It’s obviously a popular topic this time of year, as Vegetarian Times, EatingWell and Clean Eating all touted “healthier” versions of comfort food favorites.

But beyond seeking out low-cal recipes from our favorite food and cooking magazines, we can turn to the Academy of Nutrition and Diatetics, which sponsors National Nutrition Month and is stressing the basics of better eating.

Keeping these six tips in mind will not only help you make better choices for one meal but across your entire eating regimen.

Eat more fruits and vegetables. Beefing up your intake of fruits and veggies (even canned, frozen and dried) is a step in the right direction when it comes to improving your health. Be sure to select healthier options like “no salt added” or “reduced sodium” canned veggies or fruits packed in water or 100 percent juice rather than syrup.

Got milk? Choosing fat-free or low-fat milk doesn’t mean you’re cheating yourself of milk’s valuable nutrients. But opting for the lighter choices does mean you’re cutting out fat and calories found in whole milk. Lactose-free, soy and other suitable replacements are recommended for the lactose intolerant among us.

Cut back on sugar. Sorry sweet tooth-ers, but it’s better for you. Try to drink more water or 100 percent juices instead of sodas and other sugary drinks. And munch on fruits instead of those oh-so-tempting sweet snacks.

Compare sodium content. Pay attention to nutrition labels and opt for lower sodium foods. Get creative when cooking and season foods with natural herbs and spices for a healthier meal that will awaken your taste buds.

Indulge less. While you don’t have to completely eliminate pizza and chocolate cake from your diet, it’s not healthy to make these things a go-to meal or treat every day. It will take some willpower at first, but over time you’ll crave them less.

Control your portions. This one is probably easier to do at home. The recommendation is to eat in so you’ll eat less–that is if you’ve got the willpower, of course. When eating out, go with healthy menu options and don’t be shy when asking for a to-go box if the restaurant portion looks too big.


Oscar After Party_featured

A Culinary Sneak Peek Into the Academy’s Official Party

Oscar After PartyWhen does the food prep start? What happens to the unserved food? Food Network Magazine dishes out the details of the Governors Ball, Hollywood’s premier after-Oscar party.

With the Academy Awards tonight, the next big event after the stars walk the red carpet and the golden statues are presented is the all-important after party.

While movie buffs and perpetual party planners were busy working on creative themes and menus of their own, Food Network Magazine went behind the scenes of one of the biggest parties in Hollywood.

Renowned chef Wolfgang Puck is the culinary mastermind behind the popular Governors Ball, the after-Oscar event that hosts 1,500 celebs and other hot shots. Puck has already been at work for several weeks preparing for the star-studded event.

According to the timeline he provided to Food Network Magazine, the menu has long been set, as it’s something he starts thinking about around six weeks before the show. Though Puck is making more than 50 dishes, you can bet mini kobe burgers, smoked salmon and gold-covered chocolate Oscars will be among them—those are served every year.

As you might imagine, when you’re serving 1,500 dinner guests, there are a lot of special requests ranging from vegetarian to gluten-free to raw to vegan. But with a crew of 300 sous chefs from his restaurants, plus culinary students from L.A., the gang’s got it all covered.

The cooks get started early—around 6 a.m.—on the day of the show and continue their preparation while watching a live feed of the ceremony. That’s so they can synchronize having the hot dishes on the table just before the glammed-up guests arrive.

Once the celebs move on to the next venue, the food served at the Governors Ball doesn’t just go to waste. Instead, it’s given to Angel Harvest, a non-profit organization that disperses the unserved leftovers among soup kitchens and shelters to help feed the community.

Not until this last generous duty is complete does Puck afford himself his only luxury of the evening. When he can finally relax, he toasts a job well done with a glass of champagne and calls it a night.


February Heart Month_featured

During Heart Health Month, Try a Lighter Italian Broccoli and Cheese Pasta

February Hearth MonthThe Delicious Dietitian’s Haley Lacey suggests this lighter Italian Broccoli and Cheese Pasta that features whole grains and veggies to show your heart some love this month.

As we are in the middle of American Heart Month, take the time to evaluate your heart health. With a few heart healthy changes, you can prevent heart disease and live a healthier life.

The American Heart Association encourages “The Simple 7” habits that can keep your ticker ticking.

  • Get Active: Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
  • Control Cholesterol: Know your numbers!  If you haven’t had your cholesterol checked recently, call and make an appointment.
  • Eat Better: Fruits and veggies, lean meats, low fat dairy, and whole grains are the basics for a healthy diet.
  • Manage Blood Pressure: Keep sodium intake in check.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: If you are overweight, a 10% weight loss (20 lbs for someone who weighs 200 lbs) can have numerous health benefits.
  • Control Blood Sugar: Heart disease and diabetes go hand in hand, if you have diabetes, keep blood sugar in a healthy range.
  • Stop Smoking: If you are a smoker, QUIT!  There are wonderful resources available to help you quit, and the health benefits are innumerable.

This yummy pasta dish is a twist on two tried and true family favorites: mac and cheese AND broccoli with cheese sauce—for a fraction of the calories, and with heart healthy ingredients: whole grains, vegetables, and chicken.

The roasted garlic adds a creamy texture and fabulous flavor. Roasted garlic is less pungent than raw garlic; if you’ve never tried it, give it a shot. 

Italian Broccoli and Cheese Pasta

8 oz. whole wheat penne pasta, cooked
1½ Tbsp. olive oil
2 heads roasted garlic*
1½ Tbsp. flour
1 cup no sodium added chicken broth
3/4 cup shredded 2% white cheddar cheese
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets and steamed until crisp-tender
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 Tbsp. The Delicious Dietitian Italian Spice Blend


Add olive oil to a large saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk in the roasted garlic paste and cook 30-60 seconds. Whisk the flour into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to turn golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Stir the broth into the pan.  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.  Whisk in the cheddar and stir until melted. Add Italian Spice Blend, and stir until mixed into sauce.

Mix in the broccoli florets and chicken pieces, and cook just until heated through. Mix in the cooked pasta until evenly coated with the sauce. Serve warm.

*To make roasted garlic paste, peel the outer papery skins off two heads of garlic, leaving the heads intact.  Slice about a quarter off the top of each head so that all of the cloves are partly exposed. Wrap the garlic in foil and bake at 350˚ F for one hour. Remove from the oven and let cool.  Once cool enough to touch, squeeze the garlic cloves out of the peels and smash with a fork to make roasted garlic paste.

More healthy eating advice and delicious recipes can be found on The Delicious Dietitian blog.


Rose Bouquet-featured

How to Make a Bacon Rose Bouquet for Valentine’s Day

Bacon Rose BouquetYour guy probably isn’t big on getting flowers for Valentine’s Day—or otherwise. But he’ll eat up (literally) this special bouquet made of bacon that’s especially easy to make!

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then it could possibly be paved with bacon—even on Valentine’s Day.

After all, “bacon chocolate” has been on the rise as a Google search term in the last 30 days.

That could mean anything from chocolate-covered bacon and chocolate-chip bacon cookies.

But if your guy prefers bacon in its purest form—no chocolate, no sprinkles, no nothing—try your hand at a bacon bouquet.

It takes less than an hour to make, and your sweetie will love it (and maybe you) for it.

Here’s how:

make bacon rose

1. Roll up bacon slices to create a spiral. As much as possible, keep the roll tighter on the fatty side, which will be the bottom when you place it in the pan. Flare out the tops, if desired, to give the bacon rose a more “bloomed” look, still while keeping the bottom in a tight roll.

2. Bake for 45-55 minutes in a 350-degree oven. The length of time depends on how crisp you want the bacon.

3. Remove from the oven and place bacon roses on a paper towel to drain grease.

4. The presentation is up to you, but a popular choice is to use artificial rose stems (clean first, of course!) and place in a vase to give your edible bouquet a most authentic look.