Party pleasers


Remember when I said this was a busy, food-filled weekend? Well, besides the chocolate chip pumpkin banana bread, I whipped up a whole wheat pasta salad with greek yogurt dressing, pumpkin spice dip, Loaded Turkey Santa Fe potato skins, and skinny mozzarella sticks. (Don’t worry; I didn’t eat it all myself! I had to make the dip for church and the potato skins and mozz sticks went with me and Andy to a Saturday night hangout with some friends. Good food is always better in good company — right?!)

I can’t take all the credit for these yummy concoctions, so if you want to try them out, you can see the recipes here…(But, keep on reading for a Levels original!)

Pumpkin Spice Dip via Six Sisters’ Stuff

  • How to “level up” this recipe: Cut down the sugar to 1/2 cup & add a tablespoon of honey instead for some natural sugar flavor. In addition, be sure to serve it with “healthy” sides like I did, such as cut apples and low-fat graham crackers.
  • How to “level down” this recipe: I haven’t tried this, but I have a feeling that adding some low-fat cream cheese to this recipe would make it delicious and add some extra creaminess.

Loaded Turkey Santa Fe Potato Skins via SkinnyTaste

  • How to “level up” this recipe: I chopped up some red and green peppers and sauteed them to pump up the veggie count in these. (They are so good!!)
  • How to “level down” this recipe: Swap a lean beef for the ground turkey OR skip the turkey mix and fill with some bacon and cheese instead. (I made a few like this, and they were the first to go!)

Skinny Mozzarella Sticks via SkinnyTaste (I’ve made these a few times before, and they’re always a hit!)

  • How to “level up” this recipe: I’ve got nothing. I tried to bread these with an egg white rather than a whole egg, but the breading doesn’t stick nearly as well. This is a pretty “top level” recipe!
  • How to “level down” this recipe: You could use a full-fat cheese rather than the part-skim.

These were all fairly easy and definitely crowd pleasers!

But, now that it’s Monday, and we’re five, far days away from another weekend, it’s time to focus on a weekday favorite. I whipped this up last week for my lunch on Friday, and it was a delicious, easy way to use up some vegetables for a light, but filling, lunch.

Whole wheat pasta salad with greek yogurt dressing
Serves 1

  • 3/4 c. whole wheat pasta, cooked
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 c. red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 c. cucumber, chopped
  • 2 Tbl. onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dill
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix cooked pasta and vegetables together in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, add Greek yogurt, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dill, minced garlic, and salt/pepper and mix.
  3. Pour over pasta and vegetables. Cover and refrigerate overnight so flavors meld.

How to “level up” this recipe:

  • As always, add more vegetables! Green and yellow peppers would be great in this, too.

How to “level down” this recipe:

  • If you don’t love Greek yogurt like I do, you could use mayo and/or sour cream as a base.

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