Creamy Hummus Dip

Traditional HUMMUS DIP
by Christine Hughes

I love this #hummus recipe because it’s very #traditional and #withoutcumin!


1-14.5 oz can of chickpeas (undrained)
1-14.5 oz can of chickpeas (drained, but reserve liquid and a couple of chickpeas for garnish)
1 large clove of garlic (for garlic lovers, add more to taste)
1 tsp of sea salt
1/4 cup of tahini (try to use Lebanese tahini bought at a Middle Eastern market #Mediterranean Bakery in Alexandria, VA or the Greek tahini, #Krinos , found in the grocery store)
Juice of 1 Fresh lemon (do not use lemon juice from bottle)
Extra Virgin Olive oil-Garnish


Add 1 whole can of chickpeas (undrained) in a food processor and let process for about 1 minute. Add the 2nd can of chickpeas (drained), but reserve the liquid. Process for about 30 seconds. Add tahini, salt, garlic, and lemon juice and process for about 1-2 minutes. Add very small amounts of the reserved liquid until mixture has reached the desired consistency and keep processing until creamy, about another minute. Be sure to add small amounts at a time to avoid making hummus too thin. Add more salt to taste. Once the hummus is ready, serve in a platter and sprinkle with paprika. Garnish with parsley, an olive, or a couple of chickpeas and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil for a nice touch.
Serve with warm pita bread, pita chips, or some fresh vegetables like carrots, celery, and red bell peppers.


Rice Noodles with Vegetables in a Garlic and Chili sauce

Do you ever have a craving for Chinese noodles? Rice noodles are a good alternative to egg noodles because they’re gluten-free and are a lighter option. I’ve been trying to eliminate wheat from my diet to see how it affects my body. Here is one of my fast 15 minute “Go to” recipes. Add any meat to it for added protein,but this recipe just has vegetables, specifically sugar snaps and bean sprouts. You might think that this recipe calls for quite a bit of bean sprouts, but I always use a lot of bean sprouts in noodle recipes and reduce the amount of noodles since it’s a little healthier. Feel free to use less bean sprouts or eliminate the ingredient altogether.


4 oz of rice noodles (medium)
1 cup of sugar snaps
1 cup of fresh bean sprouts
2 green onions (chopped with white and green parts separated)
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon of hot chili oil
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of rice wine (not vinegar)
2 tablespoons of water
2 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped

First, cook noodles like you would spaghetti, except only cook for a minute or 2 and check for texture. You want to cook the rice noodles until right before they are “al dente” because the noodles will continue to cook while you are sauteeing. Drain and run under cold water and set aside.
For the sauce: In a bowl, whisk the chili oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice wine, cornstarch, and water together and set aside.
In a wok or large saute pan, heat sesame oil in a wok or frying pan on high heat for about one minute, then add garlic and white parts of green onion, and cook for another minute or two, constantly stirring the ingredients. If you are going to add tofu, poultry, or meat, do it before you add vegetables and cook until almost fully cooked, set aside in a plate, and then add vegetables to the same pan. Add sugar snaps or snow peas and bean sprouts and continue to sauté for about one minute. I like using sugar snaps because they are really crunchy and still hold much of that crunch after heating. Add noodles and green parts of onion to vegetables and saute for about a minute and toss until everything is mixed evenly and then pour sauce over the noodles. Toss in sauce for about a minute or two, but be careful not to mix too much because the noodles will get too soft. Serve with chili oil (with little specs of chili in it) on the side for added heat.

Mediterranean-Style Quinoa


This is my first experiment with Quinoa. It was really tasty and I am definitely going to use this power grain again. I used the rice cooker method and used the 2 to 1 ratio, two cups water or broth to one cup quinoa. I also added 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of salt to the water and quinoa before turning the rice cooker on.
The finished product above was really easy. This is for one serving.
Use one cup of cooked Quinoa, one tablespoon of Christine’s Greek salad vinaigrette ( and add any of the following ingredients: Sun dried tomatoes, vine-ripened tomatoes, green or red bell pepper, artichokes, chickpeas, red onion, pitted Greek olives, pine nuts, and feta cheese. Toss and Enjoy a guiltless meal or side dish.

If you have any questions contact me at


Christine’s Greek Salad and Dressing

Last night we had an unexpected visit from friends we hadn’t seen for a few years, and it was a lazy Saturday night for us. I decided to whip up a Greek salad for dinner, and finally, after many times having made this dressing, I’m sharing it with the world. I hope you like it as much as my family does.
Kali Orexi (Greek equivalent to Bon appetit in French)

Salad Ingredients:

2 heads of romaine lettuce
3 cups of vine ripe tomatoes, cut in quarters (see photo)
1 red onion, diced
1 english cucumber, sliced
1 green bell pepper, core and seeds removed, and diced
1/2 cup of Greek pitted olives (optional)
Feta Cheese (use block and crumble into fine pieces)

The Dressing (Makes 1 cup of dressing):
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of fine red wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon of fine sea salt
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
3 large cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of dried mint
1 teaspoon of Cavenders Greek Seasoning (optional)

Combine all the dressing ingredients and place in food processor, blender, or use an immersion blender. For this recipe and for all dressings, I use the immersion blender, specifically the Cuisinart Smartstick 200W hand blender. Please see the picture of what the dressing should look like. I used about half the dressing for the amount of salad above, and poured the dressing over the ingredients and then topped with feta cheese before serving.

Tomatoes on the Vine

Greek Dressing

Christine’s Greek Salad

Green Bean Stew (Loubia B’Zeit)

Green Bean Stew (Loubia B’Zeit)

Difficulty: Very Easy
Serves 4

1-28 ounce bag of frozen cut green beans (Family Size)
2 teaspoons of Ground Allspice
1 cup of onion, diced
2 teaspoons of salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon of dried mint flakes
1-8 ounce can of tomato sauce (Hunts is best)
½ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup of water (more if necessary)

Sauté onions on medium-high heat with mint, allspice, salt, and pepper until onions are almost fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Add green beans, water, and tomato sauce and cook on medium heat for about 40 minutes or until beans are tender. Add more water if needed in ¼ cup increments until mixture resembles a thick stew. See picture below:

Peppermint Bark

I got inspired to make Peppermint Bark while being away from the United States and not being able to get the Willams Sonoma version. After making this recipe, I no longer will be buying my bark because by making it on my own, I can use any brand or type of chocolate, and it adds a personal touch when giving the treat as a gift. Not to mention, it is more cost-effective.
Peppermint Bark is a great treat to give away at the holidays and even for Valentines Day.

Peppermint Bark


1-12 ounce bag(s) of white chocolate morsels (use 2 bags if you want a thick layer of white chocolate)
1-12 ounce bag of milk chocolate morsels (you can use semi-sweet or dark chocolate as a substitute)
8-10 large candy canes


1. Melt milk chocolate morsels first using a double boiler. Stir with spatula to keep chocolate from burning. (See post on creating a double boiler with a Pyrex bowl and pot:
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and using a spatula, spread the melted milk chocolate on the parchment paper avoiding edges of the parchment paper.
3. Place cookie sheet in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes or until chocolate hardens. Wash out Pyrex bowl before melting white chocolate.
4. Place candy canes in a Ziploc bag and crush until all the candy is in small pieces. A mortar and pestle can be used.
5. Melt white chocolate using the same double boiler making sure to constantly stir chocolate with spatula.
4. Once milk chocolate has hardened, remove from the refrigerator and spread the white chocolate over the dark until all the white chocolate is gone and sprinkle the candy cane pieces over the white chocolate.
5. Refrigerate again until white chocolate hardens. Cut bark into pieces and serve.

Fusili with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Spinach, and Asiago Cheese

Makes 4 Servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes


1 pound of Fusili or Rotini pasta spirals
8 ounces of sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
8-10 ounces of shredded Asiago cheese (A good substitute is the Italian Cheese Blend by Kraft)
9-10 ounce bag of baby spinach or arugula
1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Freshly ground pepper

Cook pasta according to directions on box. While cooking, saute garlic, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until spinach is tender. Add more olive oil if necessary to spinach for cooking. Set aside and keep on warm. Once pasta is cooked and drained, combine pasta and spinach mixture in the pot in which the pasta was cooking. Mix ingredients with cheese on very low heat until cheese is melted. Serve warm with some extra grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese and freshly ground pepper.

Hiding Veggie Sausage in the Eggs

I just made a wonderful omelette for my son filled with tomatoes, potatoes, green onion, cheddar cheese, and yes, veggie sausage. I was certain he would figure it out and not eat it. First, I sauteed the veggie sausage patties and broke them up using a spatula similar to ground beef. Then I just added it to the other ingredients before adding the eggs. My son didn’t know the difference between real sausage and the veggie sausage! Good Job Mom!

Photo courtesy of Morning Star

Spinach Artichoke Breakfast Casserole

This casserole was inspired by Panera’s Spinach Artichoke Souffles…
You can follow this recipe and bake in individual souffle dishes as an alternative.

Make about 8 servings


1 cup of frozen chopped spinach (drained) or fresh sauteed spinach
1/2 cup of chopped canned artichokes (non-marinated)
1/2 cup of diced Canadian bacon (optional)
1/4 cup of chopped chives
8 eggs
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/4 teaspoon of oregano
1 package of Pillsbury crescent rolls or Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets
3 cups of a mix of finely shredded mozzarella and provolone cheese (use Sargento Italian blend)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Defrost spinach in microwave. Set aside and let cool. Beat eggs and milk in a large bowl. Once the spinach is cool (run under cool water to speed up process), make sure all the water is drained from the frozen spinach and squeeze excess water out if necessary. Add spinach and remaining ingredients to egg mixture. Stir well. Spread out dough in a 9×13 non-stick casserole dish. Make sure there are no holes in the dough and if necessary spread out dough up sides of casserole dish. Pour egg batter over the dough and spread out the ingredients. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the casserole is cooked. Check the middle of the casserole with a knife to make sure it comes out clean.