7 Layer Dip


Recipe courtesy of Joyce Levesque

This recipe comes from my Mother-in-law, Joyce, and is one of our family’s favorite appetizers, it makes an appearance at all of our sports celebrations and most BBQ’s.  This dip could not be simpler to make, but you do need to start it several hours in advance.  I always make it the night before the event, so that the cream cheese-sour cream-salsa layer has time to firm up before I add the chopped accoutrements.

It is a colorful and tasty addition to the buffet table.  Recently I’ve even gone low-cal and low-fat with some of the ingredients, without affecting the flavor at all.  College football kicks off this weekend, and our Buckeyes will be defending their title this year…Go Bucs! and Enjoy!


15 oz. can refried beans

6 oz. container unflavored, fat-free Greek yogurt (this replaces the sour cream)

8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

salsa (an amount that will make a loose mixture, I use about 18 oz.)

Co-jack cheese, grated (can use fat-free or low-fat)

1/2 large tomato, chopped, and seeded

3 green onions, chopped

1/2- 16 oz. can black olives, drained and sliced into thirds (or substitute 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained).


1. Choose a somewhat shallow serving dish, a deep-dish pie plate works well for this dip.  Spread refried beans in bottom of serving dish.


2. Place softened cream cheese and Greek yogurt in a large bowl.  Using a wire whisk, mix cream cheese and yogurt with salsa.  The amount of salsa will depend upon your preference for spice, but keep in mind that the mixture should be quite loose.  It will firm up as it chills in the refrigerator.


3. Pour the mixture over the refried beans, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight.


4. Remove dish from refrigerator.  Sprinkle grated cheese over entire surface of salsa layer.  Sprinkle chopped tomato, chopped green onion, and sliced olives over cheese layer.  Place in refrigerator, uncovered, until ready to serve.   Tortilla chips, especially Tostitos Scoops are great with this dip.


Black-Eyed Pea Salsa


Adapted from Woman’s Day Magazine, February 2011

I did change this recipe a little by adding juice from the jalapeno jar and green Tabasco, just to give it a little kick.  If you prefer your salsa to be a little tamer, skip those additions.  It takes about 5 minutes to put this salsa together, but I would suggest that you make it ahead of time so that the flavors have time to mingle.  In the Woman’s Day article, this salsa is served as a side dish with a pork loin that has been seasoned with cumin and chili powder. Sounds yummy!

Sometimes I change up the ingredients of this salsa, depending on what I have on hand at the time, and what I am serving it with.  I’ve discovered that black beans and corn (especially fresh corn that’s been grilled) is delicious substituted for the black-eyed peas. This salsa is terrific served as an appetizer with lime flavored tortilla chips, or as is, served with grilled chicken or pork.  Enjoy!



1- 15 ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

1/2 cucumber, cut into 1/4 inch dice

3 green onions, chopped

1 Tablespoon tame jalapeno slices, chopped fine

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)

juice from jar of tame jalapenos, optional

a few good shots of green Tabasco, optional

salt and fresh ground pepper



1. Combine the black-eyed peas, cucumber, green onions, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and optional jalapeno juice and Tabasco.


2. Season with salt and pepper and serve as an appetizer with lime flavored tortilla chips.  It would also be yummy served with grilled chicken, pork, or fish that has been soaked in a citrus marinade.

Tuna and White Bean Salad


Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart

It takes about five minutes to put this salad together and it does taste really yummy.  The tuna, beans and bread make it a very filling meal, while the lemon juice, garlic, tomatoes, and parsley are so nice and fresh tasting.  Enjoy!


12 oz. tuna, packed in water

15.5 oz can Cannellini beans, drained

1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half

salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons capers

3 cloves raw garlic, minced

3 Tablespoons olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

about 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 slices thick bread, toasted



1. In a large bowl, combine tuna, beans, tomato halves, salt and pepper, capers, and garlic.  Stir gently to mix, being careful to leave tuna in large clumps.

2. Pour olive oil and lemon juice over salad.  Combine gently to moisten salad,  add fresh parsley and mix.

3. Serve salad with thick chunks of toasted bread.

Bean Soup


Is it one of those kind of days? There’s at least a foot of snow on the ground, it’s 36 degrees, windy and gray. On days like this I crave comfort food, and there is nothing more comforting that a hot bowl of bean soup with a big chunk of buttered cornbread.  A crispy green salad will also help to perk up your mood.  Enjoy!



dried beans (I use a mixture of whatever we have in the pantry, the bags of 15 bean mix are nice)

chicken bouillon cube,

1 small onion, chopped (dry onions work, too)



garlic powder

bay leaves

Hillshire Farm Turkey smoked sausage (comes in a 14 oz. link), ham hock, or leftover ham

carrots, chopped into bite sized- pieces, not diced

salt and pepper




This recipe is more a formula for bean soup than an exact recipe;

For every cup of dried beans you will need 3 cups of water.

1. Choose amount of beans you wish to cook ( I used 4 cups of beans here).

2. The beans need to be washed and picked over to check for rocks and rotten beans.

3. Put picked-over beans in crockpot, add water.

4. Dissolve 1 cube of bouillon in a small amount of hot water and add it to the beans.

5. Time to season- we like it simple with just cumin and garlic powder.  It is also really good with chiles, tomatoes, etc.  Use your imagination as well as your favorite herbs and spices to create your own specialty soup.  Add dried onion, or chopped fresh onion.  Use whichever one you have and it will still be good.

6. Chop the smoked sausage into bite-sized pieces (Use the amount that your family likes. I used half of the link for this pot of soup).  Add them to the pot along with a bay leaf or two.

7. Stir it all up good, cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.

8. About halfway through add in the chopped carrots. If you are not able to add in the carrots halfway through, put them in at the beginning.  They will end up being a little soft, but still yummy.  The carrots impart a sweetness to the soup that is very nice.


9. Serve with a crisp green salad and a big chunk of hot , buttered cornbread.

Cowboy Beans


Cowboy Calico Beans are courtesy of Taste of Home.com


1/2 pound bacon, chopped into small pieces

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup ketchup

3 Tablespoons cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons mustard

4- 16 ounce cans beans (I used cannellini beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, and pork-n-beans)



1. In a large pan or Dutch oven, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove bacon and drain it on a paper towel, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.



2.  Saute onion in bacon fat until soft and translucent.



3. Add beans to onions in pot.



4. Add brown sugar, ketchup, cider vinegar, mustard, and crispy bacon to beans and stir.



5. Place mixture in a crock pot and cook on low for 2-3 hours, or place on top of the stove and cook on low for about 1 1/2 hours.

My friend, Cindy P., brought these beans to my house once for a get-together, and they were so good.  I made this batch for Super Bowl XLVIII, in honor of the Denver Broncos (I made Salmon Sandwiches for their opponent, the Seattle Seahawks).  The original recipe uses hamburger, but when it came time to make these I was fresh out.  So I replaced the hamburger with bacon and it was yummy.  Enjoy!