99 Flavors of Dip: # 1 5-Minute Blender Salsa

This 5-Minute Blender Salsa is fast, easy, and fresh.  All you need is fresh ingredients, a little salt, and a blender.

5-Minute Blender Salsa prep

The salsa can be served with tortilla chips or used as a topping on tacos, burritos, or whatever else you like.

5-Minute Blender Salsa

This salsa is rather Hot.  If you’d like a less spicy version, remove the jalapeno seeds or use half of a jalapeno.

It tastes even better on the second day, once all the flavors have melded together.

5-Minute Blender Salsa

5-Minute Blender Salsa

  • Servings: 4-6
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Fresh, spicy tomato salsa made in the blender.


  • 1 large ripe tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vidalia or sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 ts salt


1. Place all of the ingredients except salt into a blender.  Blend on high until all vegetables are pureed to desired consistency (20-30 seconds).  Pour the salsa into a bowl and stir in salt.  Letting the salsa sit will allow the flavors to blend.



99 Flavors of Overnight Oats: # 2 Sugared Pecan & Cranberry Overnight Oats

Did I say that Apple Toffee was my favorite flavor of overnight oats?  Well, I have a new favorite!  This Sugared Pecan & Cranberry version was delicious!

Making the sugared pecans only takes about 10 minutes and is well worth the effort.  A little water, sugar, cinnamon, and a dash of salt creates crunchy, sweetened pecans.  It was hard not to gobble them all up right away instead of saving them for the oatmeal.  Make sure you cook them long enough that the water has been evaporated and the sugar mixture is bubbly and frothy.

cooking sugared pecans

It is also important that you immediately transfer the pecans to a piece of wax paper when done cooking.  Otherwise they will become stuck in your pan.

Sugared Pecans

I put half of the pecans and cranberries in the oats overnight and saved the other half to pour on top in the morning.

Sugared Pecan and Cranberry Overnight Oats

The combination of sugared pecans and tart cranberries gives these oats a sweet taste with a crunchy and chewy texture.

Sugared Pecan & Cranberry Overnight Oats

Sugared Pecan & Cranberry Overnight Oats

Sugared Pecan & Cranberry Overnight Oats

  • Servings: 1
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Overnight oats with crunchy, sugared pecans and dried cranberries


  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 ts flaxseed
  • 2 Tb dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tb pecan pieces
  • 2 Tb sugar
  • 1 Tb water
  • 1 dash ground cinnamon
  • 1 dash salt


1. To make sugared pecans, combine pecans, sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until water is evaporated and mixture is bubbly, about 10 minutes.  Immediately transfer the pecans to a piece of wax paper to cool.
2. Pour oats into a mason jar or another jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Add flaxseed, half of the sugared pecans, and 1 Tb of dried cranberries.  Pour in the milk, seal the lid, and shake until well combined.  Place the jar in the fridge overnight.  Reserve the remaining pecans and cranberries to add on top the following morning.


99 Flavors of Overnight Oats: # 1 Toffee Apple Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are great because they are super healthy, high in protein, and can be grabbed in the morning for a quick breakfast or on-the-go.  This flavor – Toffee Apple – requires a little bit of extra prep time in the morning, but it is well worth it!  Toffee Apple Overnight Oats is the best kind of overnight oats I have tried so far.

I only added 1 tablespoon of toffee bits, so as not to negate the healthiness of this recipe, but still give the oats a tiny sweet crunch.


Mix the first few ingredients in about a minute and pop in the fridge overnight!  Next morning, cook the apples.  The thinner you slice the apples, the faster they will cook.  I used a whole apple, but only put half in my overnight oats.  You could use all of the apple, or save some for later, or make two jars of overnight oats.


Cooking the apples with the butter, sugar, and cinnamon creates a beautiful syrup.  Let the mixture cool for a couple of minutes after cooking and it will thicken.



Top your toffee overnight oats with cinnamon sauteed apples and you’ve got a truly delicious breakfast!

Toffee Apple Overnight Oats

Toffee Apple Overnight Oats

  • Servings: 1
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Overnight oats with toffee bits, topped with sauteed cinnamon apples


  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 ts flaxseed
  • 1 Tb toffee bits
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
  • 1/2 Tb butter
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 1/4 ts ground cinnamon


1. Pour oats into a mason jar or another jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Add flaxseed and toffee bits.  Pour in milk last, seal on lid, and shake until well mixed.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.
2. When ready to serve, heat butter in a small frying pan.  Add sliced apples and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.  Cook apples over medium heat until tender, about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Pour all or half of the apples with their syrup on the top of the overnight oats.  Enjoy!


99 Flavors of Grains: # 1 Quinoa Salad Stuffed Pita

I think quinoa is my new best friend: full of amino acids, high in protein, and easy to cook. Technically, quinoa is a seed, but for the purposes of this blog, I am grouping it under grains. This Quinoa Salad Stuffed Pita Bread was an amazingly delicious lunch, and healthy too. I’ve been dreaming about it on my other lunch days when I’ve had yogurt and fruit.

The recipe makes one large, fully stuffed half of a pita, but it could easily be doubled.

Use fresh veggies and cut the pieces small.  I used dark green leaf lettuce.


The buttermilk cilantro dressing is amazing!


The quinoa salad is just as delicious on its own as stuffed in a pita.


I loved this boldly flavored lunch.  Paired with an orange, it was delicious and satisfying.


Quinoa Salad Stuffed Pita

  • Servings: 1
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Quinoa tossed with lettuce, veggies, and feta with a delicious bold buttermilk cilantro dressing, stuffed into pita

Credit: 99Taste Original by Leslie

Dressing Ingredients

  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tb plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/8 ts garlic powder
  • ¼ ts dried cilantro
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients

  • ¼ cup dried quinoa
  • 4 baby carrots, chopped
  • 1 or 2 Tb red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup shredded green leaf lettuce
  • 1 Tb feta cheese, crumbled
  • Halved cherry tomatoes (optional)
  • ½ of a pita bread


1. Whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.
2. To cook quinoa, bring ½ cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa. Cover with a lid and turn to simmer. Simmer 12-15 mins until all water is absorbed.
3. Toss lettuce, carrots, red onion, tomatoes (if using), and quinoa with dressing until fully coated. Mix in feta cheese. Stuff salad into a pita and enjoy!



99 Ways with the Instant Pot: # 3 Instant Pot Southwest Chicken

This Instant Pot Southwest Chicken is great because it can be made in 30 minutes, plus it’s healthy and only 305 calories per serving.

Every part of this recipe is done in the instant pot, including browning the tortilla strips.


First the chicken is seasoned and saute’d for a few minutes, before adding the flavorful sauce that will create the liquid for pressure cooking.



The pressure cooking for this recipe only requires 8 minutes.  Even the time for the pressure to build up wasn’t long (about 10 mins), since the pot was already heated from the sauteing.  Then a final saute’ to thicken the sauce and a little cheese and the crispy tortilla strips are added to the top, resulting in a flavorful and tender chicken dish.

Instant Pot Southwest Chicken

Instant Pot Southwest Chicken

  • Servings: 4
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Moist and flavorful chicken cooked in the instant pot topped with crispy tortilla strips and cheese

Credit: 99Taste original by Leslie


  • 1 Tb oil
  • 2 flour tortillas, cut into strips (easiest with a pizza cutter)
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb.), sliced horizontally
  • ½ ts salt
  • ½ ts garlic powder
  • 1 ts chili powder
  • ¼ ts paprika
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup salsa or picante sauce
  • 2 Tb apricot preserves
  • ¼ cup shredded Colby and Monterey jack cheese


1. Combine salt, garlic powder, ½ ts of the chili powder, and paprika. Rub each side of chicken breast with spice mixture.
2. Mix water, salsa or picante sauce, apricot preserves, and ½ ts chili powder. Set aside.
3. Turn instant pot on to sauté mode. Add oil and heat for 1 minute. Add tortilla strips and cook 1-2 minutes on each side until crispy. Remove tortilla strips and set aside. Add chicken to instant pot. Sauté on each side until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
4. Pour sauce mixture over chicken in instant pot. Put on the lid and make sure the steam release valve is set to “sealing.” Cancel sauté mode and set instant pot on pressure cook for 8 minutes. Once cooking is complete, quick release the steam valve. Open the lid and set the instant pot back to sauté mode. Cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Change to the “warm” setting and sprinkle cheese and tortilla strips on top of chicken. Serve.