Roasted Red Pepper Dip

I like pretty foods – anything that’s a bright color or has multiple colors. And this dip definitely satisfies this requirement.  It’s fresh, it’s easy and it’s really pretty. When you arrive to a party with this, everyone will look at it and say, “Oh wow!  What a pretty color!” And it really is.  And when they taste it, they’ll all want the recipe.  Little do they know that it takes just a little prep and uses ingredients you probably already have on hand.  It’s delicious!

Red pepper

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Original Recipe: HERE

Revised Recipe: Me 🙂  Jackie

Yield: 1 1/12 Cups


  • 1 bag of mini sweet peppers (Note: make sure you buy sweet and not spicy! They should be all different colors)
  • ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • teaspoons canola oil
  • teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 6 whole basil leaves or 1 tablespoon dried basil


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut off the tops from all of the mini peppers.  Lay them on a sheet pan and toss them in the 2 tablespoons of canola oil.
  3. Put them in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pan and move the peppers around, flipping them so the bottoms are now on the top. Put them back into the oven for 6-7 minutes.  Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.
  4. Once the peppers have cooled, put them into a food processor, along with the cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, balsamic vinegar and basil.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. Serve with broccoli florets, baby carrots, apsparagus spears, bell-pepper spears, or salt-free tortilla chips.


Emily’s (or Marissa’s) Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

This is recipe that is hotly contested amongst my group of friends.  Originally, my friend Marissa made this recipe at a party she threw a few years ago. We all loved it, not just because it was so tasty, but also because Marissa’s idea of a party is to have 3x more booze than food. So when she does bring out a few small bites, we all attack like starving wolves and inhale whatever she serves.

After that party, my other friend, Emily, asked Marissa for the recipe for these little wonders.  Since then, Emily has served them at all of her parties and people have since forgotten that they originally came from Marissa (btw, I don’t think anyone has truly forgotten that Marissa originally made them – I just think that Emily actually makes them better than Marissa did. The meatballs come out lighter, not as dry, and just the right amount of kick).  I, in turn, have passed this recipe along to my family and they all refer to it as “Emily’s Buffalo Chicken Meatballs,” when in reality, it’s actually Marissa’s.  Confusing, I know.  Just don’t mention this to Marissa.

The point is that this is one very tasty recipe and you don’t need to be on a CKD diet to appreciate it.  In addition to serving it at parties as an appetizer, I also make it for dinner (and serve it over rice) and you can freeze it. If you like buffalo sauce at all, you will love this.


Image result for buffalo chicken meatballs


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup hot sauce (Note: traditionally, hot sauce has a lot of salt. While Frank’s [the original, not the buffalo, which has less salt] will forever be my favorite, you can also make your own. I’ll post the recipe below for reference.)
  • 1 pound ground chicken, preferably thigh meat
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 celery stalk, minced
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs (Note: please see my tips for low-sodium bread crumbs in the Green Bean Casserole Recipe)


Preheat the oven to 450°F. Drizzle the vegetable oil into a 9×13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.

Combine the butter and hot sauce in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat, whisking until the butter is melted and fully incorporated. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.

Combine the hot sauce mixture, ground chicken, egg, celery, and bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.

Roll the mixture into round, 3/4 -inch balls, making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.

Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165°F.

If serving at a party, keep warm in a slow cooker.

DIY Low-Sodium Wing Sauce

2-4 tablespoons Tabasco (to taste)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and whisk in tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar and lemon juice.

Canadian Buddha Bowl

Between mid-2015 and 2016, I spent close to a year living in Toronto and absolutely loved it. I could talk endlessly about how great it was, how much calmer it was than New York, how nice everyone is (or seems to be), but for this particular post, I will focus on one of the dishes I ate when I was there.  Next to my office in Toronto were two lunch spots – Salad Days (which I will post a recipe from at a later time) and Freshii.  When I moved back to the States, I went through a period of withdrawal, craving those lunches that I loved so much, so I recreated my favorite lunch from Freshii.  It was so easy and I learned about the joy of rice noodles (which taste just like pasta but cook much faster!). Plus, this is a recipe that doesn’t need to be refrigerated if you don’t add meat, so it’s portable and great for outdoor get-togethers.

As a side note, about 6 months after I got back from Toronto, I went on the Freshii website…and lo and behold, they’re here!  They’re in New York!  And their White Plains location is about 10 minutes from my office, so I drove over there as fast as I could.  So now, I have the option of making this myself or getting the real thing…they’re both delicious and both bring back my happy memories of Toronto. – Go visit if there’s one near you!

Freshii Logo


Buddha Satay

rice noodles, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, crispy wontons, green onions, spicy peanut sauce (Side Note: I ask to replace this with a simple vinaigrette on the side or just use sriracha on the side)



  • 1 8-ounce package of rice noodles
  • 1 lb. of chicken breasts or pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cups no-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced (white and green parts separated)
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetables – as Freshii does, I use broccoli, a few shredded carrots, and purple cabbage, but any veggie would be good in here!
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 5-6 corn tortillas, cut into strips
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Note: You can either boil the noodles like pasta or stir fry them. They both work well.
  3. Toss corn tortilla strips lightly in a little oil and place on a baking sheet.  Bake them until crisp with brown edges, about 8 minutes. Place them on the side.
  4. In a large skillet or wok, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken or pork.  Cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to the pan, then add the scallions, ginger and garlic; reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
  5. Add the vegetables to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start softening, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and ground pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broth evaporates and the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Squeeze the lime on top and add the chopped cilantro.
  6. Stir all together and serve in a large bowl.  Add the tortilla strips on top.

If you’d like to add more of a sauce on top, you can either make a simple lime vinaigrette (found HERE, just omit the salt) or pour a little sriracha on top to add a kick.



Almost Classic Green Bean Casserole

The holidays can be one of the toughest times of the year for me. While my family attempts to serve at least a few dishes that fall in my diet, the reality is there’s always a lot of food that’s high in salt, has nuts or beans or dairy, and isn’t good for me. But my philosophy is to always make sure I bring at least one dish that I cook myself so at least I know I can eat something.  And of course, to me, the best part of any holiday meal is generally the sides.

Green Bean Casserole is a classic recipe from my parents’ era. Who doesn’t love a dish with fried onions on top? Historically, this recipe is made with condensed soup, green beans, a lot of additional salt, and those amazing crunchy onions.  So this year, I found this recipe from Alton Brown for homemade Green Bean Casserole and attempted to update it to fit my diet.  The results were fantastic – it smelled, tasted, and looked just like the original!


Original Recipe: Found HERE (courtesy of Alton Brown & The Food Network)

Revised Recipe Below: Me 🙂 Jackie


For the topping:

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons low-salt bread crumbs (Note: breadcrumbs are one of the hardest things to find as low or no salt. You can feel free to make your own by putting a piece of day-old low-salt bread in a food processor or there are a few brands you can buy, namely Asian brands like Kikkoman or Sushi Chef – these are both panko – Ian’s Gluten-Free makes a lower salt version and there’s a no-salt 4C breadcrumb)
  • Nonstick cooking spray

For beans and sauce:

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup salt-free chicken broth
  • 1 cup almond or rice milk (non-enriched)


Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Combine the onions, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Toss the onions 2 to 3 times during cooking. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.

(Alternate cooking method: Air fryer – found here – if you or someone in your family has one, the onions turn out great this way too. Here is a picture of my mom’s Air Fryer and the onions.)

Air Fryer

While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans. Bring a gallon of water to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Melt the margarine in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the rice/almond milk. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. If you find that it still isn’t thick enough, add 1 more tablespoon of flour, but make sure to mix it in so it cooks off quickly.


Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

Minty Pea Pesto Dip

About a year ago, I went over my friend’s apartment for her annual anti-Valentine’s Day gathering, which basically entails about 15 girls determined to enjoy Valentine’s Day via friends, booze and snacks.  It’s really just a reason to get together and drink. Of note: my friend who has hosted this bash in the past now has a boyfriend (yay!) so we’re going to have to plan around her this year.


One of the dishes that she made was Giada DiLaurentiis’ Pea Pesto Crostini. Knowing I’m on my diet, she showed me the list of ingredients before offering me one (I have great friends).  Because of the parmesan and salt, I couldn’t eat it, but looking at the list of ingredients, it gave me some great ideas. I realized I could make my own version and infuse some new flavors.  And so, I give you a slightly revised version of Giada’s Pea Pesto Crostini.

Original Recipe: Courtesy of Food Network and Giada found HERE

Revised Recipe: Courtesy of Me 🙂 Jackie


  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup (or a good handful) of fresh mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/3 cup olive oil or mix of olive and canola oil


Roughly chop the mint and place in a food processor, along with the peas, garlic, and ground pepper.  Pulse together.  With the machine running, slowly add the oil until well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the juice of the lemon and pulse a few more times.  Season with additional pepper as necessary.

This can be put on a crostini (as the original recipe calls for) or can be added on top of meat or fish. Or as a simple dip with crudite. It’s delicious so however you choose to eat it, I hope you enjoy!

Note: Photo cred goes to Kim Sunee