This dip is a decade-long family favorite, and to celebrate Friday, it was our big meal of the day. If beef isn’t your thing, consider substituting black beans or chicken. Either way, it’s tasty good!

Beefy Fiesta Dip

1 lb lean ground beef, divided

1-8 oz pkg reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

1 cup reduced fat sour cream, divided

1 cup salsa

1 pkg taco seasoning

1-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (we like sharp), divided

1 can fat-free refried beans

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1/2 avocado, sliced thin and cut into 1/2″ pieces

3 tbsp diced jalapenos

Tortilla chips (if you haven’t tried Tostita’s Hint of Lime chips, do!)

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees; lightly oil a large casserole dish

2) In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until browned (7-8 minutes); remove from heat, drain fat, and set aside

3) To large mixing bowl, add cream cheese, 3/4 cup sour cream (reserving 1 cup), salsa, taco seasoning, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese (reserving 3/4 cup), refried beans, and half the ground beef; mix well to combine; spoon into casserole dish

4) Scatter remaining ground beef and cheese over top, pop in oven, and cook 12-15 minutes until heated through; remove from oven

5) Scatter tomatoes, avocado, and jalapenos over top; spoon remaining 1/4 cup sour cream in sandwich bag, snip bottom corner, and squeeze sour cream over top; press a portion of tortilla chips into dip around the edges and serve with a bowl of chips; yummer!

Servings: 4 as an entree (many more as an appetizer)

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 04/13/12


As of this writing, I believe there is no better way to enjoy pork chops than smothered in an apple butter and red onion sauce. Though my waistline certainly wouldn’t appreciate it, I could seriously overindulge in this entree. Oh, and my guys really liked it too.

Apple Butter Pork Loin Chops

1 tbsp olive oil

4 boneless pork loin chops (about 1-1/2 lbs)

sea salt

ground black pepper

1 large red delicious apple, cored and sliced thin

1/2 large red onion, sliced thin

1-1/4 cup apple butter

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat; add pork loin chops, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill each side 2-3 minutes until nicely browned; remove chops from skillet and set aside

2) Lower skillet heat to medium; add apple and onion to skillet; cook five minutes; stir in apple butter, vinegar, mustard, and cumin; cook 3 minutes, stirring often; push apple-onion sauce to the side and return chops to skillet; spoon apple-onion sauce over chops; put lid on skillet and cook 5-6 minutes until center of chops are no longer pink; plate chops, spoon apple-onion sauce over tops, sprinkle with parsley, and serve

Servings: 4