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Welcome to the latest issue of our Seasoned newsletter!

Welcome to the monthly Seasoned Newsletter. This time, it’s all about snacks. If you’re like me, your desire to snack gets more intense as the weather gets colder. But even if you’re not, healthy snacks are always a good thing. Sometimes, they can even be all you want for a meal, which is just dandy. 

So here are easy recipes for snacks from light (Cauliflower Popcorn and a killer Feta and Red Pepper Dip) to more substantial (Quesadilla and four uses for nut butters). Plus there’s a trick for peeling lots of garlic, a balance exercise, and a teaser for your brain.

Let’s get started!

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Easiest Quesadilla

Easiest Quesadilla

Quesadillas are one of the easiest and most delicious snacks around. They also make an excellent light lunch or dinner, particularly if you add one of the many options listed below.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 2 (10-inch) whole-grain tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mexican-blend cheese, divided
  • 2 tsp olive or vegetable oil, divided  
  • Salsa, hot sauce, and/or plain yogurt, for serving (optional)


  • Put one tortilla on a large plate and sprinkle half of the shredded cheese over half of it, leaving about a ¼-inch border. Fold the tortilla over to make a half-moon shape.
  • Put a large skillet on the stove, turn the heat to medium, and add 1 teaspoon of the oil.
  • When the oil is hot, put the filled tortilla in the skillet and cook until the bottom is lightly browned and the cheese is gooey, about 2 minutes. Using a heatproof spatula or tongs, turn the quesadilla over and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer the cooked quesadilla to a plate.
  • Repeat with the remaining tortilla, cheese, and oil. Cut the quesadillas into quarters, if you like, and serve with your choice of dipping sauce. 


Or You Could
Add any or all of these (¼ cup total) to each tortilla when you
add the cheese:
  • Canned or cooked black beans
  • Corn kernels
  • Diced tomatoes or bell peppers
  • Sliced or shredded cooked chicken
  • Chopped or sliced cooked zucchini, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, or potatoes
  • Baby spinach or kale

A Kitchen Trick, a Brain Teaser, an Exercise

Mini Lunges

1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart

2. Holding onto a stable surface, step forward and allow your front knee to bend. Be sure that you don’t lunge too deep.
If pain occurs, take smaller steps.

3. Return to start position, then repeat with opposite leg.

4. Do 10 lunges per leg, twice daily.

Who Were Those Masked Men?

A man left home running. He ran a ways and then turned left, ran the same distance and turned left again, ran the same distance and turned left again. But when he got home, there were two masked men. Who were they? 

Answer: The umpire and the catcher.

Peeling Lots of Garlic

Separate the head of garlic into individual cloves, then put them into a lidded glass jar and put on the lid. (You can also use a small mixing bowl covered with a plate or cutting board.) Shake vigorously, stopping occasionally to look at the cloves—when you see that they have separated from their skins, you’re done.

Cauliflower Popcorn

Cauliflower Popcorn

Crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside — you’ll have a hard time stopping once you bite into one!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 Servings


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Turn the oven on and set the heat to 425 degrees.
  • Cut the core out of the cauliflower, then pull apart the florets into pieces about the size of popped corn or slightly larger.
  • Put the cauliflower on a large rimmed baking sheet, add the oil and salt, and toss to mix well. Spread out the cauliflower in a single layer.
  • Put the baking sheet in the oven and roast until the cauliflower is golden brown, about 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes to ensure even cooking. Serve right away.


Or You Could
Make it spicy: When the cauliflower comes out of the oven, sprinkle it with 1–2 teaspoons ground cumin, smoked paprika, curry powder, or nutritional yeast.

Quick Bites

Nut butters are an easy and delicious way to get more protein and healthy fats into your diet.
Here are a few ways to use them.

In a sandwich with bananas or strawberries
Added to a smoothie
Dolloped on roasted broccoli
Swirled into pasta

Whipped Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Whipped Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Chef Ana Sortun, a good friend to ChopChop Family, allowed us to adapt the recipe she uses in her Boston-area Middle Eastern restaurants. When you order this Turkish dip, it’s easy to assume it’s a complicated and time-consuming recipe. Make it yourself and you’ll see that it isn’t. This recipe can easily be halved.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 2 Cups


  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed (with the stem removed), halved lengthwise, and seeds and white ribs removed
  • 1⁄2 pound feta cheese, broken into chunks
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon paprika (any kind is fine)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil


  • Arrange one of your oven racks so that it is close to the top of the oven, nearest the broiler. Set the broiler to high.
  • Put the pepper halves on the baking sheet, cut side down. Carefully put the sheet on the top oven rack and broil until blackened, about 15 minutes.
  • Using the tongs, put the peppers in the bowl and cover with the plate. Set aside until the peppers are cool enough to handle, 15-20 minutes.
  • Peel and rub off as much of the blackened skin from the peppers as you can (this is a very messy but fun job) and throw away the skin. (Note: you now have roasted peppers! These are great in a sandwich.)
  • Put the peppers in the bowl of the food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
  • Using the spatula, scoop the dip into the serving bowl or lidded container. Serve right away or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.
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