Category Archives: Product Ideas

Super Healthy Eating Ideas for the Super Busy (aka all of us)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before, from friends, spouse and especially from my inner-monologue (if you have an inner-dialogue, seek professional help).  And what I’ve heard from these people this person (me) with delusions of self-importance is, “I’m waaaay too busy to take time out of my day to prepare, cook and serve a healthy meal for myself, let alone my annoying loving family.”  Well, at the risk of sounding slightly vulgar and eloquent at the same time, that’s a load of nonsense.

To prove my last statement, here are 10 simple, easy and quick ideas…I’m reluctant to use the term “recipe” as it usually elicits audible groans and thoughts of, “recipes = time (which I don’t have) + effort (which I can’t waste on cooking due to my hectic schedule).  And while these ideas call for ingredients and instructions, they’re kept to a minimum and written in an easy to understand narrative style.  Yeah, I know, that sounds like a load of claptrap, but I’m the author and I’m going with “ideas.”

ground-turkey-noodles-IMG_3995-(2)1. Portion controlled meals from MagicKitchen.com

Hey, look, no ingredients or instructions required here!  Well, apart from microwave and enjoy.  MagicKitchen eliminates the shopping, prep, and cooking with our healthy, yummy (yes, I said yummy) portion controlled meals that come in 11 different meal packs, including 2 dedicated to breakfast, and dozens of individual choices.  Check them out here: http://www.magickitchen.com/menu/MKMWL.html

2. Pina colada yogurt parfaits

Ok, three simple ingredients required for this one: Greek yogurt, pineapple, and shaved coconut.  Simply slap some Greek yogurt in your favorite wine glass (or leave it in the container, like my lazy a$$) and throw in some fresh pineapple and coconut and consume.  The sweetness of the fruit balances out the bitterness of the yogurt quite nicely and you’re getting some proteins as well.

3. Peanut butter breakfast toast

pb-toast-chiaDo I really need to list the ingredients and instructions for toast?  I thought not.  Just slather some peanut butter (or almond butter) on your whole-wheat toast and top with banana slices, blueberries, raspberries, chia seeds, etc.  Just be sure to push the toppings into the peanut/almond butter as this will hold them in place when you invariably tip the toast up to eat.  My dogs were quite unhappy when I learned this little trick.

4. Broiled grapefruit with honey and brown sugar

Yes, “broiled.”  Ok, here come the dreaded instructions…ingredients are listed in the title.  Halve a grapefruit, broil for 4-6 minutes and top with honey, brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon.  See what I did there, snuck in an extra ingredient…don’t freak.  The grapefruit gets just slightly crunchy on top and the heat melds the honey, sugar and cinnamon into a delicious syrup.

5. Easy roasted sweet potatoes

Or yams?  There is a difference, isn’t there?  Anyway, nuke (see: microwave) your sweet potato 6-7 minutes after stabbing it with a fork a few times.  Halve it, segment each half into ½-inch squares without cutting through the skin…if you measure each square, seek professional help.  Place a few slices of butter in between the cubes, sprinkle with some Parmesan and then broil for 6-12 minutes depending on desired crispiness.  Then, garnish with some chives and a dollop of sour cream and chow down.

Thanks to Savory Simple for photo and recipe.
Thanks to Savory Simple for photo and recipe.

6. Open-faced grilled cheese with a fried egg

Yeah, I know, this title needs some work, bit unwieldy, isn’t it?  Regardless, this one’s simple too.  Butter a side of whole-wheat bread, place butter-side down in frying ban and top with a slice of Swiss cheese, roasted red pepper, and arugula leaves.  Cook about 4 minutes.  Fry an egg to your specifications (sunny side up, over easy, over hard…you’re in charge) and place it upon your recently cooked, open-faced grilled cheese and gorge or delicately consume…you’re in charge.

7. Turkey and hummus club sandwich

If you haven’t shopped for hummus lately, you’ll be surprised at all the flavors now offered, garlic, red pepper, chili sauce…this ain’t your bubbe’s hummus.  Anyway, purchase your preferred flavor, or mix your own if you’re the ambitious type, slap it on some bread, add a few slices of turkey and arugula and voila, turkey and hummus club.

8. Risotto cakes

Ok, I’m not going to explain how to make risotto in order to adhere to my claim I made at the start of this blog…I’m sneaky that way.  Deal with it.  After your risotto has cooled, mash it into patties about 2-inches in diameter, press in some bread crumbs and then fry in some olive oil for about 5 minutes per side.  They can then be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months and enjoyed later.  Simply warm in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes if they came out of the fridge, or 30-35 if you froze the little suckers.  Serve over some arugula with a little parmesan and a spritz of lemon juice.  They’re also great as a snack on their own or as an appetizer.

9. Crispy ham and egg cups

Ham and Egg cups from Addicted to Recipes
Ham and Egg cups from Addicted to Recipes

Spray a standard sized muffin pan with that non-stick stuff and then line it with a slice of your favorite ham…yes, the edges of the ham are supposed to hang over.  Then plop an egg in each ham-lined cup and bake until the whites are cooked solid but the yolk is still a bit runny…about 13 minutes.  Then season with some salt, pepper, chopped basil, scallions or parsley, or go crazy and use all five!

10. Mini oatmeal cakes

Break out the muffin pan again and place a paper muffin liner in each cup.  Then fill each with your favorite oatmeal, mixed with milk to your desired consistency.  Then top with chopped walnuts, or dried cranberries, or blueberries or anything else you like to mix into your oatmeal.  Just be sure to press your topping down into the oatmeal.  Then bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  These little cakes of joy can then be taken on the go and enjoyed wherever.

There you go my hectic, harried and hurried friends.  Ten solutions on how to eat healthy while pulling your hair out.  Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you, or your family, need to settle for fast food.  Anyone who tells you any different is simply feeding you balderdash.  And wouldn’t you rather have food?

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The Perfect Corporate Gift Idea: Healthy Meals

Business People Group Gift Box New Year Christmas Hat Corporate Present Party Holiday Flat Vector Illustration

Yes, it’s that time of year…the time to start thinking about gift ideas despite the fact that we’re still days away from Thanksgiving.  So why not combine the two things that most people enjoy about the holidays, food and gifts, by giving the gift of food?  And not just any kind of food, but healthy, delicious, chef-prepared food delivered right to your boss’ or coworker’s or employee’s or client’s door (either home or office door, your choice).  If this sounds like a great idea (and that’s because it is) then of course MagicKitchen.com can help you deliver the perfect corporate gift for the holidays.

Stuffed_BellPepperIn fact, many corporations use the holidays to give “the gift (of food) that keeps on giving the whole year” (a direct quote from Uncle Eddie in Christmas Vacation, btw).  They do so in the form of a recurring meal plan (usually lunch) for their employees.  And it’s way better than a one-year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club that Clark Griswold received from his Scrooge-like boss.  I mean, after all, jelly isn’t a stand-alone meal.  It requires something more to spread it on, like bread, crackers, fish or Brussel sprouts…hey, try it before you go “Ewwwww!”

Also, Jelly is not exactly a healthy option.  Many corporations are providing nutritious meals to their employees as a means to create a happier, healthier and more productive workforce.  Studies have shown that workers who regularly eat a healthy lunch have increased energy, morale and productivity.  More and more companies are incorporating healthy meals into their corporate wellness programs as they tend to lower absenteeism, decrease health costs, and assist in creating a culture of health and well-being.

And if they’re given in conjunction with the holidays, a meal program can be used to thank employees for all they’ve done over the course of the previous year, as a Christmas bonus…so long as they aren’t expecting a large cash bonus which they had planned on Chicken-ana-Luisausing to put in a family swimming pool.  Because if they are and they don’t get it, they might launch into an obscenity-laced tirade in which they make the unfortunate suggestion that someone abduct their less-than-generous boss as Clark Griswold did.

So if you’re interested in sending either a one-time meal or a full meal program as a corporate gift, then simply visit MagicKitchen.com’s corporate gift page here: http://www.magickitchen.com/menu/corporate.html and give the gift of delicious and nutritious food to any and all on your corporate gift list.  However, if one of them is named Griswold you might want to go with another option.

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Best Summer Meal Pairings

The best thing about summer is eating easy meals. Nothing’s easier than MagicKitchen.com meals. Here’s our take on the best summer meal pairings for 2016!

    • Sliced Beef Brisket, for easy summer meals
      Sliced Beef Brisket- yummy!

      Try our sliced beef brisket, warm, on big rolls with hot mustard and coleslaw with potato salad on the side.

    • Here’s something summery: Warm our crab stuffed sole and serve with fresh-tasting barley vegetable pilaf.
    • In the mood for hearty? Try our corned beef inside toasted rye bread with sauerkraut and German mustard.
    • Grill our Bone-in Ham steaks and pair them with Scalloped Potatoes you can heat in the microwave.
    • A vegetarian option is to warm our stuffed baked potatoes as your main course, with a couple of your favorite salads.
    • Grill Bone-in Ham steaks, slice thin, and serve on corn tortillas with a pineapple salsa.
    • sliced-beef-tacoSpeaking of tacos, our Tritip or beef brisket would both be incredible inside a tortilla with some homemade pico de gallo.
    • Sliced Beef Tri-Tip Au Jus, served on a French roll, with the jus on the side. We’d serve this with oven fries and a side of coleslaw.
    • A website called It’s Yummy! has a recipe for a Reuben Salad that sounds like a perfect way to repurpose some delicious corned beef.
    • Love a lettuce wrap? So do we! Try putting out a variety of meats and veggies, with a couple of sauces, and let people help themselves. Suggestions: Beef Brisket, caramelized onions, sliced tomatoes with a smoky BBQ sauce. Or grilled prawns, rice noodles mixed with sesame oil, sliced jalapeños, and a smear of Hoisin Sauce.
Ham Steak for tacos, sandwiches and other easy meals
Bone-in Ham Steak
Ham Steak for tacos, sandwiches and other easy meals
Slow Smoked Corned Beef
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MagicKitchen.com Menu for the Perfect Date

So you’re serious about someone. Serious enough to want to eat in front of them, and have them into your home. That’s pretty serious. Are you worried that your cooking skills aren’t up to it? Maybe you don’t want to come to dinner sweaty and smelling of garlic. So let MagicKitchen.com put together the perfect date menu. Reheat, serve and enjoy the night!

Here are five killer dinners that you and your date will love:

  1. Chicken Parmigiana, Rosemary Potatoes, Buttered Carrots and Tiramisu for dessert.
    Why? Italy is the land of love! Italian meals are great first date meals.
  2. Shrimp Fettucine Alfredo, Verdura Artisan Flatbread and Panna Cotta for dessert.
    More Italian dishes, and seafood!
  3. Osso Bucco, Magic Mashed Potatoes, French Bread and U-Bake Apple-Raisin Strudel  for dessert.
    What man doesn’t like perfectly cooked meat? If your date is a woman, if you know she’s a meat-lover, perfect.
  4. Seared Salmon Filet, Creamy Spinach, Herb Focaccia and Chocolate Ganache Cake  for dessert.
    This is simply elegant, and will impress the heck out of your date!
  5. Beef Sirloin with Peppercorn Sauce, Rice with Mixed Vegetables, Eggplant Parmigiana and Dutch Apple Pie for dessert.
    The sauce screams sophistication, the flavors are mild but delicious, you can’t go wrong with this meal.
  6. Crab Cakes, Rice Pilaf, French Green Beans with Mushrooms and Cream Sauce  and Gourmet Cupcakes Assortment 2 for dessert.
    This is a wow! Easy and delicious crab cakes, a decadent side dish, and 2 Meyer Lemon, 2 Red Velvet & 2 Caramel Blast Cupcakes to choose from.

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10 Great Kitchen Gadgets

Kitchen gadgets are the best; some of us are absolutely addicted to collecting them. I remember I had a lemon zester that I loved, until someone bought me a microplane! Now my zester sits unused in a drawer. Microplanes will be my first item then, of Kitchen gadgets you just can’t do without!

1. Microplane: These come in all sizes and prices. I find a mid-priced one is fine, no need to go with the Williams-Sonoma $25 model, one for $12.95 will work just as well. These little items are SHARP!! Be warned, and don’t shred your fingers. They can be used for grating ginger, nutmeg, nuts, coconuts, hard cheeses like Parmigiano, fruits, vegetables, cheddar, chocolate and more!  Woodworkers will recognize these tools as fine wood rasps. There are several sizes for several jobs. Another tool that stays in the drawer in our kitchen is the cheese grater, as my larger microplane also shreds cheddar 5 times faster.  Did I measure that? no, it’s just a guesstimate. But it’s fast!


2. Silicone Food trussers – If you’ve ever trussed a roast, you know that it takes a Boy Scout to get all the knots tight enough. Problem solved!! These little silicone zap-straps tighten up that roast in a jiffy and are Heat-resistant to 675°F. Of course they’re reusable and dishwasher safe.

3. Measuring Flour Sifter – For the baker in all of us. Baking uses a lot of dishes, and sifting into a bowl, then remeasuring is a big pain in the butt. This clever device measures the flour as you sift! It measures up to 3 cups, and stops getting flour all over the counter in the process. The bottom is removable, in case you want to get flour all over the counter, say to roll out a pie crust or knead some bread.

 

4. Actifry –  I have to admit I’ve never used this, but it gets good reviews, and for a person like me who is always trying to watch my weight, the idea of  really low-fat French Fries gets my appetite going. Here’s their blurb: “The T-fal ActiFry is a low fat cooker that enables you to cook tasty dishes while reducing the amount of fat you are having. The ActiFry is engineered to minimize the use of oil while cooking. This revolutionary appliance allows you to enjoy great tasting a wide array of dishes but at the same time stay healthy and feel good about what you are eating.” Now, at $211, that’s a pretty expensive kitchen device, but it’s on my wishlist.

5. Kebo – This will just make you the coolest party-giver on the block. This one-handed bottle opener is one of those conversation-starters with no real practical use. You place the Kebo on the bottle-cap(pry-off only, not twist off), and give it a squeeze. How cool is that?

6. Sassafras mini-Ice Cream maker  -This is great for a couple or someone living alone who loves homemade ice cream. It makes  2 flavors at once, and only a couple of cups of each. You don’t need salt, and you don’t have to hand crank the maker for hours. Just add ingredients, turn it on and put it in the freezer. Two AA batteries do the rest.

7. Gravy Separator – Take any fatty liquid like the leavings from your roast or turkey, and pour it into this measuring-cup looking device. Leave it for 10-20 minutes, and the grease will float to the top. Because the pouring spout is at the bottom, you can carefully pour out the liquid, leaving the fat behind.

8. Silicone Steamer Basket – those metal steamers will scratch up the bottom of your expensive pots. I use this silicone version, and I love it.

9. Salad Spinner – So simple, but completely indispensable. It gently dries off anything leafy, so your dressings and sauces can stick to the leaves.

10.  The Potato Ricer – If you want easy, fast and completely lump-free mashed potatoes, the potato ricer is for you. In my experience though, the style on the left, below, is harder to use. The one on the right gives you a bit more leverage and requires less pressure.

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

 

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Discover yesterday’s food today

Guest blog by Dain Turner

Did you know your refrigerator leftovers could be used for more than growing mold? Unless you’re in the penicillin business, a lot of what you have could be going to waste.

With the rising cost of food (up almost 800% from a year ago), being frugal doesn’t mean sacrificing on flavor. There are many ways to use leftovers to prepare tasty meals your entire family can enjoy.

Try this one:

Seared Salmon

Seared Salmon Salad
Makes 2-4 servings

2 servings of MagicKitchen.com Seared Salmon Fillet (or your own leftover fillet)
1 Bag of baby spinach
1 Large Yellow Bell Pepper, Sliced
1 cup Cucumber, Sliced
1 Avocado, diced
Vinaigrette/Italian Dressing or your favorite salad dressing

Prepare the seared salmon filets according to the instructions on the package.

Toss all remaining ingredients together and serve with 2-4 portions of the salmon.

See how easy it is?

Apparently you can curry anything.  Try this:

Buttered Carrots

Curried Carrot Soup       
Makes 4-6 servings

2 servings of MagicKitchen.com Buttered Carrots (or your own leftover carrots)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, Diced
½ cup Celery, Diced
Salt and Pepper to taste
1Tbsp Curry Powder
4 cups Vegetable or chicken stock (low-sodium optional), hot
¼ cup-1/3 cup Half and Half (optional)

Cook the Buttered Carrots according to the instructions on the package and let them cool. In a 2-quart saucepot cook the celery and onion over medium high heat with the olive oil. Chop the carrots roughly and add them to the celery and onion.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the curry powder. Mix to combine. Add 2 cups of the stock and bring to a simmer.  Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree, adding up to four cups of hot stock. Blend in half and half if desired.

Find more recipes on MagicKitchen.com! Recipe above by Mariel Balderas

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Menu for a Perfect Date

Beef Pot Roast

Whether this is your first date and you are just now getting to know each other, it’s your anniversary and you and your significant other are celebrating your long lasting love together, taking the time to plan a romantic meal, and pulling out all the stops, can create the ultimate ambience. You can make it easy on yourself by buying already prepared meals from MagicKitchen.com. If you serve delicious dishes like Beef Pot Roast followed by an incredible dessert like Chocolate Ganache Cake; how could you not have the beginnings of the perfect date?

Planning the menu for a perfect date doesn’t need to be about serving the most expensive wines and putting together complicated entrees, A romantic evening with your partner is all about showing them how much you care about them and since the beginning of time food has been a great way to set the mood. Arranging an intimate evening at home, away from the unwanted distractions of a busy restaurant lets you focus on yourselves as a couple. The most important thing to remember is to have fun and get to know each other over the carefully thought out menu you’ve planned for your perfect date.

The meal is the most important part of “The Perfect” date and you’ll want to plan a main course that is light enough to leave room for a delicious dessert, also keeping in mind your date’s likes and dislikes. You can’t lose if you make a hearty, flavorful Beef Pot Roast with gravy and maybe some fresh green beans and new potatoes as side dishes. Follow this wonderful meal with a rich and creamy, melt in your mouth Tiramisu and your irresistible treat is sure to get the reaction you’re looking for.

Chicken Parmigiana

Another great choice that should be considered as the mainstay on a menu for the perfect date is Beef Stroganoff with pasta, everybody’s favorite comfort food. If you and your date are more partial to chicken, luscious, rich Chicken Marsala is fantastic choice, covered with savory mushrooms and delightful wine sauce. Another favorite is Chicken Parmigiana, cooked to perfection, bathed in delectable tomato sauce, covered with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

If you or your loved ones enjoy dessert, and who doesn’t, then you’ll want to try the Chocolate Lovers bundle, a wonderful collection of rich delicious chocolate desserts. For something different try the “Bada-Bing” cherry bread pudding which not only delivers a delightful taste, you’ll have fun with the name; a cute conversation piece. When it comes to desserts, cakes are always a great choice and can range from traditional carrot cake to a moist and delicious chocolate cake, to an assortment gourmet cupcakes. Perhaps you want something more along the lines of double fudge brownie or Dutch apple pie (topped off with ice cream maybe?); yum!

The best way to put together your menu for a perfect date is to make it a surprise and keep it simple. Over complicating things will just stress you out and make you feel anxious. This is supposed to be fun and exciting and by planning your menu with the choices mentioned above you can relax, enjoy a glass of wine and your date will appreciate all your efforts in putting together the perfect date.

Cheryl, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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Meals for Singles

Some life situations point out how handy it is for people to have access to good, healthy meals for singles.

So many situations call for them:

  • One person of a couple is called away on an emergency, and the other isn’t handy in the kitchen
  • you live alone and get tired of cooking for one
  • you’re on a business trip by yourself and get tired of restaurants
  • you’re a senior living alone
  • you lead a hectic life and don’t want to eat fast food anymore
  • you’re a student!

Since we don’t have dabawallahs (see video) you’ll have to do the next best thing and order singles meals from MagicKitchen.com!

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Have a Food Station Party -8 food station ideas

food station partyThey’re relegated to weddings, but a food station party would be a blast! Invite 20 people who don’t really know each other. If you don’t have a large, open space, don’t even worry about it. Have two stations in the kitchen, two in the dining room, two in the kitchen. Throw a tablecloth over your bed and dresser and have one in the bedroom!

Seems like a lot of work, doesn’t it? But you don’t want to cater. That’s exactly where we come in. Here are 8 ideas for food stations using MagicKitchen.com food and your own unique serving dishes and decorating skills. A great thing to buy are those little dixie-size cups they use in the Costco stores. Or go to a dollar store and buy a bunch of small inexpensive dishes. Get some of your best friends to man the food stations.

  1. Seafood station: Slices of Bad Boy Shrimp Burrito, bites of Scallops Sancerre or  Pan Seared Tiger Prawns, Crab Cakes and little cups of  Baby Clams With Linguini Marinara.
  2. Vegetarian station: Slices of warm Fire-Roasted Vegetables en Croûte,  Potato & Cheese Pierogies, cups of hearty Vegetable Stew, Eggplant Parmigiana
    and slices of Gourmet Artisan Flatbread with Kalamata Olives will ensure everyone will visit this station.
  3. Soup Station: Hot cups of soup will be extremely popular, and people can pick from Broccoli, Mushroom & Zucchini Soup, Chicken Rice Soup , Seafood Medley , Vegetable Barley Beef Soup, or Many Bean Soup.
  4. Pasta Station: Lots of hot gourmet pastas. Yum. Cheese Tortellini with Mediterranean Sauce, Portabella/Shiitake Mushroom Ravioli, Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo, Spinach Mushroom Lasagna With Light Pesto Sauce, or Vegetable Lasagna.
  5. Carving station: Serve our Beef Short Rib Roast or Roasted Turkey Breast and carve off tender slices.
  6. Meat Station: Beef With Bordelaise Sauce, Osso Buco , BBQ Baby Back Ribs and have a couple of potato dishes to round it out.
  7. Stuffed Foods Station: Foods in puff pastry, so delicate and flavorful! Filet of Beef En Croûte Wellington , Chicken Breast Da Vinci , Chicken Wellington, Turkey Breast En Croute . Add some chicken stuffed with delights: Chicken Breast Montrachet , Apple Almond Stuffed Chicken Leg.
  8. Dessert Station… you didn’t think I’d forget this, did you? Chocolate Cake, Double Fudge Brownie , Dutch Apple Pie , Gourmet Cupcakes, Madeleines Dipped in Chocolate, Creamy Panna Cotta, Ricotta Cheesecake, Handmade Rugulach Pastries, Tiramisu . Oh my.

If you have this party… make room for me, will you?

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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How to Make a Perfect Greek Turkey Salad

Two methods as usual, on menu and off menu. This is a scrumptious salad that you can stuff into a pita. I even supply a video by The Frugal Chef on making your own pita, for those ambitious enough.

1. on menu:

Roasted Turkey Breast – weigh out six ounces and dice into one-inch chunks

2. Off menu- take a boneless, skinless turkey breast and cook it your favorite way. Weigh out six ounces and dice into one-inch chunks

Continued:

tomatoes – 2, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
Cucumber – 1, seeded, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
sweet onion like vidalia – 1/4 of  an onion, diced fine.
sweet bell pepper, your choice of color – 1/2 the pepper, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
feta cheese – 4 ounces, cubed or crumbled
Pita halves if desired.

Toss the ingredients together in a large bowl. Add dressing (recipe below) and serve immediately, stuffed into pita halves if you like.

Greek Vinaigrette

Ingredients

* 3 tablespoons and 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
* 1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
* 1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

In a container, mix together the olive oil, garlic powder, oregano, basil, pepper, salt, onion powder, and Dijon-style mustard. Pour in the vinegar, and mix vigorously until well blended.

If you want to be really ambitious, make your own pita bread!

Enjoy!

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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