Herb Dip

Makes about 1 ½  cups


  • 1 cup cottage cheese, low-fat
  • 4 tablespoons yogurt, low-fat plain (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon onion (chopped, or chives)
  • 1 teaspoon parsley (dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill (dried)


  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend all the ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Pour the mixture into a clean container.
  4. Cover and chill.


Check your list twice!

As we approach the holiday season, you might be concerned about how to feed holiday guests and add festive foods to your budget without going overboard.  Before you make your grocery list, check twice to make sure you can pay the bill.

Fortunately, many grocers offer festive foods at lower prices during this time of year.   If you are purchasing shelf-stable ingredients, you can buy them ahead of time, so your budget will not take a big hit all at once.  You can also set aside money each week to cover items that you will purchase closer to the holidays.

Saving money each week is not as difficult as you might think, look how easy it is to find money in a week:

  • Eating lunch out every working day costs $25 a week;
  • Two treats at the vending machine each work day, $10;
  • One trip through the fast food lane can cost a family more than $25.

Other ways to save for your celebration are to look for deals on holiday decorating items at thrift stores. Cloth napkins and tablecloths can be used more than once and might cost less than a throwaway. Look for recipes that are delicious, nutritious, and made with budget-minded ingredients.  USDA offers thousands of recipes on their What’s Cooking website https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/. Your EFNEP Cooking magazine and this website have lots of recipes, too!

Plan ahead to make your holidays fun, festive and budget-friendly.


Jayne is the Technology & Social Media Associate for EFNEP and SNAP-Ed


Holiday Eggnog, Make it Healthy

‘Tis the season for favorite holiday foods and drinks. Eggnog is a classic holiday drink that is quite tasty but can be a bit high in fat and calories. Between the heavy cream, sugar, and eggs, eggnog can quickly become a real calorie buster. There is good news; you don’t have to give up the tasty drink this season, the key is to enjoy it in moderation.

There are several brands of eggnog that you can purchase from your local grocer, but you might try Howling Cow Eggnog. Made right on North Carolina State University’s campus, the eggnog “is rich, creamy, perfectly sweet and oh so calorie worthy,” according to Dr. Carolyn Dunn, Nutrition Specialist. A treat for eggnog lovers, ¼ cup of the concoction can be mixed with ¼ cup skim milk for a less caloric portion. Purchases of Howling Cow products support the education of NCSU students, for more information, go to their website at https://howlingcow.ncsu.edu.

You can also enjoy your family’s classic eggnog recipes, but lighten them up with the following small changes. Use almond, skim or 2% milk instead of cream or whole milk; bananas instead of refined sugar; or add some cinnamon or nutmeg to make your eggnog taste flavorful. Making these small changes will save you from fat and calories, but will still taste great!

Try this quick and easy, yet thick and yummy recipe from foodandhealth.com

Banana Nog (serves 4)


  • 4 bananas, peeled
  • 1 and 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon rum extract
  • Pinch ground nutmeg


  1. Add all ingredients except nutmeg to blender or food processor.
  2. Puree until smooth.
  3. Pour into 4 fancy serving glasses and top each with a pinch of nutmeg.

Nutrition Information:

Makes 4 servings of one cup each. Each cup contains 198 calories, 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 7 milligrams of cholesterol, 114 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber, 26 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein.

Each serving also contains 10% of the daily value (DV) of vitamin A, 20% DV vitamin C, 36% DV calcium, and 0% DV iron.

Total Time: 5 min | Prep: 5 min | Cook: 0 min

Provided by Stephanie McDonald-Murray,                                                                              Regional Nutrition Extension Associate, EFNEP & SNAP-Ed

Inexpensive Holiday Gifts

Turkey Noodle Soup Mix


Layer these ingredients in this order in a jar with a tight lid.

  •  1/4 cup red lentils
  • 2 Tbsp. dried minced onion
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup uncooked medium egg noodles

Directions for recipe card to attach to jar of soup mix.

  1.  1 jar turkey noodle soup mix
  2. 8 cups water
  3. 1 16-oz pkg frozen mixed vegetables
  4. 2 cups cooked, diced turkey

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in jar of soup mix.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove and discard bay leaf.  Stir in frozen mixed vegetables and turkey meat.  Cook 5 minutes more or until vegetables and turkey are heated through and tender.


Chili Seasoning Mix

Mix together in small bowl:

  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground pepper

Pour into a small jar. Use a funnel or creased waxed paper or tinfoil to pour into small jar openings.

Directions for recipe card to attach to jar:

  1. 1 jar Chili Seasoning Mix
  2. 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
  3. 1 can no-salt diced tomatoes
  4. 1 can white, black or red beans

Brown ground meat in a skillet. Pour off any fat. Add seasoning mix, tomatoes and beans. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.   Can top with shredded low-fat cheese, low-fat sour cream, sliced green onions. Serve with whole grain tortilla chips or a whole grain cracker.


Hot Chocolate Mix

Mix together and pour into a jar:

  • ½ C. sugar
  • ½ C. cocoa powder

Directions for recipe card to attach to jar:

  1. 2 Tbsp. cocoa mix
  2. ¾ cup of low-fat milk

On a stove-top or in the microwave, heat the milk (do not boil the milk). Stir in 2 Tbsp. of hot cocoa mix until dissolved. Pour into mug and add sugar-free marshmallows or a peppermint stick if desired.

Note: Put the mix in a resealable plastic bag and place in a festive mug with the recipe card attached for a great holiday gift!