Neal Plazio’s back-to-school recipes

Release Date: September 3, 2015

Homemade Hummus

1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1½ TBSP blended oil
¼ tsp salt
2½ tsp fresh minced garlic
3 TBSP tahini (sesame seed paste
3 TBSP lemon juice
2 tsp water

Rinse the beans under cold water to remove any residue and drain in colander. In a food processor, add oil, salt and garlic. Process for 1 minute or until well-blended. Add beans, sesame paste and lemon. Process until smooth. Add water and continue processing until light and fluffy.

Note: A small amount of extra water may be needed to achieve the proper consistency. For a variation, try black, pinto or cannellini beans. Try adding a pinch of fresh herbs: tarragon, basil or chives. Incorporate interesting flavors, like jalapeno, hot sauce or caramelized onions.

This is great for dipping pretzels, crackers or vegetables.

Greens & Grain Salad

This salad may be a little mature for some kids, but we have found that some young palates are ready for advanced flavors and are interested in trying something new. With many teens moving toward a vegetarian diet, the beans and grains offer complete protein. Change the ingredients to your liking.

2 oz. mixed greens
2 oz. farro or any other favorite grain
1 oz. black olives
2 oz. banana pepper rings
2 oz. garbanzo beans
1 oz. croutons
2 fl. oz. red wine vinaigrette

Cook the grain until tender, following the package instruction. You may want to substitute a broth or stock when cooking to build more flavor into the grain. When done, drain and chill.

In an appropriately sized container, build the salad with the greens on the bottom, the grain off to one side and the remaining items arranged around the lettuce. The dressing can be held in a mini container.


Quesadillas can be made ahead of time, folded and wrapped in plastic for two to three days. To reheat, wrap lightly in parchment paper and heat in microwave for a minute or two.

1 12-inch tortilla, any flavor
2 oz. shredded cheddar Mex blend cheese
3 oz. grilled chicken or other leftover meat
1 oz. jalapeno pepper rings, optional
2 oz. bacon, crispy and diced
1 oz. green onions, finely sliced
1 TBSP blended oil

Lay out the tortilla on a clean surface. Spread the shredded cheese over the tortilla. Place the chicken, peppers, bacon and onions on the lower half of the circle. Fold the top half over the bottom half and press down firmly.

In a large skillet or on an electric griddle, heat oil over medium high heat (350°F). Place folded quesadillas and cook until golden brown. Flip and cook other side. Remove and allow to cool. Cut into four triangles.

Enjoy with salsa and sour cream, or homemade hummus.

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