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Monday, December 19, 2011

Orange Apricot Pork Chops in the Crock

So delicious and kid friendly. Incredibly simple too, you have to try it. The recipe says to cook on low for 8 hours in the crock but our chops were falling apart after only 7 hours. We served it over brown rice with lima beans. You HAVE to pour the extra juice from the crock over the rice & pork - it will rock your world! Can't wait to have this again & again.


5-6 pork chops
1 cup apricot preserves (or apricot jam)
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges (and juice!)

Put your chops in the bottom of the crockpot. Sprinkle the poultry seasoning over the top of them. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the mandarin oranges and stir well. Spoon evenly on top of the pork chops. Pour the entire can (and juice) of the mandarin oranges over all of it. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Serve over rice to soak up that yummy juice! Enjoy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baked Chicken Parmesan

I have died and gone to Italy. No, really. OK, not really - I'm sitting in my kitchen in PA but it smells like what I would think Italy smells like. Enough of that, let's discuss this dish. This was too easy to taste as good as it did. I was skeptical about using croutons to replace the breading on the chicken but they were amazing. They were so crunchy on the top but soaked up the marinara sauce on the bottom to create the most melt in your mouth flavor. Really, the chicken didn't even have to be in this dish. Cheese, marinara and croutons - you've got yourself a winner. Also, I threw it together in under 10 minutes!

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
hot red pepper flakes, to taste  (optional)
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups marinara sauce
1/4 cup chopped basil
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
4 oz Parmesan, grated
1 (5-oz) package garlic croutons (I used Texas Toast brand Garlic & Butter)


Preheat oven to 350. Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a 9x13 dish. Smoosh around the crushed garlic. If using them, sprinkle the red pepper flakes on top of the garlic and olive oil.

Place chicken on top. Then marinara sauce. Then basil.

Sprinkle 4oz of mozzarella cheese and 2 oz of Parmesan on top of the marinara. Top with croutons and sprinkle the remaining cheeses on top.

Bake for about 30 minutes - depending on the thickness of your chicken.

Serve over a bed of spaghetti.

recipe comes from Chef John at Food Wishes

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Spicy Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

I am a pretty awesome burger maker, if I do say so myself. These burgers were by far the best I have EVER made. Rich and I refused to put them down after we took our first bite. Seriously, they are THAT good. I made a teriyaki glaze to use as a spread and the combined spicy, sweet and tangy flavors were out of this world!


1 pound ground turkey - makes 4 - 6 med/large burgers
1 can crushed pineapple, 2 TBSP in burgers and the rest for topping
Pepper jack cheese slices
whole wheat hamburger buns
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

Combine the ground turkey, soy sauce, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, 2 TBSP crushed pineapple and garlic. Lightly mix with your hands and divide into 4 to 6 even patties. Form patties, making them slightly thinner in the middle. Refrigerate about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile make the Teriyaki Glaze:

1/4 c. unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. red cooking wine
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

In a small saucepan combine pineapple juice, soy sauce, sherry, sugar, cornstarch, ginger root, and garlic. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Cook burgers on grill. Top with pepper jack cheese slices and crushed pineapple. Spread teriyaki glaze on hamburger buns. Serve warm with your favorite side dish.

recipe adapted from here

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread

I am having a blast making new pizza recipes to bring a little pizazz to our mundane Friday night pizza nights. A few weeks ago I made this pizza monkey bread and we all loved it! I used my homemade whole wheat pizza dough and it turned out delicious! I will say that it was very time consuming but it's a mindless task and drinking a glass of wine helps the time go by faster.

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 Tbsp butter
2 lbs pizza dough
6 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (you'll need ~48 pieces)
48 slices of Turkey pepperoni (from 1 package)
2-3 cups pizza sauce, warmed, for serving

Heat garlic and butter over medium heat just until the garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat and let sit.
Lightly brush the inside of a bundt pan (or other oven-safe dish) with garlic butter.
Pull off large marble-sized balls of dough and flatten (~2/3 of an ounce, a kitchen scale makes this very easy). Top with a slice of pepperoni and a cube of mozzarella.
Wrap the dough around the pepperoni and cheese, pinching well to seal.
Very lightly brush the pizza ball with garlic butter and place into the bundt pan (I dabbed the pizza balls on a butter-dipped silicon brush to keep butter use low - there will be 1+ Tbsp leftover - and my hands butter free. Buttery hands make it hard to get the pizza balls to seal).
Repeat until all of the dough is used.
Cover and let sit for 30 minutes, while preheating the oven to 400.
Bake for ~35 minutes, until the top is very brown.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.
Turn out onto a platter and serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I absolutely love Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheese soup but we don't have a Panera here, so I found a knock-off recipe. I have to say, if I had an authentic bowl and a bowl of the impostor side by side I wouldn't be able to tell one from the other. The prep time is very long so I wouldn't recommend tackling this on a weeknight. We served ours with homemade bread bowls, yum!


1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 medium chopped onion
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half cream
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 lb fresh broccoli
1 cup carrot, julienned
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper


Sauté onion in butter. Set aside.

Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the half & half.

Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat 20-25 minutes.

Add salt and pepper. Can be puréed in a blender but I don't. Return to heat and add cheese. Stir in nutmeg.

recipe from

Sesame Noodles

Holy Chinese take-out impostor! I made these noodles to go with Bourbon Chicken and they were the perfect compliment. My whole plate tasted like something you could order from an authentic Chinese restaurant. Even the kids ate everything on their whole plate!


1 box thin whole wheat noodles
1/4 cup Low-sodium Soy Sauce
2 TBSP Sugar
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 TBSP Rice Vinegar
2 TBSP Pure Sesame Oil
4 TBSP Canola Oil
4 TBSP hot water, reserved from noodle water

4 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin

We like to add a light drizzle of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce at the table for some spice. Red Pepper Flakes are awesome, too.

Preparation Instructions:

Cook noodles according to package directions.
Whisk all liquid ingredients together in a bowl.
Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat, use starch water to increase sauce.
Sprinkle with green onions and toss.

recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman

Monday, November 14, 2011

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

This was pretty good. It is VERY filling, so a little goes a long way. This isn't a meal I would make often but it's a nice alternative to regular pasta.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 box whole wheat pasta
2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 TBSP corn starch (whisked into milk)
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

 Place chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl and toss to coat. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté chicken in EVOO until chicken is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat add heavy cream, milk, tomatoes, basil, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and heat through. Pour over hot linguine and toss with Parmesan cheese.

recipe adapted from plain chicken

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chicken Tostadas & Avocado Dressing

This dinner had incredible flavor with such simple ingredients. My husband and son are already begging me to make it again and it's only been 2 nights since we first had it. The only drawback is that the prep work takes awhile, so I do NOT recommend it for a busy weeknight (unless you have extra time that day or want to prep during nap times). Otherwise, save it for a weekend. We served ours with Uncle Ben's 90 second Sante Fe Rice and corn.

2 TBS reduced fat sour cream
2 TBS low sodium chicken broth
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 ripe peeled avocado
Flour Tortillas (we used whole wheat)
2 garlic cloves (we used minced)
1 Jalapeno pepper, minced
1/2 TBS Canola Oil
2 cups shredded skinless rotisserie chicken breast
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 tomato chopped
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled queso fresco (we used Monterey Jack Cheese instead)

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 1 tortilla at a time for 2 minutes on each side or until soft and/or golden brown (you can add 3/4 teaspoon oil to the pan if you like a very browned tortilla, but we skipped the oil it to save calories).

3. Add 1/2 TBS canola oil to the pan. Add the garlic and jalapeno, saute for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken, cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Top each tortilla with 1/2 cup chicken mixture, shredded lettuce, tomato and 1 TBS cheese. Top each serving with the avocado dressing.

Recipe & picture courtesy of Cooking Light

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce

This chicken was SO good. We loved the combination of the Dijon mustard and oregano over the tender chicken We ate ours with red potato mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, pepper, garlic powder - to taste
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup of butter, I use Smart Balance Buttery Sticks
3/4 cup of milk, I use 1%
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons cornstarch


Preheat oven to 350.
Drizzle chicken with EVOO. Season both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook for about 30 minutes, turning chicken half way until it reaches 165 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a sauce pot. Melt butter over low heat. Add milk, chicken stock, mustard and oregano. Cook for about 5 minutes on low. Remove 1/4 cup of sauce and mix in 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. Gradually add that back to the sauce pot and continuing stirring. Increase heat until sauce bubbles and thickens.

Pour sauce over chicken. There will be plenty of sauce leftover to use over rice or mashed potatoes.

recipe adapted from Let's Dish Recipe's

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I used to LOATHE brussels sprouts when I was growing up. How my mom dealt with my dramatics at the dinner table on evenings she served brussels sprouts earns her a nice place in Heaven.

In the past couple of years I have tried them and really liked them. Then I started to buy them myself and make them at home with a few ingredients that I love. I literally eat these like candy, and can easily go through an entire container in one day. My kids on the other hand... they won't touch em' and for that I am thankful (more for me).


1 container of brussels sprouts, trimmed
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP low sodium soy sauce


Preheat oven to 350. Place brussels, cut side down, in a glass dish. Do not stack them.

Drizzle EVOO, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and all seasonings over the top.

Place in oven for about 30 minutes. Do not stir them! When they are finished the bottoms will be brown and the sprouts will be very tender.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mac & Cheese Bites

Mac & Cheese in bite size? Yes, please! These are nothing short of awesome! So easy to make, though filling the muffin tins is a bit time consuming. It's a labor of love and one I am willing to do often. These make a great appetizer, side dish or even a snack! 

1 lb. whole wheat elbow macaroni
3 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
1-1/2 cup milk (skim works fine)
3 packed cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for sprinkling on top
2 extra large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

I added diced jalapeno peppers to half of the batch to give them some heat and additional flavor. You could really add anything to these. Diced ham, tomato, slices of hotdog, bacon...mmmm bacon

Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain well.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spray a nonstick mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute.
Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking occasionally, for about 2 -3 minutes until thickened.
Add cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and stir to melt.
Remove from heat and stir in egg yolks, salt and nutmeg. Stir in macaroni.
Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of macaroni and cheese into the prepared mini muffin pan. Each cup should be filled to the top. Pack each one down gently.
Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Bake for about 10 minutes until golden and sizzling. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Using a teaspoon, carefully loosen the mac and cheese bites and transfer to a platter to serve.
If you’re not baking these immediately, simply store on a baking sheet, cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate. Reheat at 400 degrees for 10 minutes prior to serving.

recipe comes from here

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mexican Stuffed Shells

What do you get when you put Italian and Mexican cuisines together ? A meal that is nothing short of AMAZING! I wasn't sure what to expect from this dinner while I was assembling it, but it was seriously so good. We will definitely make this again!

1 lb. turkey ground
1 package low-sodium taco seasoning
4 oz. fat free cream cheese
14-16 jumbo pasta shells
1.5 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup monterey jack cheese, I used pepper jack cheese to give it some kick (the kids didn't eat it)
Sour cream


Preheat oven to 350°.

In a frying pan cook turkey ground; add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Add cream cheese, cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Set aside and cool completely. While ground beef is cooking, cook the pasta shells according to directions; drain. Set shells out individually on cutting board/baking sheet so that they don’t stick together.

Pour salsa on bottom of 9×13 baking dish. Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place shells in 9×13 pan open side up. Cover shells with taco sauce. Top with shredded cheeses.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and gets a little brown on top.

Top with any condiments you’d like (green onions, black olives, etc.) Serve with sour cream and/or more salsa.

recipe from The Way to His Heart

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken

This is going straight on the menu rotation and never coming off. I have never seen food disappear from plates as quickly as this did. By the time I made my own plate and got to the table the kids were asking for more! I dare say that we liked this a lot more than Bourbon Chicken. You can add the red pepper flakes to this if you wanted to add some spice, but we really enjoyed it 'as is.'

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (plenty for a family of 4)
3 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup honey

The Directions.

Use a 4-quart slow cooker, put the chicken into your cooker.

In a small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, then pour evenly over the top.

Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3-4. Shred chicken in the sauce and leave off the lid while you cook the rice.

Serve with brown rice and steamed or roasted vegetables. Be sure to drizzle the sauce all over your food, too!

Recipe adapted from Crockpot 365

Baked Spaghetti

This spaghetti was so tasty. It reminded me of a spaghetti with bolognese sauce, because of the cream cheese. I like that you can sneak in veggies and the kids won't even know. I didn't use the french fried onions (I couldn't find them) but I think they would have added amazing flavor. The dish definitely doesn't need them though. The recipe makes a lot so you can freeze half, too! I'll definitely make this again, the kids inhaled it! 

1 box whole wheat spaghetti, cooked al dente
1 pound turkey ground (you can use lean ground beef)
1 large can spaghetti sauce (26.5 ounces)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped red peppers
1/3 cup chopped onions
8 ounces fat free cream cheese
2 tablespoons fat free milk
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
French Fried Onions (small can)

Cook spaghetti according to directions on the package. Cook to al dente, drain and set aside.
Brown turkey ground. Add spaghetti sauce to skillet and heat.
Combine onions, peppers and butter in pan and sauté until soft. Add cream cheese and milk to vegetables and stir well.
Using a 9x13 dish, assemble in the following order:
Thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish.
Cream cheese/vegetable mixture
Spaghetti sauce
Parmesan Cheese (amount subject to your own taste)
French Fried Onions (added during last 5 minutes of cooking)
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Top with French Fried onion and continue baking 5 more minutes. (This is the secret ingredient–don’t let them burn.)

Make this ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze without the French Fried onions. Don’t forget to add them 5 minutes before casserole is finished cooking.

recipe adapted from Salad in a Jar

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bread Bowls

This bread was so easy to make and so tasty. It has a similar density to sourdough, so it's perfect to eat with soups. The recipe said to cut the dough into 6 portions but I found the "bowls" to be a little small so we just ate them on the side of our soup. Next time, I'll split it into 4 pieces and the size should be perfect.

2 T sugar
1 1/2 t salt
4 C flour, divided
1/2 C warm water
1 C 1 % milk
2 T butter
1 T yeast (I use active dry)
1 egg, beaten


Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine 2 cups of flour and sugar into stand mixer. Add salt and stir around.

Pour your milk and water into the same glass measuring cup and microwave for about a minute. Drop in butter and let melt. (You may need to heat the liquid for a little longer).

Pour the buttery milk into mixer. Mix for about 30 seconds.

Add yeast and remaining 2 cups of flour. Let the dough mix for 5 minutes on low. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Spray a baking sheet and place the dough on it. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 4 equal parts (for larger bowls) or 6 parts for small bowls. To make rolls, cut the dough into 8 to 10 pieces.

Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then shape into a ball. Whisk the egg and brush on top of each ball.

Place in the oven on 170 degrees for 20 minutes. Increase the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 15 minutes. (Leave the pan in the oven while the temp rises.) Once the bread has browned and is crispy on top, it is done.

recipe adapted from

Friday, October 28, 2011

Baked Buffalo Chicken Bites

We had a little Friday night tailgate dinner party tonight. I was so anxious to try out these bites I couldn't wait until Sunday to make them. The cornflake crumbs give the outside a nice crust and the inside is so creamy and delicious with the bite of buffalo. Next time I make these I will make them smaller and freeze half of them (before baking) so we will have them handy. They were time consuming, so tonight I made them bigger than a "bite," but they were still amazing!


3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup hot sauce - we use Franks Red Hot
4 ounces fat free cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions (optional)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cracked black pepper
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 – 4 cups Corn Flakes cereal, crushed

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine chicken, cream cheese and hot sauce, cheddar cheese and green onions.
Roll a heaping tablespoon of mixture into a 1½-inch ball and place onto a plate or separate baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
Place flour in a shallow dish, season with pepper and garlic powder.
In a second shallow dish, place eggs.
In a third shallow dish, place corn flakes.
Dip each chicken ball first into the flour, then the egg and ending with the Corn Flakes. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with ranch or blue cheese dressing.

recipe adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Hummus

This was so good! If you like pumpkin and you like hummus, its a no brainer. Easy to make and my kids loved it too! I served this at a family event and everyone asked for the recipe. Serve with warm pita bread cut into small triangles and/or veggies.

2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 TBS Olive Oil
2 TBS water
3 cloves garlic (more or less to taste, I used minced)
Dash of Cayenne Pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste (I used about 1/8 teaspoon of each)
Dash of House Seasoning (I used Paula Dean House Seasoning)
3/4 Can of Pumpkin (more or less to taste)

How to make:
Put the beans, lemon juice, water, olive oil and garlic in a food processor. Process well. If it seems to0 dry or clumpy, add a bit more water or olive oil. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well. You can add more S&P, pumpkin or garlic if you like.

If you don't like pumpkin, follow the recipe but you can sub in toasted sesame seeds, roasted red peppers, onion, sundried tomatoes, etc .

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Creamy Chicken Pillows

I'm not a huge fan of using canned bread for meals. However, some nights I'm begging to cook something super easy. I found this recipe and it seemed like a perfect week night solution. I used fat free, or reduced fat where I could to make it healthier. I also used chicken from one of my at home, crockpot rotisserie chickens to give a nice homemade taste to the meal.


8 ounces fat free cream cheese, softened
½ cup fat free sour cream

½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 ½ Tablespoons dried chives
1 ½ Tablespoons fresh onion minced
 3 cups shredded chicken (I used chicken from a crockpot rotisserie chicken)

 2 (8 ounce) cans reduced fat crescent rolls
1/4 cup melted butter
Italian bread crumbs (around 2 cups)

1 (14.5 ounce) can fat free cream of chicken soup
1 (0.87) package chicken gravy mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine cream cheese and sour cream until well combined.  Stir in salt, pepper, onion, chives, and shredded chicken.

 Take 2 triangular crescent rolls and push together at perforated seam to make into a square. Make sure you seal the perforations well so your filling doesn't come out. Put about 3 tablespoons of chicken mixture in the center of each square. Fold the dough corners to the center over the chicken mixture forming a pillow.

 Brush each pillow with melted butter on all sides. Roll in bread crumbs on both sides. Shake excess crumbs off. Place chicken pillow on foil lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Make gravy by mixing one package of chicken gravy mix, one can of cream of chicken soup and 3/4 can of water in a small pot. Mix together and heat until warm. Serve chicken pillows with gravy poured over top.

recipe adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pull Apart Pizza Bread

I made this last night for a get together with the girls. The way we tore into this, you would have thought we were going to fight for the last bite. It is so easy, so delicious, and fun to eat! I made mine with only cheese and pepperoni, but you could really personalize it and add whatever your favorite pizza toppings are.


1 unsliced round loaf sourdough bread
 12-16 ounces mozzarella or Provolone cheese, thinly sliced and torn apart
1 package mini pepperoni or turkey pepperoni
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
 pizza sauce for dipping

Some other options: ham and pineapple, crumbled sausage and peppers, mushrooms, banana peppers.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the bread lengthwise and width wise without cutting through the bottom crust.

Place bread on a foil-lined baking sheet and insert cheese slices and pepperoni between cuts. Combine butter, garlic powder, and Italian seasonings. Drizzle or brush over bread with a pastry brush. Sprinkle bread with Parmesan cheese.

Wrap bread completely in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Unwrap the bread and bake 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted and pepperoni is a little crispy.

recipe courtesy of the girl who ate everything

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Teriyaki Grilled Chicken Sandwich

We made this sandwich after visiting Red Robin and realizing that we could no longer eat our favorite item from there knowing the nutrition info! So we decided to give it a go ourselves. YUMMM... turned out great. The kids just ate the marinated chicken and grilled pineapple but we assembled ours into a sandwich which you can customize however you like it.

Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 cup Teriyaki Sauce
Sandwich Rolls
Shredded lettuce
Pineapple slices
Chipolte Mayonnaise (we use Kraft, only 40 calories for 1 TBS, which is PLENTY)
1/4 Red onion, chopped & sauteed with a dash of olive oil in a non stick skillet (optional)
Tomato slices (optional)

Put chicken breasts in a resealable bag, pour teriyaki over and seal. Refrigerate for several hours. Once ready to cook, remove chicken and discard marinade. Heat grill to medium high heat. Add the chicken. After several minutes, add the pineapple slices to the grill. Watch carefully and turn often until they have nice grill marks. Once done, remove & set aside. Add the rolls for a few seconds on each side or until toasted, remove and set aside. Cook chicken until done. Then make your sandwich! Add the chicken, pineapple, spicy mayo, lettuce and whatever else you choose to your toasted roll and enjoy!!

Spicy Grilled Eggplant

Really really good!! Wasn't too spicy, just perfect. This was better than I thought it would ever be. It's definitely a great adult dish, not ideal for the little ones.

1 medium eggplant
1-2 teaspoon salt, to remove water from eggplant
1-2 TBS olive oil (to brush eggplant for grilling)
1 TBS chopped parsley
1 TBS chopped mint
2 TBS olive oil
2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Remove stem end and wash eggplant, but do not peel. Cut eggplant into slices 1/2 -3/4 inch thick, being careful to make all slices the same thickness. Put eggplant in colander in single layer and sprinkle with salt. Let drain 20 minutes, then turn over and sprinkle other side with salt and let drain 20 minutes more.

While eggplant drains, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic puree, and red pepper flakes. Preheat grill to medium. Remove eggplant from colander and put each piece between two papers towels and press with your hand to squeeze out water. Wipe eggplant dry and brush both sides with olive oil.

Place eggplant on grill and cook 4-5 minutes per side, rotating after a few minutes on each side if you want to get nice grill marks. Watch them carefully because they go from nicely browned to overly dark quite quickly.

When eggplant is done, remove from grill and place in large plastic bowl. Pour in the spicy sauce, and gently stir eggplant to coat with sauce. Let sit 10-15 minutes so eggplant can absorb sauce flavors. Chop mint and parsley while eggplant is resting in sauce.

To serve, assemble eggplant on serving plate and sprinkle with mint and parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

**Recipe courtesy of Kalyn's Kitchen

Balsamic Grilled Pork Chops

These were some of the best pork chops we have ever had. Perfect flavor. Highly recommend. Easy to make marinade too.

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBS honey
3 garlic cloves (we used minced)
1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Ms. Dash's Original Salt Free Seasoning Blend

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Add 4-5 boneless pork chops to a resealable bag, pour marinade over them and refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Remove chops from the marinade when ready to grill. Grill on medium high heat for about 10 minutes on each side or until done. (time depends on the thickness of the chops). Goes great with Caramelized Butternut Squash!

Caramelized Butternut Squash

This recipe was amazing! Can't wait to make this for Thanksgiving. If anything, it was almost too sweet so I would probably cut back on the brown sugar next time. Tasted like candy! Mine cooked much faster than the recommended time so be careful to check on it often so it doesn't get too mushy.

butternut squash (4 to 5 pounds total)

6 -8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (we used sea salt)
1/2-1 teaspoon black pepper

How to make:
Preheat oven to 400.
Cut off the ends of the squash and discard. Peel the squash and cut in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, remove the seeds.
Cut the squash into 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" cubes (large and uniform is best), and place them on a baking sheet. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
With clean hands, toss all of the ingredients together and spread out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes to 55 minutes, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. (Ours was done in 35 minutes). Turn the squash while roasting a few times with a spatula to be sure it browns evenly. Serve hot, enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Pie French Toast

I had planned to make breakfast for dinner tonight, but I wasn't sure what to make. I recently made pumpkin pancakes that everyone really enjoyed so I decided to make french toast with the same theme. They were so tasty and melted in our mouths. I made a homemade maple butter glaze to drizzle on top of them, too!


1 C egg substitute (or 4 eggs)
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
8 slices of whole wheat bread (You can use french or challah, too)

 Ingredients for Maple Butter Glaze
1/2 cup of butter (I used Smart Balance Spread)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg


In a sauce pot, combine butter, syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg. Heat on low until combined. Serve warm drizzled over french toast.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, cream, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.

Heat skillet to medium-heat, spray with cooking spray. Quickly dip bread on both sides into the egg mixture, allow excess mixture to drip off. Place on hot skillet. Heat 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining bread.

4. Serve immediately with maple butter glaze.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Crockpot Pomegranate Pot Roast

I have to admit that until recently, thanks to Carmen's Pork & Peaches, I have not been a big fan of meat and fruit together. This recipe was really good. It didn't knock my socks off, but it had great flavor and made me drool all day long while it was cooking. Rich absolutely LOVED it and it did pair well with my mashed potatoes. Overall, I would make it again, if for nothing else than to make the house smell delicious!

Pot Roast doesn't photograph well

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
dash of ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/8 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 pounds beef roast (I used a lean chuck roast)
4 garlic cloves (whole is fine, or you can chop them)
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup golden raisins (you could also use cranberries)

The Directions:

Use at least a 6-quart slow cooker. Swirl the olive oil into the bottom of the stoneware. Add the onion. Rub the spices on all sides of meat and add to the stoneware with the garlic, the whole can of tomatoes, pomegranate juice, vinegar, and syrup. Sprinkle the raisins on top.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for about 5. The meat is done when it has reached desired tenderness. Serve with mashed potatoes, and drizzle with the sauce.

Tip: Freeze any remaining sauce in a freezer bag to dump over another hunk of meat at a later date.

recipe adapted from crockpot365

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ranch House Chops - Crockpot

It doesn't get easier than this. Only 3 ingredients make this savory dish and you just have to dump them all into a crockpot. The pork chops were very tender and the sauce was full of flavor. We served ours over a bed of brown rice, but it would be good with mashed potatoes as well.


6 pork chops, 1/2 inch thick
1 packet dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning
10 oz can Cream of Chicken Soup (I used Fat Free)

Place pork chops, Ranch seasoning and soup into a medium sized crock pot over high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 6 hours.

recipe courtesy of Picky Palate 

Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte

This isn't as sugary sweet as most iced coffee's I have had, but it's full of the pumpkin flavor and super easy to make. Another benefit, it uses the Pumpkin Spice Syrup that isn't full of artificial flavors.


1/2 C Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1 C cold coffee
1/2 C milk (I used 1 %)
Whipped Cream (optional)

Fill blender half way with ice (about 2 1/2 cups). Add remaining ingredients and blend. Top with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup (for Lattes)

This pumpkin spice syrup is pretty close to crack. I have made 2 batches in 3 days and I have been drinking coffee nonstop. I have no issues forfeiting sleep for this delicious treat. I also double the recipe to be sure I don't run out too quickly!


3 cups water
3 cups sugar
4 cinnamon sticks or 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (If you use ground cinnamon, be sure to make it into a bundle using a coffee filter and string. The cinnamon changes the syrup into a muddy color and makes it thick and grainy)
1 teaspoon whole cloves (will be strained at the end)
1teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 10 tablespoons pumpkin purée


Combine water, sugar, cinnamon and cloves in a medium pot over medium heat. Cook until sugar has completely dissolved.

Whisk in remaining ingredients. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not allow mixture to come to a boil. Strain syrup through cheesecloth into a large glass measuring cup. Transfer to bottle of your choice and store in the refrigerator. You can store this up to 3 weeks.

Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons to your coffee and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from here

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna Roll-Ups

This recipe is absolutely delish. You can adapt the recipe to make a traditional lasagna, but the roll-ups give a nice portioned piece for each person. You can also make this recipe with any meat and flavorings that you like. I made ours buffalo because we love anything with buffalo flavoring. They freeze well so feel free to double or triple the recipe to make extras!

Ingredients for 15 roll-ups

15 lasagna noodles, cooked as directed
2 cups of shredded chicken (I used chicken from a rotisserie crockpot chicken)
16 oz of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup hot sauce - I use Frank's Red Hot
1 TBSP vinegar
16 oz fat free cottage cheese
1 cup skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup reduced fat parmesan cheese
1 container of blue cheese crumbles
2 eggs
1/2 TBSP Italian Seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder

In a small pot, combine spaghetti sauce, hot sauce, vinegar and 1/2 cup of chicken - simmer for about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine cottage cheese, eggs, italian seasoning, garlic powder, mozzarella cheese and remaining chicken. Toss together.

In a 9x13 glass dish (or 2 8x8's) spread half of spaghetti sauce on the bottom.

On each cooked lasagna noodle pile 1 1/2 to 2 TBSP of cottage cheese mixture at the bottom. Carefully roll them and place them seam side down in the glass dish. Top with blue cheese crumbles, remainder of sauce and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes on 350 until bubbly and cheese has browned.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Mashed Potatoes

I've been seeing a lot of different versions of Apple Mashed Potatoes lately but I decided to do my own thing with them because I wanted to make it more of what my family would like. The most popular is Roasted Garlic Apple Mashed but I thought the garlic would overtake the apple taste, plus I wanted to them to be very kid friendly. I've seen everything from garlic to bacon to cheese & sour cream added in recipes. You can definitely make this your own, however you like. This recipe makes a huge serving so cut it in half for smaller portions. Went great with pork.

3 med - large green apples, peeled & sliced
7-8 med Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & quartered
2 TBS sugar
2 TBS ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup softened butter
1 cup milk (we use 1 %)
1 TBS salt (more or less to your liking)
1 TBS black pepper

Put the quartered potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Once soft, drain well.

Meanwhile, put the apple slices in a smaller pot with 2 TBS water. Cook on low - medium, stirring until they start to soften. Add the sugar, ground cinnamon and nutmeg, stir well. Begin mushing the apples. Add a pinch of salt. Season more to taste. Take off heat and set aside.

Put the pototoes in a large bowl and begin mashing. Add 1 TBS salt & 1 TBS pepper. Add the butter and milk and continue mashing. (You can add more butter or salt depending on your liking). Add the cinnamon apple mixture. Mix very well until desired consistency. Enjoy!

Friday, September 23, 2011

"Rotisserie" Chicken - Crockpot

I love getting whole chickens and cooking them in the crockpot. The amount of meat you get off of 1 chicken can be stretched for a few meals, too! I can get 2 chicken pot pies and a large pot of chicken and dumplings out of one $5 chicken.. Also, the flavor of the slow cooked chicken really makes the other meals that much more delicious!

Aluminum Foil - not for consumption
1 whole chicken

(You can use ANY seasoning combination that you like.)

2 TBSP garlic seasoning
1 tsp Mrs. Dash Table Blend
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup water

In the bottom of your crockpot, place 4 balled up pieces of aluminum foil. Place whole chicken on top of aluminum foil balls 1/2 cup of water in the bottom. Sprinkle seasoning on the chicken. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. The meat will fall off of the bone.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Nothing says fall like these delicious muffins! The recipe makes close to 40 so you can freeze a bunch or hand them out to your friends, if you're feeling generous!

3 c sugar
1 c oil (1/2 oil and 1/2 applesauce works fine)
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2/3 c milk
1 15 oz can of pumpkin (NOT pie filling)
1 bag (1 1/2 cups) semi sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin tins well and set aside. In a bowl, beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla until blended. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Gradually add the egg mixture to the flour mix and blend. Add 1/2 the milk and 1/2 the can of pumpkin and mix. repeat. Fold in the chips and spoon the batter into the tins (about 2/3 full)

Bake for 20 min.

Yields about 3 1/2 dozen

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cheese & Pepperoni - don't mind if I do!!!!

Ok, yes I'm blogging this. Yes, it is nothing but cheese & pepperoni. However, it's amusing. I needed a last minute appetizer for guests that I didn't know were coming before I had went to the store earlier that day. So I dug around in my cabinets and made the best of what I had on hand and I think it turned out cute, with a side of funny. Everyone gobbled it up!! Seriously, the whole plate was gone within minutes! Good to know that appetizers can be this easy! I will definitely make this again and again while entertaining. Cheap & yummy. :)

Ritz crackers
Kraft Easy Cheese (or any bottle of cheesy whiz goodness)
Pepperoni Sticks sliced (I used the Hormel Turkey Pepperoni Sticks - only 50 calories per stick!)

Crackers, cheese on top, then a slice of pepperoni stuck in the cheese. I added the leftover pepperoni slices around the plate.

Mozzarella Tomato Caprese Salad

Super easy & yummy! Plus this looks pretty! Perfect side dish or appetizer for any Italian meal. The only thing is that you can't make it too far ahead of time. Prep the mozzarella and cut the tomatoes but wait until you are within an hour of serving before adding anything else.

Grape Tomatoes cut in half
Fresh Mozzarella Pearls (drained & laid on a plate lined with paper towels with another paper towel on top, at least 3-4 hours before serving to dry out)
Dried basil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Balsamic Vinegar

Dry the mozzarella as directed above and wash the tomatoes. When ready to serve, cut the tomatoes in half, add them and the mozzarella to a serving dish. Add about 2 TBS of dry basil (more or less depending on your liking). Add 1 TBS EVOO, then 1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar. Toss well. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Frugal Caramel Frap

Here is a recipe for mom's on a budget (especially this mom) who can't always afford the $5 fraps from those fancy chain stores.

Warning: This recipe has no actual measured ingredients. Just wing it and enjoy. At least you'll be getting some coffee in your system!

Blender filled with ice
cold coffee you never got to drink (thanks to the kids)
caramel sundae syrup in the easy squeeze bottle
nonfat milk
sugar, optional depending on your sweet tooth level


Squeeze caramel over ice, about 2 to 3 tablespoons
Add about 1 1/2 cups of coffee
Add a splash or more of milk, until the color looks like caramel

(This is where you would add that sugar if you desired. I'd say no more than 2 tsp. The caramel sauce is pretty sweet.)

Turn on your blender and make the magic happen.

Get a glass, bucket, old yogurt container and drizzle the caramel sauce all over the sides and bottom. Pour the mixture into the glass, throw a straw in it and yummmmm.

*Tip! Roll into pre-school pick-up with that bad boy and make all of the other mom's jealous.

Inside Out Turkey Cheese Burger

I absolutely love creating new turkey burgers. Last night I decided to make a "stuffed" turkey burger filled with cheddar cheese cubes. They were super yummy and very fun to eat with the cheese oozing out of the center!


1lb of lean turkey ground
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 egg (or egg substitute)
1 TBSP of Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
cubes of sharp cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)

Combine first 5 ingredients and form into patties. Make a dent with your thumb and insert 2 cheese cubes. Form the meat around the cubes to seal them inside. Grill until internal temp is 170. Make sure you're taking the temperature of the meat, not the cheese!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Grilled Pizza

Ok, this pizza seriously rocked! My husband came up with the recipe. Grilling the pizza definitely changed the flavor. Turned our ordinary pizza night into something new. You can make this any way you want. We like the fresh mozzarella & basil version but we made plain cheese & sauce for the kids. The most important part is to preheat your grill to medium heat and keep an eye on the pizza as it cooks so you don't burn the crust too much.

Fresh Mozzarella & Basil Grilled Pizza (with onion & pepper):
Sliced Fresh mozzarella (Cut into thin slices. Best to slice your cheese a few hours before you use it, place on a paper towel and lay another paper towel on top to absorb all the extra moisture. Refrigerate for several hours.)Fresh basil (remove stem, wash & dry well)
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)2 Tomatoes sliced thin
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 green pepper
Pizza Crust (we love the 8" whole wheat Boboli Crust - everyone got their own personal pizza.)
Chop onion & pepper. Place in foil, splash with a little EVOO.
Grill onion & pepper in foil until tender. You can do it on stove also if you prefer.
Lightly brush 1/2 teaspoon EVOO onto top of the pizza crust.
Add tomatoe slices, then basil, then sprinkle the onion & pepper. Add the sliced cheese on top.
Place on grill and cook until crust is browned.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sloppy Janes

Friday night is usually pizza night at our house but this week I wanted to change it up. I had a pound of turkey ground thawed and wasn't really sure what to do with it. I decided to make a homemade version of Sloppy Joe's. This is so good. It has sweet and spicy flavors to it. Kids and adults will both love it!


1 med onion, chopped
1 med green pepper, chopped
1 lb turkey ground
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
3/4 cup of ketchup
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp mustard
1 tsp minced garlic


Sautee' onion and pepper in EVOO. Brown turkey ground and add can of diced tomatoes with green chilies. Stir in ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and garlic. Let simmer 10 to 15 minutes for all of the flavors to incorporate.

Serve on your favorite bread!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Caprese Appetizer Bites

This appetizer takes your classic tomatoes and mozzarella to a new level. They are fun to eat and look super fancy too!

Grape/cherry tomatoes
mozzarella cheese - I bought pre-made balls of mozzarella but you can cube a block as well
basil leaves
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Thread grape tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and mozzarella onto wooden skewers. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

*recipe courtesy of Taste of Home magazine

Caramel Apple & Brie Skewers

I made these for two totally different events; a baby shower and a 30th birthday party. They were a hit at both. Everyone raved about them and they were devoured!   You can pre-cut your and apples and toss them with a little lemon juice to keep from browning, which is a great time saving tip when entertaining.  Then just assemble and serve. 

2 medium apples, cubed (I used a red & a green to make them extra pretty)
1 pkg (6oz) Brie cheese, cubed
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping (more or less to taste)
2 Tbsp. dried cranberries
1/2 cup macadamia nuts (optional, I didn't use)

On each of six small wooden skewers, alternately thread apple and cheese cubes. Place on a serving tray. Drizzle with caramel topping; sprinkle with cranberries and nuts if using them. 

*recipe courtesy of Taste of Home magazine

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

This pot pie was fantastic. The best part is the recipe makes two so you can eat one and freeze one!

2 cups diced peeled potatoes
1-3/4 cups sliced carrots
2/3 cup chopped onion
1 cup butter, cubed
1 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups milk
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
Pastry for two double-crust pies (9 inches)

Place potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, thyme and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the chicken, peas, corn, potatoes and carrots; remove from the heat.
Line two 9-in. pie plates with bottom pastry; trim pastry even with edge. Fill pastry shells with chicken mixture. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pies. Cut slits or decorative cutouts in pastry. Place over filling; trim, seal and flute edges.
Bake one potpie at 425° for 35-40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Cover and freeze remaining potpie for up to 3 months.

To use frozen pot pie: Shield frozen pie crust edges with foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; bake 70-80 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown.

*recipe courtesty of

Sweet & Sour Chicken

This dish was wonderful! It really captures the flavors of traditional sweet & sour chicken but done the healthy way. My kids couldn't get enough of it! I served it with a cucumber tomato salad, which went well with the flavors. (one chicken breast with sauce is only 205 calories!)

4-6 thin sliced chicken breasts
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
3 TBS apricot preserves
1 1/2 TBS low sodium soy sauce
2 TBS fresh lime juice
2 tsp Thai Chili Paste

Heat grill to medium high. Sprinkle chicken with the salt & pepper. Grill chicken until done.

Meanwhile, add chicken broth, apricot preserves, and soy sauce in a pan and bring to a boil. Stir well. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in the fresh lime juice and the Thai chili paste. Spoon over chicken. Remaining sauce can be used for dipping. Enjoy!

*recipe courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

Monday, August 15, 2011

Taco Casserole

This was SO delicious. The entire family ate it with no complaints. I was worried that it would need to be served with brown rice or something but it was great on it's on, with a side of veggies.


1 lb ground skinless chicken breast (I used 1lb of turkey ground)
1/2 c onions, chopped
1/2 c bell peppers, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 jar of salsa
16oz fat-free sour cream
16oz fat-free cottage cheese
low-fat tortilla chips, whole or broken up
1 c low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Possible things to add: 1 can of black beans
                                   1 cup of corn


Heat oven to 400. Spray cooking spray on bottom of a 9x13 dish (or 2 8x8 dishes if you want to freeze 1); set aside. In a skillet, cook chicken, onion, peppers, and garlic clove until tender. Add seasoning mix and salsa; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese; set aside. Place solid layer of broken chips in the bottom of casserole dish. Add meat mixture to cover the chips, then cover the meat with sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and more crushed chips. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Makes 8 (1 Cup Servings)

Nutritional Info Per Serving:
287 Calories; 4g Fat; 25g Protein; 34g Carbohydrate; 43mg Cholesterol; 2g Fiber;
Points Plus+ 7

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Flatbread

This can be an appetizer or a main dish. It looks fancy so it's great for entertaining and it's pretty easy to make.

1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, softened (I used low fat and that worked just fine)
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
2 TBS minced fresh parsley, divided (I used dried parsley)
1 TBS minced chives
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme (I used dried thyme)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tube (13.8oz) refrigerated pizza crust
3 TBS olive oil
3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced (I used 2 red tomatoes and one yellow to make it bright.)

1. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, 1 TBS parsley, chives, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper until blended in a large bowl.

2. Unroll pizza crust and cut in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion into a 12x6 inch rectangle. Brush each side with olive oil.

3. Grill uncovered over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from grill.

4. Spread grilled sides with cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese and top with tomatoes. Return to the grill. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes or until crust is slightly browned and cheese is melted, rotating halfway through cooking to ensure an even crust. Remove from grill and sprinkle with remaining parsley. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

*recipe courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

Great dinner for the whole family. It comes together really quickly and the recipe makes enough that you can freeze half (adding the cheese before cooking). You can also cut the recipe in half if you don't want to freeze it.

1 package (16oz) whole wheat egg noodles
1 lb ground turkey (or beef)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 can (8oz) diced tomatoes & green chilies
2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
4 oz sliced turkey pepperoni (or regular if you prefer)
Optional: 1 can mushrooms pieces

1. Cook noodles according to package directions, drain well.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook ground turkey and chopped onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Stir in noodles.

3. Transfer to a greased 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle with the cheeses and pepperoni.

4. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until heated through and the cheeses are melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

*recipe courtesy of Taste of Home Magazine

Monday, August 1, 2011

Zucchini Crab Cakes - Baked

These crab cakes are absolutely amazing!  They are nice and light, without a ton of filler. The zucchini picks up the crab flavor stretching the meat to make more cakes. It's baked and not fried so it's a much healthier version than most. You can also freeze them to use later!


1 large zucchini, grated (2 cups)

2 tablespoons mayonnaise or plain yogurt

OLD BAY® Seasoning to taste

2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 cup seasoned whole wheat plain dry bread crumbs

1/2 pound backfin crabmeat (I used closer to a lb)

1 tablespoon EVOO


1. Squeeze dry zucchini in a large clean kitchen towel. Mix mayonnaise, OLD BAY, and mustard  in large bowl until well blended. Add zucchini, bread crumbs and crabmeat; mix well. Shape into 8 patties, about 1/3 cup each.

2. Preheat oven to 425. Place crab cakes into a well oiled dish and bake until golden brown. Flip and bake other side until brown. Serve Hot!

OLD BAY® Zucchini Pancakes: Prepare as directed, omitting crabmeat and decreasing OLD BAY to 2 teaspoons.

*courtesy of Old

Monday, July 18, 2011

Strawberry Spinach Salad

I had this salad at a friend's house and just HAD to get the recipe. It's so light, refreshing and super tasty. It's a great salad to take along to a cook-out or serve for either brunch or lunch. Really, I'd eat it all day long.

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced onion
10 ounces fresh spinach - rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
1 quart strawberries - cleaned, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Chicken & Pasta with Roasted Garlic, White Cheddar & Wine Sauce

This recipe reminded me of something you could get from The Olive Garden (which I, Holly, thinks is authentic Italian even if it isn't to some of you out there!). The flavor is amazing and it tastes worse for you than it is, who doesn't love that?

12 oz pasta (I used orecchetti)
1½ tbsp. butter
¼ cup roasted garlic paste*
1½ tbsp. flour
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets and blanched until crisp-tender

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika

Salt and pepper, to taste

*To make roasted garlic paste, peel the outer papery skins off two heads of garlic, leaving the heads still intact. Slice about a quarter off the top of each head so that all of the cloves are partly exposed. Wrap the heads in foil and bake at 350˚ F for one hour. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool enough to touch, squeeze the garlic cloves out of the peels and smash with a fork to make roasted garlic paste.


Combine bread crumbs, italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika in a small dish. Dredge chicken in egg and then coat with bread crumb mixture. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake on 375 until cooked through (about 30 to 40 minutes depening on thickness of chicken). I cooked my chicken while roasting my garlic.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the roasted garlic paste and cook just until fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Whisk the flour into the mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to turn golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Stir the white wine and broth into the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and stir until melted. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Mix in the broccoli florets and cook just until heated through. Mix in the cooked pasta until evenly coated with the sauce. Serve warm with the baked chicken.

*recipe adapted from Annies Eats 

Blueberry French Toast

Yum, yum, yum! I have made this on a few occasions when entertaining and it was a big hit! It's so easy to throw together and you can even make it the day before and just pop it in the oven in the morning!


1 loaf of French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (8 ounces)
1-8 oz. package of cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine Blueberry Jam
6 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup milk

Blueberry Syrup:

1/2 cup blueberry jam or preserves
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. butter
A dash of cinnamon


Grease a deep-dish pie pan.
Place half of the French bread cubes in the bottom of the prepared pie dish.
Equally distribute the cream cheese cubes, fresh blueberries, and Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine Blueberry Jam over the top of the bread cubes.
Top with remaining bread cubes.
In a medium size bowl combine the eggs, maple syrup and milk. Whisk until uniform. Pour over bread mixture.
Place in refrigerator several hours or preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake approximately 30 minutes more, or until the casserole is set and the top is golden.
While the casserole bakes, combine the syrup ingredients in a small sauce-pan and heat over low heat on the stovetop.
Serve the casserole hot with the syrup drizzled over each portion.

Easy Broc Quiche

This quiche is so quick and easy. I use it as one of my 'go to' breakfasts when we have guests stay the night. It takes awhile to cook but the prep time is super fast!


2 tablespoons butter
 1 onion, minced (optional)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
 2 cups chopped fresh broccoli (I food process it after I sauté it.)
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
 Over medium-low heat melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onions, garlic and broccoli. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft. Spoon vegetables into crust and sprinkle with cheese.
Combine eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in melted butter. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until center has set.

Grilled Barbecue Chicken Sandwich with Spicy Avocado Spread

I made this over the weekend and it was AMAZING. My favorite part was the avocado spread.

4 (3-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets
1/4 cup barbecue sauce (use your favorite or experiment and make your own, it's easy!)
Cooking spray
4 (0.7-ounce) slices 2% reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
Green leaf lettuce leaves (optional)
Tomato slices (optional)
4 (1.8-ounce) white wheat hamburger buns

Spicy Avocado Spread 
1 ripe peeled avocado, coarsely mashed
1 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mexican Lasagna

Looking for an easy Mexican dish? Look no further! This is delicious, filling and fairly healthy if you get a low-fat cheese.


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground chicken or turkey breast
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 cup medium heat taco sauce
1 cup frozen corn kernels
8 (8 inch) whole wheat tortillas,
2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or shredded pepper jack
2 scallions, finely chopped (optional)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - twice around the pan. Add meat and season with chili powder, cumin, and red onion. Brown the meat, 5 minutes. Add taco sauce. Add black beans and corn. Heat the mixture through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Coat a shallow baking dish with remaining extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 tablespoon oil. Cut the tortillas in half or quarters to make them easy to layer with. Build lasagna in layers of meat and beans, then tortillas, then cheese. Repeat: meat, tortilla, cheese again. Bake lasagna 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Top with the scallions and serve.

We like to eat this with spicy sour cream.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sesame Cucumber Salad

This blew my mind, I can't stress how good it was. Light and refreshing but the kind of dish that everyone would talk about at a cook out. It was the perfect summer side to go with our steaks.  You can add less red pepper flakes to make it more kid friendly too. 

1 1/2 TBS sesame seeds, toasted (toasting instructions below)
2 TBS low sodium soy sauce
1 TBS rice vinegar
1 TBS honey
1 TBS hot water
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less depending on how much spice you like. I usually go a little less to keep it kid friendly.)
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
4 cups thinly sliced cucumber

1. Spread sesame seeds out on baking sheet. Preheat oven to 325. Bake until they are slightly browned and you start to smell them. (it's a great smell, you can't miss it!)

2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, except for the cucumber. Stir well with a whisk. Add the cucumber, toss to coat.  You can let it chill for a little while before serving but the cucumbers will start to get mushy if you wait too long.  

*recipe courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

Ginger Hoisan Glaze

We slow cooked steaks on the grill and brushed this glaze on during cooking and also when they done. It was incredible. We literally licked our plates clean. Great flavor without being too overpowering and super easy to make. Can't wait to try it on chicken and even shrimp!

1 1/2 TBS Hoisin sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl, stir with a whisk.

*Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shrimp Cobb Salad

This recipe comes from a Cooking Light mag. It rocked!!! The avocado definitely made it stand out. It was also one of the most filling salads I've ever had (I find avocado to be one of the most filling foods ever). I grilled my shrimp instead of making them on the stove so I included the directions for grilling but the original link from the magazine recipe tells you how to cook them on the stove.

The only thing that I can say is that I wasn't a huge fan of the dressing but my husband had it and wants me to make a huge batch and bottle it up for him because he swears it was incredible. I preferred a balsamic vinaigrette but to each his own.... I recommend keeping the dressing on the side.

4 slices turkey bacon (the original recipe calls for regular bacon, but I prefer the low calories of the turkey bacon instead)
1 lb raw large shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2 1/2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 TBS EVOO
1/2 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard (regular dijon works also)
Romaine lettuce
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 carrots)
1 cup frozen whole kernal corn, thawed
1 ripe peeled avocado, cut into 8 wedges

1. Cook bacon according to instructions. Let bacon rest on paper towels to cool and drain. Once cooled, crumble up.

2. Sprinkle shrimp with paprika, pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; toss to coat. Spray aluminion foil with cooking spray, then add shrimp, spreading out evenly. Grill over medium high heat, until shrimp are cooked, turning occasionally.

3. While shrimp cooks, combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, oil, and mustard in a large bowl, stir with a whisk.

4. Arrange about 1 1/2 cups lettuce mixture on each plate. Top each serving with about 6 shrimp, 1/2 cup tomatoes, 1/4 cup carrot, 1/4 cup corn, 2 avocado wedges and a handful of the crumbled bacon.

Makes 4 servings. The original recipe (with their dressing & regular bacon) is 332 calories per serving. However, the turkey bacon cuts that down.