Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tex Mex Chili Mac

I like the convenience of Hamburger Help but I've never been able to convince myself that the stuff that comes out of that box with the cute hand is actually edible. My family isn't convinced either...fancy that! That said over the years I have toyed with quick one pot meals that I could throw together after work that my kids would actually eat.

Tex Mex Chili Mac is a dish that has evolved as our tastes have changed. When the kids were little it was straight up chili mac with no corn or extra zip. As they got older and liked spicy foods better more chili powder was added etc until it's the version that we eat today. It makes a lot, if you aren't a leftover fan then halving the recipe is simple.

Tex Mex Chili Mac

Serving Size : 8

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, minced
3/4 Tbs chili powder
1/2 Tbs cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs brown sugar
16 oz tomato sauce
2 cup water
2 cup macaroni
1 cup corn
1 can green chilies
2 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups cheese, shredded ( I used a 2% Mexican Blend)

1. Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, onion and spices. Brown until the meat is no longer pink. Drain off any excess fat. Stir in garlic and brown sugar and cook for about 30 seconds (until you can smell the garlic). Stir in tomato sauce, water, and macaroni. Cover and cook, stirring often and keeping at a steady bubble until the macaroni is al dente (10-12 min).

2. Stir in 1 cup cheese, corn, chilies, and cilantro. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand until the cheese is melted.

Nutrition (calculated from recipe ingredients)
Calories: 544
Calories From Fat: 144
Total Fat: 15.8g
Cholesterol: 48.5mg
Sodium: 5134.9mg
Potassium: 3100.3mg
Carbohydrates: 77.4g
Fiber: 14.2g
Sugar: 38.9g
Protein: 30.9g

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My new toys....

Apparently Santa has been fooled into thinking that I had been a very good girl last year. What has given him this impression I haven't figured out but if I find out I will be sure to let you know.

He left me a new camera that I may never figure out all the buttons on and a Bosch mixer. Wow! I've been playing with the mixer like crazy and have ground my own hamburger, made french fries in the blink of an eye, and made several iterations of bread. The cinnamon rolls were terrible but everything else was pretty good.

So, I have no excuse to not post a picture with every recipe. It might not be a great picture but hopefully I will improve as I go right?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry

I didn't get a picture taken but this is DEFINTELY a do again so I will get one the next time...and if I am lucky I will even get to have rice with it!

As usual in the quest for low carb things that I can eat stuff like Chinese take out is not on the list. I could mourn for days over that sad fact but occasionally I am moved to action.

My mom used to do a stir fry when I lived at home that had chicken, broccoli, and carrots in it. I was thinking about that as I was throwing things together and I think that the result was a pretty darned good psuedo take out meal...if only there were rice...but I digress.

Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry

1/3 c. soy sauce
2 T brown sugar (I used brown sugar Splenda)
1 clove garlic crushed
1 t. ginger grated fine
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 tsp arrowroot (if you don't have arrowroot use cornstarch)
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite size pieces)
1 T. canola oil
1 large head broccoli (approx 3 cupsish)
1 lg onion
8 oz water chestnuts, sliced

Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Mix chicken in sauce well and let marinate for 10 minutes. Heat oil in large skillet. Add chicken in small batches to prevent crowding and stir fry until browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add broccoli, onion and water chestnuts to hot skillet. Stir fry for 1 minute. Add 1/4 c water, cover and steam for 3 minutes or until broccoli is crisp tender. Add chicken and heat through stirring constantly.

Serve over rice.

*this doesn't give you a thick sauce like you get with actual Chinese food. If that is your goal add another tsp of arrowroot.

Nutritional Information:
Calories 348; Total Fat 11.2g; Total Carbohydrates 24.7g; Dietary Fiber 1.9g; Protein 36.2g;

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Caramel Apple Pie

This is all that's left!

This is the second of the four pies I made the other day for Relief Society. I didn't get pictures of the other two this will have to do. Maybe I will remember on Thanksgiving...hey, it could happen!

The original recipe for this pie is from one of my favorite websites. I've made several of Ree's recipes but this one is my favorite by far. The original recipe can be found here and her picture is beautiful!

Caramel Apple Pie

Pastry for 1 crust pie
6-7 cups peeled and sliced Granny Smith Apples
Juice of ½ lemon
½ cup sugar
4 T. flour
¼ tsp salt
½ c flour
1 ½ sticks butter
1 c. brown sugar
½ c. quick oats
¼ tsp salt
½ c. pecans
½ jar caramel ice cream topping (I like Mrs. Richardson’s)

Mix peeled apples, lemon juice, sugar, flour and ¼ tsp salt. Set aside.

Cut butter into the flour, add brown sugar, oats and ¼ tsp salt. Stir together.
Pour apples into prepared pie shell and top with crumb topping. Cover crust edges with aluminum foil to prevent burning. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and back for another 30 minutes.

Chop pecans, and when 5 minutes of baking time remains sprinkle them over the pie.
Remove from oven and ½ jar, or more if you like, caramel topping over the top

Pumpkin Pie for Bri

I'm not really a pumpkin pie fan. Something about the texture icks me out, too slimey or something but Bri really likes it. This is the recipe that I found that makes pumpkin pie bearable. It has an extra egg to help it bake up a little bit firmer so it's not so jiggly, some brown sugar to give a hint of molasses and I never have evaporated milk so it's got whole milk with some heavy cream to add some richness. It's good enough that even I will eat it. Who knew?

Pumpkin Pie

Pastry for 1 crust pie
3 eggs
1 15 oz can pumpkin
½ c. sugar
¼ c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¾ c. whole milk
¼ c. heavy cream

Beat eggs, add pumpkin and stir well to combine. Combine sugars, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Stir spice mix into the pumpkin. Mix in milk and cream.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. While oven preheats let filling sit so that is can come closer to room temperature. This will help it to bake more evenly.

Pour into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes; shield your crust. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Take the foil off the edges at approx the 30-40 min left point.

Perfect Pie Crust, yes really!

Pies. For the first 15 years of my marriage my pies consisted of pies made with Pillsbury crusts because I just couldn't figure out how to make a good one without having 2 extra people there to help me. The whole "don't knead it too much but knead it enough" and the rolling it onto the rolling pin to get the thing to the pan was more than I could figure out. So I just didn't do it. Cause really, how do you know when it's "too" much?

Then a couple of years ago I decided that I was being ridiculous and surely it couldn't be that hard. I started to try different crust recipes and some were terrible but they gradually got better. Then I had a totally "aha!" moment watching Food Network one day. Roll the crust out inside a gallon can cut it apart and set an inverted pie dish onto the crust, slide your hand under the whole thing and flip it over. Then peel off the other layer. Oh my gosh a whole world opened up that day. It was the perfect crust! Light and flaky and best of all easy!

So here it is.

Perfect Pie Crust
(3 crusts)
1 ½ c. Crisco
3 c. all purpose flour
1 egg
5 Tbsp cold water
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp salt

In a large bowl work Crisco into flour with either a pastry cutter or a couple of knives until it resembles a coarse meal (you can also use your food processor). In a small bowl beat egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour mixture. Add 5 Tbsp cold water, 1 Tbsp vinegar and 1 tsp salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough ball into a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Using your rolling pin gently flatten the ball into a disc shape that is about ½ inch thick. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. If using immediately chill for about 15-20 minutes).

When you are ready to use the dough take the bag out of the freezer. Place a damp paper towel on the counter and put the bag on top of it (this will help hold it still while you roll). Unseal the bag and roll the dough to the edges of the bag. Measure with your pie dish to make sure it’s rolled out enough. Slit the sides of the bag and peel off the top layer of plastic. Position an inverted pie dish over the dough, slide your hand under the plastic and flip the whole thing right side up. Peel off the remaining plastic; trim and shape.

*If baking prick the bottom with a fork and place a piece of tin foil on top of the crust. Add pie weights or dried beans to hold it down and bake in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove weight and foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Turkey Lettuce Wraps

It seems that we have found ourselves on yet another diet at our house. I think sometimes that I have been hungry for half my life. I remember in Notting Hill when Julia Roberts character says she's "been hungry for the better part of a decade". I can relate.

So in my quest to find foods that fit the narrow criteria of acceptable and also palatable I decided to do some lettuce wraps. I loved Chili's version of lettuce wraps and was so sad when they were removed from the menu. These are surprisingly not a bad substitute.

I did use Splenda in place of all the sugar and cut the oil way back. The next time I make these I am going to add carrots for some color but overall these were a definite do again. Don't let the long list of ingredients and instructions intimidate you...these are really very easy and not too bad timewise.

The NI is figured using sugar instead of Splenda as that is what I will use more frequently.

Ground Turkey Lettuce Wraps

1 lb lean ground turkey
1 cup water chestnut
2/3 cup mushroom
3 Tbs chopped onions
1 tsp minced garlic
4-5 leaves iceberg lettuce

Special Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs ketchup
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/8 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs hot mustard
2 tsp water
1-2 teaspoon garlic and red chile paste

Stir Fry Sauce
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar

1. Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl.
2. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil.
3. Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you're ready to serve.
4. Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well.
5. Eventually add your desired measurement of mustard and garlic chili sauce to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps.
6. Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.
7. Brown turkey and break up into pea sized chunks
8. Remove turkey from pan and drain well
9. As turkey cools mince water chestnuts and mushrooms to about the size of small peas.
10. Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.
11. With the pan still on high heat, 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil.
12. Add turkey, garlic, onions, water chestnuts and mushrooms to the pan.
13. Add the stir fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes then serve it in the lettuce "cups".
14. Top with"Special Sauce".

Servings: 4

Calories 272.71; Total Fat 4.49g; Total Carbohydrates 39.58g; Fiber 2.45g; Protein 23.97g

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So Cute!

I just had to share my cute apron. I made it from one of the many dishtowels that I have picked up with the intention of doing something wonderful. So far I haven't done very many wonderful things and some have made it into the drawer and are now looking kind of sad. :)

Any way, 1 dishtowel, 1/4 yd fabric and 3 yards of ribbon later voila' an apron!

Bri didn't want to pose for me but I think she's cuter than the apron!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

It just felt like fall today so I pulled out the pumpkin. I despise making cookies because I hate standing there and changing cookie sheets etc and I wasn't really in the mood for cake (astonishing I know) so I decided to make muffins instead.

I burned the first pan because I forgot to set the timer but the second pan came out perfect. Just the right combo of spices, pumpkin and chocolate. Yum.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

4 egg
2 cups sugar
16 oz pure pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup canola oil
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
12 oz chocolate chips

1. In large mixing bowl beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla and oil until smooth

2. Mix dry ingredients together and mix into pumpkin

3. Fold in chocolate chips

4. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 3/4 full

5. Bake at 400 for 16-17 minutes

Servings: 30

Cooking Times
Cooking Time: 17 minutes

Oven Temperature: 400°F

Calories 219.35; Total Fat 11.62g; Total Carbohydrates 27.74g; Fiber 0.94g;Protein 2.52g

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Banana Bars

I've had a couple of bunches of bananas hanging around on my countertop for over a week. It's become pretty obvious that no one here is going to eat them as they are now soft and brown and kind of scary looking so I needed a new plan. I made banana bread with some of them but I still had 3 that I didn't have the heart to throw away.

So, since we were asked to take a dessert to Grandma's today I made banana bars with cream cheese frosting. Ok, in all honesty putting them in "bar" form is an excuse to get a larger frosting to cake ratio in every bite, but they are yummy all the same.

Banana Bars

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup banana
3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

1. Grease and lightly flour two 8x1-1/2-inch or 9x1-1/2-inch round baking pans or grease one 13x9x2-inch baking pan or jelly roll pan. set pan(s) aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add bananas, buttermilk or sour milk, shortening, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Add eggs; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared pan(s).

3. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes for round pans or about 35 minutes for 13x9-inch pan, or 28 min for jelly roll pan or till a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool layer cakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove layer cakes from pans. Cool thoroughly on racks (see tip, page 000). Or, place 13x9-inch cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly. Frost with desired frosting. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Servings: 24

Nutrition Facts:
Calories 144.7; Total Fat 4.89g; Total Carbohydrates 23.37g; Fiber 0.48g; Protein 2.06g

*Note: If you don't have buttermilk on hand, substitute sour milk in the same amount. For the 3/4 cup of sour milk needed, place 2-1/4 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 3/4 cup total liquid; stir. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes before using it in a recipe.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Italian Chicken Vegetable Soup

This is a hearty, EASY, soup that we will be making again and again. I was surprised at how good it was and best of all I had all the ingredients in the house already!

Italian Chicken Vegetable Soup

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2 T. olive oil
2 14.5 oz can of Italian Tomatoes (with garlic, basil, and oregano)
4 cups chicken broth
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 small onion diced fine
3 small carrots, I sliced them into coins
2 lg stalks celery chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 t. Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over med-high heat. Cook chicken for about 10 minutes or until it's no longer pink inside. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes until onions begin to look translucent. Add zucchini, tomatoes, chicken broth and Italian seasoning. Salt and pepper to taste. I used about 1 t. salt and probably 1/2 t pepper.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

Garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese.

*I cooked some whole grain rotini pasta to add for those people that wanted pasta.

Nutrition Information:
Calories 175.87; Total Fat 4.68g; Total Carbohydrates 7.49g; Fiber 2.06g; Protein 24.98g

Seriously, it was SO.GOOD.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

S'mores Cookies

Who doesn't like a S'more? The gooiness of a roasted marshmallow combined with the sweetness of a chunk of milk chocolate all balanced out with a cripsy graham's heaven. Creating them away from the campfire however is a little more problematic. As I am not fond of smelling like smoke and sleeping on the ground, when I saw recipes for S'more Cookies and Brownies popping up all over the internet I was intrigued to say the least.

This starts with your basic chocolate chip recipe, I would be willing to say that you can use your favorite one if this one doesn't seem right to you. You substitute some of the flour with graham cracker crumbs and you are well on your way to s'morey goodness.

This recipe is adapted from Baked Perfection. I added more flour than was originally included, an extra teaspoon of vanilla and cut the chocolate chips in half. I think with the amount of chocolate that you have from the Hershey's bars you really don't need to go overboard with the chips.

S'Mores Cookies
Adapted from Baked Perfection

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (to save time buy them already crushed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
Mini Marshmallows
Hershey's Bars, broken into pieces (I used 4 regular sized ones)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and salt. Stir or whisk all together. In a separate large bowl beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until well mixed and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes, and remove from the oven. Push 3 or 4 marshmallows and a few pieces of chocolate bar into each cookie. Return to the oven and baked an additional 3-4 minutes until fully cooked and the marshmallows are beginning to brown. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Makes 4 dozen cookies

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mexican Rice

I made enchiladas yesterday and was scrounging around for a side dish as usual. We really like Spanish Rice at restaurants but aren't fond of the mixes that are on the market and I hadn't up to this point, figured out a really tasty homemade version. That has all changed!! This rice turned out great! Just enough spice and not too tomatoey. We will definitely be doing this one again.

I actually did 2 batches, one with the separate spices and one with 1/2 homemade salsa. They were both awesome!

Mexican Rice

1 cup rice
2 T oil
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup chopped onion (really fine)
1 clove garlic minced
1 t. chili powder
1 t. cumin
1/4 cup tomato sauce

  1. Saute onion and garlic in oil briefly in medium saucepan
  2. Add rice and saute lightly until rice is all coated with oil and is fragrant
  3. Stir in broth, chili powder, cumin and tomato sauce. Bring to a rapid boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 25-30 min until liquid is absorbed and rice has bloomed.
**If you are in a hurry exchange the onion, garlic, spices and tomato sauce for 1/2 c. salsa. Because it's pretty diluted "medium" will probably work the best.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cereal Bars

I went to Girl's Camp this week as a cook and for one of the meals we were packing a bag breakfast for an overnight hike. We didn't really feel like granola bars were enough but the cereal bars that are commercially packaged were too expensive for our budget. I took the assignment to figure out something that would be easy to pack and a little bit more filling to replace the commercial cereal bars.

I made several varieties, making my girls taste test them all. This is what we finally decided upon.

Cereal Bars

6 c. Multi Grain Cheerios
1/2 c. toasted almond slivers
1/2 c. toasted coconut
1/2 c. Craisins
1/2 c. broken pretzel sticks
3 T. butter
1 bag mini marshmallows

Spray 9x13 baking dish with non stick spray. I also lined the pan with a piece of parchment paper that was lightly sprayed so that I could pull the whole thing out easily.

Toast the nuts and the coconut in the oven at 350 until they are slightly browned.

Mix the almonds, coconut, Cheerios, Craisins, and pretzels in a large bowl and stir until combined.

Melt the butter in a large pan. When the butter is melted pour in the marshmallows and stir constantly until they are completely melted. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into baking dish and press down until all the cereal is compacted well. Let cool and cut.

*I didn't cut the bars as I needed them to stay fresh for a few days until we used them. I pulled out the whole thing and packaged with my Food Saver. When it was opened to cut the bars and fill the bags they were as fresh as the first day. So, if you aren't able to eat the whole thing in one day you could easily vacuum seal the rest and it would stay good for a week or so.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

SALSA baby!!

My tomatoes are starting to produce more than I can eat by myself. How did I land in this family of non tomato lovers? They like it on a sandwich or burger but that is about it. is made into salsa.

A few years ago I really got into the canning thing and bottled about 120 pints of salsa. We blew through that in a winter and I kind of got sidetracked with fresh salsa so I haven't bottled any but with the tomatoes I picked the other day I thought I would break out the bottles and do a few.

Sadly, once I start canning I sort of let it consume me. I have bottled pears that my fam won't eat that I am thinking I can make into jam...but that's a post for another day.

This is the recipe that I used for this iteration of salsa. It's always a little different because I am the world's worst measurer but this is a good starting point. Looking at this I think the next time I will add some lime juice...

10 quarts of tomatoes, skinned and chopped
6 c. onions chopped
4 cans (small) diced green chilies
1 large green pepper chopped
1 1/2 c. jalapeno peppers chopped fine (I usually leave most of the ribs and seeds)
1/2 c. vinegar
1/4 c. sugar (you may need more depending on how ripe your tomatoes are)
4 T. salt
4 t. oregano
4 t. cumin
1 large handful cilantro chopped (a couple T if using dried)
5-6 cloves garlic (sometimes I leave this out if I don't have fresh)
1/2 c. oil
12 oz. tomato paste
1 t. crushed red pepper
Tabasco (to fine tune the heat at the end if needed)

Blanch the tomatoes and slip the skins. Seed if desired. I run mine through the blender quickly because my family doesn't do chunks very well. Mix all together and simmer until desired consistency (1 1/2-2 hours). Fill jars and adjust lids. Process in water bath for 45 min or in a pressure cooker on 15 lbs for 10 minutes.

8-29-09 Update:
5 blenders full of tomatoes
6 c. onion
4 cans green chiles
4 small jalepenos-leave 2/3 of ribs and seeds
2 med Anaheim peppers
2 lg green peppers
1/2 c vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
4 T. salt
4 t. oregano
5 t. cumin
4 heaping t. garlic powder
12 oz tomato paste
Has a really good flavor, is more hot than the recipe above. Randy liked it better...

10-2-10 Update
5 1/2  blenders full of tomatoes (1/2 bushel)
6 1/2 c. onion
4 cans green chiles
8 small jalepenos-leave ribs and seeds
2 med Anaheim peppers
4 Serano Peppers w/ribs and seeds
2 lg green peppers
1/2 c vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. lime juice
4 T. salt
4 t. oregano
5 t. cumin
1 bunch cilantro chopped
 2 t. red pepper flakes
4 heaping t. garlic powder
12 oz tomato paste

Yum. :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole

This is a recipe that we've used many times, both for our family and to take in for dinners for others. It is also one that lends itself to freezing very well and is good to stash in the freezer for those nights that you are in a hurry.

Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole
6 servings

2 cups cut up cooked chicken breast
2 1/2 cups boiling water
1/3 cup 1 % milk
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cupish)
1 can fat free cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg original flavor long grain and wild rice mix (Rice a Roni or Uncle Ben's)

Heat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients, including seasoning packet from rice mix in ungreased 2 quart casserole.

Cover and bake 45-50 minutes or until rice is tender. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with green onion.

*If you choose to do this as a freezer meal use dehydrated onion in place of the green onion and omit the boiling water. Mix everything else and put in a 1 quart freezer bag and freeze flat. When you are ready to use it thaw in the refrigerator overnight (or in the microwave). Then pour into the baking dish with the water. You will need to adjust the cooking time if it is not completely thawed.

NI per serving: Cal 155, Fat 5 g., Carb 14 g., Fiber 1 g., Protein 15 g.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Spicy Orange Beef with Vegetables

Once again I am in search of a healthy substitute for Chinese take out. I LOVE Chinese take out, I could eat it every single day and never get tired of it. It doesn't even have to be good necessarily, I still like it. I know, I am pathetic. :D

I've done this recipe several times. It's a modified WW recipe so it was pretty healthy to begin with if a little bland. So with a few additions and tweaks it has turned out to be a pretty good substitute on a Chinese food craving night. We like this over rice. Count the rice NI separately.

A couple of tips to make it taste more authentic:
  1. partially freeze your steak so that you can slice it thin
  2. do all the prep work (chopping veggies and making your sauce) prior to cooking. If you can just quickly dump and cook you will avoid overcooking anything. Nothing says "homemade impostor" like overcooked vegetables.

Spicy Orange Beef with Vegetables
4 - 1.5 cup servings

3/4-1 lb top sirloin steak, sliced thin and trimmed of all visible fat
2 T. cornstarch
2 t. orange zest (if you don't have an orange just add extra orange juice concentrate)
1/2 C. beef broth
2 T. low sodium soy sauce
1/4 C. water
2 T. orange juice concentrate
1 T sugar
1 1/2 t. Srircha sauce (if you don't want to buy a whole bottle of this use a little minced garlic and don't leave out the crushed red pepper)
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
4 t. canola oil
1 T. minced fresh ginger (the stuff you can get in the produce section in the tube also works well)
Green Beans (a couple of big handfuls) sliced on the diagonal in 1" pieces
1/2 red bell pepper sliced into strips
1/2 yellow pepper sliced into strips
1/2 orange pepper sliced into strips
2 large carrots cut into matchsticks
1 4 oz. can water chestnuts rough chopped
1/2 small zuchinni chopped into strips

  1. Combine the meat, 1 T of the cornstarch and the orange zest in a bowl. Mix around so that all of the meat is lightly coated with the cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. Combine the remaining cornstarch, broth, water, orange juice concentrate, soy sauce, Sriricha sauce, sugar, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Mix well with a fork. Set aside.
  3. Chop all the vegetables and set aside.
  4. Heat a wok or a large skillet over medium high heat. Swirl in 2 t. of the oil, then add the meat. Stir fry until cooked through, 2-3 minutes; transfer to a plate. Swirl the remaining 2 t. oil, then add the ginger. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds (you will be able to smell when it's ready). Add the vegetables. Stir fry until crisp tender, 2-4 minutes. Add the broth mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens, about 1 minute. Add the beef back in and heat through, about 1 minute.

Nutritional Information: Cal 227; Fat 8 g; Fiber 4 g; Sodium 441 mg; Carb 16 g; Protein 22 g;

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

The last month has been crazy busy and we've been living on quick, easy dinners like cereal and take out. Yesterday Randy asked me to pick up some pork tenderloin and to grill it today after church. This is a recipe I found in a Taste of Home magazine years ago and have used over and over. It's super easy to do on the grill and tastes just as good if you bake it in the oven. I am a fan of fewer dishes so I usually grill it.

The seasoning is pretty tasty on chicken as well so I usually triple the recipe for the rub and put the extra in a shaker and use it on pork chops or chicken breasts. Also, leftover sliced tenderloin, simmered in barbecue sauce and seasoned to taste with reserved seasoning blend, makes great sandwiches. (Although there is rarely anything leftover!)

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pork tenderloins (3/4 to 1 pound each)

Combine the first seven ingredients; sprinkle 4 to 5 teaspoons on all sides of pork (reserve remaining seasoning blend for future use). Prepare grill for indirect heat. Grill pork, covered, over indirect heat for 20-30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160°. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Serves 6-8

Cal 52; Fat 1 g; Cholesterol 24 mg; Sodium 329 mg; Carbohydrate 1 g; Fiber 0 g; Protein 9 g

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lime-Pineapple Chicken Sandwiches

I had some leftover chicken from Sunday's chicken pounding fest...I got a little carried away but I have no more stress! I actually saw a similar chicken sandwich in a magazine so when I had the chicken all ready to go I thought what the heck.

The Lime Pepper seasoning is the kind in the GIANT container from Sam's. We like it better than lemon pepper and I think for this sandwich the lime works better with the pineapple. If anyone would like to share my vat of seasoning just let me know. Show up with your bottle. If you don't have the lime seasoning use salt and pepper and really hit it with the lime juice.

Lime-Pineapple Chicken Sandwiches

4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded to ~1/4 inch thick
Lime Pepper seasoning
1/4 c. lime juice
4-6 slices of pineapple (I used 1 1/2 slices per sandwich)
spinach leaves
4 Kaiser rolls or whole wheat buns toasted
Mayo of your choice
  1. Pound out your chicken to about 1/4 inch thick cutlets; this makes them grill so quick and even you will do it every time
  2. Sprinkle seasoning on chicken; both sides and let it come up to room temperature; it will have a little time for the seasoning to penetrate and you always want to grill your meat at room temp so it cooks evenly. Preheat grill to med high/350-400ish
  3. Spray chicken lightly with PAM; cook 3-4 min per side or until juices run clear; baste with lime juice as the chicken cooks. Don't skimp it is yummy!
  4. Grill pineapple slices for 2-3 min per side; you don't want it to burn, just long enough to start the sugars carmelizing and to get those cool grill marks on it
  5. Let cooked chicken rest while you get the buns ready
  6. Assemble and enjoy!

Steak Marinade

Just because I love Flashlight Girl soooo much. Seriously. :) This is the marinade my friends request when we do dinner. They just show up with their meat. Funny people.

Plan to make this the day before you actually want to eat. I know, it seems like a long time to let a good piece of meat sit around in your fridge but it really is worth it. You can do it for less time but the flavor isn't as intense and the meat isn't as fall apart tender. That said, don't let it go longer than 24 hours or the meat will literally fall apart and you will be so sad.

The meat tenderizer you use tends to change the taste of the marinade, I prefer McCormick but Lowry's will is just a little sweeter. Stay away from anything no name or dollar store variety. For some reason they aren't as good.

Steak Marinade

Yield: 2-3 10 ozish steaks. I usually double the recipe.

2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T. soy sauce
4 t. chili powder
4 t. minced garlic (you can use garlic powder if you prefer)
1 1/2 t. meat tenderizer
2 t. paprika
2 t. ground pepper
1 t. cayenne pepper
1 t. onion powder (don't use onion salt)
1/2 t. ground oregano
2 cups water
  1. Combine all marinade ingredients in gallon sized freezer bag
  2. Pound out your meat to ~3/4 in thick
  3. Submerse your meat in the marinade and place bag in a glass baking dish in case it leaks; refrigerate for ~24 hours
  4. Cook on grill over medium/high heat 3-5 minutes per side or until done like you like. (3-5 min per side is about medium)

I like to saute some mushrooms in butter and serve over the top. If you pass on the mushrooms and are counting WW points I usually just add 1 pt to the meat pts for the marinade.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Chili-Lime Shrimp

Whoa 2 posts in one day? Scaaary.

This was dinner tonight with rice and green beans. It was so good that I didn't want to risk forgetting to post it. I picked up a new Cooking Light cookbook last week and this was the first recipe we tried from it. Yum. Definitely a do again!

Chili-Lime Shrimp

3/4 c. chopped green onion divided
1 1/2 lbs peeled, deveined shrimp
1 t. chili powder
2 T. lime juice
2 T. butter
1/2 t. salt

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat . Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1/2 cup onions; coat onions with cooking spray. Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp and chili powder; cook 4 minutes or until desired degree of doneness, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add lime juice, butter, and salt, and stir until butter melts. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup onions.

4 servings 1 cup each

Cal 186; Fat 7 g; Carb 2g; Protein 27.5 g; Fiber 0.5 g

Boiler Chicken

This is a recipe that I got from my friend Shannon. She has a great website that has lots of yummy recipes and good tips. Check it out.

I pretty much followed the original recipe with the exception of using baby spinach in the filling instead of spring greens. My family didn't really like the greens but liked the spinach. This looks really pretty fanned out on your plate and is special enough for company.

Boiler Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
8 wedges Laughing Cow Light Garlic and Herb cheese
2 cups tomato sauce, seasoned (or doctored up pasta sauce)
1/2 bag spinach, chopped
1 Tbs Mrs Dash Garlic Herb Seasoning
Black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Place tomato sauce in small saucepan over low heat. Add Mrs Dash and black pepper to taste, stir well and let heat.
  3. Pound chicken breasts thin (~1/4") and sprinkle with Mrs Dash and pepper. Schmear each breast with two wedges of LC cheese. The cheese will spread better at room temp or you can microwave it for a few seconds to soften it up.
  4. Top with chopped spinach. Roll up breast like a jelly roll. Sprinkle with Mrs Dash and black pepper.
  5. Heat non stick frying pan over medium high heat. Pan sear rolls for a few minutes on each side.
  6. Spread thin layer of sauce in bottom of casserole dish. Add rolls and drizzle top with sauce. Cover with foil and bake for ~30 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and let sit 5 or so minutes.

Servings: 4
Serving size: 1/4 of a recipe.
Calories 242; Total Fat 5.64g; Total Carbohydrates 11.38g; Protein 34.76g

Tips: This is great served with a side of pasta topped with the remaining sauce from the casserole dish.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fiesta Lime Chicken

I think that spring may finally be here and with it a desire to get outside and fire up the grill! I love my grill...I know that I bought it for "Father's Day" for Randy but let's be really honest. It was for me and I use it a ton once it warms up. Anything that can cut down on the amount of dirty dishes after a meal is A-OK with me! honor of the start of grilling season I broke out the marinade in yummy, zesty, citrusy flavor and came up with a Fiesta Lime Chicken that is similar to Applebee's. I've used lots of lime and instead of tequila, orange juice so the fruity flavor is stronger than the entree at Applebee's. The cream dressing is a bit different as well. I think it would be great with a bit of cilantro added but since I'm the only one that likes cilantro, well you know, it's without.

And, the dressing will work with reduced fat ingredients if you choose. Real cheese will of course melt better however. :)

Fiesta Lime Chicken

1 cup water
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup lime juice
3 cloves garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbs orange juice
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbs salsa
1 Tbs milk
1 tsp Cajun spice
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp dried dill weed
1/4 tsp cumin
1 cup Colby Jack cheese, shredded
Corn chips

1. Whisk together the first 8 ingredients; place chicken in freezer bag; pour marinade over top and let sit for at least 2 hours
2. Dressing: Whisk together the next 9 ingredients, cover and chill until needed
3. Grill the marinated chicken for 3-5 minutes per side or until juices run clear and chicken is cooked through. DISCARD MARINADE.
4. Brush grilled chicken with dressing, sprinkle generously with cheese and broil until cheese is melted.
5. Can serve over corn chips or sprinkle corn chip crumbs on top.
6. NI is figured without the chips
Servings: 4

Calories 438.44; Total Fat 13.08g; Fiber 0.51g

Thursday, April 9, 2009

BBQ Meatballs

I love the Pioneer Woman's website and visit every couple of days. I think it's great that she is proud of who she is and not ashamed to post hearty, everyday kind of dinners. This is an adaptation of her BBQ Meatball recipe. Thanks PW! Randy went on a business trip the day after I fixed these and I ate meatballs all week. They were still good at the end of the week! :)

BBQ Meatballs

1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 lb lean ground turkey
3/4 c rolled oats
1 c. 1% milk
9 T minced onion, divided (half in the meat, half in the sauce)
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1 1/2 c. ketchup
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. vinegar
1 t. liquid smoke

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all meatball ingredients in med bowl. Roll into med-small balls and place on cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in freezer for 5-10 min. (approx 42 meatballs)Remove from freezer and immediately dredge in unseasoned flour.

Brown meatballs quickly in a drizzle of olive oil, place in baking dish. Combine all sauce ingredients and pour evenly over the top of the meatballs. Bake for 45 min.

Cal 334; Fat 8 g; Fiber 1 g

Chicken with Creamy Gravy

We had this chicken for the second time in a week tonight. I love that the gravy has that little lemon's different and springlike. And, am I ever ready for spring??

Chicken in Creamy Gravy

1 lb BSCB
1 T. Canola oil
1 can FF cream of chicken w/broccoli soup
1/4 c. FF milk
2 t. lemon juice
1/8 t. pepper
4 lemon slices

In large nonstick skillet, cook chicken in oil until browned on both sides, approx 10 min; drain. In large bowl combine soup, milk, juice and pepper. Pour over chicken. Top each chicken breast with a lemon slice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until chicken is done, about 5 minutes.

*I used cream of chicken because I didn't have the broccoli soup and served it with rice and green beans. If you wanted a stronger lemon flavor I would use lemon pepper on the chicken as you browned it.

4 servings

NI: 232 cal; 7 g fat; 5 g fiber...less fiber if you use plain cream of chicken.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cookies and Cream Banana Bread

I know that I have posted another banana bread recipe but this is quite simply the best ever. I've made it twice in a week! Oh yeah baby!

Cookies and Cream Banana Bread

1 1/2 sticks margarine
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
4 medium bananas smashed well
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
15 Oreo cookies, broken into pieces (Brianne liked Double Stuff better than regular because it made it gooier)

1 C. powdered sugar
2-3 T. milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time mixing well. Add vanilla and bananas and combine
2. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined
3. Gently fold in Oreos
4. Pour batter into 2 loaf pans sprayed with PAM
5. Bake 28-35 mins or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
6. Turn out onto wire rack, cool
7. Whisk powdered sugar and milk together until drizzling (yes that is a word, I'm sure of it) consistency
8. Drizzle glaze over loaves

16 slices per loaf
Cal 131; Fat 6 g; Fiber .6g per serving

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cheese Vegetable Chowder

Have you ever eaten at the Lion House?? It is so good, I love to go there and eat myself silly. One of my favorite things there is the Cheese Vegetable Chowder. However, in true fat chick fashion I always am going through it in my head making changes and wondering what would happen if I added this or that or what if I did this's a sickness I am sure.

This soup recipe is adapted from the Lion House Cheese Chowder recipe but I have added way more vegetables, more cheese, changed out part of the milk for half and get the idea! :) The beauty of this one is you truly can make it your own and it's impossible to mess up. If you are a food storage user upper this is fine with powdered milk, bouillion cubes, cheese powder and dehydrated or canned veggies etc.

Cheese Vegetable Chowder

approx 10 servings

1 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 Tbls cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups half and half
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups carrots
1 1/2 cups celery
2 cups potatoes, chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese

Cook vegetables in chicken broth for approx 20 min or until cooked through.

Saute onion in melted butter until transparent but not brown, add flour and cornstarch, parprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook for 5-10 min to cook out flour taste. Add to vegetables and broth. Add half and half and milk. Cook stirring constantly until thickened. Add cheese and stir until melted. I usually dump everything into the crock pot at this point on low. Add parsley just before serving so it is pretty and green. Garnish with bacon bits if you like. (Bacon isn't included in the nutrional info)

Calories 307; Total Fat 20g; Total Carbs 17.6g; Fiber 1.9g; Protein 12.5g

Monday, March 9, 2009

Biggest Loser Chicken Strips

One of my favorite TV shows is Biggest Loser. As I sit there on the couch eating my ice cream it's hard to not get just a little bit motivated to try harder in my own weight loss. Well, OK. If I were TRULY motivated I would probably choose a different, more healthy snack to eat while watching but it is all about baby steps after all, right?

Last week they had guest chef Rocco De Spirito on the show and he showed the contestants how to make chicken fingers more healthy. This is my take on his recipe. It is basically the same but I have swapped out the whole wheat bread crumbs for Panko because I can't find whole wheat organic in my local grocery store and I like the crunch of the Panko. I also increased the cayenne pepper a bit and reduced the buttermilk. Cause really, a whole quart seems like a huge waste to me.

When you get to the baking step it works best to cook the strips in 2 batches so that they are not squished together on the baking rack. If you have a baking sheet large enough to put 2 racks on that would be ideal. The chicken needs the air circulation to crisp up correctly. So, don't be in a rush and try to do it all at once....I wouldn't know anything about that.

Biggest Loser "Fried" Chicken
Serves 8
2 pounds chicken tenders
1 pint lowfat buttermilk
2 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons paprika
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon organic seasoning Salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
4 egg whites, beaten to very soft peaks
Pam cooking spray or olive oil

1. Soak chicken tenders in refrigerator, in buttermilk, for 6 hours or overnight.
2. Drain and blot with paper towels to remove excess buttermilk.
3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Lay bread crumbs out on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes. Cool. (You don't absolutely have to do this but it gives the crumbs that nice caramel color tricking your senses into thinking they have been fried. If pale, Caucasian, chicken strips don't bother you by all means skip this step)
5. Increase oven heat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Combine cornstarch, paprika, seasoning salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a large Pyrex dish - mix well.
7. Dredge drained and blotted chicken tenders in seasoned starch.
8. Next, coat dredged tenders thoroughly with beaten egg whites.
9. Last, dip tenders in toasted Panko to fully coat.
10. Place chicken tenders on a foil-lined baking sheet, fitted with a baking rack. Lightly spray chicken on both sides with Pam and season lightly with salt, if desired.
11. Bake for about 12 - 15 minutes or until outside is crispy and chicken is just cooked through and juicy.

For Eight Servings
Nutrient Analysis – per serving
Calories: 270; Total Fat: 4g; Total Carb: 27g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 28g

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

This is actually a bit cheesier than Olive Garden. I think they use only Romano cheese in their dressing but I like the Romano, Parmesan, Asiago blend better. Maybe it's because I increased the amount of cheese from the original recipe? Whatever, it's very tasty.

Olive Garden Italian Salad Dressing

½ c white vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/3 c veg oil
¼ c corn syrup
4 T. grated Romano cheese (I like the 3 cheese blend better)
2 T dry pectin
2 T. beaten egg or egg substitute (egg substitute gives this a better texture and is more stable)
1 ¼ t. salt
1 t. lemon juice
½ t. minced garlic
¼ t. dried parsley flakes
Pinch of dried oregano
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Combine all of the ingredients with a mixer on medium speed or in a blender on low speed for 30 seconds. Chill at least 1 hour; serve over mixed green or use as a marinade

Enrichment Night...really enriching??

It was Enrichment Night tonight. I am on the committee and had the assignment of food. Because I am a dingbat and can rarely find the phone I missed the meeting that assignments were given out...if you don't want to be in charge of food you should really show up. They decided on soups and left the rest to me. Ok...I can do this. How hard can soups be?

I assigned out the breadsticks because I am yeast challenged. So far so good. I asked 2 others to help with the soup and 1 other person to help with dessert. I'm thinking to myself that this is going to be an easy, breezey no worries kind of assignment! Yay!

Unfortunately 2 full hours of my carefully scheduled day were taken over by a doctor's appointment. Ok, not to worry, I can still do this! And then, because I am apparently recipe comprehension challenged I had to make a flying journey to Walmart for critical forgotten elements. Panic is starting to set in. Can I still pull this off?? Who knows? I am tripling recipes and cooling cake and dirtying every pot in the house.

Thanks to the people that I gave earlier assignments to I managed to finish in the nick of time. So I was dressed a little casual? Who really wants to fire me?

My portion of the dinner was a couple of big pots of Pasta e Fagioli, salad and a pan of Raspberry Supreme. The soup was yum, I am eating it again today. The salad dressing was as good as Olive Garden I think. And Raspberry Supreme is never bad, ever.

So, here is the recipe for the soup. It was really good, I will be doing it again. Sorry, Brianne. :)

And yes, I guess that Enrichment Night is really enriching even with the panic previous to it starting!

Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
1 large carrot, julienned (1 cup)
3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can red kidney beans (with liquid)
1 15 oz can great northern beans (with liquid)
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 12 oz can V-8 juice
1 T white vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 t oregano
1 t basil
½ t pepper
½ t thyme
½ lb (1/2 pkg) ditali pasta

1. Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Drain off most of the fat.
2. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes
3. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour
4. About 50 minutes into the simmering, cook the pasta in 1 ½ to 2 quarts of boiling water over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or just until pasta is al dente, or slightly tough. Drain
5. Add the pasta to the large pot of soup. Simmer for 5-10 minutes more and serve.
Serves 8 (big servings)

Calories 610; Total Fat 5.4g; Total Carbohydrates 96.0g; Dietary Fiber 22.1g; Protein 46.2g

Monday, March 2, 2009

Comfort Eating and Strawberry Banana Bread

Last week was an exercise in comfort eating for me. Yes, I gained 3 lbs. No, it doesn't feel particulary better today with the cold, harsh light shining down on the bathroom scale, but at the time it filled a need.

One of the things that I indulged way too much in was Strawberry Banana Bread. I have a weakness for banana bread that does me in every single time I make it. No matter how much I give away I still manage to eat more than my share of warm bananay goodness! What can I say? I am weak.

This is totally yum with the strawberries. It's also good with blueberries or even just the banana bread by itself. Oh, and you really do have to cool it completely before you dump it out of the pan. It will totally disintegrate if you get too anxious!

Strawberry Banana Bread
Makes 2 loaves. 12 slices each

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups ripe bananas (about 6 medium-size) , mashed
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups flour
1-1/2 pounds frozen strawberries (I like to chop them into chunks rather than slices), thawed

Grease two 9- by 5-inch loaf pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Incorporate the bananas and scrape the sides of the bowl with the spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each one. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix tgether the salt, baking soda, and flour. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until fully incorporated.

Add the strawberries. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack before inverting onto a plate.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories 218; Fat 8.6 g; Cholesterol 51mg; Sodium 267mg; Total Carbohydrates 33.3g;
Dietary Fiber 1.2g; Protein 2.8g

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

The soup can be dressed either up or down depending on who you are serving. It's a regular in our dinner rotation. Definitely hearty enough to stand on it's own it's also a good starter for a steak and baked potato. (If your children don't like nuts serve them as a garnish. This is also good with bacon added...add the points of course)

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Servings: 8/1 cup
Points: 5

1/2 cup butter 1 finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 pound fresh sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken broth (fat free)
2 cups cooked wild rice (you can use a wild rice mix if you can't find plain wild rice)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup slivered almonds
2 cups half-and-half (fat free)

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, celery and carrots and saute for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 more minutes. Then add the flour and stir well. Gradually pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly, until all has been added. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer.

Next, add the rice, chicken, salt, curry powder, mustard powder, parsley, ground black pepper, almonds and sherry. Allow to heat through, then pour in the half-and-half. Let simmer for 1 to 2 hours. (Note: Do not boil or your roux will break)

Spinach Artichoke Dip

This dip is quite possibly the best Spinach Artichoke Dip in the world! OK, maybe not the world but it's pretty darned good. I don't have the NI on it nor do I want it...I'm sure it would make me feel guilty and I would end up avoiding the cheesy goodness. Not going to happen!

Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 box frozen spinach thawed and drained
1 14 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts chopped (you can use plain but it's not as good)
1 cup shredded Parmesan/Romano blend
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
10 oz prepared Alfredo Sauce (I like the 4 cheese blend)
1 t. minced garlic
4 oz softened cream cheese

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Spread mixture into a small greased baking dish. 8x8 works well. Bake 30 min or until cheese is bubbly and melted.

*I like to crush up garlic croutons and sprinkle on the top with a little more Parmesan cheese. This will give the dip a little extra crunch. Totally up to you.

Serve with tortilla chips or pita wedges.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Crunch

This was not so light but pretty yummy! Obviously you could use leftover homemade cookies if that is what you have on hand. It would be even better!

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Crunch

POINTS® Value: 3
Servings: 6

16 oz strawberries
6 item(s) Keebler Chips Deluxe, Chocolate Lovers
2 tsp orange zest
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Wash strawberries and orange. Grate zest and set aside. Cut strawberries into quarters add to orange zest.Sprinkle sugar on top. Mix well. Put berries in baking dish. Crunch up cookies and sprinkle on top. Drizzle butter over the top and bake for 7-8 minutes. Can top with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or vanilla yogurt. Count topping points separately.

Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken

Since I am always trying to "diet" many of the dishes I fix are either lighter to begin with or I lighten them in an effort to not "poison" my family as I work to be more healthy.

This is my new favorite Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe for home. It's not Chinese take out but it helps curb the craving!

Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken

POINTS® Value: 6

Serve with rice; count NI for rice separately.

1 pound(s) uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/8 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup(s) pineapple juice
2 cup(s) canned pineapple, packed in juice
1 medium green pepper(s)
1/2 cup(s) Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp unpacked brown sugar
2 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Preheat over to 350. Sprinkle chicken lightly with salt and pepper. In a large skillet heal 1 T oil over med high heat. Add chicken and cook about 2 min on each side or until brown. Transfer chicken to a 2 quart baking dish. Drain pineapple well reserving 1/3 c juice. Spoon pineapple chunks evenly over chicken in dish; set aside. For sauce in a med saucepan whish together the reserved juice, cranberry sauce, cornstartch, brown sugar, vinegar, orange juice concentrate, water, soy sauce and ginger. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Pour over chicken and pineapple in dish. Bake, covered, for 25 min. Uncover and add pepper strips, stirring gently to coat with sauce. Bake, uncovered, about 5 min more or until chicken is no longer pink.Per serving. 368 cal, 6 g fat, 82 mg chol., 589 mg. sodium, 41 g carb, 2 g fiber, 35 g pro.

Obviously I stink at this blogging thing...

Well hey, once a year isn't bad right??

Since I truly lead the most boring life on the block I've decided to share a few of my favorite recipes. I love to cook for my friends and family so I have accumulated many recipes over the years.

My sister is actually encouraging me to do this because I am terrible at remembering to send her the ones that I rave about.

Hopefully it will be more than once a year.