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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall Soups

Just in case you are wondering what we've been eating a lot lately......soup. I love delicious soup and savory bread in the rainy season. I posted some last year hereon our family blog if you want to take a look. Split pea, Chicken Tortilla, and Fiesta Chicken Corn Chowder......MMM

Friday, October 8, 2010

Amazing Pumpkin Bars...

My mom sent me this recipe a long time ago and it is FANTASTIC. She found it on  It is a weight watcher friendly recipe, BEFORE I add the cream cheese frosting. The are good plain, but oh man! They are amazing with the frosting. Let me know if you try them! Enjoy.

Pumpkin Bars
1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix

2 egg whites
1 15 oz can of pumpkin
< 1 tbsp quick oats (optional – used for decoration)
Non-stick cooking spray

-Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
-Whisk the egg whites and pumpkin. Stir in the cake mix and blend until just moistened.
-Spray 4 mini-loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. Evenly distribute the cake batter into the pans, just about half way.
-Sprinkle the tops with quick oats and bake for about 40 minutes.

As for the serving and nutritional information, according to the cake mix package there are 12 servings. That would be 3 servings per loaf. In my opinion, you can count 2 slices per serving and easily serve 4 people per loaf (8 slices). So I’m providing nutritional information for 16 servings. That’s 4 servings per loaf. (I hope that makes sense, I almost confused myself!)

Approx Nutritional Information Per Serving (Before the frosting)
Servings  Calories  Fat  Fiber
16             150       2g    1g

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chicken Salad

I have a true love-hate relationship with chicken salad. I hate the usual calories that lurk behind the false identity of the word salad. On the other hand, I sometimes want to lick my plate if a little drops out of a sandwich or a wrap.  Today I was having a gal from the college group over for lunch and I decided to try and make some. It never quite tastes like the restaurant, but I was very pleased with how this turned out. I will definitely make this again.

4 cups cubed chicken breast (2 large boneless/skinless)
1 1/4 dried cranberries
1 cup reduced fat olive oil- mayo
1 cup diced celery
2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp. seasoning salt
1 tsp. curry powder
sprinkle of granulated garlic

Mix it all together. Chill if possible.

1/4 cup is 112 calories (Perfect amount for a 100 caloried sandwich thin.)
Yum! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Well I have not had a lot of time to be super creative lately. We have been eating the typical BBQ, casseroles etc. around the Fridley house. I have tried new recipes here and there but have not had time to take pictures and post. Well, I thought I would at least post this one.... The salsa does give it a different taste. If you want traditional, replace it with more spaghetti sauce!

Pesto Pinwheels

1 cup ricotta cheese
1 can (about 4 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1/2 cup refrigerated pesto sauce
8 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
2 cups Spaghetti Sauce
3/4 cup Picante Sauce
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

Stir the ricotta, mushrooms and pesto in a medium bowl. Top each noodle with 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture. Spread to the edges. Roll up like a jelly roll. Place the rolls seam-side down in a 2-quart shallow baking dish.

Stir the Spaghetti sauce and picante sauce in a small bowl and pour the mixture over the roll-ups.

Bake at 400°F. for 30 minutes or until they're hot and bubbling. Top with the mozzarella cheese. Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things....for summer!

I have not had a lot of time to update recipes partially due to the fact that I haven't made as many recipes lately. Like many of you, we like to grill and eat light dinners in the summer months. I thought I would share a few of my favorite treats for summertime.
This dressing is amazing. It is only 40 cals for a serving and is great with grilled chicken and a salad. It is my favorite new find so far this summer.

We buy this Mango Salsa at Costco and it is divine! With only 20 calories per serving, it is a great light snack. I have used it on salads in place of dressing and my sister in law loves to use it as a dip with her celery!

#3. Ok, pretty much any salad is made great with a few sprinkles of feta. I didn't used to be a fan. A friend once made us a salad using this, red peppers, and raspberry vinaigrette. I have been hooked ever since. Other ways are to pair it with raspberries or strawberries and a vinaigrette. My favorite salad recipe thus far...
Pear & Feta Salad
Any kind of lettuce (I like romaine)
Peeled and sliced fresh pears (I did use 3 pears)
Feta Cheese sprinkled in
Dried Cherries (or Cranberries) sprinkled in
Pecan Pieces (honey roasted) made for salads sprinkled
and the main ingredient...
Champagne Pear Vinaigrette that I get at Trader Joe's

#4. Orowheat sandwich thins. 100 calories make these a convenient option for turkey burger buns, sandwiches, etc. You can get them at Costco also for pretty cheap and stick them in the freezer!

#5. And for the kiddos....popsicle molds!  My sister in law gave me a recipe for these that works great!
1 small box of Jello
1 package of Koolaid
1/2 cup of sugar
2 cups of boiling water
2 cups of cold water

Mix dry ingredients in large pitcher. Add boiling water. Stir.
Add cold water. Stir. Pour into molds and freeze 4 hours.

I also like to crush fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries) and pour it in. It makes a great fruit bar with no added sugar. Also, for the calorie conscious, we have made them by just filling them with crystal light lemonade or punch!  Fun!

Happy Summer!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mexi Manicotti

MMM!  Can you tell I love Mexican flavors?  This is another keeper. Pretty inexpensive too, since there is no meat involved! I will absolutely make this again!

3 oz shredded colby jack cheese

1 (16 ounce) can vegetarian refried beans
12 uncooked manicotti
1 cup water
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
8 ounces tomato sauce
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 cup green onion, sliced (1-2)
1/4 sliced pitted olive (small can)
1 Tbs salsa verde
granulated garlic to taste

In a bowl, combine 1/2  of the cheese, salsa verde, garlic and refried beans.

Stuff uncooked pasta tubes with cheese mixture, pressing firmly into shells.
(I like to use a pastry bag, or gallon ziploc to do this. Way easy, just snip of the tip of the bag!)

Meanwhile, combine water, enchilada sauce and tomato sauce and bring to a simmer on the stove.
(This can also be done in the microwave on HIGH until mixture is steaming hot (about 5-6 minutes).
Pour about 1/2 the sauce into a 9x13 pan.
Place uncooked stuffed tubes in pan, turning each to coat with sauce.
Top with remaining sauce.
Cover and bake at 375ºF for 20 minutes.
Then turn shells over.
Continue baking, covered, for 20 minutes.
Uncover, top with remaining cheese.
Bake 4-5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Sprinkle with onions and olives.

Hope you like it! 5 pts for 2 pieces.....143 calories per manicotti

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Moo Shu Chicken

This was a last minute attempt in the kitchen the other night. I had mostly everything in the fridge to put this together. So delicious. We used the heat and serve tortillas from Costco. We left them a little undercooked and they tasted almost exactly like my favorite restaurant style Moo Shu.

1 tsp. Canola oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1/2 -1 small onion sliced
1 Tbs. grated peeled fresh ginger
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 small head purple cabbage (1 cup)
1/4 small head green cabbage (1 cup)
1 carrot, cut into matchstick- thin strips
3 Tbs hoisin sauce
Flour Tortillas

Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles.
Pour in the oil and swirl to coat the pan, then add the chicken, onion, ginger and garlic.
Stir-fry until the chicken is browned and cooked through (about 4-5 minutes)
Add the carrots and cabbage until crisp-tender (about 5 minutes)
Add the hoisin sauce and cook, stirring constantly, until heated through. (about 1 minute)
Remove the skillet/wok from heat.
Spoon into tortillas and serve.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Rich, delicious, savory, bold, aromatic, steaming, smooth, calming, invigorating, coffee.

This is my favorite way to brew up a cup these days....
The Bean:  Komodo Dragon Blend from Starbucks
Tasting Notes: Herbal, Cedary Spice
Flavor Intensity: Bold

6 scoops of beans
Grind to perfection for my french press

Brew for 4 minutes.

Pour and enjoy with a bit of vanilla cream.

MMMM. good morning. Monday.

So, how do you brew your favorite cup? Inquiring minds want to know. Pot or Press? Bean or ground?  Cream or Black?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Butter Cream Dream

This frosting is perfect. My friend, Trisha Faber passed this along to me. It is scrumptious and tastes much like the frosting you would find at a bakery.

1 stick of salted butter
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup of shortening
2 lb. bag of powdered sugar
3 tsp. vanilla extract
5-6 Tablespoons of milk

Cream together butters and shortening. Add vanilla, then powdered sugar. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Curry & Artichoke Rice Salad

There are many recipes online that inspired this dish. I just took bits and pieces from several.

2 boxes Chicken Rice a Roni
2 jars marinated artichoke hearts, chopped (reserve juice from one)
2/3 cup light or fat free mayonnaise
2-3 tsp of curry powder

Prepare Rice as directed on the box.
Let it cool completely. (I didn't and it got a little mushy in my opinion)
Mix mayo, artichoke oil and curry together.
Add mayo mix and artichokes to rice and toss.
Let chill in the fridge for a bit before serving.

Next time I might add some chopped grilled chicken. SO yummy!

Quiche x 4

I made quiche for Bunco on Monday night. These are the four recipes, just the way I tweaked them...MMM

Spinach Quiche

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2  mushrooms, diced
1 (6 ounce) package feta, crumbled
1/2 shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
salt, granulated garlic and pepper to taste

Press crust into a pie plate and pinch the edges (Prick the sides and edges with a fork)
Spread 2/3 of the spinach into the pie plate
Sprinkle with granulated garlic and pepper
Spread about 4 ounces of feta on top
Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the feta
Beat together 4 eggs and milk until frothy.
( I used my magic bullet to blend and it makes it super easy)
Pour egg over the top of the filling
Bake at 375 for about 50 minutes or until the knife inserted comes out clean
Let it set about 5-10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Apple Sausage Quiche

9 inches pastry shells, unbaked
1 cup apple, peeled, chopped (I used a Granny Smith)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 dash salt and pepper
1/2 lb turkey sausage
4 large eggs, beaten
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Fit pastry into 9 inch quiche dish/pie pan. Prick the sides and bottom with a fork
Combine apple, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl.
Microwave the apple mixture for about one minute to soften.
Brown Sausage in a large skillet until it crumbles
Spread sausage into crust
Top with apple mixture
Top apples with the cheese
Whisk together eggs and sour cream (salt and pepper to taste) until frothy
(Again, I use the magic bullet or blender for this part)
Pour egg mixture over the top of the fillings
Bake uncovered at 375 for 40-50 minutes
(Knife test)
Let stand 10 minutes before serving

Asparagus and Ham Quiche

I love this one because you can substitute any meat and any veggie you have on hand and it tastes great!
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup cooked and cubed ham
1/2 cup frozen asparagus, cooked
3 eggs
1/2 cup baking mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dash garlic powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup olive oil

Fit pastry into 9 inch quiche dish/pie pan. Prick the sides and bottom with a fork
Spread cheese inside of the crust
Cover cheese with meat and vegetables
In a blender, combine eggs, baking mix, salt, garlic, and milk.
Blend until smooth and then add olive oil
Blend until combined
Pour mixture over the meat and veggie layer.
Bake at 375 for about 40-50 minutes
(Knife test)
Let stand 10 minutes before serving

Bacon and Cheese Quiche
3 oz Turkey Bacon, cooked and cooled*
5 oz Cheddar cheese
3 oz grated Parmesan cheese
1 9 inch frozen pie crust
4 eggs
1 cup whole milk
Cut 4-5 strips of bacon into small slices using scissors.
Saute' over medium-high heat until crispy
Fit pastry into 9 inch quiche dish/pie pan. Prick the sides and bottom with a fork
Sprinkle bacon and cheese into crust
Whisk eggs and milk until frothy (add salt and pepper to taste)
(Again, I use the magic bullet or blender for this part)
Pour over the meat and cheese mixture
Bake at 375 for about 40-50 minutes
(Knife test)
Let stand 10 minutes before serving

Friday, April 23, 2010

Lettuce Wraps

TO DIE FOR!!! These were so yummy. The recipe looked a little lengthy for a mommy of two with a small window of prep time. Let me tell you, this meal was worth every "chop."  These tasted so much like our favorite appetizer @ PF Changs. Even better, they are pretty light! This was a perfect Friday night treat!

1 can (8 ounces) bamboo shoots, drained and minced
1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and minced
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted freshly ground peanut butter or reduced-fat peanut butter
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce
2 packets (.035 ounce each) sugar substitute (such as Splenda)
1-2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup minced onion
1 lb ground chicken breast
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
8 small leaves butter lettuce
1 whole green onion, chopped

In a medium bowl, combine the bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, sherry, hoisin sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce, hot-pepper sauce, and sugar substitute.
Mix well and set aside. 
Mist a large, nonstick skillet with olive oil spray and set over medium heat.
Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
Add the onion.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender and just starting to brown.
Increase the heat to medium-high.
Add the chicken, ginger, and salt.
Cook, breaking the chicken into small chunks, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until no longer pink.
Add the reserved bamboo shoot mixture.
Cook for 2 minutes, or until hot.
Stir in the sesame oil.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Spoon the chicken mixture into the lettuce leaves.
Top with green onion.
Serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Southwestern Pile-up (Veggie Version)

This was dinner last night. Super tasty and low cal. These would be great with some grilled chicken if you wanted to add some more protein. The beans pack quite a bit too!

One pita
2 Tbs Garlic Hummus
1/4 Cup Black beans
1 oz avocado
1/4 cup fat free cheddar cheese
Diced Tomatoes
Hot sauce to taste

Total  for the Pita is only 285 Calories!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pizza Casserole

This has the taste of pizza and baked zitti. A huge hit at our house! 8 hearty servings @ 426 calories
1 lb whole wheat spiral pasta
1 lb honeysuckle turkey Italian sausage
1 onion (chopped and browned with sausage)
2 (26 ounce) cans spaghetti sauce (Hunt's Roasted Garlic & Onion)
3 ounces chopped cooked ham
6 ounces hormel turkey pepperoni
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
5 mushrooms, chopped
1 can sliced olives

Cook pasta until al dente'.

Cook sausage, garlic powder and oregano with onions until the juices run clear.
In a lightly greased 9x13x3 inch pan, pour a small amount of sauce to lightly coat bottom.
Layer ingredients in the order listed below.
1st layer-1/3 of the pasta, 1/3 remaining sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1 Tablespoon parmesan cheese, sausage and onions.
2nd layer-1/2 of the remaining pasta, 1/2 remaining sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1Tablespoon parmesan cheese, ham, mushrooms
3rd layer-all remaining pasta, all remaining sauce, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1 Tablespoons parmesan cheese,all the pepperoni(completely covering the entire top with pepperoni)
Sprinkle olives on top.
Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.
Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

His & Her Cobb Salad

Such an easy dinner, and yet so yummy. This combo really tasted like a fancy restaurant salad without the calories or cost.  My favorite new secret in the kitchen is Turkey Bacon. I take an entire package and a pair of scissors to the stove top. I slice the handful of strips into bite size pieces and let them drop into a hot pan. Saute them until they crisp up and you will have a hard time telling the difference between it and real bacon. It is so close in texture, color and taste when prepared this way!!! MMM!

This salad:

Full Plate of Greens
45 grams of grilled, sliced chicken (about 1/2 breast)
28 grams of blue cheese
28 grams of turkey bacon
56 grams of ham
1 egg
Tbs Honey Mustard dressing mixed with 2 Tbs fat free milk

Calorie Total:  401

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Baked Penne with Sausage

This is what we are having for dinner tonight. I made it now and Nolan will throw it in the oven around 5. I will let you know how we like it. Looks yummy=) Let me know if any of you try it/ like it!

...So, I was not in love with this dish, but I did love how easy it was.  I will modify and repost the same general idea of a recipe later.  The peas were so pretty  in this dish, but I really didn't like the sweet taste they gave it. Also, it could have used a little kick of something. Anyhow, if you try it, skip the peas...
1 (16 ounce) package Hillshire Farm®  Fat Free Smoked Sausage
1 (10.75 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
2 1/2 cups milk
8 ounces uncooked penne pasta ( I use whole wheat)
1 1/2 cups French-fried onions, divided
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup frozen peas
Granulated garlic
Freshly ground pepper

Slice Sausage into  1/4 inch pieces
Brown in a skillet for about 3 minutes
In a large mixing bowl, combine soup and milk.
Mix in browned sausage, peas, uncooked pasta, 1/2 onions, 1/2 cheese, garlic and pepper to taste.
Pour into a 13X9 baking dish
Cover tightly with foil
Bake @ 375 for 45 minutes.
Remove foil and top with remaining onions and cheese.
Bake 5 minutes longer to melt the cheese.
Let stand 5-7 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mexican Meat-zza

2 boxes corn muffin mix, (8.5 oz/ Jiffy)
2 eggs
4 Tbs melted butter
1 1/2 Cups milk
1 Cup frozen corn
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbs chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cayenne sauce
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 Cups cheese
1 vine ripe tomato seeded and chopped
1/2 green pepper chopped
1 small can sliced olives
Salsa and sour cream to garnish

Preheat oven to 400

Mix together muffin mix, eggs, butter, milk and corn
Pour the muffin mix into a greased oven skillet (10-12 inches) or baking dish
Bake corn mix 15 minutes until light golden in color

Brown meat.
Add onions and spices and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove cornbread from the oven and top with meat, veggies and cheese.
Bake again for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

***My cornbread was not done in the middle so I scooped out the middle about half way down. This actually worked out well to have less cornbread in the middle. (Don't remove entire middle. Just about half of the depth.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Great Grandma Butler's Split Pea Soup

We love this soup. Even the girls!
(This picture is before adding the ham hock.)

1lb dried split peas
5 Cups chicken broth
2 1/2 Cups water
1 medium onion stuffed with 12 cloves
2 celery ribs, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced ( I use 2-4 foot-long)
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 meaty ham hock
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt

Soak peas in chicken broth and water overnight.
Place peas and liquid, ham hock, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, bay leaves and salt in slow cooker.
Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours.
Remove onion with cloves and bay leaves, discard.
Remove ham hock and dice meat. (if you have it, I put in extra ham)
Put vegetables and peas through blender until smooth.
 Return soup and diced ham to slow cooker and heat to serving temperature.

*This is a great way to use the leftover ham bone after Christmas or Easter dinner. Just leave whatever meat on it and throw it in the freezer to use at a later time. Or, make up the soup the next day.

Davie Crockett's Ground Beef Wrap-ups

These were fun. They reminded me a little bit of a Russian piroshki. SO GOOD!

1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
2 teaspoons salt
2 (8 oz) packages of crescent roll tubes
2 (4 oz) cans whole green chilies
1 (8oz) pack shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 medium onion, chopped
Sour cream and olives to garnish

Pre-heat oven to 375. 
Brown beef with salt; drain. (If you have time, it is best to cool the meat before you make your roll-ups.)
Roll out the first package of crescent rolls.
Separate into four squares. ( Do not separate into triangles)
Lay one chile onto each square.
Top chile with ground beef.
Sprinkle the beef with cheddar cheese and onion.
Roll and press seams to close the dough.
Repeat with the second can of crescent rolls.

Bake for 13 minutes.
Serve with sour cream and olives. Salsa and guacamole would be great too!

Tex-Mex Pulled Pork

Karalee loved this as much as we did. Pretty lean too, if you make sure to use a trimmed roast.

1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 cup bottled barbecue sauce
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cans (4.5 oz each) diced green chilies
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

One 2 1/2 lb well-trimmed boneless pork loin roast
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Mix the sauce ingredients in a crock pot.
Add pork and cover with sauce.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours. (You can do high for 3 1/2 if you are in a hurry)

Shred pork using two forks to pull it apart.
Add cilantro and mix.
Roll into warmed burrito-sized flour tortillas.

Cheesy Beef Spirals

Like spaghetti pie meats lasagna... Nolan really enjoyed the sour cream twist.

4 cups uncooked spiral pasta
2 pounds ground beef
2 small onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce ( I like the $.86 Hunt's Brand)
3/4 cup sour cream
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
granulated garlic to taste
Italian seasonings to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.
As pasta cooks, brown the beef, onions, garlic and black pepper; drain
Stir in spaghetti sauce
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat and let simmer 10-15 minutes

Place 1/2 cup of meat sauce in a 9 x13 baking dish
Drain pasta and place 1/2 over sauce
Top with half of the remaining sauce
Spread sour cream over the top
Sprinkle with granulated garlic and Italian Seasonings
Sprinkle 1/2 of the cheese
Spread the remaining pasta
Top with remaining sauce
Then finish it off with the rest of the cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oven Meatball Stew

1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 Tbs finely chopped onion
2 Tbs finely chopped green pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
dash of granulated garlic
1 pound lean ground beef
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cans (11.5 oz) tomato juice
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp seasoning salt
2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
12 fresh pearl onions, peeled
2-3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
6 medium carrots, cut into 3 inch pieces

In a mixing bowl, combine the first set of ingredients.
Crumble the beef over the mixture and mix well. 
Shape into about 12 meatballs.
Brown the meatballs in the oil.
Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Whisk the flour into the oil until smooth. (Add 3Tbs of water if the meat doesn't leave enough drippings)
Gradually whisk in tomato juice, garlic, pepper, salt and grated garlic; bring to a boil
Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until it thickens
Add the vegetables and stir.
Place this in a crock pot or dutch oven.
Place the meatballs on top and cook.
If using a crock pot, let it cook for 4 hours. Stir ocasionally
If using a dutch oven, cover and bake @ 350 for about 1 hour.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ground Beef Wellington

Nolan gave this 5 stars! He asked if we could have it on the menu every month. Very easy and pretty too!
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
1 Tbs light margarine
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
1/2 cup fat free half & half
1 egg yolk
3 Tbs finely chopped onion
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb ground beef
1 tube reduced fat pilsburry crescent rolls

Use a saucepan to saute mushrooms in the margarine.
Stir in the flour and 1/8 tsp of the pepper.
Slowly add the cream as you stir and bring it to a boil
Cook and stir for about 2 minutes (until it is thick)
Remove from heat and set aside
Meat Filling
In a bowl, combine egg yolk, onion, 2 Tbs of the mushroom sauce, salt and remaining pepper.
Crumble the beef over the mixture and mix with your hands.
Shape into two loaves.
Unroll the crescent dough onto a cookie sheet and separate into two equal rectangles
Gently Press down the perforations to seal
Place meat loaf onto each rectangle

Bring the corners to the middle
Pinch the seams of the dough to seal.

Bake @ 350 for 24 minutes.
(You may want to cover at the end to prevent over-browning. I didn't need to but it is an option.)
Ok. A friend tried this and said her breading burned so she was forced to take it out early. Consequently, the meat was not thoroughly cooked in the middle. Cover them with foil so that you can cook for the full time. Then remove foil to brown after the 24 minutes. Sorry friend!!!
Meanwhile, warm the remaining sauce. Add a splash of milk if needed.

I skinned and chopped two potatoes while these were baking. Boiled for about 10 minutes and blended with a little margarine and milk. Yummy side for this dish.

Chicken Manicotti

MMM! This is really good. The recipe makes two pans so that you can freeze one at the end. I like this recipe because you don't have to try and stuff filling  into slimy limp pasta without ripping it. It saves on time and energy. I made this for dinner guests last week and didn't have time to take pics.

1 Tbs. granulated garlic
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
16 uncooked manicotti shells
2 jars/cans spaghetti sauce (26 oz each)
1 pound Italian turkey sausage, cooked and drained
6 mushrooms chopped
1 can sliced olives
8 oz mozzarella cheese

Cut the chicken into 1 x 3 inch strips and rub with garlic and pepper
Spread one cup of spaghetti sauce into each baking dish/pan ( You can use 2-7 x 11 or 13 x 19 pans. )
Stuff the chicken into the manicotti
Place eight stuffed shell into each dish
Sprinkle sausage, mushroom and olives over the top of the row of shells
Pour the remaining sauce over  the top
Sprinkle with cheese
Cover and bake one casserole @ 375 for 70 minutes.
Cover and freeze the remaining casserole for up to 1 month

To use the frozen casserole: Thaw in the fridge over night. Let it sit on the counter at room temp for about 30 minutes before you pop it in the oven. Bake as directed above.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Chowder

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked & cubed(Can use 1 package of ready-to-serve chicken breast strips, chopped)

2 cans cream of potato soup
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups skim milk
1 can chicken broth (98% fat free)
1 can mexicorn, drained (11 oz)
1 can chopped green chiles
3 flour tortillas cut into 2 inch x 1/2 inch strips
2 oz shredded cheese (I used half cheddar, half pepper jack)

Combine soups, milk and broth in a large pan and heat it up. Stir it often so it doesn't burn on the bottom.  Add the corn, chicken, & chilies and bring it to a boil.  Stir in the tortillas and cheese. Heat about two more minutes and serve. 

1 cup was 5 pts. The cheese could have been left out making it 3 pts.  SO YUMMY!

Monday, February 15, 2010

White Chili

About 3 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts cut into 1" cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chopped green chiles
1 can chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. granulate garlic
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup(+) fat free sour cream
1/2 cup fat free evaporated milk

In a large sauce pan, cook the chicken, onions, garlic and pepper until the chicken is no longer pink
Add the beans, broth, chiles & seasonings
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 30 minutes
Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and evaporated milk
** If you double this recipe, do not double the chiles and cayenne pepper.
8 servings @ 3pts. each

Monday, February 1, 2010

Valentine's Day Cupcakes

His and Hers cupcakes for Valentine's Day. His are Chocolate with Reese's Peanut Butter frosting. Mine, just the cupcake to save on points.

Chocolate Cake Mix
12 oz coke zero
Mix and bake just as you prepare regular cupcakes.
Cupcake = 2 Weight Watcher Pts

1/2 cup of peanut butter
1/3 cup light margarine
1 cup of powdered sugar
1-3 Tbs of milk

Frosting = 2 weight watcher pts.

Easy Minestrone Soup

This is such an easy soup recipe. You can often just open your cupboards and dump the ingredients you have on hand to make this yummy soup. My two year old liked it and my 8 month old DEVOURED it.  She could not get enough of the turkey, noodles and veggies.

1 lb Lean ground turkey (93/7)
1/4 cup onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, separated
1 can Hunt's Spaghetti Sauce (Italian Sausage Flavored)
1 can of water
2 carrots, 1/2 cubes
2 celery stalks, chopped (including leaves)
1/2 tomato chopped
1 can sweet yellow corn
1 can cut green beans
1 can red kidney beans
3 oz whole wheat pasta shells
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp salt
Italian seasoning to taste

Brown turkey with onions, 2 clove garlic and 1/2 tsp of pepper
Add the carrots and celery and let them soften
Add spaghetti sauce and then one can of water
Add corn, tomatoes, green beans, and kidney beans
Add the rest of your granulated garlic, salt, pepper and Italian Seasonings
Boil pasta separately and then add to soup just before you serve.

Weight Watcher points:  1 cup = 3 pts!

You may want to add a little water  or chicken stock when you eat leftovers. The veggies and pasta may continue to soak up the broth.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mexican Stuffed Shells

I didn't take any pictures of this one because I just posted the Italian version a few weeks ago. Surprise, they look exactly the same. =)

12-18 Large Pasta Shells
1 lb ground beef
3 Tbs. Taco Seasonings (Or one packet)
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups salsa, divided
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
16 oz tomato sauce
few shakes of chili powder
few shakes of granulated garlic
freshly ground pepper to taste

Brown beef and drain.
Add taco seasoning, garlic, pepper, water, onion, 1/2 cup of salsa, and 1/4 cup of each cheese
In a separate bow, mix 1 cup salsa, tomato sauce, and chili powder.
Spread some sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.
Fill each shell with the beef mixture and place them in rows in the dish.
Pour the rest of the sauce over the shells.
Sprinkle the rest of the cheeses on top.

Bake @ 350 for 20-30 minutes
This is great as a make-ahead meal. It freezes well.
Defrost overnight and bake as directed. If frozen, bake @ 300 for 2 hours.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spaghetti and Turkey Sausage Meatballs

These are super easy meatballs and healthier than most.  Just three ingredients for this one.

1 lb Turkey Italian Sausage
1 egg
The bread crumbs from one piece of whole wheat toast
Mix the ingredients.
Form into 10 even balls. 
Place in a frying pan on high heat. 
Turn to brown the sides of the meatballs.
Then place them on a cookie sheet and place them in the oven.
Bake @ 400 for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chili Chicken

This delicious recipe comes from an old friend in Sacramento. She was actually my mom's friend and would make this for their bunco group years ago. It is fabulous! Thanks Sondra for putting your recipe in the Church Cookbook back in 1991!

1 can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup
1 can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
1 can of chili con carne without beans (I used my left over chili from last night's dinner)
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup chicken broth or water
1/2 cup onion chopped
1 small can sliced olives
3 oz pepper jack cheese
3 oz cheddar cheese
3 large chicken breasts
1 pkg whole wheat tortillas torn into 1/4 pieces

Cube chicken and saute'. I sprinkled mine with granulated garlic and freshly ground pepper.

Combine soups, chili, salsa, broth/water, olives, and onions in a sauce pan; heat over medium heat. 
Layer ingredients in a 9x 13 dish as follows:
-1/3 Sauce
-Half of tortillas
-ALL of your chicken
-1/3 Sauce
-Half of tortillas
-1/3 Sauce
-ALL of your cheese

Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes

1/8 of the casserole = 8 weight watcher points


This is a Super easy meal when you don't have a lot of time. It is also relatively healthy and considered to be a comfort food. I use a chili mix that is really delicious and saves on time.

Chili Mix
1-2lbs Ground Beef, Turkey, or Shredded Chicken
One can of tomato sauce

Optional Ingredients:
1 Tbs of granulated garlic
1 Cup onions
6-8 pieces of crumbled bacon or turkey bacon
1 can of diced tomatoes
Diced peppers
Kidney or chili beans

Garnish Ideas:

I browned one pound of ground beef with 1 Tbs of granulated garlic and 1 Cup of onions. Then added the chili seasonings, tomato sauce and three cans of water.  I let it simmer on the stove for 2-3 hours. At the end, mix the corn mesa flour from your chili package with about 1/2 cup cold water. Stir and pour into the chili. Let it simmer 5 minutes and serve.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Beefy Taco Bake

This is super easy. YUM!

1 pound ground beef ( I use one package Boca Crumbles.)
1 Can (10 3/4 oz) Condensed Tomato Soup
1 Cup Salsa
1/2 Cup  Fat Free Milk ( Sometimes I use 1/2 cup of Fat Free Sour Cream instead)
6 whole wheat (8 inch) flour tortillas, cut into 1x2 inch strips
3 oz (3/4 cup) cheddar or pepperjack cheese grated

An easy way to cut the tortillas is to use your pizza cutter.

Brown the meat and drain.
Stir in  the soup, salsa, milk, tortillas, and half of the cheese into your skillet.
Dump the mixture into a casserole dish.  (I use a 7x11)
Sprinkle with the remaining cheese
Bake @ 400 for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Weight Watcher Points:  1/6 of the casserole is 6 pts

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Italian Stuffed Shells

This is a healthier twist on a combination of recipes I have used over the years.

1 Box of Jumbo Pasta Shells
1 lb Turkey Italian Sausage
16 oz of Fat Free Cottage Cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/3 cup Cheddar Cheese
2/3 cup Mozzarella Cheese
26oz of Spaghetti Sauce

Boil the shells
-Brown the sausage. Afterward, add the cottage cheese, garlic, parmesan and 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese.
-Put 1 cup of the sauce on the bottom of a 7x11 or 9 x 13 pan.
-Fill each shell with sausage mixture and place them in rows

-Cover shells with the remaining sauce and then cover with the rest of the mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
-Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning

-Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes

The Weight Watcher points value for this dish:   5 shells = 9pts.

Please, Call Me Old-Fashioned

One of my resolutions in 2010 is to not eat out more than once a week. Another is to continue to learn ways to save money and be a frugal mom. That sounds so easy until I find myself in the middle of raising two small children, fulfilling everyday schedules and responsibilities and staying focused on ministering to friends and family. So often in the past few years I have found myself "picking something up" for dinner because the day got away from me. I want my girls to grow up knowing what it is like to have healthy, home cooked meals around the dinner table. You know, the "old-fashioned" way.

This year's resolution is going to be accomplished by setting and meeting certain goals:
-Make a monthly calendar of meals leaving one day open for eating out and one day open for leftovers
-Make a shopping list for the month and do one large shop (thus eliminating multiple costly trips to the store)
-Stick to the calendar and make the meals I have planned.
-Try to make most meals during the girl's nap time so that I am not caught off guard between 4:00-6:00
-Be aware of the nutritional information of each recipe.

Here we go. This is to keep me accountable and organized. Happy Cooking!