Monday, March 30, 2009

Baked Ziti

I am ashamed to say that I have never made baked ziti before. I know! I thought it was pretty much the same as lasagna, so I would know, make lasagna. I made it tonight though and loved it!

  • 1 pound dry ziti pasta
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
  • 6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheesed


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.
Okay, I used an "italian" blend of shredded cheese instead of just the provolone (gotta get whats on sale people), and I used penne instead of ziti because Target had absolutely no they still make ziti, just not at target? No idea. Anyway...I layered the sauce on top of the noodles and then the cheese (according to reviewers that makes the noodles taste better). Oh and I used that parmasean in a tube shaker thingy, not shredded. Cheese is cheese. That's my motto.

It was a crowd pleaser and I might have to fight Blaine for the leftovers tomorrow.

Whole wheat tortillas

I've never made tortillas before, but it costs $2.50 to buy a package of 12 whole wheat tortillas at the store, and I think I can do better than that. So I looked up a recipe and am excited to try it. I want to store it here, even though I haven't tried it yet... but it had excellent reviews, so hopefully you're all cool with that.

  1. Combine flours, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Stir in the oil and water all at once, using mixer or a fork, and toss quickly.
  3. When dough can be gathered into a soft mass, turn onto floured surface and knead a few times.
  4. Form 8 balls of dough, dredge in flour, and store in a plastic bag to prevent drying until ready to be used.
  5. Flatten first ball of dough into a disk.
  6. Roll out dough on floured surface until 7 inches or larger with even strokes that do not reach to the edge, turning over frequently.
  7. Place tortilla in ungreased, frying pan that has been preheated to medium-high heat.
  8. Cook 30-40 seconds on one side, turn over with spatula and cook 30-40 seconds on other side., First side should be pale and sprinkled with brown spots and the other side will be blotched.
  9. Repeat process with other balls of dough.
  10. Stack tortillas on a plate as they are cooked and cover them with a dish towel, which will keep them soft.

This weeks menu

See... it took me like almost two weeks to get through my last "weekly" menu.

This week the recipes I am hoping to make are...

Baked Lemon Soy Chops
Chicken Fajita melts (looks so easy and so good, I am really hungry right now!)
Rosemary Ranch Kebabs
Baked Ziti
Spinach stuffed chicken breasts (again)
Homemade Chicken noodle soup ( I figured out why I failed last time and it was because I used 4 TABLESPOONS of chicken pastey stuff instead of teaspoons, idiot).

I am starving. I wish I could make stuff for lunch besides PBJs.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


In direct contrast to the vegetable soup recipe listed below, I am posting baklava. It was fun to make and eat, since it is different from my standard "treat fare". It took about 1 1/2 hours to make, most of that time being the chopping of the nuts. You want them pretty fine and I don't have a magic chopper. The fillo dough is located in the freezer section.

I followed the recipe, except for:
1) doubled the syrup recipe, as some reviewers suggested, and used all but maybe 1/2 cup.
2) the recipe doesn't specify what type of nut to use. I used cashews. I think almonds/walnuts might taste better (although how can you go wrong with this syrupy sweetness?).
3) the recipe says bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. For my oven, "golden brown" was after 25 minutes - so watch closely.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Superfoods Vegetable Soup

I didn't expect my kids to eat this, but they did, and it is LOADED with good stuff! I'm tagging it as vegetarian, but I added some cut up chicken I had in my freezer, just to make the kids happy. I didn't list that on the recipe though.

Superfoods Vegetable Stew - Serves 8

3 Tbsp + 2 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken because that's all I had)
2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander (didn't have any so I just put some extra cumin in there)
3/4 tsp Mrs Dash seasoning (didn't have so I used Lawry's seasoned salt... prob not the same but oh well)
1/4 tsp pepper
2 (15 1/2-oz) cans chickpeas, drained
2 (15 1/2-oz) cans diced tomatoes
12-oz package fresh baby spinach
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water
4 cups cooked rice or couscous (optional)

Spray Dutch oven with cooking spray; add 3 Tbsp vegetable broth to pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add sweet potatoes and onion to pan; sprinkle with garlic powder and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add bell peppers, cumin, coriander, Mrs Dash seasoning and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until peppers are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, spinach and remaining vegetable broth. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, 12 to 15 minutes, until heated through. Combine cornstarch and water in a small cup; mix well. Gradually add cornstarch mixture to stew; bring to a boil over high heat. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until stew thickens, about 1 minute. Serve over cooked rice or couscous if desired. Do not freeze. Stew can be refrigerated and reheated up to 4 days.

Nutrition per serving:
Calories 194
Fat 2.5 g
Carbs 37g
Protein 9g
Fiber 9g
Sodium 880 mg
cholesterol 0 mg

Death to Pyzam

If anyone can figure out how to get rid of that pyzam advertisement....please do it. It bugs me and now that I am not using one of their templates I kind of don't want that neon orange advertisement.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

I made this for a birthday party tonight, I thought it was absolutely delicious, especially for how easy and inexpensive it was to prepare!

  • 1 (16 ounce) package graham crackers
  • 2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 (8 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (16 ounce) package prepared chocolate frosting OR use the recipe I will provide after this one : )
  1. Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan with graham crackers. In a large bowl, combine the milk and vanilla pudding according to directions on box. Fold in the whipped topping. Spread a layer of the pudding mixture over the graham crackers. Alternate the graham cracker and pudding layers up to the top of the pan. Cook the container of prepared frosting, uncovered in the microwave for 1 minute on half power. Pour over the top of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.
For the chocolate frosting I made...
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat 2 tablespoons butter with chocolate in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted. Remove from heat and stir in confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla.

I then put it in a baggie and cut a little hole in one corner and drizzled it out and made cool little swirlie things with a knife, but you could just dump it on too. It all tastes the same going down.

So easy and so good, and really did kind of taste like an eclair!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Strawberry Spinach Salad

This was a very easy and very good salad dressing!

  • 1 bunch spinach, rinsed (I used a spring mix)
  • 10 large strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar (I used balsamic vinegar!)
  • 1/2 Cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  1. In a large bowl, mix the spinach and strawberries.
  2. In a blender, place the sugar, salt, vinegar, and oil, and blend until smooth. Stir in the poppy seeds. Pour over the spinach and strawberries, and toss to coat.

Strong Menu

Okay asked for it. Here's our menu for the week:

*Muffins (from a box), strawberries, and hash browns (frozen from Walmart)
*Turkey sandwiches
*Pizza from Papa Murphy's
*Kraft Mac & Cheese
*Homeade Chicken Pot Pie
*Campbell's Chunky soup

And that is why I read this blog but hardly ever post.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

chicken salad sandwiches

These are more for a big party, not a family meal. we are making this for amanda's shower this weekend. I insist on making them for every girly event because I crave them all year long. It serves 25, or if you cut them in half it would serve more.

5-7 chicken breasts cooked and cut up
1 cup chopped celery
20 oz can pineapple tidbits
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1 cup cashews

Mix with

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup miracle whip
1 pint whipping cream- whipped
1 Tbs. chicken bouillon

25 croissants

Just mix it all in a big bowl and spoon onto croissants. It is best if you mix it right before the party starts so they are fresh, I usually cook the chicken ahead of time and get everything measured out then before we are ready to eat I hurry and mix it all together. I have also had it with red grapes in it too for a little variety. These are delicious and filling, perfect for showers and get togethers.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

Rich, but absolutely delicious. Got it from my one of my America's Test Kitchen cookbooks. Of course.

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara
Serves 4 to 6

Add regular table salt to the pasta cooking water, but use sea salt flakes, if you can find them, to season the dish. We like the full flavor they bring to the carbonara. Note that while either table salt or seas salt can be used when seasoning in step 3, they are not used in equal amounts.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb bacon (6 to 8 slices), slices halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 large eggs
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano (about 3/4 ounce)
3 small cloves garlic, minced to paste or pressed through garlic press
1 lb spaghetti (I used capellini, because isn't it always better?)
salt and ground black pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set heatproof serving bowl on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in large stockpot.

2. While water is heating, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until shimmering, but not smoking. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and crisp, about 8 minutes. Add wine and simmer until alcohol aroma has cooked off and wine is slightly reduced, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. Beat eggs, cheeses, and garlic together with fork in small bowl; set aside.

3. When water comes to a boil, add pasta and 1 tablespoon table salt; stir to separate pasta. Cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta for about 5 seconds, leaving pasta slightly wet. Transfer drained pasta to warm serving bowl; if pasta appears dry, add some reserved cooking water and toss to moisten. Immediately pour egg mixture over hot pasta, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes or 3/4 teaspoon table salt; toss well to combine. Pour bacon mixture over pasta, season generously with black pepper, and toss well to combine. Serve immediately. Sit back and enjoy the sensation of your arteries clogging ;)

Chicken Tikka Masala

THIS WAS SO GOOD! I couldn't find the garam masala at my regular grocery store and was too lazy to go to an Indian market, so I used the spice mix they recommended. I thought it was a touch heavy on the cardamom, but just a touch. I also used only the flesh from the chile and thought the dish turned out a tad too mild. Still though, seriously like eating at a good Indian restaurant, but at home. A little naan and it would have been the perfect meal (anyone have a good recipe?). The only way it could have been better is if I could convince M to build me a tandoor oven in the backyard. I'll keep you posted on how that goes...

Chicken Tikka Masala

from America's Test Kitchen

This dish is best when prepared with whole-milk yogurt, but low-fat yogurt can be substituted. For a spicier dish, do not remove the ribs and seeds from the chile. If you prefer, substitute 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper for the garam masala. The sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 4 days in an airtight container, and gently reheated before adding the hot chicken. Serve with basmati rice.

Serves 4 to 6

Chicken Tikka
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (see note above)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Masala Sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (see note above)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala (see note above)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chicken Florentine Casserole

Blaine just requested this to be our anniversary dinner next year. Bentley gobbled up a whole bowl full. Gwen asked for seconds. That's good enough for me!

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 (13.5 ounce) cans spinach, drained
  • 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2/3 cup bacon bits
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place the chicken breast halves on a baking sheet; bake 20 to 30 minutes, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  2. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, mix in the garlic, lemon juice, cream of mushroom soup, Italian seasoning, half-and-half, and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Arrange the spinach over the bottom of a 9x9 inch baking dish. Cover the spinach with the mushrooms. Pour half the mixture from the saucepan over the mushrooms. Arrange chicken breasts in the dish, and cover with the remaining sauce mixture. Sprinkle with bacon bits, and top with mozzarella cheese.
  5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes in the 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) oven, until bubbly and lightly browned.
I changed this recipe a bit.... I cooked four pieces of bacon on a big pan, the cubed the chicken and sauteed it in a little leftover bacon grease with garlic (okay, this isn't the healthiest recipe). I removed the chicken and then cooked the mushrooms and spinach in the same pan. Then layered the spinach/mushroom mixture, then the chicken, then the sauce.

Twas good.

cinnamon rolls

These are amazing! Four stars definately! it makes a ton too, so my friends always get some whenever I make these.

3 cups warm water
3 T yeast
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter/ margarine melted
1 T salt
2 eggs
8-9 cups flour
brown sugar(to spread on dough)
cinnamon (to spread on dough)
nuts (optional)

soften yeast in warm water. add sugar, melted margarine, salt and eggs. beat until mixed thoroughly. add flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well. add rest of flour and knead well. let rise 1 hour. roll out dough in a rectangle. spread butter, cinnamon and brown sugar (nuts optional), roll up and cut into cinnamon rolls. let rise to top of the pan, (or cover with plastic wrap and put in oven until ready to bake)and bake for 12-15 min in a 350 degree oven. top with frosting of your choice! yum!

Friday, March 6, 2009

pumpkin black bean soup

This soup was wonderful! Perfect flavor, though not pretty to look at : )

  • 3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 pound cubed cooked ham
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  1. Pour 2 cans of the black beans into a food processor or blender, along with the can of tomatoes. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the onion is softened. Stir in the bean puree, remaining can of beans, beef broth, pumpkin puree, and sherry vinegar. Mix until well blended, then simmer for about 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Stir in the ham, and heat through before serving.
I substituted apple cider vinegar for the sherry vinegar.

Rotisserie style roast chicken

I don't know how I made it this far in life without ever cooking a whole chicken. Yesterday was my big debut. I found this recipe on and it worked really well. Of course it would have all been better if I would have had a meat thermometer so I wouldn't have had to be paranoid that the chicken wasn't done. I think I overcooked it because I was so paranoid. Anyway, the spice rub was great and would be good on just plain old chicken breasts too!

  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 (4 pound) whole chickens


  1. In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, onion powder, thyme, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Remove and discard giblets from chicken. Rinse chicken cavity, and pat dry with paper towel. Rub each chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Place 1 onion into the cavity of each chicken. Place chickens in a resealable bag or double wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 to 6 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
  3. Place chickens in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 5 hours, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Let the chickens stand for 10 minutes before carving.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Super Easy Ziti Lasagna

We had this for dinner tonight. It really was incredibly easy as well as filling and tasty. We very much enjoyed it!

Recipe here.

Shepherd's Pie (Or Technically Cottage Pie)

I call it Shepherd's pie, but technically because I used beef and not lamb, I'm supposed to call it Cottage Pie. Whatever. It's good.

I modified this slightly from an America's Test Kitchen recipe. The original recipe was for diced lamb shoulder chops. I'm sure that'd be delish, but I was too lazy. Can be assembled in either a 9x13 pan or a 10 inch pie plate. Serves 6-8.

1 lb ground lamb (or in my case, ground beef)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 Tbsp vegetable oil, if you need it
1 medium onion, chopped coarse
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 medium clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup full-bodied red wine (I didn't have this, but I did have some white wine so I used that instead and it was still good)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 lbs large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup whole milk, warmed
2 large egg yolks
ground black pepper

FOR THE FILLING: Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat oil (if needed, I never use it) in a large skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Add meat, onions, and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is well browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, flour, and tomato paste and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in the stock, wine, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in the thyme and rosemary. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

FOR THE TOPPING: Meanwhile, put the potatoes into a large saucepan; add water to cover and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil and continue to cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes well and return them to the pan set over low heat. Mash potatoes, adding butter as you mash. Stir in the warm milk and then the egg yolks. Season with the remaining 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste. (I thought it needed even more salt than this.)

TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE: Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Stir the peas into the meat mixture and check the seasonings. Pour the meat mixture evenly into a 9x13 baking dish. With a large spoon, place the mashed potatoes over the entire filling. Starting at the sides to ensure a tight seal, use a rubber spatula to smooth out the potatoes and anchor them to the sides of the baking dish. (You should not see any filling.) Bake until the top turns golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes and serve.

Pie plate assembly: The filling and potato topping fit nicely in a standard 9x13 baking dish, but for a fancier presentation bake the pie in a 10 inch pie plate. The mashed potato topping rises high above the filling, much like a lemon meringue pie. To do this, place the filling in a 10 inch pie plate and then drop spoonfuls of mashed potatoes around the perimeter of the pie plate. Use a rubber spatula to attach the potatoes to the rim of the pie plate. It's important to seal the edges this way to prevent the filling from bubbling out of the pie plate in the oven. Drop the remaining mashed potatoes in the center of the pie plate and then smooth the top with a spatula. Because the topping rises so high, bake the pie on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any leaks. (You might even want to do that with the 9x13 version - I guess my seals weren't perfect so I got a good bit of dripping in my oven.)

Makeover Morning Glory Muffins

In my quest to not purchase "sugar coated cocoa bombs" for breakfast, I've been trying to make different muffins, etc. and also incorporate more whole grains and stuff into our diet. I came across these muffins and made them last night, they are delicious! And they have whole wheat flour, flax seed, apples, carrots, lots of good stuff for you. I want to toy around with the recipe to see if I can make it lower calorie, but as it is one muffin was enough to leave me stuffed so it's okay that it was 250 calories (because normally I eat ten bowls of sugar coated cocoa bombs-- which is like a thousand calories. ) So give these a try, the recipe is very forgiving.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 medium tart apple, peeled and grated
  1. In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. In another bowl, beat the egg whites, egg, applesauce, orange juice, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the carrots, pecans, coconut, raisins and apple.
  2. Coat muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray or use foil liners; fill three-fourths full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
My notes: I didn't have orange juice, so I used the juice from a can of mandarin oranges (Bentley wolfs down mandarin oranges), I did not use the coconut or raisins, but I put in some craisins (normally not a big fan of craisins but I loved it in these muffins!), I also did not mix in the nuts, but rather sprinkled some on top of half of the muffins (so I could let Bentley eat some of the non nut kind) oh and also, I used three eggs instead of one egg and four whites (since two egg whites is equivalent to one egg). Oh and I think I put in more carrots than what it called for (if I am going to get my food processor dirty I get it dirty for lots of carrots, not just a few).

Definitely worth your while. The best "healthy" muffin we've made yet!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Garlic Lime Chicken

This is easy, turns out great, and is so yummy! (Plus, it was a great way to get rid of the generic Ritz crackers I bought- they crumble just when you look at them!!!)

1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp thyme
3 Tb butter
1C Ritz crackers, smashed
2 chicken breasts, sliced into small strips
2 Tb lime juice
2 Tb Parmesan cheese

In plastic bag, mix everything except butter, chicken, lime juice, and Parmesan. Drop chicken in melted butter then put in bag to coat. Place pieces in well greased baking dish. Dribble lime juice over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 30-40 min at 350 degrees.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Brown rice and black bean casserole - three stars!

Okay the thing is, I felt so healthy making and eating this. We loved it! I am posting the recipe as was found on allrecipes and I'll put my modifications at the bottom. Definitely worth making especially because if you chop the veggies fine enough your kids won't know they are eating mushrooms, zuccini and carrots, and neither will you!

  • 1/3 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 cooked skinless boneless chicken breast halves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt to taste
  • ground cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chile peppers, drained
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  1. Mix the rice and vegetable broth in a pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 45 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a large casserole dish.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the onion until tender. Mix in the zucchini, chicken, and mushrooms. Season with cumin, salt, and ground cayenne pepper. Cook and stir until zucchini is lightly browned and chicken is heated through.
  4. In large bowl, mix the cooked rice, onion, zucchini, chicken, mushrooms, beans, chiles, carrots, and 1/2 the Swiss cheese. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  5. Cover casserole loosely with foil, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Uncover, and continue baking 10 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned.
Okay, I made this vegetarian style; which means I omitted the chicken (read: I am lazy), and added lots more veggies (I did two zuccinis, probably like three cups of sliced mushrooms). I doubled the rice (and consequently the broth), and actually I think it could have easily been tripled and still been great. I used a mexican blend of cheese. I think next time I will reduce the cheese, not because the recipe had too much cheese but because I feel like you could get away with a lot less cheese and have it still be good. I would also maybe just use plain ol' cheddar. I added a lot more thinly sliced carrots.

I had two leftover wheat tortillas and though this recipe was intended to be a casserole I served it like a burrito filling with those leftover tortillas, with a little sour cream (and salsa would be great too!). Then since we only had two tortillas we ate the rest like a casserole with a little sour cream.

What a great meal! I loved it.

Another sure you realize that the brown rice has to cook for forty five minutes! I started making this dinner way too late in the evening and didn't realize it would take so long. It's not hard to make at all, just takes a long time to make the rice and also to bake in the oven.

Totally easy, healthy and inexpensive to make!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Weekly Menu 3/2/09

Since this is a self serving blog, I am going to use it to document my weekly menus. I'll be sure to review the recipes that haven't been reviewed on here after I try them.

This week we are having...

Chicken Florentine Casserole
Brown rice and black bean casserole
almond chicken salad
roast chicken
pumpkin black bean soup
and a frozen lasagna courtesy of Gretchen : )
And a flex day to go out, or eat cereal or leftovers.

Also since I am trying to have a cereal strike...I may try these things for breakfast...

Morning Glory Muffins
and Baked Oatmeal

Chicken Corn Chowder - YUM

Okay, technically I didn't make this, but I did eat it. A lot of it. Janssen made it and it was oh so delicious!

Chicken Corn Chowder Topped with Avocado and Tomato

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks of celery, diced
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
3 14 oz cans chicken broth
2 lb bag frozen corn or 8 fresh ears of corn, kernels cut off
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
½ Cup heavy cream
8 oz sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

1 avocado, diced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
Fresh ground black pepper

1. Heat oil into a large dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, sauté onion, carrots and celery until slightly softened, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for for 1 minute then add chicken broth, corn and chicken. Cook for 5 minutes, until heated through. Reduce heat to low and stir in cream, sour cream, salt and pepper to taste.

2. Top with avocado and tomato. Add fresh ground black pepper if desired.

Be sure to include the avacado and tomato!