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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hungry Girls Chocolate Chip Softies

So one of my goals to a better me is to bake more weight watcher friendly treats. Chocolate chip cookies is one of my favorite treats but at 5-7 points a cookie it's not very WW friendly. I found Hungry Girls recipe for So Good Chocolate Chip Softies. I thought Hmm I'll give them a try.

Verdict: Do they taste exactly like a chocolate chip cookie? No. They really don't taste anything like a chocolate chip cookie but they are chocolaty and sweet.

They remind of a cookie my mom and I used to buy all the time made with carob chips. I can't remember the brand or which store we used to find them at but they were pretty good for something sweet to eat and they were only 1 WW point apiece with the old point system. So I actually really like these HG Chocolate Chip Softies. I'll probably make these quite often. I do want to find a WW friendly chocolate chip cookie recipe that actually tastes like a chocolate chip cookie that isn't 5-7 points. Because really if a WW recipe is going to cost me 5-7 points per cookie I could just eat the real thing.

Hungry Girls says that this recipe makes 8 cookies at 2 WW points per cookie. When I inputted this recipe into the recipe builder on WW's it said that 8 servings would make these cookies 3 points apiece. Hmm, interesting. I just happened to make this recipe into 10 cookies and by doing so made the cookies 2 points a cookie. I used my medium sized cookie scoop. Below is the original HG recipe.

HG's Chocolate Chip Softies
from Hungry Girl

8 cookies, 2 WW points per cookie

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3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
6 T unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/4 cup fat free liquid egg substitute
2 1/2 T mini semi sweet chocolate chips
2 T brown sugar, not packed.
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt

Pre heat oven 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips (flour, Splenda, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt). Mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together all wet ingredients (applesauce, pumpkin, egg substitute, and vanilla extract). Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir until completely blended. Then, fold in the chocolate chips. Spray a large baking pan with nonstick spray or line with silicone baking mat, and spoon batter into 8 evenly spaced circles. Place pan in the oven for about 10 minutes (until cookies appear done and feel firm). Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool slightly. For best results, enjoy while the cookies are still warm and the chips are still melty. I think they taste just as good room temperature.

Basic Pancakes

I was very proud of myself yesterday for not going straight to the fridge and pounding down leftover pumpkin pie tarts because it was very tempting. I had decided to stop waiting for tomorrow so I said no to the tarts and I opened up my new WW cookbook and made the Basic Pancake recipe out of it. Gold star for me. I stayed within my points all day. I made Will and his brother finish up our Christmas leftovers and I made myself pita pizzas for dinner. I give myself a pat on the back.

Today I packed up those pumpkin pie tarts and mini cheesecakes and took them to work. Yes, I still had access to them but I didn't eat any of them and I left all the other goodies staring at me alone as well. I made healthy choices for day two I ate more than my daily points but I just used some of my weekly points so all is good. My first goal is to have weight off by March 25. I don't really care how much weight off I would just like to steadily lose each week. Will and I are going to Arizona and I would like to be lighter when we fly. If we fly. We may drive if we can't get decent plane tickets. Though I'm not sure if our car would make it or not so flying may be our only option. Or I may have to go alone and I don't really want to have to fly alone because I feel like I'm in someones space sitting on the plane. At least when Will is with me I'm in his space. It isn't fun flying when your heavy. But come hell or high water I'm going because I need my Jessica time and I need to see my Noah boy. I miss living only 10 minutes from each other.

Anyway on to the pancakes. They weren't as fluffy as normal pancakes and that could have been due to me using skim milk. The recipe called for 1% but I only had skim on hand. I'm really not sure how old my baking powder is so that could be part of the problem as well. But other than that they were very tasty. I added vanilla extract which I thought gave the pancakes a very nice flavor.

Basic Pancakes
from WW New Complete Cookbook

6 servings (4 pancakes per serving), 7 WW per serving w/o syrup

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2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 T baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups low fat (1%) milk
1/2 cup fat free egg substitute
1 T vegetable oil
1 T vanilla extract (optional)

In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl combine milk, egg substitute, oil, and vanilla if using. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until flour mixture is moistened (batter will be lumpy).

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Pour scant 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto skillet. Cook until bubbles appear and edges of pancakes look dry, about 3 minutes. Turn pancakes over and cook until golden brown on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to platter and keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter, making a total of 24 pancakes.

These reheated well.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Taking Control Today

Have you had that moment in your life when you stepped on the scale and went "Holy Blue Bonnets Batman! When did I get this big? When did the number on the scale go up this high?" I actually know the answer to those questions. I have gradually been seeing the number on the scale go up for the past two years but I keep telling myself I'll take control tomorrow. But tomorrow hasn't came. I need to take control today and stop with the tomorrows. Because if I have learned anything in the past two years is that life can be short and tomorrows can be limited. I see my future if I don't take control of my health. Yes, I have my diabetes and high blood pressure under control but I'm 29 and already have those problems. My doctor has been telling me the same thing that my moms doctor had told her for years, “If you lose the weight you will get off the medication.” Did she lose the weight? No. Have I lost the weight? No. My mom died at the age of 59 with a whole slew of issues after being bed ridden for two years in a nursing home. That isn't the future I want for myself but my body is only going to be able to handle this excess weight for so much longer before it starts to break down.

I think I'm having a hard time getting back on the wagon because I had been doing so well two years ago. I had lost almost 40 pounds when my mom passed away. I remember telling myself to not let myself gain it back. I let myself gain it back plus about 20 more. I need to stop beating myself up about it. It happened and now I need to do something about it. My mom would tell me to learn from my mistakes and move on. All I'm accomplishing now is depressing myself further and making myself gain more. Not very productive. I feel it in my clothes and just in the way I carry myself. I want to feel good again.

So I'm challenging myself to live a better life. To cook more, to eat less fast food, to bake more weight watcher friendly sweets, to start exercising, and to start taking care of myself. I am worth it. I am worth living a long, healthy, happy life. But nobody can do that for me but me. If I falter I'm going to not berate myself but just pick myself back up, brush myself off and move forward. I know I can do this.

So I started today. No more waiting for tomorrow. For Christmas I received the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. It has over 500 delicious recipes for the healthy cook's kitchen. Best of all it includes the Points Plus values. This morning I made the Basic Pancake recipe which I will be posting about soon. This book has a lot of amazing recipes and I can't wait to try them. I also found some amazing food blogs that I believe God steered me too.

I first found Dashing Dish: Healthy Alternatives to the Foods You Crave authored by Katie Farrell. The food she is dishing out looks crazy good and is good for you. It was on her blog that I stumbled upon It Sux to Be Fat authored by Jennifer Swafford. Katie and Jennifer have partnered up. Jennifer has lost 100 pounds doing Weight Watchers and she is supplying Katie with the WW points for her fabulous food. So I headed over to It Sux to Be Fat and I'm so glad I did because Jennifer is such an inspiration. Her weight loss journey has spanned the last three years and she has had some ups and downs but she has never given up and I think that is the key. I'm really enjoying reading through her blog.

Another great weight watcher blog is Gina's Skinny Taste Her recipes are fantastic and you don't have to worry about the points because she does the hard work for you.

I also love Hungry Girl. I have several of her cookbooks and I get her weekly newsletter. I wish she could just come cook for me. Wouldn't that be nice.

I'm ready to tackle this new chapter in my life. I'm ready to take care of myself because I am worth it. Now I just need to get rid of all the temptations sitting in my fridge leftover from Christmas. :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sloppy Joes

Raise your hand if you love sloppy Joe's. I don't see any hands raised. I'm not a huge fan of sloppy Joe's but I enjoyed this recipe. Will loves sloppy Joe's but my mans not into Manwich. He likes simple ketchup sloppy Joe's. These are simple yet tasty.

Sloppy Joe's
adapted from Heinz

8 servings, 6 WW points per serving

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1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups ketchup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 light hamburger buns

In a skillet brown the beef and onions over medium heat. Once browned, drain. Place meat back in skillet and add the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until thickened.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mom's Lasagna

I think I have talked about my love of pasta before so I don't think I need to repeat it. Oh I do. Well I love pasta. I love my mom's lasagna. I don't know where this recipe came from I just know this is how mom made it and how she taught me to make it. Simple, yet so delicious. You can use the no boil noodles but my mom thought they tasted starchy so I still boil. But either way you do it people will be asking for seconds and for this recipe.

Mom's Lasagna

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1 1/2 pd. lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 jars spaghetti sauce
1 large container cottage cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 bags shredded mozzarella cheese
1 box lasagna noodles

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In a skillet brown the beef and onions. I like to season the meat with garlic powder, oregano, and basil or Italian seasoning. Drain beef. Place the meat back in the skillet and add the spaghetti sauce. Let simmer. Meanwhile boil the noodles according to the package directions. Drain. In a bowl mix together the cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, and eggs. In a 9X13 pan spread in a thin layer of sauce. Lay down a layer of noodles, spread a layer of sauce, spread a layer of cottage cheese, sprinkle on mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers ending with mozzarella. Bake for 1 hour or until heated through and the cheese is melty.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Milk Pie

My grandma used to make a milk pie. I never did get to experience my grandma's cooking because she died before I was born but my mom really liked her milk pie. She told me that after she would get done making pies she would piece together a crust in a pie plate with the pie crust scraps and right in the crust she would mix together milk, sugar, and vanilla. Mom didn't know the precise recipe. I tried finding a recipe that was like what grandma used to make and I came close one time. After my mom died I found out about Hoosier Cream Pies. Hoosier Cream Pies I think originated from the Amish. The recipe seemed similar to what my mom described as grandmas recipe. I finally made this pie and it's really easy and really yummy. I think mom would have loved it.

Milk Pie
recipe from Turkey Creek Lane

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1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg yolk

2 heaping tablespoons flour

1 pinch salt

2 cups Milk or Cream (or enough to fill pie shell)

Preheat oven to 410 degrees. Mix brown and white sugar with flour. Sprinkle flour/sugar mixture over pie crust. Beat egg yolk with milk. Fill pie shell. Take a spoon and swirl it through the milk mixture a couple of times. Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg.

Bake at 410 degrees for 10 minutes.Then bake at 350 for 45 minutes. The filling should be bubbling. The center should still jiggle. Be careful not to overcook or the filling will not set.

Homemade Milky Ways

"Lacey Klemm has made quite possibly the greatest dessert in her life, the Homemade Milky Way. It is addicting and i dare say, better than a real Milky Way." posted on Facebook by Will Klemm.

This is high praise coming from my loving hubby. He is correct in saying that these chocolate confections are addicting and better than the real Milky Ways.

My mom's favorite candy bar was the Milky Way. I have been wanting to find/create a homemade version for awhile. I just wish I would have thought about this before she passed away. She would have loved these.

I decided not to dip these fully because I was being lazy. No one missed them being fully dipped in chocolate. You can get away with not dipping if you don't want to. I highly recommend that you make these. Run, don't walk to your nearest grocery store!

Homemade Milky Way

adapted from Tasty Kitchen

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2 bags (12 Oz. Size) Milk Chocolate Chips

1 container (7 Oz.) Marshmallow Fluff

6 Tablespoons Evaporated Milk, Divided

1 bag (14 Oz. Bag) Caramels, wrappers removed, or Caramel Bits

Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 45 seconds. Stir to completely melt all the chocolate. If you need to microwave further, do so for very short periods; you do not want the chocolate to burn. Stir in the marshmallow fluff and half of the evaporated milk.

Pour this into an 8×8 pan that has been lined with foil or wax paper and sprayed with non-stick spray. Smooth the top. Place this in the fridge to harden while you work on the next step. My 8x8 was being used for lasagna so I just used a cookie sheet and spread the marshmallow mixture out not too thick and not too thin.

Put the caramels and the rest of the evaporated milk in a bowl, and microwave until they are melted. Start with 45 seconds, and then stir. If needed, heat for longer, checking every 15 seconds. Once nice and smooth, pour and spread this over the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

If you are going to fully dip your Milky Ways:

Once firm, remove from the pan and cut into desired size pieces. Melt the remaining bag of chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 45 second intervals. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, start your dipping! Set the coated caramels on a baking sheet and then place it in the fridge or freezer to harden. Enjoy!

If you are being lazy like me:

Melt the remaining bag of chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 45 second intervals. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth pour the chocolate over the caramel layer and place back in fridge to harden. Once chocolate is set cut the Milky Ways into desired size pieces. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Creamy Garlic Alfredo

Along with not being able to make a great potato soup I couldn't make a great Alfredo sauce. I have tried many recipes and all have been mediocre. This recipe is not one of them. This recipe was fantastic. I found it on Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I drool over her blog on a regular basis. She's just amazing. I tried to make this WW friendly. It's still a little points heavy but oh so worth it. Paired with my Garlic Bread Sticks I felt like I was at Olive Garden. Enjoy!

(I doubled this recipe since I think you can never have enough Alfredo)

Creamy Garlic Alfredo
from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

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8, 1/2 cup servings-6 WW points per serving for the sauce
1 cup of wheat pasta is 4 WW points

4 tablespoons butter
6 garlic cloves, minced (I used 3 tablespoons jarred minced garlic. It was very garlicky)
8 oz of reduced fat cream cheese, softened and cut into pieces
2 cups skim milk
5 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium pot or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Add the cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. It will look curdled at first, but with constant whisking for 2-3 minutes, it should come together to form a smooth, creamy paste. Add the milk gradually, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking quickly and constantly until each addition is incorporated fully into the sauce. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, pepper and salt. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is the desired consistency. Cook for 2-3 minutes for a thicker sauce or remove right after the cheese is melted for a thinner sauce. Serve immediately over hot, cooked noodles.

This reheats well too.

Black Bean and Beef Chili

I made this chili awhile back and loved it but I didn't get a picture. I don't like posting recipes without pictures. The weather is getting colder and making chili for the chill seemed fitting. I got to use my first jar of canned tomatoes I helped can this year. What I like about this recipe is that you can brown the meat and throw everything into your slow cooker and let it cook all day. This time when I made it I let it simmer on the stove. But whatever method you choose will taste fantastic.

Black Bean and Beef Chili

from Smells Like Home

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10 one cup servings, 4 WW points per serving

3 cans (14-15 oz) black beans
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes or pint jar of canned tomatoes
1 diced chipotle chili pepper (canned in adobo sauce) or a pinch of ground chipotle chile powder
1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb very lean ground beef (less than 10% fat)
1 medium red onion, very finely diced
1 tbsp regular chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp ancho chile powder
Pinch ground chipotle chile powder
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 cups beef stock or 1 (15 oz) can beef broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Drain 2 cans black beans into colander and rinse well, until no more foam appears. Let beans drain while you use a food processor to puree the third can of undrained beans, diced tomatoes and liquid, and the diced chipotle chile pepper (or chipotle powder). Process the beans and tomatoes about 1 minute, until they are fairly smooth.
  2. In bottom of heavy soup pot or large Dutch oven over medium heat cook the beef and onions until the beef is no longer pink, drain. Add all the chile powders and cumin and saute about 30 seconds.
  3. Add beef stock, browned ground beef, pureed bean mixture, drained beans, and tomato paste and simmer over low heat, uncovered, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Stir the chili occasionally to prevent any sticking on the bottom of the pot. After 45 minutes, check the seasonings and add more chile powder, salt, and/or pepper as needed. Or if using slow cooker add all the ingredients and cook on low for 4 hours.
  4. Just before serving Chili, stir in the chopped cilantro and lime juice and cook about 5 minutes. Serve chili hot with toppings of your choice.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

I don't think I have the words to describe the insanity of these cupcakes. These are right up there with the caramel chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecakes. The frosting is just like a chocolate chip cookie. So you get a big dose of chocolate chip cookie all around and it's awesome. I have seen this recipe floating around the blogs I read for quite awhile but I wanted one that you actually baked the cookie right in the cupcake. With some searching I found what I was looking for and I adapted it to what I wanted. I made these for my bosses birthday. Her husband said that chocolate chip cookies were her favorite treat so I thought this was the perfect time to try this recipe out. She loved them and so did everyone else. The cookie dough center stays soft I think from not putting eggs or baking soda or powder into the batter. The dough doesn't rise it just stays in it cookie doughy goodness. I think I mentioned the awesome frosting. Try these soon!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
inspired by Kevin and Amanda blog and Annie's Eats

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Cookie Dough Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup caramel topping
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoon water or milk
4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups mini chocolate chips

For the cookie dough: In a medium bowl, combine the butter, caramel, and sugars for the cookie dough. Add the water (or milk), vanilla and blend. Mix in the flour, salt and 2 cup chocolate chips. The dough will be fairly soft. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out the cookie dough and place them on a wax paper lined plate or baking sheet. Place them in the freezer to harden. I let them freeze for 2 to 3 hours. You should at least get 24 balls.

For the Cupcakes:

1 box of white cake mix or party chip or your favorite homemade recipe

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Follow the instructions on the box to make the batter. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full with the batter. Place a frozen cookie dough ball on the top center of each cupcake.

Bake at 350 for 16-18 mins.

For the Frosting:

3 sticks softened butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips

In a mixer combine the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the salt, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth and combined. Add in the chocolate chips.

Frost the cupcakes. I used a pastry bag with a large round tip to frost my cupcakes.

It makes 24 cupcakes.

Baked Potato Soup

I have never been able to make a really good potato soup until now. This recipe that I found on Foodie with Family is great and I thought pretty easy. What I thought really put this over the top was the Greek yogurt green onion mixture. Mixed into the soup was so good. It gave it a tangy, onion yumminess to go with the bacon bits and cheese. I enjoyed this soup for a couple of dinners and several lunches. I will be making this again.

Baked Potato Soup
adapted from Foodie with Family

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12 one cup servings, 6 WW points per serving

Soup ingredients:

12 large baked potatoes, cooled (*see instructions below for directions on how to bake potatoes)
4 tablespoons butter, divided
6 tablespoons flour
1 onion, chopped finely
4 cups skim milk
6 cups chicken broth
2/3 cups Weight Watchers shredded Mexican cheese
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder
optional: up to one cup of instant mashed potato flakes to thicken soup

Creamy onion topping

2 cups Greek yogurt
1 bunch green onions (scallions), cleaned, trimmed of roots and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt

In a bowl mix together the yogurt, green onions and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready to use.

To Bake Potatoes:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Gently scrub potatoes under cool running water to remove any dirt. Pat the potatoes dry on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes. They are done when they yield to gentle pressure when you squeeze them. (Wear an oven mitt when squeezing them! ) When they are done, transfer to a rack on your counter to cool. Once cool peel off the skins and smash the potatoes in a large bowl and set aside.

In a skillet melt one tablespoon butter and cook the onions until soft. Add in the rest of the three tablespoons of butter. Once melted sprinkle the flour over the onions and butter and whisk until smooth. Turn the heat back to medium. Although at first the fat and flour will seem to seize up it will loosen and become liquid again fairly quickly. Once it returns to a liquid state and begins bubbling stir constantly and cook for 1 minute. This is your roux, or your thickener, for the soup. Whisk all of the milk into the roux and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently until thickened. To check whether your base has thickened enough dip a soup or wooden spoon into it and remove it. If it is still thin, simmer a little while longer or until it does coat a spoon.

Whisk the 6 cups of chicken stock into the thickened milk base and then stir all of the smashed potato innards into the soup. With the pot over medium heat, stir frequently to prevent scorching. You don’t need to boil the soup; you just need to get it steaming hot. When it is steaming check the consistency. If it is not thick enough for your liking, sprinkle two tablespoons of instant potato flakes over the top of the soup and stir in quickly. Wait a couple minutes and check the consistency of the soup again. You can continue adding potato flakes until it is as thick as you like it. We like our soup quite thick, so I have added as much as 1 cup of flakes before. Make sure, though, to wait a couple of minutes between additions as it takes a little while for potato flakes to reach full thickening power. Stir in the cheese until it is completely melted. Adjust flavors with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Remove the soup pot from the heat and serve immediately with Creamy Onion Topping, the bacon pieces, sliced green onions and shredded cheese.

BBQ Chicken Calzones

I found this recipe on Life as a Lofthouse's blog. Holly has some really great recipes and so far all the ones I have tried have been yummy. Will even liked these though he told me he would have liked them better without the green stuff, meaning the cilantro. I love cilantro and all this time didn't realize that he really doesn't. I really liked the filling for this calzone all by itself. I think it would make a great BBQ chicken salad.

BBQ Chicken Calzones
adapted from Life as a Lofthouse

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10 servings, 4 WW points per serving

2 cans Country Style Biscuits (there are 10 biscuits in a can and they are smaller)
1 can Chunk Chicken, drained
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup Real Bacon Pieces like Oscar Meyer's
2/3 cup shredded Weight Watchers Mexican Cheese or low fat cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix together the chicken, BBQ sauce, onion, bacon, cheese, and cilantro together. Remove biscuit dough from cans. Take one dough piece and lay out on a clean surface. Roll out flat into a circle. Repeat with all dough circles.

In the center of a flattened dough circle, place 2 tablespoons of the BBQ chicken mixture. Take another dough circle and place over the top. Seal the edges by pressing them together. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. You will have 10 calzones total.

Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkin and Apple Donuts

I got myself a Wilton donut pan and I just had to use it. I knew I wanted to make pumpkin donuts and apple donuts. I thought that the pumpkin donuts needed something but the apple donuts were fantastic. Will loved them. I think he begged me to make more and I was a bad wife and didn't. What's nice about both of these recipes is that you don't need a donut pan. You can make them into muffins. I made these for my book discussion group. Once again these were a big hit, probably more so than the book. Though we did have a very good discussion on the book this month.

Pumpkin Donuts
from Culinary Cory

2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
2 Tbl. milk
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside. Cream together the brown sugar, canned pumpkin, eggs, milk, butter and vanilla extract until the butter is well incorporated. With your mixer on medium low speed, slowly add the dry sifted ingredients to the wet mixture. Mix until just barely combined. Be careful of over mixing.

Spray the donut pan with cooking spray and fill each donut mold halfway with the pumpkin batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 6 – 8 minutes or until the exterior springs back when touched. Allow to cool completely and top each donut with cinnamon glaze.

Cinnamon Glaze

½ cup powdered sugar
1 Tbl. milk
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg

Mix until smooth and creamy. The glaze should pour easily from a spoon. You may need to add additional milk or powder sugar to get the right consistency.

Apple Donuts

from the Savvy Kitchen

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 cup cored and finely diced apples
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix the first 5 ingredients with a fork. Add the shortening and mix until the shortening is broken up. Set aside. In another bowl combine the eggs, milk and diced apples. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.

Spoon into a greased muffin pan, or use paper liners. Bake 20 – 25 minutes or until muffins are light to medium brown (15-18 minutes for mini-muffins).

While donuts are baking, melt the butter and set aside. Combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon in a separate bowl. When the donuts are done and before they have had a chance to cool, dip the tops in butter and then roll them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tortellini Salad

I have been wanting to make a tortellini salad for awhile and the Halloween party was my first chance to make one. What's nice about tortellini is that it is versatile. I think you could really put any type of ingredients in it that you want and it would taste great. I decided on tomatoes, red onion, bacon, and ranch dressing. This was great and I enjoyed it for several lunches as well.

Tortellini Salad
a Lacey creation

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1 large package of refrigerated Buitoni Mixed Cheese Tortellini
1 package of cherry tomatoes, washed
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 package Real Bacon Bits for recipes
1 pint bottle Hidden Valley Ranch dressing

Cook the tortellini according to the package directions, drain and let cool. Once cool place in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. I recommend making the day before or several hours before serving so the flavors meld.


For the past seven years I have been having a Halloween party for my co-workers. This year was the first year I didn't have it at my house. My co-worker Vicki has a beautiful basement and she offered to have the party at her house. I took her up on the offer. Just because the party wasn't at my house didn't mean I wasn't going to cook. I always get pizza as the main dish and then I like to make a couple of side dishes and usually dessert. This year I didn't make any dessert due to being sick a few days before and I just didn't have the energy. Everyone brings something with them so we always have plenty of food to choose from. This year I made queso and tortellini salad. I made the queso using Velveeta. It was really good.


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32oz. Velveeta (New Queso Blanco flavor)
1 can Rotel Mild Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, drained
1 can Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Lime and Cilantro, drained.

Cut up the Velveeta and place it in a pot with the drained cans of Rotel. Place the pot over a medium low heat and stir frequently to melt. Once melted place in a crock pot on keep warm setting to keep warm or just place in a bowl and eat.

Or you can place the cut up Velveeta and Rotel right in the crock pot and place on low to melt before a party. Change to keep warm once melted.

Serve with chips.

Caution to all Bakers-Banana Bread

This is banana bread. This poor banana bread got a little burnt. But it still tasted great. I titled this post caution to all bakers because I could have avoided burning the bread if I would have checked the temperature on the oven. I thought the oven was running a little hot but didn't think about it. I'm glad I set the timer for half the baking time the recipe called for or this bread would have been completely black. I just had a feeling. When I noticed the burning smell I checked the temp and it had gotten bumped up to 500 degrees. I'm glad I didn't burn the house down. I really wish I hadn't burnt it because it was a going away present for one of my co-workers. Banana bread is her favorite. She got a promotion and is going to work at the Main Library. All the best luck to her.

This recipe is so easy. You don't even need a mixer. Just mix together with a big spoon.

Banana Bread (Recipe reflects the doubling I did)
from Simply Recipes

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6 or 8 ripe bananas, smashed
2/3 cup melted butter
2 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
2 egg, beaten
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
3 cups of all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350°. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into 5 small buttered loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

Vanilla Peanut Butter Pie

I love to watch Man vs. Food. I think that Adam is such a cutie, but I worry about him doing all those food challenges. I hope he eats healthy during his off time. I wouldn't mind traveling around getting to eat at the places he gets to eat though. The food looks awesome. On one episode he went and ate at restaurant that served a peanut butter pie that had vanilla pudding and whipped cream. It looked so good and I knew I wanted to recreate it. I think you know by now my love of mini foods so I made mini pies instead of a big one.

These were yummy.

Vanilla Peanut Butter Pie
slightly adapted from Recipe Source

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1/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup powder sugar
1 small package vanilla pudding
1 box refrigerated pie crusts
1 8oz Cool Whip or Homemade Whipped Cream

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Spray a 24 cup mini muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the pie crust a little thinner then what it is. Using a round cookie cutter or a glass cut out 12 rounds. Fit the rounds into the muffin cups. Repeat with the other pie crust. Lightly prick the crusts with a fork and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly brown.

While the crusts are baking make the vanilla pudding according to the package directions and put in the fridge to set up. In a bowl mix together the peanut butter and powder sugar until crumbly.

Once the pie crusts are baked and cooled start assembling them. Sprinkle in about a teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture into each shell. Top with vanilla pudding. Top with whipped cream. Sprinkle with more peanut butter mixture. Enjoy!

Baked Chicken Chimichangas

So the week I made this dish was the week that Jessica and her family were coming into town and I think I was a little preoccupied. When I plated the finished product it was after I ate it that I realized I didn't take a picture. I made the plate look really pretty too. So the picture you see to the left is what I took to lunch. Also that week I made the Black Bean and Beef Chili and didn't get a picture of that either. That chili was awesome. So I'm wondering if I should post the recipe without the picture or if I should wait until I make it again. Because just thinking about it is making me want to make it.

I thought that these chimichangas were really good. Will didn't even have any. That night Will and I got into a fight over how he thinks all I make is Mexican food so he made himself a sandwich. I admit to making Mexican food at least once a week but it's not everyday like he claims. I also admit that this dish would have been way too spicy for him. So I was a little off my game at picture taking. The recipe calls for making your own tomatillo sauce using canned tomatillos but I couldn't find any so I used Salsa Verde and doctored it up. I thought it was fantastic, but spicy. So if you don't like spice you might want to steer clear.

Baked Chicken Chimichangas
from So Tasty, So Yummy

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2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies
¼ cup water

4 burrito (large) size tortillas
1 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese

Combine spices and cornstarch in a small bowl. Sprinkle the bottom of the crockpot with the spice mixture. Top with the chicken, Rotel and water. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Shred the chicken with two forks and cook for 30 minutes more.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a large cookie sheet. Combine the shredded chicken with the cheese. Lay out the tortillas and top each with ¼ of the chicken mixture. Roll up the tortillas burrito style, placing them seam side down on the cookie sheet. Spray the top of the Chimichangas with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with queso or Deluxe Tomatillo sauce. Garnish with sour cream, tomato and cilantro.

Deluxe Tomatillo Sauce

1 can (28 ounces) tomatillos, drained (Or I used four 7 ounce cans of La Costena Salsa verde)
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ jalapeno, minced (I did not use)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 cup sour cream

In a saucepan, combine tomatillos, broth, cumin, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Puree until smooth with an immersion blender. You can skip the puree step if using salsa Verde. Return to heat, stir in the sour cream and cook 3 minutes more until heated through.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Blondies

I love Fall! The weather is starting to get colder but not so cold where I need to dig out my heavy coat, scarf, hat, gloves, and boots. Just a sweater does nicely. I can start making soups and stews. I can break out the pumpkin recipes. Pumpkin! Mmmmm, yummy! These bad boys were scrumptious. These are like eating cake and candy all rolled into one. Soooooooo Goooooood!!!
Make these today.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Blondies
from Smells Like Home

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2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (or brown sugar)
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with foil. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Stir together and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate and butterscotch chips with a rubber spatula.
  3. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared. Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.
  4. To serve, lift the cake from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board. Peel off the foil and using a sharp knife, cut into 24 squares.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Meal Plan for the week of 10/17/2011

I have been silent on here for awhile but I had out of town guests and then I was sick and food was not a high priority. But now I feel much much better and food is once again my friend. So be prepared for yummy recipes to come your way.

Monday: Breakfast Bowls (Recipe to come)
Tuesday: Pita Pizzas
Wednesday/Thursday: Soy Garlic Chicken (Recipe to come)
Friday: Spaghetti
Saturday: Dinner Out
Sunday: Leftovers

Monday, September 26, 2011

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

There was a change in the weekly meal plan. I had about two hours of sleep last night and there was no way I was going to be able to get anything cooking in the crock pot this morning to make the baked chicken chimichangas. The beef was sitting in the fridge so I knew I could come home and make the sloppy joes. I just wasn't sure if I was going to make it the whole day. Once I got past that sick feeling I was okay but still really tired. But here I am at 9:45pm and I'm feeling wide awake. When I do lie down after I get this posted I better fall straight to sleep. No lying wide awake in bed like I did last night until 5am. I have to get up tomorrow at 6am so I can be at the Dyer library at 8am. Someone hates me to make me get up that early.

I liked these sloppy joes. Do they taste exactly like a Philly Cheesesteak? No, but they have a really good flavor with the onions, green peppers, and mushrooms. I could have done without the cheese sauce. The original recipe called for provolone but I couldn't find what I needed at the store. I'm thinking that the provolone would have been better. I should have just gotten a chunk at the deli but I was tired and didn't want to have to go back that way. So I settled for a block of reduced fat mild cheddar. Will and I both agreed that it didn't have a lot flavor. Maybe I should have used sharp cheddar. I think even a slice of melted provolone would have been better. So yeah I could have done without the cheese, which I don't say very often, but the meat was really good.

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes
adapted from A Taste of Home Cooking

8 servings, 4 WW points per serving includes 2 point hamburger bun
2 tablespoons of the cheese sauce adds 2 WW points

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1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound really ground beef
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 tablespoons steak sauce
1 cup beef broth
1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained
8 low calorie and fat hamburger buns
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 cup reduced fat mild cheddar, shredded

In a large skillet heat the oil and add the onion and green pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to get tender. Add the ground beef and garlic powder and brown the beef until cooked through. Drain. Place the beef mixture back in the pan and add the steak sauce, beef broth, and mushrooms. Bring to a bubble and cook for 2 minutes.

While the meat is cooking, melt the butter in a medium-size pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, bring up to a bubble and let thicken, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir the cheese.

To serve, place a scoopful of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the rolls, then top with the cheese sauce and replace the top of the roll.

Strawberry Whipped Cream Cupcakes

A co-worker of mine said that these were a little slice of heaven. Score. You can't beat a compliment like that. A month or so ago when I made those Strawberries and Cream Mini Pies I had some filling left over. I used that left over filling to stuff some chocolate cupcakes and topped them with a cool whip cream cheese mixture. They were fabulous. I knew I wanted to try the filling in yellow cupcakes with whipped cream icing.

These were fabulous too. Like a strawberry shortcake. Link

Strawberry Whipped Cream Cupcakes
a Lacey creation

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24 yellow cupcakes, (I used a yellow cake boxed mix)
1 cup mashed strawberries
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
16 oz heavy cream
2 cups powder sugar

In a small saucepan combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add the strawberries and water. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Cook for three minutes or until it thickens. I didn't time it but it didn't take long for the mixture to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool.

While that's cooling make the whipped cream. I used my kitchen aide to make my icings. I placed my mixing bowl in the fridge to get cold. Pour the heavy cream into the bowl and use the paddle attachment to beat the cream. Set on medium and let it beat for 5 minutes. Add in the powder sugar and let beat until it starts to thicken. If it doesn't add more powder sugar a little at a time.

Southwestern Chicken Drumsticks

Do you ever start to make a recipe and realize you don't have everything you need? That's what happened when I went to make this. The recipe called for butter, lime juice, and various spices. The lime juice I had was over a year old. So I improvised and pretty much changed everything about the original recipe except the butter and the chicken. I think it turned out pretty good.

Southwestern Chicken Drumsticks

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6 servings, 3 WW points per drumstick

6 drumsticks, thawed and skin removed
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup salsa
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the drumsticks in a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a bowl melt the butter. Mix in the salsa, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and chili powder. Pour over the chicken. Bake for 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. When you serve pour some sauce over the chicken.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Meal Plan for the week of 9/26/2011

Monday: Baked Chicken Chimichangas (Recipe to Come)
Tuesday: Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes (Recipe to Come)
Wednesday/Thursday: Black Bean and Beef Chili (Recipe to Come)
Friday: Jessica will be in town. Let the feeding frenzy begin.
Saturday: Cassandra's wedding.
Sunday: Jessica will still be in town.

Mini Peach Pies

I have an obsession with mini foods. I think it's the cuteness of mini foods that gets me the most. And then I like the portability of mini foods. How you don't need a fork to eat them. You just grab them with your fingers and eat. Lastly I think I love mini foods because it's okay to eat 3 or 4 or 10 of them right? Right? Well maybe not 10 but I won't tell if you won't. I made these cute little peachy pies for Carol's book discussion group last week and I heard they were a hit. I have to keep them spoiled with the homemade treats and it keeps me baking. I have often thought about starting my own Goodies to Go business so I could make some extra cash doing what I love but honestly I'm not sure where to start. How do I sell myself? How do I get myself known? What do I charge? I'm not a business person. Maybe I should ask someone who is to help with that. I just want to bake and make peoples taste buds and bellies feel good with my creations.

These pies were really good. Nice and peachy.

Mini Peach Pies
taken from Cook Au Vin

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8 cups ripe peaches, skins on (I used a 4 pound container from Sam's it was just enough)
1 1/3 cups sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons butter
1 packaged refrigerated pie crust

Pit the peaches and dice into a small dice. In a large bowl, gently stir together the peaches, sugar, flour and nutmeg. Let rest for 20-30 minutes until the juices release and syrup begins to form. Place a strainer over a large soup pot and place the peach mixture into the strainer. Allow the syrup to fall into the pan, reserving the peaches. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium heat, reduce to low and cook for 10 minutes or until the liquid begins to thicken. Stir in the peaches. By adding the peaches in last, you avoid overcooking them and turning them to mush. Mine cooked for about 5 minutes and it thickened so I added the peaches and cooked for about 5 more minutes.

Off heat, add the vanilla and butter, gently stirring until the butter melts. Let cool to room temperature. The filling can be made in advance and refrigerated.

Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Unroll one of the pie crusts and using a rolling pin thin out the dough just a little bit. Cut circles big enough to fill a mini-muffin well. Gently place the circles into the muffin tin as if you were filling a pie plate. Fill with pie filling, almost to the top. With remaining dough pieces, gently cut out whatever shape you want to top it with. I cut strips for these, but you could cut out small hearts or stars. Or just cover with rounds. With one box of pie crusts I was able to make about 32 mini pies. I had enough pie filling to make a whole pie. Which in the original recipe she did. Or you could make 32 more mini pies. So you could 1/2 the filling recipe.

Bake the mini pies at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Beef Roll Ups

A friend of the family's used to make this recipe. I remembered that it was really good. So I asked my Aunt if she had the recipe and she did. It's very easy. In the picture the roll ups are on the right hand side of the plate. To the left are the mash potatoes covered in gravy with extra stuffing.

Beef Roll Ups

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6 roll ups w/extra stuffing and gravy, 7 WW points per roll ups w/extra stuffing and gravy

6 Steak umms, thawed leave the parchment paper on
1 box stuffing
2 jars beef gravy
mash potatoes

Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees

Prepare the stuffing according to the box directions. In a 8 inch square baking dish pour one jar of gravy. Take a Steak umm leaving it on the parchment paper it came on. Spoon about two tablespoons of the stuffing onto the short end of the Steak umm and roll up. Use the paper to help you roll up the Steak umm. They are fragile. Place the roll up seam side down onto the gravy. Repeat with the remaining Steak umms. You will have stuffing left over. I spooned the rest of the stuffing over the roll ups and then topped with the other jar of gravy. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with mash potatoes. The potatoes will add extra points.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Meal Plan for the week of 9/19/2011

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner (Pancakes, Turkey sausage, and Eggs)
Tuesday: Pita Pizzas
Wednesday/Thursday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches (Pork provided by my Godmother, which she got from the Apple Orchard)
Friday: Southwestern Chicken Drumsticks (Recipe to Come)
Saturday: Eat Out
Sunday: Left Overs

Angie's Taco Pie

I think I could eat Mexican type food everyday and be happy. Unfortunately Will is not the same way. So I try and limit my Mexican cravings. I found this recipe on the Gooseberry Patch website. I sorta followed it. Instead of just making regular boring taco meat I made my Rio Rancho taco meat and I thought this meal was really good. Will liked it too. It's a combination of sweet and savory with the cornbread and the taco meat and cheese. Just add your favorite taco toppings and you have a very yummy meal.

Angie's Taco Pie
adapted from Gooseberry Patch

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4 servings, 10 WW points per serving

1, 7oz package of Sweet Yellow Cornbread and Muffin Mix
1/2 lb. really lean ground beef
1/2 small onion, diced
1/6 cup or 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning
1/2 cup salsa
2 0z of green chili's
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar Splenda or just brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1/2 cup water
sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the cornbread according to the package directions. Spray a 8 inch square or round baking pan with cooking spray and pour in the cornbread batter. Set aside.

In a skillet brown the ground beef and onion. Drain. Place back in skillet and add the next eight ingredients. Let cook for 10 minutes or until some of the water has reduced. Spoon beef mixture over the cornbread batter and top with cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until the cornbread has set. The cornbread pretty much completely rises over the beef mixture and cheese. Feel free to use your favorite taco meat recipe. The original recipes just calls for beef mixed with taco seasoning then topped with salsa and cheese. Nothing wrong with that but I wanted to kick it up and notch and I have to hide salsa inside the meat or Will won't eat it.

Next time I think I might make these into individual muffins.

Chicken Souvlaki Pitas

I love stuff that goes in a pita. I love souvlaki. The only thing that would have made this better would have been some feta. Reduced fat of course. I got this recipe from Dinner for a Year and Beyond's blog. She has great recipes. This is super simple and super good.

Chicken Souvlaki Pitas
from Dinners for a Year and Beyond

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4 servings, 9 WW points per servings

1 (6 ounce) container plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup shredded cucumber
1/4 cup lemon juice, divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 pitas
sliced tomatoes
sliced red onion
reduced fat feta

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumber, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and garlic salt. Set aside.

In a large resealable bag, combine the remaining lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken and seal bag. Make sure the marinade covers all the chicken. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 30 minutes up to overnight.

She grilled the chicken but I baked it in the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 35o degrees. Place in a baking dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. To serve, heat the pitas for about 30 seconds in the microwave. Cut the chicken up and distribute evenly between the four pitas. Top with tomato, onion, feta, and cucumber sauce.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Meal Plan for the week of 9/12/2011

Monday: Chicken Souvlaki Pitas (Recipe to come)
Tuesday: Beef Roll Ups w/ Mash Potatoes and Gravy (Recipe to come)
Wednesday/Thursday: Cheese Tortellini Soup
Friday: Eat Out
Saturday: Angie's Taco Pie (Recipe to come)
Sunday: Left Overs

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hashbrown Pork Chop Casserole

Will loves pork chops. I don't have the first clue how to make pork chops. I'm afraid of cooking them too long and making them dry. My friends mom in Arizona makes really good grilled pork chops. They are really yummy. Me and pork chops just don't go hand in hand. So when I found this recipe on The Country Cooks blog I knew I had to give it a try. The recipe came from a Gooseberry Patch cookbook and I love Gooseberry Patch cookbooks. I'm going to have to check this cookbook out. Not only does this recipe have pork chops but it also has cheesy potatoes which Will loves too. Will did love this dish. He did say that the potatoes could have used a little bit of pepper but that's easy to fix. Other than that I thought this was a delicious meal. The pork chops were moist and the potatoes were nice and creamy and cheesy.

Hashbrown Pork Chop Casserole
from The Country Cook

8 servings (4 oz pork chop, 1 cup potatoes), 8 WW points per servings

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4 pork chops (I used a 2 lb package of boneless thick cut pork chops called grillers)
1 tablespoon of oil
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 can (10 3/4 oz) 98% fat free cream celery soup
1/2 cup skim milk
32 oz package frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
1 onion, diced
1 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Season the pork chops on both sides with seasonings of choice. I used salt, pepper, and garlic. In a large skillet heat the oil and brown the pork chops on both sides. Don't cook through because they will finish cooking in the oven.

In a large bowl combine the, sour cream, celery soup, milk, hash browns, onion, and cheese. Spray a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray and spread in the hash brown mixture. Top with pork chops. Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes or until heated through and pork chops are fully cooked.

Meal Plan for the week of 9/5/2011

Monday/Tuesday: Hashbrown-Pork Chop Casserole (Recipe to Come)
Wednesday/Thursday: Lazy Woman's Lasagna
Friday: Eat Out
Saturday: Tacos
Sunday: Left Overs

Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich

This isn't the greatest picture. It doesn't convey the yumminess of this sandwich. I found this recipe on a blog I frequent called Dinners for a Year and Beyond. The author said it was like Subway's sandwich. I didn't think it tasted exactly the same but it was pretty good. So was the sweet onion sauce. I will be making this again. Don't be intimidated by the longish list of ingredients. You will be surprised by what you already have in your pantry and this comes together very fast. It's not hard to make at all. If your not a fan of the sweet onion sauce then you don't need make it because the sandwich without it is good.

Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich
adapted from Dinners for a Year and Beyond

4 servings w/o buns, 6 WW points per servings

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1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts , cut into thin strips

teriyaki marinade --
1/4 cup soy sauce reduced sodium
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 teaspoon dried minced onions
1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon pepper

sweet onion sauce --
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon dried minced onions
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Splenda brown sugar blend
1/8 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper

In a large resealable bag, place the teriyaki marinade ingredients and the chicken. Let chicken marinate for about 1 hour. I didn't have time to let mine marinate and my chicken wasn't totally unthawed so I baked my chicken uncut in the marinade in the oven for 40 minutes at 350 degrees instead of grilling the chicken. The chicken turned out very flavorful and moist. Though next time I would like to grill it.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan over medium high heat, combine the sweet onion sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil while stirring to combine. Add 2 tablespoons of water and stir. Set aside.

To serve, slice rolls and top with chicken and desired toppings. Drizzle with the sweet onion sauce and enjoy!

Oven Baked Stew

I'm the type of person that can eat ice cream all year round. I'm also the type of person that can eat soup or stew all year round. When I saw this recipe I knew I needed to try it. It sounded great and it seemed very easy. I planned it for Wednesday. I was going to get it ready and have Will put it in the oven to bake. Then I remembered Will is working a different shift now and doesn't get home until 7pm and this dish takes 2 hours to cook in the oven. I didn't want Will to have to wait until 9pm to eat. So I decided to put everything in the crock pot and let it cook all day so it would be ready to eat when Will got home. All Will had to do was throw in the brown in serve rolls in the oven to go with the stew. This was a great meal and making it in the crock pot worked out just fine.

Oven (Crock Pot) Baked Stew
adapted from Life as a Lofthouse

6 servings, 6 WW points per serving

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1 (1 oz) package of Dry Onion Soup mix
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1 pound lean Beef Stew Meat (cut up into bite sized pieces)
2-3 medium Potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces
3 large Carrots, peeled and diced (I used a small bag of petite baby carrots)
1/2 an Onion, chopped
1 can 97% fat free Cream of Celery Soup
1/2 cup Ketchup

In a gallon zip lock bag place the beef stew meat and the onion soup mix, salt, and paprika. Seal the bag and shake to coat the meat. In a large crock pot layer the meat, potatoes, carrots, and onion. In a small bowl combine the celery soup and ketchup together and then pour over the mixture in the crock pot. Cook on low for six to eight hours.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lasagna Cupcakes

I love lasagna. When I saw these cute little lasagna cupcakes on The Girl Who Ate Everything's blog I knew I needed to try these. Not only are they cute but they are very yummy. You use wontons for the pasta so you don't even have to bother with boiling any which is great.

Lasagna Cupcakes
adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

12 lasagna cupcakes, 3 WW points per cupcakes

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24 wonton wrappers
12 ounces spaghetti sauce
8 ounces really lean ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In a skillet brown the ground beef and onions. Once the beef is cooked through drain the beef. Put back in the skillet and add the sauce. While the sauce is simmering mix together the cottage cheese and the egg in a small bowl and set aside. Take a 12 cup muffin pan and spray in with cooking spray. Place a wonton wrapper in each cup. Spoon in tablespoon of spaghetti sauce, followed by a tablespoon of cottage cheese, followed by a tablespoon of mozzarella cheese. Top with another wonton wrapper and gently press down and repeat with other layers ending with cheese. I folded in the edges of the wonton wrappers that were peaking out so they wouldn't burn while cooking.

Mini Cheeseburger Puff Pies

I found these babies on Paula Deen's website. This is her boys recipe. Will and I both liked them. I doubled the recipe because I was making them for dinner and didn't know how big they were going to be. It was something different for dinner. Very tasty.

Mini Cheeseburger Puff Pies
from Paula Deen

4, 4 puffs per serving, 7 WW points per serving

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1 lb. really lean ground beef
4 teaspoons ketchup
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
All purpose flour for dusting
2 sheet puff pastry (from a 17.5 ounce package)
4 ounces reduced fat Mexican shredded cheese
1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the beef, ketchup, mustard, salt, and pepper. Form the mixture into 16 equal-size patties. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown the patties in oil about 1 minute per side.

On a lightly floured surface, unfold the pastry. Cut the pastry lengthwise into four equal strips, then cut strips in half crosswise. Place one patty on each strip and top with cheese. Fold the pastry up around the burgers and pinch the edges together to seal, molding to fit around the patties. Repeat with the other pastry and other burgers. Brush the tops of the pastries with the egg mixture.

Place the mini burgers on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.