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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.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Meal Plan for the week of 8/29/2011

Monday: Mini Cheeseburger Puff Pies (Recipe to Come)
Tuesday: Lasagna Cups (Recipe to Come)
Wednesday/Thursday: Oven Beef Stew (Recipe to Come)
Friday: Chicken Teriyaki Sandwiches (Recipe to Come)
Saturday: Dinner Out
Sunday: Left Overs

Rio Rancho Egg Bowl

When I asked Will if he wanted waffles, pancakes, or eggs for breakfast this morning he said eggs. I made cheesy eggs and added extra stuff to mine. I left his just cheesy. He's not as adventurous as me. I had left over Rio Rancho meat and knew it would taste fantastic with eggs, cheese, tomatoes, and sour cream. I was right. It was fantastic. You could make this with any left over taco meat.

Rio Rancho Egg Bowl

1 serving, 9 WW points

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2 whole eggs
3 egg whites
1/3 cup reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese
1/2 cup Rio Rancho taco meat or any taco meat
tomato, diced (optional)
reduced fat sour cream (optional)

In a bowl whisk together the 2 whole eggs and the 3 egg whites. In a skillet scramble the eggs over medium heat until soft but set. Add cheese and taco meat and heat through. Serve with tomato and sour cream if desired. You can cut down on points by using just egg whites or Egg Beaters.

BBQ Chicken Pasta

I have to say that I'm proud of myself. I didn't make it all week without eating out but I made it the majority of the week. Will and I only ate out on Friday. That's because I was just too tired to cook after working. I have decided that I will cook Monday thru Thursday and on the weekend day that I don't work. I get to treat myself on the weekend day that I do work.

This is BBQ Chicken Pasta. I have to say it was very tasty. Will even enjoyed it saying that I could make it again. High praise coming from my hubby. I made this using Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce. It gave this pasta a really good flavor. Using wheat pasta made it semi healthy.

BBQ Chicken Pasta
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

8 one cup servings, 6 WW points per serving

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1 tablespoon olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 small red onion, diced
3 cups water
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 13oz box wheat penne pasta
2/3 cup Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce
1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup reduced fat Mexican cheese

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the chicken and onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken and onions to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, add the water, chicken broth, penne and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the liquid is almost absorbed, the pasta is tender and the mixture is thick and syrupy. Stir in the barbecue sauce and sour cream. Once mixed, add in the reserved chicken, onions and shredded cheese. Stir to combine and cook until everything is heated through.

Serve immediately and garnish with additional red or green onions and shredded cheese.

Baked Oatmeal

My mom used to say that as soon as my feet hit the floor I wanted to eat. I'm still the same way. When I get up in the morning or afternoon on my day off I need to eat. Mornings for me are rough so I try to find easy breakfast ideas. Ones that I can grab and run to work with. I found this on My Kitchen Cafe. I'm not a huge fan of oatmeal but this sounded and looked really good. I tweaked it to be more WW friendly. To get the original recipe just click on the link above. Next time I will halve this because I'm the only one eating it and a 9X13 pan is a lot of oatmeal. But this was really good even with the tweaking. Since it was baked it had a chewy, crunchy texture but I really liked that. I added milk and bananas. I think this would be good with any fruit. It reheated well.

Baked Oatmeal
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

12 servings, 6 WW points per serving

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6 cups oatmeal, either quick or old fashioned
1 cup Splenda brown sugar blend
1 cup no sugar added applesauce
2 cups skim milk
1 cup Egg Beaters
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased 9X13 baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cut into 12 squares. Serve with milk and fresh fruit. This recipe can easily be halved and baked in a 8X8 pan.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oven Fried Drumsticks

I have given myself a goal this week of cooking every day, Monday-Sunday. I haven't done that in a long time. Cooked everyday I mean. It's just to easy to go out to eat, especially when I'm tired after a day of work. But I'm tired of spending money every week on groceries and then spending about the same amount on eating out. It's getting way too expensive. Not to mention unhealthy. No matter how hard I try it's hard for me to pick healthy choices when I go out to eat. Really what's the fun in that. So I came up with a meal plan this week. Like I said my goal is to follow it.

Monday: Oven Fried Drumsticks
Tuesday/Wednesday: Zuppa Toscana Soup with Garlic Breadsticks
Thursday: Rio Rancho Tacos
Friday: BBQ Chicken Pasta (Recipe to Come)
Saturday: Turkey Sausages and Brats on the Grill
Sunday: Left Overs

These Oven Fried Drumsticks were so good. Will said they were awesome, which in Will speak means I got an A plus from him. Very flavorful and very moist. They had a nice crunch to them. I will definitely be making these again. I can have three for only 6 points. Score! I served these with mashed potatoes and we had a very nice meal.

Oven Fried Drumsticks
taken from Hungry Girl

Makes 3, 2 drumstick servings at 4 WW points per serving

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6 raw chicken drumsticks, skin removed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Fiber One Bran original cereal
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. onion powder
3/4 tsp. oregano
1 1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup Egg Beaters

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. Hungry Girl says to use a blender or food processor to grind the cereal into a bread crumb like consistency. I just put the cereal into a large zip lock bag and used a rolling pin. Once I had the cereal to the bread crumb consistency I added in the rest of the spices right into the bag. Set aside.

Place the Egg Beaters in a wide shallow bowl. Two at a time, coat the drumsticks in the Egg Beaters, gently shake to remove excess liquid and place in the bag with the crumbs. Seal and shake to coat. Transfer the drumsticks to the baking sheet and repeat with the other drumsticks. Bake for 20 minutes and then flip over and bake for 2o more minutes, until crispy and cooked through.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Strawberries and Cream Mini Pies

I have been dreaming these up for awhile. I was inspired by a strawberry pie I saw on Our Best Bites website but these babies are very different. These babies are oh so good. I thought my co-workers were going to fight over these and they didn't last long. These were very easy to make.

Strawberries and Cream Mini Pies
a Lacey original

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2 ready to use refrigerated pie crusts (This time I only used 1 because I was experimenting but the filling should be enough for all two)
flour for dusting
1 cup mashed strawberries
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 8 oz Cool Whip

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees

Lightly dust your work space with flour and roll out one of the pie crusts. Using a rolling pin flatten out the pie crust to thin it out a bit more. Using a round cookie cutter cut out as many rounds as you can. Place each round into a well of a mini muffin pan. Take the scraps and re-roll out until the pie dough is gone. I was able to get 23 rounds from one pie crust so you should get 46 from 2. Lightly pierce the bottom of each round of dough with a fork to keep the dough from puffing up when baking. Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile 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 is cooling in a mixing bowl using a mixer beat together the cream cheese and sugar. Once combined fold in the cool whip.

To assemble: Fill each pie shell with strawberry filling. Top off with a dollop of whipped topping. If you want the pretty swirl like the picture I used a piping bag with a star tip.

I'm thinking little French silk pies next. Yum, yum.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Caramel Cupcakes

Have you read The Help by Kathryn Stockett yet? If you haven't you should. Go to your local library and check out this book. Or go buy yourself a copy if you like to have your own books. This really was a fantastic read. It made me laugh, it made me tear up, and it made me think. I was raised to think of everyone equally no matter what color a persons skin is or sexual orientation or gender. I'm thinking I would have gotten myself shot in the 60's living in Jackson Mississippi. Or at least made myself an enemy of Hilly's. I cringed a little every time she opened her mouth. I found it ironic that she didn't want to use the same toilet that her maid did because she worried about diseases but she wasn't worried about her maid washing her clothes, cleaning her house, washing her dishes, or making her food. I think she deserved the Terrible Awful she got from Minny. Her only redeeming quality was that she did love her children. The sad part was that they were probably going to grow up to be just like her. My one complaint about the book was that I would have liked more closure with the characters. I didn't really like the way it ended but other than that it was a great read.

On Tuesday the library had a book discussion on The Help and I made caramel cupcakes for their refreshments. In the book Minny was famous for her caramel cake. Well I made it into cupcakes. Since a recipe wasn't provided with the book I found one online. I think they turned out pretty yummy.

Caramel Cupcakes
recipe found here

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2 sticks of butter
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. sour cream
2 2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add sour cream and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until fully incorporated. Line your cupcake pans with 24 cupcake liners. Fill your cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter. The batter will be thick. An ice cream scoop works very well for this. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until no longer gooey in the middle.

If you don't want cupcakes this will make a three layer cake.

Caramel Frosting

2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

In a saucepan melt the butter, brown sugar, and evaporated milk together. Once melted cook over medium heat for two minutes and two minutes only. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Will generously frost 24 cupcakes with plenty of frosting left over. If you make the three layer cake this will frost that.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Smores Treats

I think I'm obsessed with anything smores. I've tried making smores cake balls and smores bars. Both turned out okay but not up to my standards. Those recipes still need a little work. These on the other hand were really good. The only thing I would change for next time would be mixing all the ingredients in a bowl and not the hot pan I just melted the marshmallows in. It melted the chocolate and extra marshmallows too much for my liking. I would have liked the chocolate pieces to have stayed intact better. These were a hit with my cousin Kim on our road trip to New Orleans.

Smores Treats

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3 tablespoons butter
6 cups minature marshmallows, divided
6 cups Graham cracker cereal
1 bag mini Hershey bars broken up

In a large sauce pan melt the butter. Add 4 cups marshmallows and leave on heat stirring constantly until completely melted. Transfer the marshmallow mixture to a heat proof bowl. Add the 6 cups graham cracker cereal and stir to help cool the marshmallow mixture. Then add in the remaining marshmallows and broken up Hershey bars. Mix well.

Spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray. Spread the smores mixture into the greased pan. Spray the spoon with cooking spray if the mixture sticks to it. Cut into squares.

Store at room temperature or in the fridge in an airtight container. To freeze, place in layers separated by wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Banana Pudding

Every month at the library we hold a book discussion. My boss and I split them so I do six and year and she does six a year. The four I have done so far this year have not been winners. This last book I picked was so unliked I was actually surprised. I liked it. But maybe my standards are lower. I'm not sure. All I know is that the dislike for this book was so overwhelming and here I thought I was picking an inspirational harmless book. I'll know better next time. On a positive note the dessert I made was well received. Usually the treats I make are well received. It's just the books I pick out that aren't. I'm making them pick out the books to be discussed for next year. If they don't like them It won't be my fault. I have had banana pudding many times but never like this. This was homemade and so good. Really it was very easy to make. The pudding just took some time to cook and thicken up. Other than that it was super easy. You should check out the blog I snagged this recipe from and the idea of putting it cute little mason jars. This woman's blog is awesome, A Cozy Kitchen.

I doubled the recipe and was able to assemble six pint size mason jars plus a mediumish size bowl. This is very sweet so pint size servings might be too much. I had plates set out for those who didn't want a whole mason jar so they could scoop out what they wanted. The 1/2 pint mason jars would probably be better.

Banana Pudding
from A Cozy Kitchen

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Doubled Version

6 cups whole milk
6 egg yolks
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour plus 2 tsp flour
2 pinches salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1 box of Nilla wafers
6 bananas
1 large container heavy cream
1/2 lb powder sugar

Add milk and egg yolks to a medium saucepan and whisk. Add sugar, flour, and salt and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 20 minutes or until thickened. If it’s not getting as thick as you’d like after 20 minutes, feel free to add another teaspoon of flour. Mine didn't get think enough after 20 minutes so I added another 2 tablespoons of flour and let it cook for another half hour. Remove from heat; stir in the vanilla.

For the whipped cream: Pour the heavy cream into a mixing bowl (I used my Kitchenaide mixer) and beat until foamy. Gradually add powder sugar to mixture, beating until soft peaks form. I used 1/2 pound of powder sugar. I let my Kitchenaide keep beating it until it became a whipped cream.

You can arrange in a big bowl or small mason jars. For either, arrange vanilla wafers in bottom of a small serving dish (or mason jar). Slice 1/2 banana and layer over wafers. Spoon custard over bananas. Spoon whipped cream over custard. Repeat until custard is gone and you have a few solid layers. I didn't use all the whipped cream I made.

Serve immediately or cover and chill for eight hours.