About Me

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I am a stay at home mother of two young children and love making healthy meals for my family! I love fitness, playing tennis, cooking and traveling. Most of all I love spending time with my family!!! I hope you enjoy making these recipes for your family as well!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tortellini and Smoked Sausage Soup

Well Fall has officially shown its pretty face around here!! The trees are all sorts of beautiful colors, the college football season is over halfway done, and the weather has gotten cold. There's nothing better than a hot bowl of soup on a cold Fall day. I've always liked minestrone soup but wanted a different type of soup with veggies. This is a recipe for a tortellini and smoked sausage soup which is just delicious...and the best part is that per 1 cup serving its only about 190 calories!!! I used turkey smoked sausage and cheese tortellini which helped to keep down calories. You should try this over the next few cold months to warm your soul!!



Ingredients
2 cans Italian diced tomatoes
1 10.5 oz French Onion Soup
1 14 oz can green beans, drained
1 14 oz can beef broth
3 cans of water (I used the beef broth can)
1 T minced garlic
Salt/Pepper
1 pkg turkey smoked sausage, cut into small bite-size pieces
1 bag frozen cheese tortellini
Baby spinach, optional
Parmesan cheese


Directions
In a large stockpot put first 8 ingredients. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 15 min. Add tortellini and let cook until pasta is floating. Remove from heat. Place baby spinach into bowl and ladle soup over. The heat will wilt the leaves. Garnish with Parmesan Cheese!

Friday, November 2, 2012

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is one of my favorites!! Its just so warming and delicious...I just love it! Some people think it may be hard to make but its actually very easy. The only 'difficult' part could be the slow cookng of the onions which is just time consuming (about 30 min). Other than that...super easy! I hope you try this for your family during these cold months...I know I'll make it more than a few times. ENJOY!!



Ingredients
4 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or use 1 T fresh thyme)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 boxes of beef broth
1/4 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
4 slices of swiss cheese
French Bread, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds and toasted (optional to toast)

Directions
In a large stock pot melt the butter and oil together. Add the onions, salt, and thyme. Cook over medium low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occassionally. You want the onions to become very soft and translucent...starting to get a nice golden color. Once your onions are cooked add the wine. Let that simmer for 2 minutes and then add both containers of beef broth and the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Ladle soup into a oven safe bowl. Top with 2 slices of bread and 1 slice of cheese. Put under the broiler of your oven to melt the cheese. Now you are ready to serve!!
  • Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    Brown Sugar and Mustard Glazed Salmon


    Its been a while since I've had salmon...that's weird because everyone in my family loves it (including my 2 and 4 year old)! I picked some up at the store the other day and wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. I checked in my pantry to see what I had and figured a brown sugar/mustard glaze would be perfect! I've made this many times and its great...served with some grits and a vegetable. Heres what I did...I hope you enjoy!


    Ingredients

    1 large filet of salmon (about 1 pound)
    3 T brown sugar
    1 T honey
    2 T butter
    2 T dijon mustard
    2 T soy sauce
    2 T oil
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

    Heat broiler to high. In a saucepan mix brown sugar, honey, and butter. Melt and let simmer for only 1 minute just to get the sugar melted. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard, soy sauce, oil, and ginger. Let cool. Place salmon on a aluminum foil covered baking sheet. Brush salmon with sauce and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place under the broiler. After about 3 minutes brush more sauce over salmon. You want to keep an eye on the salmon so it doesn't burn (due to the sugar). You need to broil it for about 6 minutes or until salmon flakes easily. You can drizzle a little more sauce over the top before serving. Enjoy!!!

    Image from Creative Culinary (once I cut my salmon it fell apart so it wasnt photo worthy :)

    Spaghetti Squash with Basil and Parmesan


    I get so tired of making the same side/veggies for my family. I love trying new things! This is a recipe that I came up with because I love the flavor of basil and I know that spaghetti squash has a very mild squash flavor. I hope you enjoy!!

    Ingredients
    1 spaghetti squash
    Olive oil/salt/pepper...just enough to sprinkle over squash
    2 T butter
    1 T pesto
    1/4 cup parmesan cheese
    Parsley

    Directions
    Preheat oven to 425.

    Microwave spaghetti squash for 1 minute. Cut top and bottom off and then cut spaghetti squash in half. Remove seeds from inside squash. Place cut side up on a baking dish and sprinkle with olive oil/salt/pepper. Roast in oven for 20 minutes.

    When you remove squash from the oven let sit to cool off so you can handle. Meanwhile melt butter in saucepan and add pesto. Cook for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Scrap the insides of the squash into the spaghetti like strings...add to saucepan. Saute squash with the butter and pesto. Add parmesan cheese. Serve with parsley!

    Friday, October 19, 2012

    Balsamic Pork with Spaghetti Squash


    This was an unplanned meal...sort of. I went to the grocery store around noon because I knew I didn't have anything for dinner and saw a nice pork loin. I grabbed it and headed home. Around 3 I realized I had no idea what to do with it so I started searching (like I typically do). Pork loin is best when slow cooked so its not tough. I searched slow cooker pork loin and found one that sounded pretty good...I gave it a shot with my own twists. I served it with roasted potatoes and spaghetti squash...it was a hit!


    Ingredients
    1 pork loin
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    1 T balsamic vinegar
    1 teaspoon dijon mustard
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon S&P
    Apple cider or apple juice

    Directions

    In a small bowl combine the sugar, vinegar, mustard, cinnamon and salt/pepper. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Rub the pork loin with sugar/vinegar mixture. Set in a cold slow cooker and pour 1 cup cider around pork. Set your slow cooker on high for 4 hours. After the 4 hours, I wanted to carmelize the sugars on the pork to add a nice crunch to the outside. I set it under the broiler for just a few minutes until crisp.

    In a saucepan pour 1 cup apple cider/juice and simmer for about 10 minutes or until thickened/reduced. Add a little cinnamon and salt. Serve over pork.

    Gnocchi with Chicken, Marinara, and Ricotta


    I was a little hesitant about this recipe because I don't overly LOVE ricotta cheese...its ok in small amounts but not like a whole mouthful...blah! I did change the original up and added roasted chicken and mozzarella cheese. It turned out super fabulous and was fairy quick. I did roast the chicken while the gnocchi were cooking and then just a short time under the broiler to get the brown crunchy cheese....OMG SO GOOD!!!! I love brown crunchy cheese...not so much the name of it but the taste is yum. Here you go and hope you enjoy!


    Ingredients
    1 package of gnocchi (either whole wheat or regular), cooked in salted water until they float
    2 roasted chicken breast (seasoned with S&P, olive oil and roasted at 375 for 20 min)
    1/2 jar your favorite marinara sauce
    1/2 16 oz container ricotta cheese (you can use part skim to reduce calories)
    4 slices mozzarella cheese

    Directions

    Preheat broiler.

    Once gnocchi are cooked spread them on the bottom of a greases 8x8 baking dish. In a mixing bowl combine the ricotta cheese and marinara sauce. Spread mixture over gnocchi. Sprinkle with special seasoning (salt, pepper, and garlic powder) and parmesan cheese. Place the slices of cheese over the top. Put under broiler and watch until cheese is golden. WATCH because it can burn quickly. ENJOY!!!!

    Monday, October 15, 2012

    Turkey Sausage with White Beans and Spinach

    Italian Sausage with White Beans and Spinach

     
    This may sound like an odd combo and the picture really doesn't do it justice but this was SUPER TASTY!!! The spiciness of the sausage with the creaminess of the white beans served over wilted spinach...healthy AND inexpensive! My kids even ate it and liked it. Its packed full of protein and vitamins from the spinach and red peppers. I actually served min over a little bit of bowtie pasta but thats totally an option. I hope you try this soon!



    Ingredients
    1 package mild Italian turkey sausage
    1 roasted red pepper (in the jar), diced
    1 shallot, minced
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 can white cannellini beans (or great northern beans)
    1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
    1/4 cup evaporated milk
    1/4 cup chicken broth
    Fresh spinach
    Pasta of your choice (optional...I chose bowtie but penne would be good too), cooked

    Directions
    In a large saucepan, saute shallot and garlic for only about 2 minutes. Add sausage (remove casing) and cook until no longer pink. Drain. In same saucepan add sausage/onion/garlic back to pan and add red pepper, beans, cheese, milk, and broth. Heat through for about 4 minutes and sauce is thickened. Serve over a bed of fresh spinach and pasta and the heat will wilt the spinach just enough!!

    Monday, October 8, 2012

    Broccoli & Cheese Stuffed Shells

    I always feel guilty for eating pasta, but I LOVE IT!!! I can't help it...its my favorite thing to eat although I don't very often b/c of the calories. I figure a healthier option for pasta would be to stuff it with veggies...yes thats it!!! Pasta with tons of broccoli pouring out :-)
    I've made broccoli casserole numerous times and served it as a side dish...this time I made it and stuffed it in shells. Don't worry though...even though there is cheese and cream of mushroom soup, I used low fat cream of mushroom soup and 2% shredded cheese. It was delicous for dinner and for lunch the following day. It made 12 shells.



    Ingredients
    12 Large Shells, cooked according to box and set aside
    2 (10oz) boxes of frozen chopped broccoli
    1 can of low fat cream of mushroom soup
    1 cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese
    1/2 cup breadcrumbs
    1 egg
    2 teaspoons house seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder)
    1/4 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
    1 cup marinara sauce

    Preheat oven to 400. Either mircrowave or steam your broccoli until just tender, about 5 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK OR IT WILL BE MUSHY!! In a large mixing bowl combine, broccoli, soup, cheddar cheese, bredcrumbs, egg, and S&P.
    Stuff each shell with broccoli mixture and set in a greased 8x8 baking dish pour marinara sauce. Cover with mozzarella cheese. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and let cheese brown, about 5 more minutes. ENJOY!!

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    Greek Burger

    I've said it many times burgers are one of my favorite foods! Nothing beats pasta and seafood but burgers are definitly up there. There are so many different ways that you can prepare a burger...it can be a juicy beef burger with bacon and cheese or a much healthier option of ground chicken with greek flavors. This was such a hit with my kids that my 4 year old told me probably 5 times during dinner how much she loved it. It has such a fresh flavor because of the herbs and seasonings. I loved it!! Please try this soon!!



    Ingredients
    1 lb ground chicken
    1 egg
    1/4 cup breadcrumbs
    1/4 cup Feta cheese
    2 T sundried tomato garlic ( you can find this in the produce section near the preminced garlice)
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon dried dill
    Salt and Pepper
    Whole Wheat Pita
    Kalamata Olives
    Tomato and Arugula
    Tzatizki Sauce
    1/2 English cucmber, shredded and squeeze the water out
    1 small container of Greek yogurt (I used Chiobani plain)
    splash of white wine vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon dried dill
    splash of fresh lemon juice

    Directions
    In a small bowl mix the shredded cucumber, yogurt, vinegar, dill and lemon juice and set aside. In a medium bowl combine chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, feta cheese, SDT garlic, oregano, dill and salt and pepper. Form into small patties. Heat a cast iron skillet (or grill) to medium high heat and cook patties until golden brown on both sides. To assemble burgers, cut a small part of pita bread off so you an open it. Spread your cucumber/dill sauce inside; put 2 of the small patties, kalamata olives, tomato, arugula and feta cheese. Enjoy!!!

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    Chicken Soup with Orzo, Spinach and Lemon


    Yesterday was the type of day that was rainy and had a Fall chill in the air. What's a better dinner choice than a big pot of chicken soup?! Ive made a soup before that had lemon juice added to the broth and it adds a freshness to the soup. Also I love spinach so I thought the recipe I found was a perfect choice. I found this recipe in the Paula Deen magazine and followed it exactly. There's nothing I'd change except maybe add a little more lemon juice. It was a perfect choice for a rainy Monday!



    Ingredients
    Chicken from 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
    2 carrots, diced
    1/2 large onion, diced
    1 teaspoon garlic
    2 (32oz)cartons of chicken broth
    2 T lemon juice, fresh
    3/4 cup orzo
    1 bag baby spinach

    Directions
    Add carrots and onion to a large stock pot with 1 T olive oil. Saute until soft for about 3 minutes. Add garlic...cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken and chicken broth. Let simmer for just a few minutes. Add orzo and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add lemon juice and spinach. Cook until spinach is just wilted.

    Serve immedietely and enjoy some toasty french bread or a salad! ENJOY!!!

    Shrimp Pasta Primavera


    This sounds like such a weird combo...shrimp with squash?! It was anything but that. I bought both yellow squash and zucchini, a pound of shrimp, jarred pesto, half and half, and pasta...basically sauteed everything and served it over the pasta. You could use chicken if you'd like but I love shrimp and so does my family. I hope you enjoy!!



    Ingredients
    3 yellow sqaush and 3 zucchini...sliced into disks or cubed
    1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
    1/4 yellow onion, diced
    1/2 small jar of pesto
    3/4 cup half and half
    1/2 pound pasta (I used bowtie), cooked
    parmesan cheese
    Saute squash, zucchini, and onion in 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil over medium heat for about 7 min or until golden. Add shrimp and cook until no longer pink...about 4 min. Add pesto and half and half and simmer for about 5 minutes until just thickened. Serve over pasta and add parmesan cheese.

    Pumpkin Dip


    So I am totally in the Fall spirit and all I want to do is making Fall-ish foods and decorate! I play tennis on Sundays and since it was at home we had to bring a dish...I had some pumpkin that I just happened to pick up at the store without any thought what I would do with it. I came across a few recipes for different pumpkin dips but ultimately combined a few to make my own. DELISH!!! This is definitely something that I will make for many years to come. Its great with apples and ginger snap cookies. I hope you try it this Fall!!


    Ingredients

    1/2 can pumpkin (plain not pumpkin pie filling)
    1/2 tub whipped cream cheese
    2 T maple syrup
    1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
    1/4 cup powdered sugar
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    Whip everything together with a hand held mixer and put in serving bowl. Chill for 2 hours and serve with apples and ginger snap cookies. Also I sprinkled a little cinnamon on top for a little extra flavor.

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Orange Parsley Porkchops



    This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to the butcher that is like a mile from the house (Fergusons). I love this place!!! I know that the meat is fresh and that you can get a great deal. I also like being able to choose the amount of meat that I want. I loaded up on meat for the week and spent less than $30!!! One of the items that I bought were thick boneless pork chops. I figured I would find a recipe when I got home...which I did :-)

    One thing that you should know about me is that I don't care for plain chicken or pork...not sure who does?! One of the easiest and quickest ways to add some great flavor to either of these meats is to make a compound butter to put on top. You don't have to marinade the meat for hours...you just grill and top with the butter. Honestly, it sounds pretty fattening but my butter to ingredient ratio only ends up having you eat MAYBE 1/4 T butter. Anyway, I found a recipe that had orange and parsley (which is a staple in my house) so ta-da!!

    Ingredients:
    2 bonesless porkchops (mind were really thick so I had the butcher butterfly them)
    2 T butter, softened
    1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
    1 T orange rind
    juice of 1/2 navel orange
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    salt and pepper to taste

    Season your pork with SPG (remember I always have a combo of salt, pepper, and garlic powder). Cook pork until done...on medium high for about 5-6 min per side. Use a meat thermometer to indicate doneness (is that a word?)

    Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine softened butter, parsley, zest, juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Once pork chops are done put about 1T of mixture on top. Enjoy!!

    *Notice the ratio of butter to other ingredients...the butter is pretty much just to combine everything.

    ** THIS WOULD ALSO BE DELICIOUS ON CHICKEN OR SEAFOOD!!!!

    Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemon



    When I go to the gym and run on the treadmil I watch the Food Network :-) You'd think watching cooking shows while exercising would make you hungry and un-motivated. For me it gives me ideas of meals to make for my family. I was watching Giada the other day and she made a Chicken noodle soup with lemon and it just sounded delicious! I had all of the ingredients at home from a meal earlier in the week so why not? Its a quick and delicious way to use up leftovers and have a good quality meal. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly...the only thing I didn't have was a cheese rind. Here is the recipe...

    Ingredients

    Directions

    In a large stockpot, bring the chicken broth, lemon juice, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind, if using, to a boil over medium-high heat.
    Add the carrots and simmer until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
    Add the broken pasta and cook until the pasta is tender, for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken and heat through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and the Parmesan rind and discard. Stir in 1/2 of the cheese and the parsley. Season with salt, to taste. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
    *Cook's Note: You can use any short pasta from your pantry as a substitute for spaghetti.

    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    Pumpkin Crumble Bars





    I still have canned pumpkin from the holidays...or did! I really love pumpkin...pumpkin pancakes, scones, cakes, bread pudding, and anything else pumpkin. I came across a recipe for a pumpkin crumb bar that sounded perfect! I really don't remember how I came across the website Cooking with Sugar, but I sure am glad that I found it!! Not like I need baked goods sitting around but its nice to have now and then. I also noticed that the recipe called for boxed cake mix and condensed milk...which I had! The kids helped (that's why its on a blue plate) and LOVED it!! I hope you do too!! 


    *I just copied the recipe from her website so I can't take any credit...other than introducing it to you :-)



    Ingredients:
    For base:
    • 1 (18.25 ounce) Box Betty Crocker Supermoist Yellow Cake Mix
    • ½ cup butter, melted
    • 1 egg
    For filling:
    • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
    • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
    • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    For topping:
    • 1 cup of dry cake mix
    • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or both
    • Powdered sugar for dusting

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan.
    Remove 1 cup of cake mix from the cake mix box and set aside in a small bowl for the topping. Then in a large bowl combine the remaining cake mix with 1 egg and a 1/2 cup melted butter. Mix well, and pat into bottom of pan. Set aside
    In the same bowl used for the base, mix together the pumpkin, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar and cinnamon. Combine well and pour over base mix in pan.
    With a fork, combine your reserved cup of cake mix with the nuts and softened butter. Crumble over pumpkin mix.
    Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool for at least 20-30 minutes then cut in squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

    Mediterranean Flatbread





    I love to try new types of food and recipes! I was shopping at Publix one day and came across one of the Apron simple meals for Mediterranean Flatbread...it sounded just up my alley! I changed it up just a little bit by adding feta cheese and adding the sun dried tomatoes. It was delicious!!


    Ingredients
    1 pound pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/2 in slices
    1 roasted red pepper (in the jar)
    1 T sun dried tomato in oil
    1 shallot or 1/2 cup onion
    2/3 cup cilantro
    1/4 cup canola oil
    2 T paprika
    11/2 teaspoons cumin
    1 T minced garlic
    1 T tomato paste
    1 T water
    pinch red pepper
    2 flatbread
    Feta cheese


    Fat free key lime yogurt
    1 T fresh lime juice




    Place red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, 2/3 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup oil, paprika, cumin, garlic, tomato paste, water, and crushed red pepper into blender; blend until smooth.
    Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Season pork with salt and pepper then place in pan with 1 tablespoon oil; cook and stir 3–4 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
    Reduce heat to low and add sauce; cook 1–2 minutes or until warmed. 


    Toast flatbread in toaster. Top each flatbread with pork mixture and feta cheese. Stir juice into yogurt; spoon lightly over top of pork. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cilantro. Cut into wedges or quarters and serve.

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    Bang Bang Shrimp



    All I can say is "WOW"...these are delicious!!! At one point while I was eating I thought to myself..."I'm pretty full but I need more Bang Bang Shrimp" :-) I love shrimp. I love any shellfish really. I'm not sure where I found the original recipe but I sort of changed it a little and made it my own...served it with coconut rice and steamed edemame. I love coconut rice...I hate coconut...I'm weird. Apparently Bonefish Grille has Bang Bang Shrimp as an appetizer...the recipe that I found was basing theirs off of that, so I guess I am too.

    Oh and don't be scared that the sauce starts with mayo...I think I used a total of 2 tablespoons for the entire recipe.

    Ingredients

    1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
    1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1/4 cup mayonaise
    3 T sweet chili sauce (you can sort of add as much or as little as you'd like)
    1 t sugar
    2 t rice vinegar
    Sriacha hot sauce (I dipped my shrimp in this mixed with more sweet chili sauce)

    Heat 1/4 cup canola oil in skillet. In a large ziplock bag, combine breadcrumbs and cornstarch (I added a little salt, pepper and garlic powder as well). Toss shrimp into bag and toss to coat. Once oil is hot, cook shrimp until done...about 4-5 min. While shrimp cook, mix mayonaise, sweet chili sauce, sugar, and vinegar in a large mixing bowl. TASTE...adjust to your liking** Once shrimp are cooked, put them in bowl with sauce and mix. Serve over coconut rice and edemame.

    ** My husband can't eat spicy food so I have to adjust my recipes. I like things with a little spice. Feel free to add Sriacha to the sweet chili sauce mixture before tossing in shrimp. I made a dipping sauce with sweet chili sauce and Sriacha to dip my shrimp in...delish!!!

    Coconut Rice: I use Jasmine rice...follow directions on box/bag. Substitute coconut milk for about 3/4  of what the recipe calls for water (ie. the recipe called for 1.5 cups of water...I did 1 cup coconut milk and 1/2 cup water) and you will have coconut rice! Add a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt to the milk/water.

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Cranberry Pork Roast



    Wow this was such an easy dinner...and tasty!! I'm not sure why I love the pork and cranberry combo so much...maybe its the sweetness of the cranberries married with the salty pork (I season it before it goes into the crock pot)...its just good!! I saw a recipe on one of my favorite websites, Recipe Girl, and thought that I would add a few ingredients to my liking. I also love serving corn bread or corn cakes with this meal. I've made a pork tenderloin and served it with a cranberry/pineapple relish before so that's why I added a few ingredients...smoked paprika and pineapple. DELISH!!! And better yet, for about 3-4 ounces of pork its only 250 calories...add some steamed broccoli and a corn cake and you have a nice hearty dinner for under 500 calories!

    Ingredients
    Pork Roast (you could use thick pork chops, pork tenderloin, pork roast, etc...you shred it in the end)
    2 cans whole berry cranberry sauce (low sugar if you can find it)
    1 can crushed pineapple (I used a large one because I had a big pork roast)
    1 T brown sugar
    1 T yellow mustard
    1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional...I wanted a little smoky/sweet flavor...you can leave it out)

    There are two ways you can begin this...you can either just throw everything into the crock pot and set OR you can sear the pork roast in 2 T oil to get a nice golden crust before putting it into the crock pot. I typically do sear it because I have time and it adds a little more flavor. Make sure you season roast with salt and pepper. Either way...in seperate bowl mix 2 cans of cranberries, pineapple, brown sugar, mustard, and paprika. Pour over pork and set it on low for 7-8 hrs (Or high for 5). Remove roast carefully to a serving dish (it might start to fall apart)...shred pork and pour sauce from the crock pot over pork. Make sure you get all of the yummy cranberries and pineapple!! I served it with steamed broccoli and corn cakes (recipe on the Jiffy Corn Muffin box). ENJOY!!!

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    "Good"a Chicken



    I have a funny story about Gouda cheese. My husband and I got married in 2007 and went to Jamaica for our honeymoon. We stayed at two different places just to change it up a bit. The second place we stayed was Sandals Ocho Rios. We had an incredible first half of our week relaxing, sight seeing, shopping, and eating/drinking good! We arrived at Sandals and had a frozen drink while we waited for our room. Well it never fails that The Hub has something mess him up on every vacation. This time it must have been the ice in our frozen drink...he couldn't eat ANYTHING for the rest of the week...except Gouda cheese and Jack Daniels! So whenever I think of Gouda cheese...that's where I go.

    Anyway, we both love smoked Gouda...I saw a recipe on Recipe Girl that was called Gouda stuffed chicken with apples...BINGO!! Sounded great to me...I just added a little different seasoning to mine. Chicken is one of those meats that you really need to flavor up or else its just boring and flavorless. If you can stuff it with something and make a light sauce to go on top, that really does the trick. Since I also watch my calories (a little bit...I just don't over do it) I thought that this would be pretty healthy. Like I've said before everything in moderation so just a little bit of cheese won't hurt.

    The easiest way to stuff chicken is to just cut a pocket into the side of the chicken breast, but not to go all the way through. I sliced a small piece of cheese (maybe an inch and a half), stuffed into the pocket, dusted the chicken with seasoned flour, seared it in a little olive oil and stuck it into the oven while I made the sauce. Voila...dinner served!

    Ingredients
    3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    3 pieces of gouda cheese
    1 cup flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder
    2 apples, Golden Delicious or Granny Smith, cored and thinly sliced
    1 cup chicken broth
    1 cup apple juice/cider
    1 clove garlic, minced
    few dashes of cinnamon
    1 T honey (or you could use pure maple syrup or agave nectar)

    Preheat oven to 300. Heat 2 T olive oil in medium saucepan. Rinse and pat dry chicken breast. Cut a pocket into the side of chicken. Stuff with cheese. In separate plate, season flour with seasonings and toss chicken in to cover. Cook chicken until browned on both sides, approximately 5 min per side. Put chicken on a baking sheet and place in oven.

    While chicken is in oven, discard oil from saucepan and pour broth, juice/cider, and garlic. Turn to high heat and bring to a boil. Let boil about 10 min or until thick *I typically add a slurry to thicken more (1 T cornstarch and 3 T water, combine in separate bowl and add to sauce...will thicken instantly). Add apples, cinnamon, and honey and cook for 5 minutes. TASTE! Adjust seasoning...you may need some salt or pepper, more honey, more cinnamon, or even a splash of cider vinegar...make to your liking.

    Remove chicken from oven and serve with apples and sauce. ENJOY!!

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Southwestern Chicken Bowl



    This is such an easy recipe to make...and healthy...and in my case cheap!! Most weeks I will make shredded chicken and chicken stock...its so much tastier than the canned stuff. Typically Sunday or Monday I will throw some chicken (this time it was 2 skin on bone in chicken breasts $2.50!), water, 1 celery stalk, 1 carrot, 1 onion, some garlic and salt and pepper into a pot and let it cook for 3 hours. Voila...shredded chicken and chicken stock! You could do this in a crock pot as well. It's always nice to have cooked chicken on hand for the week. There's so many recipes that you could throw together. In my case, I did a chicken bowl. It was great and served 4+! You have all of your food groups in one bowl...veggies, lean protein, a little dairy, and whole grains ** I added Tabasco to mine in my serving bowl since the Hub can't have spicy food...feel free to add cayene pepper and Tabasco

    Ingredients

    Shredded cooked chicken from 2 chicken breast (maybe 2-3 cups)
    1 can corn, rinsed and drained
    1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 can Rotel, drained
    1 teaspoon Cumin
    6 oz cream cheese
    Brown Rice (I used Uncle Bens 10 min)
    Garnish: Avocado, Tomato, salsa, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, lime...

    In medium saucepan combine chicken, corn, black beans, cream cheese, cumin, salt and pepper and cook over low to medium heat until warm and cream cheese has melted. TASTE...adjust seasoning. Meanwhile, use the chicken stock that you made and follow directions on package to make brown rice...this adds so much flavor to the rice.

    Serve chicken mixture over rice and top with your favorite garnish...I did avocado, cheese, and Tabasco. You can use whatever you'd like!!

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Chocolate "Coke" Cake



    YUM!!! I absolutley love to bake but I don't very often...partially because of the calories. I am one of the everything in moderation type of people so I think you need to indulge every now and then. I saw this recipe on Pinterest but thought that it called for too much sugar. I looked around and found a few different recipes and did my own thing. I used less than the recipe called for and it turned out fantastic.

    This is a great dessert to take to a potluck, holiday dinner, or just a summer grill out!!!

    1 cup butter
    1/3 cup cocoa
    1 cup cola soft drink
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/3 cups sugar
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    pinch of salt
    2 large eggs
    1/2 cup buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk use 1/2 cup regular milk and 1.5 teaspoon white vinegar and let sit for 5 min)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Icing
    1/2 cup butter
    1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
    1/3 cup cola soft drink
    3 cups powdered sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 350. In sauce pot combine butter, cocoa and coke and heat until just boiling. In mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Combine chocolate/coke mixutre into flour mixture. Mix in eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Pour into greased 13x9 baking dish and cook for 30 min (or until toothpick comes out clean)

    While cake is baking, combine butter, cocoa, and coke in sauce pot. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in vanilla and powder sugar. Pour over warm cake and let sit for 15 minutes.

    *Picture from www.mayflaum.com

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Baked Eggplant Sticks



    These were a hit!! I never thought that my husband or my children would eat eggplant but I had to try. It was a success. I've mentioned Skinny Taste before as a great vehicle for finding delicious and healthy recipes (she even tracks WW points and these are only 1 point!!!!!). I get very bored of the same veggies...broccoli, salad, carrots, and asparagus...that's why I had to try something new. Eggplant parmesan is quite tasty as an entree but as a side item?! These were quick to make and fun to eat so I'll definately make these again.

    Ingredients
    1 eggplant
    1 egg white
    1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs (I added in a little panko as well)
    2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper
    1 teaspoon olive oil (or olive oil spray)
    1 cup marinara sauce

    Preheat the oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray with oil.

    Cut ends off the eggplant. Slice eggplant in half length wise, then into 1/4 inch thick slices. Lay each slice on the cutting board and cut into 1/4 inch strips. Be sure to cut all the strips the same size so they cook evenly.

    Place strips into a bowl with salt, pepper, and olive oil. In separtate dish mix egg white with 1 T water. In 3rd dish mix breadcrumbs and cheese. Dip strips into egg mixture then into breadcrumb mixture. Place onto baking sheet evenly spaced. Spray with olive oil.

    Bake for 10 minutes...flip and bake for 7 more minutes. I shaved some fresh Romano cheese on top for a little extra flavor.

    Serve hot with the marinara dipping sauce.

    Coconut Curry Fish



    I actually really enjoy the classic coconut and curry combination! I always heard people saying that "it stinks...smells like curry" so I didn't give it a try until my aunt made something with curry...and I liked it! Its definately its own taste and you may need to have a very mild curry at first but I feel like its light and refreshing!

    As you know I read tons of cooking magazines, cookbooks, websites, and blogs to find recipes that my family will enjoy that are easy to make and affordable. There is a website called The Tasty Kitchen where home chefs are able to upload their favorite recipes to share with others and store for themselves. I love it...you can find so many wonderful passed down recipes and so many different cultures.

    That's where I came across this recipe for the coconut curry fish. It is a one dish dinner that takes practically no time to put together and bake...you even bake it in the marinade...EASY!!! The recipe called for toasted coconut to go on top but i'm sort of not a toasted coconut fan so I left it off. Anyway, PLEASE try this and I know you'll love it!!

    Ingredients

    1 whole lime, zest and juice
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon coriander
    2 Tablespoons soy sauce
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 Tablespoons brown sugar
    2 teaspoons curry powder
    1/2 can coconut milk
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 pound white fish (cod, haddock, tilapia)
    Garnish: Cilantro, Toasted Coconut, Lime

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium baking dish mix first 9 ingredients. Add fish and let marinade for 30-45 min. Cook the fish in the marinade for 15 min or until fish flakes easily. Serve with garnish. ENJOY!

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Ricotta/Spinach Stuffed Chicken and Cauliflower Fritters



    I love spinach! Whether its sauteed, raw in a salad, casserole, or stuffed into chicken...I love it! I like chicken but you have to jazz it up so much for it to have flavor. I've seen spinach stuffed chicken many times before and probably have cooked it before, but didn't blog about it. The recipe is simple and delicious!

    Regarding the cauliflower fritters...sounds strange...but oddly enough quite tasty! I can't stand plain cauliflower...I like roasted but thats about it. I was browsing recipes on Skinny Taste and came across this recipe. I thought it sounded pretty good and was healthy. It could take place of the starch (that I always feel like I need to complete my dinner) as well as the vegetable. It uses whole wheat flour which adds a nuttier flavor to the fritter. Anyways, kids liked it and the Hub said it needed a dipping sauce but was good. I'm thinking that you could make a tzatziki sauce for the dip and it would compliment it nicely. Anyway...here's the recipe and I hope you and your family enjoys!!

    Ricotto/Spinach stuffed chicken
    Ingredients
    3 large chicken breasts
    1 pkg (10oz) frozen chopped spinach
    1 cup ricotta cheese
    2 oz cream cheese
    1/4 cup parmesan cheese
    3 T Dijon mustard
    1 T Grapseed or Olive oil
    Seasoning (whatever you'd like...I used salt, pepper, Tastefully Simple spinach mix)

    Preheat oven to 450. Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts. Defrost spinach and squeeze out all excess moisture. In a medium bowl mix softened cream cheese, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and seasonings. Cut a pouch into the side of the chicken breast but make sure you don't go all the way through. Stuff the ricotta mixture until its overflowing. Place in greased baking dish or baking sheet. Put 1 T of mustard on each piece of chicken and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes or until done (I think I did 25 minutes to be safe).

    Cauliflower Fritters
    1 head of cauliflower, steamed and mashed
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 eggs
    1 cup whole wheat flour (i didn't use quite a full cup)
    1/2 cup parmesan cheese
    1/4 cup parsley
    1/4 cup hot water
    Salt and pepper
    1/4 cup olive oil (I used grapeseed oil)

    In bowl mix all ingredients except oil. It will be a thick consistacy. Heat oil in non stick pan and use an ice cream scoop for equal portions. Once oil is hot put scoops of 'dough' and flatten slightly. Let cook for 2 min and flip. Once golden brown, remove to paper towel. I sprinkled a little salt and pepper while still hot for added flavor.

    Monday, January 30, 2012

    Chicken Parmesan Rollotini



    I have to say that I love pretty much any Italian food! Pasta, seafood, parmesan, and the list goes on and on. Chicken Parmesan is one of my favorites but not the healthiest to serve your family. I tried finding a better recipe that has the crunch but not the fried. A rollotini pretty much means a "roll" of food...whether its meat or pumpkin roll. I find that taking either chicken cutlets purchased at the store (more expensive) or cutting a chicken breast completely in half and pounding thin works best. This option actually is better on the wallet and makes a lot of food. Regarding the mozzarella cheese, you can use sliced, string cheese, block...whatever! We had a block of mozzarella and cut it up into thin layers. Rolled it up, coated with panko breadcrumbs and baked it! It was great and was fairly inexpensive. Always stock up on chicken breast when they go on sale...there's so much you can do to change it up!

    Ingredients
    3 chicken breasts (or however many you need...remember you will cut them horizontally in half)
    6 pieces of mozzarella (like I said...whatever type you like)
    2 eggs
    1 cup panko bread crumbs
    1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    1 T Italian seasoning
    1/2 jar marinara sauce
    Salt. pepper, and garlic powder (SPG)

    Preheat oven to 400. Cut chicken horizontally and pound between plastic wrap til 1/4 in thin. Season with SPG...lay cheese across chicken. Roll lengthwise and secure with toothpick. Dip rolled chicken in egg mixture (eggs and splash of milk or water) and then in breadcrumb mixture (panko, parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning). Complete all pieces of chicken. Put in baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 35 min...remove and cover the tops of chicken with marinara sauce and a little more parmesan cheese. Put back in oven for 10 min. ENJOY!!!

    Friday, January 27, 2012

    Clams Casino Linguine



    I honestly don't really care much for clams...their texture is a little off-putting. I don't care much for Clam Chowder either...so why would I want to make a clam pasta?! I have no idea...it just sort of sounded good. I know, strange :-)

    I found a recipe on How Sweet It Is, which is a great food blog. I changed it ever so slightly b/c I don't care much for cooked peppers. It turned out quite delicious and pretty healthy...no cream, small amt of butter, and some cheese. I used whole wheat noodles to pump up the fiber. You could substitue turkey bacon if you'd like to cut down calories. Anyway, here is the recipe. It was fresh and light (and pretty inexpensive)!!

    Ingredients

    1 shallot. minced
    3 cloves of garlice, minced
    1 T olive or grapeseed oil
    2 cans (6.5oz) clams, including their juice
    1/2 cup white wine
    2 T butter
    3 strips of bacon
    1/2 pound whole wheat linguine
    1/4 cup chopped parsley
    1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

    Boil water (add salt to flavor water). Add pasta and cook until al dente. Meanwhile cut bacon into small pieces and cook until crisp. Drain of paper towel. In a seperate pan, saute onion and garlic over medium heat until soft...be careful not to burn the garlic...it will taste very bitter and you'll have to start over. Add wine, both cans of clams with juice. Simmer for 5 min. Add butter, parmesan cheese, cooked pasta, cooked bacon, and parsley. Let flavors combine for 1-2 minutes. TASTE...season with salt and pepper if needed. Top with freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese...use the grated if thats what you have. ENJOY!!!