Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fresh Green Beans

The final element of our main Christmas dinner - we also made John's Crab Stuffed Mushrooms to go along with the meal.

Fresh Green Beans
Courtesy of John (loosely adapted from some green beans we had at Luby's several years ago)

1 package fresh green beans (already washed and prepared - again we only needed enough for 2 - you might need more)
1 small yellow onion
3 slices bacon
1 teaspoon beef bullion (or 1 cube)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon minced garlic in the jar (or 1 clove fresh)
seasame seeds

Cut the bacon into small strips (sort of like a bacon bit) and brown in a sautee pan. Once the bacon is done, remove it from the pan. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sautee on medium-high until they get soft. Add the green beans, salt and pepper and sautee on medium-high for 5 minutes or so. Mix the bullion with the water, and add to the green beans. Cover and cook on medium-high for about 10 minutes or until they are soft. Cook another couple of minutes without the cover to let some of the liquid evaporate. Just before serving sprinkle with seasame seeds to your taste.
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Roasted New Potatoes

Another element of our Christmas dinner...

Roasted New Potatoes
Courtesy of John

1/2 a bag of new potatoes
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic in the jar (or two cloves fresh)
1/2 sprig of rosemary
2 tablespoons of butter (at the end)

Cut the potatoes in half and place in an 8x8 baking dish. Cover potatoes with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and salt & pepper to taste. Mix until potatoes are well coated. Place in oven at 425 degrees for 40 minutes. Stir potatoes twice during the 40 minute cooking time. After the potatoes are roasted, stir in the butter just for flavor at the end.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bacon Wrapped Tenderloin

This was the main dish for our Christmas dinner.

Bacon Wrapped Tenderloin
Courtesy of John

1/2 pound beef tenderloin (we didn't need much - you might need more)
4 slices of bacon
2 springs of rosemary
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
garlic powder

Season the meat with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan, and sear the meat for a minute or so on each side. Set on a plate. Place one sprig of rosemary on the top of the meat, and lay out the bacon. (check top picture) Wrap the tenderloin in the bacon, and place second sprig of rosemary on the bottom side of the tenderloin. You can secure the bacon with toothpicks for the next step. Sear the meat again one minute on each side to get the bacon browning. Place in the oven on 425 degrees until the center reaches 130 degrees. (This is medium)

Slice and enjoy!

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake
Courtesy of Yahoo Food & Splenda

3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1 1/3 cups SPLENDA(R) No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
1 egg
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups light sour cream
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10-inch tube pan (angel food pan) or nonstick bundt pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Make cake. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and soda into a medium-sized mixing bowl. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add SPLENDA(R) Granulated Sweetener and egg. Beat until smooth. Add the egg substitute and vanilla. Beat briefly to incorporate. Add applesauce and half of the sour cream. Beat until smooth. Add the sifted flour mixture and beat at medium speed just until smooth. Add remaining sour cream and blend just until incorporated and batter is uniform. Set aside.

Make Filling. Place 1/4 of cake batter in a small bowl. Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir well.

Place 1/2 of the remaining cake batter into prepared pan. Top with filling. Swirl with knife. Top with remaining batter.

Bake in preheated 350 degrees F oven 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Yield: 16 servings

Nutritional Info: per serving
Calories: 188 kcal
Carbohydrates: 27 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Fat: 6 g
Protein: 4 g
Sugars: 5 g
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Friday, December 12, 2008

Jamie's Chili

We served this at our small group meeting - it really was good! We served it over rice.

Jamie's Chili
Courtesy of Food Network

1.5 pound mixed ground beef, browned and drained
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper diced
2 cups chopped celery (we only used 2 stalks)
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can of whole tomatoes (we used a third can of the diced)
Ground cumin
Chili powder
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (we used two of these and none of the others)
1 package chili seasoning mix
Shredded cheddar, sour cream, chopped green onions, for garnish

In a skillet brown ground beef and sausage, drain and set aside.

Spray large pot with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, green pepper, and celery and saute briefly. Stir in the diced and whole tomatoes. Add cumin and chili powder, to taste, and cook for about 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add the beans, browned meat, and chili seasoning. Partially cover, and let simmer for 4 hours.

**We actually opted to do the first couple of steps - and put it in the crockpot all day on low... we added the beans to the crockpot about an hour before serving, and raised the setting to high for that hour. It was perfect!**

Serve with Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kit Kat Cookie Bars

Another one that I shouldn't/can't eat after surgery... but I know it would be a HIT with my small group...

Kit Kat Cookie Bars
Courtesy of Life of GRITS
Yield: 2 dozen

81 Keebler club crackers
1 cup margarine (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
3/4 cup peanut butter

Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray. Line with 27 crackers.

In a sauce pan, melt margarine and add both sugars, milk and graham cracker crumbs. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. This makes 3 cups of filling.

In microwave melt chocolate morsels and peanut butter. Pour half (1 1/2 cups) of filling on top of first row of crackers.

Line another layer of 27 crackers on top of this filling. Pour remaining half of filling on top of these crackers and top with remaining 27 crackers for third layer.

Pour chocolate and peanut butter mixture on top of this third layer of crackers and spread evenly.

Refrigerate until the chocolate-peanut butter layer is set. Cut into squares and serve. Makes about two dozen cookies.

Extra Special Touch: Sprinkle with chopped pecans and walnuts, because everything is better with nuts on it.
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Friday, December 5, 2008

White Chocolate Pretzels

Another care package favorite!

White Chocolate Pretzels
Courtesy of my own imagination

1 bag mini pretzels - shape of your choice
2-3 packages of white melting chocolate - sometimes called Almond Bark
Colored sugar or other decorating pieces of your choice

Lay out some long sheets of waxed paper in an area where the candy can cool for an hour or two. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. I usually do one package at a time and make more when I need it. If you melt it in the microwave - do it in one minute incriments and stir between each cycle... it will burn quickly - so don't stop watching it.

Take a few pretzels and drop them in the bowl with the melted chocolate, use a fork to take them out. Tap the fork on the side of your bowl and lay each pretzel on the wax paper to try. I usually coat 5 or so pretzels - then sprinkle them with colored sugar, candy sprinkles or any other confectionary decoration. As the white chocolate cools it will get harder and harder for the decorations to stick... so do this quickly.

Let them cool - then enjoy! Everyone will think you're a genius!
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Peanut Butter Candy

These also went in my care packages at Christmas... and they might make a small appearance this year too.

Peanut Butter Candy
Courtesy of one of my old roommates, Jennifer K.

1 box Town House Crackers
1 large jar peanut butter, crunchy or smooth - your choice. Crunchy does cause a little more breakage with the crackers though.
2 packages chocolate bark - the melting kind found in the baking section

Spread peanut butter on one cracker, then stack another on top to make a "sandwich" - repeat until all of the crackers are used.

Melt chocolate bark - I usually melt half a package at a time in the microwave... then do more as I need it. When melting in the microwave... do about 1 minute at a time and stir until melted. It can easily burn so you have to watch it. You could do it in a double boiler for a more gentle way of melting.

Lay a long piece of waxed paper on a surface where the candy can cool for an hour or two. Take a "sandwich" place it on a fork for stability, dip in chocolate. Shake the extra chocolate off, we use the fork for this too - tap it on the side of the bowl that the melted chocolate is in, and then place on waxed paper to cool.

These turn out so well, people will think you're a genius... they won't believe you made them yourself!
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cream Cheese Mints

I used to make big batches of holiday treats and make little care packages for the people at my office and John's every year... but I haven't done it the last couple of years because of my own dietary limitations. What I can do though is share it with my friends out there in blog land, and hope that they'll brighten up your family's holiday season!

Cream Cheese Mints
Courtesy of my friend Dara

1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp peppermint extract
food coloring (associate with the holiday)

In a large bowl combine cream cheese, butter, and confectioners' sugar. Mix in peppermint extract. Color as desired with food coloring, or leave white.

Roll mixture into small balls, and place on waxed paper. Flatten with form dipped in confectioners' sugar. Let dry for about 2 hours on waxed paper, then freeze or refrigerate.
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Friday, November 28, 2008

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Rice Krispies Balls

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Rice Krispies Balls
Courtesy of Oprah Magazine (this is the only useful thing I've ever seen in there)
Yield: 16 balls

2 (1.4 ounce) chocolate covered toffee candy bars
2 cups Rice Krispies
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
16 regular sized marshmallows
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
canola oil

Leaving candy bars in wrappers, use a rolling pin to pound and crush bars into small pieces. Place Rice Krispies in a large bowl and set aside.

Place peanut butter in a medium sized bowl (microwave safe) and microwave on high until hot, about 45 seconds. Add marshmallows and microwave on high until softened, about 30 seconds. (Alternatively, you could place peanut butter and marshmallows in a heavy saucepan. Stir over low heat until melted, 2 to 3 minutes.)

Working quickly, stir to combine mixture with Rice Krispies. Stir until evenly coated. Add crushed candy bars and chocolate chips. Stir until combined. Coat your hands with oil and shape mixture into spheres the size of golf balls, making 16 treats. Pack in decorative tins or arrange on waxed paper lined wrappers and tie ends with ribbon. The balls will keep up to one week at room temperature.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Armadillo Eggs

Don't ask me why they are called this - but it's John's family recipe... so I'll go with it. For those that might ask (it's happened several times over the years) - NO - they aren't really armadillo eggs... and by the way armadillos are mammals - which means they DON'T lay eggs!

Armadillo Eggs
Courtesy of John's family

1 large can whole jalapenos
1 large block cheddar cheese
2 pounds patty sausage
1 package shake 'n bake

Grate the cheese and set aside. (We grate our own because it has more flavor than the prepackaged grated cheese that you find in the grocery stores.)

Slice jalapenos in half and clean out seeds. Keep the two halves together because you'll be putting them back together, and you'll want them to match. Stuff the middle with cheese - John squishes the cheese into a solid mass before he stuffs it in the jalapeno - place them on a baking sheet until all of the jalapenos are stuffed.

Slice the sausage into enough patties to match the number of jalapenos you have. Ours usually works out perfectly with 21 eggs in the end. Flatten out a sausage patty and wrap it around a stuffed jalapeno... seal the edges together. Repeat until all of the jalapenos are wrapped in sausage.

Roll in shake 'n bake. Place on a broiler pan and bake at 350 degrees until sausage is brown - about 30-40 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

When John makes these for his office parties - he slices them into 3 or 4 pieces and inserts a toothpick in each slice for easy serving.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lost Recipe

Lost Recipe
Courtesy of my grandmother, Meme

1 package lemon jello (could use Sugar Free)
1 large can of black cherries, drain and set juice aside
1 large package of cream cheese
3/4 pint whip cream, whipped with a little sugar or Splenda added
1 cup pecans

Heat the juice from the cherries to boiling, dissolve jello in the juice. Cool. Add cream cheese and mash with fork until creamy before adding whipped cream. Add pecans. Place cherries in mold or dish in a single layer. Pour mixture on top, and chill for several hours.

Dip the mold or dish in warm water to loosen it from the sides of the dish, and turn out on a serving platter or plate. When serving the cherries should be on top for a nice presentation.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Buttermilk Pie

This has never been my favorite, but others in my family swear that it is the best in the world... so since I don't think it can be adapted for those of us limiting our sugar intake - I certainly won't miss it.

Buttermilk Pie
Courtesy of an old family recipe
Yield: 2 pies

3 cups sugar
6 eggs
4 tablespoons flour
2 sticks butter, softened
4 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 prepared pie crusts - or you could make your own

Cream sugar and butter; add flour, eggs, and vanilla and combine. Add buttermilk, and pour into unbaked pie shells. Bake 1 1/2 hours at 300 degrees or until firm. Bake for 1/2 hour if you only make 1 pie.
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cranberry Salad

Cranberry Jello Salad
Courtesy of my friend Dara

2 (3 oz) boxes of Strawberry Jello (you could use Sugar Free)
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cup sugar (you could use Splenda)
1 bag cranberries
1 orange
1/2 the zest from the orange
6 apples

Grate apples, cranberries, and orange in a food processor. In a large bowl dissolve jello and sugar in boiling water. Mix grated fruit with the jello mixture, and put in the refrigerator until set.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

This is a potluck/family party staple... and it's SUPER easy to make! John loves this cake, and he doesn't even like chocolate cake... interestingly enough - it doesn't taste overly chocolatey.

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
Courtesy of an old family recipe

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 4.5 ounce instant chocolate pudding mix
8 ounces of sour cream
3/4 cup of oil
3/4 cup of water
3 eggs
1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use a whole 12 ounce bag - minus the few handfuls that John takes out of the bag)
1 cup of chopped pecan pieces

Mix cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, oil, water, and eggs until smooth. Then stir in the chocolate chips and pecan pieces. Bake in a bundt or angel food pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a tester comes out clean.

Let it cool before serving. I sometimes dust the top with powdered sugar for a decorative effect, but that is not neccessary.

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Layered Chile-Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Layered Chile-Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Courtesy of Betty Crocker
Yield: 8 Servings

2 cups diced cooked chicken
3 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend (12 oz)
1 can (4.5 oz) Old El Paso® chopped green chiles, undrained
3/4 cup sour cream
1 package (11.5 oz) Old El Paso® flour tortillas for burritos (8 tortillas)
1 can (16 oz) Old El Paso® refried beans
1 can (10 oz) Old El Paso® enchilada sauce
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped (3/4 cup)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix chicken, 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, the chiles and sour cream.

2. Layer 3 tortillas in baking dish, overlapping as necessary and placing slightly up sides of dish (cut third tortilla in half). Spread about half of the beans over tortillas. Top with about half of the chicken mixture and half of the enchilada sauce. Layer with 3 more tortillas and remaining beans and chicken mixture. Place remaining 2 tortillas over chicken mixture, overlapping slightly (do not place up sides of dish). Pour remaining enchilada sauce over top. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese.

3. Cover baking dish with foil. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until bubbly and thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before cutting. Garnish casserole or individual servings with onions, lettuce and tomato.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Heat oven to 375°F.

Do-Ahead: Make this casserole up to 8 hours in advance, then cover and refrigerate until it's time to bake it.

Nutrition Information: 1 Serving
Calories 480
Calories from Fat 230
Total Fat 26g
Saturated Fat 13g
Trans Fat 1 1/2g
Cholesterol 90mg
Sodium 980mg
Total Carbohydrate 34g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 3g
Protein 27g
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pilgrim Hat Cookies

I know that I'm not supposed to be eating sweets, but these look so cute - I had to share them with those of you entertaining kids during the holidays!

Pilgrim Hat Cookies
Courtesy of Taste of Home website

1 cup vanilla frosting
7 drops yellow food coloring
32 miniature peanut butter cups
1 package (11-1/2 ounces) fudge-striped cookies
32 pieces orange mini Chiclets gum

In a small shallow bowl, combine frosting and food coloring. Remove paper liners from peanut butter cups. Holding the bottom of a peanut butter cup, dip top of cup in yellow frosting. Position over center hole of a cookie, forming the hatband and crown. Add a buckle of Chiclets gum. Repeat with remaining cups and cookies. Yield: 32 cookies.
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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pumpkin Pie Dip

Pumpkin Pie Dip
Courtesy of Taste of Home website
Yield: 32 servings

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Gingersnap cookies (I'll use graham crackers)

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin, sour cream, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and ginger until blended. Serve with gingersnaps. Refrigerate leftovers.

Nutrition Facts
One serving: (2 tablespoons)
Calories: 64
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 10 mg
Sodium: 23 mg
Carbohydrate: 8 g
Fiber: 0 g
Protein: 1 g
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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
Based on the recipe posted by Everyday Fare
Yield: 16 of my portion size (8 normal portions?)

4 chicken breasts
2 boxes Long Grain and Wild Rice (I used Uncle Ben's)
1 small onion, diced (I left mine larger than a dice)
2 carrots, diced (I left mine larger than a dice)
2 ribs celery, diced (I left mine larger than a dice)
2 quarts (4 cups) chicken stock
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream

I coated my chicken in olive oil, seasoned it with: salt, pepper, lemon pepper, and garlic powder. I baked them at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Set aside to cool. Dice into cubes.

Pour the rice mixes, seasoning, and vegetables into a large pot. Add the amount of water specified by your rice mixes, and butter if required by the manufacturer's directions. Stir to combine. Cover and cook until the rice is done and the vegetables are tender. (Uncle Ben's directions said 25 minutes - so I followed that.)

Add the flour and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to cook for a minute or two. Add the chicken stock, cream, and chicken pieces. Allow the soup to simmer for a few minutes until the soup is heated through.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this soup - it might be one of my new favorites! I'm not feeling well today - so it certainly hit the spot tonight, and made me feel a little bit better. I just had to share the recipe with you guys so that you can make it for your own family soon! I've got 8 more servings stored away for the next week or two.
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Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti
Courtesy of my recipe box
Yield: two big casserole dishes - about 32 servings

5 chicken breasts
4 cups chicken stock (or chicken broth)
1 stick butter
8 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound Velveeta
2 small cans ripe olives, drained, pitted and sliced
1 can of mushrooms drained
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons finely minced yellow onion (I usually go a little heavy on this like 1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons finely minced bell pepper (I usually go a little heavy on this like 1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons finely minced celery (I usually use two stalks and put it all in)
12 oz thin spaghetti noodles, cooked
2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese - this is your preference, we like a lot of cheese on top when we make it, but if you don't... you could skip this all together.

Boil chicken breasts, cool and cut into pieces.

Heat butter, mix into flour. Slowly add chicken stock, then cream and stir over low heat until mixture has thickened. Add cheese and stir until melted. Combine with chicken and all other ingredients EXCEPT noodles.

Boil noodles according to package, mix with mixture and stir well.

Turn into 2 buttered casserole dishes, and bake to melt cheese topping. (we usually use two large disposable casserole dishes because I typically make this to take to our church family when they are sick, having a baby or any other need.)
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Texas Original Beer-Can Chicken

Texas Original Beer-Can Chicken
Courtesy of: H-E-B Showtime
6 Servings

1 Large Whole Chicken (about 3 1/2 lbs.)
2 teaspoons Chicken Fajita Seasoning
1 can (12 oz.) Beer (we actually use other liquids instead of the beer, but this is the original)
1 cup chopped Onion
1 Garlic Clove, chopped
1/2 cup Juice from Jalapeño Peppers

1. Season the chicken inside and out with the fajita seasoning and set aside.

2. Empty out one half of the beer. Fill the beer can with the chopped onion and garlic. Add the pickled jalapeño pepper's juice into the beer can with the onion mixture.

3. Place the filled beer can into a pan or a special beer-can chicken rack. Set the chicken, cavity side down, on top of beer can. Cover chicken with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to grill.

4. Prepare charcoal or gas grill for cooking (350°F). Place the prepared chicken on beer can holder over the indirect heat side of the grill. Grill the chicken for 2 hours or until fully cooked with an internal temperature from the thickest part of the thigh of 180°F. Carefully remove the chicken and can holder from the grill and allow to set for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the can and place on a cutting surface and cut into 6 or 8 portions. Empty the can contents, onions and juice, over the cut chicken pieces.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mexican Appetizer Rollups

Mexican Appetizer Rollups
Courtesy of: Mission Foods - slightly adapted

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese softened
3/4 cup Thick and Chunky Picante Sauce
8 to 10 6-inch flour tortillas
2 cups Cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese

1. Mix cream cheese, picante sauce and 1 cup of the grated cheese until creamy. Place one tortilla on serving dish and spread with a layer of the mixture. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

2. Cut into pinwheels to serve.

If desired, add sour cream, guacamole, or extra picante sauce to the mixture.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Spinach-Feta Bites

Spinach-Feta Bites
Courtesy of: American Dairy Association
Ready in 30 minutes or less
Yield: 12 servings

1/2 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
6 ounces feta cheese (crumbled or divided)
1/4 cup reduced-fat ricotta or cottage cheese
2 tablespoons green onions (finely chopped)
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
1 egg
24 mini pastry shells

1. Drain spinach well and mix with 4 oz. feta, ricotta, onions and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Stir in egg.

2. Fill pastry shells with mixture; sprinkle with remaining feta cheese.

3. Bake on cookie sheet at 325 degrees until browned, about 20 minutes.

Nutrition Facts:
96 calories
5.6g total fat
24g carbohydrate
4.3g protein

Filling can be made a day in advance.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Buttermilk Pecan Chicken

I bought some of this ready made at HEB a week or so ago, and it was pretty good. We are in the process of figuring out some ways to make it a lower fat/calorie version and keep it in our regular menu items.

Buttermilk Pecan Chicken
Courtesy of H-E-B Cooking Connections
Yield: 2 servings

1/2 pound chicken breasts for milanesa, cut 1/4-inch thick
3/8 cup low fat buttermilk
1/2 egg
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 tablespoon butter

3/8 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

1. Whisk buttermilk with egg in a shallow bowl. Combine breading ingredients on a separate
plate or sheet of wax paper.

2. Dip chicken in buttermilk mixture, then place in breading; turn to coat both sides.

3. Heat oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; tilt skillet to coat
bottom. Add chicken and cook 3 to 5 minutes per side or until browned and crusty.

4. Remove from skillet when internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees. Serve

Nutrition Facts:
394 calories
22g total fat
129mg cholesterol
555mg sodium
13g carbohydrate
2g fiber
35g protein
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Memaw's Caramel Iced Cookies

This is hands down, John's favorite thing his grandmother used to make every year for Christmas. Now that she's 92 - she doesn't make them anymore, but John once again has mastered the art of recreating the original. (Okay, really he got the recipe from Memaw, but they really are good!)

Memaw's Caramel Iced Cookies
Courtesy of John's grandmother

¾ cup butter
2 cups flour
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons evaporated milk
¼ teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together and roll into a log. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour. Slice the roll into cookies and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-16 minutes on 350°F.

20 pieces (1/4 pound) of caramel candy
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans

Melt caramel candy and evaporated milk in the microwave – heating for 1 minute at a time until melted (stir between heatings). After melted, add butter, vanilla, powder sugar and chopped pecans. Mix thoroughly and spoon onto cookies.

Allow cookies to cool overnight before transferring off cookie sheet. (On this step we usually move them into several large Tupperware dishes so that they don't get stale. It is important to not stack the cookies because the icing will cause them to stick together... I've experienced this SEVERAL times!)
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John’s Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

We are big fans of Red Lobster's stuffed mushrooms, but adapted this recipe while we were doing a low carb diet several years ago... so it then became John's creation. It tastes very similar though, and was a big staple in my early solid food stages after having weight loss surgery.

John’s Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
Courtesy of my wonderful husband

½ Pound Fresh Mushrooms (~16-20)
2 Tbsp. Celery – finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Onion – finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Red Bell Pepper – finely chopped
¼ Pound Crab Meat (canned is fine)
3 Wasaba Sesame Crackers (scrape of excess sesame)
¼ Cup Cheddar Cheese – shredded
¼ Tsp. Garlic Powder
¼ Tsp. Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning
¼ Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
¼ Tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Egg – beat & measure out of a measuring cup
¼ Cup Water
White Cheddar Cheese Slices – to taste

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Sauté celery, onion and red pepper in 1 Tbsp. Butter for 2 minutes, transfer to a plate and cool in the refrigerator.

While the vegetables cool, wash mushrooms and remove stems. Set caps to the side and finely chop half of the stems. Discard the other half of the stems or use elsewhere.

Combine the sautéed vegetables, chopped mushroom stems and all other ingredients (except White Cheddar Cheese Slices) and mix well.

Place mushroom caps in individual buttered casseroles or baking dishes (about 8 caps each).

Spoon 1 Tsp. of stuffing into each mushroom. (we use a small cookie scoop, and actually mush one scoop into the cap of the mushroom - and place a second rounded one on top so that the presentation looks nice.)

Cover entire casseroles with White Cheddar Cheese Slices and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.

Yields two servings of 8-10 mushrooms each. (We usually cook one batch and save the other batch for the next day, but it depends on the group you're serving.)

I have also used this recipe and made crab cakes - instead of baking in the casseroles - you just fry them in a saute pan with a little butter. You would skip the white cheddar cheese in this preparation as well.
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Pappadeaux Greek Salad

Pappadeaux Greek Salad
Courtesy of the internet - I've had this recipe for a while - so I don't know exactly where to give the credit.

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons dried Oregano
Freshly cracked Pepper
1 clove Garlic, finely minced (optional)

3 cups torn assorted salad greens such as romaine, escarole, or frisée
4 small ripe Tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into wedges
1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings
2 small green bell peppers, seeded, deribbed and thinly sliced crosswise into rings
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced across the stalk
1/2 lb Feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
20 Kalamata olives
Capers (optional)
6-10 large shrimp, boiled and peeled (typically the restaurant puts two per salad)

To make the dressing, in a bowl, stir together the Olive oil, lemon juice, Oregano, cracked Pepper to taste, and the Garlic, if using. Set aside.

In a large salad bowl, combine the greens, Tomatoes, cucumber, celery, onion and bell peppers. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss gently to mix.

Sprinkle the Feta cheese, capers and olives over the top and serve. (I mix the Feta and Olives in before I toss so that everything is coated in the dressing.)
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Another favorite of mine has always been fried cheese - so this is a healthier version of those too. You can serve them with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping.

Baked Mozzarella Sticks
Courtesy of
Yield: 6 servings

12 ounces cheese, mozzarella, string, sticks, reduced fat, low moisture
1 egg
1 teaspoon dry italian seasoning
4 ounces bread crumbs, white, very low sodium (or panko)

Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Remove cheese from packaging and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk egg until foamy. In small nonstick skillet, mix italian seasoning with bread crumbs and place over medium heat. Cook and stir bread crumbs until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Dip one piece of string cheese in egg until coated and then into toasted bread crumbs, coating completely. Redip the string cheese in egg and again into bread crumbs, if desired. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining string cheese and place on baking sheet 1 1/2 inches apart. Spray string cheese lightly with cooking spray.

Bake 5-6 minutes or until heated through.

Nutritional Info: (makes 6 servings)
Calories: 169.6
Total Carbs: 7g
Dietary Fiber: .2g
Sugars: .4g
Total Fat: 7.9g
Saturated Fat: 4.4g
Unsaturated Fat: 3.5g
Potassium: 21.3mg
Protein: 17.9g
Sodium: 500mg
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Kensington Club Marinade

Steak & Ale Kensington Club Marinade
Courtesy of a Google Search

This is a marinade that can makes beef and or chicken taste great. (I'd put it on just about anything!!) This recipe is very close to the original-try granulated garlic instead offresh- a lot easier and in original recipe. The main reason this steak isdifficult to duplicate in flavor is because Steak & Ale marinates its Kensington Club steak and chicken for 36 hours before grilling. That'sright, 3 days! But its worth the wait.

3.5 cups Pineapple Juice
1 cup Soy Sauce
1 cup Dry White Wine
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
3/4 cup Sugar
2 tsp. Garlic, minced fine

Simply mix all together. You can let the meat sit in here for up to 24 hours. I would highly suggest a grilling.
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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Crock-Pot Pork Tenderloin

Crock-Pot Pork Tenderloin
Courtesy of
Yield: 2-3 (I don't think this is right though - because we couldn't eat 3 pounds of tenderloin in 3 servings!)

Before we get into the actual recipe - here are some pictures of the cooking process. Enjoy!

3 pounds pork tenderloin - you could use a regular beef roast as well
3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 ribs of celery, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
pinch of cumin
1 packet dry onion soup mix
2 cups of water
1 cup of V8 juice

*Add other vegetables as desired - we added baby carrots and mushrooms to ours.

We seared the tenderloin before putting in the crock-pot, but it is not required. Put everything into the crock-pot, veggies first, then pork tenderloin on top - we opted to put the smaller veggies and potatoes on the top because they cook more quickly.

Pour onion soup mix and water over everything. Cook on low for 10 hours. Meat is so tender it falls apart!
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Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunshine Punch

Sunshine Punch
Courtesy of Splenda and
Yield: 8 servings

2 cups cold water
2 cups orange juice, chilled
1 cup Splenda, granulated
1 (0.13 ounce) package Kool-Aid Tropical Punch Flavor Unsweetened Drink Mix
1 liter diet lemon-lime soda or diet ginger ale, chilled
Optional garnishes: orange slices, pineapple slices

Combine water, orange juice, Splenda, and Kool-Aid in a pitcher, stirring until Splenda dissolves. Stir in lemon-lime soda just before serving. Serve over ice. Garnish if desired.
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Blueberry Almond Coffeecake

Blueberry Almond Coffeecake
Courtesy of Splenda and
Yield: 12 servings

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup Splenda, granulated
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup 2% reduced fat milk
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 egg white
3 tablespoons Splenda, granulated
3/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8" square baking dish. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add 1 cup Splenda, vanilla extract, and almond extract; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add whole eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Fold in berries. Spoon mixture into prepared dish.

Beat egg white with a fork; add 3 tablespoons Splenda, stirring until blended. Stir in almonds. Spoon mixture over batter.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Nutritional Info:
225 calories
20 g carbohydrates
2 g fiber
13 g fat
5 g protein
1 g sugar
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pumpkin Pound Cake

This is not one I'd make for a small gathering - it would have to be for a potluck or something where there is a slim chance of me eating more than one bite of it!

Pumpkin Pound Cake with Maple Pecan Glaze
Courtesy of

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
8 0z (2 sticks) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
5 large eggs
1 can (15 oz) solid pack pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Maple Pecan Glaze
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped pecan pieces (optional) - we'd up the measurement here, but we love pecans

Heat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt cake pan.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices; set aside. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Slowly beat in dry ingredients. Continue beating on medium speed until smooth and well blended. Spoon into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted in center.

Cool for 15 minutes in the pan on a rack; invert onto a serving plate to cool completely. Glaze with the Maple Pecan Glaze or dust with powdered sugar before serving.

In a small sauce pan, combine the butter, maple syrup, and cream; bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and sift the confectioners' sugar into the hot mixture. Whisk until smooth. Let cool for about 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly thickened. Stir in the finely chopped pecans, if using. Drizzle over the cooled cake.
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Monster Mash Party Mix

Monster Mash Party Mix
Courtesy of

10 cups plain popcorn
1 pound plain candy-coated chocolate candies (Geez - can we say M&M's?)
1 (14 oz) jar dry roasted peanuts
1 cup raisins (again - we'd drop these) - maybe substitute in banana chips if you want
1 cup candy coated peanut butter pieces (I might up this amount)

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Makes 15 cups.
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Baked Apples

Baked Apples with Honey and Cinnamon
Courtesy of

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (we don't like them - so none for us)
6 apples

In a large kettle or Dutch oven, combine the sugar, water, honey, cinnamon, and raisins; bring to a boil. Peel and core the apples; add to the pan. Cover and simmer in the hot syrup until tender; about 20 minutes. Place apples in a dish with sides, for serving. Using a slotted spoon to spoon raisins in center of each apple. Pour syrup over all.
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Turkey Scaloppini

Turkey Scaloppini
Courtesy of Atkins
Yield: 4 servings

1.25 pounds turkey tenderloins
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 cup soy flour
1/4 cup parsley, minced
4 large eggs beaten
1 pinch thyme, optional

Slice turkey tenders cross ways into 1/4" medallions. Lay flat on a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese over slices and firmly press into medallions with your fingers. Repeat on other side.

Mix the parsley, thyme, and flour - spread on a large plate. Arrange a single layer of medallions on the flour. Press into flour, turn over and repeat.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Dip and submerge each medallion in egg and quickly place into skillet. Cook in batches about 2 1/2 minutes per side until browned.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Nutrition Information:
259 calories
34 g protein
2 g fiber
9 g fat
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Tomato & Feta Salad

Tomato & Feta Salad
Courtesy of Lacy

2-3 cups of sliced cherry tomatoes (I might use a regular tomato, but I'm not a fan of cherry ones)
1 cup of diced cucumber (personally - I might use Avocado here instead of cucumber)
1/2-1/4 cup of feta cheese
1/2 cup diced green onions or shallots
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients till the veggies and cheese are coated.

I make a lot of greek salads, and lots of my own salad dressings from scratch. This is very close to what I'd do only I'd add some red wine vinegar and some dijon mustard to the mix.
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Banana Bread

Banana Bread
Courtesy of Cypress Family Fellowship Women's Recipe Party

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter
10 tablespoons brown sugar
5 tablespoons milk
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar. Beat eggs and add to sugar mixture. Add bananas, vanilla, and buttermilk. Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Add to banana mixture. Beat well with a mixer.

Pour into 2 large greased and floured 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pans. (Could use 4-5 small pans or 3 medium pans).

Bake 45 minutes or until bread pulls away from sides of pan or toothpick comes out clean.

For topping: Melt butter in saucepan. Add sugar and milk. Cook until syrupy. Remove from heat and add chopped pecans. Leave bread in the pan and pour hot pecan topping over bread. Place under broiler for 3 to 5 minutes. Watch it closely - can burn easily!

Cool completely and remove from pan.
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Chocolate Walnut Pie Bars

Chocolate Walnut Pie Bars
Courtesy of Cypress Family Fellowship Women's Recipe Party

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (12 oz) Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

Beat flour, butter, and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl until crumbly. Press onto bottom of 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Beat eggs, corn syrup, granulated sugar, butter, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Stir in morsels and nuts; pour over hot crust. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
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Peanut Butter Corn Flake Cookies

Peanut Butter Corn Flake Cookies
Courtesy of Cypress Family Fellowship Women's Recipe Party

1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
5-6 cups corn flakes

Mix sugar and corn syrup together in a medium/large saucepan. Heat over medium/low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter and add corn flakes. Drop rounded teaspoon sized amounts on foil and let cool.
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Eclair Cake

Eclair Cake
Courtesy of Cypress Family Fellowship Women's Recipe Party

3 cups milk
2 packages French Vanilla pudding
8 oz Cool Whip
1 package graham crackers

Mix milk and pudding mix until lumps disappear. Blend in Cool Whip. Layer graham crackers in bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan. Pour 1/2 pudding over wafers, another layer of graham crackers, rest of pudding; top with another layer of graham crackers.

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 cup milk
1 stick margarine/butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar, cocoa, and milk. Bring to full boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter. Cool slightly 5 minutes and pour over cake. Chill at least 4 hours before serving.
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Easy Oreo Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Another one that I probably can't eat myself, but would make for a pot-luck or something.

Easy Oreo Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Courtesy of Cypress Family Fellowship Women's Recipe Party

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup peanut butter
2 Oreo cookie pie crusts
12 Oreo cookies, crushed into pieces
Mini Oreos for garnish

Combine cream cheese and milk in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer for about 2 minutes.

Add Cool Whip, lemon juice and peanut butter. Mix until well blended. Fold in the crushed Oreos.

Pour into pie crusts and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with mini Oreos if desired.

** If you don't want to use Oreos, omit the crushed Oreos and use graham cracker crusts instead. You could mix in some crushed Nutter Butter cookies for an extra peanut butter kick!
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Mock Baby Ruth Bars

Ok, again - not something that I will be able to eat these days - or at least not more than a bite, but these next few recipes are for those of you looking for something to make for your families or for the holidays.

Mock Baby Ruth Bars
Courtesy of Cypress Family Fellowship Women's Recipe Party
Yield: 2 dozen

4 cups oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
2/3 cup peanut butter

Combine oatmeal, brown sugar, corn syrup, 1/4 cup peanut butter, vanilla, and butter. Spread in a greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately spread with mixture of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and 2/3 cup peanut butter. Cut into squares.

If your preference is more for chocolate - you can add more chocolate chips on top and less of the butterscotch chips.
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Crescent Roll Casserole

Crescent Roll Casserole
Courtesy of Cypress Family Fellowship Women's Recipe Party

1 pound breakfast sausage
1 package crescent rolls
1 cup grated cheese
4 eggs
3/4 cup of milk
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cook sausage and drain. Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with crescent rolls, and press seams together. Sprinkle sausage over crescent rolls. Sprinkle cheese over sausage. Combine all other ingredients and pour over the top of the cheese and sausage. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

BBQ Meatballs

BBQ Meatballs
Courtesy of Cypress Family Fellowship Women's Recipe Party

3 pounds ground beef
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 can (13 oz) evaporated milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Mix together beef, milk, oatmeal, eggs, onion, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Form into balls the size of walnuts. Place in single layer in a shallow pan. Make BBQ sauce. Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 for 1 hour. This freezes well.

BBQ Sauce
2 cups ketchup
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1/2 cup chopped onion

Combine in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
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Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Courtesy of Cypress Family Fellowship Women's Recipe Party
Yield 6 to 8 servings

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Garnish: fresh rosemary

Coat a large roasting pan with cooking spray; toss together sweet potatoes an 1 tablespoon oil in pan. Bake, uncovered, at 450 for 40-45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender and roasted, stirring after 30 minutes.

Whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, honey, and the next 5 ingredients in a serving bowl. Add warm potatoes, and toss gently. Cool. Garnish, if desired.
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Taco Bean Chili Soup

Taco Bean Chili Soup
Courtesy of Cypress Family Fellowship Women's Recipe Party

2 cans beans of your choice (such as kidney beans and black beans)
2 cans corn of your choice (such as hominy and sweet corn)
2 cans tomatoes of your choice (such as Rotel Original, and any Hunts Diced variety)
2-3 tablespoons cumin
2-3 tablespoons oregano
2-3 tablespoons garlic powder
1-2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 cup milk

Empty the entire contents of all the cans into a pot. Sprinkle in all of the seasonings and simmer until the beans are soft and the flavors have melded together. Maybe 30 to 45 minutes. Or pour into a crock pot and simmer all day.

Enjoy with chips or corn bread. Add a dollop of sour cream and chives on top for garnish.

Add 1 pound ground beef or turkey
In lieu of the seasonings, simply add a package of taco seasoning. You can then add additional spices to taste.
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Ziti Salad

Ziti Salad with Spinach and Three Cheeses

Courtesy of Cheryl

1 pound Ziti or Mastaccioli, cooked according to package directions, drained and rinsed under cold water
1 red bell pepper, julienned
5 cups chopped fresh spinach
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 ounces sliced provolone cheese, julienned
6 slices bacon, cooked, and crumbled

Vinaigrette Dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 drops red pepper sauce (Tabasco)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, salt, and red pepper sauce together in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Toss the pasta in a serving bowl with the red pepper, spinach, mozzarella cheese, and provolone cheese.

Toss the vinaigrette dressing with the pasta. Sprinkle bacon over the top.
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Pumpkin Delight

Okay, so not all of these are going to be "healthy", but maybe you'll have a party or something and will need an idea of something to take?

Pumpkin Delight
Courtesy of Cypress Family Fellowship Women's Recipe Party

1 can pumpkin
1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
2 sticks margarine or butter (yikes!)

Beat eggs. Add sugar, salt, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, pumpkin and milk. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan and pour in pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle the dry yellow cake mix over the top. Top with 1 cup chopped pecans. Melt 2 sticks of margarine/butter and pour over the top. Bake at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes.
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Farmer's Casserole

Our church had a recipe party this past week, and while I wasn't able to attend - my wonderful friend Jen picked up copies for me...

Farmer's Casserole
Courtesy of Angela
Yield 8 Servings

6 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese w/jalapenos (I will opt for no peppers in mine)
1 cup diced fully cooked ham (Hormel pizza top)
1/4 cup sliced green onion
4 large beaten eggs
1 (12 oz) can evaporated skim milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with cheese, ham, and green onion.

In a medium bowl combine eggs, evaporated milk, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over potato mixture in a dish. (Can freeze at this point)

To prepare to serve, thaw and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until center appears set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
Courtesy of Cooking Light - September 2008 issue
Yield 2 dozen cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate (I might use semi-sweet here, but use what you like)
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup, level with knife. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; stir with a whisk.

Place sugars and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. (About 2 minutes) Add egg, beating well. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate and coconut.

Scrap dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 24 portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Place 12 balls on each of 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray; flatten slightly with the heel of your hand.

Bake, 1 sheet at a time, at 350 for 15 minutes or until the tops are set and the cookies are lightly browned on the bottoms. Remove cookies from pan; cool on wire racks.

Nutritional Information (1 cookie)
99 calories
3.5 g fat
1.4 g protein
16 g carbohydrates
.5 g fiber
14 mg cholesterol
.6 mg iron
66 mg sodium
15 mg calcium
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Vegetable Beef Soup

We're officially back in cooking mode to pack extra meals for my workday... so today we've made a big pot of soup and some of the stuffed cabbage rolls... so I have 18 meals packed away on top of a few that I already had.

Vegetable Beef Soup
Courtesy of Jim Hawkins (John's Dad)

1 pound ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
2 cans yellow corn, undrained
2 cans green beans, undrained
2 cans whole new potatoes, undrained
3 cans diced tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp celery salt (do this to taste)
salt & pepper

Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic together - add salt & pepper to taste. After the meat is browned add the corn with its juice, green beans with the juice, tomatoes, bay leaves, and celery salt. (We like the flavor of the salt - so I just add it until it tastes like I want it to) Simmer for about 30 minutes.

Add in the potatoes and their juice and simmer for another 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fresh Fruit Salad

This one is from one of my weight loss surgery cookbooks, but looks so good - I'm sharing!!

Fresh Fruit Salad
Courtesy of Recipes for Life After Weight-Loss Surgery
makes 6 servings (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup nonfat sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 teaspoons brown sugar substitute
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 fresh peaches, skinned, pitted, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup bite-sized honeydew melon pieces
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup halved fresh strawberries, stems removed
20 seedless grapes, skinned and cut in half

In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, brown sugar substitute, allspice, and cinnamon. Add the peaches, melon, blueberries, strawberries, and grapes. Gently toss to cover with dressing. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving in chilled bowls.

Nutritional Information:
64 calories
2 g protein
14 g carbs
.2 g fat
3 mg cholesterol
22 mg sodium
9 g sugar
1 g fiber
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Lazy Chicken

This recipe is one of our new favorites!!

Lazy Chicken
Courtesy of Rachel Ray
makes 6 servings (or way more for us!!)

Balsamic Vinegar
1 & 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets - thinly sliced or pounded (we only use about 2 or 3 breasts when I make it)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium white-skinned potatoes, thinly sliced
1 medium white onion, halved and thinly sliced
Montreal Steak Seasoning (I used the chicken version) by McCormick
1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
10 leaves fresh basil, torn or coarsely chopped (I left this out - oops!)
2 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves stripped fro stem and chopped
1/2 to 1/3 cup shredded Italian cheese blend of your choice (provolone, mozzarella, asiago, parmesan, romano)

Rub a little splash of balsamic vinegar into each chicken breast.

Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. Brown chicken for 2 minutes on each side. Remove chicken.

Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil to pan. Add thin layer of potatoes and onions. (my layers end up being thicker I think) Sprinkle the potatoes and onion with Montreal Seasoning. Let potatoes and onions cook, turning occasionally but maintaining a thin layer, until they begin to brown all over.

Add broth or wine to the pan. Spread a thin layer of zucchini across the pan on top of the potatoes and onion. Sprinkle with a little more Montreal Seasoning. Top with the chicken and accumulated juices.

Dump the crushed tomatoes evenly over top and sprinkle with chopped herbs. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Sprinkle with the shredded Italian cheeses. Place pan under the broiler for a minute (or more) until cheese melts and begins to brown. Serve directly from the hot pan at the table, with a green salad on the side.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lemon-Grilled Chicken Meal 2

Hearts of Romaine Ceasar Salad with Grilled Chicken
Courtesy of Cooking Light - August 2008 issue

1 large egg (use a pasteurized egg if you have safety concerns)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 canned anchovy fillets (you can leave them out, or use the anchovy paste from a tube)
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 1/3 cup plain croutons
2 heads hearts of romaine lettuce, leaves separated (about 14 ounces)
3 servings Lemon-Grilled Chicken Breasts, thinly sliced
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Place egg in a small bowl or coffee mug; cover with boiling water. Let stand 1 minute. Rinse egg with cold water; break egg into a small bowl.

Combine pepper and next 3 ingredients (through garlic) in a mini food processor; process until minced. Add egg and lemon juice; process 1 minute or until thick. Gradually add oil and water, processing until blended.

Combine croutons, lettuce, chicken, and egg mixture in a large bowl; toss gently. Divide salad evenly among 4 plates. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon of the cheese.

Serving suggestion from magazine: Serve with soft breadsticks and cubed cantaloupe mixed with cracked black pepper.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutritional Information:
261 calories
10.1 g fat
29.3 g protein
12.5 g carbohydrates
1.8 g fiber
115 mg cholesterol
2.9 mg iron
561 mg sodium
165 mg calcium
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Home-made Apple Pie

Home-made Apple Pie
Courtesy of Jen

5-6 medium to large tart apples (Granny Smiths are best, but you could also use a sweeter apple, like Gala, and just sprinkle some lemon juice on them after you chop them)
3/4 cup sugar (can also use Splenda, cup for cup)
2 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
dash nutmeg
dash salt
1 pkg of 2 ready-made, rolled-up, refridgerated crusts (any brand name or the generic work just fine...just make sure there are 2 inside)
one of the following: (***see below for explaination of this step***)
2 tsp of melted butter, one egg white, or enough foil to wrap from underneath the pie plate and over the edges

1) Peel, core, and cut apples into small chunks (sprinkle with lemon juice if using sweet apples).
2) Mix apples and all seasonings in a bowl.
3) Unroll one crust into a pie plate.
4) Dump apple mixture into crust and spread evenly.
5) Flip the other crust on top and trim the dough that is overlapping the pie plate.
6) Fold edge of top crust underneath the edge of the bottom crust and pinch together all around the edge of the pie plate (I use my pointer finger and push the outside edge towards the middle of the pie while pinching it around my finger with my other pointer and thumb, so it makes a wave all around the edge--I hope that makes sense. You can also crimp it together by using the tinges of a fork and pressing down all around the edge of the pie plate).
7) Make 4-5 slits in the middle with a knife to let steam out as it cooks.
8) Brush entire top crust with either melted butter or an egg white (optional)***
9) Bake at 425 for 45-60 min, or until it is golden brown. ***If you don't brush it with butter or egg, make sure you only bake it for 20 minutes and then wrap the edges from the bottom with foil for the last 25-40 minutes. The edges will burn if you don't brush them or cover them with foil.***
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Rice Supreme

Rice Supreme
Courtesy of Jen

1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 cups uncooked rice
2 cans beef broth or consume
2 cans French onion soup
1 small can mushroom stems and pieces
1 small can diced carrots
1 small can green peas
1 stick celery

Mix all ingredients in a 3 qt dish except carrots and peas. Add 1/2 stick butter, sliced on top.

Cover with foil and bake at 450 for 60-75 minutes. Half-way through, stir in carrots and peas.
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Baked Tomatoes

Baked Tomatoes
Courtesy of Jen - found in a Jenny Craig cookbook

2 large ripe tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp each of oregano, basil, parsley

1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Cut tomatoes in half from the top down (so that they are equal halves).
3) Turn them cut-side up in a baking dish.
4) Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with seasonings.
5) Jen puts some shredded Parmesan cheese on top, and it was lovely!
6) Bake for 40 minutes.

Serves 4.

***Can also use grape or cherry tomatoes....just cut in half and follow directions above.
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Parmesan Crusted Chicken

We also had this at Small Group, and it was wonderful... there are several more recipes to come from our Small Group meeting - they were all so fabulous that I have to share them!!

Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Courtesy of Jen

1-1/2 cups Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can also use tenders...just use more)
2 sticks butter, melted (can substitute with olive oil or the like)

Combine bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl. Dip the chicken in the melted butter and then in the bread crumb mixture, being careful to coat the chicken heavily.

Place the chicken in a baking dish and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Do not turn the chicken.

This can be prepared the day before, refrigerated, then baked. It also freezes well, before or after baking. If frozen and uncooked, double the baking time. To reheat if already cooked, thaw in refrigerator over night. Then bake in a 325 degree oven until hot.

Serve with a tasty rice dish and veggies, or over pasta with marinara sauce.
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Crunchy Coleslaw

We had this recipe at our Small Group this weekend, and John and I just loved it! So I'm sharing it for you guys to enjoy, but also so that I'll have the recipe in my files to make again and again.

Crunchy Coleslaw Salad
Courtesy of Angela

4 10 oz. pkgs coleslaw mix (or 1-2 head of cabbage shredded)
2 cups top ramen noodles (3 pkgs. crumbled/discard seasoning pkt)
1 cup sliced almonds (4 oz)
½ cup sesame seeds (2 oz)
1 stick butter (4 oz)
1 cup vegetable or peanut oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar (aka: distilled rice vinegar) NO SUBSTITUTES
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon pepper

In a medium sauce pan, melt ½ stick of butter and sauté noodles until light brown. Add ½ stick butter, almonds, and sesame seeds then sauté until light brown as well. Noodles take longer to brown and nuts/seeds will burn if done all at once. Set aside.

In a shaker jar, combine oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Shake well before adding to salad.

Just before serving, combine the ingredients, and mix well until evenly coated. Don’t mix together until ready to serve, as noodles aren’t crunchy after the first serving; still tasty the day after, just not crunchy.

If not sure you will eat the whole thing at once, then split each part in half and serve only half at a time so you can reserve some crunch.

183 calories per cup

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tacos with Salsa

We have only followed this recipe to make the taco meat, but I'm confident that the remaining portions of the dish are divine. We got tired of the prepackaged taco seasoning mixes, and wanted something a little more healthy.

Tacos with Salsa
Courtesy of Weight Watchers
(4 points - for those tracking)

2 tomatoes, diced
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 white or yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced seeded jalapeno pepper or to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 pound lean ground beef (10% or less fat)
1 cup canned diced tomatoes (we use the whole can)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
8 taco shells
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce or romaine lettuce
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream

Place the fresh tomatoes in a strainer or colander in the sink; drain 20-30 minutes.

In a medium nonstick saucepan, heat the oil. Saute the white onion, garlic, and jalapeno pepper until the onion is translucent, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the cumin, oregano, and paprika; saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the beef and cook, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 8-10 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Reduce the heat; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

To prepare the salsa, in a medium bowl, combine the fresh tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and lime juice; season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper.

To assemble the tacos, divide the beef mixture among the taco shells; top with the lettuce, then the salsa and sour cream.

Nutritional Information
200 calories
10 g fat
3 g saturated fat
1 g trans fat
33 mg cholesterol
317 mg sodium
16 g carbohydrates
3 g fiber
13 g protein
67 mg calcium
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Chicken Quesadillas & Corn Salad

If you can't tell - I live with a man that loves Mexican food... he could eat it everyday if I'd let him... so I try to work it in whenever possible.

Chicken Quesadillas & Corn Salad
Courtesy of Weight Watchers
(6 points - for those tracking)

Corn Salad
1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 tomato, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, combine all salad ingredients and set aside.

1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken breast (We marinated ours in Wishbone Italian salad dressing and then grilled it. The same as we would do to prepare fajitas.)
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce (We left this out because John hates wilted lettuce.)
1/2 cup thick and chunky salsa
6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

To prepare the quesadillas, in another medium bowl, combine chicken, lettuce, and salsa; divide amoung 3 of the tortillas. Sprinkle with the cheese, top with the 3 remaining tortillas.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. (We skipped this step and there was enough fat in the tortillas to do the job. They were nice and toasted.) One at a time, cook the quesadillas until lightly browned, 3 minutes on each side; turn carefully with a wide spatula.

Cut the quesadillas into quarters; arrange 3 quarters on each of 4 plates. Serve with the salad on the side. (We also included a tiny bit of guacamole and a small amount light sour cream for dipping.)

Per serving: (3 quesadilla quarters and 1/2 cup of salad)
297 calories
11 g fat
4 g saturated fat
1 g trans fat
49 mg cholesterol
712 mg sodium
31 g carbohydrates
3 g fiber
19 g protein
134 mg calcium
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ravioli Soup

This is one more from my recovery period... and again - the leftovers were frozen before pictures could be taken.

Ravioli Soup
Courtesy of Angela

1 lb lean ground turkey
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1 28 oz. can Italian-style crushed tomatoes in puree
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 14.5 oz. can beef broth
1 c. water
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried parsley

1 13 oz. package plain ravioli w/o sauce (in fridge section near pizza toppings & Luncheables)
salt & grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the ground turkey in a large pot until browned, about 15 minutes. Drain the fat. Combine remaining ingredients except ravioli and additional Parmesan cheese. Bring soup to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool, put in container and freeze.

To prepare for serving, thaw soup and put in a large pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for at least 30 min.; stirring occasionally. Thaw and cook ravioli according to package directions until just tender. Drain ravioli; add to soup. Salt to taste. Serve with Parmesan cheese.


She also gave us a yummy salad to go with this that had mixed greens, dried cranberries, and carrots in it...
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Pesto Pasta

This is another one from my surgery recovery meals... the leftovers got frozen for me before I could get any pictures. Because of my protein needs - we added some grilled chicken to each serving for me.

Pesto Pasta
Courtesy of Renee

The pasta (remember i'm guesstimating here, so the numbers won't be exact)

Pasta Ingredients:
1 package whole wheat penne pasta (cooked firm)
1 tsp Dried Italian Seasoning
3 med., firm yellow squash (cut in bite sized chunks)
1 large orange bell pepper (sliced, then cut in 1-2" lengths)
1 medium tomato on the vine (cut in bite sized chunks)
3 fresh cloves garlic (minced)
1/4 of a medium onion (minced)
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tbsp Lemon Pepper
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta until firm (about 9 minutes), drain and rinse.
2. Return pasta to pot, drizzle 2 tbsp EVOO and add 1/2 t Italian seasoning. Toss, set aside.
3. In a medium iron skillet, heat 2 tbsp EVOO to medium-low heat.
4. Add minced onions and garlic + a little kosher salt, sweat(not you, the onions!)
5. Turn heat to med and allow garlic and onions to brown a little, add in squash, 1/2 t Italian Seasoning, Lemon Pepper. Cook 1 min or so. (The squash will release a lot of water, so you will have to turn up the heat so they don't get squishy.)
6. Throw in bell pepper, cook until peppers begin to change color, then add in tomato. Toss all together to evenly spread garlic, onions, and herbs, then throw it in with the pasta. Mix together being careful not to break the pasta.The key here is to add things quickly so the veggies don't get soupy or squishy.

The pesto (you need a small food processor):
Makes enough for about 6 meals:
1 hand full Sun-dried tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
4 cloves garlic
4oz fresh basil
fresh lemon juice (i use the kind in the plastic lemon so I don't have to squeeze lemons)
3 tbsp Grated Parmesan Cheese

1. Steam a hand full of sun-dried tomatoes so they come back to life.
2. Process garlic, a little EVOO, and tomatoes until they form a thick paste. Add EVOO as necessary. Set aside in a bowl.
3. Remove basil leaves from stems. Wash thoroughly! Remove any brown spots.
4. Add a hand full of basil leaves, about a T of lemon juice and a drizzle of EVOO to the food processor and process until leaves are finely chopped. Repeat until all leaves are used.
5. Return tomato mixture to processor, add cheese and about a teaspoon of Kosher salt (to taste) and blend together.
6. Put about 2 tbsp of pesto per 1 package of pasta. Add a little EVOO to pasta to coat noodles if necessary. Mix well and serve.

For the rest of the pesto:
In an ice cube tray, drop about 1 tbsp of pesto into each section (it probably won't fill the whole tray). Cover with plastic wrap and push the plastic into the pesto so there is NO AIR touching the pesto. Freeze a couple of hours. Take Pesto cubes out of ice tray and place in a freezer bag. Suck as much air out of the bag as you can.

To use frozen pesto:
Take out needed amount and reheat in saucepan on low heat or toss it into the hot pasta right after you drain it and let it melt into the pasta.
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