Sunday, December 30, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:
2-3 Tbl butter or margarine
2 cups elbows macaroni (uncooked)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 cups milk
Salt & Pepper
Optional: breadcrumbs, ham, etc.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°
 
Melt butter in 7x11 glass baking dish. Place macaroni into melted butter and stir to coat. Sprinkle cheese over the macaroni and pour milk on top. Throw in some salt and pepper and you're good to go.

Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of ~ the Queen B herself, my mother!

Now, this is honestly the easiest macaroni and cheese ever, in life. You don't even have to cook the macaroni first!!! A few tips/caveats:
  1.  I usually use butter- I always use 3 Tbl but then it gets a little greasy on the bottom. I think with margarine you're ok to use 3 Tbl but if using butter, 2 is probably best. To save time, I actually throw the butter in the dish, and put it in the oven while it is pre-heating. By the time it's melted, and you have everything put together, the buzzer should be going off that you're at 350° and ready to go!
  2. One bag of shredded cheese is two cups. This is enough cheese for sure, but if you want it to be cheesy I would say to use a little extra. I also reccomend using regular cheese as opposed to reduced fat. I know, I know, this is not the most health conscious recipe... but what M&C really is? RF Cheese just doesn't melt the same way and if you want it to be ooey and gooey, it is worth the extra caloric intake.
  3. Optional ingredients are just that! I sometimes will add breadcrumbs for a little extra seasoning, or if you are in the mood for meat, ham is a great addition. I suppose you could throw in peas/bacon if you were so inclined too, maybe different cheese flavors too- the possiblities are endless. I find that it usually takes the full 60 mins to cook through, so plan accordingly. I would put the breadcrumbs on top maybe at 35-40 mins.
If you're in need of an easy weeknight meal, this is it. While it does take a little while to cook, it literally takes 5 minutes to put together. And it tastes great!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stan's Disappearing Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients:
2 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken (I used a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken)
1/3 cup Franks hot sauce
1 cup mayonaise, regular or light (I used Hellmans, light)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbl finely chopped green onions, optional (I used them)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss chicken in hot sauce. Stir in remaining ingredients except the blue cheese. Turn into a 1-1/2 quart shallow casserole dish, and sprinkle with blue cheese.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until bubbling. Serve with celery and/or other dippers.

Recipe courtesy of ~ Hellmans and my friend Stan.

When my friend Taryn told me that this dip was good, I believed her. But I didn't know just how good it was going to be. Quotes like "I just made this for my work holiday party and I think I made 400 new friends" or "my sister said she'd like to climb into a vat of this stuff and eat her way out" - I still didn't quite understand.

She said trust me, bring this to Christmas Eve, and it will be great. Make some pita chips (um, you can make pita chips?!), and it will become a new staple in your Christmas Eve appetizer spread. Let.me.tell.you.somethings: first of all, hey all you strapping young gentleman~ Taryn is going to make an amazing housewife someday. She cooks (and more importantly bakes), she is quick witted, charmingly sarcastic and one of the most caring people you could ever meet. (I wonder why we're friends?!). And secondly... she doesn't lie. This buffalo chicken dip does not disappoint.

Make it, love it, share it, just make sure to give me...er...her credit.

BONUS RECIPE: Homemade Pita Chips
Cut up pita pockets into triangles (I made each one into 8 pieces) - toss in a little olive oil, S&P and garlic powder. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 until brown (appx 10-15 minutes).

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rosemary-Balsamic Turkey Cutlets

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Leaves from 2 stems fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 turkey cutlets (Double the recipe, and eat later in the week on a salad or whole-grain bread)

Salt and pepper

Directions:
In a shallow dish, whisk olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, rosemary, and Dijon. Season cutlets with salt and pepper, and marinate at least 15 minutes.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add turkey cutlets, and cook about 12 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through.

Recipe courtesy of ~ Cosmo

I bought turkey cutlets at Stop and Shop the other day, not really thinking about what came next. The good news is, there is always Google. I looked up options, and the most common one was parmesan crusted...but my thought is that is overdone. When I saw this idea, I got excited and plan to make this tonight for me and tt for dinner, probably with either quinoa or cous cous (whatever I have in the pantry) and a salad tossed in lemon juice and olive oil. Yum!

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Everything Lo Mein

Ingredients:
For the sauce:
   3 rounded Tbl hoisin sauce
   3 Tbl dark soy sauce
   3 Tbl water
   2 tsp hot sauce

For the Lo Mein:
   1 lb spaghetti
   Salt and black pepper
   1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
   2 large eggs, beaten
   3 chicken breast cutlets, thinly sliced into strips «
   3 thin cut pork chops, thinly sliced into strips «
   2 tsp ground coriander «
   2" fresh ginger, chopped or grated ((if using the spice, 1/2-1 tsp will do the trick)) «
   4 cloves garlic, finely chopped «
   6 scallions, cut into 3" lengths, then sliced lengthwise «
   1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, chopped «
   1 red bell pepper, cut into quarters, seeded, then sliced «
   1 small can sliced water chestnuts
   Either: 2 cups fresh bean sprouts or 4 generous handfuls of shredded cabbage

Directions:
Mix together sauce ingredients and set aside.

Bring salted water to a boil for pasta, then cook to al dente.

While pasta cooks, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil over high heat in a large, non-stick skillet. When oil ripples, add beaten eggs and scramble them to light golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Season the meat with S&P and coriander. Heat the remaining vegetable oil to a ripple, then add meat and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Push meat to the side and add ginger, garlic and veggies. Stir-fry veggies for 2 minutes, then drain and add pasta and eggs to skillet. Pour sauce over the noodles and toss to combine. Turn off pan and toss an addtional 30 seconds to let liquids absorb.

Recipe courtesy of ~ Rachael Ray

So I haven't made this in forever, but I have made it a few times and it's a really good meal. I promised my friend Stan I would post it for her to hopefully assist with some of those week night cravings for a good noodle (without the guilt trip that comes along with that little white carton).

I have a « next to a few of the ingredients. I will make you aware that I am not 100% sure why they are marked on my recipe, but I am pretty sure that they are the items that I felt were necessary. If you go to the website, there are a bunch of reviews of the recipe (which I always love reading, btw- this is how I end up making half of my recipes because of other people's trial/error!) - everyone suggests of course using whatever vegetables you like, etc. I would recommend that as well, but really feel that these few ones are must-haves. Also great news about this one - is you can make it vegetarian so easily!

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Eggplant "Meat"balls

Ingredients:
Eggplant
Olive oil
Italian style breadcrumbs
Romano cheese
Spices: garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, dried parsley

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel eggplant and chop into 1-2" pieces (I cubed it). In a saucepan, heat oil, then add eggplant and cook down until mushy. Remove from heat and mash with potato masher if needed. Eggplants will cook down a lot, so use at least 1 large or 2-3 smaller eggplants to feed more than 2 people.

Add breadcrumbs and cheese (a decent amount of both..), then spices. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Using a medium sized ice cream scoop, scoop out the sticky mixture and put onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of ~ My dad's boss

Notes:
These taste AMAZING. However. My recommendation would be to either scoop the mixture into your hands and form into  balls. I did it as it states above, and ended up with little eggplant cakes rather than eggplant meatballs. Also, make sure you use enough of the breadcrumbs- my mixture was very wet and I think this is part of the reason why it spread out while cooking.

You will notice that there are no measurements on this recipe. This is how I received it... and being the "on the fly" cook that I am, I eyeballed everything, but this may be part of the problem as well. I loved them so much that I will for sure make them again, and can add in measurements if I am able to perfect them, but based on the first try, just make sure you add enough dry ingredients, and form them into balls before baking.

I served them with my favorite marinara sauce and whole wheat penne.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chili (Cheater)

Ingredients:
2 Tbl canola oil
1 med onion- chopped
4 cloves garlic- minced
1 jalepeno- chopped
2 peppers- red/green or both
1 1/2 lb ground beef (or turkey - I typically use turkey)
1 link kielbasa (optional)
1 Tbl each cumin and chili powder
2 tsp each oregano and thyme
2 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 dark beer
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can light kidney beans
1 15 oz can dark kidney beans

Directions:
Heat oil, add onion, cook appx 5 minutes. Add peppers and garlic, cook until soft (not browned). Add beef and cook through - increase heat to high. Add cumin, chili, oregano, thyme, bay leaves and cinnamon. Add beer and deglaze. Add tomatoes and beans with most of the liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30-60+ minutes.

*Remove cinnamon sticks after about 30 minutes

Recipe courtesy of ... Another one that I have had kicking around and have worked to perfect.

So, I have this problem. The problem that I have, is that every, single time that I make chili, I change what I do. No, seriously. The above was what I initially started with. And believe me, it's good. But since then, I have added so many different options. 2 of the most important ingredients that I have since added are: liquid smoke and smoked paprika. They deepen the flavor completely - and I personally like the smokey flavor.  So the above recipe + those two things, is how I always make it.

However...

When I sent tt to the store yesterday, I was not prepared with the list. I was missing half of what I needed. And by missing half of what I needed, I mean I didn't have: kielbasa, jalepeno, cinnamon sticks, or diced tomatoes. So I had to improvize.

I added red pepper flakes and  [generous amounts of] Franks for heat. I had a small can of tomato paste and 2 28 oz can of stewed tomatoes. I minorly freaked out about the flavor (not sure why, because I really wasn't missing that much) so I threw in a beef stock tub (Knorr Homestyle Stock) and Worcestershire sauce and a little extra of the liquid smoke.

So it definitely has a kick [I am always heavy handed when it comes to the hot sauce]; but I have to say, it's pretty gosh darn good. I always find that the cinnamon is the secret ingredient, but now I am not so sure. Either way, this is a quick and easy chili recipe that doesn't need to cook all day.

Enjoy my lovelies!

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(Amy Sue's World Famous) Cocktail Meatballs







Subject: FW:
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 09:21:46 -0500
From: "Mosher, Coleen M. -ND" < Coleen.M.Mosher@espn.com >
To: "Coleen Mosher" < coleen_mosher@yahoo.com > 

here is the recipie for COCKtail meatBALLS. They are soooooooo freaking good.  Serve them with toothpicks.

Ingredients:
2 lbs ground beef
1 cup corn flake crumbs
1/3 cup dried parsley
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons of dried minced onions

1 lb can of jellied cranberry sauce
1 12oz bottle of chili sauce
2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350
In a large bowl combine first 9 ingredients
(beef, cornflake crumbs, parsley, eggs, soy sauce, pepper garlic, ketchup & onion)
Mix well and ofrm into small balls
Place in a 15 x 10" pan (I just use a pyrex that i would like make brownies in)

In a small sauce pan mik cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar and lemon juice
Cook over medium heat until smooth, string frequently until cranberry sauce melts
Pour over meatballs and bake uncovered for 30 min.

Recipe Courtesy of ~ Miss Amy Sue

Yes, I had to replicate the actual email that I have printed out in my recipe book... it's just not authentic without the email itself and it makes me happy. Actually, the best one from her is for Spinach and Artichoke Dip, where it's printed from MYSPACE and an old school picture is on the page. But that's a story for another day.

I need to give you a piece of advice: Make these.
That is all.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes

Ingredients:
1-2 cups Mashed potatoes (cold, best if left in fridge at least overnight)
2 Tbl Grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbl chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbl minced onion (I threw a little onion in the fry pan with a teeny bit of butter to soften and brown)
-------------------
1/4 cup flour
S&P to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
Deep frying pan

Directions:
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl. (Note you can certainly add other things here, cheddar cheese, scallions, etc- I chose to use what I had on hand which wasn't much!)

On a plate (or in a baking dish, doesn't matter) combine flour and S&P for dredging.

Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Scoop appx 1/4 cup scoops of potatoes (I used an overflowing ice cream scoop) and work it into "patty" form with your hands. Dredge through the flour, and place into the hot oil to fry.

Cook appx 5-7 mins per side, until golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain, then serve.

Recipe was a combination of a few different recipes - I googled "leftover mashed potato cakes" and then read maybe 4 of the recipes, then made up my own based on those.

I really don't know if my mother would embrace these, or disown me for making them. Part of me wants to say she'd be disappointed in me for tampering with her mashed potatoes... but then part of me thinks she would be happy that I re-purposed them. Either way, though, the parsley kills it because she hates parsley and avoids it at all costs. Whoops. O:)

What did you do with YOUR leftovers?!

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Stuffed Mushrooms

Historically, my role at holiday gatherings has been to provide the "Adult Beverage" (we have done Peppermint Martinis, Cranberry Tea Martinis, Pumpkin Pie Martinis...you get the picture). I had participated in other ways previously including bringing the cocktail meatballs (the fabulous Amy Sue's recipe) and one year the unfortunate turn out of HG's Peppermint Bark Fudge - but this year I was tasked with bringing the stuffed mushrooms.

While I have eaten and enjoyed a variety of flavors of these golden stuffed morsels, never have I ever made a stuffed mushroom. SO this led me to the Food Network (obv). I came across Giada's recipe and it was perfect - easy (so I could make them Thursday morning before my trek to the castle) and ended up being so delicious! So, here we go.



First, gather your ingredients (and ipad for instructions... shh don't tell tt). I used Stop and Shop brand breadcrumbs (when you flavor 'em up, no need to spend the extra money on brand name) and the Pecorino Romano that is in bags.
 

Second, you will start to combine ingredients. Here, you will see the breadcrumbs, cheese, mint and parsley (I probably didn't chop the herbs quite small enough but once they were cooked you couldn't even tell)


Next, add your minced garlic to the bowl.


Add a little EVOO and stir to combine all these ingredients together.


I had a little trouble "stemming" the little white mushrooms without breaking them. After going through a few test runs (thank goodness I got extra!) I finally got into the rhythm. I found the easiest way to do this was to use a spoon and gently wiggle the stems out. I tried to use the mushrooms that were all the closest in size.


Fill the cavities (Missed this photo op!) and drizzle EVOO over the top, then bake.

And Voila!~ when they come out they will look scrumptious and golden brown like this.

Note: I did use a pyrex baking sheet instead of a cookie sheet... I did this mostly because I was transporting them to NY and this pyrex has an insulated carry case, so I thought it would keep them warm..I was wrong, but oh well.  I turned the temp down to 375, and sprayed with PAM spray instead of using oil in the pan.
Ingredients:
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or parmesan)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbl parsley, chopped (ideally fresh)
1 Tbl mint, chopped (ideally fresh)
1/3 cup EVOO
28 large white mushrooms, stemmed (2 ½" diameter)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400° F

Stir the breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, parsley, mint, S&P, and 2 Tbl EVOO in a medium bowl to blend. 

Drizzle a heavy large baking sheet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, to coat. Spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities and arrange on the baking sheet, cavity side up. Drizzle remaining oil over the filling in each mushroom. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through and golden on top, about 25 minutes. Serve.

Recipe Courtesy of ~ Giada De Laurentiis

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

HG Diet-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes

Giving major thanks to Hungry Girl for her Thanksgiving recipe ideas for those who are watching their waistline!




Morning, Noon & Night Bites!
These cozy creations ROCK any time of day during the holiday season...
 




Main-Meal Eats
Make room on the dinner table for these yum-tastic dishes!

« Crazy Glazy Roast Pork Tenderloin

« BBQ Chicken Cornbread Casserole

« Super-Savory Mashed Butternut Casserole and Holiday Harvest Kale Salad

« "Bean There, Stuffed That" Peppers

« Crustless Pumpkin Quiche Supreme and Berry-Good Almond-Panko Tilapia

« Cheesy-Peasy Spaghetti Squash

« Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

 



Sweets 'n Treats 
The feast isn't complete without something sweet to finish it off!

« Too-Good Turtle Cheesecake

« Double-Decker Fudgy Cheesecake Cupcakes

« Yummy Crumbly Lemon Meringue Pie

« The King of Choc'-n-Roll Cake

« Upside-Down Pumpkin Pie

« White Chocolate Macadamia Softies

« True Blueberry Pie



 
As we all know, HG is one of my all time faves. I love love love her personality, and dedication to creating healthy, relatively easy recipes for people on a diet! I have made a number of her recipes and always have been impressed - except for any desserts I've tried. (but I know that my friend Pam has had a lot of luck with them, so maybe it's just me!)
 
Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to try any of these ones out yet... but I will keep you updated as I do... and if you do, comment away!
 
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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sugar & Spice (and everything nice) Ricotta Dessert

Ingredients:
1/2-3/4 cup Ricotta Cheese (I always use part-skim)
Cinnamon- to taste
1 packet of sweetener (day to day I use Stevia in the Raw, but I find sometimes it's just not sweet enough. For this, I use Splenda)
Slivered Almonds (Optional, but recommended)
Strawberries- sliced (Optional)
 
Directions:
(ready for this?!) In serving bowls, combine ricotta, cinnamon, sweetener, almonds, and strawberries if you are using them. Stir all ingredients together until combined (cheese will be speckled with brown because of the cinnamon) - and enjoy.
 
Recipe courtesy of..... ?!!! I know someone told me about it sometime forever ago... but I have no clue who/what/where/when. So so sorry if you gave me the recipe ;)
 
This doesn't look all that appetizing when you make it, and I'm sure doesn't sound all that great either - but trust me. Quick, easy, and relatively healthy little dessert! (and even tt likes it)
 
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Eggy Muffins - Part 2

Ingredients:
Must haves...
   Eggs (use the # eggs as the # of muffins you are making -- a serving is 2 muffins)
   Cooking Spray (I use good ol' fashioned Pam)
   Pepper to taste
   Reduced fat cheddar cheese slices (one per serving)
   Ham slices (one slice per egg)
   Whole wheat toast (one slice per serving)

Equipment...
   Muffin tin

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350

Spray muffin tin liberally with cooking spray.  Place a slice of ham into each muffin tin. Crack one egg into "ham cup" that has bee created. Sprinkle top with black pepper.

Place muffin tin on top of baking sheet (to catch the mess that may or may not poof over the side) - bake for 20-25 minutes.

If you are eating immediately, eat 'em while they're hot!!(with cheddar cheese and over a piece of whole wheat toast)
If you are storing for future, let 'em cool, and store in plastic baggies (I just put 2x in each baggie to grab and go for breakfast) 

Recipe courtesy of Pinterest ~ If you search "Egg Muffin" you get a ton of ideas. 


The ham makes ALL the difference. I have uploaded a picture of these scrumptious little morsels because they truly need to be enjoyed visually.



 



 
 
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

And she called it... Squash

Ingredients:
3-4 zucchini squash
1-2 white onion
5 cloves garlic
2-3 potatoes
4 carrots (peeled, chopped)
4 celery stalks (chopped)
1 cup water
Spices to be used liberally: S&P, garlic powder
 
Directions:
Combine all ingredients in large soup pot. (I use a big, cast iron dutch oven like this one from Martha Stewart). Cook on med-high heat for 30-45 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
 
Note: all veggie numbers are approximate. Really, you can use as much as will fit in the pot! Regardless of number, all veggies should be peeled and chopped. Not too small, this cooks down and gets mushy pretty fast if the veggies are cut too small.
 
Recipe courtesy of ~ TT (care of Mrs. T)
 
Double recipe post today?! Sha-ZAM. Now that is the way to do it. And let me tell you, this little concoction can only be described as magic. TT grew up eating it (and admittedly  never liked it until his adult life) and when I asked what his mother called it, he said "I think she just called it squash.."
 
It is probably the easiest recipe I will ever post (although let's face it, I am all about borderline lazy cooking), but this Autumn Veggie Stew/Soup/whatever it is, is truly one of the most delicious. Considering there is really nothing in it, it has this flavor that is impossible to put into words. That's why you have to just make it yourself!
 
Side note: I seriously might live off this for the Autumn/Winter months. SO hearty, warm and cozy. Um...yum.
 
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"Spaghetti" w Spicy Meat Sauce

Ingredients:
For the sauce...
   1 lb ground turkey (I like 93/7)
   1 jar tomato sauce (ideally "fra diavolo" - I use Simply Enjoy brand)
   Spices used liberally: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme, and nutmeg.
   You can use S&P but I don't typically in this recipe.
   Reduced-fat parmesan cheese

For the "spaghetti"...
   Spaghetti squash -OR-
   Whole wheat angel hair pasta

Directions:
Boil the water and cook the pasta as directed. -OR-
Prepare the spaghetti squash...

Microwave full squash for 45 seconds to soften the skin. Cut squash into quarters and remove seeds. Place into large microwave-safe dish cut side down, with 1/4 cup of water. Cover dish with plastic wrap and microwave for 7-10 minutes. Cool for a minute or two, then scrape the flesh of the squash with a fork, forming strands (like spaghetti!). Squash can be cooked in the oven (at 375 for 40ish mins) but the microwave is way faster, clearly.

For the sauce...
In a large/deep saute pan, brown the meat over med-high heat with the spices. When cooked through, reduce heat to low and add majority of the jar of sauce into meat. Cook on low. I reccomend using a splatter shield here. I have ruined too many white shirts.

Combine remaining sauce with cooked "spaghetti" (either/or). Top with meat sauce, and serve with RF parmesan cheese, and fall in love.

Recipe courtesy of ~ yours truly AND we salute Hungry Girl for saluting Spaghetti Squash!

Ok ok, so I know that the traditional, make-it-yourself sauce is a little more involved than this... I kind of cheated here with the jarred sauce and all. But I'm not Italian, so it's completely kosher.

I am telling you- this is the quickest, yummiest, and can be the healthiest week-night meal! If you don't like it spicy, use a regular tomato/basil sauce. If you are seeing red that day, go with ground beef as opposed to ground turkey. If you are watching your girlish figure (like I am)- the spaghetti squash totally cuts it. It is so filling, you are still getting your veggies, and it really feels like  you are eating something you shouldn't be! What's better than that, you ask? Not much, I say!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ten Min Honey Snaps

Are you even kidding me right now?
10 minute, 4 ingredient cookies?!!

Check.This.Out.

~Thanks to the ever.FAB. FatMumSlim ~* Love her blog, photo a day challenges, and inspiration !!*~
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Monday, October 1, 2012

Miss Coleen's Cheater Turkey Chili

Ingredients:
2 tbl vegetable oil
1 lb ground turkey (or ground beef)
1 turkey kielbasa (or Polska kielbasa)
1 medium white onion, coarsly chopped
2 peppers, coarsely chopped (I always use 1 red, 1 green)
1 jalepeno, chopped (optional)
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 beer (the darker, the better)
1 can light kidney beans
1 can dark kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes OR 1 can tomato paste
Spices: cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, bay leaves, oregano, thyme - to taste
Liberal amounts of both liquid smoke and Frank's Red Hot (to taste- I like it hot and smokey!)

Directions:
In dutch oven over medium heat, heat oil and add onion. Cook appx 5 mins. Add peppers and garlic, cook until softened (not browned).

Increase heat to high, add meat and cook. Add spices and hot sauce. Deglaze with beer and liquid smoke.

When meat is browned, add beans and tomatoes with most of the liquid of both. Reduce heat and simmer for 1+ hours. This "cheater chili" can be eaten within 30-45 mins, but the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.

Serve by itself (yum!) or with sour cream, cheddar jack cheese, and cilantro (yummer!)

Recipe courtesy of ~ Yours truly!

Ok, so my one problem when it comes to chili -besides the obvious of loving it and eating it in mass quantities- is that I don't measure ANYTHING when I make it. I literally throw things into the pot until it smells right. (yes, I have this other problem that I cook 95% by smell - my friend at work makes fun of me for it). I also like it super chunky so I don't chop up my veggies very small (which I suppose is really personal preference). I think I had measurements on the original recipe that I used when I first started making it, but that all went out the window when I started changing things (the other thing that my friend at work doesn't let me live down- I halfway cook based on recipes, because I next to always add in my own flair). The best part of this chili is that it doesn't take all day to make. I usually let it cook for at least 35-40 mins, unless I have time to let it cook for like 2-3 hours which is when it is PERFECT.

Key ingredients are: beer (obvi) and liquid smoke. Do not (I repeat, DO NOT) skip these two ingredients. That is all.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Eggy Muffins

Ingredients:
Must haves...
   Eggs (use the # eggs as the # of muffins you are making, and +1 egg -- a serving is 2 muffins)
   Cooking Spray (I use good ol' fashioned Pam)
   Salt and Pepper to taste (and any other seasoning you would like in the eggs)
   Green onions are highly reccomended
   Veggies and cheese
   ***See below for combination ideas

Equipment...
   Muffin tin
   Whisk
   Large bowl with a pour spout or large glass measuring cup
   Baking sheet

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375

Beat eggs with whisk in bowl/measuring cup. Add salt/pepper and desired seasonings.

Spray muffin tin liberally with cooking spray. Add veggies (if using leaf lettuce/etc put this down first and layer other veggies on top) and cheese. Pour egg over veggie in each muffin tin - fill appx 2/3 of the way full.

Place muffin tin on top of baking sheet (to catch the mess that may or may not poof over the side) - bake for 20-25 minutes.

If you are eating immediately, eat 'em while they're hot!!
If you are storing for future, let 'em cool, and store in plastic baggies (I just put 2x in each baggie to grab and go for breakfast)

***Veggie ideas....the combinations are endless!...
Torn spinach leaves + shredded RF cheddar cheese
This was the first combo I tried. I didn't have green onions so I ignored that suggestion slash recommendation... but it DEF needs something to give it more flavor.

Arugula + chopped jalepeno + shredded RF italian blend. To the eggs, I added garlic powder, onion powder, and a little ground mustard, AND I sprinked paprika on the top once everything was poured.
OMG ok so this was a GREAT 2nd try. Awesome flavor (a little kick!). I am currently eating it for dinner.

Recipe courtesy of Pinterest ~ If you search "Egg Muffin" you get a ton of ideas.
The one I based Try#1 off of can be found on KalynsKitchen.com.

SO - I think my absolute favorite part of this recipe is how dynamic it is. A cross between a fritatta and a quiche, this is such a tasty little morsel. I originally wanted to do it for an easy and healthy grab and go breakfast that would fill me up, but then I was making them tonight and realized I didn't have much for dinner, and EUREEKA! Dinner! The possiblities really are endless, I am super excited to try a greek combination using feta cheese and olives! Holy cannoli...yumm-O!

.....oooh cannolis are for another day. Got a great recipe for you on that one ;)

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Turkey Taco Salad


Ingredients:
For the meat...
   1 pound ground turkey
   Taco Seasoning (You can use the packets but they are LOADED with sodium and gross stuff.
   I actually make it myself, see below)
   1 can black beans
   1 can diced tomatoes (optional- I use sometimes)
 
For the salad...
   Romaine lettuce (appx 1 head per person)
   Tomatoes
   Cucumbers
   Black olives
   Red onion
   Salsa (I use Pace Picante, medium)
 
For the "taco"...
   Reduced fat shredded cheddar
   Avocado (optional- but highly recommended for texture and to cool it a little)
   Sour Cream (optional- I use sometimes)
   Crushed Tortilla chips (optional- I use sometimes)
 
Directions:
Brown turkey in pan. When cooked, add taco seasoning and a little water. Stir to coat. Add black beans (and optional diced tomatoes). Heat through.
 
Combine salad ingredients on plates.
 
Top with meat and "taco" ingredients.
 
Recipe courtesy of... Me!
 
I love love LOVE Turkey Taco Salad (usually on Tuesdays!) -- tonight it had to happen on a Monday. The salad can obviously be changed to your liking. Personally I am fundamentally against the pre-made taco seasoning packets. They are loaded with sodium, and all sorts of processed junk. I make the seasoning myself... I got this spice combination years ago online somehwere - it tastes better, I promise!!
 
BONUS RECIPE - My homemade taco seasoning
1 Tbl chili powder
1/4 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1-1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp each of salt and pepper (I definitely don't use this much of either)
 
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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tony's Tuna (only better!)

Ingredients:
1 can tuna (packed in water) - drained
Dash or two of EVOO

1 hard boiled egg white - chopped
Green olives - chopped
Capers - drained
Salt & Pepper


Directions:
Combine all ingredients together in a bowl.
Serve over a salad, on whole wheat bread, in lettuce wraps, etc.

Recipe courtesy of Tony Horton ~ based loosely on recipe for Tony's Tuna found in the Power90 food plan booklet

I love mayonnaise as much as the next girl (maybe more?) but when I decided to start eating healthier, I knew that mayo had to go. In the same thought, I realized that I could never eat tuna again. But then I purchased Power90 and read through the little booklet that it came with for food ideas, and I discovered Tony's Tuna...made with EVOO. Eureeka! Really, I'm pretty sure all I got from Tony's Tuna was the egg, and olive oil,  maybe the capers? Which is why I say this is based loosely off of that. I forget how the rest ended up in the bowl, but want to give credit where credit is due. Now, if only I could get as into the Power90 as I am the tuna.

So this is not rocket science. It's tunafish for crying out loud. However, it is delicious tuna. And healthy tuna. And tuna that fills you up. I know the egg white sounds weird. Trust me- you don't even taste it. It just adds a little texture, and that much more protein to an already protein-packed lunch. Personally I love this over arugula and mixed greens, and sometimes I add a little balsamic and EVOO for dressing. MMMM.

BONUS RECIPE - A slight variation:
I had a tiny bit of tuna left in a bowl and I was starving. I looked on the counter, saw I had whole wheat english muffins (um, yum!) and my creative juices started flowing (along with my watering mouth). I put the remaining tuna into the food processor, with more green olives and roasted red peppers. Get that all worked together and choppy, almost like a tapenade consistency. I put that on a toasted english muffin, added dots of The Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss, and broiled it for a hot minute, and... Voila! Instant classic. I'm thinking this would make an amazing lettuce wrap... Hm..

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Balsamic Chicken

Ingredients:
2 tsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 pounds uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast (tenders or four 4-oz pieces)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup canned chicken broth
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Optional: chopped onions and/or sundried tomatoes


Directions:
In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of oil. Sauté chicken until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, whisk balsamic, chicken broth, mustard, thyme in bowl to combine.

Into skillet, add remaining 1 teaspoon oil as well as mushrooms and garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes more. Add liquid into skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are deep brown, about 2 minutes longer.

Serve chicken topped with mushrooms.

Recipe Courtesy of the fabulously witty @avbarto of www.bitchsesh.com

So, this chicken is to.die.for. I have no other words for it. It is super easy, super tasty, and super healthy. It is 100% comparable to Chicken Marsala, with like 25% of the butter, fat, etc. (I confirmed this with my friend SalPal who's husband is 100% Italian and makes Chicken Marsala with more butter than I would like to mention. While I am sure it is out of this world..I don't think my waistline would agree).

A while back I had seen AVB posting on good ol' Facebook about this amazing-sounding Balsamic Chicken. She posted a picture of it and I was sold. She was nice enough to share her recipe with me, and now I am sharing it with you. Because sharing is caring.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Nan's Sausage "Appys"

WARNING - Before you keep reading: These cheesy golden, baked lumps of goodness are not on my list of things to eat while I am trying to lose weight - and probably shouldn't be on yours either.  Make at your own risk.

Ingredients:
1 lb hot Italian sausage
1 lb grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 cups Bisquick
1 cup milk
2 Tbl dry minced onion
(or 1/4 cup chopped onion - but I always use dry and I'm pretty sure my mother does too, which would lead me to believe that Nan did as well...so I have no idea why it even says this on the recipe)
4 Tbl dried parsley

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the sausage meat (minus skins) in a fry pan until done. Drain.

In a large bowl, mix all other ingredients well. Add sausage into the mixture.

Drop by spoonfuls onto **GREASED** cookie sheet.
((I have included the stars and the underline because it is strongly emphasized on the hand written recipe that my mother gave to me.))

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of ~ Lil, the real Nanny McPhee (who gave it to Mumma, who gave it to me)

Sausage appys are one of those recipes that every family has. Everyone knows what they are, and everyone loves them. There really is nothing not to like about them...sausage and cheese married and living in a biscuit? Shut up. They are one of THE BEST things to make for a party you are hosting, or bring to a party that you can't show up to empty handed. They seriously are so good. They don't look all that pretty, actually they're pretty scary looking if you don't know what they are, but once you start eating them, you can't stop. I have made a believer out of many. I promise you will fall in love.
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Springtime Stir Fry

Ingredients:
1 lbs chicken pieces - optional
10 asparagus spears - quartered lengthwise
1 cup snow peas
1 cup broccoli florets
1/4 cup fava beans
*I swapped out the beans for sliced baby bella mushrooms
2-3 Tbl canola oil
1 tsp grated ginger
Chopped scallions - to taste
Chopped nuts (I used roasted, salted cashews, but peanuts would be great)

Directions:
Heat oil, grated ginger, and 1 chopped scallion in a fry pan over medium high heat. Add chicken, and cook almost all the way through.

Meanwhile, in separate fry pan, place asparagus spears, snow peas, broccoli, beans and/or mushrooms, and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Combine chicken, sauce, and veggies and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until veggies are softened but still crisp inside.

Serve topped with remaining chopped scallion and nuts sprinkled over.

Can be served over white/brown rice.

Recipe courtesy of Greatist - 52 Healthy Meals in 12 Minutes or Less

I love Pinterest. There are SO many great things: recipes, fashion advice, makeup ideas, home decor, etc etc etc. I could seriously peruse for hours (and I do). I am 99% positive I came to Greatist via way of this glorious website. And thank goodness I did. Otherwise I never would have found this fantastic, and yummy, list!

This stir-fry was great. It was super light and pretty flavorful despite not having a ton in it. I may add more ginger next time. I also think that I have added garlic to it last night, too. Yes, I forget what I did 12 hours ago. The recipe online doesn't include chicken, or the extra nuts for garnish (but I also didn't use beans). I would think tofu would work well with it as well.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lemon Caper Dijon Salmon

Ingredients:
1 lb salmon
Lemon juice - appx 1/4 cup
Dijon Mustard - appx 2 Tbl (I use one from Trader Joes)
Splash Vegetable Stock
EVOO - appx 1 Tbl
Capers - appx 2 tsp, drained
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 lemon - sliced
Parsley - to taste

Directions:
Preaheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray bottom of glass baking dish with cooking spray (or use a little extra oil). Salt salmon, skin side only, and place into dish skin side down. Cover with lemon slices.

Combine remaining ingredients in small bowl and whisk together. Pour over fish in baking dish.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until fish becomes flaky.

Enjoy!

Honestly, I made this up. I love love love fish + lemons/capers and decided I wanted to alter the usual. So SO good. The mustard gives it a bit of a tang, but it doesn't overpower the lemon because you have the lemon juice and the lemon slices directly on the fish. Um...yum. I served this with a broccoli/cauliflower mix. Why such a delicious dinner tonight? Because it's Tuesday of course. :)

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Bake-Tastic Butternut Squash Fries 2.0

Ingredients:
1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds -- large enough to yield 20 oz. once peeled & sliced)1/8 tsp. coarse salt
Optional: additional coarse salt


Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Slice the ends off the squash, and then cut it in half widthwise. Peel squash with a vegetable peeler or carefully with a knife. Cut the round bottom piece in half lengthwise and remove seeds.
Using a crinkle cutter or a knife, carefully cut squash into spears/French-fry shapes. (For exact nutritionals, measure out and use 20 oz.) Pat spears firmly with paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Sprinkle evenly with salt.
Lay spears out on a layer of paper towels, and let stand for at least 5 minutes, to allow the salt to draw out any excess moisture. Then pat with paper towels again. If you like, sprinkle with additional salt.
Spray a broiler pan, a baking rack placed over a baking sheet, or a baking sheet with nonstick spray, and then lay spears flat on it. (Use two pieces of bakeware, if needed.)
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, and then carefully flip spears. Bake for about 20 minutes longer, until tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. Enjoy!

Nutrition:
Per Serving (1/2 of recipe): 125 calories, <0.5g fat, 158mg sodium, 33g carbs, 5.5g fiber, 6g sugars, 3g protein

Recipe courtesy of Hungry Girl ~ Bake-Tastic Butternut Squash Fries 2.0

Ok- Can we talk about excited? I have a new found love for squash (which I never in a million years thought would happen) and can't wait to try to make these fries! I have tried making sweet potato chips to no avail... I'm thinking this method might just solve my crispy chippy problem, too!

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

White Bean and Poblano Chicken Chili

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Two 15.5-ounce cans white beans, rinsed
3 large poblano chiles, seeded and chopped
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried chipotle chile powder (optional)
4 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup light sour cream
chopped cilantro for garnish

Directions:
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and stir frequently until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Add 2 cups white beans, the poblanos, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the beans break apart, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the chicken broth, cumin, oregano and chipotle powder, then lower the heat to low. Add the remaining beans. Heat through.
Top portions of the chili with cheese, 1 tablespoon sour cream, and some chopped cilantro.

Recipe Courtesy of The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans ~ White Bean & Poblano Chicken Chili
This is the easiest (least time consuming) chicken chili recipe I have found. It also contains way less ingredients than a lot of the ones I have come across.
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Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan
1 red onion, chopped
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped carrots
7 bell peppers, variety of colors (1 cored, seeded and chopped; tops removed and reserved from remaining 6 then cored and seeded)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 pound baby spinach
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package directions

Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews


Directions:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until transparent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes more. Add carrots and chopped peppers, cook until just softened, then add parsley and spinach (in batches, if needed). Let spinach wilt then stir in cinnamon, cumin and cooked quinoa and toss gently to combine. Add salt, pepper and cashews and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Set aside to let filling cool until just warm.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9- x 13-inch baking pan with oil then set aside.

Divide quinoa mixture evenly among remaining 6 bell peppers, gently packing it down and making sure to fully fill each pepper. Top each pepper with its reserved top then arrange them upright in prepared pan. Cover snugly with foil and bake, checking halfway through, until peppers are tender and juicy and filling is hot throughout, about 1 hour. Transfer to plates and serve.

Nutrition:
Per serving (1 pepper): 250 calories (90 from fat), 10g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 280mg sodium, 36g total carbohydrate (7g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 9g protein

Recipe Courtesy of Whole Foods Market ~ Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa

These peppers are to die for. I had never made stuffed peppers before, and so I was really excited to try this vegetarian version. This was super filling, but you could totally add ground turkey or even ground beef if you so desired. The cinnamon combines with the sweetness of the peppers, and the salty crunch of the cashews really makes it happen for your tastebuds. If you prefer savory dishes, cut back on the cinnamon and play around with the spices a bit.


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