Sunday, September 29, 2013

Apple Pie Eggrolls

As I think we have all established, Fall is my absolute favorite. I love the smell of the air, I love the smells of the food. Fried fair food, apples and cinnamon, chili. Holy Hannah, I can't even take it. tt and I went to the orchard yesterday and picked up a bunch of gorgeous looking Empire apples. And it got me itching to make them into something. 

Problem: I don't bake
Solution: Put on your big girl pants apron and let's get to trying.
I searched high and low online to find something that I thought would be feasible for me to try. And while the original form of this recipe calls for a deep fry... I have turned it into a slightly more healthy version and baked them {note: this definitely still has sugar in it, so it is by no means "healthy" - just saying it's healthiER}


3 cups apples, peeled and diced (approx. 3 apples)
4 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
12 Egg Roll Wrappers
Powdered sugar (optional)
Vanilla ice cream (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Combine everything but the wrappers together and mix well. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat to warm through.
  3. Place 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each egg roll wrapper. Fold in the sides and roll the wrapper tightly. Place fold side down on baking sheet that has been sprayed with non stick spray.
  4. Brush the tops of the eggrolls with a little EVOO and bake for 12-15 minutes
  5. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm, with vanilla ice cream if desired. 


  • It's very important to make sure the sides of the wrapper are tucked in so that ingredients are held inside the wrapper.  Using a little bit of water along the edge to secure the wrapper. 
  • Eggrolls can also be fried: they'll need to cook for 4-5 minutes in 375 degree oil. 
  • If baking, they do get a little dry. I would recommend a sauce of some kind {maybe caramel?!} or def serving with ice cream. 
  • I would also suggest cutting back on the sugar in the filling. While the sweeter the better, I think 4 Tbl is a lot, and after making/eating them, a smaller amount of sugar would work just fine. 
Thank you, thank you! to Spending with Pennies for the starting point for this recipe adventure!

Cauliflower with Tomatoes and Lemon

From: WeightWatchers PointsPlus Cookbook {page 215}


1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt + Pepper
1 cup red and yellow cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon zest


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Spray a baking pan with nonstick spray and place cauliflower in pan. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread out into single layer and roast, stirring once, until just tender: 15 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, stir together tomatoes, garlic and salt and pepper. Add tomato mixture to the cauliflower and stir well. 
  4. Roast until cauliflower is browned and tomatoes are softened, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer to serving bowl and add parsley and lemon zest before serving. 


  • I served this with sun dried tomato flavored chicken sausage which I browned in a fry pan, and added to the veggie mixture during the second round of baking. 

Grilled Chicken with Cilantro and Indian Spices

From: WeightWatchers PointsPlus Cookbook {page 154}


4 scallions, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
Salt + pepper
4 bone-in chicken breasts {appx 1/2 lb each}
Thinly sliced scallions and lime wedges for garnish


  1. Combine all ingredients besides chicken in blender and process into a coarse paste
  2. Place chicken on a plate. Loosen skin from chicken; rub paste under skin and all over chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
  3. Spray grill rack with non stick spray, and preheat to medium heat.
  4. Place chicken on grill rack and grill, turning occasionally until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. 
  5. Arrange chicken on platter and garnish with sliced scallions and lime wedges. 


  • For healthiest option {and WW recommends} remove skin before eating
  • I served this with a cous cous which I made using chicken broth, and added in similar Indian spices to the liquid: cumin, paprika, turmeric and coriander. It was a great accompaniment to the chicken!
  • I made this recipe using chicken thighs rather than breasts which adds a bit more flavor
  • Personally, I loved the flavors used in this dish but I think I might bake them next time rather than grilling. To me, grilling really added too much char on the outsides of the chicken and I feel that it overwhelmed the flavor of the spices. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Chai Pumpkin Spice Thumbprint Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Pass the Sushi and can be found here


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup chai concentrate {like Oregon Chai concentrate}
1 large egg
1 teas vanilla extract
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teas baking soda
1/8 teas salt
1/2 teas chai spice mix {1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg}
22-24 Pumpkin spice Hershey’s Kisses


  1. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and cream at medium speed until fluffy, or with a hand mixer, for about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg, chai concentrate,  and the vanilla, mix until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  3. Using your hands, roll the dough into 22 to 24 1 inch round balls. Place the dough balls on parchment paper lined baking sheets and sprinkle chai spice mix lightly over cookies.
  4. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, unwrap kisses.
  5. Remove the cookies from the oven and immediately place pumpkin kisses in the center of each cookie. Don’t touch or the kisses will turn into puddles! Cool completely.


  • You should be able to find the pumpkin kisses at Target or Walmart in early fall 

Beet Sliders | featured on Triple D

Original Recipe is courtesy of: Chuck Caplener and Jared Nuttall, Gatsby's Diner, CA and can be founhere


5 quarts water
1/2 cup sea salt, plus a pinch
1 tablespoon dried dill
6 dried arbol chiles
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons seasoning sauce (recommended: Maggi)
6 to 8 whole beets (depending on size)
Olive oil
Green Goddess Dressing  {make your own-recipe below}
Sliced red onions, for serving
16 to 18 slider buns, toasted


  1. In a large stock pot, combine and the water, 1/2 cup sea salt, dill, chiles, coriander, caraway, carrots, celery, onions, seasoning sauce, and beets and bring to a boil. Boil on medium heat for about 1 hour.
  2. Remove the beets and let cool, discarding the liquid. Once cooled, remove the skin from the beets with a vegetable peeler. (Remember to wear gloves, as the beets will stain your hands as well as other surfaces.) Cut the beets into 1/4 to 3/8-inch slices. Place the beet slices, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt into a skillet over high heat and saute until glossy and tender, about 2 1/2 minutes on each side.
  3. Remove the beets from the skillet and serve with shaved red onion and Green Goddess Dressing on a toasted slider bun.


  • Serves 16 to 18 sliders - which is a lot!
  • Sub for seasoning sauce can be Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, but you might need a little more
  • Make your own-Green Goddess: combine chopped herbs such as fresh tarragon and parsley,
    1 bunch chopped scallions, 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 Tbl lemon juice, and 1/2 cup white wine vinegar in a mixing bowl. Let sit and macerate for 10 minutes. Then add 1 cup sour cream + 2 cups mayo and blend with an immersion blender until creamy. Season with S+P
  • For a low fat version: swap 1 ripe avocado, 1 cup lowfat buttermilk and minced garlic for sour cream + mayo. Also recommended to use white balsamic vinegar in place of lemon juice/white wine vinegar.

Caprese Lasagna Roll-ups

Original recipe is courtesy of Cooking Classy and can be found here


8 lasagna noodles, uncooked
14 oz freshly shredded, low-moisture part skim Mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup Ricotta cheese
1 large egg white
1/3 cup freshly, finely shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/4 oz)
freshly ground black pepper
3 - 4 medium Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 1/6 inch thick slices)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
1 cup marinara sauce {Make your own-recipe below}


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions listed on package to al dente. Drain pasta (DO NOT rinse with water) and align lasagna noodles in a single layer on a large sheet of parchment or wax paper.
  2. For filling, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese and egg white until well blended. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Mix in 12 oz. of the Mozzarella cheese and season with black pepper to taste (I wouldn't recommend seasoning with salt just because the cheeses already have plenty of salt).
  3. Place 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture over each lasagna noodle and spread into an even layer, going from one end of the lasagna to the other. Align 4 thin tomato slices over cheese mixture then sprinkle fresh basil over top. Snugly roll lasagna noodles to opposite end. Spread about 1/4 cup pasta sauce in the bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking dish. Align lasagna roll ups, seam side down in dish. Top each roll up with about 2 Tbsp of the pasta sauce (covering edges of pasta so they don't dry out while baking). Sprinkle top with remaining 2 oz. shredded Mozzarella. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven, plate pasta and garnish with plenty of basil ribbons. Serve warm.


  • Yield: 8 servings
  •  Make your own-Easy Marinara: Heat 2 Tbl olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion and saute for 2 minutes, add 3 cloves minced garlic and saute for 1 additional minute until both are soft. Pour in 1 large can crushed tomatoes and season with S+P. Bring just to a boil, then reduce and simmer 25-30 min
  • You can freeze or refrigerate left over sauce in a small airtight container for later use, adding fresh basil if desired

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

Original recipe courtesy of Pinch of Yum and can be found here


8 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
5-6 cups cauliflower florets
6-7 cups vegetable broth or water
1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
½ teaspoon pepper (more to taste)
½ cup milk (more to taste)


  1. Garlic: Saute the minced garlic with the butter in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Cook for several minutes or until the garlic is soft and fragrant but not browned (browned or burnt garlic will taste bitter). Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Cauliflower: Bring the water or vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the cauliflower and cook, covered, for 7-10 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender. Do not drain.
  3. Puree: Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower pieces to the blender. Add 1 cup vegetable broth or cooking liquid, sauteed garlic/butter, salt, pepper, and milk. Blend or puree for several minutes until the sauce is very smooth, adding more broth or milk depending on how thick you want the sauce. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender. Serve hot! If the sauce starts to look dry, add a few drops of water, milk, or olive oil.

notes {from pinch of yum}

  • Makes about 5 cups; Serving size is 1/2 cup
  • I like to add a little bit of olive oil for the flavor and to help keep the sauce really smooth. Several other readers have mentioned that they really liked the addition of Parmesan cheese as well.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

everything bagel bake out

Who doesn't love a good bagel? Especially when they are fresh, and warm. My favorite? Well, that would definitely be a toss up between a French Toast bagel, or Everything. Smothered in cream cheese. Yes, oh yes. Get in my belly. Um, now.

As many of us know, what comes along with these deliciously carb-filled goodies, is just that. A TON of carbs. They say that a big ol' bagel from your favorite deli is most likely between 500-600 calories, so we're talking the equivalent of 6 slices of bread. Yes, I said six slices of bread. Plus a glob of cream cheese that is probably adding another hundred calories. Gross. 

There is all this talk about scooping out the inside of your bagel and just eating the outside part along with your topping. While I'm sure this would do the trick and reduce your calorie count, doesn't it seem somewhat wasteful? Personally, I would go for half instead of hollow, if I had the choice. But who wants to eat just half of a bagel? 

I came across something else, which seemed to me to be a much more satisfying substitution. If you can get the flavor profile from another source, wouldn't that be divine? Why not MAKE your "everything" seasoning, and put it on a more diet-friendly whole wheat English Muffin for 120 calories + lite cream cheese for 70 more. Um hello- this seems like a nobrainer. But how, pray tell, do you make the seasoning? Let me tell you:

{I'm getting really bad at tracking where these are coming from}
2 tsp Minced onion {dried}
2 tsp Minced garlic {dried}
2 tsp Poppy seeds
2 tsp Sesame seeds
1 tsp Caraway seeds
1 tsp Kosher salt

  1. Combine all spices together and give a shake. I had an empty spice container in my cabinet, so I put it in there. {it was formerly garlic powder, so I didn't have to wash it out. If you use one that needs washing, make sure it is fully dried before putting your new spice mix in}
  • Add more/less of any of the above to your liking. I did add a bit more minced onion because I felt that was a good flavor that made me really think of an everything bagel. 
  • Enjoy seasoning on a toasted whole wheat English Muffin + lite cream cheese for an everything bagel fake out. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Fall is in the air! That means it's time for fall type food-ing... aka all things that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. What does that mean to me? Chili, pumpkin-everything, easy party appetizers for Sunday Funday, and oh-so-savory pies. Preferably by way of spaghetti or pot {pie}.

Chicken pot pie is one of those recipes that you ultimately need to find a tried and true option. I have found my Chicken & Dumplings recipe is pretty close - AND it's at least somewhat diet-friendly because it originated from Hungry Girl's recipe. That being said, there really is nothing better than the not-good-for-you style Chicken Pot Pie. I stumbled across this recipe, and am so excited to make it at some point this season. I'm thinking they would be delightful for an easy Sunday meal- the recipe seems to be relatively easy... will keep you posted, but feel free to enjoy and let ME know how it goes!

The Recipe
{Not sure exactly where this came from}
2 cups of cooked chicken breast, diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup frozen mixed veggies
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tablespoon of dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 (10 oz) cans Pillsbury biscuits

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, soup, veggies, cheese, herbs and spices.
  3. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and place the biscuits into each cup, pressing into the bottom and up the sides.
  4. Evenly spoon the chicken mixture into each muffin cup. 
  5. Bake for appx 15 minutes, but check at the 12 minute mark.
  6. Once cooked through, let rest the pies rest for about 3 minutes.
  • When I do make this, I will most likely use rotisserie chicken ~ I always find that the easiest and most flavorful... AND it's already cooked for me. Rather than needing to cook a chicken breast.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

It's almost Fall!!!! I am totally pushing the season change because it is my absolute favorite season. Why? You ask. {And I'll tell you even if you didn't} - there are so many wonderfully cozy things about fall.
  1. Sweaters and boots 
  2. Crisp morning air
  3. Pumpkin everything
  4. I would say football, but we all know I hate football... I just like the tailgating, eating + drinking part.
  5. Crock pot meals
Which brings me to today's ROTD... An easy-peasy weeknight dinner, that could also be great for a crowded Sunday-Funday filled with football.

Recipe of the Day
Adapted from:
24 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 celery stalk
1/2 white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
16 oz fat free, low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup Franks {or your favorite hot sauce}
6 large lettuce leaves - I always use butter lettuce for my wraps, but Bibb or iceberg work well too
Broccoli slaw 
Crumbled blue cheese

  1. In a crock pot, combine chicken, celery, onions, garlic, and enough broth to cover the chicken. If you need more liquid, using either more broth or water is fine. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours.
  2. When cooking is complete, remove chicken from the pot and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Discard the rest of the liquid and veggies. 
  3. Shred chicken with two forks and return the shredded chicken, reserved cooking liquid, and hot sauce to the crock pot. Cook on high for 30 more minutes. 
  4. Serve lettuce wraps by spooning chicken onto lettuce, sprinkling with crumbled blue cheese, and top with broccoli slaw. 
  • While chicken breast is entirely better for you, chicken thighs would potentially work better. 
  • If you are cooking over a longer period of time, I would probably recommend using more liquid to cook in.
  • You could probably make the chicken using just chicken or vegetable stock, but I do think the veggies  in the crock pot with it add a nice flavor bite.
You can view the original recipe by clicking here