Sunday, December 21, 2014

Spinach & Asiago Stuffed Mushrooms




 I have been a mushroom lover for years and I must confess that these babies are the bomb. You can eat them as an appetizer or a nice side to a dinner of your choice. The flavors of this dish will trick your fat cells into singing with delight. I love Green Giant creamed spinach because it is all about flavor while being low in fat. The Asiago cheese is a perfect flavor meld and the crunch of the the Panko make this schroom de bomb. Mushroom lovers unite!

*12 Baby Bella Mushrooms, about 3 inches in size
*2, 10 oz boxes of frozen Green Giant Creamed Spinach
*1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese and some extra for topping
*2 Tbsp. minced garlic in jar
*4 Tbsp. butter or Smart Balance original margarine
*Panko bread crumbs
*1/4 cup white wine, the drinkable kind


Cook creamed spinach according to package directions and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile remove stems from mushroom while gripping the stem and using a twisting action, trying not to damage the mushroom shell. Wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel if need be to clean off. Add 2 Tbsp of the butter to a 10 x 13 pyrex baking dish along with the white wine

In a medium size mixing bowl mix together cooked spinach, Asigo, and garlic, mix together well. Place mushrooms in dish and stuff with the spinach mixture. Now add a sprinkling of Asiago and Panko to the tops of the mushrooms, now melt the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter and drizzle on top of the mushrooms. Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 45 minutes.
You see the deliciousness of the juices in the bottom of the baking dish. Get yourself some nice hearty bread to sop it up and eat it cave man style. Yum!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chocolate Fudge

  • 3 cups Ghirardelli semi sweet  chocolate chips
  • 1 14 oz. can condensed milk
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • You will also need: cooking spray, foil, 8x8 Pyrex dish and a KitchenAid 4.5 quart tilt-head stand mixer using  the paddle to mix the fudge.
Add the first 3 ingredients to the mixer bowl and set it in a larger bowl filled with boiling water. I sat mine inside my kitchen sink. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then remove from water bath, dry off bottom of mixer bowl and place in to lock down position on your mixer. Using the paddle attachment mix on STIR speed (it's the lowest one). 

If chips are not completely melted after 3 minutes of mixing remove from heat and return to hot water bath for a few more minutes. Repeat above step to mix fudge.

After all chips are melted add vanilla extract and salt, mix well. Line a 8 x 8 inch Pyrex with foil and spray with cooking spray. This step will make your removal of the fudge much easier when ready. Spread fudge evenly and smooth down top with a soft spatula, chill for at least 2 hours or until set.

When fudge is set invert and cut into squares. This fudge is best eaten at room temperature. *If you do not have the correct mixer you may mix by hand if you are strong and do not have a bad Frankeneck like me.

This is my variation from Rachel Sacher at thoughtfulwomen.org recipe.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Mashed Potato Waffle = MPW

I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love! Seriously! My tasty little MPW made me have a eating frenzy (that is a rarity). I highly recommend that when you make these babies no one should be around so you can chow down on the first four made, it can be our little secret. By the time I came out of my dazed eating coma four of these babies were resting comfortably in my tummy.

I cooked mine to perfection in my waffle iron for 4 minutes. While you are waiting the 4 minutes to cook make sure you occupy your mind so that you will not drool uncontrollably. Do not peek, no "Nosy Parker's" allowed. If you open the waffle iron up prematurely or it is not cooked enough the pieces will break apart into two pieces, one stuck to the top and one stuck onto the bottom of the waffle iron. Not to worry if this happens because this is how you get to eat your mistakes. You may rescue this problem by sneaking it into your mouth and eating it before anyone catches you. Needless to say I don't think I will ever make these again because I can't stop eating them! Oh well it was tasty while it lasted. Enjoy!
  • 4 cups leftover Mashed Potatoes
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions, sliced very thin with green tops too
  • 1/4 cup finely diced sweet yellow bell pepper
  • 1 cup Sargento reduced fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • cooking spray
You will need a waffle iron for this recipe. Preheat waffle iron, meanwhile mix together first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl by hand until well blended. I took 1/4 cup of the mashed potatoes and rolled it into a ball and set on a sheet of wax paper, repeat until mixture is gone. When iron is hot spray with cooking spray in the center and add one mashed potato ball in center, immediately close lid and cook for 4 minutes or until golden brown (cook time may vary). Repeat until all are cooked and this will make about 16 MPW's to die for.

This is not an original recipe of mine but a variation on Matt Robinson's recipe at realfoodbydad.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Red Beans & Rice.....Slow Cooked in the Crockpot

No fuss cooked red beans and rice, just plop those babies in the crockpot and forget about them for 6 hours, total cook time is 8 hours. No soaking these little stinkers either. How cool is that! I love to cook in the crockpot when there is a chill in the air. Easy, inexpensive and tasty gets me every time. Get your bean fix here!
  • 1 16 oz. bag dry small red beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 3 links Andouille sausage about 6" long, cut into slices
  •       ( I used AMYLU Andoullie chicken sausage )
  • 1 cup dry white or brown rice cooked according to package directions
  • Hot Sauce, I used Cholula, original

I used a small 3 quart crockpot and added the first six ingredients, mix together well. Cover and cook on high for 6  hours ( cooking for a total of 8 hours), then add sausage to cook for the last 2 hours. Cook rice just before serving or use some leftover rice, minute rice or frozen rice if you do not want to cook any. Spoon some rice on your plate and top with the bean mixture with some drops of hot sauce to suit your taste. We also ate it without the rice and it was good that way too. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Reuben Grilled the Lighter Way

If you make make a grilled cheese then you can make a Reuben. Ta Da !!! My version is lower in fat and calories, so you can have your Reuben and eat it without the guilt. Make sure you get yourself a good quality rye bread and you will thank yourself with the first crispy bite of the golden brown deliciousness. I just love a good Reuben but don't like the high calories that come with it. So trick your fat cells into singing with delight with this one.
  • Turkey Pastrami, I used Castle Wood brand
  • New York Style Jewish Rye bread
  • Reduced fat Swiss Cheese, I used Jarlsburg 50% less fat
  • Sauerkraut
  • Walden Farms fat free, calorie free Thousand Island dressing
  • Mt Olive Relish, no sugar added
  • Smart Balance margarine, original
I am giving you directions for one sandwich but please make as many as you want. You will need 2 nonstick skillets for this sandwich, preheat skillets over medium heat. In a single layer at a time add 4 - 6 slices of pastrami evenly stacking on top of one another, flipping occasionally to heat evenly.

Meanwhile spread margarine over both slices of rye bread but only coating one side of the bread. Heat up about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of  sauerkraut but drain and squeeze out liquid first. Place in bowl and cover with a paper towel and microwave the kraut until heated through.

Place one rye bread slice in the skillet margarine side down, add 1 or 2 cheese slices, hot pastrami on top of the cheese, then top pastrami with sauerkraut, place last slice of rye on top with  margarine side up. Grill both sides until golden brown only flipping once, cooking it just like a grilled cheese sandwich.

Mix together some of the relish with the Thousand Island dressing and spread on the inside of the bread, cut sandwich in half and enjoy. Adding extra relish to the dressing gives it more pizzazz.
                                                                     



Friday, October 3, 2014

Beef Vegetable Soup

I'll tell you that this recipe is one of my family's favorites. Our son went off to college and went on a shopping spree to buy canned soup. I loved his way of thinking to try to get a good quick meal. Mind you the boy only ever had homemade here and thought it would be just as good. Well I received a call from Eric and he said the soup was just awful. I just chuckled and said oh Eric you're used to homemade soup and that canned stuff is horrible. He was spoiled by my cooking and did not even know it at the time.

Chilly Fall days here in Maryland scream for a nice hearty soup. It will fill you up and warm your chilly bones from the inside out. It a big batch of soup so share some with friend or neighbor or freeze some into individual size portions. Think big and eat great! Enjoy!
  • 2 ½ -3 lbs. sirloin or beef round top round steak                  
  • 18 cups or 4 1/2 quarts of water
  • 1/3 cup beef base *
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 16 oz. bag frozen Petite Peas
  • 1 16 oz. bag frozen Butter Beans or Lima's
  • 1 16 oz. bag frozen Sweet White Corn
  • 1 20 oz. bag frozen cut Green Beans
  • 2 cups diced raw potatoes diced w/ skin on
  • 1 cup  chopped fresh cabbage
  • 1 ½ cup diced fresh carrots
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
Preheat grill to high. Sear meat for 3 minutes on each side or you may brown meat in a large skillet inside if you do not have access to a gas grill. Set meat on platter and set aside.

In a large soup pot add beef base, water, & tomato paste. stir together well with a wire whisk making sure you break up base and tomato paste. Heat over medium heat. Then add the peas, butter beans, corn, green beans, potatoes, cabbage, salt , & pepper. Cut meat into bite size pieces and add to the soup pot.  Cover stirring occasionally until soup comes to a boil. Then lower heat and simmer for  2-3 hours.

*I buy chicken and beef base at the wholesale food clubs and they make the best broth for soups.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Green Pizza

Sometimes something is just so darn simple yet delicious that you are blown away. I'm here to tell you that this pizza will do exactly that. Not only that but it will make your fat cells sing! Quick & easy does not get any better. What's not to love here, between the delicious creamy cheese and the wonderful basil and garlic flavors in the pesto sauce. I just love a thin crust pizza too because in my mind I prefer the toppings with less dough.
  • 2 Pizza crusts, thin & crispy
  • 8 oz. Fontina cheese
  • 1 pkg Knorr Pesto sauce mix, .5oz.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup water
For testing purposes I used Mama Mary's thin & crispy pizza crusts and baked my pizza according to package directions. Call me crazy but I love Knorr Pesto sauce mix. If you don't want to use Knorr you may use a Pesto sauce of your choice and the same goes for the pizza crusts.

Preheat oven according to pizza crust instructions. Meanwhile prepare the Knorr pesto sauce according to package instructions. While sauce is simmering slice cheese with a cheese slicer, cutting cheese on the side until all is cut. Cheese slices should be pie shaped, this will fit well on your pizza later.

After oven is preheated prepare your pizza. You will need about 1/4 cup of pesto per pizza. When you add the cheese make sure it is not too close to the edge and cheese slices need space between, dividing the cheese in half. You will see as cheese cooks that it melts and it will spread out. I baked mine for 8 minutes, one at a time directly on my oven rack.

You will notice that this crust has tiny holes in it and the pesto may leak some. I have a silicone mat in my oven that catches spills but if you don't add foil or pan under the pizza so it will not make a mess of your oven. Also prepare pizza right before you place it into the oven to bake.