Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Banana Oatmeal Bread

I'll tell you a secret, I do not like bananas. But if you put them in a bread, pie, cake or muffin you will have my fat cells perky and my full attention. My Dad always likes to spread his with cream cheese or butter but I prefer mine naked. I can't tell you how many times I've made this bread and it's a favorite in my house. My grandson James loves his Nonna's nanner bread. Our little guy so handsome and he's a genius too. Nonna knows.

This is a great tasting recipe that is healthier than most, less sugar, flour and it also has oatmeal in it. I just love it when that happens. Get rid of those rotten bananas with dignity!

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cups oatmeal
  • 3 overly ripe bananas, peeled & mashed
  • 1/3 cup fat free buttermilk
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a very large bowl mix together all of the dry ingredients until well blended.

Combine mashed banana with the next 4 remaining ingredients, stir into the flour mixture until just mixed.

Spray a 8x4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Add batter to pan and cook for 55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes then invert on rack to cool. Wrap well and refrigerate until ready to eat.

This recipe is from the 2005 Cooking Light cookbook.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Burrito Casserole

We just love Mexican style food and this is a perfect way to get your fix right at home. Whether it's the nasty weather, tight budget, or trying to eat healthier this one is sure to please.  

Excuse the pic of it already cut into but in someone's excitement it was eaten before I could take a pic. I plead the 5th! My Stud Muffin and I both hit the jackpot on this spicy lower fat dish. 

This is not for spice wimps,  so only put in 1/2 tsp. of the chipotle if you are a cry baby about spice. My heart goes out to you if can not tolerate spices so I'll take care of you in another post. Don't you know spice makes the world go round. Enjoy!
  • 1 lb 99% lean ground turkey or lean ground beef
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ -1 tsp ground chipolte powder
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 can fat free refried beans, 16 oz.
  • 6 large flour tortilla's, I like the high fiber ones
  • 2 cups Sargento reduced fat grated cheddar cheese, 8 oz pkg.
  • 1 can Campbell's Healthy Request cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile brown the ground meat and onion in a large nonstick skillet stirring and breaking up pieces until meat is no longer pink. Then add the paprika, garlic, chipolte, cumin, salt and beans along with the water and ketchup, stir to mix well then cook on low while preparing next step.

In a large bowl whisk together soup and sour cream and set aside.
Spray a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish with cooking spray.
Spread 1/2 of the soup mixture evenly onto the bottom of the Pyrex dish.  
Tear up 3 tortilla's and spread evenly over top of soup mixture.
Spread out  half of the meat/bean mixture over top.
Now add half of the cheese.
Repeat again, you know just like a good old rerun on TV.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, let set for 5 minutes before cutting servings. If you are like me you will not be able to wait the 5 minutes.

My favorite brand ground turkey is Shady Brook Farms, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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, then 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

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 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

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.