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 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.
 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Grilled Romaine Lettuce

I saw these tiny compact Romaine heads in my local wholesale food club and I knew I needed to grill those babies up. It's like they were calling me...Grill Me...Grill Me. I was pleasantly surprised how tasty they were, the caramelized lettuce has a slightly sweet taste to it.  Feasty Fans be brave and grill up your next salad. Enjoy!

*Romaine lettuce, best using compact tight   lettuce 
*Olive Oil spray
*granulated garlic powder
*sea salt
*freshly ground black pepper

Dressing options of your choice but I recommend crumbled blue cheese and crisply cooked crumbled bacon








1 Prep the romaine heart by rinsing and pulling off any leafy leaves. Cut romaine in half lengthwise and shave off the browned part of the root end, leaving the root end intact so that the lettuce head stays together.

2 Prepare your grill for high, direct heat. Spray both halves with olive oil spray, granulated garlic powder, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
.
3 Grill the romaine hearts until browned and caramelized on all sides, turning after about 5 minutes on each side.
Serve immediately with your favorite salad dressing. I think the perfect choice is blue cheese crumbles with crisply cooked crumbled bacon.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Weenies

I have noticed a lot of bacon talk going around these days. America does have a love affair with bacon and this recipe should help you love it even more. You will notice that I used lower fat hot dogs, bacon and cheese in my recipe. Sorry! I can't help myself, I'm always trying to cut back on fat but not the flavor. To be honest my Stud Muffin gave a big approval on this one.
  • 1 package of Hebrew National 97% fat free franks
  • 8 slices of center cut bacon
  • 8 toothpicks, broke in half
  • 1 pack of Martin's hot dog potato rolls
Toppings optional:
  • pickled jalapeno slices
  • Sargento 1/3 less fat shredded sharp cheese
Wrap each hot dog with a bacon slice securing each end with toothpick halves. Place in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. This is hands on cooking and you will frequently need to turn the weenies with tongs for even browning and crispness of the bacon. Also a splatter screen is helpful too.


Towards the end of the cooking time (about last 5 minutes), I noticed the toothpicks were not letting me cook the bacon evenly so I removed them by holding down the weenies with a spatula and pulling out the toothpicks with the tongs. The bacon will stay in place at this time and has adhered to the weenie. These take about 20 minutes to fully cook, yes 20 minutes. When bacon is crispy and evenly browned they are fully cooked Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess bacon grease and serve immediately.



You get to pick your toppings, but our favorite was cheddar cheese with some jalapeno slices.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pepper Slaw

I just love this vinegar base slaw. There is a party going on with your taste buds when you try this one. The sweetness vs the tart of the vinegar is perfect. Another bonus about this one is that you don't have to worry about it going bad in the heat like a mayonnaise based slaw. My Pulled Pork Bar B Q screams to be served with it too. Also if you are watching your sugar intake it is still delicious when made with Splenda. Why buy slaw when it is so easy and inexpensive to make?
  • 1 medium head of cabbage grated
  • 1 medium sweet onion diced, about 1 ½ cup
  • 1 green pepper diced fine, about 1 cup
  • 6 stalks celery, diced fine
  • 2 cups sugar*
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard powder
Prepare first 4 ingredients and place in a very large bowl. Bring sugar, oil, vinegar, salt, black pepper, celery seed, and mustard powder to a boil, pour over vegetables while hot.
You may also microwave this. Refrigerate over night stirring occasionally. Volume of slaw will shrink down to about half size. Make ahead one day in advance. Chill overnight.

*sugar free option: use Splenda instead of sugar. If you are using Splenda instead of sugar you can skip the part where you boil the oil and vinegar, the Splenda will dissolve well without boiling.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Black Bean Spaghetti Salad

I'll tell you that it was pure joy and excitement when I found this black bean spaghetti in the store. I was like a kid in the candy store, I'm a goofball like that. Woo Hoo! A new pasta to get my creative juices flowing. Guess what? I nailed this recipe on the first try, I just love that. So this is not only tasty but healthy too. I also found it to be filling and it keeps you fuller longer but not feeling bloated. Dare I say it? Even though it is made from beans it does not cause a gas problem. So eat your beans pasta style. Enjoy!

  • 1 lb. black bean spaghetti
  • 1 sweet yellow bell pepper cut into thin strips and then cut in half
  • 8 oz. bag Sugar Snap Peas, cooked according to package instructions and cooled
  • 6 green onions washed, trimmed and sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 cup grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 12 oz. jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, freshly chopped

Dressing
  • 1/4 cup aged white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Cook spaghetti according to package instructions but add 1/2 tsp salt to the boiling water. Meanwhile cook sugar snap peas and mix together dressing and set aside. Now prepare the spring onions, grape tomatoes, artichoke hearts and fresh basil.

As soon as the pasta is cooked drain in colander and rinse under cold water until cool. Let pasta drain well. In a very large mixing bowl add pasta,  prepared veggies and dressing. I found this very hard to mix so I washed my hands well and tossed it bare handed.

Chill for 8 hours or over night in an air tight container. Serve cold.

Calories in Explore Asian Organic Black Bean Spaghetti

Nutrition Facts

Explore Asian - Organic Black Bean Spaghetti

  1. 1    50g dry
Calories 160 Sodium 4 mg
Total Fat 2 g Potassium 0 mg
Saturated 1 g Total Carbs 16 g
Polyunsaturated 0 g Dietary Fiber 11 g
Monounsaturated 0 g Sugars 5 g
Trans 0 g Protein 23 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Vitamin A 0% Calcium 10%
Vitamin C 1% Iron 30%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

No Bake Lemon Cheese Pie

I am so excited about this recipe because I love lemon and I hate to bake when it is hot outside. This a great easy no bake pie that is delicious. There is nothing better than a cool refreshing lemon pie on a hot day. Lemon lovers unite! May I be able to convert a few more lemon lovers with this one. Make your fat cells sing and your sweet tooth happy! Enjoy!


  • 1, 10 oz box of Lorna Doone Shortbread cookies by Nabisco
  • 8 lemon drop hard candies
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 8 oz. packs of 1/3 less fat Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 11.3 oz. jar of lemon curd
  • 1/8 cup extra fine dessert sugar
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 9 inch Pyrex pie pan


For this recipe you will need lemon zester and a food processor, using the whirling blade. Place lemon drop candies into food processor and whirl until they look like sugar. Now add both sleeves of the cookies to lemon drops and whirl until you have an even crumb mixture. Place mixture into a large bowl and add melted butter and mix well.

Spray the pie pan with Pam cooking oil spray and press crumb mixture into bottom of pie pan and onto side as well, keeping it evenly covered. Refrigerate for now.

With an electric mixer on high speed mix together lemon curd, sugar, cream cheese, zest and juice of one lemon.

Remove prepared pie crust from refrigerator and slowly pour lemon cheese mixture into pie pan, filling just to the top. You will have some left over do not use all of the mixture. If you do not want to waste extra pie filling you may want to purchase a few small graham cracker mini pie shells and fill them up. Freeze pie for 4 hours or more.

To serve remove pie from freezer 30 minutes prior to serving and set on counter, you may want to heat the knife up with hot water for easier slicing. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sushi

Ingredient lists: I have three different recipes for sushi.

#1 Spicy Vegetable
  • spring onion
  • red bell pepper
  • carrot
  • avocado
  • Sriracha hot chili sauce

#2 Salmon Roll
  • smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  • capers, drained
  • 1/3 less fat cream cheese

#3 Crab Roll
  • imitation crab sticks
  • spring onion
  • 1/4 cup mayo, Hellman's light
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp. yellow mustard
  • Old Bay seasoning

You will need these ingredients for all three:
  • Nori sheets
  • Sushi rice, or, if you prefer a brown rice I use brown sweet rice
  • rice vinegar
  • salt
  • Garnishes: soy sauce, picked ginger slices and wasabi powder mixed according to package instructions to make a paste.

Utensils needed:
  • bamboo roller
  • clean hand towel
  • bowl of warm water
  • flexible spatula

Instructions:

I found that 2 cups of raw rice will expand enough to make 7 rolls. Cook rice according to package instructions. As soon as it is cooked mix in some salt and about 2 Tbsp. of rice  vinegar. Cover and set aside to cool for an hour or so.

Clean and slice veggies into slivers, cut imitation crab sticks lengthwise, mix mayo, mustard powder and mustard together for sauce for Crab Rolls.


Prepare your rolling station with your bamboo roller, a clean hand towel along with a bowl of warm water, a spatula and the above prepped ingredients. Place hand towel folded in half on counter and top with one nori sheet on top of bamboo, you will see some faint lines on the nori roll and make sure they run horizontally.


This is where the bowl of warm water is crucial. The rice is very sticky and to keep it from sticking you must keep dipping utensils and fingers into the water as to not let the rice cling. I add about a 1/2 cup or so of rice to top of nori roll and spread evenly and pressing down with flexible spatula I press it firmly but uniformly down. At the end that is closest to you you add your ingredients according to what flavor you are making, read below.

#1 Spicy Vegetable: add spring onion, pepper, carrot and avocado slices. Squeeze some Sriracha sauce on top if you want it spicy before you roll it up.

#2 Salmon Roll: add the smoked salmon, a thin line of cream cheese and sprinkle capers on top of that.

#3 Crab Rolls: add crab sticks, spring onion and a layer of the mayo mixture, then lightly sprinkle some Old Bay before rolling up.




Wet the end of the nori roll to help seal edge after rolling it up. Starting the roll forward keeping the ingredients in place and tightly rolling it forward, sealing the edge and the bamboo roller helps you roll and stabilize your sushi. Once it is rolled firmly squeeze roll from ene to end to compact.

You can wrap these individually in plastic wrap to serve a few hours later but make sure you label them. Dinner prepared in advance. I just love that! Just before serving I unwrap and cut the rolls into 1/2 and then cut each half into 1/3. Set each flavor on a different platter and label them. Serve with prepared wasabi, soy sauce and pickled sliced ginger. Enjoy!!!

Cleaning tip: I wash my bamboo roller in the dishwasher.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spice Shopping Bargain Style

I love to cook and always want quality ingredients, but I know where to save a buck or two when I can. Let me talk to you about the prices of spices. There is one brand spice in the grocery store that seems to Bogart the aisle not only with quantity, but in a higher price too. I won't name any names but it's easy enough to figure out which one is priced way too high. On the other hand I want to share with you the one that has a quality spice for the right low price. The name is BADIA. I use their spices a lot and love it. You can find these in any grocery store that has an extensive ethnic section. So look in the ethnic section for Badia spice, you will not find them in a regular spice aisle, that is where they try to fool you. Trick me not! I suspect the big brand name pays for their spot to hog up the spice aisle. So I took some pics and compared some spice prices for you to see the difference.
                                           
BADIA                                            Big Brand Name                                      Store Brand
White Pepper, $3.29 for 2oz      White Pepper, $7.59 for 1.75oz           White Pepper, $4.79 for 3.17oz
Paprika, $1.79 for 2oz                  Paprika, $7.39 for 1.62oz                     Paprika, $4.79 for 2.11oz
Garlic powder, $1.79 for 3oz      Garlic powder, $7.79 for 2.25oz          Garlic powder, NA
Cayenne, $1.79 for 1.75oz           Cayenne, $5.99 for 1.75oz                    Cayenne, NA
Red Pepper, $2.69 for 4.5oz       Red Pepper, $5.99 for 1.2oz                Red Pepper, NA
Oregano, $2.19 for 2.25oz          Oregano, $5.59 for .05oz                      Oregano, NA
Meat tenderizer,$1.79 for 4.5oz  Meat tenderizer, $5.59 for 3.37oz      Meat tenderizer, NA
Bay leaves, $1.89 for .17oz         Bay leaves, $8.99 for .18oz                    Bay Leaves, $4.79 for .10oz

Make sure you compare ounces along with price. Think how much money this can save you per year. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa). I watched this grow in  popularity over the years until almost everyone has at least heard of it or tasted it. It has highly nutritive grain value and is one of the latest healthy foods crazes out there. It has an odd little beady ball consistency on your tongue and an earthy like flavor. I think you either love it or hate it but I'm here to share my recipe to help you love quinoa. The flavors of this recipe are not only really tasty but it is a healthy one as well. Quinoa love!                         

Quinoa Salad
  • 1 cup raw Quinoa
  • 1 15 oz. can black soy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 12 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup aged white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic from jar
  • freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • garnish with shredded Parmesan or crumbled fat free Feta
Cook Quinoa according to package directions and cool down. This will make about 4 cups of quinoa.

Add remaining ingredients and chill over night to let the flavors meld. Garnish with Feta or Parmesan just before serving. Enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Twice Baked Potatoes

  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • ½  cup fat free sour cream
  • ½  tsp. salt
  • ¼  tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½  cup grated low fat cheddar cheese
  • ½  cup finely diced sweet yellow bell pepper
  • ½  cup spring onions sliced thin (green tops too)
Bake potatoes in microwave. Set aside and let cool for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Slice potatoes in half length wise. Scoop inside of potato out with a tablespoon leaving about ½ inch of potato layer on top of potato skin. Place the scooped out potato meat into a large bowl. After all potatoes are scooped out place potato shells in a 10 x 13 inch glass pyrex dish  sprayed with cooking spray.

To potato meat add butter and mash well with a large meat fork or potato masher. Then mix in sour cream, salt, & black pepper, mash & mix together well. Stir in cheese, yellow pepper, & spring onion until well blended. Divide potato mixture evenly into potato shells. Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes.

If you want a more buttery flavor to your twice bakes use a yellow meat potato, but cut baking time to 35 minutes. You may prepare these a few hours ahead and keep them covered and chilled in refrigerator until ready to bake. Makes 6 servings.

These are absolutely delicious. It is still very tasty with fat free sour cream and low fat cheese. I use  margarine that is heart healthy. If you are lactose intolerant I recommend grated cheddar soy cheese and plain yogurt instead of the sour cream and cheddar cheese. Use your imagination you can add bacon, crab meat, shrimp, etc. Refrigerate any leftovers, they microwave well. These are well worth the effort.
  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls


Cinnamon Rolls = Love. I don't know what is better, the aroma of these sweet treaties baking or actually eating them. I take that back, eating them is better. The anticipation of their sweet aroma baking will make your mouth water and your tummy rumble, but eating them is heaven. This is a fairly easy recipe since you do not have to make the dough. I think that is the hard part. So whip up these sweet treaties for the special people in your life. Satisfy your sweet tooth.

Cinnamon Rolls
  • 1 lb. loaf frozen white bread dough
  • ¼ cup melted unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ cup raisins, optional
  • ½ cup pecan pieces, optional
  • 1 clean kitchen towel
About 12 hours in advance remove frozen dough from freezer and coat with cooking spray and place inside of a plastic bag overnight in refrigerator.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 170° F. Remove dough from fridge and roll out onto a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin into a 6" × 12" rectangle. Cover dough with melted butter on top of dough (I use a pastry brush), saving  a little butter for sealing the edges and basting the tops later.

Blend together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over top of dough, leaving a slight edge to seal, Then add raisins evenly over top of cinnamon sugar mixture, saving a little cinnamon and sugar for tops of rolls.


Roll up dough starting on the 12" side of dough and brush edges with butter, reserving some for the tops of the buns. Cut bread roll into 12 even slices and place in a greased 8" × 8" pyrex dish. Brush the tops of the rolls at this time with the rest of the butter.


Wet a kitchen towel and wring out excess water until it is damp but not dripping. Fold in half and cover buns. Place into the preheated oven along with a 2 cup measuring cup filled with boiling water. The dough loves a warm moist location to rise faster. Close oven door and turn off oven, after 30 minutes remove water and rolls, rolls should be doubled in size.

Remove rolls from oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile brush the tops of the rolls with the rest of the butter and sprinkle on the remaining sugar and cinnamon, now sprinkle the pecans on top. Cover up again with damp towel while the oven is preheating.

When oven is ready remove towel and bake rolls on center rack for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove form oven and immediately invert from pan onto a plate, then tip over onto another plate so the pecans are on top. Prepare icing below and spread immediately onto warm rolls.

Vanilla Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bloody Mary

I love an occasional Bloody Mary. I'll tell you there sure is a wide variety of recipes, but this is my favorite version. I'm picky about my Bloody's and I have tasted them in many different places. The oddest one of all was in an Italian restaurant, as soon as I took one sip I knew something was off. Then I had my Stud Muffin taste it, he said it tasted fine. I took a few more taste testing little sips until I realized that there must be some rum in there. I approached the bartender and guess what, low and behold someone moved the rum to the vodka spot. I can see that happening because I used to tend bar and you never read each bottle, a good speedy bartender knows where every bottle is without looking. Trust me rum in a Bloody Mary is just plain old awful, so go for the vodka or the tequila, but, for this drink, avoid the rum like the Plague.

Bloody Mary
  • Martini shaker
  • mini skewer, the disposable kind
  • 1 large beer glass
  • 3 slices pepperoni
  • 1 grape tomato
  • 1 mozzarella string cheese stick, only using a 1 inch piece cut off
  • 1 lime wedge, room temp
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • ice
  • 2-3 oz. Belvedere Vodka
  • 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco, a few drops
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • dash of celery seed
  • one 5.5 oz. can V-8 juice, regular or spicy hot flavor, chilled
  • 1 disposable straw, the bendable kind
Prepare skewer by alternating pepperoni slices, tomato and cheese, set aside. Slice a lime wedge and cut across the middle so that you can wet the rim of the glass with lime juice. After wetting glass rim you may now add some Old Bay to a bowl or small plate and dip the rim of glass into Old Bay, coating glass rim evenly like you would a Margarita glass with salt, set aside.

In a martini shaker add some ice, vodka, Worchestershire sauce, Tabasco, black pepper, celery seed and the whole can of V-8. Put the lid on and shake a few times to mix well.

Pour mixture into prepared beer glass and place on top a lime wedge and prepared skewer, then add the straw. Enjoy!

If you would like to drink a Bloody Maria just substitute tequila for vodka. Or how about a Bloody Virgin, just eliminate the alcohol.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chicken N Dumplings

Now this recipe is a stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that will warm you up from the inside out. These babies are the lightest, fluffiest, melt-in-your-mouth dumplings that you will ever eat. It's the best cure-all of a cold dreary Winter day. Give it a try and make your fat cells smile.

Chicken N Dumplings
  • 18 cups or 4 ½  qts. water
  • 1/2 cup chicken base
  • 1 Rotisserie chicken, whole
  • 1 ½  cup diced celery hearts
  • 1 ½  cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper     
In a large 8 qt. soup pot add water and base. Mix well with a wire whisk breaking up base. Add chicken and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes.

While chicken is simmering, dice celery and onion. After chicken has simmered for 15 minutes remove chicken from pot and place on platter and set aside to cool. Strain broth from soup pot through a fine wire mesh. Return broth back to a clean pot. Add diced celery, onion, & black pepper to pot. Bring to a boil and cover, reduce heat to simmer.

Meanwhile remove skin from chicken and discard. Pull chicken meat from bones and cut into bite size portions. Add chicken to soup pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Now prepare dumpling recipe below and add dumplings to soup pot.

Dumplings
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 2/3 cup milk
Sift together dry ingredients. Add egg, melted butter, and milk to make a moist stiff batter. Drop by teaspoons  into boiling liquid. Cover and simmer for 18 minutes. Do not open lid or stir while dumplings are cooking.

This is a very old recipe for dumplings and they are called feather dumplings. They are the lightest and fluffiest dumpling that I have ever eaten and they will melt in your mouth.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Asian Steamed Dumplings


Steamed dumplings oh how I love thee. I used to make these many years ago and decided to dust off my old recipe to share. You know how you just get a craving for something.

Many moons ago I would go over to visit my friend Becki when her son Nathan was just a little guy. Without fail he would ask his Mom if Debra was bringing the dumplings. So I mastered this recipe many times over for the little guy. To this day I can not make or eat a dumpling without thinking of that little guy Nathan that stole my heart so many years ago (he's a young man now). My they grow up so fast. Enjoy!


Asian Steamed Dumplings
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey (93% lean)
  • 1 tsp. garlic (chopped in jar)
  • 1 tsp. freshly peeled and grated ginger root
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 green onion sliced thin (green top too)
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Teriyaki Sauce (Kikoman) and extra for dipping
  • 1 ten count pack Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits 7.5 oz. can

Mix above ingredients together well, except for biscuits and flour, set aside. Meanwhile roll out one pack of the biscuits on a lightly floured surface into 4 inch rounds.

Add 1 heaping Tbsp. of meat mixture to center of biscuit round. Moisten 1/2 of biscuit edge with water and fold in half then press down and seal edges with a fork. Now you will have a half circle. Refrigerate up to 4 hours in advance or you may steam immediately.

Place dumplings in a steamer basket sprayed with cooking spray above boiling water, cover and steam them for 20 minutes. Do not open lid. I like to use a stackable steamer, be careful not to let the dumplings touch or they will stick together.

After they are done remove immediately to a serving plate and use more Teriyaki sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

Fresh ginger is easier to grate if you keep it frozen. This makes 10 dumplings.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Norma's Brownies

When I was a little girl my Mom made these brownies for our family and it was my Mom's friend Norma that gave her this scrumptious recipe, hence the recipe's name. So this recipe came all the way from Oklahoma City, just a mere 5 decades ago. Oh how times flies! I cringed when my Mom first gave me this recipe because it called for Crisco in it. I thought this would be much better with butter, but trust me, butter does not work. So with an open mind try these babies. I'll tell you it spoiled me and I was never able to enjoy a brownie mix baked from the box. These brownies are moist and chocolatey in the center but with a light thin crisp of a top. Spoil yourself.

Norma's Brownies
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 10 Tbsp. powdered Hershey's cocoa
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup nuts (optional) pecans, walnuts or macadamia nuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With an electric mixer cream together Crisco, sugar and eggs. In a large bowl whisk together flour, salt and cocoa until mixed well. Then add to Crisco mixture along with the vanilla extract, mixing until well blended.

Spray a 13" x 9" x 2" Pyrex dish with cooking spray, evenly spread batter into dish (the batter will be thick) and bake for 30 minutes or until pick into center come out clean.

Let cool for one hour then you can cut into squares and store in an air tight container.

Do not use margarine or butter.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Frozen Dog Treaties

I am a big dog lover and always try to find a way to give them different treats. If you have a dog that loves to eat peanut butter and ice then this will be a win-win for you and your beloved pooch. I went to the Dollar Store and picked up some ice cube trays for my boy Teddy. He's a loveable knucklehead.

Frozen Dog Treaties
  • Peanut Butter
  • Water
  • Ice cube tray
Place a small dollop of peanut butter into each ice cube tray section and top off with water.

Place in freezer until frozen solid.

Empty into a Ziploc freezer bag and store in freezer. Pull out a cube for a treaty as needed.