This blog... a compilation of my favorite recipes. They have been collected over several years found in various places: the internet, magazines, and cookbooks to name a few. These recipes are meals that I consider to "feed more than your body". These are meals that I hope nurish the heart and soul of those who eat them. I hope that when you have cleaned your plate, you feel like you have taken part in more than just a meal-that you have taken part in something bigger than yourself and food. Whether it is culture, your local place of living, or the life of the plant or those who share this planet, I hope these meals help your family-and mine-to appreciate that we are more than just beings consuming food; we are all connected. And more than that, I hope that these meals help you remember how fortunate you are and that "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.".

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes **
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter

Cook and mash sweet potatoes. Mix together sweet potatoes, eggs, sugar, milk, butter and vanilla. Place in a 8 x 11 inch casserole. Mix topping ingredients in a separate bowl. Spread over sweet potatoes. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.

**Note-This is a very traditional sweet potato casserole recipe that families have every year at the holidays. I, however, had never had it until my sister-in-law passed on the recipe. I love it! I tend to eat the leftovers for breakfast the next day!
**Note-My preferred way to cook and mash the sweet potatoes are to boil them in water for about 30 minutes. Let them cool a bit then peel off the skin (very easily done by hand). Then mash the meat of the potato.
**Note-I cut the topping in half. The original recipe calls for double the amount of topping. When I made it the first time, I found it to be too sweet. Cutting it in half, I find, makes no difference in the taste and quality of the dish.
**Note-I also cut down the sugar and butter in the base in half as well. Again the taste is not affected.

Family Meatballs

1 lb Ground turkey
2 Eggs
1 Cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1/2 Cup Parmesan & Romano Grated Cheese Blend
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Tbsp Parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, each

Wash your hands really well because you'll be doing all the mixing by hand. In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients and mash them up in your hands, working all the ingredients into each other really well, like a meatloaf**.

This recipe makes about 20 regular sized meatballs. To do this, I score the mixture into 4 equal pieces and then make 5 meatballs out of each quarter.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.**

**Note-this is my mother's recipe modified to my cooking techniques and tastes. It was one of those that she was "famous" for. You could always count on my mother's meatballs to be delicious. Even though my family eats about 95% vegetarian, this is one recipe my husband is not willing to give up!
**I prefer to mix up all the ingredients, sans meat, with a whisk in a large bowl then add the meat and work it into the egg mixture. I find this cuts down on the amount of handling you are giving to your meat, working it less.
**I bake these uncovered for 30 minutes, then take them out and cover them with my favorite sauce for the last 15 minutes.
**Although I haven't tried, I think you could probably make a double batch of these and freeze half. Use half of the half in spaghetti and meatballs one night and the other half in meatball subs one night.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Stuffed Shells

12 ounces (1 box) jumbo pasta shells (approximately 40 shells)
2 jars tomato sauce**

**If freezing half the recipe, only use one jar of tomato sauce.

For the stuffing
2 cups frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for serving
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and shredded
2 scallions, chopped
2 cups (16 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat, part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch grated nutmeg

Oven at 350. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the shells, and partially cook 6 to 7 minutes — they should have started to become tender but will still be firm to the bite. Drain in a colander, Let cool. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring every now and then, until tender and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add scallions during the final 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and add spinach. Mix in ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and nutmeg, and stir to combine.

Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of two** 9-x-13-inch baking dishes. Fill the cooked shells with the cheese mixture, about 1-2 tablespoon per shell, and arrange the shells side by side in a single layer in the prepared dishes. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells, cover with aluminum foil, and bake until the filling is heated through 25 to 30 minutes. Last 5-10 minutes, take out and cover with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

**Note, this recipe makes enough for 2. I recommend making one of the pans a disposable foil pan. Spray it with non-stick spray and fill with shells. Cover with plastic wrap then foil. Carefully (so as not to tip the shells) transfer to the freezer. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the fridge. Uncover foil and plastic wrap. Pour a jar of sauce over shells and recover with foil only. Bake as above.

Lemony Green and White Beans

1 can white beans
2 c fresh green beans, halved
1 scallion, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest of half a lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Make dressing and toss with beans. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.

Black Bean and Zucchini Quesadillas

1 cup shredded zucchini
½ cup black beans
2 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 lime, juiced
4 6-inch tortillas
1/4 cup cheddar cheese

Saute zucchini, onion and spices until tender, about 3 minutes. Mix zucchini and beans together in a bowl. Spread mixture on 2 tortillas. Top with cheese and other tortilla. Microwave 60 seconds or use toaster oven until warmed through and melted. Serves 2.

Curried Quinoa Salsa

1 cup water
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3 green onions, chopped
1 c garbanzo beans

Cook quinoa and curry in water as directed on package. Mix in remaining ingredients. Serves 2.

Huevos Rancheros

4 eggs
2/3 cup refried beans
2 tortillas
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup salsa

Prepare eggs how you like (fried, scrambled, etc.) Heat beans in microwave for 30-45 seconds. Spread tortilla with beans, top with eggs, cheese and salsa. Serves 2.

Florentine-Scramble Breakfast Sandwich

1/2 tablespoon oil
2 cups baby spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
2 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
2 whole grain English muffin
2 slice cheese (Swiss suggested)

Sautee spinach and garlic for 1 minute, or until wilted. Add egg and scramble with spinach, garlic season with salt and pepper. Divide in 2 and serve on English muffins. Top with cheese. Serves 2.

Italian Onion and Potato Omlet

1 tablespoon oil
1/2 onion diced
1 potato grated
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
4 eggs

Saute potato, onion and seasoning in oil for 5 minutes. Add eggs and cook 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 2 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired or serve with ketchup. Serves 2.

Swiss Apple Muesli

½ cup rolled oats
½ cup milk (or 1/2 cup yogurt, flavor of your choice, or a combination of both to add up to 1/2 cup)
1 apple, chopped
1 tablespoon almonds
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Combine all ingredients-let sit overnight. Makes one serving

Pitas with Yogurt and Cucumbers

2 low carb/calorie pitas
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Feta cheese
2 cups cucumber, diced
1 tablespoon fresh herb of choice (or 1 teaspoon dried herbs)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients (except pitas) together. Fill pitas. Serves 4, each person getting 1/2 a pita.

**Note-About 100 calories per pita depending on what type of pita you bought.

Homemade Healthy Spaghetti-O's

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups water
8-ounce can tomato sauce
4 ounces alphabet pasta
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
7-3/4-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Add broth, water, and tomato sauce to a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Cover and bring to a boil. Add pasta, vegetables, and chickpeas, and boil gently, uncovered, until pasta is done, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir occasionally. When cooked, stir in cheese. Top with additional cheese if desired.

**This makes a lot of Spaghetti-O's. If you are only cooking for one or two children, I would cut the recipe in half unless you know for sure they love it and will gobble it up!

Fiesta Chicken with Tomato-Avacado Salsa

Tomato-Avocado Salsa
2 medium tomatoes seeded and chopped
1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
4 medium green onions diced
1-2 tablespoons lime juice (May substitute lemon juice)
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno chili (optional)
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt

4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup lime juice (may substitute lemon juice)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt

Mix chicken marinade. Reserve half to pour over chicken while it bakes. Pour other half over chicken. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. In medium glass or plastic bowl, gently mix all salsa ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Heat oven to 375. Spray 9 inch pan with cooking spray. Place chicken skin sides up, in pan. Pour reserved marinade over chicken. (Discard marinade that was in the fridge with the chicken.) Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 20-30 minutes longer, basting with marinade. Serve chicken topped with salsa.

**I have also added 1-2 cups of mango to the salsa and it was delicious!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about two dozen

1 egg, beaten
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
12 oz chocolate chips

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream together wet ingredients. When creamed, add dry ingredients to wet and combine. When combined, stir in zucchini and chocolate chips. Mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350°, 10 to 15 minutes.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quick Black Bean Enchilladas

1 ½ c cottage cheese
2 cans black beans
2-4oz cans diced chilis
2 c cheddar cheese
8 -10" flour tortillas
1 jar salsa

Oven at 350. Coat a 13x9” pan with spray. Combine chottage cheese, beans, chilies and 1 cup shredded cheese. Spoon mixture evenly into tortillas. Roll and place seam side down. Pour salsa over enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover w/ foil and back 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

**Note-this recipe is not the most flavorful enchillada recipe. However, it is very quick and very easy in addition to being healthy and low-cal so I continue to make it.

Quinoa Primavera

1 1/2 cups uncooked Quinoa
3 cups chicken broth
4oz cream cheese
1 tablespoon. chopped fresh basil
2 tsp. butter or margarine
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 cups thinly sliced or bite sized pieces assorted uncooked vegetables (such as asparagus, broccoli, carrot, or zucchini)
2 tablespoon Romano cheese

In sauce pan heat quinoa and broth to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until all broth is absorbed. Stir in cream cheese and basil.

In 10 inch non-skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Cook garlic in butter about 30 seconds, stirring frequently, until golden. Stir in vegetables. Cook 2-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender.

In skillet, toss vegetables and quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with Romano cheese.

Sloppy Lentils

1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
1 small red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
One 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
2 tablespoons tamari or other soy sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon light brown sugar or a natural sweetener
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heata medium-sized non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, cover, and cook until softened, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, stirring to coat.
Transfer the onion mixture to a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. Add the lentils, tomatoes, water, tamari, mustard, brown sugar, salt, and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours. Serve as you do sloppy joes, on a hamburger bun.

**Note-this is especially good with mayo and cheese.

Four Seasons of Potato Salad

4 cups large storage potatoes, coarsely diced and boiled until firmly tender
3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
¾ cup last summer’s dill pickles, finely chopped
2 tbsp dill
salt to taste
Mayonnaise to consistency

Combine potatoes, eggs, and pickles, being careful not to mash anything. Add dill and salt to mixture and combine thoroughly. Add just enough mayonnaise to hold the salad together.

4 cups storage potatoes, coarsely diced
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
1-2 cups new peas
1 cup crumbled feta
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Boil diced potatoes as above. Combine ingredients.

2 lbs red or golden new potatoes, cut in 1 inch chunks
3 tbsp olive oil
coarse salt
2 yellow or red bell peppers, cut in chunks
2 cups green beans (stringed and broken in 1-inch lengths)
1-2 ears sweet corn on cob

Toss potatoes with salt and oil and spread on baking sheet. Place ears of corn, lightly oiled, with potatoes to roast as well. Roast in 450° oven until tender (20-30 minutes). Add peppers and green beans to roast for last 10 minutes. When done, loosen the vegetables with a spatula, cut corn kernels off cob, and combine in a large, shallow bowl.

2 cups tomatoes cut in wedges
½ cup fresh basil
¼ cup olive oil whipped together with 1 tbsp balsamic or other mellow vinegar
Toss tomatoes, basil and dressing with roasted vegetables, salt to taste.

2 lbs fingerling potatoes (Russian Banana, Rose-Finn, La Ratte)
seasonal vegetables
4 tbsp dried basil
¼ cup olive oil whipped with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Prepare roasted potatoes as in “Summer” recipe, combining with late-season peppers and green beans, shelly beans, or limas, roasted along with the potatoes. Toss with fresh tomato wedges, basil and the dressing. As the season progresses and different things become available, you can mix and match other vegetables with the potatoes to your heart’s content, keeping proportions roughly the same. Cubed winter squash and sweet potatoes are wonderful in this roasted dish, requiring about the same amount of time in the oven. Don’t hesitate to combine sweet and regular potatoes – they are unrelated, and marry well!

Disappearing Zucchini Orzo

12 oz orzo pasta
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large zucchini, grated
Olive oil for saute
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
¼ cup grated Parmesan or any hard yellow cheese

Bring a pot of water to boil. Boil orzo according to package directions. Meanwhile, saute onion, garlic, and zucchini with spices until lightly golden. Remove mixture from heat. Combine with cheese and cooked orzo, salt to taste, serve cool or at room temperature.

Healthy Potato Skins

Serves 2

2 medium potatoes (baking or sweet-your choice)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bag baby spinach (or about one cup frozen, thawed and squeezed out)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Oven at 350 degrees. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and onto an oven rack. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until fork-tender. (You can also microwave them until they are tender. Whichever way you choose, make sure the potato is tender otherwise it will be very difficult to make the rest of the recipe.) Meanwhile, in a deep saute pan heat the olive oil and cook the onion for 2 to 3 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the entire bag of spinach and scallions, cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the spinach has wilted. When the potatoes are cooked, let them cool for 5 minutes. Carefully slice each one in half and scoop out inside of potato into a bowl. Add cream cheese, buttermilk, salt and pepper, and mash together until smooth. Mix the potato mash with the reserved, cooked veggies. Using a pastry brush, coat the outside of each potato skin with the vegetable oil. Fill each of the shells with the filling and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Transfer each skin back to the baking sheet and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the skins are crispy.

**Note-this was one of the most amazing meals I have ever had. I couldn't believe how tasty it was! It is a bit of work, but the end result is so worth it. I recommend doubling the recipe so that you can have extras for later in the week.

Mexican Hotdish Casserole

4-oz can diced green chilies (w/ juice)
2 cups shredded cheese
2 cans (14 oz each) diced tomatoes w/ juice
1 onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
2 cups uncooked rice
2 packages taco seasoning
3 cups chicken (or equivalent in beans, which would be about one can)
2 cups chicken broth

Fritos and 2 cups additional cheese for topping

Oven at 350. Spray a 6 quart pan w/ spray. Combine all ingredients in pan and mix together. Cover w/ foil double thick foil and back for 90 minutes. When done, take it out, sprinkle w/ fritos and additional cheese and return uncovered for 10 minutes. Let sit for 10 more minutes to firm up.

**Note-this is a pretty easy and mindless recipe/meal. This is something you could make on a busy day, stick it in the oven and forget about it til dinner.
**This makes a large amount of food. I would recommend taking half of it and freezing it for use at a later time.

Zoo Day Snack Mix

3 cups animal crackers
1 ½ cups banana chips
¾ c chopped, dried mangoes
¾ cups peanuts
¾ cups dried berries or raisins

Mix together and divide evenly among snack bags (makes 6-12 bags).

**Note-This is a perfect snack for the zoo because the bananas are for monkeys, peanuts for elephants, mango for bats and berries for birds. Feel free to add other things to the mix that fit the zoo theme.

Italian Meatball and Escarole Soup

½ lb. ground Turkey (or Chicken)
½ tsp. Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Egg White (I use the whole egg)
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 Tb. Parsley, chopped
1 Tb. Parmesan cheese
5 C Chicken broth
½ C Orzo pasta
1 bu. Escarole, washed and shredded
2 Tb. Lemon juice

In a bowl, mix together turkey, egg white, garlic, parsley, cheese, salt and pepper. In a large pot, bring broth to a boil. Add meatballs and orzo, reduce heat to med. low, cover and simmer 15 min., or until meatballs are cooked through. Add escarole and lemon juice. Cover and simmer 5 min, or until escarole is tender. Serve sprinkled with cheese.

**Note-This is one of my favorite soups. Do not omit the lemon juice-it makes this dish!
**Note-You may substitute the orzo for any type of small pasta-I have used extra alphabet pasta I couldn't find another use for. You could even use broken up pieces of pasta you've saved from the bottom of your other pasta boxes.

Easy (Freezable) Red Sauce

(No need to cook it ahead of time! Just assemble!)

12oz tomato paste
2 cups hot water
2 T dried parsley
2 t dried, minced onion
1 T minced garlic
1 T sugar
2 t salt
1 t basil
1 t oregano
1 t thyme
28 oz tomato sauce
28 oz diced tomatoes

Freezer bags-amount varies by how much you want to put in each bag.

1. Mix tomato paste and hot water together til smooth in a large bowl. Stir in seasonings.
2. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Do not cook
3. Divide sauce among freezer bags as desired.**
4. Freeze

To use

1. Thaw in fridge.
2. In a recipe calling for sauce, simmer 20 minutes and pour over pasta.
3. In a recipe that is being baked, no need to simmer first, just use and enjoy!

**This makes 10 cups of sauce. I like to divide it into 3 cup increments, similar to what you'd get in a spaghetti sauce jar.
**This is a tasty, super inexpensive, and easy sauce to make.

Simplest Loaf Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup cooking oil (such as vegetable or canola)

Oven at 350. Generously butter a loaf pan. In a bowl combine dry ingredients (not sugar). In another bowl beat eggs, sugar, sour cream and vanilla together until well blended. Add the dry ingredients an stir until smooth. Finally pour in the oil and stir in smoothly until thoroughly folded into batter. Pour into loaf pan and bake 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes then remove from pan, cooling completely.

**This is the best cake I have ever had to serve with coffee. If you have a guest over and want to serve something simple and tasty, this is it.
**You may want to use parchment paper on the bottom of your loaf pan to assure it comes out.

Orzo with Feta, Green Beans and Tomatoes

1 lb of green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups orzo
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large tomatoes
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 cups crumbled Feta (about 10 oz)
salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil for orzo and green beans. Cook onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon oil and saute until softened-about 5 minutes. Quarter and seed the tomatoes. Cut quarters into lengthwise slices, about 1/4 inch thick. When onion is cooked, add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until softened about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Cook orzo according to packaged directions, adding green beans last 1-2 minutes. When cooked, drain and add to tomato and onion mixture. Add in vinegar, parsley, feta and salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

**Note-This dish is more like a warm and/or hearty pasta salad than it is a traditional pasta dish.

Ravioli Casserole

1 25oz bag frozen ravioli (your choice), thawed
1 medium zucchini, cut in half length wise then sliced (about one cup)**
1 jar tomato sauce
1 cup shredded cheese
1/8 teaspoon Italian seasoning (if desired)

Oven at 350. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients, except cheese and seasoning. Spoon into a baking dish. Bake 40-50 minutes or until heated through a bubbly. Sprinkle with cheese and seasoning and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and/or browned.

**Note-you may want to add an extra cup of a vegetable of your choice

Chex Muddy Buddies

9 cups Corn Chex, Rice Chex, Wheat Chex Cereal (or any combination)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a large bowl, pour cereal(s). Set aside. In a 1-quart microwaveable container, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter on high for one minute. Stir. Continue to microwave in 30 second increments until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal(s), stirring until evenly coated. Pour into a 2-quart plastic bag. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag and shake until well coated. Spread mixture on wax paper to cool. Store in airtight container.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Original Chex Party Mix

3 cups corn Chex cereal
3 cups rice Chex cereal
3 cups wheat Chex cereal
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup bite sized pretzels
1 cup bite sized bagel chips (or regular sized bagel chips broken into bite sized pieces), garlic flavor if desired
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt (or just one teaspoon regular salt)
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Oven at 250. Mix cereals together in a large bowl. Microwave butter until melted. Stir in remaining seasonings. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture and stir to coat. Transfer to a large baking dish/pan and bake for about one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow to cool then store in an air tight container.

Oven-Baked Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs (I used plain and added 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning plus 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce, 26-28 oz-use your favorite
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

Oven at 400 degrees. Dip chicken in egg,then breadcrumbs, coating well. In a greased/sprayed 13x9 inch glass* baking dish, arrange chicken. Bake 20 minutes uncovered. Pour spaghetti sauce over chicken then top with cheese. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
Serve over cooked pasta if desired.
*If using a metal baking dish, increase oven temperature by 25 degrees.

**Note-This is such a great and easy dish! Big hit with the family!

Creamy Pasta Bake

1 1/2 cups pasta, uncooked
3 cups broccoli, cut up in florets
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 oz cream cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Oven at 375. Cook pasta as directed. Add broccoli last 3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat chicken broth and simmer. Add cream cheese to melt it. When pasta is done, drain and return to pot. Stir in cheese sauce and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Spoon into a baking dish and bake 15 minutes. Take out of oven and sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake 5 minutes more to melt cheese. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Three Cheese Pasta Bake

1 1/2 cups pasta, uncooked
1 9oz package spinach leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 jar (14 1/2 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
2 oz cream cheese, cubed
1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Oven at 375. Cook pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, simmer sauce, tomatoes, and basil about 6 minutes. Add spinach to wilt. Once wilted, add cream cheese. When pasta is done, drain and return to pot. Mix in sauce mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Spoon into a baking dish. Bake 20 minutes then sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake about 5 minutes more to melt cheese.

Cinnamon-Apple Oatmeal

One serving oatmeal, prepared with milk
1 apple, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons walnuts

Prepare oatmeal using milk. Add cinnamon while cooking. Meanwhile, put apple in a microwave safe bowl and microwave about 1 minute. Add to cooked oatmeal, adding sugar. Stir to combine and top with walnuts.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cheesy Cauliflower and Broccoli Casserole

3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 lbs total of broccoli and cauliflower (or any combination of veggies that you like), steamed until tender
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chicken (or veggie) stock
2 cups shredded cheese (Cheddar or Monterrey Jack blend)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 cups cooked rice

Oven at 425.
Grease a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. In a large pot, melt the butter. Cook onions, garlic, garlic powder, cayenne. Cook until onion is golden. Add flour and cook one minute. Add heavy cream and chicken stock. Cook until mixture starts to thicken, stirring to avoid lumps. Once thickened, take off heat and add one cup of the cheese to make a sauce. Combine sauce with rice and veggies and put in casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake about 20 minutes, until cheese is golden.

Peachy Iced Tea Sangria

4 herbal peach tea bags
4 teaspoons sugar
1 cup orange juice
2 peaches, sliced
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries

Make herbal tea using 2 cups boiling water and soaking tea bags for 5 minutes. Add sugar to hot tea concentrate and stir until sugar is dissolved. Transfer concentrated tea to a container. Add 2 cups of cold water. Add remaining ingredients and let sit in fridge for an hour. Serve over ice.

**Note-you can serve this using any combination of fruit that you like. I've used a few cups of frozen mixed fruit and let it defrost in the tea in the fridge while the flavors meld.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine and store in a container. Use wherever "pumpkin pie spice" is called for.

Breakfast Fajitas

½ c sliced bell peppers
¼ c sliced onion
1 teaspoon oil
½ teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
2 eggs
1 small tortilla

Saute peppers and onions with spices 3-5 minutes. Set aside. Scramble eggs. Wrap in a tortilla with veggies and serve.

**Note-this serves one but you can easily adjust it to fit your family.

Black Forrest Brownies

Oven at 350

4 one-oz squares semi-sweet chocolate (or ¾ cups chocolate chips)
¾ c butter
1/ ½ c white sugar
3 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 c flour
½ c pecans (or other nuts of your choice)
½ c chopped cherries (either dried or drained maraschino)
½ c semi-sweet chocolate chips (Optional)

Line a 9x13 pain with parchment paper.

Microwave chocolate and butter for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave in 20 second increments until melted. Stir sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs (make sure it’s not too hot that it will cook the eggs). Mix in extract. Mix in flour until it is just moistened. Add in cherries and nuts. Bake 350 for 30 minutes.

**Note-these are the most delicious brownies I have ever made! They are as good as boxed mix! The cherries as just a touch of cherry flavor but the real treat is how moist and dense they are.

Zuchinni Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups zucchini, finely grated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 12-muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla, oil and zucchini until mixed.

Add the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until fully incorporated, scraping down the bowl once with a spatula during beating. Fill cupcakes.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes, Transfer cupcakes out onto a wire rack and cool completely before icing with your choice of frosting.

**Note-each of these cupcakes (without frosting) has only about 160 calories!
**Note-you may even be able to make these substituting half the oil for some vanilla yogurt. Give it a try and see!

My favorite stir-fry sauce

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients and pour over your stir-fry the last few minutes of cooking.

**Note-I love this so much I usually double it so I have extra.

Curried Lentils with Squash

1 cup dried lentils
1 10oz package frozen winter squash, thawed
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Cook lentils until soft-about 30-60 minutes. Drain. Mix cooked lentils with remaining ingredients. Bake in a greased 2-quart baking dish for 20 minutes at 400. Serve over rice.

Creamy Pasta with tomatoes and white beans

1 lb pasta
6 tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 lbs fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 can white beans (or 1 cup dried and cooked), rinsed
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta. In a large pot, melt butter. Add onion and garlic. Cook about 6 minutes. Add cream and simmer, stirring occasionally until reduced by half. About 5 minutes. Add pasta, tomatoes and beans. Heat through, about 5 minutes. Toss with cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Salsa Chicken over rice

2 cups cooked rice
1-2 tablespoon oil
1 lb chicken breast, cut into strips
1 onion, chopped
1 pepper, sliced
1 cup salsa
Shredded cheese

Cook chicken, onion and peppers in oil until chicken is cooked through-about 10-12 minutes. Add salsa. Heat through. Remove from heat and cover with cheese. When cheese is melted, serve over rice.

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

3lbs pork shoulder
1/4 cup BBQ seasoning
3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Put pork in slow cooker. Combine all other ingredients and pour over top. Cook on low 8 hours until pork is falling off the bone and can be easily shredded with a fork. Serve on buns as a pulled pork sandwich.

Easy Lasagna

8 oz lasagna noodles
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pepper, chopped
2 jars tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
**Note-you may add other veggies as desired such as zucchini, spinach, etc.

Cook noodles according to directions, set aside. Cook onions, peppers and other veggies in oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in sauce and spices. In a 2 quart greased baking dish, layer 1/3 of the noodles, 1/3 the sauce mixture and 1/3 the cheeses. Repeat two times. Bake 30 minutes at 350 until heated and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Onion Yum Salad Dressing

1 1/2 each teaspoons onion powder and onion flakes
1 teaspoon each chives and parsley
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients.

Gimme Garlic Salad Dressing

1 teaspoon each garlic powder, chives, parsley
1/2 teaspoon each onion flakes, basil, and dill
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients together.

Greek Isles Pasta Salad

3 cups pasta (uncooked)
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup canned chickpeas
1 cup feta (or desired) cheese
1/2 cup Greek style vinaigrette

Cook pasta. Add remaining ingredients to cooked, drained pasta. Refrigerate one hour to let flavors meld. Before serving, mix in feta cheese.

Mediterranean Marinated Vegetable Salad

2 large tomatoes, cut in wedges
1 green pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
1/2 cup Italian dressing
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 cup feta cheese crumbles

Combine dressing, garlic and basil. Pour over veggies and toss. Refrigerate one hour to let flavors meld. Before serving, add feta cheese.

Mexican Fiesta Salad

1 can black beans (rinsed)
1 cup corn
1 pepper, chopped
Shredded cheese
Ranch dressing

Combine all ingredients, top with ranch dressing and salsa.

Red Dressing

1/2 cup salad oil
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper

Combine all ingredients and whisk or shake in a jar to blend.

Ham Salad

1 1/2-2lbs cooked ham
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 small jar pickle relish
1/2+ cup mayonnaise (enough for desired consistency)

Use a food processor to shred ham and onion very finely. Mix in relish and mayonnaise.

Baked Onion Dip

2 medium sweet onions, finely chopped
2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup bacon bits
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients except Parmesan cheese. Spoon into a 1-quart baking dish. Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese. Bake 15 minutes.

**Note-this dip is always a hit at parties. I almost never have leftovers.
**Note-for most meals I try and see if I can do lower fat substitutions. I tried using a low fat mayo in this and it did not work. I highly recommend doing full fat for this one.

Seasoned Pinto Beans

Makes equivelent of one can of beans

**Note-these seasoned beans are great for tacos, burritos, etc.

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained (or about 1 cup dried pinto beans before cooking)
Juice of 3 limes-about 3 tablespoons (or substitute lemon juice without much of a flavor change)
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon chili powder

1. In microwave or in a small sauce pan, warm all ingredients together. Serve with meals as desired.


Makes 2 entrees, 4 servings each

1 24 oz container of cottage cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ c shredded mozzarella cheese
½ c shredded Parmesan
¼ t salt
¼ t pepper
1 8oz box manicotti (12-14 shells) uncooked
6 cups marinara (red) sauce

1. Mix cheeses, seasoning, and egg together. With fingers or spoon fill each shell.
2. Spread ½ c of sauce on bottom of each baking dish (if freezing-use a disposable 8x8 foil baking dish). Place 6-7 manicotti in each dish. Pour remaining 2 ½ cups sauce over each pan.
3. If freezing, wrap with plastic wrap and then foil. Freeze.
4. If not freezing, skip to step 2 below.

To cook one entree:

1. Thaw in fridge or bake straight from freezer.
2. Oven at 350.
3. Remove plastic wrap and replace foil. If thawed, bake 45 minutes, if frozen 1 hour. Remove foil and continue to bake until noodles are tender.

Asparagus and Potato Fritata

Makes 3 entrees, 4-6 servings each

2 lbs fresh asparagus, cleaned, ends snapped off, and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
2 lbs potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces and boiled til soft (about 10 minutes)
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced

On hand for each entree:

6 eggs
½ c cream or milk
½ t salt
¼ t pepper
½ c grated Parmesan cheese

1. Boil asparagus 2-3 minutes in water (You can add it the last few minutes with the potatoes)
2. Cook onion in skillet about 5 minutes, until soft, adding garlic last minute or two.
3. Divide mixture among 3 freezer bags, freeze. (If not freezing, skip this step and jump down to step 2 below)

To cook one entree:

1. Thaw completely.
2. Oven at 425.
3. Pour filling into a greased 8x8 dish.
4. Mix egg mixture and pour over top. Bake 30 minutes or until cooked through and top is golden brown.

**Note-you may substitute any variety of veggies for the asparagus

Mexi-Stuffed Peppers

Makes 6 peppers

1 diced onion
1 can black beans
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup corn
1 cup rice (cooked)
1 tablespoon taco seasoning

On hand for cooking entree:
6 peppers

1. Cook onion and garlic in skillet along with taco seasoning. Stir in rice, corn and beans. Divide among freezer bags as needed (ie, If you want to feed 2 people then divide among 3 bags, etc.)
2. Freeze bags until further use. (If not freezing, skip to step 2 below.)

To cook entree

1. Completely thaw in fridge.
2. Oven at 350.
3. Wash peppers, cut off tops, scoop out insides. Fill each pepper with mixture. Cook on a greased baking sheet 35 minutes or until filling
4. After 35 minutes, top with cheese and put back in oven until cheese is melted-3-5 minutes