Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hidden Kisses

Every year as I start to make my list of Christmas cookies that I am going to bake for the year, I include a mix of new recipes and old favorites. This was a new recipe that I tried this year and it was super yummy... Not the prettiest looking cookie, but as the post that I found this recipe on said - who needs a pretty cookie when it tastes this good?? Not I, Not I! :) But honestly - check out that picture, they look pretty good don't they? :) I love the surprise hit of chocolate in the middle...

Hidden Kisses
(recipe found at

approximately 70 hershey kisses, unwrapped
4 stickes softened salted butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
powdered sugar

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl until fluffly. Add flour and walnuts and mix until well blended. Chill dough in refrigerator for about an hour. Preheat oven to 350. Using about one tablespoon for each cookie, shape dough around each kiss. Roll in hand to make a ball and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set but not browned on top. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet and place on wire rack. When completely cooled sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 12/30-1/5

A little late once again but I have been having too much fun with the family on vacation to keep up with my posting! :) Back to school next week and back into the swing of things... Have a great New Year's!

Thursday - Omelots
Friday - Roast
Saturday - Night out with the family
Sunday - *Bacon Cheeseburger Rice
Monday - Steaks
Tuesday - *Honey and Spice Baked Chicken
Wednesday - Night out
Thursday - *Pasta Primavera
Friday - *Chicken Chimichangas

* New Recipes

Thursday, December 29, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza Roll Ups

This was super easy to throw together and the kids ate it up fast! What a great meal idea for those nights that we are on the run... I thought that it would make a fantastic appetizer too - finger foods seems to be great for both! :) Now if I could only master the rolling up of the dough, it would look so much prettier in the end! :)

BBQ Chicken Pizza Roll Ups
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 tube (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
1/4 cup honey barbecue sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon italian seasoning, optional
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

On a lightly floured surface, roll crust into a 12x9 inch rectangle; brush with barbecue sauce. Layer with cheese, chicken, onion, cilantro and italian seasoning if desired. Roll up jelly roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal. Place seam side down on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Beat egg white and water; brush over top. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool before slicing.

Serves: 2 dozen slices
Points: 2 points per slice

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cocoa and Chili Rubbed Pork Chops

You know that my love of pork chops has led me to this recipe! My love for quick and easy also went hand in hand with the choosing... It was so easy that my hubby threw it together for supper when I was running around doing other things. Now that is love and simplicity! :)

Cocoa and Chili Rubbed Pork Chops
(recipe found at

2 pork chops, bone in
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix cocoa, chili powder and brown sugar in a bowl. Sprinkle and pat down rub on both sides of each pork chop. Let sit for about 10 minutes and then add salt and pepper to each pork chop. heat skillet over medium high heat and add oil. Add pork chops and cover. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, depending on thickness of meat. Flip and leave uncovered, cooking for an additional 4-5 minutes.

Serves: 2
Points: 4 per serving

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Beef and Bacon Stroganoff

I love my mom's stroganoff, so I was hard pressed to try another type of recipe for stroganoff. Besides, why mess with something that isn't broken? But, the allure of BACON won out in the end and it was worth it! ;) Once I got past the "what? no rice" part of me - hey that's what we ALWAYS served it with... I tried it and thought that it wasn't too bad! Josh and his mom raved about it and were very happy with the end result of my newest dish... Guess we'll have to try it again - maybe with rice next time! :)

Beef and Bacon Stroganoff
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

1 pound lean ground beef
5 thick sliced bacon strips, chopped
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium obnion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) beef broth
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup, undiluted
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
6 cups uncooked egg noodles
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the beef, bacon, mushrooms, onion and garlic until beef is no longer pink; drain. Stir in flour until blended. Add broth, soup, worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt and paprika. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook noddles according to package directions; drain. Stir sour creamand horseradish into beef mixture; heat through (do not boil). Serve with noodles. Sprinkle with the cheese.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Crockpot French Onion Soup

One of the wonderful meals that I remember having when I was growing up was French Onion Soup. I always loved the taste of it and try to make it once in a while now that I'm all grown up! :) I found this recipe when I was assigned this blog for Secret Recipe Club and it was one of the two that I actually made before that posting date... It was super easy and tasted wonderful!! Now, if only I could turn my kids onto nothing but soup and broth we would be having this quite often! Guess it's an acquired taste...

Crockpot French Onion Soup
(recipe found at

3 onions, sliced
3 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 (32 ounces) containers beef broth
french bread
gruyere cheese

Turn crockpot on high, add butter and let melt. Add onions, cover and cook for 45-50 minutes until they have caramelized. Mix flour, worcestershire, sugar and pepper in a bowl. Slowly add mixture, along with broth, to crockpot, stirring well while adding. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Top bread with cheese and toast for about 20 minutes at 250. Pour soup into bowls and top with bread slices.

Serves: 5
Points: 2

Friday, December 23, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 12/23-12/29

Only 2 more days until Christmas!! I can't believe that it is here already... and no snow still! Makes me a little sad and it definitely is part of the reason that I can't believe that it is here already! Busy weekend planned and then a week of enjoying my kids. Usually we have a ton of plans, but I think that a week of vegging and being together sounds pretty good right about now! Have a fabulous Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Friday - Christmas at mom's - I'm bring Tastefully Simple Cheesy Chive Warm Dip Mix with Beer Bread
Saturday - Chicken Bacon Alfredo Pizza for our family Christmas lunch! Orange Juiced Pork Chops for Christmas Eve supper with a few of our family...
Sunday - I'm bring a cookie tray!
Monday - Brats on the grill
Tuesday - *Bacon Cheeseburger Rice
Wednesday - Taco Night
Thursday - Omelots
Friday - Roast

* New Recipes

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fluffy Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

I tried this pie at my mom's house and I just knew that I had to have it again! So, since Thanksgiving was at my house this year and one of the things that I was in charge of was the pies, I decided to make it for then... It went over just as well at my house as it did at my mom's!! Yummy!

Fluffy Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie
(recipe found at

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1 extra serving size graham cracker crust

In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese on medium speed of electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and spice. Beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined after each addition. Stir in pumpkin. Pour into crust. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Short Ribs

When we got our half a cow there were a couple of packages of short ribs that came with it. Short ribs? How in the heck are they cooked and what am I going to do with them? So, they have sat in the freezer for a while, getting pushed back each time that I dig out some steaks, a roast, a pound of hamburger and then it happened. As I was browsing through some of my favorite blogs there appeared a recipe for short ribs!! Thank the heavens - I didn't even have to search for it, it just fell in my lap! :) This recipe was definitely time consuming and the results were pretty tasty... I'm not going to run out and buy a bunch of short ribs just to make it again, but if we get some again I know what recipe I can go back to!

Short Ribs
(recipe found at

8 boneless short ribs (mine had the bone, I rolled with it)
extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
8 ounces portabella mushrooms, chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 raosted red bell peppers, chopped
1 (12 ounces) can tomato paste
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons ground mustard
2 cups dry red wine
3 bay leaves

Season the ribs generously with salt. Coat a large stock pot with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add teh ribs to the pan and brown very well on all sides, it may take up to 20 minutes or more, but it is worth the time...

While the ribs are browning, put the onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and garlic in a food processor and puree to a coarse paste; set aside. When the ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Throw out the fat, add some fresh olive oil and add the pureed vegetables to the pan. Season generously with salt and cook over medium high heat until the veggies are very brown and crud has formed on the pan, about 8-10 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan and continue cooking.

Preheat oven to 375. Add the roasted red bell peppers, tomato paste, mustard and horseradish; cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil and stir frequently to scrape the brown bits off the bottom. Continue cooking until reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes.

Return the ribs to the pan and add enough water to cover the meat. Toss inthe bay laeves and cover tightly. Cook for 2 1/2 hours, checking every 45 minutes to make sure the meat is covered with liquid, if not add more water. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Orange Juiced Pork Chops

Once again, the pork chop recipe caught my eye... I thought that this sounded a little bit different, definitely easy and would feed a lot of people. My mind has been on trying to figure out what we are having for Christmas Eve dinner, which is usually something that I can throw in the crockpot before we leave for church, and this seemed to fit the bill... So, this was my trial run and it was a hit at our house! The pork chops had a different taste to them but were still delicious... Josh was not expecting the sweetness of the orange juice though so he was a little put off at first - by the end of the meal he was sold too! Guess next time I need to warn him in advance what we are eating so he knows what to expect! :)

Orange Juiced Pork Chops
(recipe found in A.C.C. cookbook)

1 (12 ounces) can frozen orange juice, undiluted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon garlic powder
12 (1" thick) boneless center cut pork chops

Combine all ingredients, except the meat, in the crockpot. Stir well. Add the meat and stir well to coat. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Spice Rubbed Turkey with Cognac Gravy

So, I hosted my first Thanksgiving this year and to tell you the truth - I had never made a turkey before... I had an idea where to start and instead of asking mom for her recipe I set out to find my own. Actually my own landed right in my lap when I was researching recipes for the Secret Recipe Club that I am a part of! Thanks to Lisa at I didn't have to search long. Her recipe sounded delicious and it was!! I got a lot of compliments on the turkey that I made and no one got sick (at least that I am aware of! :) So, all in all, I would say my first Thanksgiving was a success - at least in the turkey department!

So, my post is slightly late for your own Thanksgiving turkey, but I thought I would get it up and running for the next holiday that is right around the corner! :) Enjoy!!

Spice Rubbed Turkey with Cognac Gravy
(recipe found at

1 (18-20 pound) turkey; neck heart and gizzard reserved for giblet broth
5 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
3 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika
5 1/2 cups chicken broth

Giblet Broth:
5 cups chicken broth
2 pounds turkey necks

Giblet Gravy:
1 cup dry white vermouth
1/2 cup cognac
salt and pepper to taste

Mix coriander, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, salt and paprika together. Rinse and dry the turkey well. Then set the turkey on a rack set in large roasting pan; tuck wings under. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon spice mixture in main cavity of the turkey and spread the remaining spice mixture all over turkey skin; tie legs together to hold shape. Turn turkey breast side down. Refrigerate uncovered for 24-48 hours.

Before roasting, let turkey stand 1 hour at room temperature. Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 450. Pour 3 cups of chicken broth into pan with turkey. Cook for 20 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350. Roast turkey 1 hour and then pour 2 cups broth over turkey. Continue roasting until thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 161, about 1 hour longer.

Meanwhile, prepare giblet broth. Place the turkey necks as well as the reserved turkey neck, heart and gizzard in medium saucepan; add 5 cups chicken broth. Simmer 1 hour. Strain and then skim any fat from surface of giblet broth.

Once turkey reaches temperature, transfer turkey to platter, tent loosely with foil and let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature of turkey will rise 5-10 degrees.)

Giblet Gravy - Skim off the fat from the surface of the pan juices. Place roasting pan over 2 burners set at medium high heat. Add vermouth and cognac to pan and bring to a boil, scraping up the born bits. Sprinkle in about 1/4 cup flour and whisk. As the pan juices start to thicken whisk in the giblet broth and bring to a boil. Add more flour if necessary until gravy coats the back of a spoon or to the gravy consistency that you desire. Salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mint Oreo Fudge

It seems as if every year during my Christmas baking I find a new fudge recipe that I want to try... This one caught my eye because it includes a few of my husband's favorite things - mint and oreos! :) So this one was for him!

Mint Oreo Fudge
(recipe found at

3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 ounces) can sweetened condensed milk
dash of salt
approximately 20 oreo cookies, broken into pieces
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

In heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in cookies, mint and vanilla. Spread evenly into wax paper lined 8 or 9" square pan. Chill 2 hours or until firm in the refrigerator. Lift fudge out of pan, peel off paper and cut into squares. Store covered in refrigerator.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Surprise Package Cookies

I started my Christmas baking, better late then never and wanted to share at least a few of my newest treats before Christmas gets here so I thought that I would actually try to post on the weekend for once! :) Enjoy...

I love the combo of mint and chocolate and Andes mints are one of those yummy treats that I don't get often enough. There is a restaurant that we go to once in a while and they give you a few at the end of your meal and that is about the only time that I get them... Never have I indulged in buying them at the store, but I finally did just for this recipe! I know why I don't usually buy them - I almost didn't have enough for the recipe! :) These are one of my new favorite cookies and I can't wait to make them again!

Surprise Package Cookies
(recipe found in A.C.C. cookbook)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
65 Andes mints

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. With floured hands, shape a tablespoonful of dough around 42 candies, forming rectangular cookies. Place 2" apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on wire racks. In a microwave, melt the remaining candies and drizzle over cookies.

Yields: 3 1/2 dozen (I actually got 5 dozen out of this recipe)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 12/16-12/22

It's the week before Christmas and can you believe that we STILL don't have any snow?? I don't know about you all but to me if it is going to be cold, there might as well be snow to play in! Oh well, I guess that I'll just stay inside and keep baking! :) Have a fabulous week...

Saturday - *Deconstructed Pear Pork Chops
Sunday - Christmas Program/Potluck
Monday - *Cajun Beef Casserole
Tuesday - Boy Scout Christmas Party
Wednesday - Night out!
Thursday - *Bacon Cheeseburger Rice

*New Recipes

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

See, I promised! Here is the recipe for spaghetti squash lasagna... Now hopefully you have one laying on your cupboard so that you can try this little piece of heaven. It was so yummy that you just need to try it. I couldn't believe how much it actually tasted like pasta... and all the stuff that went with it? It really was like eating lasagna, but much healthier! :)

Side note: in the original recipe it calls for making 4 individual servings in separate baking dishes. You all know that I am all about quick and easy, so I went with a bigger baking dish and just cut it into 4 servings...

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
(recipe found at

2 cups marinara sauce
3 cups cooked roasted spaghetti squash
1 cup part skim ricotta
8 teaspoons parmesan cheese
6 ounces part skim shredded mozzarella

See instructions for roasting a spaghetti squash here. Preheat oven to 375. In an 8x8" baking dish ladle 1 cup marinara sauce on the bottom. Top with 3 cups cooked spaghetti squash and spread it out evenly. Top with 1 cup ricotta. Sprinkle 4 teaspoons parmesan cheese and 3 ounces mozzarella on top of ricotta. Add the remaining sauce, parmesan and mozzarella cheese to the top. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the edges begin to bubble; uncover and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Serves: 4
Points: 6

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Who has cooked a spaghetti squash before? Not I said Raina... My mother-in-law brought me one and said "my friend said you would know how to cook it." Umm, okay. So, off to the computer I was going to go - eventually. It sat on my counter for a while and then I was checking in on some of my favorite cooking blogs and the recipe for Spaghetti Squash Lasagna appeared. Normally I would look at it and move on, but not this time. This time I had a spaghetti squash sitting on my counter, ready to use! First off though, it called for roasted spaghetti squash. Okay, so now I needed to find that recipe - lucky for me, she had it linked, just like I am going to do for you! :) So, today we are learning how to roast a spaghetti squash and tomorrow you will find the recipe for Spaghetti Squash Lasagna. Lucky you! :)

Roasted Spaghetti Squash
(recipe found at

1 large ripe spaghetti squash
salt and pepper

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and fibers with a spoon. Place on a baking sheet, cut side up and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for about an hour or until the skin gives easily under pressure and the inside is tender. Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes. Using a fork, scrape out the squash flesh a little at a time. It will separate into spaghetti like strands. Place in a serving dish and serve hot.

Easy as pie!! I have heard that it works perfectly as a spaghetti substitute which I am going to try soon, since my mother-in-law brought me another spaghetti squash that is sitting on my cupboard! :)

Serves: 6 1 cup servings
Points: 0

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cheese Tortellini with Tomatoes and Corn

This was a fabulous dish - the kids, not such big fans! :) It was not a hit in the Connor house that night. Oh well, I enjoyed it and now I have leftovers for a bit. I thought that it would be better as a side dish though, so not sure if I will make it as a main dish again. It's so pretty with all the colors...

Cheese Tortellini with Tomatoes and Corn
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 package (16 ounces) frozen corn, thawed
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a dutch oven, cook tortellini according to package directions, adding the corn during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse in cold water. In a large serving bowl, combine tortellini mixture and remaining ingredients; toss to coat.

Serves: 4 (1 3/4 cup servings)
Points: 8

Monday, December 12, 2011

Meat Loaf

This may be my new go to meatloaf. It was so moist and yummy - I wanted to keep eating it. It also gave you a big amount for not too many points, so my Weight Watchers is thanking me for that! :)

Meat Loaf
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 egg white
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon steak sauce
5 medium fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound lean ground beef

In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix well. Shape into a loaf; place into an 11x7" baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake uncovered at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until no pink remains. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Drizzle with barbecue sauce if desired.

Serves: 4 (2 slices per person)
Points: 6 points per 2 slices

Friday, December 9, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 12/9-12/15

Got a busy couple of weeks planned, like the rest of the world I am sure! :) Between program practices for all three kids, finishing up the Christmas shopping and a whole lot of baking I am going to find a way to get it all in... Hopefully this week will be the start of the baking, since I plan to finish the Christmas shopping tomorrow! Bring it on! :) I got a new cookbook for Thanksgiving from my cousin Ann and I am busting it out this week! A lot of the recipes are from this cookbook, which she said is full of never fail recipes! Can't wait to check it out... Thanks Ann!

Saturday - pizza for the kids (I'll be shopping!)
Sunday - *BBQ Chicken Pizza Roll Up
Monday - *Chicken Nuggets
Tuesday - *Wigglers Casserole
Wednesday - *Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken and Veggies
Thursday - *Orange Juice Pork Chops
Friday - *Beer and Cheese Soup

Extras: *Surprise Package Cookies, *Oreo Balls, *Hidden Kisses, *Mint Oreo Fudge, Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

* New Recipes

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Simple Corn Chowder

Oh how wonderfully delicious and super simple this recipe was!! I love a quick soup that you can throw on the stove a half an hour before you want to eat and have it ready! I doubled this recipe and had enough for our family with leftovers and some to share with my grandparents!

Simple Corn Chowder
(recipe found at

1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1 cup sliced carrots (about 12 baby carrots)
1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups milk

In a large saucepan combine broth, potatoes, carrots, celery, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add corn and simmer for 5 minutes more. Stir in 2/3 cup cheese and milk. Raise heat to medium and cook until cheese is melted and chowder is heated through, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook until vegetables are cooked to your liking. Top with remaining cheese.

Serves: 4 1 cup servings
Points: 4

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nacho Cheese Beef Bake

As I was making supper this night my mind kept wandering to the thought of "this is really just a homemade version of hamburger helper".... It was super easy to make and I prepared it ahead of time so that all I had to do was throw it in the oven when we got home. I loved the crunch of the chips on top that gave it a little more texture. It was gone quickly and everyone enjoyed it. That's what I call a great meal!

Nacho Cheese Beef Bake
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

2 cups uncooked egg noodles
1 pound ground beef
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed nacho cheese soup, undiluted
1 jar (5 3/4 ounces) sliced pimiento stuffed olives, drained
1 can (4 ounces) green chilies
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups crushed tortilla chips
1/3 cup prepared ranch salad dressing
shredded lettuce, sour cream and/or salsa, optional

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, soup, olives and chilies. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in noodles.

Transfer to a greased 11x7" baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Top with tortilla chips; drizzle with salad dressing. Serve with lettuce, sour cream and/or salsa if desired.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Garlic Chive Baked Fries

These fries were a huge hit with my family! They got a little doner then I would have like, but the kids thought that they were like eating chips (since their dad sliced them that way)... They had a great taste which meant that we all kept going back for more!

Garlic Chive Baked Fries
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

4 medium russet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 teaspoon dried minced chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cut potatoes into 1/4" julienned strips. Rinse well and pat dry. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with chives, salt, garlic powder and pepper; toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on two 15x10" baking pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once.

Serves: 4
Points: 4 per serving

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pan Fried Tilapia and the SRC

Once again, I was super excited to get my Secret Recipe Club assignment and once again, I was not disappointed. I received the blog I Was Born to Cook and man was she ever! There is recipe after recipe that I wanted to try and I could not wait to get started... Melissa and I share a lot in common as I was browsing through all of her recipes... We both have daughters named Bella, we both love food (especially chocolate) and we are both trying to keep our love of food in check with Weight Watchers! This meant a lot of recipes to go through and try to decide which would be my pick for this month's SRC???

A few tasty tidbits that drew my attention included these recipes for crustless quiche, since anyone that reads my blog knows about my love of breakfast, roasted asparagus with garlic, cocoa and chili rubbed pork chops, again with my love of pork chops! These were just the recipes for main dishes that I found!! I also have added hot artichoke dip, chocolate zucchini muffins, mint oreo fudge and hidden kisses Christmas cookies on my list of recipes to try very soon! I tried two recipes before I blogged for SRC and they included this great recipe for french onion soup (IN THE CROCKPOT!!) and the recipe that I ultimately decided to blog on for today's SRC - Pan Fried Tilapia.

I usually have issues cooking fish but I wanted to give it a go again... These looked delicious, healthy for me and my family and super easy and I was right on all counts! The fish had a fabulous taste and my sometimes fussy kids gobbled it right up - that makes it a winner to me! This is definitely going on the repeat list!

Pan Fried Tilapia
(recipe found at

2 tilapia fillets
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 egg
1/4 cup seasoned italian bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Beat an egg in one bowl and mix bread crumbs and seasonings in another bowl. Dip fish in egg first, followed by bread crumb mixture. Put oil in a hot non stick pan on medium high heat. Move the pan around so the oil covers the entire surface and add fish. Cook each side for about 4-5 minutes. Squeeze some lemon over fish before serving, if desired.

Serves: 2
Points: 5

Friday, December 2, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 12/2-12/8

It's DECEMBER!!! I can't believe that it is here already... My shopping isn't as done as it normally is, my Christmas cards aren't sent out - what kind of chaos am I running this year? Oh yeah, 4 kids, husband gone at training for 2 weeks in November, work - that's the kind of chaos that I am running! :) I'll get there. Now if we could just get some snow, it would feel a lot more like December!

Friday - Subway
Saturday - Roast
Sunday - Chicken on the grill
Monday - *Cocoa and Chili Rubbed Pork Chops
Tuesday - *Beef and Potato Soup
Wednesday - Night out
Thursday - *BBQ Chicken Pizza Roll Up
Friday - *Crustless Quiche

* New Recipes

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Asian Burgers

I know, I know - we are in the beginning of December and I am posting about burgers... I can't help it - we use our grill even when the snow is on the ground and we have to shovel it off the top of the grill! I love it!! These were some tasty burgers and they had a unique taste that was easy to whip up since we always have the ingredients on hand... Garlic Chive Baked Fries were on the menu with these burgers - look for that recipe coming soon! Beau even ate them and he is my "nothing potato will ever touch my mouth" kid... :)

Asian Burgers
(recipe found in Parents Magazine)

1 pound lean ground beef
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespon minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons reduce sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

In a large bowl mix together the beef, scallions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil. Shape mixture into 6 burger patties. Grill until desired doneness and enjoy!

Serves: 6
Points: 3 per burger

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Biscuit Topped Shepherd's Pies

I love the combo of mashed potatoes, beef and veggies! It is so warm and hearty - perfect for a cool fall or winter evening. Due to the fact that Beau LOATHES any kind of potatoes, sometimes I just opt to not fight him on it and find something else to make. This frustrates me though because I LOVE potatoes of any kind and miss them! So, when I found this recipe I had to try it... shepherd's pie without the potatoes... Not only was it pretty low cal, the biscuit topping gave the illusion of mashed potatoes on top! It was a super great combo for me and Beau even ate it all! :)

Side note: I didn't use the ramekins like this recipe calls for - due to lack of that many ramekins in my house and also the fact that I like to go for quick and easy!! I put it into a square baking and it turned out fabulous!

Biscuit Topped Shepherd's Pies
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 package (16 ounces) frozen peas and carrots, thawed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) italian tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup reduced fat biscuit/baking mix
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 cup fat free milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large nonstick skillet, cook the beef, onion and celery over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the vegetables, tomato sauce and pepper; cook and stir for 5-6 minutes or until heated through. Spoon into 6 8 ounce ramekins coated with cooking spray; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the biscuit mix, cheese and rosemary. Stir in milk and butter just until moistened. Spoon dough over meat mixture; place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Serves: 6
Points: 6

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili

I love soups in the crockpot, but haven't searched for any healthy ones since I have been in my competition. When I heard about this one from my friend, I knew that I had to try it. I love chili, I love crockpot cooking and I love that it's healthy, so how could we go wrong? We couldn't!! It was super delish and definitely easy to throw together... Definitely a recipe that we are going to go back to often! :)

Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili
(recipe found at

1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounces) can black beans
1 (16 ounces) can kidney beans
1 (8 ounces) can tomato sauce
10 ounces package frozen corn kernels
2 (14.5 ounces each) cans diced tomatoes with chilies
1 packet taco seasoning
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
24 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts
chili peppers, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine beans, onion, chili peppers, corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. (Or if you are like me, I just chopped mine into bite size pieces before I even threw it in.) Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Top with fresh cilantro.

Serves: 10
Points: 3 per 1 1/4 cups

Monday, November 28, 2011

Veggie Fried Rice

This was a great meal that was quick and easy to throw together on a night when we were running out the door. Not much too it but perfect for a light supper or a fun side dish. The kids have all of a sudden stopped liking asparagus, but I thought that it was delicious!

Veggie Fried Rice
(recipe found in Parents magazine)

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 (12 ounces) bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 cups cooked brown rice, chilled
3/4 cup frozen peas
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce

Heat the canola oil over medium high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add the asparagus to the skillet. Saute for 1 minute. Add the scallions, ginger and garlic; saute until the asparagus is just tender, about 2 minutes more. Add the rice and peas to the skillet, breaking up the rice as you stir. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until the rice is heated through. Reduce heat to medium. Make a well in the center of the rice and pour in the eggs. As the eggs begin to cook, stir them into the rice until they are thoroughly incorporated. Remove pan from heat and stir in soy sauce.

Serves: 4
Points: 6 per serving

Friday, November 25, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 11/25-12/1

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Slow Cooked Caribbean Pot Roast

I wanted to use one of the roasts that I have in my freezer and decided to try something new instead of my "same old, same old"... So, I found this recipe in my Taste of Home magazine and decided to try it out. It was super delicious!! I don't know that I will always make it this way, since my other recipe for roast is so simple, but it was great tasting!!

Slow Cooked Caribbean Pot Roast
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
2 large carrots, sliced
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 boneless beef chuck roast (2 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon grated orange peel
3/4 teaspoon baking cocoa
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce

Place potatoes, carrots and celery in a 5 quart slow cooker. In a skillet, brown meat in oil. Transfer meat to slow cooker. In the same skillet, saute onion in drippings until tender. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Combine next 11 ingredients; stir in tomato sauce. Add to skillet; heat through. Pour over beef. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until beef and vegetables are tender.

Serves: 10
Points: 6 per 3 ounces cooked beef with 1/2 cup vegetable mixture

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wonton Sundaes

Since I am working hard on loosing weight, I wanted to bring something that I knew would be yummy, yet not super unhealthy. As I was browsing through my healthy cooking magazines, this one popped up and I knew that I had to try it. How cute are they?? I also love the fact that they have their own little dishes and you can pop them into your mouth as you walk by! The bottoms didn't get as crispy as I would have liked them to, but they were still pretty tasty!

Wonton Sundaes
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

24 wonton wrappers
refrigerated butter flavored spray
1 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 package (8 ounces) reduced fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped pecans
24 maraschino cherries with stems

Place wonton wrappers on a work surface; spritz with butter flavored spray. Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over wontons. Press into mini muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 4-5 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately remove wonton cups to an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 2-3 minutes longer or until bottoms of cups are lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, vanilla and remaining sugar until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Spoon into wonton cups. Top each with a cherry.

Serves: 24
Points: 2 per wonton sundae

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shrimp and Pineapple Fried Rice

My advice on this one? Have all your ingredients chopped and ready to roll... It is a quick and easy one to throw together and you need to be ready to add everything to the pan quickly! We all enjoyed this one and it was just as good cold the next day for leftovers.

Shrimp and Pineapple Fried Rice
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

2 eggs
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups cooked instant brown rice
1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened pineapple chunks, drained
1/2 pound cooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup chopped cashews
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a small bowl, whisk eggs. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add eggs; cook and stir until set; remove from the skillet and keep warm. In the same skillet, saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the rice, pineapple, shrimp, cashews, peas and green onions; heat through. Combine the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar, sesame oil and pepper; stir into rice mixture. Stir in eggs.

Serves: 6 (1 1/3 cup servings)
Points: 7

Monday, November 21, 2011

Easy Linguine Casserole

I loved that this was an easy meal to throw together early and have in the oven in time to run out the door... Such is our life right now! :) Anything that can be prepped ahead of time is high on my list of meals and one that is super tasty makes it even better! My only problem with this recipe was that one cup was not quite enough for me - I wanted more it was so good!

Easy Linguine Casserole
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

8 ounces uncooked multigrain linguine, broken in half
2 cups cubed fully cooked lean ham
1 3/4 cups shredded swiss cheese, divided
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) reduced fat reduced sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, finely chopped

Cook linguine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the ham, 1 1/2 cups cheese, soup, sour cream, onion and green pepper. Drain pasta; add to ham mixture and stir to coat.

Transfer to a 13x9" baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Serves: 8
Points: 6 per 1 cup

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 11/18-11/24

Busy week ahead... Thanksgiving is at my house for the first time this year and I have some cleaning and cooking to do! :) Not so excited for the cleaning part, but I am looking forward to the cooking part...

Friday - *Poppy Seed Chicken/Roasted Broccoli
Saturday - *Beef and Bacon Stroganoff
Sunday - *Short Ribs
Monday - *Crockpot Fench Onion Soup
Tuesday - *Pan Fried Tilapia
Wednesday - *Lemon Garlic Chicken
Thursday - *Pumpkin Pie, *Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Ice Cream, French Vanilla Ice Cream, *Spice Rubbed Turkey with Cognac Gravy
Friday - Leftovers

* - New Recipes

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Buttermilk Chicken Fingers

These were too good to pass up. Even though I am not super thrilled about the mess that frying makes sometimes you just have to do it! :) We all really enjoyed the taste of these and my mother in law even asked me for the recipe. She loves to fry up chicken and was super excited about this quick and easy recipe...

Buttermilk Chicken Fingers
(recipe found at

1 cup buttermilk
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
1 1/2 cups self rising flour (or all purpose with 1 teaspoon salt added)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
oil for frying

Mix together the buttermilk and hot sauce. Pour over chicken in ziploc bag and refrigerate for several hours. In a shallow dish mix together flour and pepper. Heat about 1/4" of oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking.

Coat both sides of chicken well in the flour mixture and fry until golden brown and cooked to 165. This will take about 5 minutes per side.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo

This is one of my favorite Weight Watchers meals. It seems decadent even when it has been scaled back to be a little healthier! It is tasty and healthy all at the same time - what a bonus!

Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo
(recipe found at

6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with a knife
1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 spray cooking spray
1/2 cup canned chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup whole milk plain yogurt, greek style (I couldn't find greek style, so I used plain yogurt)
1/8 teaspoon salt, for cooking pasta
8 ounces uncooked whole wheat pasta, fettuccini
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup parsley, fresh and finely chopped

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Rub garlic over chicken; reserve garlic. Season chicken with salt and pepper; set aside. Off heat, coat skillet with cooking spray and then set over medium low heat. Saute garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken and cook until golden, flipping once, about 5 minutes per side. (I chopped my chicken into bite size pieces before cooking - makes it much easier for the kids!)

In a small bowl, combine broth, heavy cream and yogurt; pour over chicken and scrape bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon to incorporate seasonings. Simmer chicken gently, turning once, about 30 minutes. (Mine took much less then the 30 minutes, so keep an eye on it - otherwise you might lose all your creamy sauce!) Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

Remove chicken from cream sauce and set aside. Add parmesan cheese to cream sauce and mix until well combined. Add cooked pasta and 3 tablespoons of parsley; toss well. Serve pasta topped with chicken and rest of parsley.

Serves: 4
Points: 9

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Trifle

I love the ease of trifles and I'm always up for trying a new one! Of course with my obsession with pumpkin right now, you know that I had to try this one as soon as I laid eyes on the recipe! :) It turned out pretty good - not my favorite trifle that I have made, but definitely a hit amongst those that tried it! It didn't take long to polish it off...

Pumpkin Spice Trifle
(recipe found at

1 box spice cake mix
1 large box cook and serve vanilla pudding
1 (30 ounces) can pumpkin pie filling, not puree
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (12 ounces) container frozen whipped topping

Bake spice cake according to directions. Let cool completely. Make vanilla pudding according to directions and let cool. In a medium bowl mix the pumpkin, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice together, then add the pudding. Crumble half the cake into a large bowl or trifle dish. Pour half of the pudding mixture and half of the whipped topping over top of the layer of cake. Repeat layers. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Four Cheese Baked Ziti

My kids DEVOURED this dish! I love having some meatless meals every once in a while. It makes grocery shopping a little cheaper and if you can find something tasty no one misses the meat at all! This was a tasty dish that we will be eating again!

Four Cheese Baked Ziti
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

1 package (16 ounces) ziti or small tube pasta
2 cartons (10 ounces each) refrigerated alfredo sauce
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated romano cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook ziti according to package directions; drain and return to the pan. Stir in alfredo sauce and sour cream. Spoon half into a lightly greased 3 quart baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, romano cheese and parsley; spread over pasta. Top with remaining pasta mixture; sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining parmesan.

Cover and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake an addition 5-10 minutes or until bubbly.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 11/11-11/17

Got another fun and busy weekend in store and I can't wait!! Next week should be pretty calm with not a lot of running so I have some fun recipes that I can't wait to try... Have a great week!

Friday - Birthday Party
Saturday - *Beef and Bacon Stroganoff/*Pumpkin Spice Trifle
Sunday - Shopping day
Monday - *Poppy Seed Chicken/Roasted Broccoli
Tuesday - *Cheese Tortellini with Tomatoes and Corn
Wednesday - Restaurant night!
Thursday - *Makeover meatloaf
Friday - *Glazed Pork Chops

Extras: *Sunflower Seed and Honey Wheat Bread

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Healthy Snack Mix

This is a yummy snack that I made up for the kids one night when we had movie night. I thought that I would switch up our normal popcorn routine and try something new. They thought it was pretty good and although it was something different then popcorn, I felt like it was still pretty healthy!

Healthy Snack Mix
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

3 cups corn chex
3 cups rice chex
3 cups wheat chex
3 cups multi grain cheerios
1 cup salted peanuts
1 1/2 cups pretzel sticks
1/3 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

In a bowl, combine cereals, peanuts and pretzels. In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients; pour over cereal mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to 2 15x10 inch baking pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 250 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container.

Serves: yields 3 1/2 quarts
Points: 3 per 3/4 cup

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Dip

When I had girls night at my house my mind was exploding at the possibilities and all the things that I wanted to try!! Of course, a lot of the people that were coming over are also part of our weight loss challenge, so I knew that I needed to be good and incorporate some healthy options that we could all nosh on! Although this one pairs up with crackers, I also served it with fresh veggies so that an even healthier option was available! Too bad I forgot it all in the fridge and now I have to eat it all by myself... :)

Roasted Vegetable Dip
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

2 laerge sweet red peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 package (8 ounces) reduced fat cream cheese
assorted crackers

Place ther ed peppers, zucchini and onion in a 15x10 inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Combine olive oil, salt and pepper; drizzle over vegetables and toss to coat. Bake, uncovered, at 425 for 25-30 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature. Place cream cheese and vegetables in a food processor; cover and process until blended. Chill until serving. Serve with crackers.

Serves: yields 2 1/2 cups
Points: 1 point per 2 tablespoons

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pumpkin Fudge

In my quest for all things pumpkin, I found this recipe for pumpkin fudge and man oh man, I am not kidding you - this is such fabulous fudge!! Get ready to stir your arm off (it's worth all the stirring!) and make you have something to drink with it because you won't want just one and it is super rich... This was a Halloween treat for the kids' teachers so I doubled the batch and shared with a few friends and family. From all the feedback that I got, I was not the only one appreciating this fudge! :)

Pumpkin Fudge
(recipe found at

3/4 cup pecans
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups sugar
3/4 cups butter
2/3 cups eveaporated milk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (12 ounces) bag white chocolate chips
1 (7 ounces) jar marshmallow cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Line a 9x9 pan with tin foil and spray it with cooking spray. In a small hot skillet, add oil and heat over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot add pecans and sprinkle with salt. Let pecans toast over heat, stirring occaionally for about 5 minutes or until the nuts turn a darker color.

Put butter into a medium sized sauce pan. Melt over medium high heat. Add evaporated milk pumpkin, corn syrup, sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Stir mixture to combine. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Cook and continue to stir until it comes to 234 degrees or to the soft ball stage. Remove it from the heat and quickly add the marshmallow cream, white chocolate, vanilla and toasted pecans. Stir them all together to combine.

Pour fudge into prepared pan. Let fudge cool for at least 2 hours. Cut and serve. Store leftovers in fridge.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pumpkin Blondies and the SRC

So the joy of being in the Secret Recipe Club is twofold... You get to have someone that might not have visited your blog come and check it out, make something fun and hopefully love your recipes! The second is that you get to find new blogs that you might not have discovered without the SRC! This is what has happened with me and Cook, Lisa, Cook. Since SRC has started I discovered her blog and have been checking it out on a regular basis! And now I get the joy of blogging about her for this month's Secret Recipe Club! She has some great recipes that I am always eager to try out - both savory and sweet... In fact I was really torn between her zucchini chocolate chunk walnut bread and the pumpkin blondies that I eventually chose. I won't even mention that I was also debating making the rolo brownie bites with caramel cream cheese frosting and the caramel stuffed apple cider cookies too! :) Don't worry, these are all on my to make list... As well as her spice rubbed turkey with cognac gravy that will be gracing my Thanksgiving table this year!

I finally ended up with the pumpkin blondies - only because I seem to be in a pumpkin crazed state right now!! I love pumpkin and fall just brings it out even more... My husband is in pumpkin overload right now, so it might have to slow down a bit or he might freak out! :) I didn't add the nuts, so I just threw in the whole 12 ounces of chocolate, even though she suggested halving it... Man, chocolate and pumpkin are quite the pair, let me tell you!! These were good straight out of the oven (who waits for the whole pan to cool?) and even better when they were cooled like I was supposed to do! :) Try them, you will love them (if you like pumpkin half as much as I do!) And stop by and see Lisa and her beautiful daughter/helper Maisie, the sooner the better!

Pumpkin Blondies
(recipe found at

1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted
1 (12 ounces) bag semi sweet chocolate bits (she suggested only using half)

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13" baking pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray. (I skipped the parchment paper and didn't have any problems.) In a large bowl cream together butter and brown sugar. Add pumpkin pie spice and salt and blend. Add eggs and pumpkin puree, blend until smooth. Mix in the flour until fully incorporated. Stir in pecan halves and chocolate bits. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is lightly browned and the center is set. (Mine ended up cooking for about 30 minutes...) Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chocolate Popcorn

This was the snack that I sent home with my daycare kids for Halloween. Not super healthy, but something different then the truckloads of candy that they will be having for the next few weeks! :) Josh and I thought it was pretty tasty when we were putting them together...

Chocolate Popcorn
(recipe found at

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 cups popcorn

Over medium heat, using a 4 quart pot, combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, cocoa and salt and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is well mixed, add the popped corn. Cook and stir until popcorn is coated, approximately 2 minutes. Cool mixture and shape into 3" balls.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Indonesian Peanut Chicken

I was super excited about this recipe - chicken with a peanut buttery sauce? I couldn't wait... It ended up just being okay to me - kind of a bland taste. Something that was good to eat, but not to put on my redo list... I added some soy sauce on it to give it a little more kick and that made it better! Try it, it might be your favorite, even if it wasn't mine...

Indonesian Peanut Chicken
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup reduced fat creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups cooked brown rice
6 tablespoons chopped salted peanuts
5 tablespoons chopped sweet red pepper

Place chicken in a 4 quart slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the onion, water, peanut butter, chili sauce, salt, cayenne and pepper; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until chicken is tender. Shred meat with two forks and return to slow cooker; heat through. Serve with rice. Sprinkle with peanuts and red pepper.

Serves: 6
Points: 7 per 1/2 cup chicken mixture and 1/2 cup rice

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Red, White and Blue Pita Pockets

I made this up for supper when Josh's dad came to visit. It was nice to be able to throw some of it together before hand so that there wasn't as much prep work when we were all wanting to sit around and visit. With Josh's help stir frying the steak while I got the veggies ready, supper was on the table in no time!

Red, White and Blue Pita Pockets
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 teaspoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound beef top sirloin steak, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 whole wheat pita breads (6 inches), halved
2 cups torn red leaf lettuce
1/2 cup roasted sweet red peppers, drained and cut into strips
1/4 cup sliced red onion

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the vinegar, oil and garlic; add the beef. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. In a small bowl, combine sour cream and blue cheese; set aside. Drain and discard marinade. In a large nonstick skillet or wok coated with cooking spray, stir fry beef for 2-3 minutes or until no longer pink. Line pita halves with lettuce, red peppers and onion; fill each with 1/3 cup beef. Serve with sour cream mixture.

Serves: 4
Points: 7 points per half a stuffed pita

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lasagna Soup

This was one of those hearty soups that you just love to cook up on a cold fall or winter day! :) It tasted wonderful and warmed us all up. I love that you just add the noodles instead of having to cook them up before hand. Saves a step and some dishes!!

Lasagna Soup
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy)

1 pound lean ground beef
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced sodium beef broth
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 cups uncooked spiral pasta
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, cook the beef, green pepper, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, tomato paste, italian seasoning and pepper. Bring to a boil. Stir in pasta. Return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Serves: 8
Points: 5 per 1 1/3 cup servings

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pretzel Crusted Chicken

I loved the crunchy layer of this chicken dish. I love the fact that I am eating healthy and can still have bacon! :) I didn't think that 5 strips sounded like a lot for a whole chicken, but it definitely had a bacon flavor that permeated throughout all the pieces... It was delicious!

Pretzel Crusted Chicken
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

4 cups miniature pretzels
5 cooked bacon strips, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 egg
1/2 cup light or nonalcoholic beer
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 broiler/fryer chicken (3 pounds) cut up and skin removed

Place pretzels, bacon, cheese and parsley in a food processor; cover and process until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, whisk the egg, beer, flour and spices. Dip a few pieces of chicken at a time in beer mixture, then pretzel mexture. Place chicken in a 13x9 inch bakign dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

Serves: 6
Points: 9 per 4 ounces of chicken

Friday, October 28, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 10/28-11/3

Wow, I am falling behind on a weekly basis now! I can only blame the craziness that is my life - or the life that I create! :) Lots of fun was had this weekend - volleyball playoffs, Halloween parties, wood cutting and fundraisers coming to a close... This week promises to be more of the same, with more volleyball, Halloween, a night of bunco and a weekend of girls shopping while the guys are hunting!! Yippee!! Can you tell that I am a little excited?? Can ya, can ya?

Anyhow, just got done making up some pumpkin fudge for my kids teachers as a little Halloween treat and making chocolate popcorn for the daycare kids as part of their Halloween goodies... Look for the recipes to come because I tell you, the little tastes that I had were fantastic! Here's what's on our table for the week...

Friday - stir fry
Saturday - *Asian Burgers with *Garlic Chive Baked Fries
Sunday - Nutty Chicken Stir Fry
Monday - *Crockpot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili with *Pumpkin Cornbread
Tuesday - *Veggie Fried Rice
Wednesday - *Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili
Thursday - Round Steak Casserole
Friday, Saturday, Sunday - Shopping Trip!!

Extras: *Chocolate Popcorn, *Pumpkin Fudge, Pumpkin Oatmeal

* - New Recipes

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes

These were so easy to throw together!! I made them in the morning for snack for daycare and they were fabulous!! I popped one into my mouth and almost melted onto the floor myself. It was all that I could do to pull myself away from the plate... I had to send a bunch to school with my son so that I wouldn't eat them all - they are definitely yummier when they are right out of the oven, but I had a few later and they were still pretty good! :)

Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes
(recipe found at

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 larg egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup canned plain pumpkin
1/2 cup milk

4 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 24 cup mini muffin tin with baking spray and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. In a separate large bowl, whisk togehter oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. While the muffins bake, melt butter in one bowl and combine sugar and cinnamon in another bowl. Remove muffins from oven and cool for 2 minutes. Dip each muffin in melted butter, then roll in cinnamon mixture to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

I love pumpkin, fall, chocolate chips, leaves on the ground, pumpkin and cooler weather. Did I mention that I love pumpkin?? :) I found a few recipes that include pumpkin in dessert typish form and I had to try them... So, here is the first a a few! :) I made them for my son's boy scout Halloween party and didn't come home with any - that's a great sign, I think!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies
(recipe found at

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 whole eggs
1 egg white
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup semi sweet mini chocolate chips

Combine pumpkin, eggs and vegetable oil. Mix well. In separate bowl mix together dry ingredients. Combine wet and dry. Add chocolate chips. Spread onto a greased 11x7 pan. (I doubled the recipe and put it into a 9x13 pan...) Bake at 350 for 15-20 minuts or until toothpick comes out clean!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vegetable Stuffed Portobellos

I got a little crazy with the garlic on this recipe so it was a little strong and I was definitely not a fan of the rosemary... Other than that this was a pretty simple and yummy meal that the hubs and I both enjoyed. The kids were not fans of the portobello mushrooms, but they like the veggies that were on top!

Vegetable Stuffed Portobellos
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 can (15 ounces) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
1 medium sweet red pepper, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

In a food processor, combine the beans, 1 tablespoon oil, water, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. cover and process until pureed; set aside. Place mushrooms on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until mushrooms are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, saute the red pepper, red onion and zucchini in remaining oil until tender. Spread about 1/3 cup bean mixture over each mushroom; top with 1/2 cup vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Broil 2-3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Serves: 4
Points: 5 per serving

Monday, October 24, 2011

Italian Tortellini Soup

This soup was so easy that my husband through it together for lunch the other day while I was busy doing other things! It was tasty and just right for the chilly fall day that we had it on... I forgot the prosciutto and he used mozzarella instead of romano, but it was still fantastic!

Italian Tortellini Soup
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 1/2 cups water
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
3 tablespoons grated romano cheese
5 teaspoons sodium free chicken bouillon granules
1 tablespoons prepared pesto
1 jar (7 ounces) roasted sweet red peppers, drained
1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini
8 thin slices prosciutto or deli ham
8 teaspoons grated romano cheese

In a dutch oven, saute mushrooms in oil until tender. Add water, tomatoes, cheese, bouillon and pesto. Place peppers in a food processor; cover and process until blended. Add to mushroom mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the tortellini; return to a boil. Cook for 7-9 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Cut prosciutto into thin strips; garnish each serving with 1 slice prosciutto and 1 teaspoon cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves: 6
Points: 4 per serving

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 10/21-10/27

Better late then never! :) It was a crazy weekend and I didn't get a chance to write anything up... This week promises to be a little better and we can slow down a bit and relax at home!

Friday - Rigatoni with bacon and asparagus
Saturday - Steak and potatoes
Sunday - Roast
Monday - *Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Tuesday - *Stir Fry
Wednesday - Night Out
Thursday - Italian Baked Chicken
Friday - Burgers and *Fries

Extras: *Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes, *Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes, Pumpkin Seeds

* New Recipes

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

This was a super yummy and wonderfully easy side dish that I paired with Chili Rubbed Pork Chops. It has a lot of cheese on it, almost too much (which you rarely hear me say!), so next time I would maybe add a little more broccoli to the recipe... The kids weren't too excited about broccoli - actually I should say that the BOYS weren't too excited, Bella scarfed it down like she wasn't going to get another meal in a long time! :)

Broccoli with Cheese Sauce
(recipe found at

1 pound broccoli, fresh, florets
1 1/2 cups fat free skim milk
2 tablespoon all purpose flour
3/4 low fat shredded cheddar cheese
2 teaspoon dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon table salt, or to taste

Bring 1" of water to boil in a large pot. Place broccoli in steamer basket and set over water. Cover and steam until crisp tender, about 5-6 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Alternatively you can cook broccoli in microwave.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk together milk and flour until blended, place over medium high heat and bring to a boil; stirring often. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes; remove from heat. Whisk in cheese until melted; whisk in mustard and salt. Pour sauce over broccoli and toss until coated.

Servings: 4
Points: 2 per serving (about 1 cup)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grilled Sirloin Teriyaki

This is a super versatile recipe that can be used with almost any meat! The real recipe called for sirloin steak but can use fish, chicken or pork chops, which is how we tried it!! It was fantastic... Easy to throw together in the morning and quick to grill up at night. It had a wonderful flavor and we all enjoyed it!

Grilled Sirloin Teriyaki
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
4 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh gingerroot
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 beef top sirloin steak (1 inch thick and 1/2 pound)

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first six ingredients. Add the steak; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and discard marinade. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack. Grill beef, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 inches from the heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness.

Serves: 2
Points: 3 1/2 per serving (with pork chops)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chicken Chow Mein

I am big fan of the chicken chow mein that you find in the grocery store - you know the one... 2 cans sealed together, open with can opener, dump and heat! :) I'm sure that it is super healthy for you, NOT - so when I found this recipe I was eager to try it! I doubled the recipe to serve our family and it was fabulous!! It was definitely filling and the whole family enjoyed it! I wanted to just keep eating it, but I refrained (barely) and saved the rest for the hubs for when he got home! :)

Chicken Chow Mein
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 tablespoon cornstarch
2/3 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
2/3 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup sliced onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced green pepper
2 tablespoons julienned carrots
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup cubed cooked chicken breast
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons chow mein noodles

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, broth, soy sauce, salt and ginger until smooth; set aside. In a large skillet or wok, stir fry the mushrooms, celery, onion, pepper and carrot in oil for 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir fry 1-2 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender crisp.

Stir cornstarch mixture and add to the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken; heat through. Serve with rice; sprinkle with chow mein noodles.

Serves: 2
Points: 6 (1 cup chow mein with 1/2 cup cooked brown rice and 1 tablespoons chow mein noodles)

Monday, October 17, 2011


Everyone has their favorite way to make a roast in the crockpot so I haven't really thought about blogging about it. Then I started to think - what if somebody out there hasn't had the wonderful opportunity to make this super fast, super easy crock pot meal?? Seriously - this is one of my go to meals... We usually have this at least a couple of times a month and it is great for leftovers too!! Mix it up a bit, add whatever your favorite veggies are, switch from regular potatoes to sweet potatoes, add some lipton onion soup mix - whatever floats your boat!


1 roast (whatever kind/size you prefer)
carrots, chopped
potatoes, chopped
onions, chopped
salt and pepper
beef bouillon

Season roast with salt and pepper. Place in crock pot. Add desired amount of carrots, potatoes and onions. Make beef bouillon according to directions on jar. Once combined add to the crock pot. Cover and let cook 8 hours.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 10/14-10/20

Too often I don't take the time to go back and redo a lot of the yummy recipes that I have made in the past. I get too caught up in looking for new things to try and I thought this week would be a great one to go back and take another look at some oldies but goodies! Click on each of the links to see the recipes and look for the one new tasty recipe that we will be trying this week - pumpkin chocolate chip brownies... can't wait to taste those and I'll be sure to include them soon on the blog if they are any good!

Friday - burgers
Saturday - grilled cheese and spaghettios - looking for something quick to get the kids fed and out of the house... we are having a get together at our house - potluck, but I will definitely have some of my mulled cider on the stove for the night!
Sunday - Chicken BLT Taco Salad
Monday - Deluxe Cheeseburger Melt
Tuesday - Rigatoni with Bacon and Asparagus
Wednesday - Taco Night
Thursday - Boy Scouts Halloween Party - I am bringing *pumpkin chocolate chip brownies

* New Recipes

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Round Steak Casserole

My mother in law was over for supper the night that I served this meal and she is still raving about it today! She keeps talking about how tender it was and how wonderful the veggies were. Definitely a redo, especially sometime when she is going to be over! :)

Round Steak Casserole
(recipe found in Fix It & Forget It)

2 pound 1/2" thick round steak
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 onion, thinly sliced
3-4 potatoes, quartered
3-4 carrots, sliced
14 1/2 ounce can french style green beans, drained
10 3/4 ounces can tomato soup
14 1/2 ounces can stewed tomatoes

Cut meat into serving size pieces, place in slow cooker, stir in seasonings and mix well. Add potatoes, carrots, onions and green beans. Top with soup and tomatoes. Cover. Cook on high 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and cook 8 hours, or until done. Remove cover during last half hour if there is too much liquid.