Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Menu

As I mentioned in my last post, I am making Christmas Eve Dinner and Christmas Brunch this year for my family. I'm pretty excited about this and have been thinking about the menu for quite some time now...here's what I've got going on so far (links to recipes will be added as I upload them later in the week):

Christmas Eve Dinner
Spiral Ham
Pioneer Woman's Cornbread Dressing
Roasted Broccoli
Canned Farmstand Corn (Mom's canning, not mine)
Roasted Potatoes and Mushrooms
Strawberry Pretzel Salad (also Mom's contribution!)
Crescent Rolls

Christmas Brunch
Monkey Bread
Fruit Salad

Christmas Treats
Peach Pie

Spaghetti and Meatballs Take 2

Last night I decided to do a second attempt of some spaghetti and meatballs. As I suggested in my previous meatball post, I wanted to test this out with our favorite sauce recipe and mix things up a bit. The result was pretty amazing, even though I had to make a few judgement calls on some substitutions since I was resolved not to go to the market this week until my Christmas Market Extravaganza (I'm cooking Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Brunch this year since it's our first year with the kiddo which means we get to stay home for Christmas fun...I'm sure lots more recipes will follow...) Anyway, this is what I came up with...

Spaghetti and Meatballs
(Makes 12 meatballs)

For the Meatballs:
2 slices of white bread, crusts removed
1/4 cup skim milk
3 Tbsp. dried minced onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp dried oregano (or 1/2 Tbsp fresh)
1/2 tsp dried basil (or 1/2 Tbsp fresh)
1/2 tsp dried parsley (or 1/2 Tbsp fresh)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the Sauce:
1/2 lb ground beef
small white onion, chopped
14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
8 oz can tomato sauce
8 oz water
1 can condensed tomato soup
1/2 c. ketcup
Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl tear the pieces of bread into smaller bits and soak in the milk. Mash with a fork until it makes a mushy paste.
  3. In a bowl, mix all of the meatball ingredients together (including your milk-bread paste) using your hands.
  4. Make 12 golf-ball sized meatballs and place them on a foil covered baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.
  6. While the meatballs are baking, brown the rest of the ground beef with the onion in a large skillet (you'll want one large enough to hold all the meatballs...and a lid would be awesome as well).
  7. Add in the rest of the sauce ingredients and turn down the heat to let the sauce simmer (I had to use 8 oz of water because I used up my last can of tomato sauce, if you have an other can, use that...or a larger can to begin with that would be better but the water wasn't so bad since the meatballs brought in some extra flavor.)
  8. Once the meatballs are done, put them into the sauce and let it simmer, covered for as long as you want (...mine went for almost an hour but that's just because we eat ridiculously late =P)
We ate ours over penne again (when in the world am I going to get me some legit SPAGHETTI and meatballs?! I'll tell you when...TONIGHT when I eat the leftovers!!) and it was delicious. This was a lot simpler (read weekday friendly) than the previous attempt (all the dried ingredients eliminated the need to saute anything before adding it to the meatball mixture which was the main thing that simplified this endeavor) and I'd say the meatballs were just as good this time around and less fatty since there was no pork. The meatballs didn't dry out as I was afraid they would, but it probably helped that I used 80-20 beef this time instead of my usual 90-10 (I accidentally bought 80-20 last time...so sad...mostly because I buy meat in bulk so I got 7 lbs of it =P)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

I love enchiladas. About a year ago (I couldn't believe it was that long ago when I checked the blog!) I made an attempt at beef enchiladas that turned out pretty amazing, but this time I decided to try out a chicken recipe. I got the bones of this recipe from Annie's Eats, but I made a few changes based on what I had on hand to came up with the following recipe:

Chicken Enchiladas
Adapted from Annie's Eats

1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp sugar
15 oz can tomato sauce
15 oz can Rotel tomatoes with chilies
1 cup water
1 lb chicken breast
Salt and pepper, to taste
10 6" flour tortillas
8 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend
Cooking spray

  1. In a large, deep skillet (or large sauce pan) cook the onions in oil on medium-high until tender.
  2. Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar.
  3. Add tomato sauce, Rotel, and water and bring to a bubble.
  4. Reduce heat and put chicken breasts into the sauce covering as much of the chicken with the sauce as possible. Cover ad cook on low for 20-30 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked through).
  5. Remove chicken and shred using two fork. Place in a large bowl.
  6. Strain out large pieces of veggies and put into the bowl with the shredded chicken. Keep liquid in a separate container, but add 1/3 cup to the chicken mixture. Also add in 4 oz (about 1 cup) of the shredded cheese.
  7. Preheat your oven to 425 while you assemble the enchiladas.
  8. Grease a 13" x 9" pan with cooking spray.
  9. Take 1/3 of the chicken mixture and wrap it up in a tortilla placing it seam-side down in the dish. I was able to get 10 tortillas into my pan (two rows of five tortillas each) this way.
  10. Spray the top of the tortillas with cooking spray and bake for 8-10 minutes or until they start to lightly brown.
  11. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the heat to 400.
  12. Pour the enchilada sauce over top, then sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.
  13. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 400.
  14. Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes or until nice and bubbly.
  15. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes after removing from the oven so you: 1) don't burn your face off, and 2) can get the enchiladas out of the pan without too much of a disaster on your hands.
I've been slacking and forgetting to ask Hubby his ratings lately (it all started with an unfortunate beef brisket situation - during dinner I asked for his rating and he said, "I've had a rough day, you don't want me to rate things today, ask me tomorrow.") but he was so excited about this meal I was in the clear ;-) I served it with Spanish Rice mixed with some corn. You can totally serve two of these bad boys as a meal, but since we're ridiculous, we each had three.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Breakfast Casserole

Apparently I am into sausage lately. This is a recipe that one of my friends brought to our Thursday mom's group. Delicious and since I'm on the hunt for some Christmas morning recipes I thought I better give it a test run 0=) I think my oven runs a little hot so things were done a bit sooner than the timer, but it was still tasty!

Breakfast Casserole
(Adapted from Allrecipes.com by TT =) )

1 lb. sausage (I used Bob Evans)
1 Pillsbury crescent roll sheet
10 eggs
1/2 cup milk
8 oz shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack, but Mozzerella and Cheddar would work)
1 tsp dried oregano

  1. Preheat oven to 350, lightly grease or spray a baking dish with nonstick spray then line bottom of prepared baking dish with crescent roll dough, pre-bake for 6-7 mins
  2. Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain and crumble.
  3. Sprinkle crumbled sausage into bottom of crescent roll dough.
  4. In a large bowl, mix beaten eggs, mozzarella, cheddar, and milk. Season the mixture with oregano, and pour over the sausage and crescent rolls.
  5. Bake for 25 mins at 350, reduce heat and bake at 325 for 20 mins. Eggs should be set or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Time saving tips:
  • Prepare steps 1-3 and store in fridge once cooled.
  • Prepare step 4 and store in fridge overnight
  • In the morning, pour egg mixture onto dough & sausage and bake in preheated oven according to step 5.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Crock Pot Pizza

Pizza is Hubby's favorite food. Anything that has the mention of pizza will at least give a first attempt around here and after this recent discovery, we may have may more attempts in our future.

Crock Pot Pizza

1 1/2 lbs ground meat (beef, sausage, etc.)
6 oz. (uncooked) wide egg noodles
24 oz spaghetti sauce
8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 pkg pepperoni
24 oz shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, Italian blend...your choice)

  1. Boil noodles just shy of package instructions, drain and set aside.
  2. Brown meat in a large skillet and add Italian seasoning.
  3. Once meat is browned, add the spaghetti and tomato sauces to the skillet.
  4. In your crock pot start with a layer of sauce on the bottom, then add 1/2 the noodles, 1/2 the package of pepperoni, and 1/2 the cheeses. Repeat (cheese should be your top layer).
  5. Cook on Low for 3-4 hours.
Super simple and tasty. I used a mixture of cheeses, one 8 oz package of cheddar, one 8 oz package of mozzarella, and one 8 oz package of Italian blend cheeses. I used a combination of ground beef and Italian sausage in my first attempt, next time I think I will go with straight ground beef although I may add in some mushrooms which I mention to do this time, but totally forgot to pick up a package at the market. Delicious and will most definitely be happening again this winter!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sausage and Mushroom Lazy Lasagna

So on The Rachael Ray Show this week (well really I think it was a show from last week that I still had on my DVR) I found a new recipe that I wanted to try out: Lazy Florentine Lasagna. Now there was no way I was going to sneak that much spinach into Hubby's diet, so I made several alterations to this recipe and this is what I came up with:

Sausage and Mushroom Lazy Lasagna
Serves 8

1 lb lasagna noodles broken into pieces
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Italian sausages (about 3/4 lb)
2 tsp dried thyme
15 oz can of stewed tomatoes, undrained
4 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
8 oz Fontina cheese, shredded
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Nutmeg, to taste
8 oz Parmesan cheese shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and bring a large pot of water up to a boil.
  2. Break the lasagna noodles in smaller pieces and cook until al dente, reserving a little of the cooking liquid before draining.
  3. In a large skillet, brown the sausage with the onion, garlic, and mushrooms.
  4. Add in the dried thyme and can of stewed tomatoes, you can break up the tomatoes a bit with your spoon (or whatever) if you want smaller chunks.
  5. While that is cooking, melt the butter and then add the flour. Stir and cook for about a minute.
  6. Pour in the milk and whisk together with the butter/flour mixture until it comes up to a bubble and starts to thicken.
  7. Once thickened, continue whisking and add in the Fontina cheese until melted.
  8. In the pasta pot, mix the cooked, drained lasagna pieces together with the sausage mixture and pour into a large casserole dish.
  9. Cover with the melted cheese and then top with the Parmesan.
  10. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted, bubbly and you just can't stand it any longer!
Delicious. I had some plain tomato sauce on the side which I found to be a good addition although Hubby didn't feel like it was necessary. He did make the suggestion to add in prosciutto next time (this is what kept him from giving it the elusive 5 star rating, he was content with the amount of sausage, just wanted another meat product in the mix.) Hubby loves his pork products!

(But shhh, don't tell him it was CHICKEN Italian sausage!)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Breakfast Oat Cakes

I have been making these for the past few years, but can't find the blog where I got the original recipe from...all I know was it was from some The Scott Family at church and it is amazing =)

Breakfast Oat Cakes
6 oat cakes
Estimated Point Value: 4 pts

1 1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (or whatever you want, raisins, nuts, etc.)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and get a small baking sheet greased and ready to go.
  2. Mix together the first 6 ingredients (all the dry except for the chocolate chips) making sure to break up the lumps from the brown sugar.
  3. Add in all the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. (This will not look like your typical batter by any means...it's okay.)
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips (or whatever add-in you choose).
  5. Using a large spoon, mound up the batter and make six "drop biscuits" on your pan.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350.
  7. Remove from the oven and drizzle with honey while they are still hot.
These are amazing straight from the oven and pretty good the next day as well (they definitely hold together a little better the next day but the flavor is not quite as amazing). This is definitely not an oatmeal raisin cookie, so don't be expecting that...it's more granola bar-y maybe? I don't know, it's close enough for a cookie for breakfast without actually being a cookie for breakfast that I feel okay about myself after I eat them 0=)

(Not that I feel too bad just eating cookies for breakfast from time to time anyway =P)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Rainy days pretty much ensure that I will crave soup and will give me a thumbs up from Hubby which is much appreciated since he's not quite as big of a soup lover. A discussion with my college BFFs lead to the construction of this recipe...

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

2.5 lbs Russet potatoes, washed and cubed
2 stalks of celery
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/4 ts Cumin
1 tsp Thyme
4 Tbsp Butter
1 can evaporated milk
Salt and Pepper, to taste
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 or 3 green onions, sliced (for garnish)
6 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled (for garnish)
Sour cream (for garnish)
Shredded cheddar cheese (for garnish)

  1. In the food processor, mince the celery, onion, and garlic together.
  2. In a soup pot, saute together the celery, onion, and garlic in a little EVOO.
  3. Add in potatoes and spices then cover with water.
  4. Bring pot up to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and evaporated milk. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Top with crumbled bacon, sour cream, green onion, and/or more cheese =)
Now the rating on this is a bit deceiving. I was a huge fan; however, Hubby was not. I will admit this was about 10xs better the second (third, etc.) day than right after making it even though I was skeptical about that with the cheese and milk situation. I ate about 3 bowls a day until it was gone and will definitely make it again and freeze it for lunches for myself this winter. I would say that the bacon really helps this out a lot...and I would not be sad at all to add more bacon, or even to attempt making the bacon in a skillet and use some of the drippings in the place of the olive oil to give the actual soup a bit of a boost.

As with most things in life, bacon makes it better =)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells must be a thing recently as I've seen recipes on several websites as of late. After The Pioneer Woman posted her take, I had gotten the craving for Italian Night as well. I used bits and pieces from her Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce posting, but made several changes for the ingredients I had laying around and what I thought might be tasty (please note I hate ricotta cheese, it's a texture thing, so I always substitute cottage cheese when recipes call for ricotta...you can definitely change this back to ricotta if it doesn't give you the heebie-jeebies).

Stuffed Shells
Serves 8

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 oz can of stewed tomatoes
2 15 oz cans of tomato sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
Italian Seasoning, to taste
1 box of jumbo pasta shells
30-32 oz low fat cottage cheese
8 oz Italian Blend shredded cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a large skillet brown the sausage together with the onion and garlic (breaking up the sausage just like you would ground beef as you go).
  3. Use a food processor to chop up the stewed tomatoes (just a little...somewhere in between the size of crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes).
  4. Add the stewed tomatoes and two cans of tomato sauce to the skillet, and then the sugar, Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Let the sauce come up to a bubble and let it thicken, covered for around 30 minutes.
  6. Bring a large pot of water up to a boil and cook the jumbo shells according to the package.
  7. Drain the shells and rinse with cold water so they are easy to handle when the time comes.
  8. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together cottage cheese, 6 oz of the shredded cheese, parsley, basil, and egg.
  9. Spray a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish with some cooking spray and ladle in a layer of sauce on the bottom.
  10. Stuff your shells with the cheese mixture and place them open-side down on top of the sauce layer. I squeeze in as many of these babies as I possibly can. I never use the entire box of pasta, but since inevitably there are broken pieces and torn shells, it usually works out fine in the end.
  11. Once your casserole dish is lined up with the stuffed shells, ladle on some more sauce to coat (but don't drown the shells...I've made that mistake before in the past) and just save the rest of the sauce so people can put more on their individual servings.
  12. Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese (you can totally add more if you like, but one 8 oz package worked out great for me.)
  13. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Another grand success! I think I may have finally found a stuffed shells recipe that will be made again (I've made several over the years, but none good enough to keep around for a second attempt.) The only thing I would suggest is letting the sauce cook and thicken up a bit more as it was pretty runny this first round. I'm pretty stoked to the leftovers for dinner tonight and even more excited that I have found a bread option that both Hubby and I enjoy in the Pillsbury French Loaf. It bakes at the same temperature for the same amount of time so I'm calling this a fated combination.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Apple Cake

So a few years ago my mother in a moment of her usual awesomeness was cleaning out her pantry and I was sent home with several boxes of Tastefully Simple products (there was a misunderstanding on her end about what the products were and she had a ton of stuff pretty much by acciedent). One of the delicious finds I made in this stash was a boxed mix to make apple cake (think "Just add apples and water!") and it was pretty tasty. It's been a few years since I used up the last of these boxes (yes, there were several) and it's taken until now for me to make the leap into homemade apple cake. After seeing a recipe on Bakerella's website recently, I figured it was time to give it a shot. Most apple cakes have nuts in them (as was the case with this recipe) and both Hubby and myself feel that nuts ruin too many good pasteries and desserts so I made some alterations (plus, can you see me realistically feeding dates to Hubby...yeah, I didn't think so either!) and gave it a whirl...

Apple Cake

3 cups apples, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup cooking oil (I had to use a combo of veggie and canola oil)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
Dash of nutmeg

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp milk

  1. Mix together the oil and sugar using a stand mixer or hand mixer until combined
  2. Add in egg and vanilla.
  3. Add in about half the flour, the cinnamon, baking soda, and nutmeg until almost combined then add in the rest of the flour.
  4. Using a spoon add in the apples (the batter will be very thick, but try and get the apples and batter pretty evenly distributed).
  5. Grease a 9 x 9 inch pan and pour the batter into the pan using a spatula to make sure the batter spreads evenly.
  6. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes
  7. Allow to cool.
  8. Before serving, heat the topping ingredients together on the stove until bubbly.
  9. Using a skewer (or in my case the handle of my wooden spoon stirring the bubbly sugary goodness from Step 8), poke holes all over the cooled cake.
  10. Pour the topping over the cake and allow it to soak in before spooning out servings (along with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream...oh my!)
This passed the Hubby "You Can Serve This To Other People" Test which my friends, is quite a feat indeed =) I may or may not have also had a slice for breakfast the next day...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I love fall. I love soup. I love soup for dinner in the fall (okay, so anytime really, but fall is just a good excuse!) I've been making this soup over the summer (like I said, I'll go for soup anytime!) but figured I would post it now since it's on the menu for dinner tonight in my house! The base recipe I got from a friend who got it from a friend...that's the way the best recipes are derived in my humble opinion (and yes, I said "derived" on a recipe blog...because I'm a nerd.)

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Serves 6

1 lb chicken breasts (two or three), cooked and shredded (or 1 de-boned rotisserie chicken)
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup frozen corn
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chili powder
3 1/2 cups chicken broth (about one box)
1 can Rotel Tomatoes
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  1. In the bottom of the soup pot drizzle some EVOO and sauté the onions and garlic for a few minutes.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Stir occasionally and the soup will be ready to eat in about 45 minutes although as with any soup, the longer the better! I serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese...yummy yummy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bowtie Lasagna

Since I was a slacker and did not write down when I made this recipe, I'm just guessing on the date of this post. I got the recipe from Tasty Kitchen after The Pioneer Woman blogged about it back in July.

The only real difference was that I put it in a casserole dish and added extra cheese (go figure) melting the whole thing in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes or so. Delicious. Pretty much just another way to make a baked ziti, but since I love baked ziti, I think it's okay to add another recipe.

Broccoli & Rice Casserole

After hitting a wall of not being able to consume any more roasted broccoli (Hubby's favorite and pretty much only vegetable) I wanted to try something new with broccoli (we buy broccoli in bulk from CostCo...seriously, we eat A LOT of broccoli) as a side dish to some simple ham steaks. I perused a few of my favorite foodie websites and noticed a lot of broccoli casseroles that were pretty much the same. I decided to take some of the most interesting aspects of each and see what happened with a can of baked beans in the pantry as a back up plan ;-)

Rachael's Broccoli & Rice Casserole
Serves 6

1 lb fresh broccoli
1 cup cooked rice (I used an Uncle Ben's microwave Brown and Wild rice packet)
1 small can of sliced mushrooms, drained
1 small onion, diced
1 cup of milk
1 can cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom, whatever you have on hand)
4 oz shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
1 cup dried bread crumbs (or a mixture of bread crumbs and crumbled Ritz crackers)
2 Tbsp butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and bring a pot of water up to a boil.
  2. Once water is boiling, cook cut up broccoli for about 5 minutes, remove and drain.
  3. In a small skillet fry the bacon slices, onion and mushrooms together, remove and put on a paper towel to drain.
  4. In large bowl mix together milk, soup, and shredded cheese until combined.
  5. Add in the broccoli, rice, bacon, onion and mushrooms and stir to coat.
  6. Put the mixture into a casserole dish.
  7. In a small bowl mix the melted butter and bread crumbs together and pour onto casserole.
  8. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.
Not so bad...a bit crummy...will still take some more attempts to get the seasoning worked out, but it was a nice break from my standard roasted broccoli...a bit heartier to say the very least.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs for Megan

A month or so ago a dear friend subtly shared a blog post with me in the hopes that I would make these delicious balls of meat for her someday. Well someday has come and meatballs have been made! I made a few alterations to both the meatball and the sauce recipes mentioned in the blog post and this is what I came up with - I believe it was well received as it as leftovers were not hard to pass along ;-)

Spaghetti and Meatballs for Megan

3 slices of white bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup skim milk
white onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1 tsp dried basil (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cans of San Marzano tomatoes (both whole, or one whole and one crushed)
Handful of fresh basil, torn
Red pepper flakes, to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 40o and grease a large cookie sheet (you may need one large and one small...I ended up with around 30 meatballs when all was said and done).
  2. In a small bowl, tear the slice of white bread into small pieces and cover with the milk. Mix with a fork until paste-like and set aside.
  3. In a small skillet sauté 1/2 of the chopped onion and 3 of the garlic cloves together in some olive oil.
  4. In a large bowl, combine (using your hands people, not a spoon...just like yo momma's meatloaf!) your beef, pork, onion/garlic mixture, milky bread mixture, oregano, basil, parsley, Parmesan, cinnamon, and eggs.
  5. Roll the meatball mixture into your desired size balls and place on the cookie sheet(s).
  6. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
  7. While the meatballs are baking, you can prepare the sauce, in a large stock pot/dutch oven sauté the remaining onion and garlic in a good amount of olive oil (the more oil, the more flavor will be added into the sauce...go nuts).
  8. If using two cans of whole tomatoes, break out the food processor and pretty much puree one of the cans leaving the other whole. Add both to the stock pot breaking up any large chunks of tomatoes with a spoon to your favorite consistency.
  9. Simmer on the stove for around 15 or 20 minutes.
  10. Once the meatballs are cooked, add them directly to the stock pot to help flavor the sauce.
  11. Right before serving, stir in the torn basil leaves. I served with penne, even though yes, I called this "spaghetti" and meatballs.
I enjoyed the meatballs (KR: 8 Stars) more than the sauce (KR: 4 Stars) for this recipe and will probably continue working on the sauce. Or, boy oh boy, perhaps combine the meatballs with our favorite meat sauce recipe...oh man...can we really handle this potential awesomeness???

Friday, September 17, 2010

Taco Soup

Taco soup is delicious. Let's just put it out there. I got this recipe from a friend who made it for us after we came home from the hospital, baby in tow. I swiped the recipe from her before it could be thrown away and have been making it obsessively ever since. It can be made stove top, or crock pot...and is pretty customizable. Below is my favorite variety =)

Taco Soup
Serves 6
Estimated Point Value: 6 pts

1 lb ground beef
1 package Taco seasoning
1 small chopped onion
1 can condensed tomato soup (I use a Healthy Request version)
1 1/2 cups water (I usually just fill up the empty tomato soup can twice with water...gets out the extra tomato goodness too!)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn

  1. Brown together the beef, onion, and Taco seasoning (some days when I'm feeling "smoky" I add in extra cumin) in a dutch oven, stock pot, or soup pot (depending on your level of pan-fanciness...me, I have a "soup pot"...someday I shall own a dutch oven...a pretty one...)
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir.
  3. Simmer on stove top until you just can't stand it any longer.
  4. Serve with chips, sour cream, shredded cheese...go nuts! (All "toppings" are additional points...my estimated point value is for the base soup only).
I have made this with kidney beans also...they tend to hold up a little better if you want to throw this soup in the crock pot. Either way is delicious and I have a hard time cutting myself off at one bowl...but usually talk myself down by the third...I mean...what!?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Catch a Man Chicken

How can you not attempt a recipe with a name like "Catch a Man Chicken"?! Granted, I've already got my man, but all the same, I was sure this dish, completely with bacon, would be a winner. This was pulled from Tasty Kitchen from the Pioneer Woman's website and I really made minimal changes to help make this fit in with our diet plan.

Catch a Man Chicken
Serves 6
Estimated Point Value: 5 pts*

1 lb package of thinly sliced chicken breasts
12 Slices of Bacon
1 can Cream Of Chicken Soup
8 oz. Sour Cream
Steak Seasoning
Salt and Pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Spray a large casserole dish with olive oil cooking spray.
  3. Wrap each piece of chicken with two slices of bacon (there are typically 6 cuts of chicken in the "thinly sliced" Perdue packages, which are my go-to choice. Lay the bacon wrapped chicken in the greased pan, be careful not to over lap the chicken too much.
  4. Sprinkle with steak seasoning, salt, and pepper (the steak seasoning, in my opinion, was an awesome addition).
  5. In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream and can of soup and spread evenly over the bacon wrapped chicken.
  6. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 3 hours (your house will smell bacony and amazing).
Serve over rice or noodles (linguine noodles would be the preference of my man but you're free to choose whatever you would like to soak up the sauce).

Obviously you could use actual chicken breasts for this dish, but I would extend the cooking time a little bit and for 6 chicken breasts I would double the amount of sauce...if you're not watching your waistline or attempting to lose a ridiculous amount of baby weight, this would most definitely be a tasty option!

* The estimated point value of this dish is only for the chicken, any rice or pasta will be additional points.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sloppy Joes

In a moment of laziness, I decided to attempt Sloppy Joes without the use of a prepared seasoning packet (there was an incident of buying way too much meat over the weekend and ground beef shall be the meat of choice for a while until my freezer no longer looks like it's holding only beef and Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches -- not that that's necessarily a bad thing ;-) It was a grand success and I dare say the seasoning packet does not need to enter this house again!

Sloppy Joes
Serves 6
Estimated Point Value: 4 pts

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried mustard
3 tsp brown sugar
8 oz tomato sauce
1/4 c. ketchup
1/4 c. BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's -- our rib sauce of choice)
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 Tbsp vinegar
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  1. Brown beef and onion together in a large skillet.
  2. Add other ingredients and simmer for 15-20 minutes, starting with the lid on (if things get too sloppy, remove the lid and let the joes thicken up a bit).
  3. Serve on hamburger bun.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sweet Salsa Chicken - 3 pts.

Oh look, another chicken recipe from the WeightWatchers message boards =P This one was not quite as successful as some of the others. I am not a huge mustard fan and I really thought the mustard wouldn't over power the salsa, but that's pretty much all I could smell when it came out of the oven. I'm sure I could fix this with some additional work, but I may end up abandoning it...

Sweet Salsa Chicken
Serves 2
Estimated Point Value: 3 pts

2 chicken breast halves
8 oz salsa
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and minced garlic to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Place chicken small baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Sprinkle dried spices over the chicken breasts.
  4. Combine the salsa, brown sugar, vinegar and mustard then pour over chicken.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Chicken Italiano

This was my attempt to satisfy cravings for Italian food without going way over my daily point allotment on pasta. It was a recipe combined from a few ideas on the WeightWatchers message boards. The result was rather bland and kinda sad. I think it was the thick layer of spinach on the bottom that really scared Hubby away...this could definitely be improved, perhaps some diced tomatoes included in the spinach mixture...I'm not sure, but this still needs some work before it reaches it's full potential.

Chicken Italiano
Serves 2
Estimated Point Value - 7 pts

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
4 oz fat-free cream cheese
Olive Oil Cooking spray
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
2 chicken breast halves
2 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese
Dash of dried oregano
4 slices tomato
1/2 oz grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix spinach and cream cheese together and put into the bottom of a small baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Dredge chicken in bread crumbs and cook for a few minutes each side in a large skillet also sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Place chicken breast halves on top of the spinach mixture.
  5. Top with the mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with oregano.
  6. Put two slices of tomato on top of each chicken breast and top with Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes and serve.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chicken Fajitas

I love fajitas...just ask anyone that knows me, it's no secret. Deciding to attempt fajitas at home seemed quite reasonable with the new quest to lose weight and save a little coin by not eating out a bazillion times a week. I was pleasantly surprised by my homemade version and will definitely keep this in the rotation, diet or no diet =)

Chicken Fajitas
(Serves 8)
Estimated Point Value: 3 pts (without tortilla)

1 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 tsp dried minced onion
3/4 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 tsp black peppers
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c fresh citrus juice (I used a lemon, lime, orange combo)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut into strips
1 large bell pepper, cut into strips
1 large onion, thinly sliced

  1. Mix together all the dried spices, citrus juices, and olive oil together. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade in a small bowl for later and pour the rest into a Ziplock bag.
  2. Add chicken strips into the Ziplock bag marinade and refrigerate (I kept mine in the fridge for a few hours).
  3. Add the chicken to a large skillet and cook until browned (discard marinade) and remove from the pan.
  4. Saute the pepper and onion with the reserved marinate for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add chicken back into the pan and cook until heated through.
  6. Serve with tortillas (I was able to find some large ones for 2 pts a piece), or on top of a large salad.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lombardi Chicken

So, Hubby and I are on a quest to lose some baby-weight. Finding recipes that are filling, low-cal/low-fat/high-fiber, and are tasty is quite the challenge. We are having a little more success this go 'round (we are known for our pre-Thanksgiving diets) since I have been able to do some cooking rather than attempting to find food at restaurants that fits our criteria. Luckily some of the ones I found earlier this year have made the cut, and now the quest to add to that list continues.

While browsing the messages boards, I found a few recipes for this "Lombardi Chicken". I have no idea why it is called "Lombardi", but it sounded pretty tasty in it's concept so I made a few point-saving adjustments and came up with the following recipe which went over surprisingly well. A definitely keeper, diet or no diet!

Lombardi Chicken
(Serves 4)
Estimated Point Value - 5 pts

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
1 tablespoon light butter
1 cup sliced fresh Mushrooms
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1/3 cup Chicken broth
1 dash Salt
1 dash Ground Black Pepper
1/3 cup part skim milk mozzarella cheese -- shredded
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup green onion -- Thinly Sliced

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a 12-inch skillet, using the olive oil cooking spray, cook chicken about 4 minutes or until browned, turning once. Transfer to a 2-quart rectangular baking dish.
  3. In the same skillet, melt the butter. Add mushrooms; cook and stir until tender. Stir in Marsala, broth, salt & pepper. Boil gently, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until mixture is reduced to about ½ cup (including mushrooms). Pour mixture over chicken.
  4. In a small bowl, combine mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and green onion; sprinkle over the chicken. Bake about 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rancher Chicken

Ranch and bacon, what is there not to love about about those two ingredients? After browsing Tasty Kitchen I decided to take a few of the recipes I saw that had similar ranch/bacon/chicken combinations and take the best of each and create my own concoction. Here's the result:

Rancher Chicken
Serves 2
  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 8 oz Button Mushrooms (sliced)
  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 oz. Packet Ranch Powder Mix
  • ½ cups Dijon Mustard
  • ½ cups Honey
  • ½ teaspoons Paprika
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 6 slices Bacon (3 for each chicken breast)

  1. Mix together marinade of: lemon juice, 1 Tbsp of minced garlic, 1 Tbsp of olive oil, ranch packet, dijon mustard, honey, and paprika. Marinate chicken breasts for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Sauté mushrooms with butter and the remaining garlic and olive oil.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and while oven is preheating brown chicken in a skillet.
  4. Place browned chicken onto a cookie sheet and finish baking in the oven for 10-15 minutes. (I also cook my bacon at this time on a cooling rack placed on another cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes -- or you can cook the bacon first then brown up the chicken in a bit of the leftover bacon grease, to each her own!)
  5. Remove chicken and bacon from the oven. Top chicken breasts with a few slices of cooked bacon, sautéed mushrooms, and shredded cheddar cheese.
  6. Return the chicken breasts to the oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Creamy Taco Mac

Since we'll each pretty much any pasta and I have a love for Tex-Mex flavors, but have a hard time getting Hubby to eat actually Tex-Mex foods this recipe on Annie's Eats. seemed like it would be a winner. It was similar to a baked ziti I tried earlier in the year, but definitely boosted the cheese-factor. In the end it reminded up both of Hamburger Helper, but less nasty...if that makes any sense. Not sure if this will make the regular rotation or not, but it was definitely a tasty leftover for lunches the next few days.

Creamy Taco Mac
Adapted from annies-eats.com

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 8 oz. dry rotini pasta
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Cook pasta using the package instructions (reserve about a cup of the cooking liquid before draining the pasta).
  2. Brown beef and onion in a large skillet.
  3. Add in garlic, taco seasoning, and diced tomatoes -- simmer until heated through.
  4. Transfer sauce into the large pot used to cook the pasta (unless you're using a LARGE skillet...which I do not own).
  5. Add in cream cheese, sour cream, and drained pasta. Mix together until cream cheese is melted (add in reserved cooking liquid a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency). Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese on the table to sprinkle on top.