Monday, December 6, 2010

Spicy Chicken Sandwiches with Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise

Serves 8 ( 7 points)

½ c. fat-free mayo or Miracle Whip
¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 T. fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced


⅓ c. egg beaters
3 T. hot sauce such as Tabasco
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. salt
4 ( 8 oz) chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally to make 8 ( 4 oz) chicken cutlets
2 T. olive oil
4-½ oz. ( about 6 c. ) baked tortilla chips, crushed

Remaining ingredients:
8 ( 1 point buns) (My gorcery store had store brand Light Rolls that were 2 PointsPlus)
lettuce leaves
red onion slices
tomato slices

To prepare chicken, combine egg beaters, hot sauce, oregano and salt in a large ziplock bag. Add chicken cutlets, seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 8 hours.

Crush tortilla chips. Remove chicken from bag and press into tortilla chip crumbs. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. Add 1 T. oil. Cook 4 cutlets at one time until browned and cooked through. Repeat with remaining cutlets and oil.
Serve on buns with cilantro lime mayo and desired toppings.


-I didn't have limes, so I used lemon juice instead and it was fabulous.
-I cut up 1.5lbs of chicken, but only cooked up 2 3oz pieces for myself, the rest is marinating still.
-I put 2 Tbsp of hot sauce as I didn't have 2lbs of chicken breast
-Speaking of marinade I only left it in there for about an hour. I'm sure it will be even more fabulous the longer it sits.
-I sliced tomatoes on top as I didn't want to wait any longer to cut up some lettuce and onions.
-I used regular tortilla chips, not baked.
-I calculated my sandwich and it was 7points as well.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Pumpkin Spiced Latte

• 3/4 cup 2% (or any)milk
• 1 tbsp pumpkin butter
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
• 1 tsp sugar or sugar substitute (to taste)
• 1/8 cup of espresso (or 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee works)
• fat free whipped topping
• pumpkin pie spice for topping

In a small pan combine milk, pumpkin butter and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring, until boiling. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth (or whisk well with a wire whisk)

Pour into a mug, add the hot espresso (or coffee) and top with fat free whipped cream and a dash of pumpkin pie spice on top.

This too is adapted from Gina's Recipes.

-I used strong coffee as I cannot find instant espresso ANYWHERE in the Shenandoah Valley!
-OMG. So good. No more $5 for one at Starbucks!!

Pumpkin Butter Recipe
Source: Gina's Weight Watchers Recipes

• 3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, or 1 (29 ounce) can (not pumpkin pie filling)
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup apple cider or juice
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 2-3 cinnamon sticks
• 1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (to taste)

Combine pureed pumpkin, vanilla, apple juice, spices, cinnamon sticks and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to your taste.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ranch Chicken Alfredo

Ranch Chicken Alfredo

1 pound skinless, bonelesschicken breasts
1 pound angel hair pasta, cooked
1 cup ranch dressing
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup light cream
1 cup frozen peas or pea pods, cooked

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Grill on George Foreman (or other) grill while pasta is cooking.

Meanwhile, melt butter in saucepan; add cream and parmesan cheese, heating and stirring until the cheese is melted. Add dressing; heat through. Stir in desired amount of the cooked and drained pasta. (Do not rinse pasta, so the sauce will stick to it better.)

Cut the chicken in bite-size pieces and add to the spaghetti mixture; add cooked pea pods and or peas.

-I substituted broccoli for the peas (that's a WHOLE lotta starch!)
-Regular pasta instead of angel hair

This is SO good. Thanks to Lynnie for finding it, this is definitely now a staple in our house! It's VERY rich, and a one-bowl meal. The leftovers are just as amazing! I double the recipe so that I can have leftovers during the week!


Jumbo Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

Jumbo Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cold butter


1.) In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in pecans. Fill six greased or lined jumbo muffin cups ¾ full.

2.) In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pecans and flour, cutting in the flour until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

3.) Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Yields 6 muffins.


These muffins are FANTASTIC! I add golden raisins to the muffin batter, and they are just so good!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Homemade Garlic Knots

Soft Garlic Knots


For the dough:

3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. instant yeast
1¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup milk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. lukewarm water

For the glaze:

2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. melted butter
½ tsp. Italian seasoning


To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the dry ingredients. Add the olive oil, milk and water. Mix until ingredients have formed a dough. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10-inch long rope and tie into a knot. Take the end lying underneath the knot and bring it over the top, tucking it into the center. Take the end lying over the knot and tuck it underneath and into the center. Transfer shaped rolls to a baking stone, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes, until puffy.

To make the glaze, finely mince the garlic or press it through a garlic press. Mix with the melted butter and Italian seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Brush the glaze onto the shaped rolls. Bake until set and lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Recipe curtesy of Annie'e Eats
-I didn't get to take a picture of these, they were devoured SO fast!!

World's Best Lasagna

• 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
• 3/4 pound lean ground beef
• 1/2 cup minced onion
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
• 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
• 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 tablespoons white sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
• 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• 12 lasagna noodles
• 16 ounces ricotta cheese
• 1 egg
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
• 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Ok, without a doubt, the BEST lasagna EVER. I’ve had lasagna at many Italian restaurants and this is by far the best. Takes a little time, but WORTH it.

Adapted from

-I didn’t take out the meat needed out of the freezer ahead of time, so I was forced to stop at a grocery store I usually don’t frequent to pick it up. Food Lion doesn’t have a good selection of anything, and especially Italian meat. I ended up with Johnsonville 4 Cheese Sweet Sausage. I’m sure the cheese only added to the flavor of the dish.
-I used fresh grated Parm cheese, it’s so much better than the powdered, preservative laden container on the shelves. I mean really... why is some refrigerated and others isn’t?
-Sliced mozzarella is AMAZING. Grating mozzarella cheese is for the birds!
-I just used my soup pan, I don't have a Dutch Oven.
-I have leftover sauce, but I refrigerated it and will make pizza with it later this week.

I made homemade Garlic Knots and a large Garden Salad with Olive Garden dressing to go with the lasagna. (These recipes to follow.) Last minute we invited our in-laws over because, well why the heck not?


Monday, September 20, 2010

Mmm, Stuffed Crust Pizza!

Just wanted to post a picture of last night's Stuffed Crust Pizza:

Breakfast Mini-Quiche

These are really good! Recipe courtesy of The Incredible Egg:

Breakfast Biscuit Quiches


2/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped ham
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
2 Tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 pkg. (12 oz.; 10 biscuits) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

1. HEAT oven to 350°F. COMBINE cheese, ham and green onions in small bowl; mix well. BEAT eggs, milk, salt and pepper in medium bowl until blended.
2. SEPARATE biscuits; press or roll each into a 5-inch round on lightly floured surface. PLACE 1 biscuit in each of 10 greased muffin cups, leaving the 2 cups in center of pan empty. PRESS biscuits firmly against bottom and sides of cups and form rim at top.
3. SPOON 2 Tbsp. cheese mixture into each cup. POUR IN egg mixture, dividing evenly.
4. BAKE in center of 350°F oven until filling is set and biscuits are deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. REMOVE from pan; serve warm.

-Looking at this now, I forgot the milk! Oops!
-I used store brand biscuits, Jumbo Flaky, and there were only 8
-Place a baking sheet under the muffin pans, they cook over!
-I did not have block swiss or any shredded, so I sliced up deli swiss and it was good

Here are some more pics:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Taco Dip

Growing up we'd have this when we went to family parties on my mom's side. My cousin Michelle would bring this and it was always a huge hit. This is one of those dishes that is just out of this world good. I adapted a Gina's Weight Watcher's Recipe, but didn't exactly make it "skinny."

Amazing Taco Dip

8 oz 1/3 less fat Philadelphia cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
16 oz jar mild salsa
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sour cream, salsa and taco seasoning and mix well with an electric mixer. Spread on the bottom of a large shallow glass dish. Top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese.

-I used regular sour cream as DH did the shopping and doesn't like Reduced Fat anything...
-I don't like olives, but you can definitely sprinkle olives on as well.
-Serve with Tortilla chips.

Breakfast in a Cupcake Pan?

I found this in everyday FOOD, and it was GOOD. I woke up on Saturday and decided I wanted to make something different than the staple bacon, eggs and hashbrowns that I usually make. So, I remembered seeing this in Martha's magazine and decided to give it a try!

Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups

3 tablespoons (unsalted) butter, melted
8 slices white or whole-wheat sandwich bread
6 slices bacon
6 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste


1.) Preheat oven to 375. Lightly butter 6 standard muffin cups. (SEE MY NOTE) With a rolling pin, flatten bread slices slightly and, with a 4 1/4" cookie cutter, cut into 8 rounds. Cut each round in half, then press 2 halves into each muffin cup, overlapping slightly and making sure bread comes up to edge of cup. Use extra bread to patch any gaps. Brush bread with remaining butter.

2.) In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium, until almost crisp, 4 minutes, flipping once. (It will continue to cook in the oven.) Lay one bacon slice in each bread cup and crack an egg over each. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until egg whites are just set, 20-25 minutes. Run a small knife around cups to loosen toasts. Serve immediately.

-Next time I make this I will use my jumbo muffin pans. I admit I did forget the rolling pin part, but as soon as I cracked the egg into the cup, it ran over all over the counter. MESS.
-I used turkey bacon and they were fabulous
-Magazine suggests substituting sausage scrambles for the bacon or making vegetarian with sauted spinach.

South Jersey Cakes

This is a really simple recipe and is found on the back of a Bisquik box. I don't remember having these growing up, but my mom and sister assure me we did, they call them South Jersey Cakes. They're a sweet biscuit with strawberries with sugar on top. Amazing. Out of this world.

My sister Lyn makes them AMAZINGLY, mine didn't taste as good as hers. There's nothing better than Lyn's Shore Cakes and her coffee. Don't get me started on how I can't duplicate her amazing coffee... Maybe the taste is a figment of my imagination and I just like having someone else make breakfast and coffee??

South Jersey Cakes (AKA Strawberry Shortcakes)

1 quart (4 cups) strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/3 cups Original Bisquick® mix
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup whipping cream

1.Heat oven to 425°F. In large bowl, mix strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside.
2.In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, 3 tablespoons sugar and the butter until soft dough forms. On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by 6 spoonfuls.
3.Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.
4.Split warm shortcakes; fill and top with strawberries and whipped cream.

I don't use the whipped cream but put butter on the biscuit first. Mmmmmm, so evil and SO good!

Bon Appetite!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Chicken Ranch Pizza

I still don't know how I feel about this pizza. On one hand it was kind of bland. I'm thinking that's because I didn't use enough ranch dressing on the pizza... But my second and third piece I dipped into Ranch dressing and it was pretty good.

I've had SO many requests, so here's the recipe. I found this recipe from Annie's Eats, one of my new favorite blogs to watch. This is someone whom I aspire to be, her blog is amazing. As is her pizza dough. What I like about it is that the recipe makes enough dough for 2 medium pizzas or 4 calzones. Depending on how hungry we are, I either make the two pizzas or freeze the other dough that's not used.

Basic Pizza Dough

½ cup warm water
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ cup water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.

Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball. (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.) Cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape the dough with lightly floured hands. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil. Top as desired. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

I also stole her Chicken Ranch Pizza recipe:

Chicken Ranch Pizza

½ batch of perfect pizza crust
¼ cup Ranch dressing
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½-1 grilled chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 tomato, seeded and diced
2-3 green onions, chopped
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven and a pizza stone to 500° F. Allow the stone to heat for at least 30 minutes. In the mean time, cut a round of parchment paper the size of your pizza stone. (Alternatively, use a pizza peel.) Sprinkle lightly with cornmeal or semolina flour.

Gently roll out the pizza dough into a large circle, leaving a thicker ring around the edge for the crust. Spread the Ranch dressing in a thin layer evenly over the unbaked crust. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Top with grilled chicken, tomato and green onions. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar.

Once assembled, carefully transfer the parchment round and pizza to the preheated baking stone and return to the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Best. Pancakes. Ever.

We recently got back from our vacation to North Carolina, where we spent the weekend with my younger brother Wes, his girlfriend Meg, and her daughter Jayne. It was a BLAST. I love Meg and cannot wait til she's a part of our family! And not just because she loves to cook and it really really good at it.

We finally got there late Saturday night and Sunday morning breakfast she made the BEST pancakes I have ever had. I then came home and made them Monday morning because they are that amazing.

This recipe is courtesy or

Fluffy Pancakes

3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
cooking spray

1.Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".
2.Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
3.Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

I heated up already cooked Turkey Sausage links from the freezer and WOWZERS. What a perfect start to my first week of classes!

It's been TOO long!

Ok, so it's been almost a freakin MONTH since I last blogged! YIKES!

Ok, time to play catch up!

First off, I remade/doctor'ed up the Buffalo Chicken Lasagna.

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

I'm not posting a recipe for it because frankly I only made the following changes from the recipe that's posted previously.

-Penne pasta instead of lasagna noodles
-Cooked them before adding to the ziti-like mixture
-Ricotta cheese, real egg, and Parmesan cheese to the ricotta mixture
-added mozzarella cheese to the mixture and on top.

That's about it. It was MUCH better than the lasagna, but I still didn't like it and passed it on to my hubs.

Here's another pic:

One of the disadvantages of taking time off is forgetting what I've made over the past month. I did make these Double-Tree hotel copy-cat cookies, but they were an epic FAIL. Maybe it was something I did?? All I know is that the cookies at Double Tree are AMAZING and these were not! And I just realized that I threw out the pictures I took of them by accident. I'll post the recipe though.

I don't know if you guys have heard of the copy cat cookbook out there? It's copy cat recipes of famous restaurants' foods, such as the Double Tree's cookies, Red Lobster's biscuits (which are out of this world amazing!, etc. Let me know if you want a copy and I'll email it to you.

Double Tree Chocolate Chip Cookies
Double Tree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup oats (uncooked)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup Dark Brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets.

Place the butter in a large bowl and cream lightly with an
electric mixer. Add the sugars and beat on medium speed for
about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well
after each addition. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and mix

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, oatmeal,
baking soda, and salt. Add to the creamed butter mixture and
stir well to blend.

Add chocolate chips and walnuts and stir
to combine. Using a 1/4 cup measure or a 2−oz ice cream scoop,
drop the batter on the cookie sheets, leaving 2 −3 inches
between each cookie. Bake for 13 − 15 minutes or until lightly
browned around the edges. Remove from the cookie sheets and
cool on wire racks.

Here's what they're SUPPOSED to look like:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Love to cook!

So, today I realized that I really love to cook and that I've lost that over the last few years with school and now working at the VEC. Yeah, it's THAT depressing! So I am on a mission to love to cook again.

Including subscriptions to Everyday Food and Cooking Light magazines! Ordered them today!

So, here's tonight's endeavor:

Creole Chicken and Panzanella.

Creole Chicken

-2 Split Chicken Breasts
-Emeril's Creole Seasoning

Rub the dry-seasoning/rub on the chicken, and let marinate in the refrigerator. I let mine sit in there for maybe 45 minutes, but the longer the better.

Place in a greased (sprayed) glass dish (or any other 13" X 9".

Drizzle olive oil over the chicken, and bake at 375 until the juices run clear.

And now the star of the show....


Adapted from Everyday Food


•5 cups crusty bread, cut or torn into one each pieces
•2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into one each pieces
•1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
•3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
•2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
•coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
•1 cup basil leaves, torn
•2 cups fresh ricotta (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Spread bread on a baking sheet and toast until golden, about 20 minutes.

2. Combine tomatoes, onion, vinegar and oil in a large bowl. Season to taste with a little salt and pepper.

3. Add toasted bread and basil and toss to combine. Let sit for 20-30 minutes so bread can soak up the liquid.

4. Divide among plates and top with a generous spoonful of ricotta, a drizzle of olive oil, and a little more salt and pepper.


I didn't use the ricotta that was called for, but rather sliced up some fresh mozzarella. WARNING: don't add the bread until you're ABOUT to serve it. The bread got really soggy and it was gross. It ruined the salad. I had a bunch of bites while it was fresh, and it's amazing. Just don't let it sit 20-30 minutes like the recipe says.

Some Raisinets for dessert and an amazing husband who cleaned my kitchen SPOTLESS:

Finally, a salad that satisfies!

So, I'm not a big salad person for a few reasons. And by salad person I mean just a salad for a main meal. I LOVE salads with dinners, etc. just not by themselves.

So anyways, here was today's lunch and it was good.


-Romaine Lettuce
-Banana pepper (from my garden!!)
-Rotisserie Chicken

And the dressing...

Fabulous! Now off to start dinner: Baked Creole Chicken and Panzanella. Yum! Oh, and Double Tree Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert! WHAT??!?!!?!??

Monday, August 9, 2010

Drew's Birthday Dinner, Part II

This past weekend we were in NJ for my brother Ian's wedding to Kim. It was an AMAZING weekend filled with AMAZING food. Most times I was too "lit" to take pics, so I apologize, but the food was outstanding.

Drew's birthday was Sunday, and it ended up being overshadowed by the wedding, which was ok. We went out to Applebees last night when we got home to celebrate, and tonight I made him his favorite dinner, NACHOS. And Apple Pie for dessert.

First up, the nachos. I had taken ground turkey out of the freezer initially planning on making BBQ Meatloaf for dinner, but then saw a recipe for nachos and was JONSING big time.

So, I looked at a Weight Watchers recipe I found on a blog, but I adapted it, ok pretty much changed it entirely to make it my own.

Turkey Nachos


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1.3 lbs Ground Turkey (most packs of ground turkey are ~1.3lbs.)
1/2 onion chopped
1 garlic cloved, minced
4 Tablespoons taco seasoning
15 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
16oz. jar of salsa or taco sauce (original recipe called for "taco sauce" which is a smooth, runny sauce, but I used chunky southwest style salsa with chunk veggies)


1.) In a large pan on medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until tender, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add ground turkey and break up as it's cooked, until browned.
2.) Add taco seasoning and continue to brown.
3.) Add black beans to the mixture and then add the salsa/taco sauce.
4.) Simmer until thoroughly heated.

Here's what mine came out looking like:

Then, choose your toppings:
-Cheddar Cheese
-Sour Cream
-Fresh Salsa

We used Tostito's Scoops, cause it's really fun to build your own nachos!

And then time for dessert!!

This is a direct recipe from Better Homes and Garden's Cook Book.

Apple Pie

Prep: 30 mins
Bake: 1 hour
Oven: 375°
Makes: 8 Servings

2 Pillsbury (or whatever brand) roll out pie crusts or your own crust dough
6 cups thinly sliced, peeled cooking apples (I used 3 large apples, 2 granny smith, one gala)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
3/4 cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional- I’ve done the pie with and without, both awesome!)
Milk (optional)
Sugar (optional)


1.) Prepare and roll out Pastry for double crust pie. Line a 9” pie plate with half of the pastry.
2.) If desired, sprinkle apples with lemon juice. (this also keep them from browning)
3.) In a large bowl stir together the ¾ cup sugar, the flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add apple slices, and if desired, cranberries. Gently toss until coated.
4.) Transfer apple mixture to the pastry lined pie plate. Trim bottom pastry to edge of plate. Cut slits in the remaining pastry; place on top of filling and seal. Crimp edge as desired.
5.) If desired, brush top pastry with milk and sprinkle with additional sugar. To prevent over browning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in a 375° oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 20 minutes or until fruit is tender and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.

Every cook/baker has their trademark design for pies, mine is a scripted A. This time I added a small "30" for my love's birthday.


Well, the nachos were sooo amazing, and there's PLENTY of meat left for taco salads for lunches the next few days! Yum!

I need to get off here to cut the pie and servie it up ala mode to the "birtday boy!" Yes, I meant birtday...

I'll let you know how the pie was, but between the golden brown look of it and the divine smell, I'm sure you know!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Case of the Mondays

I HATE Mondays! Then again, who doesn't? This Monday wasn't THAT bad though, I gave my notice at work. I told my supervisor that I'm going back to school full time. Now I just have to wait and see if it's ok that I stay on part time.

I didn't post last night as I was too lazy to go thru the photo routine. My computer won't read my camera card, so I have to upload to dh's computer, then save to memory stick to get them to mine. Total PITA. Pain in the ass.

I had planned on going to Hip-Hop class last night, so prepared a Caprese Insulate, or Caprese Salad for a filling snack to hold me (and sister Lyn) over until dinner after class around 9. It was FABULOUS.

Caprese Salad

-Fresh Mozzarella
-Olive Oil
-Balsamic Vinegar

There are much more complex versions of this salad out there, believe me, I looked them up on all my recipe apps on my iPod Sunday night. Most were a little more involved and let's face it, I'm lazy. I even had fresh basil in the fridge but was too lazy to take it out, clean it, and add it to the salad. I simply sprinkled dried basil and it was still out of this world.


Dinner time!

I love my husband for many reasons, but last night I fell even more in love with him. He offered to make dinner. Now I'm trying to lose weight and am currently on WW, so WW friends, LOOK AWAY. This dinner will take your points just by looking at it.

Yes, gloriously processed Mac and Cheese and kielbasa and cheddar links. Bon Appetite.

I actually totaled up what I ate and it wasn't as bad as I originally thought. I ended up with a 13 point dinner, not too shabby! A cup of mac and cheese prepared is 9 points (probably less as I cut down the butter by 2/3), and 2 servings of kielbasa is 4 points. (Turkey kielbasa) About halfway through that bowl my body was like "oh, HELL no!" you're not eatting that. So I gave the rest to dh.

Needless to say I spent the rest of the night with an AWFUL stomach ache. Just drowned it with water and moved on!


Tonight's meal was another minimal effort on my part. Breakfast for dinner. YUM. Didn't photograph as I was WAY to hungry to take the time to, but consisted of:

-2 eggs over easy
-Hash browns (with Mrs.Dash)
-Decaf coffee

Kinda looked like this, just add hashbrowns:

Oh, and some decaf coffee, these are the shiznit:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Much Ado About Buffalo Lasagna

Ok, so the hot topic on the Weight Watchers boards is Buffalo Chicken Lasagna. I was intrigued... as was the hubs. We both love wings, and this was the wing version of lasagna. I had all the ingredients on hand too which was nice.

Here's the recipe:

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

12 Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles, uncooked
1 lb. skinless chicken breast, cooked and cubed
3 cups spaghetti sauce (cheese blends are best)
1 cup Texas Pete Buffalo-style Wing Sauce
1 ½ cups water
15 oz. nonfat ricotta cheese
½ cup egg substitute
½ cup blue cheese crumbles or pepper jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a small mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese and egg substitute and set aside. In a different mixing bowl, combine water, spaghetti sauce, wing sauce and chicken. Spread approximately one cup of the sauce and chicken mixture across the bottom of the pan, and arrange four of the noodle over the sauce. Spread a layer of sauce over the noodles, and then spread a layer of the ricotta mixture over the sace. Add another layer of noodles and repeat the process until you end with a layer of just the sauce and chicken mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes. Remove dish from the oven, sprinkle blue cheese crumbles evenly over the top. Place back in the oven uncovered and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Makes 9 servings!

Some notes:
-People were saying they used Frank's Red Hot Sauce, I'm sure that works too.
-Adjust to your liking heatwise.
-Some people cooked the noodles ahead of time, it's a LOT of water to add, 1 1/2 cups.
-I added some ranch dip seasoning to the ricotta, as per many reviews.


Ok, so I was NOT thrilled. It was hotter than ANYTHING!!! My mouth and lips were on FIRE. Seriously. I ate less than half the serving size and went and got this for dinner:

2 Tablespoons of port wine cheddar and 2 sevings of unsalted saltines. MUCH better.

I know I screwed up the sauce, so I'm thinking that's the problem. I was pouring the hot sauce into the spaghetti sauce when all of a sudden I realized I was using the WRONG hot sauce! I had 2 bottles of Texas Pete, Buffalo Wing Sauce (correct one) and Hot Sauce (which I was using!) Oops.

So, I added more tomato sauce and then added the Buffalo Sauce. This is where I killed it. TOO HOT.

Lyn and Drew LOVED it, with Lyn taking seconds and Drew thirds. The both like spicy things, so they were fine. So if you like hot things, you'd like it. My face was sweating it was that hot to me.

I may make it again, not completely sold yet, but will definitely tweak it some. Maybe make it a Rigatoni dish instead of lasagna? Or cook the pasta ahead of time? The noodles were rubbery and yet tough to cut.

So, to cool off my mouth, 3/4 cup of Turkey Hill Philadelphia Style Vanilla Ice Cream with Reese's Magic Shell did the trick:

Coffee Break Muffins

So, I woke up this morning with a strong motivation to bake. With no milk or buttermilk. Bare bones in the fridge, let me tell you.

So, I started flipping through some cookbooks, and decided on Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. I bought this at Marshalls or TJMaxx for $12.99, on recommendation from my mom. She's made quite a lot from this book and LOVES it, as do I.

So I settled on the only breakfast recipe I could find that didn't require milk or buttermilk.

Coffee Break Muffins


2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 T instant espresso powder
1 T baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 cup strong coffee, cooled
1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

1.) Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
2.) Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-sized muffin pan or fit the molds with paper/foil muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
3.) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, espresso powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, making sure there are no lumps.
4.) In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the coffee, melted butter, egg and vanilla together until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. (Don’t worry about being thorough-a few lumps are better than over mixing the batter. Divide evenly among muffin cups.
5.) Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from it’s mold.

Makes 12 muffins, 4 WW points each.


Ok, so now time to review them. Lyn LOVED them, I wasn't thrilled. They were good, just not stellar. The recipe says that they are better cooled, room temperature at a later time. So here's hoping??

Today I need to get things ready for Ian and Kim's wedding next week, eeek! SOOOO excited!!

Stay tuned for Buffalo Chicken Lasagna tonight!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Egg Salad Lunch

I saw this recipe in Better Homes and Garden magazine and decided to give it a try. I love egg salad and tomatoes, so why not?

Tomato Egg Salad

6 eggs
6 roma tomatoes
1/3 of a seedless cucumber, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 of a red onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Dijon-style mustard
1 bunch watercress, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper
1. In a medium saucepan, cover eggs with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 12 minutes. Drain, rinse, peel and chop cooked eggs.

2. Meanwhile halve tomatoes lengthwise and remove seeds. In a mixing bowl combine cucumber, onion, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Fold in chopped egg.

3. Divide watercress among 4 plates. Top each with 3 tomato halves; spoon on egg salad. Drizzle with any remaining dressing. Makes 4 servings.

My version...

6 eggs
6 roma tomatoes
3/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper

I didn't have cucumber, red onion, or dijon mustard, so I substituted green peppers, shallots, and spicy brown mustard. And it was still FABULOUS.

I figured my version was approximately 5 WW points. (3 for the eggs, and about 2 for the mayonnaise.)

Pizza Pizza Pizza!!

Who doesn't LOVE pizza?? Like I stated before, I grew up with HOMEMADE pizza. There's NOTHING like it! My mom makes the BEST pizza out there, but mine takes a close second. The dough recipe is SIMILAR to mine, but I'm thinking I should get my mom's approval before posting hers. The ingredients in this one are the same as hers, just different measurements.

Homemade Pizza


1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white sugar

1.) In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
2.) In a large bowl, combine 2 cups bread flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. (I don't let it sit that long... I'm from Jersey... who has that patience??)
3.) At this point, roll your pizza dough out however you plan to make it. I combine two pieces of foil, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle corn meal on it. My pizza's are never fuly round, but that's what makes them homemade and amazing!

Toppings, etc.

-Spaghetti Sauce (I swear by Traditional Ragu)
-Parm Cheese
-Mozzarella (THIS IS KEY!!! The better the cheese ($$) the better the pizza!) I usually go with Maggio Part Skim.
-Pepperoni, veggies, etc.

I then put my pizza onto my pizza stone in the preheated oven (425 degrees) for 13-15 minutes.

And what is pizza without Cucumber and Onion Salad??

Cucumber and Onion Salad

Cider Vinegar
Olive Oil
Salt & Pep

I use a mandolin slicer I got from TJMaxx for both the cucumbers and the onions, so they're SUPER thin and crispy!

The amount of oil and vinegar will be based on preference. I recommend taste testing til you get what you want!

Ready, Set, GO!

It's a rainy Saturday afternoon. Laundry. Check. Cleaned 2 out of the 4 bathrooms. Check. Kitchen clean. Check. Time to blog. Check!

I've decded that I want to start blogging about my cooking! I LOVE TO COOK!! Baking too... just any sort of creating food/meals.

I moved to Virginia a year ago to be with mi amor, and have not regretted it yet. I miss my family and a LOT about New Jersey and Philly, but I'm creating a life down here. We have a beautiful home, good jobs, and more recently I've been givn the opportunity to go back to school full time. I am blessed and truely happy.

I grew up with home cooking. Like REAL home cooking. Every night of the week we had homemade meals, including pizza! (see my next post!)

I will take pictures of everything I make and post recipes and reviews!

I am REALLY excited about this!