Sunday, January 23, 2011

(Fat-free!) Crème Brûlée

This is my 10 year old daughter's favorite dessert. I found the recipe in a cooking magazine over 10 years ago, though I don't remember which one. You'll never know it's fat-free!

Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring frequently until thickened:
           1/3 cup sugar
           3 Tbs. cornstarch
           1/4 tsp. salt
           2 cups fat-free half and half

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla:
           1/2 tsp. vanilla

           1 cup fresh raspberries, blackberries or sliced strawberries 
           3/4 cup brown sugar

Set oven control to broil. Spray 4 custard cups or small bowls with cooking spray. Divide berries between 4 dishes, then spoon hot crème over the top. Sprinkle 2 Tbs. brown sugar over the top of each crème. Broil 4-6 inches from heat in oven for 2-3 minutes, or just until sugar melts. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Baked Penne Rosa

This comfort dish is easy to make ahead and bake on a busy night...

          10 oz. penne or mostaccioli pasta
          26 oz. spaghetti sauce (Garden Vegetable variety)
          8 oz. ricotta cheese
          8 oz. mozzarella or parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a casserole dish and set aside. Cook pasta until al dente (still a little firm). Meanwhile, mix spaghetti sauce and ricotta cheese in a saucepan and warm slowly over medium heat. Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat. Pour into the prepared dish and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until heated through. Serves 8.

Zucchini & Potato Pie

I've been making this recipe for several years and it's such a fun, different meal! I love it served with a crisp salad, fruit or steamed veggies.

           1 egg, beaten
           3 cups shredded hash browns
           1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
           1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
           1/4 tsp. salt

           2 1/2 cups zucchini, thinly sliced (about 1/4")
           1 garlic clove, finely minced

           4 egg whites
           2 whole eggs
           3/4 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
           1/2 cup milk
           1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Preheat oven to 400°. Mix together 1 beaten egg, hash browns, onion, parmesan cheese and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Spray a pie plate with cooking spray and press hash brown mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Cover the edges with tin foil or use a crust shield to protect the edges from over-browning. Bake for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, spray a frying pan with cooking spray and cook sliced zucchini and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often. While zucchini is cooking, mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl. When hash brown crust is done, take from the oven and remove the crust shield or tin foil. Arrange hot zucchini in the bottom of the crust. Carefully pour egg & cheese mixture over the top and replace the crust shield or tin foil over the edge of the crust. Bake for 25 minutes, or until center is set. Let sit for 5 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve. Serves 6.

Oven-Roasted Pork with roasted red pepper sauce

My husband and I have been doing the 4 Hour Body diet for about a month now and this recipe was my experiment that my kids called "a keeper." It is so moist and the sauce is rich and flavorful. Enjoy!

         6 oz. tomato paste
         6 oz. roasted red peppers, chopped
         3/4 cup water + 1/2 tsp. beef bouillon granules (or 3/4 cup beef broth)
         1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed with a spoon or your fingers

         Boneless pork roast
         1/2 cup flour
         salt & pepper or Montreal Steak Seasoning
         1/2 tsp. dried basil

Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. In a small bowl mix tomato paste, chopped red peppers, beef broth and rosemary. Set aside.

Mix flour and salt & pepper (or Montreal Steak seasoning, which I love!) in a large plastic bag. Add pork roast and shake to cover. Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil in a large sauté pan and brown roast lightly on all sides. Place roast in prepared baking dish and cover with red pepper sauce. Roast at 375° for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 300° and bake for 45 minutes. Cook until internal temperature reads 155°. Slice and serve topped with sauce from the baking dish.  

Homemade Hot Oatmeal

My husband and I have been making our own hot oatmeal mix for a few years now. We make a big batch, store it in an airtight container, so it's easy to make a hot, comforting breakfast in about 2 minutes. We buy our ingredients at Sprouts, but you can find these items in bulk at many grocery and health food stores. You'll be surprised how inexpensive and delicious it is. Ingredients can be adjusted to your taste!

Dried fruit:
          Craisins (dried cranberries)
          Golden seedless raisins
          Dark (Thompson) raisins
          Sliced or slivered almonds or other nuts
          Rolled oats (Old-Fashioned, NOT instant)
          Dry milk powder (this makes it extra creamy!) We add about 1/2 cup per batch.
          Protein powder (vanilla or unflavored are delicious & add a little protein)
  1. Mix the dried fruit and nuts in a large bowl.
  2. Add the oats and dry milk and/or protein powder, if desired and mix well. Store in an airtight container.
  3. To make a single serving, add a half cup of oats mixture with a cup of water to a microwave-safe cereal bowl. Heat on high for about 2 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Can top with milk, fruit and brown sugar, if desired. 
***Stovetop directions: Bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil, add 1/2 cup oats mixture, stir, then turn heat down, cover and simmer until water is absorbed.

Mexican Bubble Pizza

Recipe from my sister-in-law Kari Campbell. This is super kid-friendly...

          1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
          1 pkg. taco seasoning (about 3 Tbs.)
          3/4 cup water
          1 can condensed tomato soup, undiluted
          1 can refrigerated corn biscuits (I sub. Pillsbury Grands Reduced-fat biscuits)

Optional toppings:
        2 cups shredded lettuce
        1 cup salsa
        1 can olives, sliced
        sour cream
        green onions, sliced
        fresh tomatoes, diced

Preheat oven to 375°. Cook ground beef and drain, if necessary. Add taco seasoning, water and soup. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 3 minutes.

Separate biscuits and cut into small pieces. Add to beef mixture. Spoon into a lightly greased 9 x 13" pan and bake for 18-23 minutes, or until beginning to brown.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Bake an additional 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and top is golden brown. Cut into squares and top with selected toppings. Serves about 10. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Berry Oat Bars

This is another recipe I've had for so long, I don't even know where I found the recipe. It makes me feel a little better because it uses rolled oats and berries... So it almost cancels out the scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream you add on top!

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup raspberry jam, warmed
2 cups berries (blueberries, blackberries or raspberries- fresh, frozen or a combination of both)

Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar and salt. Stir in the butter until well-blended.

Press 1 and 1/2 cups of the oat mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Carefully pour jam over the crust (don't worry if its not perfect) and sprinkle with berries. Top with remaining oat mixture.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cut into bars and serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Serves 9. 

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

This recipe is actually one that I found on "Real Mom Kitchen" which is one of my very favorite cooking blogs. I was craving chocolate chip cookies but wanted to try something different and these hit the spot. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, but I think that these would be great with any kind of chips (white, butterscotch, etc.) or with M&M's for a fun kids treat. Hope you enjoy!

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups +2 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips

*Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
*Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about one inch. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
* Whisk the softened butter and sugars in a large bowl until well combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well.
*Add flour, salt and soda and, using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips and turn batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.
*Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from the pan, 25-30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature.
*Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhand and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.

Tropical Breakfast

I LOVE this breakfast! My husband and I ate it several times this week. It's warm, creamy and delicious. It can be made with either oats or brown rice. Recipe from Keeping Up Cookbook.

          1 (8 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, with juice
          1 cup water
          1 cup old-fashioned oats*
          1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk, well-shaken* (I use lite coconut milk)
          2 Tbs. brown sugar
          1/4 tsp. salt

Optional toppings:
          banana slices
          shredded coconut
          toasted sliced almonds

Drain juice from pineapple into a saucepan. Set pineapple aside. Add water, oats, coconut milk, brown sugar and salt and stir well. Bring to a boil, then decrease heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until thick. Stir in pineapple and dish into 2 or 3 bowls. Top with bananas, coconut and/or almonds and drizzle with a little coconut milk, if desired.

*Brown rice variation:  Substitute 1 cup instant brown rice for oats. Add drained pineapple juice, water and rice to a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Simmer, uncovered, until water is absorbed, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in 1 (13.5 oz.) can coconut milk, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer and continue to cook, uncovered, until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Stir in pineapple. Dish into bowls and add toppings, if desired. (Rice will continue to absorb the liquid, so serve immediately for optimal creaminess).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pear Salad

2 cups sugar
2 tsp salt
1 small onion, cut up scallions or dried onion flakes
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp celery seed or poppy seed
-Blend above ingredients with 1 1/2 cup oil

Mixed greens- iceberg, romaine, red leaf
Roasted walnuts - 350 degrees for 30 min. with 3 T Butter
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
4-5 pears, cut and peeled (can do ahead of time if you pour a little 7-Up over to keep from turning brown)
crumbled gorgonzola cheese, or blue cheese
*Go light on salad dressing, don't drown the salad in oil.
Top with pomegranate seeds.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vegetable Cheese Soup

Vegetable Cheese Soup

1 onion chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
3 carrots sliced
2 large potatoes pealed and cubed
1 small head cauliflower
3 stalks broccoli tops

Almost cover with water and cook until vegetables are tender but not mushy.
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
6 tsp chicken bouillion granuals
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp dry mustard
2 lbs light Velveeta cheese

Warm through but do not boil.

Favorite Salad Dressing

This is a classic recipe from my "Gammy."  

1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/3 cup white vinegar
Combine above in  a blender. Slowly pour in:
1 cup Canola oil.
Continue to blend until thick and smooth.
1 tsp Celery seed and blend just to mix in.

This is my favorite dressing to use on a mixed green salad with any combination of fruits.
Some examples:

  • orange, grapefruit and avacado
  • strawberries, blackberries, pineapple, mandarin oranges
  • pears, pomegranate, avacado
  • apple, orange, pineapple (slivered almonds)

Wheat Bread

Wheat Bread

2 1/2 cups very warm water
1 1/2 Tbs dry yeast
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1 Tb salt
3 cups wheat flour
Combine and beat together for 3 minutes.
Add 1 cup white flour
2 Tbs dough enhancer (you can buy this at a Bosch store or in the food storage section of most local food stores.)
Beat together. Then add:
2-3 cups additional wheat flour
Add enough flour to make a medium soft dough.
Turn out onto a floured bread board and shape into two loaves.
Allow to raise until just past the top of the loaf pan.
Bake 350 degrees 25 minutes.
Brush tops with butter for a softer crust.

Apple Torte with Lemon Sauce

Apple Torte:

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp. soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 cups chopped apple (peeled)
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Cream butter and sugar. beat in egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat together. Stir in apples and nuts. Pour into a greased 9x9 pan and bake 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Serve warm with lemon sauce and whipped cream.

Lemon sauce:

     1 cup sugar
     2 Tbs. cornstarch
     2 cups water
     dash salt
     dash nutmeg
Combine in a saucepan and cook, stirring until think and bubbly. Remove from heat and add:
     3 Tbs. lemon juice
     3 Tbs. butter

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Crock Pot Ham & Lentil Soup

This is one of my husbands favorites soups. 

adapted from a recipe on

1 c. dried lentils 
2 c. diced cooked ham
1 c. chopped carrots
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano 
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
32 oz. chicken broth
1 c. water
8-10 tsp. tomato sauce (or paste) 

Directions: in crock pot combine lentils, garlic, celery, onions, ham and carrots. season with basil, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Add chicken broth, water, tomato sauce and bay leaf. Cook on low for 10 hours. Discard bay leaf before serving. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Easy Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 8 tenders)
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 (16 oz.) jars spaghetti sauce 
1/2 c. Italian style bread crumbs (or panko bread crumbs)
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese 

*this is another recipe which exact measurements are not necessary, I usually just eyeball it. 

Directions:  pour eggs and bread crumbs into 2 separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken into egg then into the bread crumbs. Place chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Place 1/2 of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Place chicken over sauce and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle cheeses on top and return to the oven for 20 minutes. Serve over your favorite pasta (or for a lower carb option serve with veggies or a salad) 

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