Sunday, December 27, 2009

Peppermint Bark

I think this is one of the easiest holiday sweets to make. It also looks so cute wrapped up in a baggie with a pretty bow for little gifts. I made this candy last Christmas and it came back again this year by popular demand. Enjoy!

1 lb white chocolate (you can use more depending on the amount you wish to make)
6 candy canes, crushed

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Stir until chocolate is smooth and creamy. Pour melted chocolate onto a non-stick baking sheet (with sides). Smooth the chocolate so the candy will have an even thickness. Top with crushed candy canes. Place in fridge till chocolate is hard. When the chocolate is ready remove from fridge and break into pieces. Store in ziplock or Tupperware.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Peanut Butter Popcorn

I saw this recipe and knew I had to try it. I always like to try new combinations of flavors. While some are awesome and some are not so awesome it is always fun to experiment. I really liked this recipe! I reminded me or caramel corn, but had a smooth peanut butter taste. Enjoy!Ingredients
1/2 cup popcorn, unpopped (or 2 bags microwave popcorn)
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pop popcorn. Bring sugar and syrup to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add peanut butter. Stir until melted. Add vanilla. Pour over popped corn and mix.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oreo Truffles

I have wanted to make this recipe for awhile and decided to save the recipe for Christmas so I could share and wouldn't end up eating them all. I am not a huge chocolate person, but these are so yummy. In addition to being yummy, they are super easy to make and always a hit. Enjoy! Ingredients
1 lb Oreo cookies (3 sleeves)
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lb milk chocolate

Using a food processor, grind cookies to a fine powder. With a mixer, blend cookie powder, cream cheese and vanilla extract until thoroughly mixed (there should be no white traces of cream cheese). Roll into small balls and place on wax-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate for 45 minutes. Line two cookie sheets with wax paper. In double-boiler, melt milk chocolate. Dip balls and coat thoroughly. With slotted spoon, lift balls out of chocolate and let excess chocolate drip off. Place on wax-paper-lined cookie sheet. I sprinkled Andes peppermint crumbles on top of the truffles before the chocolate hardened. Let cool. Store in airtight container, in refrigerator.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cornish Game Hen and Wild Rice Pot Pie

Last night my Dad made the yummiest cornish game hens stuffed with wild rice for a family dinner. So good. However, there was one left over. Unfortunately, these don't reheat too well. What to do, what to do.... I came up with this chicken and rice meets pot pie idea. It was so so yummy. The hens were stuffed with Uncle Ben's Original Wild Rice and roasted in the over (make sure to baste the hens with a little butter and season with salt and pepper!) It will be hard to wait for the next time we make cornish game hens for this dish! Enjoy

Meat from 1 roasted cornish game hen, chopped (about 1 1/2 cup)
1 cup seasoned wild rice (I used Uncle Ben's from the hen)
1 can green beans
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup corn
8 stalks of asparagus, chopped
1 can health request cream of chicken soup
3 Tbl milk
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 t rubbed sage
1/2 t ground thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg white
1 can crescent rolls (about 8)

Preheat over to 375. Lightly grease a medium skillet with PAM. Add meat, rice, onion, beans, corn, asparagus, salt, pepper, sage, garlic, and thyme to skillet. Heat on medium-low for about 10 minutes. Add soup, milk and water. Mix well. Add hen and rice mixture to a lightly greased 9x9 baking dish. Un-roll crescent rolls and stretch over mixture. Make sure the press the dough against the sides of the pan, and avoid making any holes in the dough. Brush dough with egg white and bake for 30 minutes.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Caramels Part 2

My second attempt at caramels with a new recipe. The previous caramels, while tasting great, were not as soft as I wanted. I did more searching and found this recipe. It had good reviews and I figured it was worth a shot. I liked these a lot more and the recipe was easier! Enjoy!
2 cups white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup evaporated milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 cup butter
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla

Grease a 12x15 inch pan. In a medium-size pot, combine sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, evaporated milk, whipping cream, and butter. Monitor the heat of the mixture with a candy thermometer while stirring. When the thermometer reaches 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) remove the pot from the heat. Stir in vanilla. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and let the mixture cool completely. When cooled cut the caramel and roll. Wrap them in wax paper for storage.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Holiday candy has begun! I have been wanting to make caramels for a really long time, but never tried. Since we are snowed in today I finally became motivated. I few weeks ago I ordered my candy thermometer in preparation and researched recipes. This recipe looked the best to me, and it got good reviews. The process was not difficult, but it certainly does take a careful eye! Look for more yummy candy recipes coming soon, Enjoy! Ingredients
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup condensed milk
2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter, cut into small cubes

Prepare a 9x9 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the cream and condensed milk in a small saucepan, and place the saucepan on a burner set to the lowest heat setting. You want the milk and cream to be warm, but do not allow it to boil. In a medium-large saucepan combine the corn syrup, water, and granulated sugar over medium-high heat. Stir the candy until the sugar dissolves, then use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan to prevent sugar crystals from forming and making the candy grainy. Insert a candy thermometer and reduce the heat to medium. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and cook until the thermometer reads 250 degrees. Add the softened butter chunks and the warm milk-cream mixture. The temperature should go down about 30 degrees. Continue to cook the caramel, stirring constantly so that the bottom does not scorch. Cook it until the thermometer reads 244, and the caramel is a beautiful dark golden brown. Remove the caramel from the heat and immediately pour it into the prepared pan. Do not scrape candy from the bottom of the saucepan. Allow the candy to sit overnight to set up and develop a smooth, silky texture. When you are ready to cut the caramel, place a piece of waxed paper on the counter and lift the caramel from the pan using the foil as handles. Flip the top of the caramel onto the waxed paper and peel the foil layer from the bottom of the caramel. Spray a large knife with nonstick cooking spray. Firmly cut into the caramels, creating 1” squares. Wipe the blade and re-spray as necessary. Wrap the squares in waxed paper. The caramels will gradually spread and lose their square shape if not wrapped soon after cutting. Alternately, you can dip them in chocolate once they are cut. Store the caramels at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Sticky Lemon Chicken in the Crockpot

I was recent a featured member on the site and have been wanting to try recipe from one of my fellow members. This recipe for Sticky Lemon Chicken looked so yummy. However, I was feeling lazy yesterday and in the mood for something out of the crockpot. So, I modified this recipe and it turned out so yummy. My friend Dianna joined us for dinner and a bowling game on our new Wii! Enjoy!
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
2 tbs dark soy sauce
3 tbs honey
1 tsp sugar
1/2 lemon, finely sliced
Juice from other half of lemon
1 1/2 cup water

Grease crockpot with PAM. Place chicken breasts in crock pot. In a separate bowl mix all other ingredients besides the lemon slices. Pour mixture over chicken breasts and top with lemon slices. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 7-8 hours (this works better cooked on high). Serve with rice or potatoes and veggies of choice.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chicken Gumbo with Andouille Sausage

I love a good thick spicy gumbo. The restaurant I work at has the best gumbo ever. I wanted to recreate my own version to make and enjoy at home. In gumbo, roux is key and if burned or undercooked can result in not so good gumbo. Since my favorite gumbo from the restaurant is top secret, I searched around for something close I could follow. The finished product turned out really yummy and spicy. Enjoy!

A Classic Gumbo Recipe from Southern Living magazine

1 lb andouille sausage, halved and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

vegetable oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 medium onion
, chopped
1 green bell pepper
, chopped
3 celery stalks
, sliced
3 garlic cloves
, minced
4 cups hot water

4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoon creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 Tbl hot sauce

1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
bay leaves


Brown andouille sausage in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove sausage, reserving dripping in pan. Set sausage aside. Cut chicken breasts and thighs into 1-inch pieces, and brown in hot drippings over medium heat. Remove chicken, reserving drippings. Measure drippings, adding enough vegetable oil to measure 1/2 cup. Heat mixture in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot. Whisk in flour , and cook, whisking constantly, 10 to 12 minutes or until roux is caramel colored. Add chopped onion and next 3 ingredients; cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender. Gradually stir in water and broth; bring to a boil. Add chicken, Creole seasoning, and next 4 ingredients; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Add sausage and cook 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves; serve over rice.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Split Pea and Ham Soup

This soup was part 2 of "operation use leftover ham". It turned out delicious! This soup is one for my Dad's favorites so he will be in for a treat!

3 cups uncooked split peas
6 cups chicken stock or broth
3 cups ham, cut from the bone
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 1/2 cup potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Tbl salt
1 tsp pepper

Soak beans according to package (I did the quick soak). When beans are done, rinse in colander and place in large soup pot. Add ham bone, ham, and chicken broth. Allow to simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. Add salt, pepper, and vegetables. Adjust heat to medium low and cook for another 1 1/2-2 hours. Remove ham bone when it is clean and serve. Enjoy!

Ham and Bean Soup

On Wednesday I had a pre-Thanksgiving celebration with my friends before our volleyball game. We made a huge ham and need a place to put all the leftovers! What could be more perfect than a soup? I made ham and bean (my personal favorite) and split pea and ham (coming up next). Yummy! We have lots to share so I am sure our family and friends will be very happy.

9 cups uncooked navy beans (about 3 bags)
20 cups chicken stock (you can use canned or better than bouillon)
6 cups diced ham (cut from a bone-in ham)
1 cup onion, diced
3 cups carrots, sliced
1 1/2 cup celery, diced
1 Tbl salt
1/2 Tbl black pepper
1 ham bone

Soak beans according to package (I did the quick soak). When beans are done, rinse in colander and place in large soup pot. Add ham bone, ham, and chicken broth. Allow to simmer for about 2 hours. Add salt, pepper, and vegetables. Adjust heat to medium low and cook for another 1 1/2-2 hours. Remove ham bone when it is clean and serve. Enjoy!

Turkey Day Treats!

I love Thanksgiving! I have been busy cooking the last few days and have not had a chance to blog! I wanted to share a few of my favorite side dish recipes (my dad was in charge of the turkey this year).

Pork Apple and Sage Stuffing

1 bag sage and onion cubed bread crumbs

1 1/2 cans chicken broth

1 lb ground pork

6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

2/3 mackintosh apple, chopped

2 1/2 Tbl butter, room temperature

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper


Brown pork till it is no longer pink. Add onion, celery, apple, sage, salt, and pepper. Stir well and cook until onions are tender. In a separate bowl, evenly mix bread crumbs and chicken broth. Add pork mixture to bread crumbs. Stir well. Mix in butter. Place stuffing into a crockpot and set temperature to low. Allow to cook for about 1 hour to and hour and a half.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

3 lbs red skin potatoes (no peeling!)
1 stick butter, room temperature
2/3 cup milk
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbl salt

Place large pot of water on stove and bring to boil. Halve the potatoes (it cooks faster and mashes easier) and place in water. When potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, drain water and move to a mixing bowl. Add milk, butter, cream cheese, salt, and pepper. Mix with electronic mixer or by hand with a masher (my personal favorite). Enjoy!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Curry Maple Pecans

2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3 inch cubes
1/3 maple syrup, divided
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 1/2 Tbl brown sugar
3 Tbl butter
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat over to 325 degrees. Place pot of water on stove, bring to a boil, and add potatoes. While potatoes are cooking mix pecans, curry powder, 1/2 Tbl brown sugar, and 1/3 amount of maple syrup in a bowl. Set aside. When potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork remove from heat and drain water. Mix potatoes, salt, pepper, butter, remaining brown sugar and maple syrup till smooth. Place potatoes in a baking dish and frame outside edge with pecans. Bake for 20-25 min.

Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Walnuts and Parmesan

1 1/2 lb brussel sprouts, coarsely sliced

2 1/2 Tbl olive oil

1/4 chicken or vegetable broth

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan

In a medium skillet heat oil. Add brussel sprouts and stir to evenly coat them in oil. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add walnuts and stir well. Cook for an additional 3 minutes or until liquid is absorbed- stirring frequently. Remove from skillet to serving dish and top with cheese.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Crockpot Ranch Chicken

I have been on a crockpot kick lately! It has been a pretty busy week and already made dinners have been awesome. This was another new combination for me and I am not the biggest ranch dressing fan so I was hoping for the best. This was really good. The sauce doesn't taste like ranch at all, but it is thick and full of flavor. Next time I make this I will be taking out the extra salt because it was on a verge of a little too much for my taste buds. We will definitely be making this one again! Enjoy!


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup

1/3 cup light ranch dressing

1 fat free powder ranch packet

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 cup water

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp dried dill


Lightly grease crockpot with PAM. Place chicken in crockpot. In a separate bowl mix all other ingredients together. Pour over chicken. Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-6 hours. Serve over rice with a side of raw broccoli for dipping!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Crockpot Chicken

I am a huge fan of spinach and artichoke dip! This recipe came about when I was trying to put together an orange sweet potato crockpot dish, and I forgot to buy sweet potatoes! I had to leave for work and had minutes to improvise. Grabbing what I had on hand I came up with this dish. I was rather nervous because the dish was thrown together so quickly. However, I was not disappointed- it was yummy! Ron loved the dish too. I guess sometimes favorites are created on the fly!


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup

2/3 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed

2/3 cup canned artichoke hearts, rinsed and chopped

1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

1/2 cup pearl onions, halved

1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese

1 1/4 cup water

1 Tlb minced garlic

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Lightly grease crockpot with PAM. Place chicken breasts into crockpot. In a separate bowl, mix soup, spinach, artichokes, onions, cheese, sour cream, water, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture over chicken breasts. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 7-8 hours. Stir in mozzarella cheese right before you are ready to eat. Serve over pasta or rice.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lasagna Casserole

We have had a busy couple of weeks and I have been neglecting my kitchen! This casserole is really yummy and it is great to bring for weekday work meals. Today is the Packer/Cowboy game! Go Pack Go!!
1 lb ground beef (I use 95/5)
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
4 1/2 cups uncooked egg noodles
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cup fat free ricotta
1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 1/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 Tbl italian seasoning
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Cook noodles according to package directions- drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook beef, garlic, salt, pepper and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper and dried herbs; heat through on low heat. Stir noodles into mixture. In a small bowl, mix ricotta cheese and sour cream until blended and smooth. Spoon half of the noodle mixture into baking dish. Top with cheese mixture and remaining noodle mixture. Top with mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chicken Vegetable Soup

My parents were both sick this week so I thought a nice pot of chicken soup was just what the doctor ordered. They both said it was wonderful, and I snuck a small bowl before I brought it over. Very tasty. Enjoy!

1 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (you can use any type of chicken)
Bouillon (I use better than bouillon paste)
Water (enough to cover chicken- you may add more as you go)
1 cup green beans, kitchen sliced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 corn
3/4 cup portabella mushrooms, sliced
15 oz diced tomatoes
15 oz chickpeas
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp rubbed sage

Place chicken breasts in your soup pot. In a separate bowl, mix bouillon paste with water and pour over chicken. If you do not use the paste, add regular water and cubes to pot. Simmer chicken until it begins to fall apart. Remove chicken from broth and shred. Add shredded chicken to broth. Add all veggies and spices. Stir well. You may want to add a little extra water at this point. Cook med-low till veggies are tender. Enjoy on a chilly afternoon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Saucy Pork Chops

I saw this recipe at Vintage Victuals, and it looked so yummy! The picture was not deceiving because it was delicious. I adjusted the ingredients a bit and used the crockpot, but kept that wonderful onion on the top! I served this with mashed potatoes (at Ron's request) and steamed green beans. Ron raved about this recipe and I am sure we will be making it again. Enjoy!Ingredients
4 boneless pork chops, trimmed
1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1/2 can of water
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/4 ketchup
1/8 cup A-1 (I used bold and spicy)
1/2 tsp black pepper

Lightly grease crockpot with PAM. Place pork chops in the crockpot and season with black pepper. In a separate bowl, mix soup, water, ketchup, and A-1. Mix well. Place sliced onions on top of chops. Pour soup mixture evenly over the chops and onions. Cook on High 4-6 hours or Low for 7-8 hours. Serve each chop with a sliced onion on top.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rack of Lamb with Caramelized Shallot and Thyme Crust

Lamb is a meat I have had to work to warm up to over the years. I am not sure why because when I eat it I really like it, but I usually can only do a few bones. I think it might have roots when my family took a trip to England when I was 12. We stayed in a beautiful old place called Wortham Manor. It had old log books filled with everything from ghostly encounters to bottles of brandy. Well, next to the Manor there was a field full of sheep. A few of them had orange dye on their fleece (we were told it was to mark the orphan sheep so the woman could feed them looking back I am not sure it was the truth), and we named one "Little Rodman"... Well, those cute friendly sheep stuck in my head, and 13 years later I have learned to love lamb. I originally found this recipe at the Foodnetwork, but I couldn't find it to post. So, here is the same recipe- not sure why I had trouble finding it at my original source. It is delicious! I added a little extra mustard because I love mustard. Enjoy! Ingredients

Rack of lamb (7 or 8 ribs) at room temperature, Frenched
1/2 cup shallots, chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 Tbl balsamic vinegar (I used a 16 year- the sweetness is great!)
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tbl olive oil
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small skillet heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook shallots with salt and pepper to taste, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and boil until liquid is evaporated. Remove skillet from heat and stir in bread crumbs, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Season lamb with salt and pepper and arrange, ribs side down, in a small roasting pan. Spread meat side with mustard and pat on crumb mixture evenly. Roast lamb in middle of oven until a meat thermometer registers 135°F. for medium-rare, 25 to 30 minutes. Carefully transfer lamb to a cutting board and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Slice lamb into chops.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Crockpot Beef Stew

I had been planning to make beef stew for awhile and when the day finally came I forgot the carrots! The shame... It was still really good. I found "teeny tiny" potatoes from Trader Joe's *love it!* and used those instead of sliced baby reds. It was an excellent substitution. I like to make a big batch of stew, and freeze some of the leftovers for worry free dinners on busy nights. Enjoy! Ingredients
1 1/2 lbs stew meat
1 lb "teeny tiny" potatoes (baby reds work great too!)
1 1/2 cup baby carrots
1 cup kitchen sliced green beans
1/2 cup green peas
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
4 cups beef broth
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup water, divided
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1 bay leaf

Lightly grease crockpot with PAM. Add meat and veggies to pot. In a separate bowl, mix broth, 1/2 cup water, wine, garlic, bay leaf, and seasonings. Stir well and pour over meat and veggies. Cook 4-6 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low. Before you serve mix flour and water to form a fluid paste. Slowly add to the stew, stir well, and allow to thicken.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

I made this dish for Ron's sister Julie and her hubby Chad after they had little Drew. It looked so yummy Ron and I had to make it for ourselves. The picture does not do this casserole justice because it is so yummy! Enjoy!Ingredients
1 lb chicken breasts, browned and diced
1 can healthy request cream of chicken soup
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar or colby cheese
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup fat free half and half
3 oz 2% Velveeta, cut into small cubes
1 egg
1 1/4 cup water
4 cups cooked spaghetti
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbs granted Parmesan cheese
Butter, melted (enough to coat the bread crumbs)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Mix soup, water, pepper, garlic powder, all cheeses, egg in a bowl, mix well. Add pasta to the cheese mixture and mix well. Add cooked and diced chicken and half and half to pasta. Mix well. Lightly grease a 9X9 baking dish with PAM. Add noodle/chicken mixture and spread evenly in dish. In another bowl mix bread crumbs, melted butter, and Parmesan cheese. Spread bread crumb mixture evenly over pasta. Bake and 350 till sides bubble and top browns.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Breakfast Pie with Ham Potato Tomato and Cheese

Yay for two posts in one day! What to do with my leftover ham and potatoes? A breakfast pie sounded good to me! Ron and I each had a small slice with our soup and it was delicious. It will be a great start for the day tomorrow.


8 baby yellow potatoes, sliced thin
1 cup reduced fat cheese, divided
1/2 cup fat free half and half, divided
1 cup ham steak, diced
2 eggs, beaten
1 medium tomato, sliced and halved
1 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp black pepper, divided
1 Tbl fresh parsley, garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a pie pan with PAM. Layer 1/3 sliced potatoes to over bottom. Sprinkle with 1/3 amount of salt and pepper. Drizzle 1/3 amount of half and half evenly over potatoes. Evenly add 1/3 cup diced ham. Top 1/3 cup of cheese. Repeat for next two layers. Top with tomatoes and parsley. Cover with foil and bake for about 60 minutes till potatoes are tender.

Creamy Chicken Ham Potato and Corn Chowder

I really love corn chowder, but pretty unhealthy so I never make it. However, I really wanted a bowl of this yummy soup today. After rummaging my pantry, I added and subtracted a few things and made my old favorite much more calorie friendly. This one is a keeper- Enjoy!


1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup lean ham steak, diced
2 cups golden potatoes, diced
1 1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 large onion, diced
1/3 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 cup fat free half and half
1 can 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup
2 cups water
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Lightly coat a medium soup kettle with PAM. Add potatoes, onion, chicken, and ham to a kettle. Saute at med-low heat for about 15 minutes- stirring frequently. Turn heat to low. Add soup, corn, cheese, salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder. Stir well. Add half and half. Stir well. Add water. Stir well. Cook on low for about 2 hours. You can cook this at a higher temperature, but be sure to stir more often so the

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blue Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken

I started getting Rachael Ray's magazine about 2 years ago and always have enjoyed her recipes. I saw this recipe on her website and it has been a hit with my family ever since. I just use spinach instead of the spinach/arugula combo she used and I added a little olive oil to the cheese/spinach stuffing. Yum!

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large bag of baby spinach
1 cup blue cheese crumbles
12 pieces center cut bacon
1 1/2 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a small sharp knife cut into the thick end of the chicken and make an incision reaching 2/3 the way down the breast. Loosen up the incision with your fingers to make a hole. Season the chicken with pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the cheese, baby spinach and olive oil. Mix well and stuff into breasts. Spiral-wrap the breasts with the bacon tightly to cover the meat evenly. Bake chicken at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. If necessary, turn oven up to 425 degrees and bake an additional 10 minutes to crisp bacon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hearty Beef Chili

Colorful leaves, apple picking, football, Halloween, and.....CHILI! The great elements of a Wisconsin fall. I will not start making chili until the first frost and stop around the beginning of April. When i looked outside and saw the frost I immediately thought of my favorite bowl of chili. I am sure everyone has their own favorite seasonal elements, but I wanted to share mine.

2 lb lean beef (I used 95/5)
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium hot pepper, finely diced (whatever heat you choose- we had fresh jalapenos from Ron's aunt Patti and uncle Joe's garden)
2 30 oz cans tomato sauce
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
2 14.5 oz cans chili beans, medium heat
3 Tbl chili powder
1 1/2 Tbl salt (you may want to do this to your taste)
1 Tbl black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt (optional)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes


Brown and drain meat. Mix beef, onion, peppers, and all seasonings into your chili pot. Cook at low heat till veggies are semi-soft and mixed well. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and beans. Stir well. I will usually let it look for awhile and then taste to see if I need to add any additional spice to the pot. Serve over noodles (Ron does, I don't), and top with cheese, onion, and sour cream.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Italian Shredded Pork Tenderloin with Olives

I love pork tenderloin and anyone who knows me knows I love olives. Why not put the two together!? The pork is cooked for over 15 hours and falls apart at the touch of a fork. Served over a nice crusty piece of bread. Yum! You could also do sandwiches on your griddle with this meat. Or even add some cheese, good salami, capicola and you almost have a muffaleta sandwich- crockpot style!


2 Lbs pork tenderloin (I used one that was italian seasoned)
1 16 oz jar of olive salad packed in 100% olive oil (contains: olives, olive oil, cauliflower, carrots, capers, sweet peppers, black olives, and spices)
1 1/2 cup water
1 clove of garlic, minced (optional)

I love this brand (however, I do think Nicky's- where I work on the weekend- has the best olive salad ever):


Lightly grease crockpot with PAM. Place pork tenderloin in crockpot- no need to slice! Top evenly with olive salad, water, and garlic. Cook on low for 12-15 hours. Serve with a crusty piece of bread.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fun Foodie Survey!!!

Here’s what I want you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal,including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Italic any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Shredded Crockpot Turkey

My cousins were in town for the Packer v. Bear game (Go Pack Go) and I wanted to put something together for them after the game. The football game did not start until 7 pm, and that means the crockpot is in order! Shredded turkey sandwiches are my favorite thing to make. In addition to being really easy- they are really yummy. We serves our turkey over my mashed red skin potatoes and a piece of wheat bread (my Mom calls it a "Hot Shot"), but it is great as a sandwich too. This recipe is pretty big because we had to feed a lot of people, but the meat freezes well. Enjoy! Ingredients
3 1/2 lb boneless, skinless turkey breasts (or chicken!)
1 c mushrooms, finely chopped
1 c onion, finely chopped
1 c celery, finely chopped
1 can Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Healthy Request Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Healthy Request Cream of Celery Soup
14 oz low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 tsp black pepper

Lightly grease crockpot with PAM cooking spray. Place meat into crockpot. Add chopped vegetables. In a large bowl, mix the soups together with chicken broth, water, and pepper. Mix well. Top meat and vegetables with soup mixtures and with a large spoon make sure all ingredients are coated. Cook on low 7-9 hours or high for 5-6 hours (you will want to check it periodically to see if more water is needed). When the meat is falling apart (about 7 hours on low and 4-5 hours on high) shred meat in crock pot and stir. Allow meat to cook for remaining time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cheeseburger and Fries Casserole

I saw this recipe at Lauren's Kitchen and was very interested to try it out. I tweaked it a little bit and added a few extras I like on my burger. It got mixed reviews in my house, I liked it and Ron was not crazy about it, despite the fact that the cheeseburger is probably Ron's favorite. Anyways, I thought I would post it anyways since it is good to put new things on the table. Enjoy! Ingredients
1 lb lean ground beef (or turkey!)
5 oz (half can) Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup
5 oz (half can) Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 small onion, diced
20 oz Ore-Ida Golden Fries
1/8 c Ketchup
2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the ground beef and onion in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until beef is no longer pink and the onion is translucent. Drain off excess grease, and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Return to the heat and stir in the mushroom and cheese soups, ketchup, and mustard until well blended. Heat through and remove from stove. Transfer the mixture to a 9x9 baking dish. Cover the ground beef mixture with a layer of frozen fries. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. When the fries are golden brown, remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle cheese over the top. Return to oven and bake just until cheese is melted .

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Baked Ziti

This is one of my all time favorite comfort foods. Yum. I remember loving this dish as a child, and I still love it to this day. Ron was a little nervous about the no meat pasta, but i think that it grew on him too. Enjoy!

8oz uncooked Ziti
1 1/4 cup fat free ricotta cheese
1 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella
1 egg
16 oz marinara sauce (I used Ragu Traditional Style)
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375F. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and rinse. In separate bowl, stir together pasta, 1-1/2 cups sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, parsley, egg, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper. In medium baking dish, spoon pasta mixture; top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Cedar Plank Salmon

My mom bought cedar planks to try out up north (door county) with a nice big fillet of salmon. Yum. I had not used the planks on a charcoal grill before and was a little nervous because of the limited heat control. The Salmon was very tasty, however next time we need to shut the grill immediately so the planks don't get so crispy. Oops. Still a great meal. Ingredients

1 large Salmon Fillet, halved

Black pepper, to taste

Salt, to taste

Lemon juice, to taste

2 cedar planks

Follow soaking directions on plank packaging. They will usually instruct you to soak the planks at LEAST 2 hours and up to 12 hours.
When planks are ready, cut and season salmon. We used a charcoal grill which might have accounted for the difficulty. However, if you are using a gas grill set it to medium (350 degrees) heat. Place planks onto grill, and make sure to keep the away from the hottest part of the fire. After about 2 minutes, flip planks and place salmon on top.
Close grill and cook for about 30 minutes- depending on the thickness of the salmon.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Eggs Benedict

My cousin Erik and I found this recipe for Hollandaise while searching for components of this years Christmas dinner. I can't really take credit for the sauce because Erik prepared most of it (I separated an egg yolk, poached the eggs, and toasted the muffins). We agreed that this recipe was delicious! I am pretty picky about Hollandaise, and in the area I live a lot places will not add enough (if any at all) lemon to the sauce. However, this sauce did not disappoint us!


8 eggs

4 english muffins

8 slices canadian bacon or ham

1 cup clarified butter, butter should be warm not hot

3 egg yolks

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp cold water

Salt, to taste

Dash cayenne pepper

**In addition to what's listed above, you'll also need a saucepan with an inch or two of simmering water, a whisk and a bowl — either glass or stainless steel, but not aluminum.**


To begin, combine the egg yolks and the cold water in your bowl.

Whisk for a minute or two, until the mixture is light and foamy. Set the bowl directly atop the saucepan of simmering water, thus creating a sort of "double-boiler" effect. Note that the water itself should not come in contact with the bottom of the bowl. It's the steam, not the water, that should be doing the heating, so don't overfill the saucepan.

whisk yolks until slightly thickened. Be very careful not to get the yolks too hot or your egg will begin to break down. When the yolks have began to thicken remove the bowl from the heat. Add the melted butter slowly at first, a few drops at a time, while whisking constantly. If you add it too quickly, the emulsion will break. As the sauce thickens, you can gradually increase the rate at which you add the butter. Whisk in the remaining lemon juice and season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper. The finished hollandaise sauce will have a smooth, firm consistency. If it's too thick, you can adjust the consistency by whisking in a few drops of warm water. You can hold a hollandaise for about an hour or so, provided you keep it warm. One way to do this is to set the bowl atop the saucepan of warm water you used earlier. Letting it cool can cause it to break, although it can be rescued by whisking in some hot water. While finishing your sauce, add your eggs (I would do about 4 at a time) into a medium pot of simmering water. You can use a slotted spoon to remove them after about 3-4 minutes. The canadian bacon can be warmed in the over just before serving.

On a toasted english muffin, add the canadian bacon or ham and a poached egg and top with Hollandaise. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Skillet Jambalaya

Tonight Ron and I had spicy chicken sausage from the grill. Yum! However, we had a bunch of leftover sausage that needed to be used up. Since this will be a busy week with little time to cook we needed good lunch "leftovers". To solve our problem, we created a quick and easy jambalaya. I stole a few tastes while cooking and can't wait to have it for lunch tomorrow! Ingredients
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2 spicy chicken sausage links (we used Trader Joe's), cut into bite size pieces
1/2 lb shrimp, about 15 pieces
10 oz diced tomatoes with green chilies in juices
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cup water, you may need to add a little more as you go
10 oz canned okra, drained
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced (optional)
1 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1 Tbs Cajun seasoning, I actually added a little extra because we like spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper

Add everything, except the shrimp to the skillet, and stir well. Let it simmer on med-low heat till the chicken completely cooked. Add Shrimp about 10 minutes before serving.

Beef Stroganoff with Egg Noodles

It is starting to cool down in Wisconsin. Boo! I like this meal on days when the weather starts to cool down and the trees begin to lighten up before they turn colors. **sniff** I lightened the recipe up a bit, but it is still very yummy and filling.

1 lb lean ground beef
2/3 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup onion, diced
2/3 cup beef broth
1 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 cups uncooked egg noodles

In a large skillet, brown beef over medium high heat. When meat is browned, drain excess fat from skillet. Add mushrooms, onions, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Allow meat, veggies, and spiced to cook together for about 10 minutes. Add broth to skillet and stir well. Remove from heat (very important) and add sour cream. Stir all together and serve over hot cooked egg noodles

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Crockpot Chicken

This is one of my favorite things to make for a Sunday dinner. One, it is easy. Two, it is yummy and makes great leftovers. Three, it reminds me of Thanksgiving (in a lot less time!) I make several variations to this recipe depending on what vegetables i have in the house, but it is always a crowd pleaser. Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 box stuffing mix (I use Stove Top Savory Herb)
1 can 98% FF cream of mushroom soup
1 small can yellow corn
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp rubbed sage

Spray crockpot evenly with PAM. Add chicken breasts (they can be frozen or thawed). Pour chicken stock over chicken breasts and season with salt, pepper, and sage. Next, layer corn, mushrooms, and green beans. In a separate bowl, mix stuffing and mushroom soup together. Top chicken, corn, and beans with stuffing mixture. Set crockpot on high and cook 4-6 hours or low for 7-8 hours.

Green Curry with Chicken and Vegtables

I am a sucker for a good spicy curry. I have had this recipe on a note card in my stash forever and it has become a favorite in our house. I like to use a ton of veggies in my curry along with chicken breast, but it is also good with tofu or beef. In this batch I made half chicken and half tofu since my friend and dinner guest, Amanda, is a vegetarian. Enjoy! Ingredients
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into inch long pieces
1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots, drained
1 can mild diced green chilies
2 cups broccoli, chopped
1 can lite coconut milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garam marsala
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger

In a deep skillet add chicken and brown at medium heat till the chicken is almost done. Add all desired vegetables (besides chilies) and mix together in skillet. Cook for about 10 minutes. In a separate bowl combine: milk, chilies, and spices. Stir well and pour over chicken and vegetables. Mix well and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Stir frequently. Serve over rice.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Campfire Potatoes

One of my friends introduced me to this recipe and it is yummy. After a few of my own tweaks it is one of my favorite side dishes when I am at our cottage in Door County.Ingredients
2 1/2- 3 lbs. red potatoes

6 Tbs butter or 6 Tbs olive oil (i have done both and they will both give you tasty potatoes), divided

1 1/2 Tbs black pepper, divided

1 1/2 Tbs salt, divided

1 Tbs seasoning (I like to use Lawry's)

1 packet Lipton golden onion soup mix


Prepare and light grill. Wash potatoes and slice into thin bite size pieces.

Spread tin foil on the counter and overlap to make an t-shape. Spray tin foil with PAM. Layer 1/3 of potatoes onto foil. sprinkle 1/3 amounts of salt, pepper, soup mix, and seasoning over the potatoes. Top with 2 Tbs of butter or olive oil. Repeat this step for remaining 2/3 of ingredients. Wrap foil around ingredients and close tightly- you may want to use additional foil to make sure there are no holes.

Place packet on grill and cook for 45 minutes. Make sure to flip after the first 20-25 minutes.

We had the potatoes with grilled brats and coleslaw. Yummy.

Crockpot Pork and Potatoes

I do not remember where i found this recipe, but it has been sitting on the back "i need to try this" burner for awhile. I made this dish for a quick dinner before volleyball for Ron and I. I thought it was pretty tasty. The hash browns turn into almost a mashed potato after cooking in the crockpot for 8 hours. However, i think it needs a little something extra for texture. Next time i think i will throw in some corn and a bell pepper for a little crunch. I served the meal with wax beans which i sauteed in a little olive oil. Ingredients
4 boneless pork chops
22 oz Ore-Ida Southern Style Hash Browns
1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
10 3/4 oz water
1 packet onion soup mix (Lipton)
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Cook pork chops in skillet over low heat just until browned. Spray crockpot with cooking spray or use a crockpot liner. Place frozen hash browns in bottom of crockpot. Lay browned pork chops on top. Stir cream of chicken soup, onion soup, pepper, salt and water in bowl until mostly smooth. Pour on top of pork chops. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

I love chicken enchiladas. This is up there with my all time favorite dinners to make. It is hard to resist juicy shredded chicken topped with gooey melted cheese. Yummy.

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 can mild diced green chilies

1 /2 cup onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

8 whole wheat tortillas

2 cans enchilada sauce, 1 hot and 1 mild

1 1/2 cup Kraft reduced fat mexican blend cheese

1 chicken taco seasoning packet

1 1/2 cups water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper

1 1/2 Tbs dried cilantro

Place taco seasoning, water, salt , pepper, cayenne, cilantro, chilies, garlic, and onion into crockpot and stir well. Add chicken. Cook on high for 4-5 hours. Shred chicken and allow about 30-60 minutes for liquids to soak in. Place tortilla on a plate and add shredded chicken evenly through the center. Roll tightly, but be careful not to split the tortilla. Place tortilla in a large 9'X14' baking dish. Continue process until all 8 tortillas have been used. In a separate bowl, mix hot and mild enchilada sauce. Pour sauce evenly over tortillas and top with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.