Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cheesy Vegetable Soup

Back when school started in September I made a lot of meals ahead of time. I spent Labor Day weekend trying out more recipes from Freezer Pleasers. Believe it or not, there are actually recipes in that book I still haven't tried yet! Here is an easy one.




Nutritional Information (Serving Size: 1 Cup)

Calories: 172    Fat: 4 grams      WW Points: 3.1   Points+: 4.4


Ingredients:
6 cups water
1 30 oz. package frozen shredded hash browns
1 24 oz. bag mixed vegetables
4 tsp chicken bouillon granules
1 lb 2% milk Velveeta cheese
2 cans 14.5 oz. low fat cream of chicken soup
1 cup skim milk 



Directions:
Add water to a large pot and bring to a boil.
Add hash browns, veggies, and bouillon granules, bring to a boil again.
Reduce heat and cover.
Simmer for 10 minutes until veggies are tender. 
Stir in cheese, soup, and milk.
Cook until cheese is melted and well mixed.
Add croutons & serve with black bean patties!

To Freeze: Wait until soup has cooled. Transfer to freezer container or tupperware and freeze for up to 3 months.


To Use Frozen: Thaw in fridge, then heat in pot. You may need to add additional milk. 





What do you think? Comments? Suggestions? I would love to know that you visited my blog. Please leave me a message letting me know you were here! Did you try out a recipe? Let me know! I would love to hear from you :-)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ravioli Lasagna

What a delicious recipe! Found this from Rachel Ray & it feeds a ton of people!

Ingredients:
2 tbsp parsley
2 tbsp basil
1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef broth
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp allspice
salt & pepper
1 cup red wine
6 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp bay leaves
1/2 cup carrot, grated
1/2 cup onion, diced
3/4 pound, ground turkey
3/4 pound, ground beef
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
16 oz. provolone cheese, shredded (I used slices)
3 large bags of frozen cheese raviolis


Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Cook raviolis according to package directions. Be sure to add salt & separate the raviolis after you drain them so that they don't stick together.
Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan cook turkey & beef with olive oil. 
Rachel Ray recommends that you brown the meat to extra crispy to give it extra flavor and I would support her advice.
Add onion, carrots, garlic, & bay leaves.
Cook for about 5 minutes. 
Season with salt, black pepper, and allspice.
Add Worcestershire sauce & beef broth.
Bring to a boil.
Add tomatoes & tomato sauce.
Cook for 15 minutes (give or take) until sauce thickens. 
Add parsley & basil then remove from heat shortly after.
In a baking dish add 1 cup of the meat sauce.
Then line with 1 layer of the raviolis.
Repeat two more times, then top with cheese and bread crumbs (optional).


What do you think? Comments? Suggestions? I would love to know that you visited my blog. Please leave me a message letting me know you were here! Did you try out a recipe? Let me know! I would love to hear from you :-)


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Seven Layer Tortilla Pie



Nutritional Information (based on 8 servings)

Calories: 313    Fat: 11 grams      WW Points: 5.8   Points+: 7.8



This is a low-fat dish I found online. This past summer we went with some of our friends to  Nissley Vineyards for their summer concert series. We showed up early to eat dinner before the concert started. So I packed this in a portable pie container along with a foldable table and some candles to enjoy under the starts. It was awesome!
Ingredients:
2 15 oz. cans of pinto beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup hot sauce
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp cilantro paste (obsessed with that stuff!)
1 16 oz. can of black beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
7 8 inch tortillas
2 cups low fat cheddar cheese, shredded
fat free sour cream





Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
In a large bowl mashed pinto beans.
Mix in 3/4 cup hot sauce & the garlic.
In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 of the hot sauce, cilantro, black beans, and tomato.
Place 1 tortilla in a greased pie plate. Spread 3/4 cup pinto bean mixture over tortilla. Leave some room around the edge.
top with 1/4 cup of cheese.
Cover with another tortilla.
Spread 2/3 cup black bean mixture over and top with 1/4 cup cheese.
Repeat layers two more times.
Top with remaining pinto beans and cheese.
Cover with foil.
Bake for about 40 minutes. 
Cut into pie wedges and serve with additional hot sauce and sour cream.





What do you think? Comments? Suggestions? I would love to know that you visited my blog. Please leave me a message letting me know you were here! Did you try out a recipe? Let me know! I would love to hear from you :-)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Friends of ours make an awesome Buffalo Chicken Pasta dish and an equally delicious Buffalo Chicken Dip. I stumbled upon this Buffalo Chicken Chili dish from Rachael Ray via another blogger. It's in her top 10 list. So I was excited to try another Buffalo Chicken-Themed dish. My husband loves Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches and I love to make chili so this was the perfect meeting of the two. It turned out great. It was very hot, so you might want to use less hot sauce. Makes about 4 to 6 servings. 


Nutritional Information (Based on 6 Servings w/ about 5 to 6 chips)

Calories: 275    Fat: 7.7   WW Points: 5.5     Points +: 6.5


Ingredients:
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbs butter
1.5 lb chicken breast, cooked & shredded
1 cup carrot, grated
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
5 tsp garlic, minced (or 5 cloves)
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp bay leaves
salt & pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup hot sauce (you might want to use less...)
15 oz. can of tomato sauce
15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup fat free mayo
20 to 30 tortilla chips
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1/4 cup blue cheese
ranch dressing


Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat olive oil and the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat,
Once the butter is melted add the carrot, onion, celery, garlic, paprika, and bay leaves. 
Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add in the chicken and cook until lightly brown. 
Add the chicken broth, hot sauce, tomato sauce, mayo, and crushed tomatoes, then bring to a boil.
Simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes until liquid has evaporated and chili has thickened. 
Meanwhile, place a lot of tortilla chips on several greased cookie sheets, top with blue cheese and cook in oven for 4 to 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
Top with chopped parsley.
Then place in each serving of chili when it is finished cooking. 
Serve with ranch dressing and additional tortilla chips. 






What do you think? Comments? Suggestions? I would love to know that you visited my blog. Please leave me a message letting me know you were here! Did you try out a recipe? Let me know! I would love to hear from you :-)


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Minestrone Soup

This makes two batches. If you don't want too much (12 to 14 servings) then cut servings in half. This is one of the (if not THE) best soup recipe I've ever made. So yummy, so flavorful, yet so healthy! I make a ton at once and freeze it for the weeks to come. Stolen from Freezer Pleasers, of course!

Nutritional Information (Serving Size: 1 Cup)

Calories: 235    Fat: Less than 1 gram      WW Points: 3.6   Points+: 5.5


Ingredients:
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 16 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
2 cups of tomato juice
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can beef broth
3 carrots, diced & halved (about 2 to 3 cups)
2 zucchini, diced & halved (about 2 cups)
1 tbsp italian seasoning
1.5 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup water
1 cup uncooked ziti


Directions:
In a large pot, cook the turkey, celery, onion, & garlic over medium heat.
Stir in tomatoes, beans, tomato juice, tomato sauce, broth, carrots, zucchini, Italian seasoning, salt, sugar, and pepper.
Raise heat. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover & simmer for 30 to 35 minutes (carrots should be tender).
If you want to freeze some or all, now is the time. Place in freezer container and freeze for up to 3 months.
If you want to eat now, add water & pasta and bring to boil.
Cover & cook until pasta is tender.
To use frozen soup thaw in fridge, then transfer to a large pot. Add water & pasta until soup boils. Cover & cook until tender.
Serve with Extra Dark hard sourdough pretzels. Yum!




What do you think? Comments? Suggestions? I would love to know that you visited my blog. Please leave me a message letting me know you were here! Did you try out a recipe? Let me know! I would love to hear from you :-)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Homemade Italian Bread Wedges With Dipping Oil



August's Cooking Club theme was herbs. I used AllRecipes.com ingredients search to find a starch side dish recipe. I came across these flatbread wedges. It was quite a challenge since I've never made bread before, but they turned out great. 


I love the bread they give you at Macaroni Grill & dipping it in the olive oil so I wanted to mix in spices/herbs with my olive oil to create the same idea. I don't have an herb garden and I'm not very good at keeping my herbs fresh, but Darrenkamp's has these great mini herb packets that are sometimes on sale for 99 cents that are perfect for me. I used them to create both the bread & olive oil recipe. 


DIPPING OIL RECIPE:
Mix a few sprigs/leaves of basil, thyme, rosemary, & oregano in an empty jar or olive oil container/dispenser. Pour in about 1 or 2 cups of virgin olive oil and let sit for 2 to 3 days.  


BREAD RECIPE:

Ingredients:
3 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp salt
3+ cups whole wheat flour (you can use regular flour or bread flour but this is all I have)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup grated fresh mozzarella cheese






Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 
Pour yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water and let it dissolve.
Add the sugar and let stand for a few minutes.
Add the salt, oil, remaining water, and at least 2 cups of flour.
Mix until smooth.
Stir in additional flour until dough is soft and not too sticky.
Place onto floured surface and kneed for about 8 minutes.
Place in a greased bowl and turn so all surfaces of the dough get greased.
Cover the bowl.
Let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes.
Take out and place on floured surface.
Pat dough flat.
Let rest for 5 minutes. 
Press into a greased 14 x 9 in pan or cookie sheet.
Cover with garlic powder, oregano, thyme, pepper, & cheese.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. 






What do you think? Comments? Suggestions? I would love to know that you visited my blog. Please leave me a message letting me know you were here! Did you try out a recipe? Let me know! I would love to hear from you :-)


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Confessions of a Workaholic

During the school year I tend to be MIA. I spend all my time after school grading papers and not so much time doing what I enjoy more; cooking & blogging. I have still be doing a ton of cooking, but haven't been able to document it as much as I've liked. Not too worry though, I'm not giving up. One of my New Year's Resolutions of 2011 was to blog 200 times. I only made it to 130+ but I'm still proud of that. This blog brought me much fun & joy since I started it. So stay tuned in the next few weeks for some back-logged recipes from this summer/fall. Enjoy!





Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sweet Potato Pizza (more pictures)

This summer I made Sweet Potato Pizza several times for dinner while I was down at the beach. It's an easy and yummy meal to make. Plus there are lots of ways to make it. I've posted about it before. But it's such a great meal that I wanted to share it with others again in case you never saw it. 


You can chop the sweet potatoes into chunks like I did below. Or you can chop into coin slices like I did farther below. Check out the pictures and then scope out the recipe here. Enjoy! 






Monday, August 29, 2011

No Bake Peanut Drop Cookies




I needed a lot of help getting ready for school this year. So I invited a lot of friends over to help me cut out some laminated things for my classroom. I bribed them with desserts. I needed something fast to make, but still tasty and unique. I found this great recipe after doing some searching on no-bake cookies. I love no-bake cookies but wanted to find another one besides the traditional no-bake oatmeal cookies. These turned out great - especially if you are a peanut butter lover. 



I have these awesome tool that is perfect for measuring peanut butter. You pull the tube out and set it to the amount you need. Fill with peanut butter then use it as a push tube to push out the peanut butter.





Ingredients:

2 packages of 16 oz. chocolate wafer melts
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups unsalted peanuts
2 cups mini marshmallows
3 cups of crispy rice cereal
2 bags of 7 oz. peanut m&m's


Directions:
Melt chocolate wafers in a double boiler, microwave, or if you have a chocolate melter like me. (I use it for cake pops)
Quickly transfer to a large bowl.
Mix in peanut butter until completely stirred together.
Mix in peanuts, cereal, and marshmallows.
Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
Top each one with a peanut M&M.
Place in fridge until they set. 




What do you think? Comments? Suggestions? I would love to know that you visited my blog. Please leave me a message letting me know you were here! Did you try out a recipe? Let me know! I would love to hear from you :-)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Spaghetti Squash & Cucumber Salad

We brought a meal to our friends who had a baby semi-recently and it was enough to bring them the Pastel√≥n (Sweet Plantain Puerto Rican Lasagna). But I had a leftover spaghetti squash from when I made Spaghetti Squash Primavera. I wanted to try something new with it. So instead of doing a hot dish, I tried out this salad. Once the squash is cooked & the veggies are chopped it's very easy to make. I added some laughing cow cheese to do something different with it. I was also proud that I actually made lemon zest from a lemon rather than just buying it from the spice aisle. This is a refreshing salad and incredibly low in fat & calories if you leave out the oil. 


Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash, cut in half & seeded
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup black olives, cut in half
2 cucumbers, peeled, sliced, & cut in half
1 red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice or juice from a lemon
3 wedges of laughing cow cheese, cut into chunks
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the halves of the squash in a baking dish (cut-side facing down).
Bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until it can be cut smoothly.
Scrape out spaghetti squash with fork and let it cool.
Toss the spaghetti squash with olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, cheese & garlic in a large bowl.
Meanwhile, mix the lemon juice & lemon zest in a small bowl.
Pour olive oil into lemon mixture.
Whisk vigorously and add salt & pepper.
Drizzle over the spaghetti squash mixture and toss well.
Refrigerate for about 1 to 2 hours before serving. 

What do you think? Comments? Suggestions? I would love to know that you visited my blog. Please leave me a message letting me know you were here! Did you try out a recipe? Let me know! I would love to hear from you :-)


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