Blueberry Pancakes!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Who doesn't enjoy some blueberry pancakes to switch up your morning routine every now and again...and without paying a large cost AND saving 400 calories....again, I ask, who really doesn't want to try this delicious, fluffy, fruity little joys!? They are not hard to make and they are even easier to eat! Try your hand at these and your family will be thanking you! Keep on cookin' :)

2 cups frozen wild blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese or ricotta
3 eggs
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt

- Mix the blueberries, water and sugar in a sauce pan. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the blueberries begin to break apart. Whisk together the yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs and lemon juice in a bowl.
- Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl. Add the flour to the yogurt mixture and stir just until blended.
Heat a large skillet or saute pan over medium-low heat. Coat with nonstick cooking spray and add batter in large sponfuls (about1/4 cup each). Flip the pancakes when the tops begin to bubble, 3 to 5 minutes, and cook the second side until browned. Serve with the warm blueberries.

Makes 4 servings/Cost per serving: $2.23

310 Calories
8 g fat (3.5 Saturated)
500 mg Sodium

You save 400 calories and $ 5.76 from the IHOP blueberry pancakes! 
Recipe from "Cook This, Not that: Kitchen Survival Guide" by David Zinczenko & Matt Goulding

Breakfast Pizzas

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Love pizza? Why not incorporate that into your breakfast? This is a simple way to get your day started right in a form that is so easy to take on the go. I know we have some pizza lovers out there. Try it and let me know what you think! Or if you made any small changes that made it even better! Not sure how that is possible...but I'm sure you smarties out there will find a way :)

1/2 Tbsp butter
6 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
4 oz ham, cut into thin strips
4 whole-wheat or multi-grain English muffins, split and lightly toasted
1 cup prepared salsa
1 cup shredded low-fat Jack or Cheddar

- Preheat the broiler. Heat the butter in a large nonstick pan. When the butter is fully melted, season the eggs with salt and pepper, then add to the pan, along with the ham strips. Cook, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to keep stirring the eggs as they set. Remove the pan from the heat about 20 seconds before the eggs are fully done (they'll continue to cook in the pan and in the over).
- Slather each English muffin half with a good spoonful of salsa. Divide the eggs among English muffins, then top with the cheese. Place all the English muffins on a baking sheet and broil (6" from the heat is ideal) until the cheese is fully melted and browned around the edges.

Makes 8 pizzas, or 4 servings/Cost per serving: $1.96
350 calories
19 g fat (8g saturated)
900 mg sodium

You save 430 calories and $6.03 over Denny's Moons Over My Hammy!

Recipe from "Cook This, Not that: Easy & Awesome 350-Calorie Meals" by David Zinczenko & Matt Goulding

Breakfast Hash...for under 350 calories!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hash has carried the negative light for too long! David and Matt have flipped that negative to a positive to this healthy (but still amazing) version of breakfast hash. With switching some traditional ingredients with some new, healthier go from almost 700 calories to not even 300! Let's check out how they made this one work...

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4" cubes
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 links uncooked chicken sausage
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs, fried sunny-side up
Tabasco sauce

- Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
- Heat the oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cut open the sausage casing and squeeze the meat directly into the pan, discarding the casing. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until the meat is cooked through. Transfer to a plate.
- In the same pan, add the reserved sweet potatoes, the onion and red pepper. Cook until the potatoes and vegetables are browned, about 7 minutes. Return the sausage to the pan, season with the cayenne and salt and pepper. Stir to mix
- Divide the hash among four plates or bowls. Top each serving with a fried egg and Tabasco sauce.

Makes 4 servings/Cost per serving: $1.50 
230 calories
11 g fat(4.5 saturated)
290 mg sodium

You save 451 calories and $5.99 over Bob Evans Pot Roast Hash! 

Recipe from "Cook This, Not that: Easy & Awesome 350-Calorie Meals" by David Zinczenko & Matt Goulding

Breakfast Burritos

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Take an oversize tortilla and stuff it full of sausage and cheese, and you're in for a rude awakening. By swapping out worthless white tortillas for whole wheat, swapping fatty pork sausage for the lean chicken kind and adding fiber rich beans and fresh avocado, we've slashed the calories in half while increasing the overall nutrition (and deliciousness)

Ingredients: 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cooked chicken sausage links, diced
1 red onion, diced
6 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
chopped cilantro
4 whole-wheat tortillas (10")
1 cup black beans, rinsed, drained and heated
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
Pickled Jalapenos, optional

- Heat the oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add the sausage and onion; cook for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn the heat to low
- Pour the eggs into the skillet. Cook slowly, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon unti lthe eggs are firm but still mosit. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the cilantro
- Wrap the tortillas in damp paper towels and heat in the microwave for 45 seconds. (Or heat them individually in a dry pan until warm and lightly toasted.) Divide the eggs, beans, cheese and avocado among the tortillas. Roll into tight packages and top each burrito with salsa, more cilantro and jalapenos (if using).

Makes 4 servings/Cost per serving: $2.42

415 calories
17 g fat (5g saturated)
625 mg sodium

Save 384 calories and $3.57 from the Bob Evans Meat Lovers' BOBurrito
Recipe from "Cook This, Not that: Kitchen Survival Guide" by David Zinczenko & Matt Goulding

Sun Rise Sandwich

Monday, April 30, 2012

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So..this week will be ALL about....that's right, you guessed it! BREAKFAST!!
It has been said to stay healthy and prevent yourself from overeating later in the day, you should have a nice hearty breakfast. This recipe will help you get some dairy, grains and protein in...helping you survive the morning rush with less snacking and less calories than fast food chain. Enjoy!

1 tsp Canola or Olive Oil
1 Egg
Salt and pepper to taste
2 oz Smoked Turkey Breast
1 Slice American Cheddar or Pepper Jack cheese
1 Thick slice tomato
1 Whole-wheat English muffin, split and toasted
1 Tbsp Guacamole

- Heat the oil in a small nonstick skillet or saute pan over medium heat until hot. Add the egg and gently fy until the white is set but the yolk is still runny, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the turkey on a plate, top with the cheese and microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, until the turkey is hot and the cheese is melted.
- Place the tomato on the bottom half of the English muffin and season with salt and pepper. Top with the turkey and egg. Slather the guacamole on the top half of the muffin and crown the sandwich.

Makes 1 serving/Cost per serving: $2.34

380 Calories
13g Fat (3.5 Saturated)
980 mg sodium

You save 280 calories and $0.91 from the Dunkin' Donuts Sausage, Egg & Cheese on a Bagel

Recipe from "Cook This, Not that: Kitchen Survival Guide" by David Zinczenko & Matt Goulding

Tempting Tasty Treats - Raspberry Lemonade Freeze

Saturday, April 28, 2012

With summer here, we need to start finding those snacks and desserts to cool us off from this beautiful, but hot, sun shine! :) This is a dessert you can do ahead of time and just let chill in the freezer until you and your guest are ready for it after some fun in the sun!  Don't forget your sunblock! :) 

Raspberry Lemonade Freeze

Nut Crust -
1/2 cup firm butter or margarine
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Filling -
2 pints raspberry sorbet, slightly softened
1 pint vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1/2 cup frozen (thawed) pink lemonade concentrate
1 cup frozen (thawed) whipped topping
Few drops red food color, if desired
1 cup fresh raspberries
Additional frozen (thawed) whipped topping, if desired
Additional fresh raspberries, if desire

Nut Crust -
Line bottom and sides of square pan, 9X9X2 inches, with aluminum foil, leaving 1 inch of foil over handing at 2 opposite sides of the pan.  Cut butter into flour in medium bowl, using pastry blender or criss crossing 2 knives, until evenly mixed.  Stir in nuts.  Press evenly in pan.  Bake about 15 minutes or until light borwn.  Cool completely.

Filling -
Spoon sorbet over crust and spread evenly; place in freezer.  Mix ice cream, lemonade concentrate, 1 cup whipped topping and the food color in medium bowl.  Fold in 1 cup raspberries.  Spread over layer of sorbet.  Freeze about 4 hours or until firm.

Let stand at room temperature about 10 minutes before cutting.  Remove dessert from pan, using foil to lift.  dip knife into hot water before cutting serving pieces.  Garnish with additional whipped topping and raspberries.  Store covered in freezer. Makes about 12 servings.

Tempting Tasty Treats - Lime Meltaways

Friday, April 27, 2012

Melt in your mouth delish!  Light dessert, but leaves you feeling very satisfied with your choice.  I'm not a huge lime fan...and I enjoyed these quiet a bit.  So much I had to have someone take them away from me. I had suddenly turned into the lime cookie monster!  haha, so try to contain yourself...and if not, well...enjoy :) hehe!

Lime Meltaways

Lime Glaze -
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp grated lime peel
4 tsp lime juice

Cookie -
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbs grated lime peel
1/2 tsp vanilla
Lime Glaze

Lime Glaze -
Mix all ingredients until smooth.

Cookie -
Heat over to 350F.  Beat butter and powdered sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Stir in flour, cornstarch, lime peel and vanilla until well blended.

Place dough in cookie press with ribbon tip.  Form long ribbons of dough on ungreased cookie sheet.  Cut into 3 inch lengths.

Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.  Cool completely.

Brush Lime Glaze over cookies. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Tempting Tasty Treats - Almond Bonbons

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Want to sit on the couch eating bonbons?  Don't do it until you've made these bonbons and THEN sit on the couch eating your bonbons.  You'll be much happier doing so :) Enjoy ladies and gents! 

Almond Bonbons

Almond Glaze - 
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 to 5 tsp milk 
Food colors

Bonbon -
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tbs milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 pkg (7 to 8 oz) almond paste
Almond Glaze
Colored sugars

Almond Glaze -
Mix all ingredients except food colors until smooth and spreadable.  Divide amoug custard cups.  Tint each with food color.

Bonbons -
Heat oven to 375F.  Beat flour, butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon.

Cut almond pasta into 1/2 slices; cut each slice into fourths.  Shape 1 inch ball of dough around each piece of almond paste.  Gently roll to form ball.  Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set and bottom is golden brown.  Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.  Cool completely.

Dip tops of cookies into Almond Glaze.  Sprinkle with colored sugars.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Tempting Tasty Treats - Mandarin Orange Cake

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

All I have to say about this is - TRY IT.  You will be pleasantly surprised.  Enjoy. 

Mandarin Orange Cake

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 can (15 oz) mandarin orange segments, drained
whipped topping, if desired

Heat oven to 350F.  Grease bottom and side of round pan, 9X1 1/2 inch, with shortening; lightly flour.

Beat all ingredients except orange segments and whipped topping in medium bowl with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly.  Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.  Pour into pan.  Place orange segments evenly on batter, reserving 6 or 8 orange segments for decorating.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack.  Cool completely, about 1 hour.  Top with whipped topping.  Decorate with orange segments.  Makes about 6 to 8 servings.

Tempting Tasty Treats - Creamy Strawberry Dessert

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sometimes you need something sweet, but you don't want a dessert that is going to leave you feeling heavy.  Chocolate can do that to you a lot, but fruit is always a good choice. Especially if you can jazz it up like this!  Get yourself ready for a very delish, summery treat! 

Creamy Strawberry Dessert

Pastry Crust -
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Filling -
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups frozen (thawed) whipped topping or whipped cream
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen sweetened strawberries, thawed and undrained
2 cups miniature marshmallows
Fresh strawberries, if desired

Pastry Crust -
Beat all ingredients in medium bowl with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl constantly.  Beat on medium speed about 2 minutes or until creamy.  spread in ungreased rectangular pan 13X9X2 inches.  Bake at 400F 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden.  Cool completely.

Filling -
Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.  Fold in whipped topping, thawed strawberries and marshmallows.  Spread over crust.

Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours until set but no longer than 48 hours.  Garnish with fresh strawberries.  Store covered in refrigerator.  Makes about 16 servings

Scrumptious Sides - Day 5

Friday, April 20, 2012

Broccoli. Tomatoes. Chicken. :) I'm a happy girl then. I think this side dish goes best with a nice, juicy, grilled chicken with minimal seasonings.  The tangy broccoli tomato pallet should be the star on this plate!  Enjoy and let me know what you think! 

Tangy Broccoli - Tomato Toss

1 olb broccoli florets, 4 cups
2 tbs cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 tbs chopped fresh dill
1 cup cherry tomato halves
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled, optional 

Bring 4 cups salted water to a boil.  Add broccoli; cook until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes.  Drain; rinse under cold water until cool.  Drain again. 

In medium bowl; whisk vinegar with sugar, salt and pepper; gradually whisk in oil until smooth.  Add onion and dill; gently toss with tomatoes and broccoli until combined.  If desired, sprinkle with bacon. Makes ab out 6 servings

Scrumptious Sides - Day 4

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pasta!  Enough Said :) Enjoy and don't feel guilty if you "accidentally" eat more of this side than the main dish.  Live it up!

Rotini Primavera

3 medium tomatoes, divided
3/4 cup Italian vinaigrette
2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 tsp ground cumin
2 ears corn, grilled and kernels removed
8 oz rotini, cooked and rinsed
1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
1/4 cup diced red onions

Core, seed and dice 2 tomatoes; set aside.  In bowl, combine vinaigrette, cilantro and cumin.  In separate bowl, combine corn, hot pasta, peppers, onions and diced tomatoes.  Pour vinaigrette mixture over pasta mixture; toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper, if desire.  Slice remaining tomato; arrange on plate.  Sppon pasta salad over tomatoes.  Garish with chopped cilantro, if desired.  Makes about 10 servings.

Scrumptious Sides - Day 3

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I know, I are probably thinking I'm NUTS if you have seen the title of this next recipe.  Minty Grilled Asparagus? MINTY?? Is this lady on some kind of intense drugs?!? haha, no, I'm not...though when this recipe was given to me...I thought the same thing.  I looked at my friend like they were Mars or something!  But trust me, it's actually a very tasty side - especially with a nice juicy steak :) MmMmM...there I go again, making my mouth water....I need to stop that.... haha, enjoy! 

Minty Grilled Asparagus

2 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb asparagus, trimmed
1 red pepper, seeded and quartered
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbs chopped fresh mint
1 lemon, zested and juiced

Heat grill or broiler.  In bowl, whisk together olive oil and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

In 13 X 19 X 2 inch dish, toss asparagus and red peppers in oil mixture.  Grill or broil vegetables 6 minutes, turning once.  Arrange asparagus on platter.

Cut red pepper into 1/2 pieces.  In bowl, combine peppers, walnuts, mint and 1 tbs each lemon zest and lemon juice.  Spoon over asparagus.  Makes 4 servings.

**You can replace peppers with tomatoes if you don't care for peppers. Also, not sure about the mint?  Try it without first...if you like the recipes - next time try it with it in a smaller batch.  You'll be surprised how good it really is!

Scrumptious Sides - Day 2

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Not a big veggie person?  Need those other flavors to hide them?  This is something for you then!  Not everyone enjoys the plain raw veggies like me...and I get that.  I also need to spice things up sometimes...and with certain veggies, need to hide that they are even in there at all!  So try this spinach/artichoke recipe.  You'll be surprised how much you enjoy this veggie side dish :) Enjoy all! 

I Can't Believe It's Spinach

2 pkg. frozen, chopped spinach
2 tbsp. chopped onion
1 (6 oz) can marinated artichoke hearts
1 (3 oz) pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Cook and drain spinach.  Add onion, artichoke hearts (include liquid marinade), salt and pepper.  Toss lightly and place in casserole dish.

Combine cream cheese with sour cream and spread over the top.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese as a finishing touch.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350F.  Makes about 6 servings.

Scrumptious Sides - Day 1

Monday, April 16, 2012

If you have not noticed yet, I'm big into the side dishes and extras that are added into a meal. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the main dish and know its important to get your protein in for the day...but I can't help enjoying the pastas, veggies, rice, etc soOoOo much more, hehe :) 

Marinated Carrots

2 lb. carrots, peeled, sliced and cooked
1 cup tomato soup (small can)
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 small green pepper, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced and separated
1/2 cup oil 
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together and marinate at least 6 to 8 hours or overnight before serving cold.  You can also heat them in sauce pan over low heat, stir occasionally so they do not burn on the bottom.  Continue until heated though.  

*Can use canned carrots
**Serve cold over salad, if desired. 

Bake Off - German Chocolate Cookies

Saturday, April 14, 2012

This recipe is not only a great, tasty treat, but also healthier for you.  With all of the whole wheat and oats and the cholesterol free egg product - it screams HEALTHY! Well, at least that's what I tell myself when I eat I don't feel to guilty.  But it really is one of the better desserts for you.  If you don't like the egg product, actual eggs can be used.  Feel free to make little changes to fit your tastes!  Enjoy my friends...and don't give ALL these cookies away! Make sure you stash some away for you too! :) 

German Chocolate Cookies

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
1/4 cup frozen cholesterol free egg product, thawed
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup oat bran
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cloves
non stick cooking spray

In large bowl, combine sugar, oil, egg product and molasses; mix well.  Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off.  By hand, stir flour, oats, oat bran, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and cloves into sugar mixture until well blended.  Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour for easier handling.

Heat oven to 375F.  Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or lightly grease.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls; roll in sugar.  Placed 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.  Flatten slightly with bottom of glass dipped in sugar.

Bake at 375F for 7 to 10 minutes or until cookies are set and tops are cracked.  Cool 1 minute; remove from cookies sheets so they don't stick.  Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Bake Off - Raspberry Filled White Chocolate Bars

Friday, April 13, 2012

Quick. Simple. Delish. I'm pretty sure that those are the only words to describe this.  I'm going to leave you with that. Enjoy. Comments are always welcomed :) I love the feedback on if you enjoyed the recipe!

Raspberry Filled White Chocolate Bars

1/2 cup butter or margarine
12 oz pkg. (2 cups) vanilla milk chips or 2 (6 oz) white baking bars, chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp amaretto liqueur or almond extract
1/2 cup raspberry spreadable fruit or jam
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Heat over to 325F.  Grease and flour 9 inch square pan or 8 inch square baking dish.  Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat.  Remove from heat.  Add 1 cup of the vanilla milk chips.  Let stand; do not stir.

In large bowl, beat eggs until foamy.  Gradually add sugar, beating at high speed until lemon-colored. Stir in vanilla milk chip mixture.  Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off.  Add flour, salt and amaretto; mix at low speed until just combined.  Spread 1/2 (about 1 cup) of batter into greased and floured pan.  Bake at 325F for 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown.

Stir remaining 1 cup vanilla milk chips into remaining half of batter; set aside.  Melt spreadable fruit in small sauce pan over low heat.  Spread evenly over warm, partially baked crust.  Gently spoon tsp of remaining batter over fruit spread. (Some fruit spread may show through batter)  Sprinkle with almonds.
Bake at 325F an additional 25 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely.  Cut into bars.  Serves 16 to 24.

Bake Off - Pecan Cheesecake

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My mouth is watering just reading the title of this....cheesecake is my ultimate weakness.  Not much else to say other than enjoy!  Try to share the cheesecake with others, but I won't judge if you eat it all by yourself! ;)

Pecan Cheesecake

Crust - 
1 pkg. Pillsbury plus butter recipe cake mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

Fillings - 
3 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbs flour
1 to 1 1/2 tsp rum extract
3 eggs
4 (1.2 oz) toffee candy bars, coarsely crushed

Topping - 
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping

Heat oven to 325F.  In large bowl, combine cake mix and butter at low speed until crumbly.  Reserve 1 cup of crumb mixture for topping.  Press remaining mixture in bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of ungreased 10 or 9 inch spring form pan

In same large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour and rum extract; beat until smooth.  Add eggs; mix well.  Stir in crushed candy bars.  Pour into crust lined pan.

In small bowl, combine reserved crumb mixture, brown sugar and pecans; blend well.  Sprinkle evenly over filling.  Bake at 325F for 70 to 85 minutes or until center is seat and topping is golden brown.  Remove from over; drizzle caramel topping over top.  Bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes to set topping.  Cool 30 minutes.  Run knife around sides of pan to loosen.  Cool completely.  Remove sides of pan.  Refrigerate 4 to 5 hours or overnight.  Makes about 16 servings.

Bake Off - Pear Cake

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Who doesn't love a little sweet caramel with some sweet fruit?  Caramel is one of my personal favorites, that's why day 2 is yet another recipe involving it.  But I do think you'll enjoy this one.  It was hard to pick baked good that I thought would be good and easy for to share with you all, but I wanted to make sure you all got the best!  If there are any recipes you have been searching for, shout out to me, I'll look through what I have and let you know.  Also, I always except recipes and will give plenty of recognition to their authors.

Anyway, enjoy and let me know what you think of this cake :)

Pear Cake with Caramel Sauce

Cake - 
16 oz can pear halves in extra light syrup
1 pkg. Pillsbury plus white cake mix
1/2 cup oil
3 egg whites

Frosting - 
1 cup whipped cream
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs pear brandy or 1 tsp vanilla
16 oz. can pear halves in extra light syrup, drained
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts or walnuts, toasted

Sauce - 
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup whipped cream
1/2 cup butter or margarine

Heat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour 10 inch tube pan.  Drain 16 oz can pear halves, reserving 1/3 cup liquid.  Place pear halves in food processor bowl with metal blade or blender container; process until smooth. In large bowl, combine cake mix, pureed pears, reserved 1/2 cup pear liquid, oil and egg whites at low speed until moistened; beat 2 minutes at hight speed.  Pour into greased and floured pan.

Bake at 350F for 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool upright in pan 15 minutes; invert onto serving plate.  Cool completely.

In small bowl, beat 1 cup whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.  Fold in pear brandy.  Frost cooled cake with whipped cream.  Cut drained pear halves lengthwise into about 32 slices.  Arrange on top of cake, slightly overlapping slices.  Press nuts into sides of cake.  Refrigerate until serving time.

In medium saucepan, combine all sauce ingredients; bring to a boil.  Boil over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Cool to room temperature.  Drizzle 2 tbs sauce over pear slices.

To serve, spoon about 2 tbs sauce onto individual dessert plates.  Place slice of cake on sauce.  Store cake and sauce in refrigerator.  Make about 16 servings.

Bake Off - Caramel cups

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Anyone love baking?  Always looking for new recipes to try for the next holiday party, birthday, or family get together?  Well, Bake Off week is your week then!  I'm going to start with these delish brownie caramel cups.  Before we get started, I should put up a little disclaimer.  **THESE ARE ADDICTING. BE CAREFUL. YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO STOP EATING THEM! ** If you are a caramel and chocolate fan, you want to head on to the kitchen with your lap top and start baking now. MmMmM too good!  Let me know your thoughts on these, and any tips or thoughts you had on the recipe :)

Brownie Caramel Cups

cups - 
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts

topping - 
20 caramels, unwrapped
1 tbs water
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350F.  Line 16 muffin cups with foil or paper baking cups.   Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat.  Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar.  Add vanilla and egg; mix well.  Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off.  Add flour, baking powder and salt; blend well.  Stir in 1/2 cup chopped nuts.  Divide batter evenly into each lined muffin cup.  Bake at 350F for 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, in small saucepan over low heat, melt caramels with water; stir constantly until smooth.  Immediately after pans are removed from over, place chocolate chips evenly into middle of each cupcake.  Spoon scant tbs caramel over chocolate chips in each cup.  If necessary, stir additional water into melted caramels to maintain spoon able consistency.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup finely chopped nuts evenly over cupcakes.  Cool completely.  Store in tightly covered container.  Makes 16 cupcakes.

Simply Italiano - Day 5 of 5 :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Day 5 and we have reached the main course, finally!  When chicken piccata was first explained to me, I thought to myself "okay...I'm never going to make that for myself...that's what restaurants are for, right?"  WRONG!  This recipe is simple, easy and doesn't take long before you can be doing it with your eyes closed.  (Though, I don't recommend doing so...stove=hot, keep those eyes open)  Anyway, enjoy this one...maybe combine a few of the ones we have learned this week and have an Italian dinner party.  But I do have to warn you, if you do so...don't be surprised if you can't get those guests to leave, and if you do, expect them on your porch the next even for dinner again!  ...grab your aprons and hold on to your chef hats!  We're gunna get cookin' up something good :)

Chicken Piccata

3 tbs all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4-ounces each)
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbs chopped Italian parsley
1 tbs drained capers
Lemon slices and fresh parsley (optional)

Combine flour, salt and pepper in shallow pie plate.  Reserve 1 tbs flour mixture

Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap.  Using flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin, pound chicken to 1/2 inch thickness.  Coat chicken with flour mixture, shaking off excess

Heat oil and butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until butter is melted.  Cook chicken 4 to 5 minutes per side or until no longer pink in center.  Transfer to serving platter and cover loosely with foil

Add garlic to same skillet; cook and stir over medium heat 1 minute.  Add reserved flour mixture; cook and stir 1 minute.  Add broth and lemon juice; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens.  Stir in parsley and capers; spoon sauce over chicken.  Garnish with lemon slices and parsley.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe from " Incredibly Easy Italian" book

Simply Italiano - Day 4 of 5

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Everyday this, this is what I live for!  haha...okay, but seriously, I came across to a simliar recipe just before I got this book, made it and HATED it.  It's amazing how the littlest things can make or break a dish.  I was hesitant to making this dish when I came across it in this book.  But I gave it a shot and its now one of my favorites.  It's rich and creamy, but at the right level...not too much!  Now, the key to this dish is to choose your favorite red pasta sauce.  Some people love Ragu, others like Newman's, Barilla, the list can go on and on...but choose YOUR favorite.  You won't be happy with it if you don't.  Mine happens to be a large can of Hunt's garlic and herb sauce, add one small can of Contadina tomato paste and different seasonings like garlic powder, basil, italian seasoning, etc.  Whatever fits your taste.  Anyway, lets get to the pasta making!  So...grab your aprons and hold on to your chef hats!  We're gunna get cookin' up something good :)

Chicken & Linguine in Creamy Tomato Sauce

1 tbs olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 jar(1 pound 10 ounces) of your favorite red pasta sauce
2 cups water
8 ounces uncooked linguine pasta
1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream
1 tbs chopped fresh bail leaves or 1/2 tsp dried bail leaves, crushed

In 12 inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and brown chicken.  Remove chicken and set aside.

In same skillet, stir in pasta sauce and water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Stir in uncooked linguine and return to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until tender.

Stir in cream and basil.  Return chicken to skillet and cook 5 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe from " Incredibly Easy Italian" book

Simply Italiano - Day 3 of 5

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

That weight I lost with "Healthy Eat Week" is going to come right back with all this AMAZING Italian food I've been making.  But what is Italian food without some good sandwich and pizza recipes?  This next recipe is lighter sandwich without all the heavy sauces.  Just some tomatoes, olive oil, cheese and bread....okay, okay....maybe not exactly the lightest of foods, but a good lunch item or smaller dinner served with a soup or salad.  I hope you enjoy this one, 'cause I know it's already got me heading to the kitchen, thank goodness for laptops!  So...grab your aprons and hold on to your chef hats!  We're gunna get cookin' up something good :)

Rustic Tuscany Bread

1 pound frozen bread dough
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1 can (14.5-ounces) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic & oregano, drained
1/2 cup (2-ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (2-ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
Non stick cooking spray

Thaw bread dough; let rise according to package directions

Roll dough out to a 12X10 inch rectangle.  Brush dough lightly with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Layer well-drained tomatoes and cheeses over dough.  Fold dough in thired over filling.  With a sharp knife, make three diagonal cuts, about 2 inches apart, on top of dough through first layer.  Repect with second set of cuts in opposite direction.

Place dough on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 6 servings

Recipe from " Incredibly Easy Italian" book

Simply Italiano - Day 2 of 5

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Did anyone try the Italian appetizer recipe?  Like??  You should let me know how you feel about it and also let me know if there are any Italian recipes you are looking for and I'll check out what I have! 

Moving right along with our Simply Italiano week, next is our Soup/Salad section...I thought a nice salad would be nice.  I love pasta, as you will start to see the more I post, so this not only has the nice crisp greens we all enjoy, but pasta too :)  So...grab your aprons and hold on to your chef hats!  We're gunna get cookin' up something good :)

Rigatoni Salad

12 ounces uncooked rigatoni pasta, cook according to directions on package
1 package (10-ounces) frozen snow peas or sugar snap peas, thawed
1 to 3 cups chopped greens, such as arugula, frisee or any crisp lettuce
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
1 medium red of yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 red onion, cut into thin strips
1/3 cup sliced black olives
1/3 to 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Combine all ingredients expect cheese in large salad bowl.  Toss gently to mix and coat all ingredients.  Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

Note: Vary the amounts of each ingredient according to your taste.  Substitute steamed green beans (whole or cut) for the peas or add steamed, sliced carrots, zucchini or yellow squash

Serves about 8

Recipe from " Incredibly Easy Italian" book

Simply Italiano - Day 1 of 5

Monday, April 2, 2012

Who doesn't enjoy some good Italian food??  The beautiful sauces, pastas, and the amazing seasoning combinations.   Mmmm, I'm making myself hungry just typing about it!  Italian is one of my all time favorite food groups...and DEFIANTLY a comfort food for me.  So I just wanted to share some of my favorite recipes that I got out of an extremely easy to follow cook book, " Incredibly Easy Italian".  It makes even the hardest of Italian dishes fast and easy to make.  Today we are going to start with our appetizer; So...grab your aprons and hold on to your chef hats!  We're gunna get cookin' up something good :)

Tomato Pesto Tart

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
1/2 cup prepared pesto
1 cup (4-ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 can (14.5-ounces) whole tomatoes, sliced
Non stick cooking spray

Unfold puff pastry on a floured surface.  Cut off and reserve 1/2 to 3/4 inch strips from each side.  Place pastry square on a baking shee sprayed with cooking spray.  Dampen edges of pastry square lightly with water.  Lay reserved strips of pastry over edges of pastry square, forming a shell with raised edges.  Press stripes light to seal.

Spread pesto evenly across bottom of pastry shell; sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese, tomato slices and remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

Bake in preheated 400 F oven for 17 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve immediately.

Makes 9 servings

Recipe from " Incredibly Easy Italian" book

Healthy Eat Week, Day 5

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I've made it to day 5!  YAY YAY YAY!! Healthy week comes to an end and I'm thinking of leaving it with a bang!  Something I've had in the past from this WeightWatchers book, and would eat over and over again...NEVER thinking it was a diet food.  If you are a sandwich person, this the recipe for you.  If you aren' me, try it at least once anyway!  Good job everyone for eating so healthy this week with me.  Grab your aprons and hold on to your chef hats...cause we're gunna get cookin' up something good...and healthy!

Chicken, Cheddar and Apple Panini

4 slices reduced calorie whole grain bread
1 tbs whole grain mustard
1/4 pound sliced cooked skinless chicken breast
2 (3/4-ounce) slices fat free cheddar cheese
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices

Spray ridged grill pan with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat or heat panini maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

Spread bread with mustard and layer 2 slices evenly with chicken, cheese and apple.  Cover with remaining 2 slices and place sandwiches on grill pan or panini maker.  If using grill pan, weight sandwiches with heavy pan or skillet.  Cook until bread is toasted and cheese is melted, about 3 minutes per side on grill pan, about 4 minutes total in panini maker.  Cut each panini in half and serve at once.

Serves 4 - 3 PointsPlus by WeightWatchers per serving

Recipe from "WeightWatchers' PointPlus Just 5-125 recipes with 5 ingredients"

Healthy Eat Week, Day 4

Friday, March 30, 2012

I'm not even going to lie to you guys....I've had a bad food day today.  I tried to stay strong, but not alway easy.  So tonight, I'm making something light, to hopefully make me feel like I've made up for my bad self today!   I'm sure we all know that means....SALAD TIME!  But we aren't going to be making you're typical boring house salad.  When I found this salad, I thought I was still cheating.  So grab your aprons and hold on to your chef hats...cause we're gunna get cookin' up something good...and light!

Curried Chicken Salad

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup fat free italian dressing
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 (6-ounce) bag baby lettuce
1 cup red grapes, halved

Cut chicken into 3/4-inch pieces.  Spray medium nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper and cook, turning occasionally, until cooked though, about 8 minutes. 

Meanwhile, combine dressing and curry powder in large bowl.  Add lettuce, grapes and cooked chicken.

Serves 4 - 4 PointsPlus by WeightWatchers

FYI - Toasting the curry powder before adding it to the dressing will intensify its flavor.  Heat a small dry pan over medium heat just until hot; add the curry powder and stir just until fragrant, about 20 seconds.  Immediatley transfer the curry to a plate to cool. 

Also, if you have extra - stuffing this salad on a whole wheat tortillas adds for a great lunch the next day! 

Recipe from "WeightWatchers' PointPlus Just 5-125 recipes with 5 ingredients"

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