Friday, December 31, 2010

Cheese Ravioli Lasagna



Easy and very tastey. This was a win all the way around!

What's Needed:

2 24 oz. jars pasta sauce with tomato and basil
12 oz. bulk Italian sausage
2 C. chopped tomatoes
1 15-oz. carton ricotta cheese
1/2 C. milk
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 9-oz. packages refrigerated light cheese-filled ravioli
1 1/2 C. shredded part-skim mozzerella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375. Spread about 1/2 C. of the pasta sauce in the bottom of an ungreased 9x13-inch baking dish. Set the remaining pasta sauce aside.

2. In a skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat until cooked through. Drain off fat. Stir the remaining pasta sauce and chopped tomatoes into cooked sausage; set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, combine ricatta cheese, milk, nutmeg; set aside.

4. Layer half of the uncooked ravioli over pasta sauce in baking dish. Spoon half of the sausag emixture over ravioli in dish; sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Top with remaining ravioli; spoon ricotta mixture over ravioli and top with remaining meat sauce.

5. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 15 minutes more or until heated through and ravioli is cooked. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. If desired, top with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Serves 10.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 11

Inspired by: 9x13: The Pan That Can

Cinnamon Rolls


Is there anything more perfect than the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls coming out of the oven? I think not. That smell brings back many happy childhood memories. My mom would make those every time my Nana and Papa came to town because Papa loved them so much. This is officially my new Christmas Eve tradition--cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Boy, were they a hit!










What's Needed:
4 1/2 - 5 C. All-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 C. milk
1/3 C. butter
1/3 C. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
1 T. ground cinnamon
1/2 C. butter

For the Powdered Sugar Icing:
1 C. powdered sugar
1 T. milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla

1. In a large bowl, combine 2 1/4 C. of the flour and the yeast; set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, combine the milk, 1/3 C. butter, granulated sugar, and salt; heat and stir just until warm (120-130 F) and butter is almost melted.

3. Add to flour mixture. Add eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping side of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

4. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3-5 minutes total). Shape into ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours).

5. Punch down dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan; set aside.

6. For the filling, in a small bowl, combine brown sugar, the 1/4 C. flour and the cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut in the 1/2 C. butter until crumbly.

7. Roll out dough into a 12x18-inch rectangle. Sprinkle filling over dough. STarting from a long side, roll up dough rectangle into a spiral. Press seam to seal. Cut spiral into 12 equal pieces. Arrange slices, cut sides up, in prepared pan.

8. Loosely cover; let dough rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (about 45 minutes).

9. Preheat oven to 375. Break any surface bubbles with a greased toothpick. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Carefully invert cinnamon rolls onto a wire rack; remove pan. Cool slightly. Invert again onto a serving platter.

10. Make the icing by combining all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir in additional milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until icing is of drizzling consistency.

Husband's Grade: A
PointsPlus: 10 (but oh, so worth it!)

Inspired by: 9x13: The Pan That Can

Stir-Fried Shrimp and Broccoli



I'm not really one who likes seafood, but my husband loves it. I don't dislike shrimp, but it's not exactly my favorite. This dish sounded wonderful, so I decided to give it a whirl. It was a hit with the grown-ups. Joey's portion ended up on the floor :)

What's Needed:

1 pound fresh or frozen medium shrimp (mine was frozen and pre-cooked. Much easier)
1/3 C. water
1/4 C. soy sauce
2 T. cider vinegar
1 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. cooking oil
2 C. broccoli (I used frozen, chopped broccoli)
1 C. frozen carrots
1 small onion, diced
1 C. brown rice, raw
1/4 C. cashews

1. Put brown rice and two cups water in a pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for 40 minutes or so.

2. Thaw shrimp if frozen. Rinse shrimp, pat dry with paper towels. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine water, soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, and sugar. Set aside

3. In a 12-inch skillet (or wok if you have one) cook and stir garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat for 15 seconds. Add broccoli, carrot, and onion. Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside.

4. Stir soy sauce mixture. Add to skillet; cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Add shrimp; cook about 3 minutes. Stir in vegetables; heat through. Serve with rice and sprinkle with cashews.

Serves: 4 Serving Size: 1 C. shrimp/veggie mix and 1/2 C. rice

Husband's Grade: B+
PointsPlus: 7

Inspired by: Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

Monday, December 20, 2010

PointsPlus

In the next couple of weeks, I will be editing all my recipes (and will be adding new ones soon!) to match the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus system.

You will also be able to search for PointsPlus points. This way, if you know how many points you have left for dinner, you can search for a meal to match! :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mac and Cheese

This was good. It would have been better had I not overcalculated the amount of milk needed. I ended up with a very soupy mac and cheese. I have adjusted the recipe accordingly. I must say--this was even BETTER as left-overs.

What's Needed:
1/4 stick butter (2 T.)
1 1/2 C. UNcooked macaroni
3 C. milk
3 C. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Microwave butter for 30 seconds or until melted.

2. Scrape the butter into the crockpot. Add macaroni, milk, cheese, salt, and pepper to the crockpot. Stir well.

3. Cover the crockpot. Cook on LOW for 3 hours.

Husband's Grade: B
PointsPlus: 11 (serves 4)

Inspired by Fix-It and Forget-It Kids Cookbook

Tortilla Casserole

More like a bean dip than anything else, but this hit the spot for dinner. I could sit on the couch with this, a bag of tortilla chips, and just go to town! This would be a great meal for Superbowl Sunday.

What's Needed:
1 lb. ground beef, browned
1 envelope dry taco seasoning
16 oz. can fat-free refried beans
1 1/2 C. grated cheese (I used sharp cheddar or a Mexican blend), divided
bag of tortilla chips (for eating the casserole)

1. Spray the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray.

2. Spoon the mean into the crockpot. Add taco seasing and mix well.

3. Sprinkle 1 C. of cheese over the top of the meat.

4. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the beans on top of the cheese. Spread the beans out in an even layer. Be careful not to move the grated cheese while you do it.

5. Sprinkle remaining cheese on beans. Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours.

Husband's Grade: A
PointsPlus: 6

Inspired by: Fix-It and Forget-It Kids Cookbook

**NOTE: The original recipe says it serves four, but I could easily see this serving at least 6. The points are calculated on 6 servings (NOT including tortilla chips).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mexican Cornbread

This was good. By the time I got home, the cornbread was burned a bit on the sides. If I were to make this again, I'd try to be home around the time it was going to be finished.

What's Needed:
1 lb. extra-lean ground beef, browned
16 oz. can cream-style corn
1 C. cornmeal
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 C. oil
1 C. fat-free milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C. taco sauce
2 C. shredded, fat-free cheddar cheese
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced

1. Combine corn, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, oil, milk, eggs, and taco sauce. Pour half of the mixture into the crockpot.

2. Layer cheese, onion, garlic, and ground beef on top of cornmeal mixture. Cover with remaining cornmeal mixture.

3. Cover. Cook on HIGH 1 hour and on LOW 3.5-4 hours; or only on LOW 6 hours.

Husband's Grade: B+
PointsPlus: 11 (1/6 of the crockpot)

Inspired by: Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cashew Chicken

Doing a lot of catching up with the recipes I've done in the past couple of weeks. Life has been hectic.

This Cashew Chicken was really good, but not as sweet as what I usually get at a Chinese restaurant. That being said, it was awesome for homemade Chinese :)

What's Needed:

1 10.75-oz. can condensed golden mushroom soup
3 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. ground ginger
1.5 pound chicken tenders (NOT fried chicken strips)
1 16-oz. package frozen stir-fry vegetables
1/2 C. cashews

1. Combine mushroom soup, soy sauce, and ginger in the crockpot. Stir in chicken and stir-fry vegetables.

2. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.

3. Stir cashews into chicken mixture. Serve over hot rice.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 6 (1/2 C. of rice and 1/6 of the recipe)

Inspired by: The Ultimate Slow Cooker Book

Garlic Butter-Burger

Another recipe from my two favorite boys: The Deen Brothers!

What's Needed:
1/4 C. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 T. parsley
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 8 oz. hamburger patties (the leaner the better--it will help with the points)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper

1. Prepare grill or grill pan for medium heat.

2. In a small bowl, mash together the butter, parsley, garlic. Form into a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in freezer for 10 minutes.

3. Cut a slit 1/2 inch deep into the side of each burger. Cut the butter log into 8 slices; tuck 1 slice into the slit in each burger, pressing it deep into the burger. Pinch the slits closed so the meat totally covers the butter.

4. Grill or broil the burgers for 7-9 minutes per side (medium rare) or 12-13 minutes (well done), turning once.

5. Spread the remaining butter slices on each half of the hamburger buns. Toast under a broiler.

6. If desired, top with tomato, onion, and lettuce.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 10 (WITHOUT the bun!)

Inspired by: The Deen Bros. Y'All Come Eat by Jaimie & Bobby Deen

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Family Recipes

Tonight was a night of recipes handed down from both of our mothers :) For dinner, we had Chicken Vesuvio, rated an A+ as always. (I'd give you the recipe, but then I'd have to kill you).

Then I started to think about the recipes that my mom had hand-written for me before I got married.
I had the taste for something sweet, and I immediately thought of her homemade vanilla pudding. Pudding is not hard to make at all. The whole process takes about 20-30 minutes, and is much better tasting than anything you could make from a box (though Jello Cook & Serve vanilla pudding is a close runner up).

What's Needed:
1/3 C. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
2 C. milk
2 egg YOLKS, slightly beaten
2 T. butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla

1. Blend sugar, cornstarch, and salt in 2-qt. saucepan.
2. Combine milk and egg yolks. Gradually stir into sugar mixture.














3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils.













4. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat.
5. Stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into dessert dishes.

6. Cool slightly and chill. Put wax paper on top to prevent skin from forming. (Personally, the skin is my favorite part--yum!)

I like to enjoy this slightly warm off the stove. It tastes just as good when chilled, but for me--sitting on the couch, eating warm, freshly made vanilla pudding brings back memories of snow days and spending the morning with the best mom in the world!

Love you mom! Thanks for everything <3

Husband's Grade: A+ (as always)
PointsPlus: 5 points (1 dessert cup; makes about 4)

Italian Chicken and Rice

My husband and I buy our chicken and steak from a door-to-door company. Consequently, I have chicken that has been pre-marinated with different flavors. I decided to try my Italian chicken with this recipe, since I didn't have any plain chicken on hand. I think this would work equally well with Lemon-Herb chicken (add some additional lemon juice to the rice while cooking).

Don't make the same mistake I made. This recipe uses INSTANT brown rice. I had to re-cook my rice for 20 minutes more when I realized the rice was still crunchy.

What's Needed:
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (pre-marinated in Italian dressing)
1 T. canola oil
1-2 chopped bell peppers (your choice of color)
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 C. INSTANT brown rice
2 C. chicken broth
1 1/2 C. frozen corn, thawed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 C. fat-free Italian dressing

1. In a large skillet, brown chicken in oil for 4 minutes per side. Remove and keep warm.
2. In same skillet, saute peppers, onion, and garlic until tender.

3. Stir in rice, broth, corn, dressing, salt and pepper; bring to a boil.

4. Transfer to a 9x13 baking dish coated with nonstick cooking psray. Top with chicken.

5. Cover and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 5 minutes longer or until chicken juices run clear.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 6 (1 chicken breast, 1/6 of the rice)

Inspired by: Everyday Light Meals

Quick Lasagna

Very good, but needed more sauce. I made a change in the recipe for next time to use 2 jars of sauce instead of one.

What's Needed:
1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
12-oz. package broad egg noodles
1 C. fat-free cottage cheese
1/2 C. shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
2 16 oz. jars of spaghetti sauce

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet. Set aside
2. Cook noodles and drain. Toss noodles with cottage, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses.
3. Mix together browned beef and 1 jar of spaghetti sauce.
4. Spoon 1/3 of the meat sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker, plus 1/3 of the 2nd jar of spaghetti sauce.
5. Layer in half of the noodles. Repeat layers.
6. Cover. Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours.

Husband's Grade: A-
PointsPlus: 10 for 1/6 of the crockpot

Inspired by: Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Southwest Chicken

Saw that I hadn't updated in awhile. Too tired to post much, but rest assured this was very good.

What's Needed:
1/2 of a 32 oz. bag of frozen corn, defrosted
15 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
16 oz. jar chunky salsa (I used Pace Picante--Medium)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 C. low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

1. Combine corn, black beans, and 1/2 C. salsa in crockpot.

2. Top with chicken. Pour remaining salsa over chicken.

3. Cover. Cook on LOW 7-8 hours.

4. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover 5 minutes for cheese to melt.

Serve with brown rice.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 9 (not including rice)

Inspired by: Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Steak Fajitas

Yes--in the crockpot. This worked out fantastic, although a bit too wet for the tortillas. Next time, I will probably add a little less liquid.

What's Needed:
4 ribeye steaks, trimmed of all fat
15 oz. can low-sodium diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 medium onion, sliced
2 medium bell peppers (any color--I used red and yellow), julienned
1 T. parsley
12 tortillas (I prefer corn), warmed

IF WANTED:
Fat-free sour cream
Low-Sodium Salsa

1. Slice steak thinly into strips across grain. Place in crockpot.
2. Add tomatoes, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and salt.
3. Cover. Cook on LOW for 7 hours.
4. Add onions, peppers, and parsley.
5. Cover. Cook 1-2 horus longer, or until meat is tender.
6. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into crockpot.
7. Cover. Cook on HIGH 30 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 3 (1/2 C. meat mixture, tortilla) Doesn't include sour cream or salsa.

Inspired by: Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chicken Jambalaya

I'm on a Cajun kick lately it seems. This was really good, but I think more suited to a fall/winter meal. It's truly a 'stick-to-your-ribs' goodness!

What's Needed:
4 uncooked, boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cubed
3 C. fat-free chicken broth
3/4 C. water
1 1/2 C. uncooked brown rice
7 oz., reduced fat, smoked turkey sausage, diced
1 tsp. celery seed (or 1/2 C. celery, thinly sliced, if you enjoy that)
1/2 a medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves (whole)
14 1/2 oz. can no-salt diced tomatoes, undrained

1. Stir together all ingredients in the crockpot, saving the chicken for last.
2. Cover. Cook on HIGH 6-7 hours.

Husband's Grade: B
PointsPlus: 7 (1/6 of the recipe)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Baked Tilapia


God bless the Deen Brothers! They brought me back to fish. Long story short, because of some bad fish that we got from a neighbor, I haven't eaten fish since about the 4th grade. Because of my little guy, and because I don't want him to not eat fish since Mommy doesn't, I jumped out of my food comfort zone, and decided to try this recipe. This came as a complete surprise to my husband, who loves fish, as I vowed never to cook fish ever. Much to my surprise, I actually LOVED this, and I plan to make it again.

Serve this with the rice pilaf recipe below.




4 6-8 oz. tilapia fillets
2 tsp. garlic salt (I used Garlic Garlic by Tastefully Simple
Ground black pepper (to taste)
1/4 C. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Lime juice (to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside.

2. Rinse fish and pat dry; place on baking hseet. Season each fillet with 1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt and pepper to taste. Divide butter pieces and juice evenly among the tops of the fillets.

3. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

PointsPlus: 3
Inspired by: The Deen Bros. Y'All Come Eat


Rice Pilaf
1 C. white rice
2 C. chicken broth
1/2 medium onion
2 T. butter

1. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Stir in onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until onion is softened. Add rice; cook and stir for 1 minute.

2. Slowly sitr in broth, adding salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-17 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

PointsPlus: 5
Inspired by: The Deen Bros. Y'All Come Eat

Husband's Grade for whole meal: A+

Tangy BBQ Beef Sandwiches

Sorry I haven't updated in a while. School and having a 19 month old has kept me busier than I could imagine.

This was one of those crockpot meals where you start salivating as soon as you open the front door. It smelled THAT good!

What's Needed:
1 C. chopped red onions (about 1/2 an onion)
1 C. low-sodium ketchup
1 C. Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce
1 C. water
2 T. vinegar
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
4 lb. lean boneless chuck roast
Kaiser Rolls, for serving.

1. Combine all ingredients except roast in slow cooker. When well mixed, add roast.
2. Cover. Cook on LOW 7-9 hours.
3. Remove roast. Cool and shred meat. Return to sauce. Heat well.
4. Serve on Kaiser rolls.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 7 points (per sandwich--WITH roll)

Inspired by: Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Herbed Balsamic Chicken

I had to work late tonight--but was thankful I didn't have to worry about my boys. Crockpot cooking is GREAT for nights like these. Today's dinner: Herbed Balsamic Chicken. While I was at work, my boys were able to have dinner on time. After Joey had his bath, I was able to sit down and eat without having to worry about a thing. Best thing--it was good AND low in points!

What's Needed:
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 T. quick-cooking tapioca, crushed
4 chicken breast halves (boneless, skinless)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
2 T. chicken broth
1 9-oz. package frozen Italian cut green beans
1 C. red bell pepper strips (I a bag of frozen, pre-cut pepper strips)

1. Place onion in crockpot. Sprinkle with tapioca. Top with chicken. Sprinkle with rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Pour vinegar and broth over chicken. Add frozen green beans.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6-7 hours.

3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and veggies to a serving platter. Spoon some cooking liquid over chicken and vegetables. Pass the remaining cooking liquid. Serve with rice.

Husband's Grade: B+
PointsPlus: 7 (chicken and veggies only. Rice is extra)

Inspired by: The Ultimate Slow Cooker Book

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Weekend Edition: Ham & Swiss Crepes


I have never had savory crepes before in my life. I was a little nervous about the idea. Crepes to me are supposed to be sweet and served at breakfast. After making this recipe by Rachael Ray, however, I was pleasantly surprised that they are just as good for lunch or dinner.

What's Needed:
1/2 C. all-purpose flour
Coarse salt
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 C. fat-free milk
2 T. brandy
2 T. melted unsalted butter
Coarse black pepper
Vegetable oil, for cooking crepes (I used a non-fat cooking spray)
2 C. shredded Swiss cheese (I used Swiss-Guyere shredded mix)
1/2 lb. thinly sliced Black Forest Ham, chopped into ribbons

1. Crepe batter: combine flour and pinch of salt in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Add to the well: the eggs, milk, brandy and whisk to combine. Stir in melted butter. Cover the batter and set aside for 20 minutes.

2. After the twenty minutes has passed, preheat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat with a drizzle of vegetable oil. Cover the bottom of the skillet with just enough batter to coat.

3. Let the crepe brown on one side (about 1 minute). Turn the crepe with a rubber spatula, lifting up the edges. Then use a knife to help flip it over (this is a tough step. No need to worry about your crepes being picture perfect. They're being eaten, after all).

4. Scatter cheese and ham on top. Season with salt and pepper, then fold the crepe over and continue to cook until the cheese starts to melt.

5. Transfer the crepe to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat this until all the batter is gone (about 7 more times). Serves 2 crepes per person (4 servings total).

MY Grade B+ (I still prefer the sweet to the savory crepes)
PointsPlus: 9 points (2 crepes)

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due: 365: No Repeats--A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners by Rachael Ray

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mandarin Orange Chicken

My little guy LOVES Mandarin oranges. They must be one of his most favorite things in this whole wide world.

What's Needed:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/4 C. orange juice concentrate
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
11 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained, with 3 T. juice reserved
2 T. flour

1. Place chicken in crockpot.

2. Combine onion, orange juice, poultry seasoning, and salt. Pour over chicken.

3. Cover. Cook on LOW 4-5 hours.

4. Remove chicken and keep warm. Reserve cooking juices.

5. In a sauce pan, combine mandarin orange juice and flour. Stir until smooth.

6. Stir in chicken cooking juices. Bring to a boil. Stir and cook 2 minutes to thicken.

7. Stir in mandarin oranges. Pour over chicken.

8. Serve with rice or pasta.

Husband's Grade: B+
WW Points: 7

Inspired by: Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

Beef & Rice Casserole

You could very easily turn this into an oven casserole dish. Everything in this is cooked already, so the time that it's cooking in the crockpot, the flavors are just meshing. Be sure to add salt to the rice when you cook it (probably the night before). I forgot, and it was very bland. I had to add a few things to spice it up a bit.

What's Needed:
1/2 lb. extra-lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 C. green bell pepper, cut finely
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
About 2 T. of Adobo without pepper
ABout 1 T. of Parmesan cheese
1 small can reduced-fat, low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
1 C. water
4 cups COOKED brown rice

1. Brown ground beef, onion, garlic and green pepper in a skillet over medium heat. Season with basil, oregano, and Adobo.

2. Combine soup and water in separate bowl.

3. Spray crockpot with cooking spray.

4. Layer 2 C. cooked rice on the bottom of the crockpot. Add half of the ground beef and half of the soup mixture.

5. Repeat layers.

6. Cover. Cook on LOW 4 hours. The last 15 minutes, add the Parmesan cheese. Stir to mix.

Husband's Grade:
PointsPlus: 6 (for 1/6 of the casserole)

Inspired by: Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Super Easy Chicken

And it was SUPER easy. I served this with a salad and a side of rice.

What's Needed:

4 FROZEN chicken breast halves
1 packet dry Italian salad dressing
1/2 C. Water

1. Place frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot. Sprinkle dry Italian salad dressing over the chicken. Add water.

2. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.

Husband's Grade: A
PointsPlus: 3 (1 chicken breast)

Inspired by: Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer Edition: Cider Vinegar Chicken with Smashed Potatoes



One word: yummy :) This recipe comes from one of Rachel Ray's Cookbooks--namely: 365: No Repeats. The only thing in this recipe I did not make was the Watercress and Cucumber Salad. The boys and I loved this. It will be a definite repeat in our house!

2 lbs. small red-skinned potatoes
6 T. Extra-virgin olive oil
4 6-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 T. thyme
3 T. Honey
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 C. apple cider vinegar
1 can chicken broth
1/2 C. half-and-half
3 T. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1. Cut the potatoes in half an dplace in a pot. Cover the potatoes with water. Place lid on the pot and bring water to a boil.

2. Salt the water and potatoes. Leave the lid off the pot and cook at a rolling boil until tender, about 10-12 minutes.

3. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 T. olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Brown the chicken on both sides. Remove the chicken. Place on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

4. Add more olive oil (about 1 T.), the onions, thyme, honey, and garlic. Season onions with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for 8 minutes. They should be brown and caramelized by the end.

5. Add the cider vinegar and chicken broth. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Return chicken to skillet and cook in the sauce for 10 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through.

6. Drain the potatoes and return to the hot pot. Add the half-and-half and butter to the potatoes and smash with a fork or potato masher. Season with salt and pepper.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 20 (for 1 chicken breast half, some onions/sauce, and 1/4 of the potatoes)

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats--A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners

Thursday, August 12, 2010

China Dish

I'm really not sure what Chinese dish this is supposed to emulate, but it was a stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal.

What's Needed:
1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
1 10 3/4 oz. can low-fat cream of chicken soup
1 10 3/4 oz. can low-fat cream of mushroom soup
3 1/2 C. water
1 C. frozen onion
1 C. brown rice, uncooked
3 T. low sodium soy sauce

1. Brown ground beef in a non-stick skillet.

2. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Stir to blend.

3. Cover. Cook on low 6-8 hours.

Makes 6 servings.

Husband's Grade: B (He's not fond of Chinese, but enjoyed this dish)
PointsPlus: 7

Inspired by: Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Single Serving Caprese-like Salad

I've had a major craving for tomatoes and string cheese lately, especially since my neighbor was so kind as to let us have all of the ripe tomatoes in her garden while they were on vacation. I like Caprese salads (when done right), so I decided to give it a go. All measurements are approximate, as this was a very fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of cooking day.

What's Needed:
About 5 ripe Roma tomatoes (or cherry or grape--any small kind will do)
2 Low-Fat String Cheese
1 Chicken breast half
3 T. Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
Pinch of salt


1. Cut tomatoes into bite sized pieces. Place in a medium bowl and season with a little salt.

2. Cut string cheese into bite-sized pieces. Place in the bowl with tomatoes. Toss with Italian seasoning and Balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat.

3. In a small skillet, cook one chicken breast half in extra virgin olive oil. Season with Italian seasoning.

4. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to the bowl and mix well.

Enjoy! Serves 1.

MY Grade: A-
PointsPlus: 5 points

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Easy Shepherd's Pie


This is one of my husband's favorite meals. If we hit an Irish pub (which we do once in a very great while), he is sure to get this. If you have your ground beef browned ahead of time, the prep time is pretty quick. Very easy to prepare ahead of time, and then cook later for dinner.

What's Needed:
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 8-oz. carton dairy sour cream
3/4 C. water
2/3 C. frozen carrots, thawed
2/3 C. frozen peas, thawed
2/3 C. frozen corn, thawed
2 C. packaged instant mashed potato flakes (I used Betty Crocker Butter & Herb Potatoes for this recipe)
1.5 C. water
1/4 C. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 C. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Sprinkle of paprika

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. In a large skillet, cook ground beef until cooked through, using a spoon to break up meat as it cooks. Drain off fat.

3. Stir the 1/4 C. flour and dry onion soup mix into meat.

4. Stir in cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, 3/4 C. water, and all veggies. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally.

5. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the 1.5 C. water, the butter, and salt. Bring to rapid boil. Remove from heat. Add dry potato flakes and milk, stirring until combined.

6. Stir in eggs, 1 C. flour, and baking powder.

7. Spoon meat mixture into an ungreased 9x13 pan. Spoon potato mixture in mounds over meat mixture. Spread mounds of potatoes together to form a crust over the meat. Sprinkle paprika over the top of the potatoes.

8. Bake, uncovered, about 25 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown on top.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 9 for 1/8 of the casserole.

Inspired by: 9x13 The Pan That Can

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chicken-Potato Casserole

School's beginning soon (eek! 20 days left!), so I'm back to crockpot recipes with the occasional casserole in the oven to mix things up.

This recipe tasted very similar to my mom's 'Holiday Potatoes'. The only thing it was missing: crushed cornflakes over the top. I might have to try that next time :)

What's Needed:
Nonstick cooking spray

1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup (you can also use cream of chicken soup)

1 8-oz. carton sour cream

3 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (about 3/4 cup)
3 oz. shredded swiss cheese (about 3/4 cup) **I used Artisan Blend: Shredded Swiss and Guyere for this recipe**

1 28 oz. package frozen diced hash brown potatoes with onions and peppers, thawed
3 C. chopped smoked or roasted chicken or turkey (about 1 lb.)


1. Lightly coat the inside of your crockpot with the nonstick cooking spray.

2. Combine soup, sour cream, and cheese. Stir in potatoes and chicken.

3. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 6

Inspired by: The Ultimate Slow Cooker Book

Friday, July 30, 2010

F.A.I.L.

I made 'beefy tomatoes' (think stuffed peppers, only tomatoes) tonight. It looked so good in the pictures! I have no idea what happened. It wasn't the worst thing I had ever made, but it definitely wasn't the best either. I don't know that I would make this dish ever again. I didn't even ask my husband to grade the dinner tonight.

I wasn't going to make a post about this dinner at all, but I promised myself that I would blog about everything I've made--not just the good stuff.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Edition: Pasta Primavera



What's Needed:
1 tsp. olive oil
2 onions, finelly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 green, red, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced (I use frozen pepper strips instead of fresh)
1 medium cucumber, diced (or you can use zucchini)
1 C. coarsely chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 C. low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. parsley
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
3 C. hot cooked penne or medium pasta shells
1/3 C. shredded smoked provolone (or other smoked cheese)
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat hte oil. Saute the onions, garlic, bell pepper, and zucchini until the onions are golden, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, salt, parsley, and oregano. Bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

4. Pour over penne, then stir in provolone and Parmesan.

Husband's Grade: C
PointsPlus: 6 points (1.5 C. pasta and veggies)

Inspired by: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Edition: Chicken and Peaches

One of my favorite Food Network chefs is Rachel Ray. When I really started cooking, I tried her recipes the most. The were easy enough that I didn't feel overwhelmed cooking them, and very delish and fast.

Cue this evening. My husband and I had watched a newer episode of 30-Minute Meals on Food Network. She was making this dish. I honestly wish I had a picture of what I made tonight because it was beautiful!

Since I didn't modify the dish at all (ok--I took the hotsauce out because my 17 month old can't handle it and I used chicken breast only, and not thighs), I'm simply going to link you to Food Network's recipes. It was a LOT of work (I've never had that many pots and pans going at one time), but it was WELL worth it!

Note: This is not for the faint of heart. Something this good, comes with a point price!

Chicken and Peaches recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/chicken-and-peaches-recipe/index.html

Video:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/chicken-and-peaches/55506.html

Sweet Onion Potato Au Gratin recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/sweet-onion-potatoes-au-gratin-recipe2/index.html

Husband's Grade: B
WW Points: Chicken: 10 points (1 breast, 4 peach quarters)
Potatoes: 10 points (1/4 of the casserole)

French Dip

Crockpot cooking again, since I was doing curriculum work in the district office this week. My crockpot cooks on the hot side, so my beef was a little overdone. If this happens, after shredding it, simply put it back in the crockpot with a little au jus and it will moisten right up again.

What's Needed:
1 boneless beef sirloin tip roast (about 3 lbs.), cut in half
1/2 C. water
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
12 cruisty rolls (5 inches)

1. Place beef in the crockpot.

2. In a small bowl, combine the water and dressing mix; pour over beef. Cover and cook for 8-10 hours on LOW, or until meat is tender.

3. Remove beef and shred using two forks. Serve on beef buns with juice.

Servings: 12

Note: If you like your beef hot, add 1 can (4 oz.) diced jalapeno peppers, drained to step two.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 6 per sandwich (bread included)

Inspired by: Everyday Light Meals

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Edition: Tacos and Salsa

If you have your ground beef pre-cooked and in the freezer, the time to prepare this meal is cut in half. Prepare the salsa first so the flavors have a chance to blend together.

What's Needed:
Salsa:
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 C. finely chopped fresh cilantro (or 1/8 C. dried cilantro)
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 T. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt and pepper

1. Place the fresh tomatoes in a strainer or colander in the sink; drain 20-30 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, combine fresh tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Place plastic wrap over the bowl. Place in fridge until ready to use.

What's Needed:
Tacos:
4 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. paprika
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
16 taco shells
Cheddar Cheese (optional)
Sour Cream (optional)

1. In a medium nonstick saucepan, heat the oil. Saute the onion and garlic until onion is translucent, 6-8 minutes.

2. Stir in the cumin, oregano, and paprika. Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Add the beef and cook until no longer pink, 8-10 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper. Reduce heat; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

4. Taco building:
Divide beef among the taco shells. Top with lettuce, cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream.

Husband's Grade: A
PointsPlus:
2 tacos with everything (cheddar cheese, sour cream, lettuce and salsa) 6 points
2 tacos (cheddar cheese, lettuce, and salsa only) 6 points
2 tacos (salsa and lettuce only) 3 points

Inspired by: WeightWatchers Complete New Cookbook

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Edition: Tamale Pie



Very quick to put together. This is one of my go-to meals when I need something in 20 minutes or less :)

What's Needed:
1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef, cooked
1 envelope Onion Soup Mix
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 C. water
1 Can (15 oz) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 package (8.5 oz) corn muffin mix, plus ingredients to prepare mix

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and cook onion--about 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in the pre-cooked ground beef, let heat about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in soup mix blended with tomato and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.Reduce heat to low and stir in beans. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Turn into 2 quart casserole dish.

4. Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions. Spoon evenly over casserole.

5. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes or until corn topping is golden and filling is hot.

Husband's Grade: A
PointsPlus: 9 points for 1/6 of the casserole

Summer Edition: Smoked Turkey Mini-Panini

As I was preparing this meal, I realized that I had sliced the ciabatta bread wrong. Instead of having long, wide pieces, I had tiny slices of bread. That is why I'm calling this a mini-panini. 2 mini-paninis = 1 serving.

What's Needed:
1/4 lb. thin deli-sliced smoked turkey
1 red bell pepper OR 1 tomato
5 slices mozzarella cheese
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
8 large basil leaves
14 slices Ciabatta bread(I highly recommend Panera Bread's Ciabatta)

1. If you are using red bell pepper:
spray the broiler rack with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the broiler. Broil the pepper, turning occasionally until charred on all sides, about 10 minutes. Place in a paper bag and fold closed. Set aside 15 minutes to steam. Peel, seed, and slice pepper into thin strips.

1. If you are using tomato:
slice tomato into thin slices.

2. In a quart-size ziploc bag, combine vinegar, rosemary, and water. Add pepper or tomato. Seal the bag, squeezing out the air; turn to coat the pepper. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, turning the bag occasionally. Drain and discard the marinade.

3. To assemble sandwiches: layer the turkey, pepper, basil leaves, and 1/2 a slice of mozzarella cheese.

4. If you have a panini press: place sandwiches in the press and cook until sandwich is lightly brown and cheese is melted.

4. If you do not have a panini press: put sandwiches in broiler. Broil until sasndwich is lightly toasted and cheese is melted.

Serve hot!

Husband's Grade: A+ :)
WW Points: 7 (2 sandwiches)

Inspired by: WeightWatchers New Complete Cookbook

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Quesadillas and Corn Salad



What I once thought was difficult will now be a go-to meal in the Garcia house when I need something quick and easy to prepare.

What's Needed:
Corn Salad:
1 C. thawed frozen corn kernels OR 3 medium ears of corn--kernels cut off the cob
1 C. thawed frozen bell pepper strips, diced OR 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt

Quesadillas:
1 1/2 C. diced cooked chicken breast (I bought a package of pre-cooked chicken)
1 C. shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 C. thick-and-chunky salsa
6 (medium) flour tortillas
1/3 C. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. In a medium bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Stir well; set aside.

2. In another medium bowl, combine chicken, lettuce, and salsa. Stir well to mix.

3. Divide chicken mixture among 3 of the tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with the 3 remaining tortillas.

4. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. One at a time, cook the quesadillas until lightly browned, 3 minutes on each side. Turn carefully with a wide spatula.

5. Cut quesadillas into quarters. Arrange 3 quarters on 4 plates. Serve with the salad on the side.

Husband's Grade: A
PointsPlus: 8 (3 quesadilla quarters and 1/2 C. salad)

Inspired by: WeightWatchers New Complete Cookbook

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer Edition: Beef Stir-Fry

I must say, this stir-fry turned out almost as good as a Chinese restaurant, with decidedly less points. DH graded the meal a 'B', because it was 'good' despite his definite dislike of Chinese food.

What's Needed:
2 T. dry sherry
2 T. dark soy sauce
1 T. ginger
1 tsp. powdered garlic
1 tsp. Asian (dark) sesame seed oil
1/2 lb. beef tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into strips
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 T. vegetable oil
4 C. broccoli florets
1 C. bell peppers, cut into strips
Optional: 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

1. Prepare the marinade: Combine sherry, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame seed oil, and (if you want some heat) crushed red pepper in a gallon-size ziploc bag. Add the beef. Seal the bag, squeezing out the air. Turn to coat the beef. Refrigerate about 1 hour.

2. Drain the marinade into a measuring cup; add enough water to make 1/3 C. liquid. Add the cornstarch and stir until it dissolves.

3. Heat a large skillet or wok with a lid over high heat. Add the vegetable oil and beef; stir-fry until beef loses its red color. Remove beef with a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.

4. Reduce heat and add the broccoli and bell peppers. Stir-fry three minutes, then cover/steam 1 minute.

5. Add the beef to the skillet and add the marinade. Increase heat to high and stir-fry until the sauce thickens, 2-3 m inutes.

Serve with brown rice. Makes 4 servings.

Husband's Grade: B
PointsPlus: 8 (1/2 C. brown rice; 1/4th of the stirfry)

Inspired by: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Arroz con Pollo


If you decide to use brown rice, make sure you add some cooking time to the end (about 15-20 minutes or so).

What's Needed:
4 tsp. olive oil
1.5 lb. chicken breast (boneless, skinless)
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 C. low-sodium chicken broth
2 T. water
2/3 C. white rice (I used brown rice--same measurement)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. saffron
1 bay leaf
1 C. frozen green peas
1 C. roasted red peppers, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 250. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Heat the oil.

2. Add the chicken and sprinkle with paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook, turning frequently until browned, 8-10 minutes. Put chicken into a shallow casserole dish.

3. Combine bell pepper, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened (about 4-5 minutes)

4. Stir in tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

5. STir in the rice, oregano, saffron, and bay leaf. Transfer to casserole.

6. Cover and bake 25 minutes; stir in peas and roasted peppers.

7. Cover and bake until the liquid is absorbed (this takes longer with brown rice), about 15 minutes longer. Discard bay leaf.


Husband's Grade: B
PointsPlus: 8 (for 1/4 of casserole)

Inspired by: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Edition: Chicken-Mozzarella Roll-Ups


This dish does take a bit of prep work, but the results are oh-so delish!

What's needed:
2 T. olive oil
1/3 C. chopped onion
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half
6 mozzarella cheese slices
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 T. dry sherry (or chicken broth)
1/2 C. fine dry bread crumbs
3 T. grated Romano cheese
3/4 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp. onion salt
3 T. butter, melted
1 can pasta sauce (your choice)

1. Preheat oven to 3 75. Grease a 9x13 baking pan; set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Set aside.

3. Place each chicken breast half in a ziploc bag. Using the flat side of a meat mallet and working from the center out, pound each half lightly into a rectangle about 1/8 in. thick. Remove from ziploc bag.

4. Brush tops of chicken breast with the remaining olive oil. On the 'boned-side' of each breast half, place a slice of mozzarella cheese and some of the cooked onion.

5. In a small bowl, combine garlic powder and pepper; sprinkle evenly over cheese and onion on the chicken breast.

6. Roll each piece of chicken breast into a spiral, pressing the edges to seal. Brush the chicken with sherry.

7. Combine bread crumb,s Romano cheese, oregano, and onion salt. Roll chicken roll-ups in bread crumb mixture to coat. Place in prepared pan. Drizzle with melted butter.

8. Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

9. While chicken is cooking, heat the pasta sauce.

A great side with this dish is hot fettuccine.


Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 6 (without the fettuccine).

Inspired by: 9x13 The Pan That Can

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer Edition: Rotini Chicken Casserole

This was a really good dish, and took practically no time to prepare. This is another dish that, during the school year, I would make ahead the night before so that all the prep work was done.

What's Needed:
2 3/4 C. uncooked tricolor rotini or sprial pasta
3/4 C. chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. olive oil
3 C. cubed cooked chicken breast
1 can (10 3/4 oz) reduced-fat, reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 1/2 C. fat-free milk
1 package (16 oz.) frozen Italian-blend vegetables
1 C. shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
2 T. minced fresh parsley
1 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
2/3 C. crushed cornflakes

1. Cook pasta. Drain, place in bowl.

2. While waiting for pasta to cook, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender.

3. Add to pasta: onion mixture, chicken, soup, milk, frozen vegetables, cheese parsley, thyme, and salt.

4. Pour into 9 x 13 pan that is sprayed with Pam. Cover and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

6. Sprinkle with cornflakes. Bake UNcovered, 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

Servings: 8

Husband's Grade: B+
PointsPlus: 7 for 1 1/3 C. serving

Inspired By: Everyday Light Meals

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Clean House (recipes NOT for eating!)

After my Nana came over and told me how to get rid of the odor in my kitchen drains (pour plain baking soda in and let sit for a while, then rise), I got very interested in making my own household cleaning products. I've been concerned about the amount of chemicals I'm using--especially since my son is 16 months old and absolutely fearless.

I happened upon this website: www.eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm that had many DIY cleaning products. Below are the ones I'm trying, but be sure to check out their site as they have many more recipes.

All Purpose Cleaner
1/2 C. vinegar
1/4 C. baking soda
1/2 gallon (2 Liters) of water

Store and keep this in a spray bottle. This will clean water deposit stains, windows, mirrors, etc.

Bathroom Mold
1 part hydrogen peroxide (3%)
2 parts water.

Mix in spray bottle. Spray on areas with mold. Wait one hour prior to rinsing or using shower.

Carpet Stains
Equal parts white vinegar and water.
Mix in spray bottle. Spray on stain and let six for several minutes. Clean with brush or sponge with warm, soapy water.

Heavy duty carpet stains:
1/4 C. salt
1/4 C. borax
1/4 C. vinegar

Rub paste into carpet. Leave a few hours. Vacuum.

Carpet Deodorizer
Sprinkle baking soda on carpet several hours prior to vacuuming.

Disinfectant
2 T. Borax
4 T. vinegar
3 C. hot water

Mix in spray bottle. Wipe clean.

Drain Cleaner
Light Version:
1/2 C. salt
4 Liters water

Heat (not to a boil) and pour down drain.

Heavy Duty Version:
Pour 1/2 C. baking soda down drain.
Then 1/2 C. vinegar.
After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water. Use only with metal plumbing. Do not use after using a chemical-based drain cleaner.

Floor Cleaner/Polish
For vinyl/linoleum:
1 C. vinegar
Few drops baby oil

Mix in 1 gallon of warm water. Use sparingly on linoleum.

For stone tiles/brick:
1 C. white vinegar
1

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Edition: Chicken Fajitas and Spanish Rice


Ah, yes! Summer--when I actually have time and energy to cook an actual meal. The last couple of days have been spent baking like a madwoman. I love homemade white bread, so that's what I've been supplying our family with. Consider it my contribution to the family budget and health.

Back to tonight's dinner--fajitas! These were great and easy to prepare. We used corn tortillas instead of flour.

Chicken Fajitas (can substitute steak or turkey)

What's Needed:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 T. canola oil
2 C. frozen bell pepper strips, defrosted
1 medium onion, thinkly sliced and separated into rings
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 T. minced cilantro
1/4 C. lime juice
8 flour (or corn) tortillas (6 inches), warmed

1. In a large, nonstick skillet, saute chicken in oil for 2 minutes.

2. Add peppers, onion, garlic, salt, cumin, pepper. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and peppers are crisp-tender. Stir in cilantro and lime juice; cook 1 minute longer. Serve in tortillas.

PointsPlus: 6 points (2 fajitas)

Spanish Rice:
What's Needed:
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 C. uncooked long grain rice
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic salt

1. In a large pan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 3 (1/4 Cup)--4 servings

Inspired by: Everyday Light Meals

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Carnitas

I was introduced to carnitas by my father-in-law, who brought it home from the store one night for dinner. Turns out, this is one of my husband's favorite things, so when I stumbled across a crockpot recipe for it, I was very excited.

What's Needed:
1 2-lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
Salt
Ground black pepper
1 T. whole black peppercorns
2 tsp. cumin seeds
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
3 bay leaves
2 14-oz. cans chicken broth
2 T. lime juice
12 6-inch crisp corn tortillas
Your choice of salsa and sour cream

1. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Place in crockpot.

2. Make a bouquet garni by cutting a 6-inch square from a double thickness of 100%-cotton cheesecloth. Place peppercorns, cumin seeds, garlic, oregano, and bay leaves in the center of the square. Bring up the corners and tie with clean 100%-cottom kitchen string (or, tie the ends of the cheesecloth together--that's what I normally do). If you don't have cheesecloth, use a coffee filter.

3. Add bouquet garni to the crockpot and pour broth over meat.

4. Cover and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours or on HIGH for 4.5-5 hours.

5. Using a slotted spatula, remove meat from slow cooker. Discart bouquet garni and cooking liquid. Using two forks, pull meat apart into shreds; discard any fat.

6. Sprinkle meat with lime juice; toss to mix. Serve with tortillas, sour cream, and salsa.

Husband's Grade: A
PointsPlus: 10 (about 5 oz. of meat and two corn tortillas)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Breakfast :)

It was my grade-level's turn to make breakfast for the hungry teachers at school. My donation to the cause was this totally easy, very scrumptious strata. It was a cinch to put together the night before. In the morning, all I had to do was stick it in the oven while I got ready for work! I wish I had taken pictures, because they looked as good as they tasted.

What's Needed:
1 1-lb. loaf cinnamon-raisin bread, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 eggs, slightly beaten
2 C. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 21-oz. can pie filling (either apple, cherry, or peach)
1/2 C. slivered almonds, toasted
Powdered sugar

1. Grease a 9x13-inch pan. Place prepared bread in pan; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and almond extract. Stir in your choice of pie filling and half of the almonds. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread in the pan. Press down lightly with the back of a wooden spoon to moisten all of the bread. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 325. Bake, uncovered, about 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Sift powdered sugar over. Makes 8 (rather big) servings

Co-workers rating: (based on the comments I received) A
PointsPlus: 10

Inspired by: Better Homes and Gardens: 9x13 Pan That Can

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spaghetti Pie


This is what's left of dinner tonight. Everyone loved it :) What could be better than spaghetti and meatsauce in pie form?

What's Needed:
4 oz. dried spaghetti
1 T butter
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. ground beef
1/2 C. chopped onion
1/2 C. chopped green sweet pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1 C. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Cook spaghetti; drain. REturn spaghetti to hot saucepan and keep warm.

2. Stir butter into hot pasta until melted. STir in egg and Parmesan cheese; set aside.

3. In a medium skillet, cook ground beef, onion, sweet pepper, and garlic over medium heat until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat. STir in tomato sauce and oregano; heat through.

4. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Press spaghetti mixture onto bottom and up sides of pie plate. Sprinkle with 1/2 the mozzerella cheese on the bottom and up the sides of the pasta crust. Spread meat mixture over the cheese. Sprinkle top with more cheese.

5. Bake in a 350 oven for 20-25 minutes or until bubly and heated through. To serve, cut into wedges.

Husband's Grade: B
PointsPlus: 8 points per wedge

Inspired by: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

Greek Chicken (better than the first)

My first attempt at Greek Chicken (with the orzo pasta) turned out less than satisfactory. This attempt...marvelous! This uses potatoes instead of orzo pasta and was almost every bit as good as my favorite Greek chicken dinner from Yorky's!

What's Needed:

6 medium-sized potatoes, quartered
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large onions, quartered
1/2 C. water
1 T. olive oil
1.5-2 T. Cavender's All-Purpose Greek Seasoning
A dash of garlic powder

1. Place potatoes in bottom of crockpot. Add chicken and onions. Sprinkle a dash of garlic powder and a dash of the Greek seasoning over everything.

2. In a small bowl, mix water with the rest of the Greek seasoning.

3. Pour water mix over chicken and potatoes. Top with oil.

4. Cover. Cook on HIGH 5-6 hours or LOW 9-10 hours.

Husband's Grade: A
PointsPlus: 6 (1/2 a chicken breast and 2-3 potato quarters)

Inspired by: Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sauerbraten

Back to my German roots with this meal. I love Sauerbraten, but this is the first crockpot recipe I've ever found for it.

What's Needed:

4 lb. lean beef rump roast
1 C. water
1 C. vinegar
1 lemon, sliced but unpeeled
10 whole cloves
1 large onion, sliced
4 bay leaves
5 whole peppercorns
2 T. salt
2 T. sugar
12 low-fat gingersnaps, crumbled

1. Place meat in a deep glass bowl.

2. Combine water, vinegar, lemon, cloves, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt, and sugar. Pour over meat. Cover and refrigerate for about 12 hours (if you do this the night before you're ready to cook it, that's perfect!) Turn meat several times while marinating.

3. Place beef in slow cooker. Pour 1 cup marinade over meat.

4. Cover. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Remove meat.

5. Strain meat juices (I used a colander over a deep cooking pot to do this). Return juices to pot. Turn crockpot to HIGH. Stir in gingersnaps. Cover and cook on HIGH 10-14 minutes, OR until gravy thickens.

6. Allow meat to rest for 15 minutes. Slice. Pour finished sauce over meat to serve. Serves 12.

Suggestion: Serve with mashed potatoes.

Husband's Grade: A
PointsPlus: 6 points (without potatoes)

Inspired by: Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Boeuf a la Bourguignonne

Wow--Julia Childs I am not, but this was perfection. After Julie/Julia came out in the movie theater, I was determined to actually sit down and look at the one Julia Childs cookbook I had. I decided that I was not skilled enough as a cook to master what she had written, so I gave up. Cue my new crockpot recipe. It was easy enough to make me feel like I could accomplish a good dinner without wasting food, and impressive enough to serve to company :) I would definitely change a few things next time (like not forgetting to top the dinner with the bacon I had fried up, and using the mushrooms instead of opting to leave them out), but all and all, this was delicious.

What's Needed:
3 slices turkey bacon, corasely chopped
2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 stems fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1/4 bag frozen, cut carrots
2 C. frozen small whole onions (pearl onions)
3 T. quick-cooking tapioca, crushed
1 C. Burgundy wine
1/2 C. beef broth
1/4 C. brandy
1 T. tomato paste
Mashed potatoes

1. In a large skillet cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Reserve drippings in skillet. Cover and chill bacon until serving time.

2. Trim fat from meat. Cut meat into 1-inch cubes. Heat drippings over medium high heat. Cook half of the meat in drippings until browned; remove from skillet. Add remaining meat, chopped onions, and garlic to skillet. Cook until meat is brown and onions are tender. Remove from heat. Combine all meat in skillet.

3. Make a spice bag out of an 8-inch square from 100% cotton cheese cloth. Place parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and peppercorns in the center of the cloth. Bring up the corners and tied using clean 100% cotton kitchen string. Set aside.

4. In crockpot, combine carrots and whole (pearl) onions. Sprinkle with tapioca. Spoon meat mixture over that in the crockpot. Add spice bag.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together wine, broth, brandy, and tomato paste. Pour over mixture in crockpot.

6. Cover and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours or on HIGH for 5-6 hours. Remove spice bag and discard. Serve beef over mashed potatoes.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 9 points per serving

Inspired by: Better Homes and Gardens The Ultimate Slow Cooker Book

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Coq au Vin


What a beautiful dinner this turned out to be. I highly suggest serving it with egg noodles. I served it with wheat penne. It was still good, but I think egg noodles would be better.

What's Needed:

4 slices turkey bacon
1 1/2 C. frozen pearl onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 C. dry red wine
3/4 C. fat-free chicken broth
1/4 C. tomato paste
3 T. flour

1. Cook bacon. Crumble after cooking.

2. Layer ingredients in slower cooker: onions, crumbled bacon, garlic, thyme, pepper, chicken, wine, and broth.

3. Cover. Cook on LOW 5-6 hours.

4. Remove chicken and vegetables. Cover and keep warm.

5. Ladle 1/2 C. liquid into bowl. Turn slow cooker to high. Cover.

6. Mix removed liquid, tomato paste, and flour until smooth.

7. Return mixture to slow cooker. Cover. Cook 15 minutes or until thickened.

Husband's Grade: C (I thought it was about a B)
PointsPlus: 6

Inspired by: Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dill Beef Roast

I wasn't really sure what to make of this roast when I read the recipe. My husband insisted that it sounded great. The results were fantastic!

What's Needed:
1 beef chuck roast (3-4 lbs)
1 large jar whole dill pickles, undrained

Place beef in Crockpot. Pour pickles with juice over top of beef. Cover; cook on LOW 8-10 hours.

You can then remove the beef and shred for sandwiches or cut into hunks and serve with mashed potatoes. The pickles (for me) were the best part--hot and steamy and very salty :)

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 8

Inspired by: Crockpot: The Original Slow Cooker 3 Books in 1

Friday, April 23, 2010

Japanese Beef Stew


This was the BEST stew I've ever made. It will be a definite repeat.

What's Needed:
2 T. vegetable oil
2 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 C. frozen carrots
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 white onion, peeled and chopped
1 C. water
2 C. white wine (one small bottle)--or 1/2 C. Japanese sake
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. soy sauce
1 tsp. salt

1. Heat oil in skillet until hot. Sear beef on all sides, turning as it browns. Transfer beef to crockpot. Add remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine.

2. Cover; cook on LOW 10-12 hours or HIGH 4-6 hours.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 7

Inspired by: Crockpot: The Original Slow Cooker

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pulled Pork


It's been so LONG since I've had a pulled pork sandwich. This recipe is awesome. Thinking of fiddling with this recipe so I can make some carnitas next time (yum!)

What's Needed
Water
1 boneless prok tenderloin roast (3-4 lbs)
Salt/black pepper to taste
1 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's (or your favorite BBQ sauce)
Hamburger buns

1. Put about 1 inche of water into the crockpot. Put the roast in crockpot. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; cook on LOW 8-10 hours.

2. Remove roast and let stand 15 minutes. Discard remaining liquid in crockpot. Shred cooked roast using two forks.

3. Return meat to crockpot. Add sauce and mix. Cover; cook on HIGH for 30 minutes. Serve on buns.

Husband's Grade: A
PointsPlus: 8 points for two sandwiches (with buns)

Inspired by: Crockpot: The Original Slow Cooker 3 Books in 1

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kitchen Sink Soup

As I was flipping through my many cookbooks, I came across a recipe that I really wanted to try. Unfortunately, I had only a few of the ingredients, so this is one of the first recipes I've done totally off the cuff! (Read--I'm very excited about this). This would also make a GREAT Lenten meal, for those that don't eat meat on Friday.

What's Needed:
1 can (15 oz) light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 oz) sliced stewed tomatoes
1 small onion
1 C. frozen carrots
1/2 bag frozen green beans
1 small bag of small red potatoes, cubed
2 tsp. sage
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
8 C. water
1/4 pound uncooked penne pasta
Parmesan cheese

1. Combine beans, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, leeks, carrot, green beans, sage, salt, and pepper in crockpot. Add water. Stir well to combine. Cover; cook on HIGH 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Turn crockpot to LOW. Cook covered 8 hours longer. Stir occasionally.

2. Turn crockpot to HIGH. Add pasta. Cover; cook 30 minutes or until pasta is done.

3. To serve, garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Makes 6 servings
Husband's Grade:B
WW Points:

Inspired by: Crockpot: The Original Slow Cooker

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wine-sauced chicken and veggies


I went on a playdate with Joey with some of my school friends today. By the time I got back, I could smell this before I walked in the door. There's nothing like being greeted with the smell of a home-cooked meal :)

What's Needed:
4 medium red-skinned potatoes, quartered
2 C. frozen carrots
1 small onion, sliced
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 T. snipped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can fat-free chicken broth
1 C. dry white wine
3 T. butter
3 T. all-purpose flour

1. Place potatoes, carrots, and onion in crockpot. Place chicken on vegetables. Sprinkle with parsley, salt, rosemary, thyme, pepper, and garlic; add chicken broth and wine.

2. Cover; cook on LOW for 8-9 hours or on HIGH for 4-4.5 hours.

3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and vegetables to a warm plate. Cover to keep chicken and vegetables warm.

4. For gravy: skim and discard fat from cooking juices; strain juices. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook for one minute. Add cooking juices. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more.

DH Rating: A-
PointsPlus: 10 for chicken, vegetables, and gravy

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Paella

This was very good--and very much a comfort food. If you're looking for something low in points, this is NOT the meal you are looking for.

What's Needed
1 T. olive oil
4 chicken breasts
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 C. Arborio rice
4 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. frozen peas, thawed

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken. Place in crockpot.

2. Add onions and cook until translucent. Stir in garlic, sausage, tomatoes, rice, and broth. Pour mixture over chicken.

3. Cover and cook on HIGH 3-4 hours. Remove chicken and fluff rice with fork. Stir in peas. Spoon rice onto plate with chicken.


Husband's Rating: B
PointsPlus 12

Inspired by: Crockpot: The Original Slow Cooker

Chicken 'Fettuccine'

I haven't posted in a while--we've been eating the frozen left-overs of my steady cooking. Good news is--they're just as good the second time around ;)

What's Needed:
1 T. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 C. cooked chicken, cut in strips
1 can condensed broccoli cheese soup
1 C. milk
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
3 C. hot cooked fettuccine

1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook garlic in butter 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Stir in chicken, soup, milk, and cheese. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. To serve, pour over fettuccine; toss to coat.

Husband's Rating: A
PointsPlus: 10 (1 1/4 C. serving)

Inspired by: Treasury of Campbell's Recipes

Saturday, March 20, 2010

French Country Soup

This was a wonderful dish. Serve with some dinner rolls or a nice baguette from the bakery :)

What's Needed:
2 14 oz. cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 C of frozen carrots
1 large onion, cut into wedges
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 can low-sodium chicken broth
1 can low-sodium beef broth
2 C. dry white wine
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Combine beans and meat in the crockpot. Add all other ingredients. Cover; cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours. Remove bay leaves before serving. Makes 6 servings

Husband Rating: A+
PointsPlus 5 points per serving

Inspired by:
Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes

Monday, March 15, 2010

Italian Chicken with Pasta

What's Needed:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 9-oz. package frozen green beans
1 small onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 14.5 oz. can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1 6 oz. can Italian-style tomato paste
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning, crushed
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. fettuccine, cooked and drained
3 T. grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cut chicken into 1-in. pieces; set aside.

2. Place green beans and onion in the crockpot. Place chicken on top of vegetables.

3. In small bowl, combine undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and garlic. Pour over chicken.

4. Cover; cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or on HIGH for 2.5-3 hours. Serve over hot cooked fettuccine. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Husband Rating: A
PointsPlus: 10 (1 chicken breast, 1.5 oz. fettuccine, and small ladle of sauce)

Inspired by:
Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mexican Steak

Yummy, yummy, yummy! And not too spicey--just the way I like it. If you like spice, I'd suggest adding more chili powder and cumin. If you have a craving for Mexican, but don't have enough points for the 'real' thing, this meal should definitely satisfy!

What's Needed:
1 1/2 lb. beef flank steak
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 med. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 small green, red, and/or yellow sweet peppers, cut into strips ( I used frozen pepper strips--turned out great!)
1 15 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups hot cooked rice

1. Trim fat from meat. Place meat in crockpot. In a bowl, stir together tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Pour over meat.

2. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-9 hours or on HIGH 3.5-4.5 hours.

3. If using LOW, turn to HIGH. Add sweet pepper strips and pinto beans. Cover and cook for 30 minutes more. Remove meat; cool slightly. Shred or thinly slice meat across the grain.

4. To serve, spoon rice into soup bowls. Arrange meat on rice. Spoon bean mixture over meat.

Husband Rating: B+
PointsPlus 9 (4 oz. steak, 1/2 C. rice, 1 small ladle of bean mixture)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet


Yummy! I made something similar--cassoulet sandwiches, which I'll be posting about later.

What's Needed:
1 1/2 C. frozen crinkle cut carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1/2 C. dry red wine
1/3 C. water
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
2 15-oz. cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
8 oz. fully cooked Polish sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1. Combine carrots, onion, tomato paste, wine, 1/3 C. water, garlic powder, thyme, salt, and bay leaves. Add beans. Place chicken on bean mixture. Place sausage on chicken.

2. Cover; cook on LOW for 5-7 or on HIGH for 2 1/2-3 1/2 hours. Before serving, discard bay leaves. Serve with thick bread.

Husband Rating: B
PointsPlus: 14 per serving (without bread)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mmmmm...meatloaf!


This was SO EASY!

What's Needed:
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
3/4 C. milk
2/3 C. fine dry bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
2 T. minced onion
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1/2 C. ketchup
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. Hickory Smoke BBQ sauce (any brand)

1. Combine beef, milk, bread crumbs, eggs, onion, salt, and sage in large bow. Shape into ball and place in crockpot. Cover; cook on LOW for 5-6 hours.

2. Fifteen minutes before serving, combine ketchup, brown sugar, and BBQ sauce in small bowl. Pour over meatloaf. Cover; cook on HIGH 15 minutes. Serves 6. (Suggestion: Serve with mashed or baked potatoes).

Husband Rating: A+
PointsPlus: 7 per serving

Inspired by:
Home-Tested Recipe Collection

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chicken Parmesan

I decided I had the time and the energy to make a meal on the stovetop :)



What's Needed:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten
1/2 C. dry bread crumbs (Italian style work best)
2 T. butter
1 medium tomato, sliced
1 T. Parmesan cheese
1 C. Mozzerella cheese
Spaghetti and spaghetti sauce (any brand) as a side

1. Dip each chicken breast into egg; coat with bread crumbs

2. Put butter into a large skillet on medium-high heat. Wait to add chicken until butter is melted.

3. Add chicken. Cook chicken 10 minutes on both sides. Place chken on a baking pan. Add mozzerella cheese to each chicken breast. Top that with one tomato slice. Sprinkle the top of the tomato with parmesan cheese.

4. Position baking pan in broiler so top of chicken is 6 inches from heat. Broil 5 minutes or until topping is hot and bubling.

5. Place chicken on top of a bed of spaghetti topped with sauce. Serves 4.

Husband Rating: B- (He's not a fan of chicken parmesan)
PointsPlus: 8 for the chicken, 6 for the spaghetti and sauce

Monday, March 1, 2010

Subs? In a Crockpot???

That's what the recipe said. My husband likened it to beef stew in sandwich form. It was still mighty tastey :)

What's needed:
1 T. vegetable oil
1 lb. boneless beef round steak, cut into thin strips
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage (I used mild)
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
salt
black pepper
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
Sub sandwich rolls from the bakery

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown steak on both sides. Drain and discard fat. Place meat in crockpot.

2. In same skillet, cook Italian sausage, stirring to break up. Cook until no longer pink. Drain and discard fat. Add sausage to crockpot.

3. Place bell pepper and onion over meat in crockpot. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Top with spaghetti sauce. Cover; cook on LOW 4-6 hours. Serve mixture on bread.

Husband Rating: A
PointsPlus: 14 for 1 roll and 1/6 of the meat mixture

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Tale of Two Casseroles

I like to call this "Italian Shepherd's Pie". I've made several versions of this casserole--one that Joe, my husband, adores, and the other is my personal favorite. The recipes, both with slight changes, are included below.

Version A (a.k.a. My Favorite)


What's Needed:
3/4 C. Mozzerella cheese
2 C. mashed potatoes, refrigerated mashed potatos, or made from potato flakes
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 C. chopped onion
2 C. bell pepper
1 14.5 oz. can of Italian Stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1/4 tsp. pepper
Paprika

1. Stir 1/2 C. cheese into potatoes; set aside.

2. In a large skillet, add onion, bell pepper. Cook until tender. Add ground beef, undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, and pepper. Bring to boiling. Transfer mixture into a 2 qt. casserole dish.

3. Spoon mashed potato in mounds on top of ground beef mixture, the spread to cover. Sprinkle the top with the remianing cheese and paprka.

4. Bake in a 375 oven for 30 minutes or until mashed potato top is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Husband Rating: C
PointsPlus: 7 per serving (cut into 6 pieces prior to serving)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Version B (a.k.a. Joe's favorite)--Changes are indicated in bold


What's Needed:
3/4 C. Mozzerella cheese
2 C. mashed potatoes, refrigerated mashed potatos, or made from potato flakes
3/4 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1/4 lb. sweet Italian sausage, browned and drained
1/2 C. chopped onion
2 C. green beans (or peas)
1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1/4 tsp. pepper
Paprika

Follow the same directions as above, substituting ingredients as needed.

Husband Rating: A
PointsPlus 8 per serving

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chicken with Peas, Prosciutto and Cream


A crockpot recipe in three parts. Luckily, the other two parts don't take a whole lot of time, so this could easily be done on a workday. It was absolutely delicious!

What's Needed:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and black pepper, to taste
5 oz. prosciutto, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 C. dry white wine
1 package (10 oz) frozen peas
1/2 C. heavy cream
1 1/2 T. cornstarch
2 T. water
4 C. farfalle (bowtie) pasta, cooked al dente

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place in crockpot with prosciutto, onion, and wine. Cover; cook on HIGH 3 1/2 to 4 hours or on LOW 8 to 10 hours, until chicken is no longer pink in center.

2. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add frozen peas and heavy cream to crockpot.

3. Remove chicken. Carve meat and set aside.

4. Combine cornstarch and water. Add to crockpot. Cover; cook on HIGH 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened.

5. Put pasta on plates. Place chicken on top of pasta. Top with sauce.

Husband Rating: A+

PointsPlus: 12 for 3/4 C. pasta, 1/2 chicken breast, and sauce.

Inspired by:
Crockpot: The Original Slow Cooker
Chicken Cookbook

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chicken Stew with Herb Dumplings


This was very yummy, but something I would only make on the weekend. There were several steps to this crockpot meal, but it turned out DELISH! (I'm trying to start including pictures of the final result. My first attempt at food photography was not that great--please excuse the bad picture)

What's needed:
2 cans (14 oz. each) chicken broth, divided
2 C. sliced carrots
1 C. chopped onion
1 large green bell pepper, sliced
2/3 C. all-purpose flour
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces.
1 large potato, unpeeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 C. frozen peas
1 tsp. dried basil
3/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black papper
1/4 C. whipping cream

For the herb dumplings
1 C. Bisquick
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/8 tsp. dried tarragon
1/3 C. milk

1. Reserve 1 C. chicken broth. Combine carrots, onion, bell pepper, and remaining chicken broth in crockpot. Cover; cook on LOW for 2 hours.

2. In a medium bow, stir 1 C. broth into flour until smooth. Stir this into the crockpot. Add chicken, potato, peas, 1 tsp. basil, 3/4 tsp. rosemary, and 1/4 tsp. tarragon. Cover; cook 4 hours or until veggies and chicken are tender. Stir in salt, black pepper, and cream.

3. To make the biscuits, combine Bisquick, 1/4 tsp. basil, 1/4 tsp. rosemary, and 1/8 tsp. tarragon in a small bowl. Stir in milk to form a soft dough. Using an ice-cream scoop, spoon dumpling mixture on top of stew.

4. Cook, uncovered, 30 minutes. Cover; cook 30-45 minutes or until dumplings are firm and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serves 4.

Husband Rating: A-

PointsPlus: 10 for one big dumpling and 3/4-1 C. of soup

Inspired by:
Crock-Pot: The Original Slow Cooker
Chicken