Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Crock Pot Chicken Soup

Simple. Super yummy. A new family favorite.

Crock Pot Chicken Soup:

2 onions, chopped
2-3 carrots, cleaned and sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
3 TBSP parsley
1 2-3 pound fryer chicken, cleaned
4 cups of water

Put all ingredients in Crock Pot in the order listed above. Cook on low for 8-10 hours (or high for 4-6). One hour prior to serving, remove chicken from Crock Pot and let cool slightly. Remove skin and discard and pull meat from carcass and return to Crock Pot. Serve hot with garlic bread and a salad.


Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Back when we lived in Boise, one of my favorite restaurants was this Thai place called (appropriately) "Thai Cuisine" lol. They have this coconut soup that I absolutely love, but I have never even considered trying it because it has ingredients like lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal. Not only would I not know where to find these ingredients here, I never would even try because I'd only use them for this one soup. So I've just been going without. Until last night. I saw someone using regular similarly-flavored ingredients in another Asian soup and I was like, "Hey, I could do that!" So I came up with the following, which was surprisingly CLOSE. It wasn't exactly the same, but the whole family loved it nonetheless and I will just keep working on the flavor balance to make it perfect.

Coconut Chicken Soup:

2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut-up into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chicken stock (I used homemade)
2 cups coconut milk
1 onion, cut in half and sliced into strips
3 cups button mushrooms, quartered
8 slices fresh ginger, peeled
1 tablespoon chili paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
juice of 1 lemon
olive oil

1) Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a soup pot, heat over medium heat. Add the onions and cook about 2-3 minutes.
2) Add the stock, coconut milk, mushrooms, ginger, chili paste, basil and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.
3) Add the chicken and simmer another 5 minutes.
4) Add the lemon juice and serve hot.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: September 28th

Last week was kind of a crazy week and this one will be too as we continue to pack and organize things so we can go home. But here is part of a menu this week. I still need a few days, but we will probably end up eating out one day and maybe getting simple deli foods (salads, etc) another day.

Grilled Burgers, oven fries, mixed veggies

Chicken Milan, garlic pita chips, steamed broccoli

Grilled Chicken, Baked Beans, side salad, Garlic bread

Mushroom Cream Pasta, steamed artichokes with butter and mayo

For more meal ideas, check out Orgjunkie's Menu Plan Monday page.

Mushroom Cream Pasta

This recipe was inspired by Macaroni Grill's Mushroom Ravioli. That was the best sauce I've ever had and I set about to recreating the flavor. I didn't measure anything, so I'll just go through the process. All measurements are eyeballed.

Mushroom Cream Pasta:

Start with:
6 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced

In a little bit of olive oil, over medium-low heat, add the onions and saute until softened (5-7 minutes), add the mushrooms and cook until softened and then add the garlic and cook for 4 minutes, stirring often. Set mixture aside.

In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk together. Allow the flour to cook until golden brown, then slowly add in whole milk, whisking each 1/2 cup until the sauce has thickened. I add about 1/2 cup at a time until about 2 cups total have been added. I also added 1/2 cup chicken broth with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar mixed into it during the thickening process.

Once the sauce has been thickened, add, to taste, about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the cinnamon slowly, but it is the key to the awesome flavor. Once the sauce is a sweetly savory yumminess, add the vegetable mixture back into the sauce and heat through. Add about 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan to the sauce and stir until it melts.

I served this over whole wheat spiral pasta, but my husband and I agreed it would have been perfect over linguine. Sprinkle some fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top and enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: September 14th

Because I am going back to the States soon (and without my laptop) I plan to post many of our family favorite recipes in a hurry so I have access to them back home.

For now, here's our plan this week:

Shrimp Tacos with lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, onions, and sour cream
-I tossed the shrimp in a bowl with lime juice, a dash of salt, and some garlic powder them sauteed them in a little EVOO over medium-high heat for a few minutes. When they were sauteeing, I sprinkled them with a good amount of chili powder. That was it. Assemble them with the garnishes and enjoy. HUGE family favorite last night!

Easy Chicken Stuffing Bake

Swanson Pan-Sauteed Chicken with Vegetables and Herbs with steamed jasmine rice

Bean and Cheese Burritos with salsa and lettuce

Baked Chicken with Pea Salad

For more menu ideas, check out Orgjunkie's website.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: September 7th

Here's what we're having this week:

Apple Chicken Quesadillas with lettuce, salsa, and sour cream

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with homemade egg noodles, garlic toasts, and side salad

Shredded Chicken Burritos garnished with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and salsa

Funky Chicken with Sesame Noodles and steamed broccoli

Meat Loaf, Au Gratin Potatoes, steamed broccoli, and corn bread

Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti with garlic bread and a side salad

For more menu ideas, check out Orgjunkie.com.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: August 31st (and Crab Dip recipe)

This week for lunch I am making Chimichangas with guacamole for me and Egg Salad for Stu to take to work. Here are our dinners:

Barbecue Chicken Burritos, fries, and steamed mixed vegetables

Chicken Milan, buttered noodles, and steamed broccoli

Crab Rangoon searved with sweet and sour sauce, fried rice

Broccoli Soup with dinner rolls and Ritz crackers

I will also be making this Crab Dip with the leftover crab:

1 package of cream cheese
4 oz. imitation crab meat, flaked
1/4 cup favorite salsa

Roughly chop the crab and then mix with the cream cheese and salsa. Serve with Wheat Thins. So yummy!

For more menu ideas, visit Orgjunkie.com.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: August 24th

I'm back after two weeks in North Carolina on vacation and I have to say: It's nice to get back into the meal planning and cooking thing. I've just started posting my meal plans a few weeks ago, but I've been meal planning for over a year now. I don't know what we ever ate before that!

So, here's what we're having this week:

Pita pizzas with salad/ sliced fresh tomatoes

Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Cream Sauce, steamed white rice, and a salad

Baked Chimichangas on a bed of chopped lettuce, steamed rice, steamed mixed veggies
(for the chimichangas, I'm using the linked recipe, but instead of frying them, I now brush them lightly with veg. oil and bake them on a cookie sheet, turning once, at 400 for 20 minutes or until golden brown. My husband and I both agree they're even better this way, and it saves tons of empty calories by not frying them.)

Taco Soup with Ritz crackers

Cheeseburger Pie and steamed broccoli

For more menu planning ideas, check out Organizing Junkie.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: July 27th

Here is our menu this week! Don't forget to check out Orgjunkie's page for lots and lots of menu idea for this week.

(Also, in case you're wondering why there are only 5 meals every week, it's because I only plan the 5 week night meals. On our Friday we typically go out to eat or order in, and the "odd" day we'll grill out with friends or make something simple and easy.)

Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Cream Sauce, steamed rice, salad with tomatoes and olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Shredded Chicken Burritos, oven fries and mixed veggies
Pan-sauteed Chicken with Spinach/Tomato mixture (see recipe below), and garlic bread
Crepes filled with sweetened cream cheese, scrambled eggs, and homemade strawberry reduction sauce(and a squirt of whipped cream :))
Hamburgers on the grill garnished with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and cheese, oven fries and steamed mixed veggies

Pan-Sauteed Chicken with Spinach and Tomato Mixture:

2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp each dried basil, dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Put everything except oil into a large ziplock, shake well to coat chicken. Saute over medium heat for 7-9 minutes or until no longer pink inside, turning once. Set aside.

For the "sauce":

either 10 ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained, or 1 pound of fresh baby spinach, stems removed and chopped
12 grape tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup slices green onions
1/2 teaspoon each, salt and garlic powder
olive oil

If using fresh spinach, saute in oil until wilted. Add the tomatoes and green onions and cook until tender. Add the salt and garlic powder and stir to combine.

If you'd like, you can add your favorite flavor of feta to the mixture for a yummy change (we do this about half of the time)

Spoon a bed of the spinach/tomato mixture onto a place and top with the cooked chicken.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: July 20th

Ok, if you haven't discovered THIS site yet, check it out. This woman is fabulous and I've stolen both her organizing tips AND used this Menu Plan Monday linky to get ideas for my weekly meal plans for months now. So it is time to share the wealth! This is my first time of participating and I hope I can remember to post this weekly.

So here is our menu for this week:

Pigs in a Blanket with salad
Taco Soup (from freezer) with Rita crackers and salad
Spaghetti (sauce from freezer) with broccoli and garlic bread
Pan-sauteed marinated chicken breasts with simple buttered noodles and frozen mixed veggies
Shredded Chicken and Carmelized onion Quesadillas with carrots and dip and watermelon

Hopefully I'll see you again next week! Haha

Go check out other menu ideas at OrgJunkie's site!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Crab, Onion, and Swiss Omelet

This is a fast breakfast recipe. I am always on the look-out for something other than cereal for breakfast that doesn't take much prep work or time. This one was a nice, tasty alternative to boring cereal or eggs and toast.

Crab, Onion, and Swiss Omelet:

1/2 cup diced imitation crab or lump crab meat, picked free of shells
2 Tablespoons minced onion
1 slice Swiss cheese
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons water
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon olive oil

1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Saute the onions in the oil for about 30 seconds then add the crab meat.
2. Cook crab until heated through, then transfer from pan into a small bowl, set aside.
3. Return pan to the heat. Beat the eggs and water, seasoning with salt and pepper and add to skillet.
4. Rotate the pan in a circle over the heat so that the eggs stick to the upper edges of the pan.
5. When eggs are set, place the slice of cheese on one side of the skillet and then layer the crab/onion mixture on top of the cheese, spreading it out so it covers one half of the eggs.
6. Fold half of the eggs over onto it's self, covering the ingredients.
7. Slide omelet out of pan onto a plate and serve hot.

This is great with avocado slices as a garnish on top of the omelet. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Crock Pot Taco Soup

I adapted this recipe because I couldn't find some of the ingredients here. It turned out wonderful. I especially liked it with Ritz crackers dipped into it. Super easy to make.

Crock Pot Taco Soup:

1 lb. shredded chicken (I used the leftover chicken from the double batch I made for the enchiladas)
1 can pinto beans
1 can white beans
1 can corn
1 can tomato and chilies
2 can diced tomatoes (or one large can)
1 TBSP green chili paste
1 envelope of taco seasoning
1/2 bottle of your favorite Ranch dressing (I used Delightfully Light)

1) Add all ingredients to Crock Pot (for the cans of beans and corn I drained the liquid and then filled them back up with water, but you can just dump them in). Stir to combine well.
2) Cook on low for 4 hours.

Garnish with sour cream and cheddar cheese if desired. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, or drain some of the liquid off and eat it inside of a tortilla.


Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Cream Sauce

I invented these the other night because I really really wanted enchiladas, but finding enchilada sauce here is pretty difficult. These were a big hit with the whole family (even the 1-year-old!) and we will definitely have them again soon. Sorry I didn't get a picture. They wen't too fast for me to even think about it!

Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Cream Sauce:

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cups chicken broth, divided
salt and pepper
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP green chili paste
1/2 tsp. chili powder (optional, don't use if you want a more mild flavor)
1/2 cup salsa (whatever your favorite happens to be)
16 small tortillas (corn or flour, whichever you prefer) <---I used flour
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
1 cup of whole milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 TBSP chili paste

1) I learned this nifty trick: Place the chicken breasts in a slow-cooker with 2 cups of chicken broth and a little salt and pepper on each breast. Cook on low for 5-6 hours, then remove and shred with two forks. You can use this methods for any recipe that calls for shredded chicken. I love it (the chicken is so tender and flavorful) and I usually make a double batch so I have enough for a whole other meal.
2) Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat and cook the onions for about 5 minutes (until translucent, but not brown), add the garlic and chili paste and cook additional 2 minutes. Let cool.
3) In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken, 1 cup of the cheese, the onion mixture, and salsa and combine.
4) In a shallow dish, heat the remaining chicken broth in the microwave until warm (not too hot).
5) Dip one tortilla in the broth on both sides and then place a line of the chicken mixture down the center. Roll and place seam-side down in a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray.

For the Sauce:
1) Heat the butter over medium heat and add the flour, wisk together. Allow flour to cook for about 1 minute and then slowly add the milk and chicken broth a little at a tine, wisking constantly. Allow to thicken then add chili paste.
2) Pour over enchiladas in dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
3) Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and enchiladas are heated through.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cream Dried Beef on Toast (aka Chipped Beef on Toast, or Shit on a Shingle)

When I was little, my Mom used to make this for breakfast every year on Easter. I would get so excited to get the egg hunt over with so that we could eat! I couldn't get ahold of my Mom for her recipe, so I had to improvise it on my own. I thought it tasted almost exactly the same, so I guess I got it close enough. This was a HUGE hit with my boys. My husband said, "Oh, yum!" FOUR times during the course of his meal and my monkey ate almost all of his. Enjoy!

Cream Dried Beef on Toast:

1 jar dried beef, rinsed and diced
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 cup butter (you can use a butter substitute, I did)
1/4 cup flour
approx. 6 cups of skim milk
1 cup whole milk (to make it creamier)
salt and pepper to taste

1) Melt butter in a large sauce pan over low-medium heat. Wisk in the flour and let it cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly (if your roux constantly tastes gritty or like flour, you're not letting your flour cook long enough).

2) Slowly add in the milk, a little at a time, stirring very often until thickened. Allow the sauec to thicken before pouring all of it in. You may need more of less than recipe calls for, depending on thickening.

3) Add in the dried beef and allow flavors to combine for about 5 minutes over low heat, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4) Add eggs and cook additional 3-4 minutes, allowing flavors to combine.

Serve over toasted bread. Enjoy!

Sydney's Bruschetta

We just got back from Italy last week and while we were there, we fell absolutely in love with the bruschetta. In the UAE, we cannot compare with the quality and freshness of the ingredients we found in Rome's food, but I wanted an easy and still tasty way to make this appetizer. What I came up with was definitely good. Using as many fresh ingredients as possible is the key to making this dish perfect.

Sydney's Bruschetta:

3 vine-ripe tomatoes (the fresher, the better)
Good quality olive oil
1 teaspoon good Balsamic vinegar
salt, pepper, and basil to taste
fresh, crusty bread, thickly sliced

Seed and chop tomatoes. In a bowl, combine tomatoes with vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add basil to taste. Do not go overboard on the spices, let the tomatoes be the star.

Toast bread and then drizzle with plenty of GOOD olive oil. Spoon the tomato mixture onto the bread and heat under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately.

Monday, April 6, 2009

White Chicken Chili

Ok, so I am not normally a chili fan, but my husband is, so I feel bad if I don't cater meals to him sometimes. Luckily, I found (and changed, of course) this recipe so that it is now a family favorite. It is a Crock Pot recipe (so I love it), it has shredded chicken (so Kaden loves it) and it is spicy and beany enough that Stu loves it too. We all ate the leftovers for lunches and cleaned our bowls every time. Give it a try!

White Chicken Chili:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cans of Great Northern Beans (white beans)
2 cups of chicken broth (low sodium works)
1 cup chopped white onion
2 cans chopped green chilies (I couldn't find any here so I just used a few teaspoons of the paste)
red pepper flakes to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream
Shredded Cheddar cheese

1) Place the chicken and chicken broth in the Crock Pot and cook for 5 hours on low.
2) Shred the chicken with two forks in the Crock Pot. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 2 more hours or until the onions are softened.
3)Serve with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese. We also got out the tortilla chips the next day for lunches and they were awesome too!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pita Pizzas

Pita Pizzas:

As soon as we made these they became a new family favorite! I just spread a pita with a mixture of fat-free cream cheese and light Ranch dressing and then we topped it with our favorite ingredients (Mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, onions, turkey, etc.).

Bake in a 400 degree oven until the pita is crisp, about 10 minutes. So yummy!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spinach, Tomato, and Feta Linguini

As I mentioned, Stu has been wanting us to eat healthier again, so this week I made my weekly menu with only vegetarian main courses. We will see if we stick to it or not, but last night's dinner was a HUGE hit! Kaden and Stu both had it for lunch today too.

Spinach, Tomato, and Feta Linguini:

6 ounces of Linguini
2 cups seeded and chopped cherry tomatoes
1 package of Organic frozen spinach (10 oz.) (thawed and squeezed)
1 cup chopped green onions (white and green parts)
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese (you can use your favorite of the flavored variety if you'd like)

1) Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until done.
2) Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach, tomatoes and green onions and saute until soft.
3) Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder, stir in the feta cheese.
4) Heat, stirring until warmed and cheese is melting.
5) Toss with the pasta and serve immediately.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vegetarian Avocado Burritos

The hubby and I go back on forth on health kicks. This time it was him (I was content to just sit there and eat a tube of cookie dough). So I invented this meatless recipe since we LOVE both avocados and Mexican food. Perfect combo. Even my 20-month-old loved this recipe!

Vegetarian Avocado Burritos:

2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp lime juice (I didn't have fresh so I just used the fake stuff)
6 flour or corn tortillas

Sour Cream
Shredded Cheddar cheese
chopped tomato
shredded lettuce

1) Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined.
2) Warm tortillas if desired and spread with avocado mixture, then top with your favorite garnishes. We used all of the one mentioned above.

If you like beans, this would be a good way to add some protein to this meal. I ate these by themselves for lunch, but with some Mexican rice, this could definitely be a whole meal. I was surprised how satisfied I felt. Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Creamy Cheese and Onion Grits

These were awesome. If you like grits, give this recipe a try! :) This is only for one person since I was having dinner alone.

Creamy Cheese and Onion Grits:

1 cup of milk (I used fat free)
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon of butter
3 Tablespoons of uncooked grits
2 Tablespoons of grated cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons of chopped green onion

1) Bring the milk, salt, and butter to a simmer SLOWLY, being careful not to scald the milk.
2) Stir in the grits and gently simmer on low for 10-15 minutes or until thickened and cooked.
3) Stir in the green onions and turn off heat. Add cheese and stir to combine.

I served it with scrambled eggs. My son kept asking for bites. It was very good and simple to make. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Biscuits with Apple Topping

I wanted to make a dessert that wasn't too heavy or sweet, so I thought this recipe worked perfectly! It ended up being AWESOME and the apples could even be used as Apple Pie filling. The whole family loved this one! I didn't even have a chance to take a picture of it before it was half-devoured! :)

Biscuits with Apple Topping:

3 cups of thinly spiced apples, peeled
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
splash of Almond extract
1 can Biscuits
1) In a saucepan (no heat), stir together all ingredients except biscuits. Let sit for 15 minutes.

2) Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until apples are tender.
3) Transfer apple mixture to a 9-inch pie plate, spread out evenly. Top with biscuits and bake in a 375-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown on top.

4) Turn them upside down onto a serving dish and serve warm.

Monday, February 9, 2009

French Onion Salisbury Steak

No longer merely a nasty TV dinner, this adapted Salisbury Steak recipe was an instant hit at our house and will definitely make its way into our usual meal rotation. Enjoy!

(This recipe has been made Muslim-friendly with the omission (with substitution) of pork and alcohol... Enjoy! :))

French Onion Salisbury Steak:

1 pound of ground beef
1/4 cup fresh minced parsley
2 Tablespoons minced white onion (or chopped scallions)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cups sliced onions
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cheese Toasts (recipe to follow)

1) Combine ground beef, parsley, onions, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well with hands. Shape into balls and flatten into patties (as many or as few as you prefer).
2) Place 2 Tablespoons of flour in a shallow dish and dredge patties. (Reserve the other tablespoon of flour for later).
3) Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add patties and cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until browned. Remove from pan.
4) Add the onions and sugar to the pan and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste. Saute for 1 minute. Sprinkle remaining flour over the onions and then cook 1 minute. Stir in broth and vinegar and then add salt to taste (about half a teaspoon).
5) Return the meat to the pan and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover, simmering for 10 minutes.
6) Serve on Cheese toasts with soup ladled over the meat. Garnish with cheese and parsley if desired.

Cheese Toasts:

6-10 slices of a baguette, sliced diagonally, about 1/2 inch thick.
Butter or margarine
garlic powder
1/4 cup Swiss cheese, grated
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1) Preheat oven to 400 (F) (200 C).
2) Lightly butter bread slices on one side and place butter-side up on a baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle each slice with garlic powder and top with cheese.
3) Bake until toasts are crisp, about 8-10 minutes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sydney's Fabulous Nachos

Nachos are such an easy and yummy food. So we decided to make them "dinner" tonight. Here is my adaptation of Nachos:

Sydney's Nachos:

1 lb. good pork sausage
1 bag of your favorite tortilla chips
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
Garnishes of your choice (guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, etc)

1) In a medium skillet, cook the sausage with the garlic over medium heat. Add the seasonings and cook well. Drain on paper towels.

2) Arrange a layer of chips on a baking sheet and top with sausage, cheese, and onion. Add another layer of chips and repeat.

3) Bake in a 450 (F) oven for 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with any toppings you like.


Baked Potato Soup

Last night I made this hearty soup and it was a family hit. My son absolutely loved it and the hubby and I ate ever bite in our bowls (Stu even went back for seconds). Here it is:

Baked Potato Soup:

4-5 medium-sized baking potatoes
2/3 cup butter
(I used low-fat spread… it works just fine)
2/3 cup flour

6 cups low-fat
A few shakes of garlic powder
Salt and pepper
1 cup reduced fat
sour cream
green onions, chopped
8 slices
bacon, cooked till crisp and crumbled (low sodium J)
1 1/2 cups
sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1) Preheat oven to 350F and bake the potatoes until fork tender, about 1 hour. (I did the potatoes in the late morning and let them cool so they were easy to handle by the time I was ready to start dinner.)
2) Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Slowly blend in the flour with a whisk until thoroughly blended. Cook the roux until a very pale golden.
3) Gradually add milk the milk, letting it thicken. Add garlic powder and season with salt and pepper to taste, whisking constantly.
4) Cut potatoes in half, scoop out the interior and set aside.
5) Chop up half the potato peels and discard the remainder.
6) When milk mixture is very hot, whisk in potato.
7) Add green onion and potato peels. Whisk well, and then add the sour cream and bacon.
8) Add cheese a little at a time, whisking until all is melted.

I served this with buttered rolls and a side salad. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mandarin Orange Muffins

In the ongoing search to find healthy snacks for my 18-month-old, I stumbled across this recipe. It has been adapted to be healthier and ended up pretty good. Great option for kids and it is sweet enough to feel like a treat, but healthy enough to keep Mom happy! :) Enjoy!

Mandarin Orange Muffins:

3/4 cup chopped mandarin oranges (we buy fresh by the case at a local market, so I used fresh. Canned would work fine too though)

1-1/2 cups flour (use whole wheat to make it healthier)

1-3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup of sugar

1/3 cup applesauce (this was instead of the shortening the recipe called for)

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/3 cup fat free milk


1) Preheat oven to 350 (F). Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray.

2) In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk them together. Add applesauce and whisk until little balls form.

3) In a small bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. Pour into middle of flour and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.

4) Fold in oranges. Pour into muffin pan, filled about 3/4 full in each cup.

5) Bake 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Freezes well.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Counting Calories: Week 2

So this week I feel like I did pretty well again. I lost another kilo, or 2.2 pounds and I still haven’t had any real cravings that I felt like I couldn’t control easily. I found out this week that the two best ways for me to fight cravings are first to try brushing my teeth. My son loves to brush his teeth every time we pass by the bathroom, so I find myself taking advantage of this by brushing mine 3-4 times per day too. If I am craving something sweet particularly, this is a great method.
The other thing I try is drinking a full glass of cold water (not so I get a headache!). A lot of the time I think I feel hungry, I really am just thirsty, and the cold water is so much more satisfying for me than luke warm water.

Anyway, here is what I ate this week. My meals have been pretty boring and repetitive, so don’t expect any fabulous gems in there:

Sunday: (total calories: 875)
Breakfast: tea with honey, a poached egg on toast
Lunch: Salad with turkey, tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese, and light italian dressing and a handful of tortilla chips.
Dinner: Soy Balsamic Chicken, fresh green beans, 1/2 baked potato, and a dinner roll
Snack: Popcorn and a packet of Fun Dip (you know, the sugar that you eat with a stick!)

Monday: (total calories: 1,242)
Breakfast: Mini Fritattas, tea with honey
Lunch: Salad with tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and a turkey and avocado sandwich
Dinner: Ground Beef Stroganoff, dinner roll, salad with balsamic vinegar

Tuesday: (total calories: 1,414)
Breakfast: tea with honey, Total cereal with milk
Lunch: Lipton Cream of Chicken Soup packet, turkey and avocado sandwich
Dinner: Tuna Macaroni and Cheese and a dinner roll

Wednesday: (total calories: 1,296)
Breakfast: tea with honey, cereal and milk
Lunch: Turkey and avocado sandwich
Dinner: Barbeque chicken burritos, french fries
Snack: popcorn

Thursday: (total calories: 1,498)
Breakfast: tea with honey, egg sandwich
Lunch: Turkey and avocado sandwich, a mandarin orange, Lipton cup-a-soup, and some prepared, but not cooked blueberry muffin mix (yep!)
Dinner: Chili's Crispy Chicken Salad, Pepsi, Spinach and Artichoke dip and tortilla chips

Friday: (total calories: 1,213)
Breakfast: tea with honey, Total cereal and milk
Lunch: leftover tortilla chips and spinach dip, a lettuce wrap with turkey and feta cheese, and a pita with garlic paste
Dinner: Breakfast! Pancakes and scrambled eggs
Snack: Popcorn

Saturday: (total calories: 1,157)
Breakfast: tea with honey, cereal and milk
Lunch: turkey sandiwich
Dinner: Hamburger with avocado, French Fries and tomato slices on the side.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Soy Balsamic Chicken

The best thing about this recipe is how easy it is to make! We had this last night and it was a HUGE hit! It is super low in calories and fat and was sooo tasty. We ate it with baked potatoes and fresh green beans from the market. YUM!

Soy Balsamic Chicken:

1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


1) Mix together the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until the sugar is dissolved.
2) Put cleaned and dry chicken in a large sealable plastic bag, add the soy mixture, force out excess air and leave to marinate for up to 24 hours.
3) Preheat oven to 425F. Transfer chicken and marinade to a large shallow baking pan (do not crowd chicken) then roast in middle of oven until chicken is cooked through for about 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts.
4) Skim the pan juices and reduce on the stove until about 1/4 cup is left (about 4 minutes). Spoon over the chicken and serve.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Counting Calories: Week 1

With the start of the new year, I decided, like thousands of other people, to try to lose a few pounds and get into better shape. Since I am not making fat-filled yummy delights, I figured I might as well post what I AM eating, in case I can help someone else to lose a little weight too.

My plan is to eat between 1,200 and 1,550 calories per day. I am not currently following an exercise regimen since it is usually the first thing to derail my diet. So I decided to get myself into the habit of healthy, low-cal eating first, THEN work on adding in some exercise.

This first week I lost 3 pounds... here is what I ate:

Sunday: (total calories: 1,546) This was our Anniversary and Stu made breakfast AND we went out to eat at dinner. I had to be very careful about what I chose at dinner to make sure not to go over.
Breakfast: 1 slices French toast, light syrup, tea with honey.
Lunch: Turkey, Swiss, and avocado sandwich, lightly spread mayo, 2 slices of an apple, and a fresh mandarin orange.
Dinner: Pulgogi and rice at a Korean Restaurant and a Pepsi.

Monday: (total calories: 1,693) I went over this day. I found that I was too hungry to not have a snack between lunch and dinner and then our dinner was pretty high calorie and then we decided to have some champagne.
Breakfast: tea with honey, 1 egg scrambled with cooking spray and a half an English muffin.
Lunch: Cream of chicken Cup-A-Soup and 10 Ritz crackers.
Dinner: Stu's fabulous burgers with cheddar cheese, avocado, tomato, lettuce, and ketchup, and French fries. Snacks: popcorn, tortilla chips with avocado, and a half of a pita spread with peanut butter and honey. Champagne for dessert.

Tuesday: (total calories: 1,188) I guess I tried to make up for yesterday by eating under the calories I should. This is not a good idea and will make you more weak and irritable than thin and healthy.
Breakfast: tea with sugar, one poached egg on toast with margarine, and a half of a banana.
Lunch: soup and crackers (same as yesterday)
1st Snack: half a pita with mayo and ham
Dinner: Light beef and broccoli over brown rice. 2 Sugar cookies for dessert.
2nd Snack: Popcorn

Wednesday: (total calories: 1,228)
Breakfast: tea with sugar and 2 mini frittatas
Lunch: Cup-A-Soup, an apple, 2 slices of deli turkey, a piece of Arabic bread and garlic paste.
Dinner: Homemade bean and brown rice burritos, garnished with lettuce, tomato, and avocado.
Snack: popcorn and 2 sugar cookies

Thursday: (total calories: 1,495)
Breakfast: Fruit N Fiber cereal with milk, tea and honey
Lunch: Arabic bread and garlic paste, an apple with cheddar cheese, a handful of tortilla chips.
Dinner: Dinner at Chili's: 1/3 an order of the Crispy Chicken salad with oriental dressing and about ten chips with 2 Tablespoons of spinach and artichoke dip.

Friday: (total calories: 1,482) This was the day we had to do a border run to get new visa stamps, so we ate out for lunch at KFC.
Breakfast: tea with honey, 2 mini fritattas, 1 slice of bread with margarine
Lunch: Fish sandwich with tartar sauce, a few bites of a rice bowl, and a small diet Pepsi.
Dinner: Grilled pork chop and a slice of garlic bread.

Saturday: (total calories: 1,326)
Breakfast: Fruit N Fiber cereal with milk
Snack: A Grande non-fat mocha from Starbucks.
Lunch: Turkey and avocado sandwich with mayo and a cup of Cranberry Juice.
Dinner: Grilled Cheese sandwich, tomato basil soup
Snack # 2: popcorn

I hope everyone else's diets are going well for them! Good luck!