Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

After buying seriously over 20 little boxes of pudding mix packages, for some reason, I felt like I needed to make home-made pudding last night. :) Don't ask me why I do that... I guess just to make sure it can be done? Believe me folks... it can!!! I found this recipe here and it was totally delicious! So rich and creamy. (Almost too rich- you can only have a little.) But it was so easy to make, I think I'm going to cut back on buying the little packages. This tasted better and I know what is going into it... pure chocolate goodness! :)

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

  • 6 tablespoons sugar (I use splenda)
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch (slightly heaping)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa (heaping)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups milk (I use 1%)
  1. Combine all dry ingredients until all lumps are gone and blended well.
  2. Add milk and place on burner turned to high -- stir constantly until desired thickness.
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla, stir well and serve.enjoy.
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Whole Wheat Pasta with Spinach & Ricotta

I tried out this new pasta I found on Kraft Foods. I thought it was good, but I have to admit, I struggle with uncooked spinach. I know it sounds silly, but I might just "bake" it and turn it into something more like manacotti. Not one of my favorites, but you just have to keep trying, right? :)

Whole Wheat Pasta with Spinach & Ricotta

12 oz. pasta, uncooked
1 container (15 oz.) POLLY-O Original Ricotta Cheese
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp. black pepper

COOK pasta as directed on package.

MEANWHILE, combine all remaining ingredients in large bowl.

DRAIN pasta. Add to cheese mixture; toss to coat.

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Pecan-Parmesan Fish Fillets

This fish was totally delicious! I didn't have pecans, so I had to used toasted peanuts, but it was so good! It was easy to make and full of delicious flavor. I think fish is so important to incorperate into your diet, and this turned out to be a wonderful way!

Pecan-Parmesan Fish Fillets

1/2 cup PLANTERS Chopped Pecans, toasted
1/3 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp. lemon juice, divided
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 tilapia fillets (1 lb.)
1 cup instant brown rice, uncooked
1 can (14 oz.) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup small broccoli florets

PREHEAT oven to 375ºF. Combine pecans, cheese, parsley, 2 Tbsp. of the lemon juice and the oil. Place fish in single layer in shallow baking dish; spread with pecan mixture. Drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp. lemon juice.

BAKE 10 to 12 min. or until fish flakes easily with fork. Meanwhile, cook rice as directed on package, substituting broth for the water and adding broccoli to the boiling broth along with the rice.

SERVE fish with the rice mixture.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Just before Christmas, my friend Jill taught me how to make Sushi and Gyoza, and she just sent me the Gyoza recipe. I'm so excited to make them again- they were so tasty!



1 lb

Ground pork or turkey

½ cup

Chopped onion



1 T

Corn starch

1 package

Gyoza skins/Wonton wraps

3 T

Soy sauce


1. In a bowl, mix meat, onion, egg, corn starch and flavoring (soy sauce/teriyaki sauce).

2. Lay out about a dozen wraps at a time. Place a spoonful of mixture onto center of each wrap.

3. Dip finger into water and trace the edge of wrap and fold up into little dutch-hat looking potsticker.

4. Continue until all are made, setting them aside on a platter.

5. In large, deep fry pan, coated with a tablespoon of oil, brown about 20-25 gyoza at a time on medium heat. Turn each one and once browned, pour about 1 ½ cups of water over them. Put the lid on and steam for a few minutes. Once they have absorbed the water, they are done.

6. Remove them from pan, wipe out, and do the next batch.

7. Serve with rice. Pour a few tablespoons of soy sauce n a small dish and add a drop or two of hot sesame oil. This is for dipping the gyoza.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Simple Snack...

Is there anything better then an orange! (They are so my favorite fruit!) Make something fabulous even better with a pinch of coconut. My good friend Brittany gave me this "simple snack" idea. She said they often have it Christmas morning as a tradition. (I thought that sounded fun.) Now it is a favorite at our house. The girls love it, and it is something they can "make" themselves! :) Thanks Brit!

Orange Snow
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 tsp coconut flakes per slice
*Peel and munch! Mmmm...
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Open Faced Ham Sandwiches

This ended up being a fabulous way to use and "dress-up" my Sunday ham left-overs. The kids really liked it too. I made some changes- ok pretty much I had something to say after every ingredient (sorry I know that's annoying) but I guess the point I'm trying to make it that you can adjust the recipe to fit you and it will still be delicious! :)

Open Faced Ham Sandwiches with Jack Cheese and Ancho Slaw
By Robin Miller

Ancho Slaw:
1 cup store-bought cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) (*I just shredded my own cabbage. Cheap and only takes a minute.)
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I substituted plain yogurt and couldn't even taste a difference!)
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 T red wine vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
1 T ground ancho chiles, Tabasco chipotle sauce, or minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (I don't like the heat, so I just left it out- I know, I totally took the "Ancho" out of "Ancho Slaw" but it was still delicious. :)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

4 thick slices country bread or rye bread (I used whole wheat English muffins)
12 ounces thinly sliced deli ham (this was a great way for me to use up my left over Sunday ham.)
8 or more slices Monterey Jack cheese (I subbed cheddar.)

In a medium bowl, combine the slaw mix, mayo, cilantro, vinegar, ground ancho, and cumin and mix well to coat the slaw. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the broiler. (This makes it sound like you have to have a "broiler" and if you're like me, you are thinking, "Great, I got this far and now I can't make it because I don't have a stupid broiler." Just set your oven to "broil". There you go. For a long time I didn't know that- I feel dumb admitting it- you probably did know, but it sure would have been nice if someone had told me I had a "broiler". :) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place the bread slices on the sheet. Top the bread with equal portions of the slaw mixture, then with the ham and cheese slices. Palace the sandwiches under the broiler until the cheese melts, 2-3 minutes.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fat-free Low Calorie Chocolate Brownies

Is it possible for a brownie to be "healthy"? Doug and I are trying to eat a little healthier, but we had a "hankering" for some brownies. I came across this recipe here and it turned out pretty good... it met out needs anyway. :) We've just had to exercise a lot of self control in not having too many! :)

Fat-free Low Calorie Chocolate Brownies

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup non-fat dry milk powder
  • 1 egg white, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly coat an 8 x 8 x 2-inch pan with cooking spray; set aside.

In large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; set aside.

In medium bowl, beat the sugar, brown sugar, non-fat dry milk powder, egg white, applesauce and vanilla with a spoon until well combined. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture, mixing just until moistened.

Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake 22 to 23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. If Dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 16 fat-free and low-calorie brownies.Posted by Picasa

Egg, Ham and Spinach Pizza

I'm trying to get a little bit more protein in, and sometimes you've just got to have pizza, so I tried out this pizza by Ellie Krieger. Click here for a video of her making it. I think she just has some really great ideas, and I like her voice. :) Can a voice sound healthy? Ok- I'm just weird. Anyway- I made this pizza using my little sisters yummy crust recipe (which I made whole wheat) and I'm not patient enough to punch it down every ten minutes for an hour, so I have a little trick when I want to speed that process up. I just roll it out, put it in a pizza pan, and put it in the oven on "WARM" and watch it close- it rises a lot faster. (You have to bake it before you put toppings on with this recipe.) I like to do that with my regular bread too- I can make a batch in less than an hour that way, and I don't have to wait the whole day to do it. I do have to say that the egg was a little different, and that it didn't cook as fast as everything else on top. (Doug wasn't really into it, and that is usually a good indicator- the man likes just about anything.) I think if I were to do it again, I would either leave them off or cook them separate and put them on after. They looked cool though. :) Also, it was just crying out for tomatoes- I would put them on next time, fresh or even just a can of diced spread on the bottom. The pizza wanted them on it. :) It was fun to try something new though- I liked the spinach and I usually don't. :)

Egg, Ham and Spinach Pizza

  • 1 store-bought baked thin-crust pizza shell, preferably whole-wheat, such as Boboli
  • 4 cups (about 4 ounces) baby spinach leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 ounces prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced (I just used regular ham.)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 3 cloves thinly sliced garlic
  • 4 eggs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place the pizza shell on a cookie sheet. Scatter spinach all over crust. Drizzle with oil. Evenly distribute prosciutto, Parmesan and garlic on top of spinach. Crack eggs onto pizza, roughly positioning 1 yolk on each pizza quarter. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until spinach is wilted and egg whites are just fully cooked. Cut into 4 large slices.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spread Yourself Thin

My good friend Bekah has gotten me excited about eating healthier. She has been doing the "ABS Diet for Women" and she let me borrow the book. There are some great recipes and I just really like the general idea of sticking to simple "power" foods and making it part of your life-style to make healthy choices. I'm not following it perfectly, but I have been trying to eat healthier, and I'm already seeing results! I feel like I have a lot more energy too, and like I don't find myself "binge snacking" like I sometimes do. This is one of the recipes in the book I tried out and really liked. I never would have thought of making a bean spread, but it had a great taste and was a whole lot more sustaining then jam or butter. I'm not "extreme"- I've still got to make an occasional something wonderful, rich, and creamy, but I think you'll see quite a few more recipes listed under the "Let there be Lite" catagory. :) Atleast that the plan. Thanks Bekah for the jump-start!

Spread Yourself Thin


In blender or food processor, mix beans, rosemary, garlic, and lemon juice. (If you're using a blender, you may need to stop and scrape the sides of the canister once to make sure everything blends well.) (I actually just did it in my new Botch mixer- it probably wasn't as "pureed" but I think it still worked well.) Stream oil through the top until you reach desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread on to a hardy piece of whole wheat toast.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Layered Fiesta Casserole

I was just using some ingredients I had on hand, and this turned out to be a good one that I found on the Kraft Food site.  It was easy to throw together, and a good way to get some veggies in.

Layered Fiesta Casserole
1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
1   green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 jar  (16 oz.) Thick 'N Chunky Salsa
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg.  (10 oz.) frozen corn, thawed
12 corn tortillas (6 inch)
1-1/2 cups  KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided

HEAT oven to 375°F.
BROWN meat with peppers in large skillet; drain. Return to skillet. Stir in salsa, tomatoes and corn.
SPREAD 1 cup meat mixture onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish; top with 6 tortillas, overlapping as necessary. Cover with layers of half each of the remaining meat mixture and cheese; top with remaining tortillas and meat mixture. Cover with foil.
BAKE 25 to 30 min. or until heated through. Top with remaining cheese; let stand 5 min. or until melted.

Make Ahead
Assemble casserole as directed. Refrigerate up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, bake at 375°F for 40 to 45 min. or until heated through. Top with cheese; continue as directed.

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Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I made these meatballs the other night and they were delicious.  (I got the recipe in the Botch Sensible Cooking cookbook.)  They had a really yummy Asian flavor.  I liked the sauces as well.  It makes a nice big batch, so we've been enjoying them all week! :)

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
1 lb groud beef (I used turkey)
1/2 lb sausage
2 tsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup whole or cracked wheat, uncooked
1 (5 oz) can water chestnuts (drained and diced)
1 (8 3/4 oz) can crushed pineapple (drained, reserve juice)
1 tsp ginger
1 egg
1/3 cup milk 1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Form mixture into balls.  Place on baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  While meatballs are baking combine the following ingredients for sweet and sour sauce:

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tsp soy sauce
1 beef bouillon cube
2 T cornstarch, combined with 1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
3 T vinegar

Add enough water to reserved pineapple juice to make 1 1/2 cups liquids.  Combine with above ingredients.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened.  Pour over meatballs and continue baking an additional 5 minutes.  Makes at least 30 meatballs.
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Very Berry Birthday Pie

My husband requested a pie rather then a cake for his birthday (I think I'm totally with him- we're just pie people. I'll take a good Apple Pie over cake just about any day. It had so be homemade those. As good as Merie Calendar is at making pies, they just don't cut it for me.) Anyway, I came up with this Berry Pie because I couldn't decide between strawberries or rasberries. (They are both his favorite. :) It had both, so I was safe. It was pretty yummy, if I do say so myself. :)

Very Berry Birthday Pie
2 cooked pie shells or 1 very large one
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 package of 3 oz. raspberry Jello
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 bag or frozen mixed berries, thawed

Boil together 1 cup water, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons corn syrup. Bring to a boil until it looks clear. Add 1 package of 3 oz. raspberry Jello, lemon zest and cinnamon. Stir until dissolved. Cool. Pour into pie shell and evenly distribute sauce and berries. Chill. Top with Cool Whip or whipped cream.
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Sausage Breakfast Casserole

I made this for my husbands birthday breakfast.  It was a big hit, so I thought I better share the recipe.  (It was definitely a Doug breakfast! :) It is always nice to make breakfast the night before and be able to just pop it in the oven the morning of.  (I found it in 101 things to do with a Casserole.)

Swiss Sausage Breakfast Casserole
10 slices of bread, cubed
1 lb. spicy sausage, browned and drained
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
8 eggs, beated
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Place bread cubes in a greased 9x13 pan.  Crumble cooked sausage over bread.  Evenly lay mushrooms over sausage and sprinkle cheese over top.

In a large bowl, mix eggs, half-and-half, milk, salt, and pepper.  Pour egg mixture evenly over cheese.  Cover and refridgerate 2 hours or overnight.

Remove from refrigerator 20 minutes before baking and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes more.  makes 6-8 servings.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

"We-wease the Secwet Weapon!"

(As quoted from American Tale.)
I'm releasing a "secret recipe"... or so my friend Heidi tells me... perhaps she should have remained nameless for her safety. :)  She almost didn't get this one, the lady was really hesitant to give it out, (Now you can probably see why, as I publically post it on my blog. :) because it came direct from an Eastern catering company.  But she must be persuasive, because here it is... (and well worth making it you ask me!  You'll be surprised by the fresh, unusual flavor- it's not your typical "pasta salad".  This one's got some real zip!)

Amazing Pasta Salad (One batch makes a ton!)
 1 bell pepper
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 T yellow mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 1 1/2 packages of penne pasta

Puree together all the ingredients except pasta.  Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse.  Pour mixture over cooled pasta and gently toss until pasta is covered.  (I minced some cilantro- about a tablespoon full and tossed it in, mostly for color.)
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Stumbling Across GREATNESS!

I love it when you are missing an ingredient... wait a minute, let me finish the thought!!! I love it when you are missing an ingredients, so you try substituting something and you stumble across something even better. That happened with this one- it wasn't even anything really big, but I was out of vanilla pudding, so I used butterscotch because that is what I had, and it was amazing! I made this cake for a friend birthday- I thought it was delicious, and I'm really glad I tried it out. I'm also really glad I was out of vanilla pudding mix. :)

Gram's Best Brown Sugar Cake

1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
4 eggs
2/3 cup Sour Cream
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped Pecans
2 tsp. powdered sugar

HEAT oven to 350ºF.
BEAT first 6 ingredients with mixer 3 min. or until well blended. Add brown sugar and nuts; mix well.
POUR into 12-cup fluted tube pan or 10-inch tube pan sprayed with cooking spray.
BAKE 1 hour or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan 15 min. Loosen cake from sides of pan; invert onto wire rack. Remove pan; cool cake completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

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Sweet Potato Soup

I made this soup last month, and I actually used some of the left over Brown Sugar-Glazed Sweet Potatoes. It saved time and tasted delicious! I think it gave the dish more flavor because they were already quite seasoned- the ginger meshed well with the curry to make an unusual, but delicious soup!

Sweet Potato Soup
From LA Lite Cookbook (4 servings)

2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp curry powder
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups skim milk
12 oz. sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 low-sodium vegetable broth cubes, crumbled
nonfat cooking spray

Spray a large stock pot with cooking pray, saute garlic, onion, and curry powder until soft. Add sweet potato, water, and broth cubes. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. Cool. Blend or process sweet potato mixture until smooth. Gradually add milk, processing until well combined. Return to stock pot and heat well, do not boil.
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Quick Chili on a Baked Potato

I was doing good to get the bake potatoes cooked through on a busy night, and I came up with this chili in a hurry. It actually turned out pretty well! Chili on a baked potato is one of our favorites!

Quick Chili on a Baked Potato
1/2 ground beef
1 can chili
1 can corn, drained
1 cup salsa
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can white beans, drained (or whatever beans you have)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
1-2 tsp. chili powder
pinch of ceyenne
Several baked potatoes

Brown hamburger and drain the grease. Add remaining ingredients and heat through. Serve over a baked potato, and top with cheese and sour cream. (Or Ranch- you hubby like to put Ranch on everything!)
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pete's Veggie Pizza

Aren't sisters just the greatest! Mine sure are! I feel so lucky to have the sweetest sisters ever! My little sis Bethany (I call her Pete.) had the family over for some delicious appetizers on Christmas Eve. I think I ate half of this yummy veggie pizza myself! It was SO GOOD! I can't even tell you! I really liked her crust too, so she shared that recipe with me as well. (She like to make it half whole wheat- is she my sister or what!) I thought it was such a good idea- great way to get the veggies in! I plan on making it again REALLY SOON!

Grandma's Easy Peasy Breadsticks

1 cup hot water
2 T. melted butter
1 t. salt
2 T. sugar
2 T. yeast
3-4 cups flour (When I'm in the mood to be healthy, I substitute one cup of white flour for wheat flour)

Mix butter and water. Sprinkle salt, sugar and yeast over water. Stir in
with mixer. Add enough flour until moist dough but not too dry or stiff.
Allow to rise. Punch down every 10 minutes for one hour. Form into
breadsticks. Place on greased cookie sheet. Drizzle with butter,
Parmesan cheese and garlic salt. Allow to rise. (When I don't have time, I don't even worry about this step and the bread turns out just fine). Bake at 400 degrees
for 10-12 minutes. Makes 2 dozen.

"Your very own" Veggie Pizza
One Pizza Dough Recipe (I use the Easy Peasy Breadstick one)
1 oz. Package of Cream Cheese
1 package of ranch mix (or whatever spice you like best)
2 cups shredded cheese
Bacon Bits
Any amount of any vegetables that you like (I use a combination of broccoli and tomatoes. You can also use green peppers, cauliflower, onions, etc)

Once the pizza dough is cooled, combine the cream cheese and ranch mix. Then throw on your veggie's and bacon bits. Sprinkle your pizza with cheese, cut, serve, and enjoy!
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New Year's Eve Taco Dip

 This year, we started a new tradition, created by my daughter and I.  It was so much fun!!!  I came up with this yummy taco dip, and we ate it "Barbarian Style" or "Like Little Pigglets" as my daughter would say. :)  No plates or "cutlery" allowed.  It was so fun with each of us hoovering over the casserole dish pretending to be cavemen. :)  My husband even played along and brought down "Bararian Blood" (Red Juice).  I wouldn't recoment doing this every night, but something about being allowed to eat like "little pigglets" was really fun! :)  The kids loved it!  (Of course you can just make this and eat it like any civilized human being, but it was pretty fun putting a twist on it.) :)

New Year's Eve Taco Dip (Barbarian Style)
2 cans refried beans
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups salsa
1 lb cooked taco meat prepared with seasoning packet
1-2 cups grated cheddar
1 can olives cut in slices
(Throw on some fresh tomatoes if you have them!)

Spread and layer ingredients in order, in a 9x13 casserole dish.  Refrigerate until serving.  Serve with tortilla chips and eat like barbarians- no plates or utensils allowed! :)

Sushi Night...

My cute friend Jill and her husband invited our family over for a Sushi night.  It was so much fun!  She taught me how they make "gyoza" and sushi (California rolls)!  They were so delicious and it was so much fun to see how to make it.  Doug served a two year mission in Japan, and I think he was in heaven!  He has missed the Asian food.  She's going to share the recipes, but I could help but at least post the experience!  It was so much fun- and such a good idea!  I was amazed at how filling it all was- I had my doubts, but we left with full tummies!  Big thanks to Jill and Mike for a delicious "Sushi Night" to remember! :)

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