Thursday, June 30, 2011

Southwestern Pasta Salad

I try to use real foods. I really, really do.  Sure, I regularly use canned beans and tomatoes but other than that, I usually am pretty good at using non processed foods.  (we won't talk about the chicken nuggets my kids eat though).

Then there is Velveeta. *sigh*

I don't know what it is but gosh, it tastes pretty darn good, doesn't it? 

This uses the mexican flavored Velveeta.  This really turned out to be one of my favorite dishes, seriously.  I loved it especially warm.  Ooey gooey cheesy!

I added an extra can of beans and omitted the olives but otherwise pretty much stuck to the original recipe.  I couldn't find my copy of the recipe when I wrote this up so I don't have my nutritional stats for it.  That's what I get for not writing it up right away!!

Southwestern Pasta Salad
Adapted from Delightful Country Cookin'

1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes
12 oz. pasta, cooked (I used rotini, medium shells & penne)
12 oz. Velveeta Mexican
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped red or green pepper
1/3 cup (1 can) sliced black olives (I didn't use)
1/3 cup sliced green onion

Drain tomatoes, reserving the liquid. Mix two tablespoons of reserved tomato liquid with cheese. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until cheese melts. Gradually blend in 1/3 cup reserve tomato liquid. Add pasta and remaining ingredients. Toss and serve (warm or cold). Serves 8.

One Year Ago...

Chicken Souvlaki Gyro Style

Calories calculated from Some numbers are approximate and rounded.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Apple Chicken Quesadillas

Quesadillas and wraps of some sort are really the foundation of this house.  We buy 100 calorie whole wheat tortillas in bulk at Sam's Club and always have them on hand.  We panic if there is only one 20 pack left in the freezer.  So you can imagine the horror when I got home from my vacation to discover an email from my brother titled THE END OF THE WORLD.  (He lives with us and probably eats more tortillas than the rest of us). 

So I get this email and he has told me that THERE WERE NO MORE TORTILLAS LEFT IN THE HOUSE.  I had gone on vacation and left him tortilla-less.  Never mind the bagels, english muffins and several loaves of bread in the freezer downstairs. He turned to cheesecake.  As he often does when left without options to eat. 

We quickly ran to Sam's Club and bought 3 boxes, just to come home to find that my brother had gone there as well and bought 4 boxes.  So clearly the world was NOT going to end and we once again had tortillas again. 


These apple chicken quesadillas were really, really good. I did change the recipe quite a bit though.  She tossed everything together without precooking anything but the chicken, tossed it on a tortilla and put it in the oven to cook.  We usually use the stovetop to make our quesadillas, it's quicker and easier for us. 

So I decided to precook the onion/apple mixture by a bit.  I thought it worked fine just to throw the cheese right in too.  That way we just tossed the cooked mixture into the refrigerator and was able to quickly make quesadillas.

I did use only a little cheese.  Certainly it would hold together better with a bit more but I just hate to use all my calories that way.  If you put a whole tortilla in a pan on the stove and toast it on one side, then flip, add your quesadilla mixture to one half of it and fold it over, it tends to hold together okay. 

I dipped this into sour cream the first day and then for lunch the next day, I added just a bit of BBQ sauce to the quesadilla instead of sour cream. I liked that the best!  These were awesome and I'll be for sure making them again!

Apple Chicken Quesadillas

2 medium apples, diced (I used Fugi)
10 oz. diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup corn
2 oz. shredded cheddar
2 oz. shredded mozzarella
1 tsp. oil (I used bacon grease)
1 large onion, chopped (10 oz)
1 red pepper, chopped (5.5 oz)
1/4 tsp. salt

Saute onion and red pepper in oil for a couple of minutes until soft. Add apples, chicken, corn and salt. Stir to combine, add cheese and cook until melted.  Yields 7 cups

Total calories without tortillas = 1355 calories
14 - 1/2 cup servings = 97 calories per serving
1 serving with 100 calorie whole wheat tortilla = 197 calories per wrap

One Year Ago...

Pork with Cherry, Strawberry Reduction

Calories calculated from Some numbers are approximate and rounded.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Vegetarian White Bean Zucchini Lasagna

I made a zucchini lasagna last fall and loved it!  This time I tried my hand at a vegetarian one. Who needs meat when you have all this delicious cheese, right?

I cut my zucchini the long way in slices, like noodles.  I used 3 layers, alternating directions for more stability.  The zucchini doesn't cover all of it but it was fine. 

The only thing I would change is I think I would slice my zucchini in coins rather than strips. It would be easier to cut into the lasagna that way. 

I didn't want my zucchini to be mushy but I found that we pulled out a huge chunk of zucchini each time we cut into it or bit into it. I think cutting them in coins would help that too. 

This wasn't the prettiest meal coming out of the oven. But it was certainly delicious! It sliced better the next day after it had firmed up. While it was delicious, I think I would amp up the spices a bit next time.  A bit more italian seasoning, maybe some red pepper flakes. Something like that.  I will for sure make it again though!

Zucchini White Bean Lasagna
Adapted from My Bizzy Kitchen

Ricotta filling:
1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup egg beaters
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. crushed red peppers

Bean Onion Mixture:
2 cans (15 oz) white or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, minced

Tomato sauce mixture:
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder

Remaining ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs. zucchini, sliced thin
Mozzarella cheese, part skim, shredded (6 oz.)

Combine ricotta filling in a bowl, mix to combine. 
Saute onion in pan until soft, about 5 - 7 minutes, add garlic and white beans, stir and heat for another few minutes. Remove from heat. 
Combine tomato sauce mixture, mix to combine

In a 9 x 13 in. pan, sprayed with cooking spray, cover the bottom with a bit of tomato sauce mixture. Layer 1/3 zucchini, 1/3 ricotta mixture, 1/3 bean/onion mixture, 1/3 tomato sauce mixture and 1/3 mozzarella cheese.  Repeat until you've used everything, ending with the cheese.  Bake at 350 for about 45 - 55 minutes, depending on how well you want your zucchini.

Total calories = 2341 calories
8 servings = 293 calories per serving

One Year Ago...

Slow Cooker BBQ Baked Beans

Calories calculated from Some numbers are approximate and rounded.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Menu Plan Monday ~ June 27 - July 3, 2011

We missed a few things last week.  I am good at planning, it's just the execution that needs some tweaking. Sometimes a recipe will yield more leftovers than planned and we end up eating it 2 days in a row. Sometimes I plan to bring food to my dad but then he ends up not needing it.  Last week I didn't get to the White Bean Pizza. I was really looking forward to this and really, really want to try this. We had kids over for pizza take out, I wanted to make this for the adults but time got away from me.  Hopefully it won't be to hot for the oven!!

Here's some of what we ate this week! Recipes to come!

Sloppy Joe Slaw


Blueberry Muffins


Spaghetti & Bean Chili

Here's what I've planned for this week!

Monday: Crockpot Sweet Potato & Chicken with Pasta

Tuesday: White Bean Italian Pizza

Wednesday: Steaks & BBQ Onion Rings

Thursday: Strawberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal

Friday: Asian Turkey Broccoli Wraps

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Burgers & Southwestern Potato Salad

This is linked with Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie

One Year Ago...

BBQ Pork & Pineapple Quesadilla

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cereal Bars

These bars looked intriguing.  They originally called for puffed wheat cereal.  Well, I happened to have a box of Honey Smacks that needed to go.  I had just enough for these!

They certainly are super sweet but very delicious too.  The kids had no problem at all devouring the pan. There were about 10 kids going at them so they were disappointed that I didn't have more Honey Smacks. 

Check out Reeni's recipe with the Puffed Rice Cereal and the original recipe.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cereal Bars
Adapted from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

5 cups Honey Smacks cereal
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup jelly or jam
2/3 cup honey

Line an 8x8 inch deep-sided baking or casserole dish with parchment or aluminum foil. Grease lightly. Add the cereal to an extra large mixing bowl.

In a small saucepan over very low heat melt peanut butter, jam and honey together, stir well, remove from heat, pour over cereal, mix well until cereal is evenly coated. Pour immediately into casserole dish, smooth out and lightly press the cereal down.

Refrigerate for two hours. Remove bars from pan with parchment to a cutting board. Slice into bars with a super sharp knife.

  One Year Ago...

Barbecue Meatloaf

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mexican Cheesy Pot Pie

I saw this recipe and knew it would be a winner.  I did add my own touch and changed the name but the inspiration was the same.  Pam rocks and she has a ton of awesome recipes so check her site out! 

One change that I made was to add 1/4 tsp. of chipotle chili powder to the cornbread mix.  This was subtle but added an awesome smokeyness that was delicious. 

I also added some peas and carrots that I had leftover in the freezer.  Somehow, when I added the peas and carrots, it became a pot pie to me so that is what I called it.  You can add whatever veggies you'd like!

Whatever you call it, it was absolutely delicious and I can't wait to make it again!! 

Mexicali Cheesy Pot Pie Recipe
Adapted from Pam's Midwest Cooking

1 lb. ground turkey, 93% lean
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
1 (10 oz.) can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
5 oz. cheddar cheese, divided

For corn bread topping:
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup milk
2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Brown ground turkey and onions in large pan until cooked.  Season with chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Stir in tomatoes, corn and peas & carrots (used whatever veggies you want.)  Transfer to an 8 x 8 in. baking dish.

Top with half the cheddar cheese.

In a bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, chipotle powder and salt.  Stir in egg, milk and oil.  Spread evenly over turkey mixture. Top with the rest of the cheese.  Bake, uncovered for about 35 minutes or until topping is set. 

Total calories = 2344 calories
6 servings = 391 calories per serving

One Year Ago...

Butterscotch Blondies

Calories calculated from Some numbers are approximate and rounded.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup in the Slow Cooker

I've made a lot of soups. I love soup.  I've made many southwestern flavored soups.  But never tortilla soup. At least not with tortillas actually IN the soup.

I'm a flour tortilla fan. No clue why.  I think my brother once said years back that he preferred them so I just never tried corn tortillas. Why on earth would I trust my brother?! Corn chips of course I ate, but never corn tortillas. Weird.

So I bought corn tortillas for this recipe. I loved, loved, loved how they completely dissolved in the soup and flavored and thickened it wonderfully. 

Then of course was the toasting of the corn chips.  That was awesome too. They were perfect on top of the creamy soup

This soup was a complete hit. Wonderful flavor but not spicy.  Definite keeper.

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
Adapted from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts, boneless
2 cans chicken broth (14 oz)
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (4 oz) green chiles
1 1/2 cups corn
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
6 corn tortilla, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup half & half
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Optional toppings: Tortilla strips, sour cream, cheddar cheese or avocado

Add chicken breasts, broth, tomatoes, green chiles, corn, onion, garlic, bay leaf and spices to the crock pot.  Add the cut tortilla strips to the pan. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 - 8 until chicken is able to shred.  Shred chicken, return to crock.  Add half and half and cilantro.  Cook an additional half hour.  Garnish as desired.

Tortilla Strips:
Cut corn tortillas into strips.  Spread out on a lightly oiled baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bade until crispy at 400 degrees, about 10 minutes.

Total calories without extra toppings: 1809 calories
11 cups = 164 calories per cup

One Year Ago...

Peanut Butter Dip

Calories calculated from Some numbers are approximate and rounded.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Pancakes

9 times out of 10, if I ask my kids what they want to eat, they'll say pancakes.

They aren't too picky, they'll take regular pancakes anyday. Me? I like something different. 

Peanut butter makes everything better so of course it was the logical choice.

The kids loved them of course.

I really wanted to try to make a peanut butter icing or syrup but time got away from me and it didn't happen. We'll save that for another day!

Peanut Butter Pancakes
Adapted from Lime Cake

1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/4 cup peanut butter, chunky or smooth
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp. melted butter

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk peanut butter and milk until smooth.  Add egg and melted butter.  Gently stir wet ingredients into dry until you have a very lumpy batter. 

Ladle batter onto griddle pan, and cook for 1 - 2 minutes on each side, until lightly golden. 

One Year Ago...

Beef and Bean Chimichangas

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Menu Plan Monday ~ June 20 - June 26, 2011

Busy week of meals ahead.  I'm excited to try some more new things after a week of eating at restaurants on vacation.  Friday we're having a bunch of kids over for pizza and I'm hoping that I'll have time to make white bean pizza for some of the adults.  We'll see how much time I have and if it's not too hot to run the oven.

Monday:  Ham & Turkey Wraps

Tuesday: Spaghetti & Pinto Bean Chili

Wednesday: Tropical pork chops, Sweet Potato Muffins

Thursday: Sloppy Joe Stir Fry Slaw with this sauce

Friday: White Bean Italian Pizza

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Burgers & Southwestern Potato Salad

This is linked with I'm an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday!

One Year Ago...

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cookies

Oreos can really be dangerous.  Have you seen all the recipes containing Oreos?  You take a already awesome cookie and turn it into something else completely different but just as good. Or even better.  Oh yes, dangerous cookie indeed.

Cookies and Cream Cookie Recipe
Adapted from Picky Palate

2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup cocoa powder
15 whole Oreos, finely ground in a food processor.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or parchment paper.

Beat butter and sugars until well combined, add eggs and vanilla, beating until well combined.

Place flour, baking soda, cookie crumbs, cocoa and salt into a large bowl.  Add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined. Batter will be very thick.  Scoop by teaspoons onto prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart from each other. Bake for about 10 minutes until cooked through.  Transfer to cooling rack.

One Year Ago...

Chicken Parmesan with Penne & Broccoli 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Shredded Chicken Sandwiches with Sassy BBQ Sauce

I love making my own barbeque sauce.  You can make it sweet, tangy, mild, smokey or spicy.  This one she called sassy. I like the name of that!  It's great for barbecue beef sandwiches but this time, we put it on chicken. 

Super simple meal.  The BBQ sauce you can make ahead of time and refrigerate. Then you can just throw some chicken in a crockpot along with some sauce and you're good to do. 

I like to throw this on a baked potato or sweet potato to make it gluten free.

Shredded Chicken w/ Sassy Barbeque Sauce Recipe
Adapted from One Crazy Cookie

3 lbs. chicken breasts, boneless

Sassy Barbecue Sauce:
1 1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 mustard
2 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. molasses
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup onion, finely diced

In a sauce pan, mix ingredients until smooth on medium low heat for several minutes.  Turn to low and simmer for another 5 minutes.  Use immediately or store in the fridge.

Shredded Sandwiches:
Put chicken in slow cooker with about 1 cup of bbq sauce. Cook on low for about 5 - 7 hours until it is able to be shredded. Shred chicken and put back into crock pot.  Add more bbq sauce to chicken until you have enough to coat.  Use as much as desired.  Continue cooking for another 1/2 hour or hour in the crock pot until heated through. 

I made a double batch of the sauce to keep in the fridge. We served our sandwiches with extra BBQ sauce and then put some of the BBQ sauce in our baked beans.

One Year Ago...

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ham & Pineapple Fried Rice

Ham is a staple around here.  It's the one meat that the kids all agree on, all the time. 

I loved the sound of this recipe as soon as I saw it. I just regret that it took me so long to make.

We all loved this recipe and for certain have it on the list to make again. Soon.

Ham & Pineapple Fried Rice Recipe
Adapted from Eat at Home

Brown rice, (I used 1 3/4 brown minute rice as that is all I had and it was enough)
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
2 cups ham, diced (I used 16 oz.)
3 tbsp. soy sauce
Pineapple tidbits, 20 oz. (drained and juice reserved)
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the rice according to package. You can use regular or minute rice, I used minute rice and it worked fine.

Cook the onion and red pepper in cooking spray in a large pan for about 5 minutes to soften.  Add garlic, cook for another minute.  Add the ham, 2 tbsp. soy sauce, 2 tbsp. pineapple juice.  Cook for several minutes until ham is hot. 

Pour the eggs into the skillet and cook, stirring frequently.  Add the peas and carrots and heat through.  Stir in drained pineapple.  Add the cooked rice, stirring to combine.  Add soy sauce, pineapple juice, salt and pepper to taste. I added another tbsp. of soy sauce and a couple more tbsp. of pineapple juice. 

Total calories = 1950 calories
6 servings = 325 calories per serving

One Year Ago...

Quinoa Salad with Apples & Almonds

Calories calculated from Some numbers are approximate and rounded.