Sunday, September 20, 2009

Raspberry Freezer Jam


3 cups mashed raspberries
5 1/4 C sugar
One packet of pectin (found near the jello/baking products in grocery store)
3/4 C water

Mash berries with a potato masher. Mix with sugar and let sit for ten minutes (Stirring occasionally).
Mix water and pectin together in a small saucepan over high heat. bring to boil and boil for one full minute, stirring the whole time.
Mix pectin/water in with berry/sugar combo. Stir for three minutes constantly.
Pour in plastic containers. Let sit out for 24 hours, to set. Then pop them in the freezer. Will last for 1 year in freezer, 3 weeks in fridge.

Recipe is taken out of the box of pectin. This is super easy and yields delicious, natural Jam. The ratios are different for different fruit.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Banana Tea Bread

Makes 2 Loaves

2 C. Flour (I use all-purpose)
1 tsp. B. Powder
1 tsp. B. Soda
1 1/3 C. Sugar
1 1/2 C. Chopped Nuts (I substitute Chocolate Chips and put them in right before the Bananas)
1 1/2 tsp. Salt (I only put in 1 tsp.)

3 Mashed Bananas
2 Large Eggs
1/2 C. Plain Yogurt or Sour Cream (I mostly use Sour Cream, but have also used Yogurt with same results)
2 Tbsp. Rum (I use Captain Morgan)
1 tsp. Almond Extract
1/2 C. Melted Butter

1. Mix dry ingredients.
2. Beat eggs and add rest of liquids & bananas - add to dry ingredients.
3. Bake in greased and floured pans at 350 Degrees, 50-60 minutes.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Baked Ziti v.2

This is pretty similar to Casey's, but I'll add it anyway.

Serves 8?

1 box of ziti noodles
2 jars of sauce (I used DelGrosso's Tomato and Basil)
Sweet Italian sausage (in patty form from the meat aisle)
mozzarella cheese
various spices like garlic powder, oregano, and salt and pepper

Cook ziti noodles. Layer sauce, cheese, noodles, and sausage pieces over each other. Add spices. Bake at 350 for an hour.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Spicy Basque Chicken

Serves 4

1 tea paprika (I use a lot more than this though)
1/4 rea black ground pepper
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into tenders
2 tea olive oil
2 tea minced garlic
1/4 C green olives
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with chiles, undrained (Rotelo)
1/4 finely chopped prosciutto
2 T chopped parsley

Coat chicken with paprika and pepper (can mix the two together first). Heat oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook 4 minutes (without flipping). Add garlic for 30 seconds, then turn chicken over. Add olives and tomatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 6 minutes.

Remove chicken from pan. Increase heat to medium high and cook for another two minutes. sprinkle with prosciutto and parsley, and serve.

I got this recipe years ago from a Cooking Light magazine (so its healthy for you). It spicy and yummy. Serve over rice (preferably saffron rice). I never remove the chicken before bringing it back up to high heat the last time though.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cheezy Chicken Parmesan with Zucchini "Pasta"

Serves 4
*Recipe taken from "Cook Yourself Thin"

For the tomato sauce and zucchini pappardelle
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 red onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 28-ounce can peeled plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, in juice, mashed (I used Roundy's Brand From Rainbow Foods)
1 sprig fresh basil (I used dry)
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves (I used dry)
4 zucchini, thinly sliced

For the chicken
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons extra for serving
1/4 cup dried whole-wheat or white bread crumbs (I used corn flake crumbs)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten with a fork
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts split in half to make 6–8 large, thin cutlets
4 teaspoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons extra for serving
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (I skipped this, we aren't fans of it)

1. For the sauce, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Cover, reduce heat to very low and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. (Check a few times during cooking; if vegetables begin to brown, add 2 teaspoons water and stir.) Add the tomatoes with juice, basil and another 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer gently 5 minutes. Then simmer very gently, partially covered, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

2. Meanwhile, using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick long pappardelle-like strips, turning the zucchini and slicing on 4 sides only until you see the center seeds. Discard the centers.

3. Remove the tomato sauce to a bowl with a rubber spatula; no need to clean the skillet. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook until wilted, tossing often with tongs for even cooking, 8 to 10 minutes. Return the tomato sauce to the pan, add 1 tablespoon of the parsley, and season with 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cover and set aside.

4. On a plate, combine the bread crumbs, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and the remaining chopped parsley. Place the egg white on a second plate. Sprinkle chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken into the egg whites, and then into the bread crumb mixture to coat completely; set aside on a large plate or platter.

5. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in each of two nonstick 10-inch skillets over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken to each skillet and cook until lightly browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip, and cook until chicken is firm, and lightly browned on the other side, 1 to 3 more minutes.

6. To serve, re-warm the zucchini in the tomato sauce over medium heat. Use tongs to make a “twist” of zucchini pappardelle on each of 4 plates. Lean chicken cutlets against the side of zucchini. Scoop 1 tablespoon ricotta onto each plate, and spoon remaining tomato sauce on top of the chicken. To garnish each plate, drizzle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon Parmesan.

Side Note: We have made this a few times so far and one time instead of cutting the chicken into cutlets, we hollowed them out and stuffed them with mozzarella cheese. Turned out to be delicious.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Here's a recipe for my favorite meat loaf that my mom makes. I know, meatloaf is generally gross, but coming from an extremely picky eater- this is some awesome stuff.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

-Crack one egg into a smaller bowl and whisk it.
-In a larger bowl, mix:

  • at least a pound of hamburger meat (I use 90/10)
  • 1/2 cup of italian breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup of spaghetti sauce (any kind - my mom recommends Bertolli 5-cheese, I use regular Ragu flavored with meat)
  • pour in the whisked egg from the first step
-You are going to mix these ingredients all together with your hands (make sure you remove your wedding rings first!) until all of the ingredients are mixed thoroughly and evenly.
-Shape into a meatloaf shape, or put into a loaf pan/dish.
-Optional (but delicious) step: Smear a thin layer of ketchup over the entire top of the meatloaf before placing into the oven.
-Bake for 45 minutes, or until completely cooked all the way through.

American Lasagna

Recipe from
makes: 4 servings
prep time: 30 mins
cook time: 1 hour 30 mins


  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 (29 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 6 dry lasagna noodles
  • 1 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. In a skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef, onion and garlic; drain fat. Mix in basil, oregano, brown sugar, 3/4 teaspoons salt, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until al dente; drain. Lay noodles flat on towels, and blot dry.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, parsley and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  4. Layer 1/3 of the lasagna noodles in the bottom of a 9x9 inch square baking dish. Cover noodles with 1/2 ricotta mixture, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese and 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat. Top with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese over the top.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven about 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
I had some fresh parsley on hand, so i topped mine with that, and served with some frozen cheesy garlic bread.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Todd's Famous Double Stuffed Bacon Cheeseburgers

(My husband named them - but they are seriously great)

(Serves 8)

2 pounds hamburger (I used 93/7)
1 pound ground turkey (again 93/7 - use any combination you like)
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Lawry's seasoning salt
1 tsp black pepper
6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 oz sharp cheddar cheese
8 slices pepper jack cheese

Mix the meat, egg, bread crumbs and spices. Form into 16 equal size patties, making the middles slightly thinner then the edges. On half the patties, place crumbled bacon and cheddar in the center. Top with the remaining patties and pinch the edges closed. Grill approximately 5 minutes on each side. Add the pepper jack slices to the top and cook until melted with the grill closed (about 1 minute). Do not press down on the burgers with the spatula while cooking or cheese is likely to squeeze out. Serve on fresh hamburger buns/rolls.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Twice Baked Potatoes

Serves 4

  • 4 medium Russet potatoes
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped and cooked
  • 4 slices deli ham, chopped (omit for vegetarian option)
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbs sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  1. Wash potatoes and pat dry. Poke holes with a fork so they don't explode in your oven. Place directly on oven rack. Bake potatoes on the middle rack in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes.
  2. Cut off the top of the potato in an oval shape and with a spoon gently scoop out most of the potato into a mixing bowl. Be careful not to scoop too closely to the skin or it will break. (You can save the tops and make potato skins out of them.)
  3. Stir in milk, sour cream, salt and pepper and mix till smooth.
  4. Add in broccoli and ham.
  5. Spoon mixture back into the potato skins, top with cheese and bake for another 15 minutes at 350 degrees until hot all the way through and the cheese has melted.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lemon Garlic & Rosemary Chicken

  • Thawed chicken breasts
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 2 Tbs dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  1. In a mixing bowl combine olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  2. Add chicken breasts to a large Ziplock bag, pour in your marinade, seal up and let sit for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. In a pan over medium to medium high heat add chicken breasts plus marinade. Cook on each side 5-6 minutes or until cooked through.
* Note: If you have a side dish disaster, i.e. pouring all of your pasta down the drain on accident, the chicken can be kept warm in a 150-200 degree oven until you correct your foolishness.

Baked Ziti

This is my favorite thing to make. It is sooo delicious, filling, and hearty. I don't necessarily use the healthiest of ingredients but you can tweak it as you see fit. It's ridiculously easy to make - and if you ever need to bring a dish to a party or anything, this is a great thing to bring. It's easy to make huge quantities and the leftovers are always amazing!

1 box of Ziti with lines (I prefer Prince)
Ragu sauce (flavored with meat)
Shredded mozzerella cheese

I also like to use a disposable tin to bake it in, the kind you get at the grocery store (like a rotisserie pan) that comes with the plastic cover. Makes it easy to store leftovers.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line bottom of pan with sauce, sprinkle with cheese. Cook entire box of ziti. When ziti is fully cooked, drain water. Pour part of the ziti into the pan. Mix sauce and cheese in, and layer it on the pan. Keep doing this with the smaller portions of ziti until they are covered with sauce and cheese. I like to use a TON of sauce. It cooks really well and stays very moist for leftovers. Put a layer of sauce on the top of the pan and a layer of shredded cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Honey Nut Chicken and Oven-Baked Fries

There is a restaurant here in Louisville called the Hall of Fame Cafe which has the best walnut crusted chicken - its in their Honey Nut Chicken Salad and its what I order every single time we eat there. Their chicken is fried so I wanted to try to make a healthier version. (And I really wanted fries to go with it.)

Honey Nut Chicken
(Serves 2-3)

1 package of chicken breasts
3/4 cup of finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup of AP flour
1 egg
1 T spicy mustard
1 T honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking pan by spraying with cooking spray. Butterfly the chicken breasts and pound thin. Combine egg, mustard, honey, S&P and whisk together in a shallow bowl. Combine flour, walnuts, S&P on a plate. Dip each piece of chicken into the egg mixture, then the flour mixture, then transfer to the baking pan. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Oven-Baked Fries
(Serves 2 -3)

2 Russet potatoes
2 tsp olive oil
Lawry's seasoning salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean 2 large potatoes. Cut each potato into thin strips. Soak the fries in a bowl of hot water for approximately 20 minutes. Mix with olive oil and spices and spread onto a baking pan lined with foil in a single layer. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, turning about half way through.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes a generous three to four dozen.
* stolen from my RTD photog's blog.

2 1/4 C. bread flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks of butter, melted
1/4 C. white sugar
1 1/4 C. packed dark brown sugar (light brown is ok too)
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract (use the good stuff)
1 whole egg. 1 egg yolk, 2 Tbs. whole milk
2 C. (1 pkg) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 F

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat melted butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl until creamy. Add whole egg, egg yolk, and milk into mix, one at a time beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Chill (very important!). Drop by rounded teaspoon (or use an icecream scoop like I do) onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown- usually closer to 9 minutes. They will look slightly undercooked in the middle, but this is when they're just perfect. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Always start your cookies on a cool pan.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jen's Spicy Tex-Mex Chili

(Serves at least 8)

2 cans Ro-tel Original
2 cans diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large white onion, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
1 cup frozen sweet corn
1 pound ground turkey or beef
1-3 jalepenos, seeded and diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 T ground cumin
3 T chili pepper
2 T garlic powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
Fritos for serving

In a large crockpot add all the tomatos and vegetables. Brown the meat in a large skillet, add 1 T each of cumin, chili pepper and garlic, when cooked through add to the crock pot. Add as many jalepenos and cayenne pepper as desired to adjust the spice to your tastes. Add tomato paste to thicken the sauce. Add remaining spices as desired. Cook for at least 4 hours on low (I usually put the ingredients in late Friday night to serve for lunch while tailgating on Saturday.) Just before serving add cheddar cheese and stir gently as it starts to melt. I always serve it over Fritos with sour cream, raw onion, and more shredded cheese available for topping.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Baked Mac & Cheese

Serves 6-8 adults

  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 lb cavatappi or elbow macaroni
  • 1 qt. whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 4 cups Fontina cheese
  • 2 cups extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (3 slices, crusts removed)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to package, usually 6-8 minutes. Drain well and remove to a large casserole dish.
  3. Heat the milk in a sauce pan but don't boil it.
  4. In the pot used for the pasta, melt the stick of butter and add the flour. Whisk well until combined and smooth, cook about 2 minutes.
  5. While wisking your butter/flour combo, add in the warm milk. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens and is smooth.
  6. Off the heat, add in your cheese, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine, then pour over your macaroni in the casserole dish and mix well.
  7. Top with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
This is an adaptation of Ina Garten's Mac and Cheese. She uses Gruyere and tops hers with tomatoes. I prefer Fontina and don't like tomatoes, so this is my version.

Amy's Easy Chili

Serves 6-8

1 lb ground beef or ground turkey or ground chicken
1 large can of red kidney beans
2 small cans of Zesty Chile diced tomatoes
1 large can of diced tomatoes with pepper/onion
1 packet chili powder and/or chili seasoning
random spices like oregano, salt, pepper, onion powder

Brown meat in large pot. Add in rinsed kidney beans and tomatoes with chili powder and other seasonings. You can add a can of water if you don't like it hearty. Simmer for 1-2 hours.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Everything Bars

3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
3\4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
3\4 cup butterscotch chips
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press crumbs into bottom of 9x13-inch baking pan.

Pour sweetened condensed milk over crumb mixture and spread to cover (be careful not to break up the crust). Layer evenly with chocolate chips butterscotch chips and nuts. Cover with coconut. Press down lightly with a fork.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Cool until firm. Cut into desired sized bars.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Serves 2-3

1/2 lb of spaghetti
1 T Olive Oil
2-3 ounces of pancetta or bacon, sliced or cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1/2 cup freshly ground parmesan cheese
1/4 C cream or half and half
handful of parsley, chopped (to garnish)

*Make sure that the pasta is piping hot when combined with the sauce to cook the egg.

Bring pot of water to a boil and cook pasta.

In the mean time heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes, until it is cooked (but not crunchy). Add garlic and cook (just to soften, do not burn) - about 30 seconds.

Prepare the sauce: whisk together the egg, cheese, and cream in a small bowl.

Drain pasta and toss in saute pan with bacon and garlic, coating the pasta. Remove pan from heat. Add the sauce to pasta, tossing to coat. Heat from the pasta and pan will cook the egg. Serve and garnish with parsley.

I fell in love with carbonara in Greece. This is one of those recipes that literally takes 10 minutes to make and is deceptively scrumptious - people will think you spent a long time cooking this. We make this recipe about once a month (I'd do it more often, but we don't eat bacon very often).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mexican Chicken Lasagna

Serves 4 adults

  • 1 large chicken breast cut into small cubes
  • 1 can of black or pinto beans (I used pintos)
  • 5-6 soft taco sized tortillas
  • 1 can of enchilada sauce
  • 1-1.5 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbs taco seasoning
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 man to do the dishes afterward
  1. Heat the beans (plus the liquid from the can) over medium heat. Stir in the cumin and let gently simmer while the chicken is cooking. When the chicken is almost done, mash with a potato masher to desired consistency.
  2. In another pan, heat your vegetable oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onion and the garlic and saute until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the chicken and taco seasoning and cook until the chicken is done.
  3. In an 8x8 in. casserole dish begin layering your lasagna. Pour in a small amount of enchilada sauce, then a tortilla, a scoop of beans, scoop of chicken, sprinkle of cheese and a little more sauce on top of that. Repeat until your chicken and beans are used up. Top final layer with another tortilla, the remaining sauce and the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and your lasagna looks bubbly.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Low Fat Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

Found a good low fat vanilla ice cream recipe, but since I'm not much of a plain vanilla person, I throw Oreos in.


1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups fat free half and half
14 T. liquid egg product (like Eggbeaters)
1/4 t. salt
1 T. - good vanilla extract (*NO more!) -- I reduced the vanilla slightly and next time will probably cut it in half
Oreos - crushed (I like to keep them in fairly large pieces but it's a matter of preference)

Mix all ingredients together except Oreos. Pour into the freezer container - (paddle in place first). Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. About 5-10 minutes before ice cream is ready, add the crushed Oreos. I used 16 Oreos with this mixture and found it to be just right for me...but I love a lot of Oreos in my ice cream.

Mom's Spaghetti

I'm sure everyone has their own spaghetti recipe that they love. My mom has been making this spaghetti all my life and it's my all time favorite spaghetti...I prefer it over any other meat sauce I've tried. Not to mention, it is definitely my "go-to" recipe because it is so easy and always good.


1 lb of ground beef
1 small onion (diced) or frozen diced white onion
1 can of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, & oregano seasoning*
1 can of tomato paste with basil, garlic, & oregano seasoning*
1 jar of red spaghetti sauce (I ALWAYS use Ragu but I vary the flavors...sometimes Parmesan and Romano...sometimes 6 cheese...sometimes Traditional)
1 box of pasta noodles (I use whole wheat noodles)
Grated parmesan cheese (optional)

*If you can't find diced tomatoes and/or tomato paste with basil, garlic, & oregano seasoning, that's fine...just get the regular kind.


In a large pan, simmer diced onions in 1-2 T of olive oil on medium heat. As onions become translucent, add ground beef and cook until completely browned. Drain fat and water off of the beef/onion mixture and return to stove. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and spaghetti sauce to beef/onion mixture, and stir well to combine all the ingredients. Continue simmering to heat all the ingredients, but turn the eye down some.

While preparing the sauce, cook pasta noodles according to directions.

After the noodles are cooked, I always add noodles to my pasta sauce directly and mix everything together. I find that it keeps better this way in the fridge and the freezer. I know some people prefer to add sauce to their noodles when they eat the spaghetti, so it's all a matter of preference.

Top with grated parmesan cheese and serve!

Slow Cooker Chili

Serves 4-6

  • 1lb ground beef or turkey
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 packet of taco seasoning (I use the low-sodium version)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbs red pepper flake (optional)
  1. In a pan, saute the onion and bell pepper until they are just beginning to brown and then remove them into your slow cooker.
  2. Using the same pan, brown the meat and add in the taco seasoning. Remove to slow cooker.
  3. Add kidney beans and tomato paste to your veggies and meat in the slow cooker.
  4. Using the tomato paste can, measure out about 9 oz. of water and add. (1.5 cans worth of water)
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
If you don't like the green pepper or onion, those can be omitted or you could serve them on the side. This makes a great week night dinner or easy game-day entree to serve a crowd. Reheats very well.

Rotini with Ground Turkey

(Makes 4 large servings)

3/4 box of whole wheat rotini or other short pasta (I like Ronzoni Healthy Harvest)
12 oz of lean ground turkey
1 jar of roasted red peppers, chopped
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 jar of marinara sauce (I used Prego Traditional Heart Smart)
1/4 cup of red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
Approximately 1 T. of minced garlic
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (I use about 1 tsp.)
Approximately 2 T. of fresh oregano
Approximately 4 T. of grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Brown the ground turkey in a large skillet over med-high heat. At the same time, start the water for the pasta. When the meat is mostly cooked, add the onion and garlic, when the onions are translucent, add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low and let simmer. When most of the liquid is cooked off, add the roasted red peppers and marinara sauce. Meanwhile, add salt to the boiling water for the pasta and cook 8-10 minutes, drain. Add the drained pasta to the meat sauce and toss together. Let simmer another couple of minutes for flavors to combine. Top each serving with some oregano and cheese.

You could also use ground beef or chicken in this dish as a substitute for the ground turkey. Serve by itself or with steamed vegetables or garlic bread.

Lazy Chicken and Rice

Makes 2-4 servings

Boneless chicken breasts
2 packs of 90-second rice (I use Garden flavor a lot, though any rice will do)
1 can cream of chicken soup

Melt a bit of butter or oil in a pan. Cut up raw chicken breasts to bite-sized pieces and throw onto pan. Let chicken cook all the way through while adding cream of chicken soup to the chicken. Heat rice in the microwave while chicken is cooking, then add to soup and chicken. Mix around thoroughly and let cook for another 5 minutes. You can also add sliced mushrooms or broccoli to this to make it more well-rounded nutritionally. :)

Food Find: Morningstar Farm Chik Patties

(See my post on J'09 on TN about this...)

On nights when it's really warm and/or we've both had a long day at work, hitting a fast food joint for dinner is a pretty regular occurance. We're trying to ammend that, but there are nights where chopping/sauteing/baking/etc. is just NOT appealing. So, we've started finding low-cal, make-at-home alternatives to some of our fast food faves.

This Week: Home Remake of Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Since my husband is a vegetarian, he obviously doesn't eat this at Wendy's, but I do, and I love it. We wanted meals we can eat together, so the first thing we did was find a chicken patty substitue. The best one we found:

Morningstar Farms Chik Patties Original

Here's the rest:

*Cook the patties to package instructions (we do ours on an indoor Cuisniart grill)
*During the last moments of cooking, add Hot Pepper Jack cheese (this is to simulate the spice rub Wendy's puts on their actual patty)
*Fix whole wheat hamburger bun with light mayo (or Mustard), sliced tomatoes, and lettuce

We paired ours with oven baked sea salted potato wedges.

Enjoy! :-)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Garlic Bread

This is a little bit different from the typical way to make it...The recipe is from Cooks Illustrated. I cut it in half - a little more reasonable for two people to consume with a couple of days.

4-5 cloves of garlic, whole with skin on
3 T unsalted butter, softened
1 T Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 loaf of Italian bread

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Cook garlic in skins in a skillet over med heat for about 8 minutes (will turn darker and have a nice smell). This takes away the bitterness of the garlic.
Remove garlic and wait until they are cool enough to handle.
Mince cloves of garlic.
Combine all ingredients (except bread) with a fork.
Spread on bread and bake for about 8-10 minutes, until light brown on top.

Eggplant Lasagne

Serves 6-8

1 Large eggplant, sliced
Butter, for greasing
Barilla no-boiling required lasagne noodles
1/2 cup pine nuts, chopped
1 egg
8 ounces ricotta cheese (about 1/2 a container)
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
1 jar of prepared sauce, or a few cans of diced tomatoes.
12 fresh basil leaves
Olive oil for Drizzling
Red pepper flakes
4 T Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Place eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt and let drain for 2 hours.
Rinse, pat dry, and cook under a preheated broiler until tender, about 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375.
Grease a baking dish large enough for your lasagna.

In a medium bowl beat together the egg, ricotta, and 1 cup of the mozzarella.

Spoon 1/4 sauce on the bottom of dish.
Arrange a layer of the no-boil noodles - no not overlap.
Place 1/2 the eggplant slices on top.
Place 1/2 the pine nuts on top.
Place 1/2 the cheese mixture on top.
Spoon 1/4 of the sauce on top.
Place 6 basil leaves on top.
Sprinkle (to taste) red pepper flakes - a few should be fine :)
Drizzle with olive oil.
Place another layer of noodles on top, and repeat the layering process once more (for 2 full layers).
Place another layer of noodles on top.
Spread remaining sauce on top (be sure to cover noodles completely).
Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 C mozzarella cheese on top.
Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on top.

Cover with foil. Bake 45-50 minutes, until bubbly. Uncover and bake 5 more minutes, until cheese is brown on top.

I made this once and was told to put it on our weekly rotation. I'm making it tonight, so we'll see if it comes out as tasty as it did last time. This recipe is a combination of a few recipes, tweaked for our tastes and needs (for example, I'm not going to make my own lasagne noodles).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cod and Walnut Terrine

Serves 4

About 1 1/2 lbs Cod Fillet
1 fresh flat-leaf parsley spring, chopped
1 fresh chervil spring, chopped
1 3/4 C bread crumbs
1/2 C shelled chopped walnuts
2 T salted capers, rinsed
1 bunch of arugula
1 fresh thyme sprig
olive oil for drizzling

For the sauce:
1 T balsamic vinegar
4-5 T olive oil
1 T capers, drained and rinsed
1/2 garlic clove, chopped
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 275. Line terrine or loaf pan with baking parchment.
Combine parsley, chervil, and bread crumbs in a bowl.
Season cod with salt and place the first layer of the fillet in the loaf pan.
Sprinkle some of the breadcrumb mixture on top of the fish.
The sprinkle some walnuts, capers, arugula and a few thyme leaves.
Continue layering until all ingredients are used.
End the layers with a piece of cod. Drizzle generously with olive oil, cover with foil, and place in a roasting pan.
Pour boiling water into roasting pan until it comes about 1/2 way up the sides.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Remove loaf pan from oven and set aside to cool (keep covered).

To make the sauce:
Whisk olive oil and vinegar together in a bowl. Stir in capers and garlic, and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, turn the fish out onto a serving platter. Serve with the sauce.

I haven't tried this one yet, but I'm experimenting on a visiting friend. I'll update with pictures (this time) and how it turned out. I got some fresh fish from the fish market this morning. I could not find chervil at the grocery store, so I'll update with my substitution (I think it is thyme, a small amount). The recipe is from a phenomenal cookbook we received as a wedding gift called the Silver Spoon. It has become one of our staple cookbooks.

This dish came out really really tasty. I found chervil at Whole Foods. Only thing was it wasn't cooked after the suggested time. I had to cook it for 20 more minutes at 350. Next time I will probably just cook it for the 40 minutes at 350. Oh, and sorry, no picture - too many glasses of wine by the time it came out.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rosemary Red Potatoes

Serves 4

1 3/4 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
1 small onion, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

In a bowl, combine the potatoes, onion, oil, rosemary, garlic and garlic salt; toss to coat. Transfer to a foil-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and browned.

This is a nice, simple side dish! I have made them a couple times and served them with pork chops.

Mustard Pork Chops


2-4 pork chops (depending on size, about 1 lb)
2 Teaspoons of garlic oil *see below
1/2 cup Hard Cider
1 T whole-grain mustard
1/2 C heavy cream

Cut fat off the pork chops. Beat them briefly with a mallet between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap to make them thinner.

*Garlic oil: Heat olive oil in a saute pan with a couple/few cloves of crushed garlic.

Heat oil in pan (make sure that the garlic cloves have been removed), and cook pork chops on med high for a few minutes each side (depending on thickness; 3-5 minutes). Remove chops to plate and keep warm.

Pour the cider into the pan and deglaze the pan. Let it bubble for a about a minute, then add the mustard and cream. Cook for a few more minutes.

Pour sauce over plated pork chops.

The sauce is great with gnocchi, and you can add these to the pan to coat them with the sauce before serving on the plate.

This is a great dish to make when you don't want to mess with a lot of ingredients, and you don't have a ton of time, but you still want something interesting and tasty!

Bacon & Onion Quiche

Serves 6

  • 3 oz. chopped bacon (cooked)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 5 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
  • 3 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 (9") deep dish frozen pie crust
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Mix the bacon, onion and cheeses in a bowl. Place into unthawed pie crust
  3. Mix the eggs and half-and-half and pour over the cheese mixture
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 35 minutes or until top of quiche is brown and a knife stuck in the center comes out clean
  5. Let quiche stand 10 min before serving. Serve warm.

This was AMAZING! Hands down best thing I've made yet. I did a few things different from the recipe. I stabbed the frozen pie crust all over (used Marie Callendar's crust) and baked for 12 minutes before adding the toppings to keep the crust from getting soggy. I used a lot more onion, half a large onion worth. I used extra sharp cheddar and romano cheese that I grated myself, and put some extra cheddar on top. I used half regular milk and half half-and-half. I also added some garlic powder, fresh ground pepper and paprika to the egg mixture. We will definately have this again. I can't wait to heat up some for breakfast tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Portobello and Black Bean Burgers

2 medium portobellos, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce or Worcestershire
6 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook mushrooms, onion and bell pepper, stirring occasionally, until pepper begins to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add beans, paprika, garlic powder and black pepper. Cook, smashing beans with the back of a spoon, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer mixture to a bowl and mix in eggs, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and breadcrumbs. Form into 4 patties. Wipe out skillet; heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat and cook burgers until brown and firm, 6 to 7 minutes per side.

Modifications I made...used probably 1.5 to 2 times the amount of breadcrumbs it called for (based on a recommendation from a friend), and I used Panko whole wheat breadcrumbs as opposed to regular bread crumbs. I also used Worcestershire as opposed to soy sauce. Served them with shredded cheddar cheese melted on top, on a hamburger bun.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

Highly recommended!

Yields 6 servings (3/4 cup size)

1 1/2 cups 2% reduced fat milk
1/2 cup bottled key lime juice (such as Nellie and Joe's) or fresh squeezed key lime juice
1/2 cup whipping cream
Dash of salt
1 (14 oz) can fat free sweetened condensed milk
6 graham crackers (1 1/2 cookie sheets) coarsely crushed, divided
Key lime wedges (optional)

Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Pour mixture into freezer can of an ice-cream freezer, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Stir 1/3 cup graham crackers into ice cream. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container, and cover and freeze for 1 hour or until firm. Sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon graham crackers. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.

Modifications I made - I couldn't find key lime juice at the store, so I bought a bag of Melissa's key limes and cut them in half and squeezed the juice into a 1/2 cup container. It ended up taking every single one of the key limes to get 1/2 cup of juice! Also, I pretty much tripled or quadrupled the graham crackers the recipe calls for and put them all in the ice cream. I felt like the graham crackers took some of the "bite" out of the lime tart-ness and made it more pie like, since you got a good chunk of graham crackers in each bite. Plus, I'm a big fan of stuff in my ice cream.

Chicken Tuscan

Serves 1

Microwave for 5 -6 minutes. I like to mix the vegetables with the pasta and chicken together once cooked.

Slow Cooker: Hungarian Chicken Paprikash

Serves 2-4

  • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1C chicken broth
  • 2 medium yellow onions diced
  • 1t salt
  • 1T paprika * I used more like 2T :)
  • 1t black pepper
  • 8oz Sour Cream
  • 1T flour

  1. Put everything except the sour cream and flour into the pot
  2. Cook on low 4-6 hours
  3. 30 minutes before serving mix the flour into the sour cream container
  4. Dump the sour cream/flour mixture into the pot
  5. Stir and let the sauce thicken

Serve over dumplings, rice or noodles.

I served over some no yolk egg noodles. This is good, a little bland though. I would suggest using at least 3 T of paprika and cutting the chicken broth back to 1/2C maybe. I think the onion let off a lot of moisture. It tried adding more flour but it still wouldn't thicken.

Baked Pesto Chicken

Serves 2

  • 2 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cut pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Pesto directions:
  1. In your food processor pulse the basil, garlic and pine nuts a few times to a coarse mixture.
  2. Turn the processor to on and stream in 1/3 cup of olive oil. This should only take a few seconds.
  3. Empty mixture in a mixing bowl and stir in the cheese.
  1. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish (I used an 8x8 glass dish) and coat with pesto.
  2. Marinate in your refrigerator at least 6-8 hours or until the chicken has thawed. Doing this the night before would work well too.
  3. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until done.

I served this with penne pasta and a Parmesan cream sauce. Phillip was somewhat skeptical of "the green stuff" as he hadn't had pesto before and really enjoyed this. I'll definitely make it again.

Slow Cooker: Asian Shredded Beef (or Pork)

Serves 5-6 hungry adults! (great the next day as leftovers!)

  • Boneless Beef (or pork) roast. *I used a 4lb Beef Roast
  • 1/2 C Hoisin Sauce
  • 1/2 C Soy Sauce
  • 6T Honey
  • 6T Ketchup
  • 2T Chinese 5-Spice
  • 2T Garlic powder (or 2 cloves minced)
  • * I added 1 yellow onion cut in rings

  1. Place the roast in your crock
  2. Sprinkle the spice on the roast
  3. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, mix and pour over the roast
  4. Cook on High for 4-6 hours or Low for 7-9 hours. * I cooked on Low for 8.5 hours

Serve over jasmine rice, shredded cabbage or you can make "Asian tacos" like we did with four tortillas, RF sour cream, cold shredded cabbage (cole slaw mix) and the beef.

We thought this was really good. I will omit the Chinese 5 spice next time. I didn't realize till it was too late that it has anise in it, and I HATE licorice. Even with the licorice taste I thought it was really good.

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Hi ladies!

Welcome to the official J9 Cooking Blog! Wooooo! This is our place to share and search for recipes, get ideas and discuss what's for dinner. Please let me know if there is anything missing or anything you'd like changed.

Please keep a couple things in mind when you're posting.

  1. Give us an idea of how many people the recipe serves so we know if we should make more or less
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