Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Meat & noodle casserole

Review by Lyndee:

½ cup diced onion
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 pounds lean ground beef, pork or turkey
½ bag macaroni or other noodles
1 cup cheddar
1 cup mozzarella cheeses
2 tbsp cream cheese
optional seasonings: I used salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic and a dash of hot sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brown onions and meat in pan.  Boil noodles according to directions and drain.  Once the meat is browned, mix in cream cheese and diced tomatoes.  Remove from heat and stir in noodles.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake covered for 30 minutes.  Remove tinfoil and top with the shredded cheeses.  Bake for 10 more minutes or until cheese is golden brown.  (This can also be refrigerated overnight and cooked the next day. ) Sprinkle with parmesan and enjoy. 

I used ground pork for this recipe because it was something different and I had it on hand.  I used egg noodles instead of macaroni.  The original recipe did not call for the cream cheese but I felt it was a nice touch.  I made mine last night and warmed it up today for lunch.  I added a little bit of spaghetti sauce as I knew it probably dried out a bit in the fridge last night.  It was a pretty tasty casserole that was easy and cheap to make.    

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Super simple bisquick chocolate chip cookies

Review by Lyndee: 

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
2 3/4 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 oz)

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla and egg. Stir in Bisquick mix, chocolate chips and nuts. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet, d about 2 inches apart; flatten slightly. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

These were a very easy cookie to throw together and they tasted great. I did small cookies for portion controls o we ended up with 36 and the boys enjoyed a few bites of cookie dough as well.  You could easily add white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, cranberries or nuts to these for some variety.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fruity white cake (healthified)

Review by Lyndee:

This wasn’t meant to be a blog post but I made this cake last week and the boys loved it so I thought I would share it here.  Just a few easy steps make this an awesome summer sweet treat!

1 white cake mix (lemon cake mix is great too when topped with fruit)
1 can diet 7-up or spite
1 container fat free cool whip
Sliced fruit

Mix cake mix and soda together in a bowl. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9x13 pan.  Spread batter in pan and bake according to directions on the box.  When cooled top with cool whip and fruit.  I used strawberries and kiwi this time but you can use peaches, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or whatever fruit trips your trigger.  It’s light, fun, healthified and delicious!!! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Potato & ham casserole

Review by Rachael:

2 cups potatoes, cubed
2 cups ham, cubed
1 (15.25 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
¼ cup finely chopped minced fresh parsley
¼ cup butter
1 tablespoon chopped onions
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups milk
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ounces processed cheese, shredded

1    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool.  Combine potatoes, ham, corn & parsley; set aside. In a saucepan sauté onion in butter for 2 minutes, stir in four until blended well. Gradually add milk & pepper. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat & pour over the ham mixture. Stir to mix well.  Pour into greased 7x11 baking dish. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and bake 5-10 minutes longer until cheese melts.

I had some ham to use up and found this recipe. I had everything on hand except for a can of corn. I used dried parsley that I had in the cupboard. The prep takes a little bit of time but it’s not a hard recipe. 1 tablespoon of onion just didn’t seem like enough so I ended up adding more: I didn’t measure it, I just added.  I took mine out after it had been in another 10 minutes with the cheese on it, the cheese wasn’t exactly like I was hoping but I didn’t want to overcook the dish. I also had some homemade bread crumbs that I want to use up so I sprinkled a light layer of those on before I put on the cheese.

Next time I would not put so much parsley, it was good but a little too much for my liking. I also added a lot of pepper & salt after it baked to give it some more flavor. All & all it was a good, flavorful dish. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Olive oil bread dip

Review by Lyndee:

I’m pretty much a carb addict and I love me a nice baguette or rolls dipped in olive oil “stuff” like you get at nice Italian restaurants.  When my hubby brought me home some fresh bread I decided to give this a try, because let’s be honest, a girl can only eat so much toast. 

1 tbsp minced basil
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp rosemary
¼  tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp olive oil
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice about 1/8th of a tsp

Combine all ingredients except olive oil and lemon juice.  Mix in food processor or with a fork.  Stir in lemon juice and olive oil. 

To serve: combine about 1 ½ tsps of spice blend to 3-4 tbsp olive oil in a small dish.  Dip bread of choice. 

This didn’t come out perfect.  I realized while typing this that I didn’t add the lemon juice and olive oil to the spice prior to adding the larger amount of olive oil.  That may be why it tasted much better once it sat and melded together for a few minutes.  It was a lot of measuring but pretty easy to make and something fun to do with bread.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Baked zucchini crisps

Review by Lyndee:

My friend Kara has gotten me totally addicted to the baked zucchini from Crunchtables.  Not kidding, I probably eat it 3 times a week or more.  My mother-in-law brought over some zucchini from the garden the other day so I decided I would attempt to make my own version of this delicious dinner side. 

3 large zucchinis, cut into rounds ¼ inch thick
3 large eggs
½ cup flour
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1½ cup bread crumbs
½ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 tsp. dried oregano

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil.  Arrange 3 shallow, wide bowls or pie plates in a row. In the first bowl, stir together flour, ½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper. In the second bowl, whisk together eggs, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. In the third bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, oregano, and ½ tsp. salt.  Working in batches, first dip zucchini in flour mixture, then transfer to egg mixture and toss until coated. Finally, coat zucchini in breadcrumb mixture. Arrange zucchini in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes then using tongs, flip the coins over and cook for another 7 to 12 minutes more.

These were ok.  Not quite as good as the ones I buy but definitely healthier. I think I should’ve cooked them a few minutes longer to get that desired crispiness.  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Gram’s Fat Free Pineapple Cake

Review by Jami:

This recipe was my grandmother’s and I don't know how she came across it, but she made it frequently, especially after she no longer cooked much. My mother can still hear her chuckle about all the rave reviews from her card club friends.  She shared it freely and now at least half of Iowa has her secret fabulous recipe...guaranteed to get the same rave reviews.

1 box of angel food cake mix
1 can of crushed pineapple

Heat oven to 350 before mixing. Do not butter or flour the pans you are using. Place pineapple in the bowl and fold in the cake mix. Bake as directed.

Fat free frosting: 1 fat free Cool Whip mixed with 1 or 2 fat free flavor yogurt containers (I like raspberry but feel free to experiment). Top with fresh fruit if desired.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mashed cauliflower

Review by Lyndee:

1 bag frozen cauliflower pieces
8 oz cream cheese (I used a reduced fat onion and chive)
2 tbsp butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

Boil cauliflower according to directions on bag.  I added a dash of salt while it was cooking.  Drain and mash cauliflower. Add cream cheese, butter, salt and pepper to taste. 

My mother in law makes this all the time and it’s always awesome.  Her version tastes way better than mashed potatoes, to me.  Mine was a little lumpy.  Don’t think I cooked the cauliflower quite long enough. I mashed it with a fork the best I could.  Then I tried to use a hand held mixer and I had chunks flying all over the kitchen. Bad idea there.  Even though mine wasn’t smooth and creamy like hers, it was still super tasty.  If you want to do a healthy swap use a light cream cheese or do half cream cheese and half greek yogurt.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Honey Garlic Pork Chops

Review by Lyndee:

1/4 + 1/8 cup honey
3 tbsp soy sauce
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 pork loin chops, boneless, trimmed of excess fat, 4 oz each

In a shallow dish, whisk together honey, soy sauce and garlic. Coat chops in mixture.
Reserve left over honey mixture for basting. Place chops on greased grill over med high heat, close lid and cook, basting 2 times.

Number of Servings: 6

These were ok.  Rob liked them better than I did. I mixed up the marinade (adding a splash of sesame oil) and let the chops soak in the fridge for 3 hours.  I baked them at 350 for 35 minutes. Then I broiled them for 2 minutes to caramelize the honey.  I’m not sure if the flavor would’ve been more prominent if I had grilled them or what.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Overnight Ham and Cheese Breakfast Enchiladas

Review by Lyndee: 

2 cups cubed and cooked ham
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
10 flour tortillas (6-8 inches)
1 1/4 cup half-and-half
4 whole eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
salsa, sour cream, and additional green onions for serving

In a medium bowl stir together ham, green onions and 2 cups of cheese (save the remaining 1/2 cup for later). Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Use a 1/3-cup measuring cup to scoop out cheese mixture onto a tortilla. Roll up tortilla and place seam side down in the baking dish. Roll up all tortillas and place them into the baking dish with the sides touching.
Whisk together half-and-half, eggs, salt, and flour. Pour over tortillas. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350º. Bake covered for 30-40 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over enchiladas. Bake for 10 more minutes or until tops are golden brown and the egg mixture is set.   Serve with salsa, sour cream, and additional green onions.

I was a little skeptical of this recipe.  When I poured on the egg mixture it didn’t seem to cover much area and I didn’t want dry, crunchy tortillas.  I baked it last night and warmed it for breakfast this morning to have all week.  It was surprisingly excellent.  Very tasty! I added just a tiny bit of salsa and sour cream on a few bites but it wasn’t needed because it’s so rich and yummy.  Definitely will put this on the docket for when company is coming to town.   

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mom’s Zesty Tomato Soup

Review by Jami: 

I love this soup so much, I usually make a double batch and freeze the leftovers. I prefer it spicy but feel free to adjust the amount of red pepper to your personal taste level. It doesn’t take much to give this soup zip, so start small if you’re not a fan, or do away with it completely.

The original recipe adds a slice of bread pulverized in the food processor, but I eliminated this step altogether as the soup is thick enough without the extra carbs.

½ onion, diced
Red pepper flakes
28 oz. can of whole tomato
1 tbl brown sugar
1 bay leaf
Olive oil
1 cup veggie broth

Saute onion until tender in olive oil with red pepper flakes and bay leaf in a soup pot. Add the can of whole tomatoes with juice (do not drain) and brown sugar. Cook briefly until warm and sugar is dissolved. Remove bay leaf.

Using a hand blender is the easiest way to blend ingredients, right there in the pot. Add another tbl of olive oil and the broth, blend until smooth.

At this point add spices to taste, I like some garlic and basil while Mom adds a tbl of brandy. I also like to add extra protein, as I often struggle to meet my daily recommendation. Unflavored protein is great because you can cook it into almost any dish, just blend well. In this case, I like some hemp seed protein which adds a little bit of a nutty flavor with a slightly chewy texture. This is all optional so please experiment and let us know the results. I would love to hear your personal recommendations.