Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Baked parmesan tilapia (Fareway recipe)

Review by Lyndee:

4 filets tilapia
1 cup flour
1 large egg
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 dash Salt
1 dash pepper
1 Medium lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Place flour in shallow dish. Beat egg and place in a separate shallow dish.  Combine cheese, paprika and parsley in a shallow dish. Drizzle fish with olive or canola oil and dredge in flour, then egg, and then cheese mixture. Place on foil-lined baking sheet and bake until opaque about 10 to 12 minutes.  Serve with lemon wedges.

I love the crusted tilapia that they sell at the meat counter at Fareway so when I saw they posted this recipe I was super excited.  I followed the directions and it turned out magnificent! Next time I will try ¼ cup egg beaters instead of an egg to cut some fat and calories.  Also, I didn’t have lemon wedges so I just sprinkled some lemon juice on the filets.  So yummy!!

Servings: Makes 4 servings  Total prep time: 20 minutes
Nutrition information per serving:  252 calories; 13 g fat; 5 g saturated; 74 mg cholesterol; 344 mg sodium; 1 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 33 g protein

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sriracha chicken strips

Review by Lyndee:

3 chicken breasts cut into strips
1 cup flour
2 eggs
½ cup milk
2 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce
Corn flake crumbs

Mix eggs and milk together.  Sprinkle in pepper.  Add sriracha sauce.  Dip chicken strips in flour and then let chicken strips soak in the liquid mix for a few minutes.  While they are soaking heat oil in a skillet or preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Dip the strips in a bag of corn flake crumbs and fry for a few minutes (until a dark golden brown) or bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. 

These are good enough to eat plain or dip in some ranch or blue cheese.  You can add more sriracha if you like a lot of heat.  Or sprinkle the strips with some pepper and cayenne before dipping in the cornflake crumbs. 

Maia and I thought these were awesome but Rob didn’t think they had enough kick so next time he will double the sriracha amount.  Nothing like a good tongue fire to complete dinner.  

Cilantro Thai Grilled Chicken

Review by Lyndee:

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
2 tablespoons asian fish sauce or 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Place all the ingredients above in a food processor and process until smooth.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Pour marinade over chicken breast and let flavors sink in for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
Prepare your grill or broiler. Cook until temperature registers 165F on the meat thermometer. Let the chicken breasts rest for 5 minutes before serving, this prevents the meat from drying up.

I didn’t put the sauce in the food processor.  I just mixed it up in a bowl and set it on the chicken breast to marinate in the fridge.  

I baked the chicken in the oven and it was juicy, tasty goodness.  Great flavor and really hit the spot.  This was easy and cheap to make and tasted great.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Paradise Chocolate Chip Cookies

Review by Lyndee

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees .  In mixer, cream together butter and sugar. 

If I can make cookies in my 1975 Hamilton Beach hand me down mixer, anyone can do it.  Think it's time to upgrade?  I'm sure a new mixer would make all my baking much easier, but alas, it is not in the budget right now.  Beat in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl  combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Gradually beat into butter/sugar mixture. Add chocolate chips and stir in. 

Spoon and drop onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 minutes or until edges begin to turn golden brown.  The recipe said 375 degrees for 9 minutes but that was too long for our oven.  The second batch I did at 350 for 8 minutes and that was perfect.  I was using a dark cookie sheet and they say sometimes that makes a difference so just keep that in mind.  

These cookies are amazing! The recipe makes about 4 dozen small to medium size cookies.  I made a batch Friday afternoon and by Sunday night, my husband the kids were asking me to make another because they had gobbled them all up.  Easy recipe to follow and most ingredients are in your cupboards.  These were a definite hit and will be made again and again at our house! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sweet and Smoky Salmon -- DELICIOUS!!

In an effort to eat more fish in our household, we took advantage of the specials that our local Hy-Vee store is running this week on some of its seafood.  Last night we tried Sweet and Smoky Salmon, a recipe I found on Hy-Vee's website.  It's super simple and quick!  The whole family (that includes a four- and five-year-old) enjoyed the salmon.

Here's What You Need:

  • 4 (4 oz) salmon fillets
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • Ground cumin, to taste (if you don't have this in the cupboard, the recipe would be okay without it)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
Here's What You Do:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place salmon fillets skin-side down on a greased baking sheet.  (**After cooking, I remove the skin**)  Press each fillet with 1/2 T brown sugar.  Sprinkl each lightly with cumin and salt. 
  3. Bake for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  4. Sprinkle with black pepper before serving.

Here is a link to the recipe (  The site give you all the nutrition information -- salmon is loaded with all kinds of good stuff for you!

No, I do not have a picture of these scrum-diddly-umptious fillets.  They were gone too darn quickly.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Healthified brownies

Review by Lyndee:

Tonight I had a hankering for brownies.  I had a mix in the cupboard but didn’t want full fat.  I was out of black beans but I did have applesauce.  I’ve heard that a lot of people swap applesauce for oil when making cakes and other baked goods so I did a little online research and sure enough, found you can do it with brownies too.  The posts I found suggested doubling the amount. If your mix calls for ¼ cup of oil, use ½ a cup of applesauce. 

1 box brownie mix
2 eggs
¼ cup water
1 cup of unsweetened apple sauce

Preheat oven to 325 and grease a cake pan.  Mix your ingredients according to the directions.  Bake. 

I decided to get crazy and mix up a serving of PB2 and add a little peanut butter to half the brownies for some fun flavor.  PB2 is a healthier version of peanut butter (40 calories versus 190 and minimal fat).  You take two tablespoons of the powder and mix with 1 tablespoon of water.  I mixed that together and added a few dollops to the brownies.

The batter tasted normal and they looked fine when I put them in the oven. I baked for the required time and took them out.  They looked a little “bubbly”.  Like there were little mini air-holes in the batter.  They taste pretty good.  Obviously not the same chewy consistency of normal brownies but like brownies just the same.  And I knew they were so much healthier for me.  I think next time I would bake them in an 8x8 pan instead of a 9 x 13 so they were a little thicker.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Absolut-ly yummy!

Review by Lyndee:

I made an impulse buy at the grocery store the other night.  They had these little bottles of Absolut Hibiskus for $1 near the register.  I don't even know what hibiskus is but being the little adventurer that I am, I gave it a try.  I'm so glad I did.  Mixed it with lemonade and it was delicious.  Would be a wonderful summertime drink as well.  Very light and refreshing.

** Here is the flavor explanation according to the Absolut website. "Aromas of exotic hibiscus fuse with ripe and round notes of freshly sliced pomegranate. Bright layers of fruity and floral flavors burst through a natural sweetness. Shot with a sophisticated tang from the hibiscus" 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day, Smarty Pants!

The gals at TT123 wish you a lovely Valentine's Day.

Of course, we had to have some fun with this holiday, and make some homemade Valentine's.  Emma was excited to give all her "smarty pants" classmates a Valentine she helped make herself!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Washer necklaces

Review by Lyndee:

I love jewelry but I do not like the expensive price tag that comes with it.  Plus, I like it to be a bit customized to my personality.  So last night I made some washer necklaces.  It was so fun I couldn’t stop! I made 11 of them! 

Scrapbook paper
Washers (I used three different sizes but the medium (1 inch) was my favorite)
Glossy accents
Mod podge
Cricut or circle punch
Exacto knife

Pick the scrapbook paper that you like.  Cut or punch the circle to match the size of your washer.  You also need to cut the middle circle out.  This is where it can get tricky if you don’t have an exacto knife.  Mod podge the washer and press the paper on.  Cover with a coat of glossy accents.  Wait to dry and then string on a cord for wearing. 

I may be biased but I love these! I made 11 different varieties and sizes so that no matter my mood or the color of my outfit, I will always have one I can wear each day. 

If you don’t have the tools or the patience to try this on your own, just shoot us a message and we will custom make one for you on the cheap.  Everyone should be sporting one or two of these in their jewelry box!  

UV Candy Bar Vodka Recipes

Review by Lyndee:

UV Vodka released their new flavor recently and Melody and I were elated to see that it was “candy bar”.  Chocolate and caramel flavored vodka.  Naturally we rushed to the store to acquire a bottle and see what we could come up with.  We tried what they had suggested online and also some other variations.  Truth is, and I say this with a tear in my eye and a dry throat, we didn’t love it.  The caramel overpowers the chocolate.  We couldn’t find a mixer that was excellent with it besides the creamy ones.  And for anyone counting calories, that’s a dangerously slippery drinking slope. 

We tried it with:
Diet Pepsi
Diet Pepsi and milk
Diet Pepsi, milk and Kahlua
My homemade Irish cream
Diet Pepsi and my homemade Irish cream

Our favorites were mixing it with the Irish cream or milk, Kahlua and diet Pepsi.  For my tastes, it would probably be better used in shots rather than a full drink.  Or with ice cream.  That would be awesome. 

Fear not, we will continue to attempt other recipes that don’t include cream until that bottle is gone.  And as always, we will pass it along to you.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Healthified breakfast melt

Review by Lyndee:

¼ egg beaters
2 slices fat free American cheese
2 pieces light Italian bread
4 pieces deli ham
Light butter spread or spray

Butter one side of each slice of bread.  Lay butter side down in a pan.  Set piece of cheese and two pieces of ham on each slice.  Cook on medium heat.  Cook egg beaters in a small separate pan.  When egg beaters are done, move on top of one of the bread slices.  Flip the other slice on top.  Cook until the bread is a golden brown.

This is a great way to break from the norm of your daily breakfast routine.  It’s warm and gooey and nutritious at under 300 calories and 5 grams of fat. Plus, you get almost 30 grams of protein in this hearty little sandwich.  You could swap turkey bacon, sausage or meatless soy crumbles for the ham as well.  

Loaded baked potato dip

Review by Lyndee:

1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 green onions, sliced
salt, pepper and cayenne to taste (optional)

Mix everything and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld.  Enjoy scooping with potato chips.

This dip is super easy to make and surprisingly, does taste like a loaded baked potato.  I served it with wavy chips as directed but I think it would be really good with club crackers too.  Cut back on some of the fat by using reduced fat shredded cheese and light sour cream. 

Lighter Lasagna Soup

Review by Lyndee:

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground Italian turkey sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 ounces broken whole-wheat lasagna noodles (I used 6 pieces, per a friends suggestion)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I used the dried basil I had on hand)
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick saucepot or Dutch oven. Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, 8 – 10 minutes.

Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, about 20 minutes. Add the noodles; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens slightly and the noodles are tender, 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in mozzarella, basil, and the Parmesan.

I found that my noodles took more than 12 minutes to be tender.  Once they were done I served up a bowl and it was really good! I’ve never had lasagna soup before but this was rich, delicious and very filling.  Great comfort soup for a cold day with half the calories and fat from the original lasagna soup recipe.

Nutritional Information: Per Serving (1 cup) 225 Cal (27% from Fat, 42% from Protein, 31% from Carb); 23 g Protein; 7 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 2 g Mono Fat; 17 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar; 108 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 826 mg Sodium; 53 mg Cholesterol

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Loopy DC

Review by Lyndee:

I received some Three Olives Loopy vodka for Christmas this year.  It’s supposed to taste like fruit loops.  Oddly, it really does.  Who would’ve thought to mix cereal and vodka?  Not this girl.  But who am I to turn down a good bottle of booze?  A few people suggested mixing it with sprite or 7-up.  I didn’t love that combo so Melody and I decided to play around some other options.  I forgot to get a picture but liked it with lemonade.  Keep in mind we were using large solo cups so did 2 shots per glass but if you’re using a normal 8 or 12 oz glass go with one shot if you don’t want to get wasted. 

We had diet dew on hand and thought we’d give that a whirl. 

Loopy Mountain
Add ice to glass
1 shot Loopy
Fill the rest with Diet Mountain Dew

I liked the Loopy Mountain ok. Melody didn’t but Uncle John thought it was good. 

Loopy D
Add ice to glass
1 shot Loopy
Sunny Delight

This one was pretty tasty but we felt it was just missing something to put make it great. 

Loopy DC
Add ice to glass
1 shot Loopy
Sunny Delight
Splash of Cranberry juice (to taste) 

This was definitely our favorite! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bacon spinach dip crescent rolls

Review by Lyndee:

1 Pillsbury crescent roll tube
1 pound bacon
1 can diced chicken breast  (optional)
9 oz green giant spinach (frozen chopped, thawed and drained)
8 ozs sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Italian blend shredded cheese
1 tsp garlic powder

Cut bacon into pieces and fry or microwave until just crispy.  Preheat oven to 350.  Microwave spinach for 4 minutes (according to the package) then drain.  Mix in a bowl with sour cream, mayo, garlic powder and cheese.  Add bacon and chicken.  Stir together.  Add a spoonful of dip onto each crescent and roll it up. 

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Slice and serve warm. 

As with the French loaf, I made one batch with chicken and one without to see which one I liked best.  With the croissants, my taste testers and I actually preferred just the bacon as the smoky flavor blended well with the sweetness of the bread.  But feel free to add chicken if you would like additional filler.  The best part is these are super easy,  quick to make and taste awesome. 

Bacon, chicken, spinach french loaf

Review by Lyndee:

2 loaf Pillsbury French crusty bread
1 pound bacon
1 can diced chicken breast
9 oz green giant spinach (frozen chopped, thawed and drained)
8 ozs sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Italian blend shredded cheese
1 tsp garlic powder

I had a recipe in mind but couldn’t narrow down which way would be best so I made a couple variations.  They all turned out awesome but this one was the crowd favorite.  I made one batch with chicken and one without to see which I liked best. 

Cut bacon into pieces and fry or microwave until just crispy.  Preheat oven to 350. Grease cookie sheet with non-stick spray. 

Microwave spinach for 4 minutes (according to the package) then drain.  Mix in a bowl with sour cream, mayo, garlic powder and cheese.  Add bacon and chicken.  Stir together.  Cut your French loaf in half.  Then cut a slit lengthwise down each half and push the sides out a bit.  Add your spinach dip filling on each of the four pieces.  Sprinkle a little of the shredded cheese on top.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Slice and serve warm.  
This turned out wonderful! And very filling.  Rich flavors, easy to make and a fun variation to our traditional dinners.  Even Michael liked it, although he claims to hate spinach.  

Greek Style Quinoa

Review by Molly:

I was going to have chicken for dinner and wanted something fun to have for a side.  I recently had a Pampered Chef party and got a lot of seasonings and could not decide if I wanted to use the Greek or the Citrus Basil, so I decided to use them both.  And for my side, I picked Quinoa.  I had seen pre-packaged season Quinoa boxes but I didn't want all that sodium so I decided to season and put together my own creation.  Here's how it went:
1/2 cup dry Quinoa (this is two servings)
1 cup Reduced sodium Chicken broth
a few dashes of the Greek seasoning and the Citrus Basil seasoning.

Bring those to a boil and then cover and turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 15 min.  The Quinoa that I got did not have to be rinsed, thank goodness, but make sure to check the box.
After that was all done, I fluffed up the quinoa, per the instructions on the box.  I then added the following:
1 can no salt added diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
1/4 cup reduced fat crumbled feta cheese
The juice of 1 lime
1 cup baby spinach
A few dashes of the Greek seasoning and the Citrus Basil seasoning

This turned out a little soupier then I've seen most Quinoa dishes, so I think next time I would drain some of the juice from the tomatoes*.  I would also cut back on the lime juice.  It basically tasted like tomatoes and lime juice, which is fine with me because they're two of my favorite flavors but I don't think it would be everyone's favorite.  I ate it with a boneless, skinless, chicken breast cooked in my Round Covered Baker with the same two seasoning blends.  It definitely filled me up!
*Well, I did try it again the next evening and used the juice from the tomatoes in with the chicken broth to boil the Quinoa, along with the juice of half of a lime.  It was definately not as liquidy but I ended up burning the Quinoa in the pan because I let it simmer too long.  Gotta check on it while it's soaking up that juice and, if it looks done, fluff away!  Don't base it off the timer!