Wednesday, September 9, 2009


**This is a recipe that you can make ahead**


4 frozen boneless/skinless chicken breasts
½ cup of light zesty Italian dressing
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cans diced green chilies
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained (optional)
1 large tomato, diced (or more if you love tomato)
2 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
8-10 whole wheat tortillas (Taco-sized Mission brand)
Salsa - for topping


In the morning, place whole chicken breasts in crockpot. Pour ½ cup of the Italian dressing over it and cook on low for 4-6 hours. When it is done, it should easily shred. Take chicken out and shred/cube it. See instructions below when time to prepare the dinner.

At Dinner Time:

Preheat oven to 400°.

1. In large pot, sauté onion in a tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat.
2. Add garlic and green chilies.
3. Reduce heat to med-lo and add the cooked shredded/cubed chicken, can of drained black beans and diced tomato.
4. Add cumin and salt to your desired taste.
5. Measure the correct amount of meat/bean mixture (size of your palm).
6. Place meat/bean mixture on a tortilla.
7. Roll into a chimichanga. Fold in the sides first and then roll it.
8. Place on greased (Pam sprayed) cookie sheet and bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until crisp.
9. Remove from oven, top with salsa and enjoy!

Other toppings could include: cheese, sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, olives, etc.

Could substitute Rotel tomatoes for the fresh tomato and chilies.

Granola Bars

Last night I attended another cooking demo at Younkers.

Granola Bars


4 c. oats
¼ - ½ c. brown sugar (use 1/3 c.)
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
2 ½ t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. peanut butter
Any fruits, nuts, etc. you'd like to add. – a handful
(Mini Reese's baking chips, M&M's, chocolate chips, dried cherries, cranberries, raisins, flax seed, etc.)


Mix everything but the honey in a mixer, or by hand. Heat the honey in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds then add to mixture. Blend with hands.

Put in lightly greased sheet cake pan (spray with Pam) and pat evenly. Use rolling pin to flatten any uneven areas.

Bake @ 325° for 14 - 20 minutes. Cool briefly, then cut. When cool store in snack bags or in a plastic container.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

German Chocolate Cookies

I saw this recipe on Megan's Munchies and had to try them. She found the recipe on Recipezaar. OMG! Yummy! I topped them with Coconut-Pecan frosting (store-bought...right by the cake mixes!).

Here's the recipe:

German Chocolate Cookies


1 package German chocolate cake mix
1/2 cups semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup rolled oats (next time I might use pecans or pecans AND oats)
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, blending well.

Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto a Sil-pat covered cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Press the cookies down with the bottom of a glass.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until set.

Frost with Coconut-Pecan frosting.


Individual Microwave Mug Cakes

I got this recipe from a potluck we had where I live. It's so much easier than the other microwave cakes I've seen.


1 angel food cake mix (type that says "just add water")
1 cake mix (any flavor of your choice...I've made chocolate, red velvet, and strawberry...I need


Mix both mixes together and store in a Ziploc bag or other container.

To make a cake, put 1/3 cup of mix in a coffee mug (safe for the microwave). Add 3 tablespoons of water and mix.

Cook on 100% power for 1 minute (I've found the red velvet takes a little longer...just make sure the cake looks dry and not wet on top).

Flip cake onto a plate and fill mug with water (makes it easier to clean up).

Cake can be served plain or topped however you like it.

Possible toppings: caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, frosting, ice cream, etc.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

California Roll Bowl

This week I found this idea through the Iowa Girl Eats blog. If you scroll down to the "101 Simple Salads for the Season" link, this is #21 from that list.

I love California Rolls, and so I figured I couldn't miss with this! And it didn't disappoint!

I wanted to use Jasmine rice, but was out. So instead I zapped one of the individual rice portions in the microwave. After it was cooked, I spread it out on a plate and put it in the freezer to quickly cool (about 5 minutes was all). While it cools, do the following.

Cube up about 1/2 a cucumber, 1/2 an avocado, and some imitation crab. Add some rice vinegar, honey, and soy sauce (taste to your liking). Add the rice, then mix it all up! Enjoy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Red (Pasta) Sauce

3 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes (No Salt Added Dei Fratelli brand)
1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste
4 cloves garlic
1 onion (sweet or Vidalia)
Fresh basil
Olive oil

In a food processor, grate onion and garlic until "almost mush." Add olive oil to stock pot to come up about 1/4 inch up the side of the pan (or less). Saute garlic and onion in oil until translucent. Add tomato paste, rinsing can with about 1/3 of a can of water. Cook for about 15 minutes until the bright red paste turns to a dark brown-red color. Add crushed tomatoes, rinsing each can with aobut 1/3 of a can of water. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on low for several hours. Towards the end, add basil (torn or chifenade).

*After adding crushed tomatoes, I cooked for about 2 1/2 hours, then added the basil and cooked for another 15-30 minutes.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Easy Pain au Chocolat

I sure miss the real pain au chocolat that I had in France. I've tried making an easy version of them before, but there was something missing. I used a recipe from La Fuji Mama, but made them a wee bit smaller so they are bite-sized. They turned out so yummy! This is an easy version that is good, but still nothing like the real thing! Sometime I'll have to try making them from scratch! Anyway, here's the easy version.


1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
Semi-sweet chocolate chunks
1 egg, beaten with 2 T. water
Sugar in the Raw (or other coarse sugar)


Unroll crescent rolls, pinching the seams to make 4 rectanges out of the 8 triangles. Cut each rectangle into a square. You should have 8 squares. Next cut each square in half to form 16 small rectangles.

Brush rectangle with the egg wash. Place chocolate squares along 1 short edge of crescent dough. Roll up so the chocolate is in the center. Place on a silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush with more egg wash and sprinkle with Sugar in the Raw.

Bake according to crescent roll package.


Makes 16.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Banana Heaven

Here's the recipe for the banana bread and caramel sauce I made last night! AWESOME!!! The syrup can also be used on waffles, ice cream, cheesecake, straight from a spoon!


1 c sugar
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
3 mashed bananas
1 t. baking soda
2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt

Cream ingredients together. Pour batter into greased and floured loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. For smaller loaves, bake 45 minutes.


1 stick butter
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla

In a saucepan combine everything except for vanilla. Bring to a boil. When boiling, stir and continue to boil for 5 minutes (mine took closer to 7 minutes). Remove from heat when caramel in color and add vanilla.

While bread is warm, slice into thick slices. Lightly soak pieces with warm syrup.
Top with ice cream, more warm syrup, fresh bananas and whipped cream.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thai (Die-For) Sticky Rice and Mangoes

I received a recipe for Thai Sticky Rice, but after making it wasn't sure I liked it. If you've been to The Spice in Ames, their Sticky Rice with Mangoes is to die for. The recipe I had just didn't do it for me. So I changed things a little bit. And I highly recommend steaming the rice, as the first time I made it I cooked it in a double boiler, which I think led to the "bad" rice. Since it's only me eating this, I divided the recipe in half. Below is the full recipe.


2 cups Thai Sticky Rice, uncooked (also called Sweet Rice)
1 (14-oz.) can coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Fresh mango cubes

1. Rinse rice 3-4 times until water is clear. Soak rice in lots of water overnight. (I rinsed, then put in warm water and let soak for about 5 hours, changing the water once and replacing with warm water.) Drain.

2. Line a steamer basket with cheesecloth and steam the rice for 12 minutes. (My rice cooker has a steamer basket, so I used that and the cheesecloth. The rice will stick to the cheesecloth, so try to get as much off when you add it to the milk mixture, which is the next step.)

3. Meanwhile, heat the coconut milk, sugar and salt over medium-low heat to dissolve sugar. Add the steamed rice and continue to cook for about 10 minutes more. (I had to add some more coconut milk during this time so it wasn't one big clump. I didn't cook for the whole 10 minutes, either.)

4. Serve with mango cubes (either side-by-side on a dessert plate or in a bowl with mangoes on top of rice).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mexican Beef Lasagna


1 ½ pounds lean ground beef (93%) or ground chicken/turkey
1 cup each diced red onion and diced green bell pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic (fresh)
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup diced tomatoes (Roma)
½ cup fresh or frozen corn, thawed
1 ½ teaspoon chili powder (mild…use less if using hot chili powder)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups pasta sauce
1 cup medium salsa
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
4 large or 8 small whole wheat flour tortillas
1 ½ cups shredded light sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup sliced green onions
Sour cream, optional


Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 13 x 9-inch casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the ground beef, onions, green pepper and garlic over medium-high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Break up any large pieces of meat as it is cooking.

Add black beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin. Cook and stir for 2 more minutes. Add pasta sauce, salsa and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cilantro and remove from heat.

To assemble casserole, spread a third of the sauce mixture over bottom of casserole dish. Top with half of the tortillas, overlapping and cutting them as necessary to fit. Top with a third of the sauce mixture, followed by half of the cheese. Cover cheese with remaining tortillas, followed by remaining sauce. Sprinkle remaining cheese over sauce and top with green onions. Cover with foil (non-stick type or sprayed with Pam) and bake for 35 minutes.

Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes. Let lasagna stand for at least 10 minutes before slicing for easier serving. Top each piece with a dollop of sour cream if desired.

Yield: 8 Servings

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter S'mores

I saw these today and just had to try them. If you want to try some yourself, check out how it's done at

Here are the pictures from my assembly.

The cracker crumbs

Cracker crumbs with brown sugar

Cracker crumb/brown sugar mixture in a bag

Bunny Peeps looking out

Instructions for baking

See the many pretty colors!

And I had to bake up a batch, too! (Next time I will try them by cutting up the peeps and making sure I really press the mixture into the pan.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Joe's Spring Rolls


1 pound cooked shrimp (or lobster or crab meat)
1/4 pound leftover shredded pork (or leftover roast chicken)
Cellophane noodles (bean thread noodles)
1 T. seasoned rice vinegar
Red or Boston lettuce leaves, leaves separated, rinsed and dried
Fresh mint leaves, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
Fresh basil leaves, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
Fresh cilantro leaves, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
1 package broccoli slaw (or shredded carrots, cabbage and broccoli)
Spring roll wrappers (rice paper rounds), 8 1/2 inches in diameter (Asian grocery store)


2 T. fish sauce
1 T. ginger paste
1 T. rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. plum sauce
Hot pepper flakes or chopped hot chilies (optional)


Slice shrimp in half lengthwise.

Soak noodles 30 minutes in hot water then plunge into boiling water for 30-45 seconds, drain, rinse and toss with rice vinegar. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Fill a pie plate with lukewarm water. Immerse rice paper in warm water for a few seconds to soften them up just until soft but still flexible. Remove from water and place rice paper on a kitchen towel and let rest approximately 30 seconds until it's more pliable.

Arrange one piece of lettuce on bottom half of soaked rice paper, leaving a 1-inch border along edge. Top with some of the pork, noodles, mint, basil, cilantro, and broccoli slaw. Add a squirt of dressing.

Making sure the ingredients are not clumped together in the center, but evenly distributed from one end to the other, press down on the filling with your fingers (this tightens the roll), fold the bottom end of the sheet (side nearest you) over the top fo the fillings and rollinto a cylindrical shape half way. Fold the left and right sides inward, add 4 shrimp halves and complete rolling the remaining half. Transfer roll to a plate, seam-side down, and cover with dampened paper towels. Make additional rolls in the same manner.

Makes 8-12 spring rolls (which can be cut in half before serving with Spicy Peanut Sauce)

*Can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator a day or so covered with a damp cloth.

Spicy Peanut Sauce


Small bunch fresh cilantro leaves
1 c. smooth, unsalted peanut butter (Wheatsfield Grocery has in bulk)
1 T. sesame oil
1/2 c. low-sodium soy sauce
2 1/2 T. sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. hot chili sauce (Thai/Restaurant style...the type that has the rooster on the bottle)
1 T. rice vinegar


In a food processor or blender, place all ingredients and process until smooth. Serve at room temperature. If too thick, thin out with water.

Makes approximately 2 cups.
2 T. = 3 WW points

Serving suggestions: Chicken Skewers, Rice, Spring Rolls

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shawnee's Cream Peach Pie

I received this recipe from my friend. Very simple, but also very tasty!

Cream Peach Pie


1 can (29 oz.) sliced peaches, drained and placed on paper towel to dry a little more
1 unbaked Pet-Ritz deep dish pie crust (from the frozen section)
1 carton (1/2 pint) whipping cream
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Slice peach slices again so they are smaller slices (slice each peach slice into 2 or 3 slices).
3. Arrange peaches in unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
4. Mix whipping cream, flour and sugar just enough to mix. DO NOT WHIP! (Stir with a fork just until blended.) Pour over peaches.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 - 60 minutes.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fried Rice and Thai Peanut Chicken

This is what I made for dinner last night when Mark came over. It was very tasty!

Fried Rice
(Serves 4)


3 tbsp canola oil, divided
1/2 cup minced onion
dash low-sodium soy sauce
dash toasted sesame oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup carrots, grated)
1/4 cup frozen broccoli, thawed, finely chopped
1/4 cup frozen green peas, thawed
2 cups cold brown rice, grains separated
2 medium green onions, finely chopped


1) In wok, over medium heat, stir-fry onion in 1 T. oil until golden. Remove onion and allow wok to cool slightly.
2) In small bowl, whisk soy sauce and sesame oil into eggs. Heat 1 T. oil in wok. Over medium-low heat, swirl egg mixture until it sets. Remove from wok & set aside.
3) Heat 1 T. oil & return cooked onion to wok, along with carrots, broccoli, peas, & stir0fry for 2 minutes. Add rice & green onions, stir-frying for 3 minutes. Fold in egg with 1 T. soy sauce & stir-fry for 1 minute.
4) Serve immediately.

Thai Peanut Chicken
(Serves 4)


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" chunks
3 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp canola oil, for cooking
3/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts

For Sauce:
3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp creamy reduced-fat peanut butter
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp unpacked brown sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, (or more to your taste...I used closer to 1/2 tsp or more)
1/4 cup water


1) Make the peanut sauce by mixing in a bowl the soy sauce and peanut butter. Add white wine vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Mix well and set aside.
2) In a large skillet heat canola oil. Add garlic, ginger and chicken. Cook until chicken is no longer pink inside (about 5 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside.
3) Add a tiny bit more oil to the pan and stir-fry the red bell pepper and green onions for about 2 minutes or until they have reached desired tenderness. Remove from pan and set aside.
4) Over medium heat add the peanut sauce mixture to the pan. Heat while stirring constantly. When sauce mixture starts to bubble add 1/4 cup water and mix well to thin it out a bit (I mixed water with the peanut sauce at the beginning, then just heated it and let it thicken up).
5) Add chicken, green onions, red bell pepper and toasted peanuts to the sauce. Mix well to combine.
6) Serve with white or fried rice.

And for those Weight Watchers Points, this is what I figured:

Fried Rice: 1 serving = 6 points
Thai Peanut Chicken: 1 serving = 8 points

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Peanut Butter Crumb Cakes

I made these to take to Mark's over the weekend. I had 2 6-oz. heart-shaped ramekins, and since it called for 4, I made the other 2 in my pumpkin-shaped ramekins. These are not diet friendly (see nutrition facts below), but I wanted something tasty to take! The way I made them might be slightly less, as I used light PB and 1% milk (it called for 2% milk and regular PB).


1/3 c. creamy peanut butter (I used light peanut butter)
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 c. flour
3 T. cold butter
1 egg
1/3 c. milk (I used 1%)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using kitchenaid mixer (or by hand...I just liked the ease of using the mixer), cream peanut butter and brown sugar until crumbly. Stir in the flour. Add butter cut into small chuncks and allow mixer to cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1/3 cup for the topping. Add baking powder and baking soda to the rest of the mixture.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk and vanilla. Stir the milk mixture into the peanut butter mixture just until moistened.

Transfer to four 6-oz. ramekins coated with Pam. Add chocolate chips to reserved peanut butter mixter, and then evenly sprinkle over the four ramekins.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from ramekins to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving equals 522 calories, 25 g fat (11 g sat. fat), 77 mg cholestrol, 293 mg sodium, 68 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 11 g protein.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Amano Artisan Chocolate

In December I was a lucky winner from Blake Makes. What did I win? Amano Chocolate! Who wouldn't love to win chocolate????

Just look at that gold wrapper! I felt like Charlie Bucket..."Cause I've got a golden ticket. I've got a golden chance to make my way. And with a golden ticket, it's a golden day."

I received a 2 ounce bar of the Amano Jembrana chocolate. Jembrana is a handcrafted dark chocolate (70% is the minimum percentage of cocoa to be exact!). This chocolate is so good. I just let it sit and melt on my tongue, savoring it as it filled me with chocolaty goodness! And for those of you out there watching what you're eating, 1 square has only .44 Weight Watchers points! A nice treat to savor!
Thanks to Blake Makes and Amano Chocolate for allowing me to try this was a wonderful experience!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sweet Lil Smokies

Ok, so I know this isn't a really healthful recipe, but it is so yummy! I got the recipe from another cooking demo this morning. A good snack for all those Super Bowl parties! This will make about 40 (or more).


1 lb. Little Smokies
1 lb. Bacon
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground thyme


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap a sheet pan in aluminum foil, then line with a piece of parchment paper. (The foil makes clean-up easy, and the parchment paper keeps the smokies from sticking.)

2. Drain little smokies on paper towels (the brand I used didn't need it, but some out there are quite wet when you take them out of the package).

3. Cut bacon slices into thirds.

4. Wrap each little smokie with a cut slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.

5. In a ziploc bag, combine brown sugar, pepper and thyme. Shake 3-4 wrapped smokies in the sugar at a time. Place on the baking sheet, making sure not to crowd too much.

6. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until bacon is as crisp as you like it.

* These can be made ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator until ready to be baked.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Easy Chicken

The other night I was digging through the freezer trying to come up with something for supper. I found a lone chicken breast (although it was big enough for two!), and decided to cook it up. All I did was put some olive oil in a skillet. I added some freshly cracked pepper and salt in the oil, then put the chicken breast in...yes, still frozen!

I let it brown on one side, then flipped it over to brown on the other. I covered the pan and let it cook until it was done, adding a little more oil when the pan became a little dry. I dipped the chicken in some Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce. It was so moist doing it this way! Next time I will add some Herbes de Provence with the salt and pepper.

As far as sides to serve with this, anything will work! I was going to make some sweet potatoes to go with it, but I didn't have marshmallows (I know, I didn't HAVE to have them, but it sounded so good!). Instead I had cottage cheese with peaches and some carrot/veggie chips with ranch dressing.

I actually finished the other half of the chicken breast last night (like I said, it was big enough for two!). I just warmed it in the microwave and dipped in the BBQ sauce again. It was still moist this time around, too!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A New Year, A New Me

Since it's the new year, I have decided to jump back on the wagon and join Weight Watchers again. The meeting I'll be attending is only 1/2 a mile from my place, which means when it's nice out, I can walk there! That also means I'll be cracking open the cookbooks and searching for some more light, but tasty recipes. Stay tuned for some healthy eating!