Monday, March 30, 2009

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

3 c chicken soup stock or chicken broth (use 1/4-1/2 c more for a thinner soup)
2 t chicken soup base or 2 bouillon cubes
2 c chopped celery
2 c chopped carrots
3/4 c chopped onions
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 c milk
2 c (1 lb) diced cooked chicken
1 8oz pkg egg noodles, precooked (4 c cooked)

Heat chicken soup stock and base. Add celery, carrots, and onions. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Add soup and milk. Add cooked chicken and noodles. Salt and pepper to taste.

Healthier version:
I use whole wheat noodles, low sodium chicken broth, and skim milk. Calories with substitutions is 128 per 1/2 c serving. Makes 9 cups.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Royal Icing

Royal icing is so much fun, so easy, and a blast to experiment with. It creates a flawless, smooth frosting that is perfect for holiday cookies. The icing doesn't taste as good as regular frosting so I would recommend using a sweeter sugar cookie recipe to compensate. Here's some of the cookies I made with my daughter and her friend.

5 c confectioner's sugar
3 egg whites (may be substituted with meringue powder if you can't have raw eggs)
In a large bowl, mix egg whites until foamy. Add confectioner's sugar till completely combined. Slowly add water and mix until a ribbon-like consistency is formed. For a thicker consistency just add more sugar. A thicker consistency is used for outlining or adding detail. Thinner consistency is needed for flooding the icing on the cookie. Place icing in a ziploc bag with the corner barely snipped.
To frost:
Outline cookie with icing. Partially fill in then spread with toothpick to flood icing. The icing will harden quickly, creating a smooth surface. To create a tie-dye effect, after flooding the icing (before it dries) make horizontal stripes with a different color. Starting at the top, drag a toothpick through the icing. Make plenty of cookies so you can experiment until you get the hang of it. To make hearts, make polka dots then drag a toothpick through it.

Marie Adams' Craisin Almond Salad

1 lb bag romaine lettuce
1 lb bag spinach
3 stocks of celery, chopped into small pieces
1/2-1 full bag of craisins
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
1 green apple, chopped
1 red apple, chopped
*2 oz bag slivered almonds (candied)
1 small container of freshly sliced strawberries
1 container of Briannas' Home Style Rich Poppy Seed Dressing (I only use 1/2-1 container.)

Toss all ingredients together and drizzle poppyseed dressing over salad just before serving.

*How to candy almonds:
Put almonds in a small frying pan with at least 3 heaping Tbsp of granulated sugar. Cook on low to medium heat until sugar carmelizes and coats almonds. Brown almonds. Do not add to salad until it is ready to be served.


Due to several requests, I am finally posting this amazing breadstick recipe. Enjoy! 1 1/3 c warm water
2 t yeast
3 T olive oil
4 c flour
1 t salt
2 t oregano
3 T powdered milk

Topping Seasonings:
2 T dry parmesan
1 T garlic powder
1 T garlic salt
1 T onion powder
1 T oregano
1/4 c olive oil
This topping recipe makes a ton. You don't need very much on the breadsticks, so put the extra in a shaker or ziploc for later use.

In a large mixing bowl, let yeast dissolve in warm water. Add the remaing ingredients to bowl. Combine then knead till a bread dough is formed. Cover then rise till double in size. Roll dough out into a rectangle which is 1/2-3/4" thick. With pizza cutter, cut dough into 1x4" strips. Place on greased cookie sheets and allow the breadsticks to rise until doubled in size. Stir topping seasonings. Brush bread with olive oil and then sprinkle with toppings. Bale at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden. When done, lightly brush with butter.

15 Bean Soup

This soup has a strong ham flavor, so of course my husband is a big fan. Definately a guy soup. 1 lb 4 oz bag of 15 bean soup with ham seasoning packet
1 lb of ham, ham hocks, or smoked sausage
1/2-1 c onion, chopped
1 15 oz can stewed or diced tomatoes
1 t chili powder
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Quickcook Method:
Place rinsed beans in a pot with 3 quarts of water.
Bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat, cover and continue boiling 60-70 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
After 60 minutes, add ingredients. Simmer for 30-45 minutes.
Add contents of ham packet 1-2 minutes before cooking is completed. Salt and pepper to taste.

Healthier version:
Use 1/2 lb of 96% fat free ham cubes. With substitution, there is 166 calories per 1/2 c serving. With no ham there is 146 calories per 1/2 c serving. Makes 14 1/2 c servings.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Peanut Butter Bar Truffles

I was making peanut butter bars the other day and, as usual, decided to experiment with yet another recipe. You can't go wrong with peanut butter bars and you can't go wrong with truffles, right? I combined the two and couldn't be happier with the finished product! These are the definition of YUM! Let me say it again.......YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!3/4 c butter or margarine
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c white sugar
1/2 t vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 t salt
3/4 t soda
3/4 c chunky peanut butter
Mix above ingrediants then add:
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c oatmeal
Mix all ingredients till completely combined.

creamy peanut butter
chocolate bark
chopped peanuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1-1 1/2" balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. While cookies are baking, whip 1-2 cups creamy peanut butter then melt in microwave till drizzling consistency, stirring at 30 second intervals. While cookies are still hot, squish them one at a time in your hand and roll them back into a ball. Careful...these are hot...but they can't be rolled back into a ball once cooled. Using a spoon, dip each ball into the peanut butter. Place the dipped balls onto a cookie sheet covered in wax paper and then freeze about 30 minutes. Slowly melt chocolate bark. Don't melt too much chocolate at a time because it thickens quickly. Immerse frozen peanut butter covered balls into melted chocolate and place back on wax paper. While chocolate is still wet, sprinkle chopped peanuts on top.

Taco Soup

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pkg mild taco seasoning mix
1 16 oz can cut corn (drain if you want a thicker soup)
1 16 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce

Optional Toppings:
tortilla chips
grated cheese
sour cream

Brown ground beef in large sauce pan. Drain fat. Saute chopped onion. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with toppings.

Healthier versions:
With only 1/2 lb ground beef there is 157 calories per 1/2 c serving. (Not including toppings.)
With no ground beef there is 111 calories per 1/2 c serving. (Not including toppings.) If not using beef, only use 1/2 of the taco seasoning pkg.
Toppings will add tons of calories so don't go overboard. Each tortilla chip adds about 10 calories, 1 T of sour cream adds 30 calories, and 1 oz of cheddar cheese adds 110 calories.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Peanut Butter Bars

3/4 c butter or margarine
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c white sugar
1/2 t vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 t salt
3/4 t baking soda
3/4 c crunchy peanut butter

Mix above ingredients then add:
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c oatmeal

Spread on ungreased cookie sheet and bale 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. While above is cooking, whip 1 c peanut butter and spread over crust while hot. When cool, apply frosting.

1/3 c cocoa
2 c powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 c milk
1/4 c butter or margarine

Easy Turkey Pot Pie

1 1/2 pkgs turkey gravy, prepared
1 c chopped turkey
1 bag frozen vegetables
1 potato, baked and cubed
1 c bisquik
1/2 c milk
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine gravy, turkey, and veggies and place in 9" pie plate. Stir together remaining ingredients, pour over turkey mixture, and bake 20 minutes.

***This recipe can save you up to 500 calories per slice! Only 157 calories per serving. Makes 8 servings.

Calico Beans

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. bacon
1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 C catsup
1 t salt
1 t dry mustard
2 T brown sugar
1 can butter beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can pork-n-beans

Brown ground beef with chopped onions. Drain fat. Cook bacon till crunchy. Place on paper towel and pat dry. Crumble and add to beef and onions. Add catsup, salt, dry mustard, and brown sugar. Mix. Add all beans. Stir together and simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

***Healthier version: Use only 1/4 lb ground beef and 1/4 lb bacon. With substitutions, it makes 8 1/2 C servings at 232 calories each.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mint Oreo Truffles

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

1 pkg. double stuffed oreos, cool mint flavor (1 lb, 1 oz pkg)
---use 22 cookies with cream centers included
---use 10 cookies with cream centers discarded
1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese
chocolate bark or candy coating for dipping

Finely crush the cookies in a food processor or a ziploc bag with a rolling pin.
Stir in softened cream cheese. Mash the two together completely.
Roll the mixture into 1" balls and place on a wax paper cookie sheet.
Place covered in freezer or refrigerator for a few minutes to help retain shape while dipping in melted chocolate.
Melt chocolate as directed on the package and then dip balls into chocolate, tap off extra and set aside on a wax paper covered cookie sheet to dry. (I had to double-dip the white chocolate.) Refrigerate or freeze and enjoy!

My little chef, Bailee.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Chip Casserole

4 C crushed tortilla chips
1 can chili with beans
2 C cooked chicken (or 1 can chicken)
3-4 C grated cheese

2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 C water
1 C sour cream
2 or more T chopped grean chiles
2 or more T sliced or chopped olives

In a 9x13" baking dish, sprayed with non stick cooking spray, layer: 2 C crushed tortilla chips, chili, chicken, cheese, 1/2 the sauce, 2 C crushed tortilla chips, and remaining sauce. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours. For the last 10 minutes of cooking, remove the foil and cover the top with cheese. Serve with additional sour cream and salsa if desired.

***For a healthier option use 1/2 C cheese total and no additional toppings. It is still plenty of cheese! I also use a large can of Kirkland brand chicken. With substitions, total calories is 2620 or 218/serving. Makes 12 servings.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Peanut Butter Candy Bar Cookies

1 C butter, softened
1 C creamy peanut butter
1 C granulated sugar
1 C packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
3 C flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
10 regular size snickers or other candy bars cut into 1/2-1" pieces. (I used snickers, reeses pb cup, and butterfinger.)
In large bowl, beat together butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar till fluffy; add eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda; add to peanut butter mixture, beating until combined. For each cookie, shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough around a candy piece, forming a ball. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or till lightly browned. Cool on rack. Drizzle with chocloate glaze. Makes about 60 cookies.
Chocolate Glaze:
1 C powdered sugar
2 T cocoa powder
1 T milk
Add additional milk 1 teaspoon at a time for drizzling consistency.

Turkey Crepes

2 C turkey, chopped
1/3 C onion
1 8 oz cream cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 C sour cream
1/2 t garlic salt
1 chicken bouillon cube, grated
1/4 C grated cheddar cheese

In large bowl, combine turkey, onion, pepper, garlic salt, softened cream cheese, 1/2 C cream of chicken soup, bouillon cube, and cheddar cheese. Put 2-4 T per crepe. Roll crepe. Put in a greased 9x13 inch pan. Top with the rest of the cream of chicken soup mixed with the sour cream. Bake at 375 until bubbly. Optional: grate cheddar cheese over top before baking. Makes 12.
Saute 3/4 C diced celery, 6-8 mushrooms, and onions. Stir into filling.

***For a healthier option, use reduced fat cream cheese in filling and 3/4 C reduced fat sour cream and 1/4 C skim milk for the top. With substitutions, there is 223 calories/crepe. Without substitutions, there is 268 calories/crepe (not including grated cheese on top).

3 eggs
1/2 C milk
1/2 C water
1 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
3/4 C flour

Combine ingredients in blender until well blended. Lightly spray a 7-8" skillet with non-stick cooking spray. For each crepe, pour scant 1/4 C of the batter into the skillet; immediately rotate skillet until thin film of batter is formed. Cook intil light brown. Flip over and cook the other side. Makes 12.

One-Pot Chicken and Penne Parmesan

3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in to 1" cubes
1 3/4 C (14 1/2 oz can) chicken broth
2 2/3 C (8 oz) penne rigate, uncooked
1 16 oz pkg frozen broccoli, carrot, and cauliflower mix
1/4 t ground black pepper
1 10 3/4 oz can cream of chicken soup
3/4 C skim milk
3/4 C grated parmesan cheese, divided

In 5 qt saucepan over medium heat, cook chicken till no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add broth; heat to boiling. Add uncooked pasta, veggies, and pepper, stirring to coat pasta with liquid. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 13 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or till pasta is barely tender and most liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, stir together soup, milk, and 1/2 C cheese till smooth; stir into chicken mixture. Heat till mixture just comes to a boil; sprinkle with remaining cheese.

***For a healthier version, only use 1/3 C cheese or no cheese. Calories with 1/3 C cheese is 271/1 C serving.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Veggie Baked Ziti

3 1/4 C. (12 oz) uncooked ziti, cooked according to pkg directions
1 can (26 oz) chunky vegetable spaghetti sauce
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes
10 oz sweet corn, or 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1/3 C. chopped green peppers
1/2 - 1 C. grated cheese, optional

Mix all ingrediants together and put in 9x13 casserole dish. Cover and bake at 375 for 20 minutes or till bubbly. Makes 9 1/2 1C. servings.

***total calories without grated cheese:
1998 or 210 per serving

Almond Poppyseed Bread

3 C. flour
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder
2 1/4 C. sugar
1 1/2 C. milk
1 1/8 C. oil
1 1/2 T. poppy seeds
3 eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 t. almond extract

2/3 C. sugar
3 T. lemon juice
1/4 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract

Combine dry ingrediants into wet. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until top springs back when touched. Remove from pan and cool. Spoon glaze over warm loaves. Glaze tastes the best after it sets and crystalizes.

***I substitute 1/2 C. applesauce for 1/2 C. of the oil to cut the fat. Without any substitutions, this recipe makes 30 slices at 198 calories per slice.

Stuffed Porkchops with Celery Sauce

6 6oz boneless porkchops
stuffing (prepared without butter)

1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 can milk

Preheat oven to 350. Cut any fat off chops. Put 1/2 C. water in 9x13 pan. Cook chops in pan for 45 minutes, uncovered. Remove chops then cut slit in each chop and stuff with 1/4 C. stuffing each. Drain excess water then put chops back in pan and cover each chop with 1/8 C. sauce. Sprinkle pepper and paprika over chops. Cook an additional 1/2 hr, covered. Makes 6 servings.

***About 389 calories per serving.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Potato Leek Soup

1 bundle of leeks (you can also use 1 bunch green onions)
1/2 lb butter
3 lbs potatoes (8-9)
about 3 C. chicken stock
1 C. cream
salt and pepper
Coarsley chop leeks just above the start of the green. In large saucepan saute leeks and butter until butter is melted. Add peeled, cubed potatoes. Add enough chicken stock to barely cover veggies. Boil till veggies are very soft. Puree and add cream, salt, and pepper to desired taste. Makes 8 1C. servings.
***For a healthier option use light half and half instead of cream and only 1/2 C. butter. With sunstitutions, only 239 calories per serving.