Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Potato Soup

We love this recipe and I can never find it when I want to make it, so I'm posting it for my own sanity next time I want it.

3 cups chicken broth
3-4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 bacon strips, diced (or ham)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup half-and-half cream (or milk)
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Minced fresh parsley
Boil chicken broth and potatoes, until tender. In a different pan, cook bacon, sautee onion and garlic. Add flour, salt, basil, and pepper. Add to potatoes and broth. Heat until thickened. Add cream and hot pepper sauce and heat through, but do not boil. Add cheese to taste and cook until cheese is melted. Can garnish with parsley and more cheese, if desired.
NOTES: We used more flour, because Mike likes his soups thick. Also, the original recipe called for 1/2 tsp hot sauce, but I didn't want it too hot, for the kids' sake. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts

My girs and I don't like brussel sprouts at all but I keep getting them in my bountiful baskets and hate to waste them. I found this recipe tonight and tried it. We all loved it! Everyone had seconds!saucing the sprouts

Serves 4 as a side dish

1 pound brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine(I just used chicken broth)
1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 to 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon smooth dijon mustard (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Trim sprouts and halve lengthwise. In a large, heavy 12-inch skillet heat butter and oil over moderate heat. Arrange halved sprouts in skillet, cut sides down, in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook sprouts, without turning until undersides are golden brown, about 5 minutes. [Updated to note: If your sprouts don't fit in one layer, don't fret! Brown them in batches, then add them all back to the pan, spreading them as flat as possible, before continuing with the shallots, wine, etc.]
Add the shallots, wine and stock and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low (for a gentle simmer), cover the pot with a lid (foil works too, if your skillet lacks a lid) and cook the sprouts until they are tender can be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the lid, and scoop out brussels (leaving the sauce behind). Add cream and simmer for two to three minutes, until slightly thickened. Whisk in mustard. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary with more salt, pepper or Dijon. Pour sauce over brussels, sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve immediately.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Harvest Sweet Potato Casserole

A lovely alternative to the sickeningly sweet marshmallow stuff (that I love still).

3 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, cut into 3/4" cubes
1 large onion, diced
2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 fresh (or frozen and thawed) cranberries
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 450.  In a greased 9x13 pan, roast sweet potatoes for about 25 minutes until they become tender.

Meanwhile, in a nonstick pan, fry onions in butter until they are translucent.  Mix remaining ingredients together.

After removing the sweet potatoes from the oven, turn oven down to 350 and add onions with butter drippings to the pan.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cook uncovered for about 40 minutes, stirring at least once during cooking.

For 1/12 of this recipe, you get about 130 calories.  And it's pretty fantastic as a side dish.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sinful Cookies

A fan of chocolate chip cookies?  Oatmeal cookies?  Peanut butter cookies?  Why not combine the three?  That's what Leah and I have done.  These are lovely cookies, adapted (and, of course, improved) from a recipe we found online.  Enjoy!

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F.

Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars together.  Add egg and beat until...well until you get tired of beating it, be that ten seconds or ten minutes.  (I don't think it actually matters.)  Add in vanilla.  Sift flour, soda and salt together.  (Once again, I think this is a useless step and usually just add them all at once.)  Add flour mixture and oats to batter and mix well.  Add chocolate chips and hand stir, just until mixed.

Roll dough into balls and put on cookie sheet (I know, duh).  Bake for 8 minutes until edges turn golden brown.  Remove and eat.  (Oh fine, you can cool on a wire rack if you really want to.)

Yield about 3 dozen cookies.  Each is about 125 calories.  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hamburger Stew

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced celery
3 c. water
3 medium carrots, peeled & slices
3 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
1 cup chopped cabbage (optional)
28 oz. can tomatoes
1/3 cup barley
1 beef bouillon cube
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. basil
1 16 oz. can great northern beans (any white or red bean will work) (I didn't drain them but added juice with beans)
Brown ground beef. Add onion & celery and cook until soft. Add remaining ingredients & simmer until barley is tender about 45 min.

I made this tonight & it is so delicious. I'm going to make a big batch & freeze it in small containers for lunches. Only about 150 calories per cup. I only used 1/2 lb of ground beef and it was good. You could use small macaroni, rice or other grains in place of barley. I added the beans, cabbage & barley to the recipe so you can change things up depending on what you have.
Also would be good in a crock pot.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hot Fudge Sauce

1 cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 cups white sugar
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Smaller version:
1/3 cup butter
2 Tblsp. unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 5 oz. can evaporated milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine cocoa & sugar in saucepan. Stir in milk & add butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 7 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Carefully pour hot mixture into a blender and blend for 2-4 minutes. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator.

Full recipe makes 16 servings, 252 calories. Tastes better than store brands and is cheaper.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

These cookies are divine.  They're not exactly healthy (at all), so the trick here is moderation.  Hahaha.  Easier said than done...

I do think they're about 130 calories a piece though, depending on size.


3 cups white flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup salted butter, room tempterature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg white
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream

1. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder.  Set aside.
2. Cream butter and sugar.  Beat at medium speed for a couple minutes until light and fluffy.
3. Add egg and egg white to butter/sugar.  Beat until smooth.  Add vanilla and sour cream.  Mix until combined.
4. Add dry ingredients to batter and mix until just combined.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 425.  Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness.  Cut in small (2" diameter) circles.  Put cookies on cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes.  Cookies should be lightly golden with light brown bottoms.
6. Cool completely.

Strawberry Buttercream

1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Slice strawberries and puree them.  Put in small saucepan on stove over medium heat.  Reduce to about 50% (about 10 minutes).  Let strawberries cool completely.
2. Beat butter on high speed until very fluffy.  Add vanilla and 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  Beat on high.  Slowly add the remaining cup of powdered sugar, carefully so that you don't make a gigantic mess.  Beat frosting until light and frothy.
3.  Add cooled strawberry puree.  Beat on high until frosting is fluffy.  (You can add milk or powdered sugar to achieve desired consistency.)
4. Frost cooled cookies.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Salted Caramel Nut Cake

Leah and I sorta made this up as we went, combining recipes and mixing things around.  In the end, it was sort of to die for.  Just FYI, it is about 540 per sixteenth, but it's really rich, so that's all you'd want anyway!

1 recipe of your favorite chocolate cake, enough for 2 9" round pans

1 1/2 cup of your favorite homemade caramel sauce, separated
1/2 cup cocktail peanuts, coarsely chopped

1 cup salted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups powdered sugar

Easy enough - prepare the 9" round pans and bake cake according to directions.  Remove from pans and cool thoroughly.

When the cakes are cool, mix 1 cup caramel with the peanuts.  Spread peanut mixture on top of one of the cakes.  Layer the other cake on top of the peanut layered cake.

When cake layers are assembled, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy.  Add salt and powdered sugar.  Mix until combined (still fluffy).  Beat in remaining 1/2 cup caramel.  Frosting should be light and lovely.  Spread over cake.

Put entire cake in fridge for 1 hour until it is all set.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Coconut Chicken

I found this online the other day and tried it tonight. I tweaked it (as usual) to fit my needs, so here's my version.

1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup sweetened coconut
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
3 chicken breasts
1/2 cup apricot jam (I used peach and just added a little lemon juice)
2-4 TBSP coarse ground mustard, to taste
cooked rice
canned apricots

Preheat oven to 400. Mix coconut, flour, salt, garlic, and pepper. Cut chicken into large strips. Dip into egg mixture, then coat in coconut mixture. Place in a greased pan. Sprinkle any remaining coconut mix on top if desired. Spray top of chicken with Pam as well. Bake 30-40 minutes, until chicken is cooked and coconut is browned a little. For sauce, just mix the jam and the mustard to taste. To serve, pile rice onto plates. Place chicken on top, and pour sauce on top. Lastly, place apricots on the top and serve warm.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Cake

Okay, this one's good, and it's really low in calories.  Here's the gist.

1 spice cake mix (Betty Crocker Super Moist) - pick the one with 160 calories per serving
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin pack
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice.

Yep, just mix these three together and then bake according to package directions.  DO NOT add eggs or oil.  You can add some water to the batter to get it to a thinner texture.  You will probably have to bake just a little longer than the package says.  Easy.


8 oz. Neufchatel cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Yep, just mix and go.  You can add a tablespoon of milk or so if you need.

Calories?  234 for a 12th of the cake.  That's a pretty big serving of cake for not very many calories.  Want some variation?  Leah and I also tried using a chocolate cake mix and omitted the pumpkin pie spice.  We added just a little more cocoa powder and it was wonderful.