Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pistachio Pudding Torte and a special birthday!

Yay for the weekend upon us! 
Kids are off this afternoon and tomorrow and 
we get to celebrate Jerry's birthday on Friday as well. 

Happy Birthday to this deer-hunting, ice-fishing, sports-playing, joke-telling
all-around great husband and dad!

So, thought that perhaps a special treat would be in order 
to help us, uh, him celebrate!

Who doesn't love some pistachio pudding,
especially when coupled with layers of graham crackers, 
cool whip and chocolate. 

A simple layer of graham crackers for starters.

Then, whip up 8 oz of cream cheese (softened), 8 oz of cool whip and 1/2 cup powdered sugar.

It makes this awesome creamy and light fluff as the second layer.

Next, 2 packages of instant pistachio pudding
were whisked up with 3 cups of skim milk and
poured over the sweet, creamy, fluffy layer
and gently spread.

Finally, 1 16 oz container of chocolate frosting was melted

and spread over the pudding.

Functionally, this frosting worked great!
Easy to melt and spread.

But, even after being refrigerated over night, 
it still wasn't as firm as I would have liked.

Not sure if I'd use the container of frosting route again.

Perhaps, I'd be inclined to go more with the cookie frosting…
powdered sugar, cocoa powder and milk, 
at least when that cools, it sets up pretty well. 

Finally, sprinkle with some chopped pistachios 
and put in the fridge to firm up before serving!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Servings : 12

Graham crackers
8 oz of cream cheese (softened)
8 oz of cool whip
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 packages of instant pistachio pudding
3 cups of skim milk 
16 oz container of chocolate frosting
Pistachios  - chopped

  • Start with a layer of graham crackers. 
  • Fold together cream cheese, sugar and cool whip, then spread over crackers. 
  • Mix up pudding with mix, until thickened and pour over cool whip. 
  • Melt frosting in a microwave safe bowl, spread over pudding. 
  • Top with pistachios.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Potato Soup with Kale and Sausage

Happy Tuesday, 
so excited for another fabulous week to be underway! 

Always so many great opportunities in any given week, 
so much to pursue and accomplish. 

My weekly to-do list is always quite ambitious, 
thankfully I'm motivated by progress, 
so in a good week, my productivity will snowball by the week's end. 

Of course, feeding my family is always on my weekly to-do list.

Last night, 
we enjoyed a family favorite
for dinner. 

Tonight will probably be another hearty soup, 
something along the lines of this soup, both comforting and scrumptious
Potato Soup with Kale and Sausage.

Sure, we all love the soups that simmer all day, 
like our moms and grandmas used to make….

But, I'm also a big fan of a soup that can be whipped up in just about 30 minutes.
especially when it is complete with 
protein, carb and vegetable. 

My favorite meals are always a one-dish wonder!
Otherwise, I must admit, 
I might get too lazy to serve a vegetable, 
who wants to dirty another dish
when you can throw it all in one pot!  

Start by browning up 1# of Italian Sausage.

Fat aside, I'm a pretty big fan of the flavor that sausage imparts and 
have been cooking with it more than ever. 

Set the sausage aside and brown up
1 onion - chopped, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tsp of each salt and pepper

Maybe some butter to aid in the browning, 
but I thought there was enough fat left from the sausage, 
so I omitted that. 

Like spinach, this baby kale wilts down a ton!

So, in goes 2 large handfuls of baby kale….

And after just a few minutes, 
it is wilted down to this. 

Then add 4 medium potatoes - chopped.
The smaller the potato pieces, the faster they cook. 

Maybe I'd cut them smaller next time. 

Add back the sausage. 

And then add 4 cups of broth
and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.

I know I've said this a million times, 
but we like thicker soups, 
so feel free to add more broth if that is your preference. 

Finally, add 1 cup of whole milk
for the creamy-effect. 

Feel free to top with some
 freshly grated parmesan
for some delightful cheesy-nuttiness! 

Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

1# of Italian Sausage
1 onion - chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
8 oz baby kale
4 medium potatoes - chopped
4 cups of broth
1 cup of whole milk
Freshly grated parmesan

  • Brown sausage and set aside. 
  • Soften the onion and garlic seasoned with salt and pepper. 
  • Add the kale for wilting. 
  • Add chopped potatoes, sausage and broth. 
  • Simmer for about 15 minutes until potatoes are cooked. 
  • Add milk, top with parmesan and serve. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Baked Spaghetti and 1 Year of Blogging

This dish can be prepared ahead of time
(even frozen if necessary)
and then baked just in time for dinner!

Pretty exciting week around here...
Not only did I make an often-requested and 
mouth-watering (which should go without saying)
meal for dinner...

It has also been one year since my first blog entry was posted.

So, if you have been around the whole time,
 just stumbled upon this recently or
check in from time-to-time…

I'm so glad you are here!  

Trying to wrap my mind around how grateful I am for this past year of blogging
is leaving me at a loss for words.  

I am so thankful for all of you who have followed my blog,
tried my recipes and even
gave me some feedback as to
how the recipe turned out, what else you would like to see or even how to grow my blog,
I'm honored to be part of your cyber and/or food family. 

This opportunity has given me a chance to grow, learn and push myself into new territories,
which is both fun and scary at the same time!

Blah, blah, blah...
I know, same ol' mushy stuff,
Bottom line...
I'm so thankful for where I'm at and excited about where this will go from here!

Now, on to something way more exciting…
Baked Spaghetti. 

My kids, specifically Landon, probably requests pasta at least once a week.
Since Jerry and I are still mostly gluten-free,
pasta, as far as Landon is concerned,
doesn't really register on my radar.

My versions of pasta are usually spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.

So, after repeat reviews of how fabulous Barilla's gluten free pasta is, 
I thought I'd indulge the family with this hearty and satisfying dish.

Nothing fancy here,
just boiling 1# of Gluten Free Spaghetti.

And, browning up 1# of Italian Sausage.

Next up, simply add 2 cans of diced tomatoes to the cooked sausage.

If you have pasta sauce that you prefer, go right ahead.
I've been rationing my cupboard staples a bit lately and was very happy how this 
makeshift sauce turned out.  

While the pasta was boiling,
whip up 2 eggs, 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese and 1/2 stick of butter - softened.

Pour it upon the drained spaghetti noodles

And stir.

The noodles are layered into a 9x13 baking dish.

Covered with the sausage and tomatoes.

And sprinkled with a cup or two of shredded cheese.

Cover with foil and baked at 350 F for about 30 minutes

Sprinkle with some parsley and serve.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Serves : 8

1# of Gluten-free Spaghetti - Barilla
1# of Italian Sausage
2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 eggs
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese 
1/2 stick of butter - softened
1-2 cups of shredded cheese

  • Boil pasta according to box. 
  • Brown sausage until no pink is left. 
  • Add diced tomatoes or pasta sauce
  • Whip up eggs, parmesan cheese and butter. 
  • Drain pasta and add egg/butter/cheese mixture. 
  • Top with shredded cheese and cover with foil.
  • Can now be frozen for another meal.
  • Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes until warm all of the way through.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup in a Slow Cooker

Here we are at the heart of winter…
would love just a bit more snow to be able to get out and enjoy the outdoors,
but if I can't give you that or a warm beach vacation somewhere,
at least I can provide some meal ideas 
which is slow-cooker-easy and oh-soooo-good! 

The inspiration for this soup was found on 
and of course, I changed things up as I went.  

This was made in a slow cooker, 
(because I love to throw everything in one pot in the morning
and feel like I've slaved over it all day)
but could certainly be converted to stove top
by cooking the chicken, 
adding the veggies and simmering to your heart's content.

It certainly doesn't look very pretty getting started, 
but in this vessel you will find
2 chicken breasts
2 cups of chicken broth (I always tend toward thicker soups)
1 can of enchilada sauce
2 cans of black beans (no need to drain for a dish like this)
1 can of green chilies
1 can of diced tomatoes. 

When I got home from work, after 8 hours on low and 
added 16 oz of thawed frozen corn,
it looked something like this. 

Took the chicken breasts out for shredding.

That's a lot of shredded chicken from just 2 breasts. 

While shredding the chicken,
8 oz of low fat cream cheese was added
for the beloved creaminess it brings!

By the time the chicken was returned to the soup,
the cream cheese was melting away. 

And, within minutes, 
the soup was rip-roaring, ready to go! 

Served with some diced avocado and a dash of chili powder,
this soup was gone in no time! 

Wish I would have made a double batch!

**Famous last words!**


Prep Time: 10 minutes at the beginning and 10 minutes at the end
Cook Time: 8-10 hours on low, 4-6 hours on high

Serves: 6

2 chicken breasts
2 cups of chicken broth 
1 can of enchilada sauce
2 cans of black beans
1 can of green chilies
1 can of diced tomatoes
16 oz of thawed frozen corn
8 oz of low fat cream cheese

Diced avocado 
Chili powder

  • Place chicken, broth, sauce, beans, chilies and tomatoes into pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. 
  • Remove chicken breasts and shred. 
  • Add corn and cream cheese, stir to melt and incorporate. 
  • Return chicken to soup and combine well. 
  • Serve with avocado. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Bites

Just a quick recipe to share with you as we make our way into the weekend.  

These energy bites are simple, nutritious and wholesome.  

Only takes about 20 minutes to whip up a batch
so that they can be enjoyed during a sporting event, as a snack or on the go!  

Image this scenario...
There is one hour between games/events,
do you want your athlete eating pizza, nachos, a hot dog or
one or two peanut butter oatmeal balls?

They are a great go-to because of the blend of protein and energy!

You can grab one between meals or on your way out the door.

My kids love them, actually, so do Jerry and I.
And, I love the fact that they are made from a handful of kitchen staples.  

Simply add
1 cup quick oats, 
1/2 cup peanut butter,
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
(rich in fiber, antioxidants and omega-3 fats)
what better place to sneak it in…
nobody even knows it is in there!
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
into a mixing bowl.

And stir it up well.

The dough will be thick…
tricky part is to get it wet enough to hold together
but not too wet to be sticky.  

Using a medium-sized scoop to achieve uniform size,
each ball is rolled between hands until smooth.

When the dough is in my hands,
I give it a gentle squeeze to ensure that the texture is right…
Enough moisture to hold together
(so if it crumbles, throw it back…make sure it is thoroughly combined
add more honey or peanut butter if the dough is too dry).

Then roll it out until smooth and roundish.

This batch only made 15 bites or so…
now I always make a double batch. 

Pop them into the fridge to cool and for storage.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Makes 15-18 bites

1 cup quick oats, 
1/2 cup peanut butter,
1/4 cup flaxseed meal 
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and then form into individual bites. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Chicken Broccoli and Quinoa Bake

Well, hello there. 
Today I'd like to share with you a fabulous

They are most certainly my favorite! 

I mean, really,
does it get any better than having
Protein  (Chicken), Veggie (Broccoli), Carbs (Quinoa)
(wait for it)
all is one dish!?!?!

This whole quinoa-thing is around to stay in my house. 
My kids prefer it over rice and
I would gladly serve it more…
but there is a price point on it, 
(which is a small price to pay for a carb with protein and fiber!)
so I limit it to about once a week. 

This was so easy…
dump it all into a dish
and bake! 

Gotta love the no-brainer dinners! 

This is what 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of chicken broth look like in a dish. 

Next, 2 cups of broccoli florets were added. 

(This made for some mushy broccoli, 
if you prefer your broccoli to have a little more texture, 
add it later!)

About 3# of chicken breasts
(which, did you know are less expensive than tenders!)
were cut into tenders and sprinkled with 
poultry seasoning and seasoning salt
to your liking. 

Ready to be popped into a 400 F oven. 

After 30-40 minutes, 
I have to admit that I was mesmerized by watching the quinoa cook…
this dish was ready to go! 

There is, of course, the optional cup of shredded mozzarella
And, if you wanted crunchier broccoli, 
that could be added at this time instead of at the beginning. 

It may alter the overall nutrition of this dish, 
but it helps to buy me a little more leeway with my next healthy endeavor, 
so I oblige. 

Pop it back in until the cheese melts
or put it under the broiler for some browning…
which I love! 

This dish it out and serve it up! 


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30-40 minutes
Serves: 8

1 cup of quinoa
2 cups of chicken broth 
2 cups of broccoli florets
3# of chicken breasts - cut into strips
Poultry Seasoning - to taste
Seasoning Salt - to taste 
1 cup of shredded mozzarella

  • Preheat oven to 400 F. 
  • Start with 2 cups of chicken broth and 1 cup of quinoa in the baking dish. 
  • Broccoli can be added now, if well done is the preference, other wise it can be added later. 
  • Layer chicken on top and season. 
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until quinoa is translucent with an apparent spiral or germ present. 
  • Top with broccoli, now, for more texture along with shredded cheese, if desired. Bake for another 5-10 minutes.