Sunday, May 29, 2011

Healthier Picadillo

Picadillo is a Spanish dish. This one is from a magazine with my own modifications.

1 cup lean ground beef
1 T olive oil
1.5 cups thinly sliced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 cups sliced red bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped carrot (I grated mine on a box grater on the coarse grade)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup sliced pimento-stuffed manzanilla or green olives (15 olives)
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/5 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
3/4 cup golden raisins (optional)
4-6 cup cooked rice.

Brown beef, remove from pan, drain well. Add oil to pan and sautee onion, and garlic 3 minutes. Add carrots and bell peppers. Return beef to pan. Stir in raisins and remaining ingredients, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Serve over rice. Serves 4-6

Easy Manicotti

1 container (16 oz each) low-fat ricotta cheese
1 pkg (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided (2 cups = 8 oz)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup = 1 oz)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pkg (8 oz each) dry manicotti, uncooked
1 can (26.5 oz each) Hunt's Traditional Spaghetti Sauce, divided
PAM Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
1 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Combine ricotta cheese, spinach, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and black pepper in medium bowl; mix well. Stuff 3 tablespoons cheese mixture in each uncooked manicotti; set aside.

2. Pour half of the sauce in the bottom of sprayed 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish. Arrange stuffed manicotti in single layer over sauce; pour the remaining sauce evenly over top. Pour water into corner of dish. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese evenly over sauce. Cover tightly with foil sprayed with cooking spray.

3. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes or until pasta is tender. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes before serving.


Saturday, May 28, 2011


I have always thought Paella sounded good so I decided to throw it together on the fly based on what I remember from other recipes. Everyone liked it. I liked that it was a one-dish meal.

2 cups rice
1 can chicken broth
1/2 cup each: chicken, *turkey sausage, and shrimp (I just used some leftovers so mine was precooked)
1 green pepper diced
1 onion diced
4 cloves garlic
olive oil
turmeric (can use saffron)
can diced tomatoes
bag frozen (or fresh, diced) veggies (including peas)
fresh parsley
Spanish olives

Heat olive oil in large saucepan. Sautee onion, pepper, and garlic until tender. Add rice, broth, and tomatoes and simmer until rice is tender. Add other (frozen or fresh) veggies, meat, shrimp, and spices and cook about 10 more minutes. Top with parsley. And we love large Spanish olives stuffed with pimento in ours. (*Usually Paella calls for for a Spanish sausage (Andouille) which I don't like so we just used turkey sausage.) If you like Spanish dishes, I may have posted one for a
healthier version of Picadillo. If not,
I will:)

Easiest Beef Enchiladas

1 lb ground beef, browned & drained
1 cup salsa
1/2 a packet of taco seasoning mix
8 whole wheat or flour tortillas
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded cheese (I use Monterey Jack)

Preheat oven to 350 - butter 13x9 in baking dish - once beef is browned and drained, mix in taco seasoning mix and salsa - simmer on low/med low for about 5 minutes, stirring often - dip a tortilla into the heavy cream, fill with beef mixture (keep it small so they aren't stuffed and spilling out), roll and place in baking dish, seam side down - repeat with the remaining tortillas - top with shredded cheese, pour remaining cream over the top of the enchiladas, and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese begins to brown. Serve with saffron rice, refried, and chips & salsa!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chicken Ranch Pasta

2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1/2 a packet of ranch dressing mix
1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup green peas (optional)
8 oz. cooked pasta
Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Heat butter in pan, add chicken and cook through - sprinkle chicken with flour and mix well - add ranch dressing mix and stir - add milk and peas and bring to a boil, stirring often - turn heat down to simmer and let thicken - once sauce is thickened, turn off heat and stir in drained pasta - serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese - serves 4-6.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce

This is a very economical way to keep red sauce on-hand.  It is freezer-friendly, tasty and healthy!  I use it all the time on pizza and for pasta dishes like ziti, lasagna, chicken parm....anything!  I buy the #10 cans of crushed tomatoes at Sam's for about $3.  Also, feel free to change up the seasonings to your liking.  I usually am out of basil everytime I make this {don't know why} so I use thyme or even the Italian Seasoning blend.  Portion out in freezer bags and freeze up to 3-6 months.

Easy Crockpot Marinara – makes about 14 cups of sauce (from Life As Mom)

1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, diced
#10 can crushed tomatoes
1-2 cups water to achieve your preferred consistency
1 Tablespoon salt (I would taste before adding...many canned tomates are pretty salty)
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon parsley flakes
2 Tablespoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (feel free to omit)

In large skillet, heat olive oil and cook onion until softened. Spoon onions into crockpot. Add crushed tomatoes, water, and spices. Cover and cook on low all day. Adjust seasonings to taste. Cool and freeze.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Game Day Breakfast to Go

(Adapted from "The Deen Bros. Get Fired Up")

1 (12-ounce) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (10 count)
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 pound sliced deli ham, diced (or leftover ham)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Using a sharp knife, slice each round of biscuit dough in half horizontally (making two rounds) (I used Grands biscuits with layers which were easy to pull apart - no knife necessary!) and place one round in each of 10 muffin cups. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the ham evenly over the biscuit rounds in the muffin cups. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the egg mixture over the ham, dividing it evenly among muffin cups. Top each with the 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and cover each muffin cup with a remaining biscuit round. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese on the biscuit tops. Fill the two empty muffin cups halfway with water to prevent scorching. Bake until the biscuits are golden and firm and the egg is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly. Use an offset spatula to loosen the edges of the biscuits and pop the biscuits out of the pan. Serve immediately or let cool completely and wrap in aluminum foil for on-the-go snacking.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wild West Pizza

1 can refrigerated pizza crust
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 can refried beans
1 cups salsa or taco sauce
1 can Mexi-corn (corn with green/red peppers) well-drained
1 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onions

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Unroll, dough; place on cookie sheet. Starting at center, press out dough into 14x12 inch rectangle. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges of crust begin to brown.

Meanwhile, in 8-inch skillet, brown the ground beef sprinkled with salt and pepper drain. Spread refried beans evenly over partially baked crust. Spread 1/2 cup of the of taco sauce or salsa over the beans. Top with ground beef mixture, corn and cheese.

Bake 10-14 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Cut into squares or wedges; serve with remaining taco sauce or salsa.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Strawberry Pie

My friend, Emily, posted this recipe on Facebook today. I haven't had a chance to taste it, but I've heard rave reviews!!

1 quart strawberries
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
optional: 3-5 drops for red food coloring (I DO NOT USE THIS!!)
1 baked 9-inch pie shells
whipped cream ( or Cool Whip)


Crush 1 cup of red ripe strawberries, add water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes. Strain. Add water, if necessary, to make 1 cup liquid. Combine cornstarch, sugar, and salt and add to liquid. Stir until smooth. Bring to a boil and stir constantly until mixture thickens. Cool (and add red food coloring). Place remaining whole strawberries in baked pie shell. Pour the glaze over the berries. Top the pie with whipped cream.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

1 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 lbs chicken breast
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. Italian seasoning crushed
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes in puree
1 lb mushrooms, cut in half
2 large onions, chopped
1 medium green pepper, cut into 2" strips
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 lb fettuccine

Heat oil in 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until well browned on all sides. Stir garlic, Italian seasoning, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, pepper and 1 cup stock in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken and keep warm. Stir cornstarch and remaining stock in a small bowl until mixture is smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture in cooker. Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens. Serve with chicken and pasta.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Smoked Mozzarella and Penne Salad

This looks SOOO yummy!

*Serves 6-8

Parmesan Dressing:

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup white whine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste


12 ounces penne pasta
3 cups packed baby spinach
12 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
4-6 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, diced

For the dressing, combine the Parmesan cheese, parsley, mayo, vinegar, garlic, cayenne and salt and pepper in a blender and process until the dressing is smooth. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The dressing can be made up to two days ahead of time.

To prepare the salad, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until just tender, al dente. Drain the pasta into a colander and run cold water over it and drain well. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, spinach, roasted red peppers and smoked mozzarella. At this point, the salad and dressing can be refrigerated for a couple of hours separately before serving.

Toss the salad with the dressing right before serving.

*Note: This salad would be delicious with grilled chicken pieces tossed in or served alongside. Also, the salad can be made up to two days in advance. Store the dressing in a container, the pasta base in a container and add the spinach and dressing to the pasta right before serving. If you can't find smoked mozzarella, many other cheeses could be subbed - regular mozz, fontina, feta - the options could be endless with this salad!

*Photo used with permission


Monday, May 2, 2011

Baked Chicken Taco Casserole

baked tortilla chips
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 can black beans
1 cups salsa
1 cup shredded cheese
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line sides and bottom of 9x13 dish with chips. Layer chicken and beans over chips. Spoon salsa over beans and top with cheese and scallions. Bake for 15 minutes.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Beef Noodle Toss

8 oz lasagna noodles
12 oz boneless beef sirloin, cut into bite size pieces
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pint grape tomatoes (2 cups)
8 oz slicked mushrooms
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 14 oz can beef broth

Break noodles in half and cook according to package directions. Drain (do not rinse). Season beef with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Toss with flour. Heat oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat, any remaining flour, and the tomatoes to skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes or until beef is well browned, stirring often. Add mushrooms and garlic. Cook 5 minutes more. Add broth; cook 3-4 minutes more or until beef is done and liquid is slightly thickened. Add cooked noodles to skillet; stir gently to coat. Heat through. Spoon into pasta bowls to serve.