Where Cooking is Fun
We want cooking to be as fun for you as it is for us.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Banana Oatmeal Bread

We go through SO many bananas at my house so this week I was shocked to find that our bunch had turned ripe. The banana bread I love is in no way diet friendly so I searched my faithful Weight Watchers sight and found this recipe. I was SO happy with the results. It's not nearly as sweet as the regular stuff so I didn't feel guilty at all. I absolutely loved the addition of the oatmeal. It was absolutely delicious. I loved it. Hubby loved it. It was a hands down win.

Banana Oatmeal Bread

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. canola oil
1 large egg- beaten
2 large egg whites- beaten
3 large bananas- ripe
1 cup uncooked oats

Preaheat oven to 350. In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients. Add oil and eggs. Mix thoroughly. In a seperate bowl mash bananas, add bananas and oatmeal to batter. Spray loaf pan with cooking spray and pour batter into pan. Bake 45-55 minutes. Makes 1 loaf= 10 pieces

1 piece = 5 points (points plus)


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken Fried Steak is one of my hubby's favorite foods. When we eat out he always checks the menu to see if they have it and then he asks the waiters about it...if its made from scratch or comes from a box, pre-made and frozen (you would be surprised at how many are not freshly made...). I found a recipe but it looked a little difficult and had ingredient that I didn't have on hand...so I improvised and came up with my own recipe. I thought I would try to score some brownie points with the hubby, so I dove right in and made it....He loved it. Its easy(hmmm...no need for any restaurant to serve the yucky pre-made stuff) and tastes delicious! Maybe you should try it out on your hubby, try to score some brownie points too...maybe you'll even get lucky and he will wash up the dishes...maybe-

Chicken Fried Steak
1c. flour
2 t. garlic powder
1 1/2 t. salt
2 t. onion powder
1 1/2 t. pepper
1 c. buttermilk
2 c. crushed Ritz crackers
1 c. potato flakes (not pearls)
6 cubed steaks
3-5 T oil

2 packages of Country Gravy mix (I use generic...but any will do), according to package instructions.

In a bowl combine flour and seasonings. In a separate bowl place cracker crumbs and potato flakes. Place buttermilk in a pie tin or shallow dish. Coat steaks with flour mixture, then dip into buttermilk and then coat with cracker crumb mixture.

In an electric skillet or large frying pan, heat oil. Place coated cube steak into hot pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked to your liking. Remove from pan and serve. Top with Country Gravy if desired.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich

Life around here has been crazy busy. I feel like I am never home. So dinners have been pretty quick and easy. Which is fabulous. Those are the best kind-- but I love to cook so I took advantage of a free evening and whipped up this recipe I found on the Weight Watchers sight. I get a lot of recipes from there and change them around to our liking. It feels so good to know that I can still eat the delicious food I love but I don't have to feel guilty about it. This sandwich absolutely fit that category. There is nothing "diet" about it. The only thing we regretted about this dinner was that we couldn't eat more!

Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich

1/4 cup fat free Italian Dressing
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 lb Chicken breasts cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8 slices sourdough bread

Preheat oven to 400. Cut chicken breasts into 4 pieces. Place italian dressing and bread crumbs in separate bowls. Dip chicken in dressing and then dip in bread crumbs, coating evenly. Place on baking sheet. Cook for 30 minutes. Combine tomato sauce, oregano and garlic powder in a small saucepan. Cook until boiling. remove from heat. When chicken is done top with tomato sauce and cheese. Return to oven until cheese is bubbly. Toast bread. Place chicken on 1 slice of toast and top with the other. Serve immediately. Makes 4 sandwiches.

1 sandwich = 8 points (points plus)


Thursday, February 24, 2011

EASY Spaghetti Carbonara

One of my daughters has a huge crush on Fettichini Alfredo...she absolutly adores it. I don't make it very often, and since she is now away to college I never make it. The rest of us enjoy the delicious italian dish too...but I save it for those special times when she comes home. I made this Spaghetti Carbonara recipe the other night and thought of her because it tastes a lot like Alfredo...but it's so much quicker and easier to make. Its rich and flavorful and satisfies that yummy creamy italian flavor that we all crave sometimes.
Its dinner, made EASY!

EASY Spaghetti Carbonara

16 oz. box of spaghetti noodles (cook according to package instructions)
1 lb. cooked bacon
2 T. butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. heavy cream
7 T. grated parmesan cheese
fresh parsley (optional)
fresh grated parmesan cheese

Cut bacon into small pieces, cook and set aside. In a skillet combine butter and minced garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add cream and parmesan cheese, stirring constantly with a wire whip until sauce is thick (that will only take a few minutes). Serve individually on separate plates. Top spaghetti noodles with desired amount of sauce and crumbled bacon, sprinkle a small amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese and parsley on top.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ice Cream Cupcakes

This year for the Jack's birthday he requested Ice Cream cake-- the same cake I've been making him every year since we got married. It's delicious--there's no doubt about it. But this year I wanted to shake things up a bit. I decided to try my hand at Ice Cream Cupcakes. They were bound to be easier and I knew we'd have built in portion control. I got the delicious tiny cakes I wanted and Jack said I completely outdid myself. There is no way you can mess these up.

Ice Cream Cupcakes

1 package mini oreos
1/2 cup butter- melted
1/2 gallon ice cream
Topping of choice

Crush mini Oreos and combine with melted butter. Mix until all cookies are coated with butter. Separate into muffin tins (I used Jumbo muffin tins but regular would work great too-- they would just be smaller). Press crust into the bottom of each individual tin. Let Ice Cream soften until it is easy to work with. Divide evenly on top of each crust. Cover and freeze over night. Serve with your choice of toppings. Makes 12 Jumbo Cupcakes.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Homemade Bagels

Years ago I found a bagel recipe, tore it out of the magazine and vowed that ONE DAY I would make them. Like so many of my recipes, it has sat in a pile of paper for a VERY LONG TIME. I have continually talked myself out of making them because I didn't want to commit the time. Finally after finding the recipe once again, I decided that I would bite the bullet and give them a try. I've always wondered if homemade bagels could measure up to the gourmet bagels (I am super picky about my bagels). I don't believe that all bagels are equal. Some can look really nice but don't have much flavor, some have the texture of a piece of bread and some are hard and very stale. Bagels are supposed to be chewy, heavy, moist and delicious...good news for you, these homemade bagels are just that. They were perfect. They were also VERY easy to make...they took a little bit of time, but weren't hard at all. If you are craving one of those "City Gourmet" bagels that you just can't get every day...now you can make your own.

Homemade Bagels

4 1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 t. yeast
1 1/2 c. luke warm water
3 T. sugar
1 T. salt

Combine 1 1/2 c. flour, yeast, water, sugar and salt. Beat for 3 minutes. (I used my Bosch but you could use a mixer as well.) Mix in remainder of flour, or enough to make a moderately stiff dough. (If you are using a hand mixer, you will have to use your hands to mix in this much flour as your hand mixer won't be tough enough to mix the dough...its pretty stiff.)

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Cover with clean dish towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

Divide into 12 equal balls. Make a hole in the center of the ball with your finger and continue to enlarge it as you shape the bagel. Place shaped bagels on greased baking sheet, spray with pan coating (Pam) and cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.

While bagels are rising, bring to a boil 4 qt. of water in a large pot. Reduce to simmer.

When bagels are ready, place 3 bagels into HOT water and cook for 7 minutes, turning once with a slotted spatula and a fork. Bagels will still be doughy and pliable. Drain (I used my slotted spatula to get them out, just holding them over the water for a few seconds to let the water drain off) and place on greased baking sheet. Continue until all bagels are boiled. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Serve hot or cold with your favorite cream cheese. Bagels can also be used to make AWESOME sandwiches as well as breakfast sandwiches.

* I doubled this recipe. I split the dough in half (after it was all mixed and ready to be taken out of my mixer) and made 1 plain batch (just like the recipe), the other half I added 1 T. Cinnamon and 1 C. craisons (mixing until well blended) and made "Cinnamon Craison Bagels"....they were AMAZING!!!!!!! I loved...LOVED....LOVED them! Use your imagination and add your favorite ingredient to the dough...its very versatile. Good luck, BITE THE BULLET AND MAKE YOUR OWN HOMEMADE BAGELS. YUM!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Zupas Chipotle Chicken Salad

One of our favorite restaurants is Cafe Zupas. Their soup, salad and sandwiches are to die for! The hubby goes there at least once a week and has tried desperately to convince me to make his favorite salad at home. I finally got the ingredients and we mixed this up for dinner last night. It was AMAZING. I fell completely in love. It is now permanently on our weekly menu.

Zupas Chipotle Chicken Salad

2 cups lettuce
2 Tbsp. Black Beans
2 Tbsp. diced Tomatoes
1 Tbsp. shredded Cheese
1 oz. tortilla strips
3 Tbsp. baked Chicken- diced
2 Tbsp. Chipotle Ranch

Top your lettuce with black beans, tomatoes, cheese, chicken and tortilla strips. Serve dressing on the side.

*I bought my tortilla strips at Cafe Rio. I've been searching for them for months at grocery stores but finally I caved and just bought a few sides of them to have on hand.

1 salad = 10 points (points plus)


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Bars

Are you ready to break out the pumpkin again? I am...especially after eating these Pumpkin Spice Bars. I'm not sure where this recipe came from, as I've carried it around for quite some time...but it's a DaNDy! It's one of those recipes that I saw and thought that I would like to make "someday", but it just didn't scream at me to "MAKE TODAY". So the recipe ended up being thrown in a pile with all of my other recipes. Several days ago, I was going through my recipes, looking for something yummy to make and this one popped out, so I thought I would give it a try. Later, after it was cooked and I was eating a piece...I wondered WHY in the world DIDN'T I make it LONG before NOW...IT JUST MELTED in my mouth. It's a keeper, thats for sure. If you love pumpkin, don't "wait" like I did to make this recipe...it's screaming for you to make it today...you will love it!!! Its so stinkin good!!!!

Pumpkin Spice Bars

2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ginger
1/2 t. ground cloves

In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredient and set aside.

1 (15oz) can pumpkin
1/2 c. applesauce
1/4 c. Canola oil
1 1/4 c. sugar
4 eggs

Combine pumpkin, applesauce, oil, sugar and eggs. Stir with a hand mixer until well blended. Add dry ingredient, mix gently with a wooden spoon, just until wet ingredient is combined. Don't over mix as it will make your bars tough. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes (mine took 35 minutes) or until it passes the toothpick test. Cool completely before frosting. Refrigerate after frosting.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cube butter, softened but NOT melted
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 T. cinnamon

Mix butter and cream cheese until well blended. Add sugar, a small amount at a time. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Whip until fluffy. Frost bars. ENJOY!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Low Fat Cheeseburger

I love cheeseburgers. I could seriously eat them every day. Top them with Bacon and Fry Sauce and you could get me to do almost anything. Unfortunately my thighs aren't as in love with them-- so this recipe was born. Luckily it pleases both the taste buds and the thighs. This burger is packed with loads flavor and zero guilt.

Low Fat Cheeseburger

1 lb. lean hamburger (12% fat or less)
1 Tbsp. steak sauce
2 garlic cloves- minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 slices reduced fat cheese
4 Earthgrain 100% Whole Wheat Thin Buns

Combine hamburger, steak sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix with hands. Make 4 patties and cook (I used my George Forman grill but you could use anything). Serve on Thin Buns and top with Cheese, Lettuce and Tomato.

1 Cheeseburger w/ Thin Bun = 8 points (points plus)


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Apple Pork Enchilada's

After making the yummy Apple Pork Roast recipe...you just might have some leftovers to use up. I made up a pan of these delicious enchilada's with our leftovers and the family thought they were DIVINE! No complaining about leftovers, no complaining about dinner...not even one negative word flew around the dinner table...(somedays thats an accomplishment all by itself!). I was excited that the enchilada's were as big of a hit as the roast itself! Makes the mama smile when dinner is a hit! Enjoy eating these tasty leftovers...maybe you'll even want "leftovers of the leftovers".

Apple Pork Enchilada's

*I'm not going to put "amounts" because it will depend on how many enchilada's you want to make.

leftover Apple Pork Roast
grated monterey jack cheese (or you favorite...whatever you have)
corn or flour tortilla shells, whatever your family prefers...we used corn shells (cooked slightly so they are easier to roll...I fried mine individually in a small amount of oil)
rice (cooked according to package instruction)
1 large can of green chili enchilada sauce

Pour small amount of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a baking pan (size depends on how many you make). Spread around so that sauce covers the bottom of the entire pan. Place small amount of rice, meat and cheese down the middle of the tortilla shell. Roll enchilada. Being careful not to break the rolled enchilada, place it into the baking pan...placing the seam side down. Repeat until all shells are filled and your pan is full. Pour enchilada sauce onto rolled enchiladas and top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and enchiladas are hot.

Just have to love leftovers! YUM!!!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Turkey, Bacon and Ranch Panini

The past few weeks I have been crazy busy. Some days I think it would just be easier to skip dinner altogether because I literally cannot fit it into my schedule. Those are the times when recipes like this are my lifesaver! My Panini maker is one my best friends! I use it at least once a week-- It combines the easiness of a sandwich with the warmth of a home cooked meal. This is one of our favorite sandwiches.

Turkey, Bacon and Ranch Panini

4 Multi Grain Ciabatta buns (or similar)
4 oz. turkey deli meat
4 slices mozzarella cheese
4 tomato slices
4 Tbsp. Bacon crumbles
1 Tbsp. Ranch

In each ciabatta bun add 1 oz. turkey, 1 slice cheese, 1 tomato slice, 1 Tbsp. Bacon crumbles and 1 Tbsp. Ranch. Press together and cook in panini maker for 4-5 minutes. Serve immediately.

1 Sandwich = 13 points (points plus)


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Apple Pork Roast

I don't know about you, but I love putting a roast in the oven before church and coming home to the smell of dinner cooked and ready to eat. There is only one draw back to that...I get tired of eating the same ol' tasting roast week after week, time after time...everyone tires of it quickly and then they all start to complain (gotta hate that!!). To make things worse, I have to come up with something to make with all of the roast leftovers when no one wants to eat. LUCKY for the both of us, I think I have come up with a small solution for the "Sunday Roast Dilemma" (at least for a week here and there to shake things up a bit). I bought a pork roast a few weeks back and had it in the freezer just waiting for the perfect idea to pop into my head. I worked long and hard on this and finally came up with a HUM DINGER of a recipe. It is fabulous!!! Everyone loved it. Cutting the meat and getting it to the table was a difficult task because everyone was grabbing the meat from the serving plate as fast as I could cut it (I know....the little pigs!). This recipe is extremely easy, tastes amazing and will be done when you get home from church. This recipe is a MUST MAKE!

Apple Pork Roast
1 pork roast, any size
6 package of Apple Cider Powdered drink mix (bottled Apple Juice would work too)
1 1/2 qt water
9 oz. Apple Jelly (any brand, I used the store brand...9 oz is half the bottle )
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 T. soy sauce
Place meat in roasting pan (I like to put mine on a small rack inside of my pan so its not directly on the bottom, but if you don't have a rack just place it directly on the bottom of the pan...it will be fine, I'm just a little OCD about some things. ). Mix apple cider powder with 1 1/2 qt. water. Pour into bottom of roasting pan with meat. In a small sauce pan combine apple jelly, brown sugar and soy sauce. Bring to boil, turn heat down to medium low and cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring continually. Pour directly on pork roast, trying carefully to not dump it all in the apple juice. Cover the roast with lid or foil and bake at 275 degrees for 5 hours OR cook at 300 for 3 hours. Cooking time will also depend on the size of your roast. I like to cook mine at a lower temperature for longer, that way the meat is more tender and moist.

PS...watch for the recipe I came up with to use up the leftovers....you might have to hide some meat so there will be some leftovers, lucky for me I made 2 roasts, I didn't figure they could eat them both.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Greek Feta Chicken

My sister and I are huge Feta cheese lovers. We throw it onto anything we can think of and you can often find us in the kitchen eating it out of the container. We go through an entire package in a week. It's amazing folks. So when I saw this recipe for Greek Feta Chicken on the Kitchen Parade website I knew we would absolutely love it. This chicken has amazing flavor that gives you the fancy feel of a restaurant without all the hassle. Easy and delicious. Love it!

Greek Feta Chicken

1 cup lowfat plain yogurt
1 clove garlic- minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/3 cup feta cheese

In a large bowl whisk together the yogurt, garlic, oregano and black pepper. Add chicken breasts, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove chicken and arrange on baking sheet. Bake chicken for 40-45 minutes. Sprinkle with Feta and return to oven for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

1 chicken breast- 4 points (points plus)


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

Valentines Day means different things for different people...
for all of you out there that celebrate this "Lovers Holiday" 
here's wishing you a wonderful day (tomorrow)...and a little recipe to go along with your celebrating. 

Forever Wedding Cake

1 rounded cup of True Love
1 heaping cup of perfect trust and confidence
A pinch of unselfishness
A sprinkle of interest in all that he does

Mix all ingredients with a pint of sympathy. Flavor with a bright fireside and a loving kiss. 
Bake well all your life!

Happy Valentines Day~

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Chocolate Mint and me go way back. My love for this fabulous duo started when I was just a wee young child and I fell in love with chocolate chip mint ice cream...from then on out I've adored anything with these two marvelous flavors. Chocolate Mint Brownies are my favorite brownie. My kids have grown up eating them, therefore they all love them as much as I do...so a pan of these heavenly brownies doesn't last long in our house. This recipe is one of my favorites...it's an old family hand me down...and one that will be passed down from generation to generation. Hope your family loves it too.

Chocolate Mint Brownies

1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
3/4 t. cream of tartar
3/4 c. cocoa
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine dry ingredient, mix all ingredient until well mixed. Fold in nuts (if you are adding them). Spoon brownie dough into a greased 9x13" baking pan (I like to use a glass pan for these brownies). Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (always remember that oven temps vary). Top with Mint Frosting and serve with a large scoop of Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

Mint Frosting:

1 lb. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk
1/3 c. shortening
2-3 t. mint extract (use as much or as little as you like...depending on your taste...personally, I like it strong)
green food coloring (just enough to get the desired "green" look that you're going for)

Combine all ingredient in a mixing bowl. Mix until well blended. Spread on COOLED brownies. SERVE and EAT.
*Make sure you cover brownie's to keep them from drying out.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Dijon Roasted Potatoes

Hubby is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. During the week I can usually get him to eat the foods I like but on Sundays I try to be the doting wife and serve him his man food. I found this recipe in my weight watchers pamphlet this week and knew I had to try it. It was perfect. The flavor was amazing and it hit the spot with the Hubby. Win.

Dijon Roasted Potatoes

1 1/2 lbs uncooked small red potatoes- quartered
2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. olive oil
3/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. tried thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Cut red potatoes into quarters. In a large bowl whisk together mustard, oil, paprika, salt, thyme and pepper. Add potatoes and stir to coat. Transfer potatoes to prepared baking dish and roast 15 minutes; stir and roast until tender on inside, about 20 minutes more.

1 1/4 cup = 4 points (points plus)


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Grilled Chicken Burrito

If you are and avid reader of our recipe blog, you probably know that we are "very" fond of Mexican Food (hmmm...thats a slight understatement). I guess because its easy, and so versatile...therefore we will forever be sharing our mexican creations...and this recipe is just that, a mexican creation. But regardless of what it is, it's one of our families favorite dishes to eat. I personally "LOVE" it!! I could eat it 1-2 times a week and never get tired of it. Its just one of those foods that just makes you smile. I don't know about you, but I could use a big smile like that more often!

Grilled Chicken Burrito
4-6 boneless, skinless Chicken Breast
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 1/2 t. garlic powder

Tortilla shells ( I highly recommend the "uncooked" shells in the refrigerated section of
your grocery store)
2-3 c. grated Monterey Jack Cheese
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large can of green chili enchilada sauce (any brand)
3-4 c. steamed rice
1/4 c. REAL butter
1-2 avocado, diced

*I used my George Forman Grill for this recipe, but I have also cooked this chicken under the broiler in my oven as well as grilling the breast outside on my barbecue grill. It works regardless of where you cook it and tastes just as good!

In a small bowl combine oil, lemon juice and garlic powder, mix . Place raw chicken on a plate or baking sheet, using a pastry brush cover chicken. Place on grill or under broiler for 3-4 minutes, turn over and brush on oil/lemon juice mixture again. Repeat every 3-4 minutes until chicken is done. The size and thickness of your chicken will determine the amount of time it will take for your chicken to cook. When chicken is done, cool slightly, cut into thin strips. Set aside.

Cook rice according to package instructions. While rice is still HOT combine butter and let melt, then stir well with a fork.

Cook shells according to package instructions. Place each cooked shell on an oven safe plate. In the middle of each shell place rice, beans, cheese, chicken (amount is up to you and how many burrito's you will be making) and 3-4 T. green chili sauce. Wrap up, burrito style, folding ends in and rolling so that seam is on the bottom and against the plate. Top with more green chili enchilada sauce and cheese. Place under broiler in your oven for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted (all ingredient should be hot already, if not...warm ingredient in the microwave before putting in the tortilla shell). Serve with diced avocados and a side of chips and salsa.

Enjoy this amazing dish of yumminess!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

I am a sucker for junk food. I'm trying desperately to eat better but that doesn't mean I didn't spend a few minutes on Facebook drooling over everyone else's pictures of Super bowl Sunday treats. Yum! So since I was feeling a bit envious I decided to whip up these delicious Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches. This may just be one of my favorite foods. Easy, Delicious and Guilt Free. At only 3 points a sandwich there is no way I am jealous about all that fried food now!

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

4 chicken breasts
1 cup Franks Original Hot Sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. Dry Ranch Mix

In a crockpot combine chicken breast and 1/2 cup hot sauce. Cook on Low for 4 hours. Shred and return to crock pot. Add 1/2 cup hot sauce and ranch mix. stir and let cook on low for 3-4 additional hours. Serve with Whole Wheat Thin Buns (0 points) for additional deliciousness throw on a slice of cheese and 1 Tbsp. Ranch dressing. (additional points)

1/2 cup chicken = 3 pts (points plus)


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Carmel Nut Banana Bread

I grew up thinking there were only 2 kinds of quick bread, banana and zucchini. My mom made the best banana bread in the world...I ON THE OTHER HAND just can't master the art of her awesome recipe...sometimes it turns out and other times it doesn't. I love banana bread and it bothered me that I couldn't count on my cooking abilities to make it turn out every time...so the hunt began. I've tried other recipes for banana bread and there weren't too many that I ever tried again because they just didn't hit the spot. After years of hunting, I found one that I will be making again, and again and AGAIN. This bread has a sweet crunchy texture (and OH so delicious taste) on top, but is moist and full of yummy banana bread flavor inside. This is a must try! Its SCRUMPTIOUS both INSIDE AND OUT...NO CUTTING OFF THE CRUST OF THIS BREAD....instead, there will be a fight to see who "gets" to eat the crust! It's YUMMY STUFF!

Carmel Nut Banana Bread
4 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 c. walnuts, chopped
2 package (5.5 oz each) Werther's Original Chewy Caramels, chopped
4 ripe banana's
4 eggs
1 c. melted butter (real butter), slightly cooled
2/3 c. vanilla yogurt
2 t. vanilla

In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1/2 the chopped nuts and 1/2 the chopped caramels. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine mashed banana's, eggs, melted butter, yogurt and vanilla. Fold the ingredient together using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. Combine wet ingredient with dry ingredient mix slightly, just until combined. Over mixing will make for a rubbery bread, so make sure you aren't mixing for extended periods of time. Ingredient will be lumpy and thick. Scrape the batter into 3 regular sized bread pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining nuts and all of the caramels on top of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick can be inserted in the center and come out clean. Cool and serve.

*When chopping the caramels, I unwrapped them all and placed them in a large ziplock back and beat them with a rolling pin...it worked great!...(as well as working out a load of frustration!) SEE cooking really is therapeutical!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie

I absolutely LOVE the combination of strawberries and kiwi. I love the flavored gum, candy, soda and juices. So I knew combining the actual fruits was sure to be delicious. I was absolutely right. Mix up a batch of these and settle down with a chick flick. Perfect combination.

Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie

1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
2 kiwi's
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 cup ice

Combine in a blender and mix until smooth. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Aujus Burgers

I know, its really NOT hamburger season but I have a George Forman Grill that I wanted to try out and a hamburger sounded like the easiest thing to make on it. I didn't want to make "just any ol' burger" though, I wanted something NEW, something different, and something to SHARE with YOU...our readers. I found this recipe that sounded so easy and was as simple as adding 1 ingredient to the ground beef...I made the patties, let it cook in my George Forman Grill for 4-5 minutes and DINNER WAS DONE! The family all loved my little experiment as well as my Grill...I think I will pull it out and use it more often! Woo Hoo for easy, fast and delicious dinners!

Aujus Burgers
1 package Aujus Gravy mix (dry)
1-1 1/2 lbs ground beef

Combine Aujus powder and ground beef. Mix thoroughly. Shape burgers and COOK however you want to cook it...on your grill, in a pan or in your George Forman Grill. Serve on a bun with all the burger fixin's or eat it as is....it will make your mouth water. Its tasty and something new, a nice change from a "regular ol' burger".

Happy Cooking~

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dirt Pudding

In my church I am "in charge" of the 8 year old boy scouts. This past week we got together for an activity and I was in the mood to impress my adorable little 8 year olds. I remembered this fun dessert I had seen and I knew they would absolutely love it. I was right. In less than 15 minutes this entire dessert was completely gone. I loaded them up on sugar and sent them home to their parents. Best. Job. Ever.

Dirt Pudding

1 package chocolate cookies (oreos, etc)
1 large tub whipped cream
2 large boxes instant chocolate pudding
Gummy worms

Crush chocolate cookies into small pieces. Prepare chocolate pudding according to package directions. Layer chocolate cookies, whipped cream and pudding. Top with gummy worms.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hot Bacon Dip

I don't know what it is, but the SUPER BOWL has somehow become a "holiday" in our family....I don't even like football...I know, thats really "un-American" of me...but I don't. I do enjoy the PARTIES THOUGH! Maybe this "NEW HOLIDAY" is just an excuse to pull out all those PARTY FOOD recipes that we didn't get enough of from Christmas and New Years and chow down on them again...whatever it is, our family takes full advantage of PARTY TIME and we EAT like there is no tomorrow. This dip is to die for and a MUST for any SUPER BOWL PARTY, especially if you like dips with a little KICK to them! Its got all the good stuff to make your mouth do a little "happy dance" and has quickly become one of my favorite party foods...try it out, it might become one of your fav's too.

Hot Bacon Dip
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. cooked bacon, crumbled
2 c. Colby jack cheese, shredded
1 can green chili's (with juice)
1 small can chopped jalapenos
1/2 c. chopped imitation crab

Mix cream cheese and sour cream together until there are no lumps (3-5 minutes) Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Place mixture into a medium glass casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with baguettes, corn chips or crackers. Dip taste best when warm.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mexican Chicken

A friend of mine sent me a bunch of low fat recipes a few weeks ago and I've been dying to try them all. One recipe that really caught my eye was Mexican Chicken. I absolutely adore both of those foods so I knew this was the recipe for me. This dish was filling and delicious-- it gave a kick to the usual boring baked chicken. Loved it!

Mexican Chicken

4 (4 oz) chicken breasts
1 pkg Taco Seasoning
Fat Free sour cream

Put chicken and taco seasoning in a plastic bag. Shake and coat well. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cook spray and place chicken on sheet. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove and top with salsa and sour cream. Serve immediately.

1 chicken breast w/ sour cream = 5 points (points plus)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Italian Baked Chicken

I'm not a HUGE fan of red meat...once in a great while I enjoy it but most often than not, I choose chicken over ANY meat. Several years back my sister-in-law, Mindy, made a turkey that was SOOOOO good. It was moist and had a rich flavor that just stuck with me, better than I had ever eaten before. I asked her what seasonings she put on her turkey, when she told me I was floored that it was as simple as opening a package! I thought I would try her simplicity out on baked chicken....and it tasted just as delicious as her turkey. The meat was moist and extremely tasty! The family kept picking into the chicken as I was trying to remove it from the bone..."picking" is always a sign of scrumptious food, right?! This is about as easy of a recipe as you could ever make, anyone can do it, even dear ol' hubby (now there's an idea)...there are no excuses why you shouldn't try it out...in fact, if you don't, I know you'll will wish that you had.

Italian Baked Chicken
1 whole chicken (or boneless skinless chicken breast, thighs, wings, drumsticks...etc...)
1 package of DRY Italian Salad Dressing Mix (NOT mixed up, just the powder)

Place whole chicken in roasting pan. Sprinkle entire package of dressing mix onto chicken (be careful that you don't waste it by spilling it over the sides, try to just keep it ON the chicken). Add 1 quart water to roasting pan (don't pour over chicken or you will wash all of your seasonings off). Bake COVERED at 300 degrees for 3 hours, watching so that your water doesn't all evaporate out. Remove cooked chicken from pan and take meat from the bones...eat up!

*If you cook chicken breasts, thighs, wings or drumsticks...you're cooking time will vary and you may have to add more than one package of seasoning, depending on the amount of chicken you are cooking.

Happy Cooking~