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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin is one of my favorite pleasures. I enjoy it year round. It doesn't matter what its thrown into...I love it. My kids love for me to make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, although I don't do it very often because it takes so long and there is always a massive mess for me to clean up in the kitchen afterwards. Several months back one of my friends (Kelly Ann) sent me this super easy, yet ever so tasty recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. I just wanted to do a little "Happy Dance", now my kids can have one of their favorite cookies more often without having a monstrous mess in the kitchen...its a win win situation!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
1- 16 oz can pumpkin
1 box spice cake
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Mix ingredient together. Drop by spoonful on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

THATS IT!!!! Its that simple, I couldn't believe it. All these years I've been using a different recipe, which I love...just not the time that it takes to mix it or the mess it makes from having to get all the ingredient out. This recipe was a welcomed "gift" in my house...hope it is in yours too! Enjoy this simple, delicious cookie...be careful, they are so addictive!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quick Italian Flatbread

We are a carb loving family. Sunday dinners roll around and I am looking for any type of bread to go along with our meal. Sometimes I'm not in the mood or I don't have time to make our favorite rolls so when I saw this recipe for Quick Italian Flat Bread I knew it was going to be a winner. I love anything flavored with oregano. I whipped these up for Sunday dinner and they were devoured within seconds. They took less than 5 minutes to whip together and they curbed my carb craving for another week.

Quick Italian Flat Bread

10 ounce tube of refrigerator biscuits
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup grated Fat Free Parmesan Cheese
1/4 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. oregano
1 clove garlic- minced
1/4 tsp black pepper

Mix together mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, garlic and pepper. Set aside. Separate biscuits and roll each one into a circle about 4" across. Using your fingers press on the center of the biscuit a little more. Leaving the outer edge a bit thicker (like a pizza crust) Divide cheese mixture evenly and spread on each biscuit. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for 14 minutes. Turn to broil and let cook until golden brown- aprox. 1 minute. Makes 10 flat breads.

1 bread = 4 points (points plus)


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Homemade Ranch Dressing

If you are an avid reader of our betterthanburgers, you know that we LOVE ranch dressing...we use it frequently and you have to admit it adds a little joy to every dish (*wink*). NOW you can make your very own, from scratch. I've always made mine with mayonnaise, milk and a package...not anymore. I will forever be making it from scratch. Its easy, its DANG GOOD and its cheaper than those little packets (have to save money where ever I can). This ranch is great on salads, chicken, burgers, wraps, sandwiches or as a dip for veggies...anything you would put the "Other STUFF" on... but this ranch is so much better.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

1 c. BEST FOODS mayonnaise (I use Western Family because I think it tastes just like Best Foods)
2/3 - 1 c. buttermilk (depends on how thick or thin you want the dressing)
1/2 c. sour cream
2 t. parsley flakes
1/2 t. pepper
1 1/2 t. salt
2 t. garlic powder
2 t. onion powder
1/4 t. dried dill weed

Combine all ingredient in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Taste best if refrigerated for several hours so the flavors will "marry".


Monday, March 28, 2011

Topped Cornbread

My Hubby and I just bought our first house! YAY! It happened super fast and I felt completely overwhelmed with all that I had to do in such a short amount time. Every time we move I always make it a goal to use everything in my kitchen before we move-- this not only saves me money on my weekly shopping trips but it keeps me from having to move all our food to the new house. It's kind of fun too. I scoured the pantry and found a can of chili that needed to be used and our topped cornbread was created.

Topped Cornbread

1 can chili
Fat Free Sour Cream

Prepare your favorite cornbread recipe (I used the 3 minute Cornbread recipe to make this meal super fast and easy). Heat chili in a small pan on the stove. Cut cornbread into 6 equal pieces. Top individual pieces with 1/4 cup chili , 1 Tbsp. cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and 1 Tbsp. Sour Cream.

1 piece = 7 points (points plus) if made with 3 minute cornbread


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Restaurant Style Coconut Shrimp

Going out to dinner is always something that I look forward to....for many reasons, ONE big reason is...I don't have to cook, but another reason is to eat some of my favorite foods that I don't get to eat at home. I have a lot of favorite restaurants and at those favorite restaurants, I have my favorite foods that I order (I don't stray much from my "Fav" list). On my first visit to the "Outback" I ordered their "Coconut Shrimp" and that was the end of it for me...I was over the top in love with it!! I have tried different recipes for coconut shrimp, trying to mimic this delectable dish but I always came up feeling sad and disappointed...NOT this time. I finally have it figured out...this shrimp is to DIE for!!! Its something I am defiantly making on a "semi- regular" basis...(when I can get shrimp for a killer deal because it runs a little pricey these days)...but its certainly not a recipe that will collect dust or have time to settle to the bottom of the pile. I am super excited that I can now have another one of my favorites just about anytime I want it! Woo HOO!

Restaurant Style Coconut Shrimp
4-5 lbs pre-cooked shrimp, thawed with tails pulled off
2 c. cornstarch
6 egg whites
1/2-1 package shredded coconut
Oil for frying

Heat oil in a frying pan, enough oil so that the shrimp doesn't touch the bottom of the pan. Don't get the oil too hot (in other words, don't turn it on high). If oil is too hot it will cook the shrimp too fast and burn the coconut. Be patient and wait for oil to heat. This can be tested by placing the tip of a wooden spoon in the oil, if the oil bubbles around the spoon...its hot!

In a medium sized bowl combine cornstarch and egg whites. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Place shredded coconut in a shallow dish (such as a pie tin). Place shrimp in batter and stir to coat each piece, afterwards roll each piece of shrimp in coconut until completely covered. Place shrimp in oil one at a time so they don't clump together. Shrimp is already cooked so you are mainly cooking/browning the coconut. Cook until both sides are brown. Place cooked shrimp on a plate covered with a paper towel...this will help absorb some of the oil.
NOW just devour these scrumptious little shrimps...enjoy.

*Dipping sauces: Orange Marmalade is wonderful.....you can buy it at the store. Someday I will learn to make it, but for now...just run out and purchase a bottle. (*wink*)


Friday, March 25, 2011

Bean and Cheese Panini Wrap

One of my favorite go to dinners is the Bean and Cheese Burritos that I posted a while back. A few weeks ago I started craving one so I decided to lighten it up so I could actually eat it without feeling guilty. I pulled out my panini maker and whipped this up in no time. It was delicious. It took less than 5 minutes and tasted amazing.

Bean and Cheese Panini Wrap

6 wheat tortilla shells
1 1/2 cups refried beans
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

Spread 1/4 cup refried beans in the center of a tortilla shell. Top with 1/4 cup cheese. Fold and cook in panini maker for approx 2-3 minutes. (If you don't have a panini maker use Julie's suggestion at the bottom is THIS post). Serve hot.

1 wrap = 5 points (points plus)


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sunburst Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

I love the flavor of "Lemon Poppy Seed" anything...muffins, bread etc...it's just comfort food for my soul. This bread is a burst of YummINess!!! It has a very moist, delightful, scrumptious taste...you will be in heaven with the first bite. I wished I had a piece RIGHT NOW....its leaves me wanting more and more and more.

Sunburst Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

3 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 flour
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 T grated lemon zest (wash your lemon first)
3 T. poppy seeds
1 1/2 cubes butter or margarine, softened

Lemon Glaze:

1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 loaf pans with pan coating/ then flour.

In a medium bowl mix together eggs, vanilla and milk. IN a separate bowl beat flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and poppy seeds. Add softened butter and half the egg mixture, mix on low speed until moistened. Increase the speed to high, beat for 1 minute. Add remaining eggs mixture and beat. Place dough in bread pans. Wrap tinfoil around the sides of bread pans to prevent bread from browning too fast. Bake for 55-65 minutes.

While bread is baking make glaze by mixing both ingredient together and whisking until all powdered sugar is dissolved. Pour over warm bread.

Let bread cool before cutting. EAT and ENJOY....Its one of my favorites right now.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bread Sticks

I absolutely love carbs. The week after we got married I decided to make spaghetti and bread sticks for Halloween dinner. It's the traditional Halloween food at my house and I really wanted to instill traditions in our new marriage. I spent hours in the kitchen making bread sticks from scratch and I was so pleased with how they turned out. After Jack took his first bite he asked me very politely not to make bread sticks again. I give him a hard time about it now and it's kind of funny, but I rarely do make bread sticks anymore. When I came across this recipe I knew I seriously had to try them though. These are amazing! I absolutely love the topping and Jack couldn't get enough of them. He even gave me permission to make them as many times as I want. Considerate right?

Bread Sticks
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp. Sugar
3-4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. parsley

Combine yeast, water and sugar. Let yeast sit until bubbly. Add flour and salt until dough is soft. Let rise. When double, punch down and spread into a large greased cookie sheet. Mix together topping and spread over bread sticks.

Let rise again until fluffy. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Cut into 24 bread sticks.

1 bread stick = 3 points (points plus)


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Old Home Casserole

We don't eat a lot of casseroles in our house...really I don't know why, other than I just don't think to make them (and I have a few that don't LOVE them). I had a few leftovers in the refrigerator that needed to be used and so I decided to mix up a casserole with them...it turned out great. Hubby's eyebrows flew up when he tasted it as he said, "WOW, that is good!!" I took that as a compliment and was thrilled that the family then wolfed it right down. The casserole can be made with any leftover meat, so it's really versatile. Serve it with a salad and a nice hot roll and it will look like you've been hard at work all day.

Old Home Casserole

4 boneless pork chops, cooked and dices (can use chicken, roast beef, ham...very versatile)

1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
2 c. rice, cooked
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
2 cans cream chicken soup
2 c. crushed Ritz crackers (or any buttery cracker)
1/2 c. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sauce pan combine seasoning, cheese and soup; heat until cheese is melted and sauce is warm. In a mixing bowl combine cooked rice and meat. Combine sauce with rice mixture, stir until well blended. Spoon mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. Place crushed crackers and melted butter in a ziplock bag. Shake until well blended. Sprinkle crackers over the top of casserole. Bake for 30-35 minutes.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Green Chicken Chili

A few weeks ago at Weight Watchers they were talking about different ways to prepare foods so we don't get in a rut. Someone mentioned Green Chicken Chili and then went on to describe how they make it--- I admit I spaced off for a bit because the recipe she was talking about was not the same as the one now cooking in my head. Since that day I've been dying to try my version of Green Chicken Chili. I finally got around to it and I must say-- my brain cooks GOOD! It was amazing, easy and diet friendly. Who doesn't love that!

Green Chicken Chili

1 large can (28 oz) Green Enchilada Sauce
1 can (15 oz) pinto beans
1/2 cup chicken- cooked and diced
1/4 cup Cheese
1 oz. Tortilla Chip Strips

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot and let simmer for 2-3 hours on low. Top with 1 Tbsp. cheese and about 1/4 oz tortilla strips. Makes about 4 cups.

1 cup = 6 points (points plus)


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pepsi Pork Chops

Pepsi is so versatile...you can drink it AND cook with it...woo hoo! This is a tasty crock pot dish that can be started before you leave for work, church or just because your going to have a crazy day and want dinner to cook itself. Its easy, flavorful and everyone will gobble it right down.

Pepsi Pork Chops

6-8 boneless pork chops
2 can cream chicken soup (or mushroom)
1/2 package dry onion soup mix
1 can PEPSI

Place all ingredient in crock pot. Stir slightly to mix soda and soup. Cook on low for 5-7 hours. Cooking time will vary due to the different crock pots out there...just cook until done (mine took 5 hours). Serve over rice or with a warm baked potato.


Friday, March 18, 2011

3 minute cornbread

Hubby loves cornbread. He asks for it all the time. I always have good intentions of making it but honestly it's a lot of work for 2 people so I've always avoided it. A few days ago I came across this recipe for 3 minute Cornbread. I honestly have to admit I was really skeptical about cornbread that cooks in 3 minutes.... in the microwave. When I told Jack what I was making for dinner he laughed. Even as I whipped up the ingredients I still had my doubts that this would work. The batter only made enough to cover the bottom of my dish and my mind immediately started thinking of things I could hurry and make when this flopped. Oh me of little faith. I sat in front of the microwave as this lump of batter literally transformed into a fluffy, delicious looking cornbread right before my eyes. I will NEVER go back to making any cornbread but this. It was delicious! It's not quite as sweet as the cornbread I am used to but cornbread in 5 minutes---- you can't beat that!

3 minute Cornbread

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup corn meal
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together until smooth. Grease microwave safe dish and pour in batter. (I used a 6 inch round dish) Microwave for 3 minutes. If your microwave doesn't rotate then rotate dish half way through the cooking time. Cut into 6 pieces.

*I have a crappy microwave and had to cook this for 5 minutes but it came out completely cooked all the way through.

1 piece = 4 points


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pistachio St.Patrick's Day Bread

This bread is so scrumptious and the kids love that its green...its perfect for this "FUN festive IRISH DAY". Pistachio is one of my favorite flavors...which makes this bread one of my favorites. You have to try it...you'll be glad that you did.

Pistachio St. Patrick's Day Bread
1 yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1/4 c. oil
2 T. water
1 (3 oz) pkg. instant pistachio pudding mix
1 c. sour cream
1/2-1 t. green food coloring
1 t. almond extract
3/4 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans. Mix all ingredient together until well blended. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sun Dried Tomato Chicken

During the week I tend to stick more to quick and easy meals so on the weekend I like to take the time to actually cook something hot and delicious. I ran across this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything and it looked absolutely amazing. I made a few changes and whipped it up for Sunday dinner. It was probably the best Chicken I have ever eaten. I absolutely loved everything about this. I can't say enough good things about this. Just make it. Immediately. You will thank me.

Sun Dried Tomato Chicken

4 (1 lb) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 slices bacon
1/2 cup sun-dried tomato vinaigrette dressing
2 tomatoes (diced)
1 tsp. dried basil
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese

Cook bacon in a large pan until crisp. Set aside. Add chicken to large pan and cook until almost done. Pour 1/4 cup vinaigrette dressing over chicken and continue to cook until inside is no longer pink. In a separate pan combine 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, bacon, tomatoes and basil. Cook until tomatoes are heated through. Remove chicken from pan and top with tomato vinaigrette mixture and 1/2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese. Broil until cheese is warm and serve immediately.

4 oz chicken breast with sauce & cheese = 6 pts


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mexican Manicotti

My family loves Manicotti. I used to make it frequently when all of my children lived at home...in fact I had to make 2 large pans and they usually ate it all, without leaving one to spare. I decided to try something a little different out this time (besides NOT making 2 pans because there isn't as many mouths to feed anymore)...I decided to try and make a "mexican version" of our favorite manicotti. It was a hit. Who would have thought?! Serve it with a side salad and a slice of bread and you've got dinner! Enjoy!

Mexican Manicotti
1 lb. ground beef, cooked, drained
1/2 or 1 package taco seasoning (I only used 1/2, I didn't want to have the flavor super strong)
3 c. grated cheese, divided
1 c. cottage cheese
3 oz. cream cheese
1 large can enchilada sauce (I used 1 quart of my homemade sauce...you can use your favorite)
1 small can diced green chili's (optional)
1 box manicotti

sliced olives
green onions
sour cream
avocado, diced

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook manicotti according to package instructions. Drain pasta and cool. Cook ground beef in a large skillet until no longer pink. Drain grease. Combine cheese (1 1/2 c), seasoning, cottage cheese, cream cheese and chili's in a food processor (if you don't have one, just use a hand mixer), add cooked meat and mix. Spoon mixture into cooled pasta tubes. Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Arrange filled pasta in a single layer in pan and pour remaining sauce over the top. Cover with the remaining 1 1/2 c. cheese and bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes. Top with "taco" type toppings or eat as is...either way is DELISH!


Monday, March 14, 2011

South of the Border Chicken Soup

I keep thinking I'm going to wake up one morning and it will magically be spring. That doesn't seem to be the case here. I keep falling asleep to a sheet of fresh snow on the ground. When will this be over? I decided I should take advantage of the chilly weather and put some soup in the crock pot. This soup warmed us up and hit the spot perfectly. It was absolutely delicious. After the Hubby's second bowl he told me he would be mad if I didn't make this recipe again. It was amazing. *Warning, this soup was really spicy. You could tone it down with plain canned diced tomatoes and a mild salsa.

South of the Border Chicken Soup

4 cups fat free chicken broth
3 cloves garlic- minced
2 tsp. cumin
1 cup canned chicken
1 can tomatoes (diced tomatoes + green chilies)
1 cup corn
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup low fat cheese
1 oz tortilla chips

Combine chicken broth, garlic and cumin. Stir together. Add chicken, tomatoes, corn and salsa. Let cook till boiling or cook in crockpot on high for 3-4 hours. Top individual servings with 1 Tbsp. cheese and approx 2 Tbsp. crushed chips.

2 1/2 cups = 6 points (points plus)


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Caramel Syrup

Sometimes I get tired of serving "plain ol' maple syrup" with our morning waffles or pancakes...its fun to try something a little different and surprise everyone as they come staggering into the breakfast table. I made this fabulous Caramel Syrup that was so scrumptious...and to top it off I put a "dollop" of whipped topping right in the center of the waffle... I am sure we "needed" those extra calories. That little dollop of cream made it taste just that much better. This is a must try...and today is the perfect day to try it out!

Caramel Syrup

1 cube butter (use the REAL stuff...it will taste so much better)
1 c. brown sugar
2 t. corn syrup

Combine all ingredient in a small saucepan. Bring to a slow boil. Cook and stir continually for 2 minutes. DO NOT over cook or you'll end up with a "taffy" textured syrup because it will boil and turn into "candy"(yes, I've been there, done that). Serve on pancakes, french toast, waffles, german pancakes...anything that you would top with maple syrup.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Nanaimo Bars

For the past month my Canadian Hubby has been requesting that I make Nanaimo Bars. I'de never heard of them before but he assured me they were out of this world delicious. I came across this recipe here and I knew I HAD to have whatever these were. They looked absolutely amazing. I calculated the Weight Watcher points and I came to a grand total of 18 points per bar. You know they have to be good if they are crammed with that much fat. So NO this is not the recipe for you dieters-- but your family and friends will appreciate them, and you might even be able to sneak a bite.

Nanaimo Bars

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)

1/3 cup butter
3 Tbsp. vanilla pudding powder
1/4 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar

1 cup chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. butter

Crust: Melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder until smooth. Whisk in the egg and vanilla and remove from heat. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and walnuts. Press into a greased 8 inch square pan and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Filling: Cream the butter. Beat in the vanilla pudding powder and milk. Beat in the sugar slowly. Spread over the base layer and chill in the fridge until it sets.

Topping: Melt the chocolate and butter in a pan on medium and stir until smooth. Spread over the filling layer and chill in fridge until chocolate starts to set up. Before chocolate completely hardens cut into bars. Let chocolate continue to harden and serve. Makes 9 bars.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sour Cream Waffles

Waffles and Pancakes are one of my hubby's favorite breakfast foods. I make them frequently but I have to admit, I don't make them from scratch as often as I should. I usually use a mix, you know the one you just add water to, which everyone likes....but I feel as though they are just "so-so"...nothing special.
These waffles on the other hand ARE SPECIAL...and not just because I made them (*wink*). They taste so much better than the "mix brand"...in fact I would have to say they are surperb. The sour cream makes these waffles light and fluffy...so if you like a fluffy waffle, these are the waffles for you. We topped them off with homemade Carmel Syrup (watch for that recipe soon) and cool whip and the family just snarfed them right down! There wasn't even a drop of syrup left on the plate (or in the syrup bottle for that matter). Make them for breakfast and surprise your hungry gang!

Sour Cream Waffles
1 3/4 c. flour
2 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 cube melted butter or margarine
1 1/4 c. milk (you can add another 1/4 if you want batter thinner)
1/2 c. sour cream
3 eggs

Heat waffle iron and spray lightly with pan coating. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until mixed well. In a medium bowl comfine melted butter, milk, sour cream and eggs, stir until completly mixed, add to dry ingredient and mix. Don't over mix, just stir until everything is combined and wet.

Pour 1/2 c. batter into the center of your waffle iron. Cook until done. Serve with your favorite syrup...(watch for the Caramel Syrup that will be posted soon...its to die for!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Baked Cream Cheese Won Tons

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is cream cheese won tons. Whenever I eat at chinese buffets I always fill my plate with these. Unfortunately they are SO not good for you. So when I came across a low fat version I knew I absolutely had to try them. They exceeded every single one of my expectations. These are beyond amazing. You would honestly never know this was diet friendly. My sister and I made them for girls night and we ate the entire pan ourselves. At only 1 point a piece I didn't feel guilty at all. I will make these again... and again.... and again....

Baked Cream Cheese Won Tons

8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
3 clove garlic- minced
2 scallions- diced
24 won ton wrappers

Combine cream cheese, garlic and scallions. Place a little more than 1 tsp. of cream cheese mixture into the center of each wrap. Brush the edges of wrap with water and fold into triangles-- press the edges to seal. Place the filled won tons inside the cup of a muffin tin (2 in each tin). Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

1 won ton = 1 point (points plus)


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Stars

I love chicken enchilada's but I'm not a fan of making them. They take a lot of time...and yes, they are worth it...but some days I just don't have the time or the desire to spend MY TIME in the kitchen. These little "stars" are fun and easy and delish all at the same time. ONE of my favorite things about them is...the kids like to help make them...(now if I can just convince them that doing the dishes and cleaning up is just as fun, I will have it made!). They warm up great for dinner or lunch the next day...I love meals like that, sort of like "killing two mice with one stone"....can't beat that!
Chicken Enchilada Stars

tortilla shells
1 can cream chicken soup
1/4 c. butter
1/2 can diced green chilies
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. shredded cheese (your favorite)
2-3 c. cubed/shredded cooked chicken

In a sauce pan combine butter, chilies, soup, sour cream and cheese. Stir until warm and butter is melted. Add chicken and heat.

Cut tortillas into fourths and then cut those fourths into half...making 8 small triangles from each tortilla. Spray muffin tin with pan coating. Press 4 triangles (big point of triangle facing UP) into each muffin cup (if you warm the tortilla's up in the microwave for 15 seconds first, it makes
pressing them in the muffin cup so much easier). Using an ice cream or cookie scoop, spoon filling into "stars" (one scoop should fill your star). Repeat until all of your stars are full. Top each chicken enchilada star with a small amount of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes.

*This recipe makes approximately 24 stars.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Virgin Kiwi Blackberry Daiquiri

I love Daiquiri's. I've never tried anything besides strawberries before but I had a bunch of produce that needed to be used so I threw them all together and hoped for the best. You can't go wrong with fruit and limeade. This drink was delicious. Everyone here loved it and so will you.

Virgin Kiwi Blackberry Daiquiri

12 oz limeade concentrate
1 cup frozen blackberries
2 kiwi's
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup ice

Blend limeade, blackberries, kiwi and sugar till smooth. Add ice and blend. Serve immediately.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Good MORNING" Apple Muffins

I made these fantastic muffins for breakfast the other morning and I heard several, "MMMMMMMM's" as they quickly disappeared from the plate. Who wouldn't love a hot apple muffin with melted butter to start the day out?! They are so moist and taste like apple pie...thats got to bring a smile to anyones face! Make some up for your breakfast...see if you get a few smiles from the family....who know, they may even like mornings after this.

Good Morning Apple Muffins

2 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. cold buttermilk
1/4 c. oil
3 t. vanilla
1 egg
2 medium apples (peeled, cored and cut into small pieces)
3/4 c. chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl mix all dry ingredient together (first 5 on the recipe). Stir until well blended. In another bowl mix buttermilk, oil, vanilla and egg; stir into flour mixture just until moist. Fold in apples and nuts. Batter will be lumpy.

Scoop batter into 12 greased muffin cups (1 muffin pan). Bake 17-20 minutes (your oven may take longer) or until toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out clean. Don't over cook. Serve muffins warm with butter...YUM!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Blackberry Limeade

In every weight loss book or television show I always hear "Don't drink your calories" over and over. I'm always shocked when I realize how many calories are in a can of soda. And it grosses me out even more to look at my large fountain drink. So I've been trying to replace my soda addiction with better choices. Hubby suggested I try something with blackberries. He absolutely loves them and feels they are extremely under used. So I took his advice and whipped up this beauty. It was absolutely delicious. The flavor was so different than what I am used to. We have strawberry and raspberry everything so the taste of blackberries was refreshing. Love this stuff.

Blackberry Limeade

2 cans Limeaid frozen concentrate
8 cans cold water
1 liter sprite zero
1 pkg frozen blackberries

Defrost blackberries and blend them in a blender. Combine Limeaid and water. Stir well. Add Sprite and blackberries-stir. Serve cold.

1 cup = 3 points (points plus)


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stir Fry

Not too many of my children are big fans of veggies. I think I have 2-3 that ENJOY eating them. That doesn't mean that I never fix them, because MARK MY WORDS, THEY ARE FIXED AND EATEN....just not "eaten by choice" at times. Since I only have 2 children left living at home and both of them like veggies (for the most part), I can experiment with them a little more and even serve them as a main dish from time to time. One of my families favorite foods are Chinese Foods...we like them all, Orange Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, Egg Rolls, Chow Mien, Won ton's...the list could go on. One of my favorite ways to eat vegetables is to make Chinese Stir Fry. I like to add alot of veggies and then serve them over steamed rice or Chinese Noodles (not the dry ones, the "real thing"). Dinner is delicious, healthy and done in 15 minutes or less. No need to fuss and sweat about dinner tonight...grab some veggies and have at it.

Stir Fry
*Note...there will be NO ingredient amounts on this recipe because you cook as much or as little as you like...
using what veggies your family enjoys (or will eat under protest)

Vegetable suggestions:
Egg Plant
Yellow Squash
          (you get the idea)

1-2 package of Chinese Stir Fry Noodles (cooked according to package instructions)
1 bottle of Kikkoman Stir Fry Sauce 
Soy Sauce

Chop/slice all vegetables up into medium sized pieces. Don't dice them into small pieces or they will cook to mush, medium slices and chunks are best. Add 2 T. Oil to  a Wok or large frying pan and heat until HOT. Add all HARD veggies (not mushrooms or egg plant) and cook for 4-5 minutes until vegetables are cooked slightly BUT not mushy, add soft veggies and cook for 2-3 minutes longer or until soft vegetables are slightly cooked. Remove from heat and place vegetables in a large bowl, cover and set aside. 
Wipe out pan with paper towel. Add a small amount of oil to pan and heat until HOT. Add cooked noodles and some of the Stir Fry Sauce (the amount is "to taste"...some in my family like ALOT of sauce and others like a small amount). Cook noodles and sauce for 2-3 minutes, just long enough to combine them and heat them through (again, not too long or it will go mushy). IF you want to, you can add the vegetables back in with the noodles and sauce and cook them together, which is VERY tasty. BUT if you just want to put your cooked vegetables on top of your noodles on the individual plates, that is just as delicious. Add Soy Sauce if desired. EAT UP!

*If you want to add meat to this dish, I've done that before and its YUMMY too. We've added cooked chicken, thin slices of left over steak or pork chops...its really good as well. Just experiment and cook it the way your family will eat it. 

Happy Cooking~

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chocolate Cream Puffs

I absolutely LOVE cream puffs. So when I saw this recipe I knew it was a must have. I've made these for Sunday treats almost every week this month. They are SO good. Hubby and I fight over who gets to eat the last one-- I promise these won't stick around your house for long.

Chocolate Cream Puffs

Cream Puff
1/2 cup water
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs

2 ounces low fat cream cheese
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
8 ounces strawberries- diced
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium saucepan heath the water and butter on medium heat until the butter melts. Seperately stir together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon and salt. When butter is boiling add the flour mixture to the saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon until a ball forms. Let cook for a minute or two while you stir- breaking up the ball a bit. Take off the heat and let cook for a minute or two. Mix in eggs one at a time. Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool. Makes 12 cream puffs.

While cream puffs are cooking beat together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and heavy whipping cream. Beat until stiff peaks form. Stir in strawberries. When puffs are cooled fill evenly with cream and serve.

1 cream puff w/filling = 3 points (points plus)


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tangy Shrimp Salad

Do you ever feel loaded down with food and just want something "Light and Refreshing"?....I had one of those days. I needed something to eat for lunch but didn't want all the "hum drum food" that I usually have, so I whipped up this refreshing little number. Its filling, yet not heavy...its scrumptious but not loaded down with fat (don't get me wrong...I love fat laden food, it just doesn't like me)...its got a great little tang to it, but not too much...You've got to give it a try. I would have to say that its probably not a dish that your hubby would dive right into, just because most men are into "MEAT and Taters"...this has "Chick Food" written all over it, but hey, some men may love it. I just know that my man would turn his nose right up at this dish of yumminess...but me?? Well....I DOVE RIGHT IN AND GOBBLED IT ALL UP!

Tangy Shrimp Salad

1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1/2 red onion, diced into small pieces
1-3 tomato's, diced (however many you want)
1/2 c. vinegar
1 packet dry Italian dressing mix

pre-cooked frozen shrimp, thawed, drained and de-tailed
leaf lettuce

In a medium sized bowl combine beans, corn, onion, tomato's, vinegar and Italian dressing mix. Stir until dressing is completely mixed in. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so that flavors can "marry". Shred lettuce and divide evenly on individual plates. Top lettuce with bean mixture, shrimp and your favorite dressing.

*I like a lot of shrimp so I added a lot to mine...if you don't like as much shrimp, don't add as much.

** I didn't add any dressing to mine. The vinegar and Italian dressing mix makes a nice dressing all by itself....but it would be scrumptious with a little Ranch on it too.

***The bean mixture will make your lettuce go soggy (if you have any leftovers), this is the reason I made it on individual plates to serve instead of ONE big salad.

****Other toppings you could add to this dandy dish is: sliced olives, cottage cheese, grated cheese, crushed corn chips or croutons...use your imagination.