Monday, October 25, 2010

Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

Posted on October 19, 2010 by Annie

If you’re looking for a healthy meal, keep on looking. But if you want to see one of my very favorite dinners, look no further. Since this is essentially fried chicken in a sticky, sweet sauce over a bed of refined carbs, I only make this a couple of times a year. But I enjoy it immensely every.single.time. (I also guard the leftovers fiercely.) Actually, I had only every tried orange chicken making this version at home. This is supposed to be a knock-off version of a popular take-out meal. When I finally got around to trying the “original”, I was sorely disappointed. It doesn’t even compare. So if you happen to like that take-out dish, then I think you will really enjoy this. I particularly love how the cayenne pepper provides slight spicy counterbalance to the sweetness. Can’t wait for the next six months to pass so I can justify eating this again

Orange Chicken

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For the marinade and sauce:

¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth

¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1½ tsp. finely grated orange zest

6 tbsp. white vinegar

¼ cup soy sauce

½ cup brown sugar (dark or light)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

1½ lbs. boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch

2 tbsp. cold water

8 thin strips orange peel (optional)

For the coating and frying:

3 large egg whites

1 cup cornstarch

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

3 cups peanut or canola oil (I like a combination)


To make the marinade and sauce, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, orange zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper in a large saucepan; whisk to blend well. Measure out ¾ cup of the mixture and transfer it to a large zipper lock plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces to the bag, pressing out the excess air and sealing well. Refrigerate and let marinate 30-60 minutes, but no longer. Place the saucepan with the remaining mixture on the stove and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Add the mixture to the saucepan with the sauce. Continue simmering until the sauce is thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the strips of orange peel, if using.

To prepare the coating, place the egg whites in a pie plate and whisk until frothy. In a second pie plate combine the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne pepper; whisk to blend. Drain the chicken of the marinade in a colander or large strainer; pat dry with paper towels. Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat. Transfer the pieces to the cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly, shaking off the excess. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

To fry the chicken, heat the oil in a 11- or 12-inch round Dutch oven or straight-sided sauté pan until the oil reaches 350˚ F. Carefully place half of the chicken pieces in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning the pieces halfway through cooking. Remove from the oil with a skimmer or slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Return the oil to 350˚ F and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

Reheat the sauce if necessary and toss with the cooked chicken pieces. Serve over rice, if desired.

Grasshopper Pie

Grasshopper Pie

(8 servings)


2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (I used Oreos, about 20)

5 T butter, melted


1 quart mint chocolate chip ice cream

1 quart chocolate ice cream


1 c whipping cream

2 T powdered sugar

1 t vanilla

10 Andes Mints

(directions borrowed from My Kitchen Cafe)

Combine the crushed cookie crumbs and the butter together in a medium bowl until the cookie crumbs are well-moistened and the mixture looks and feels like wet sand. Press the crumbs into a 9- or 10-inch springform pan and refrigerate or freeze until set (about 30 minutes).

While the crust is in the refrigerator, take out the mint chocolate chip ice cream and let it sit at room temperature for 15-ish minutes to soften up a bit. Scoop the softened ice cream into a medium bowl (you can use the same one as the cookie crumbs, if you like!) and stir the ice cream until it is smooth. You don’t want it overly melted here – just try to stir it all up so it is easy spreadable but is still cold and icy. Spread the ice cream over the cookie crust in an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least an hour.

Follow the same step above with the chocolate ice cream and spread it on top of the mint chocolate chip ice cream (make sure the mint ice cream is thoroughly frozen so the layers don’t mix). Once the chocolate ice cream has been spread evenly, again cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 1-2 hours or longer depending on your freezer (or tightly covered up to a three days). My pie held up much better after sitting in the freezer over night. I will plan to do it that way next time.

When you are ready to serve the pie, whip the heavy cream into stiff peaks with the powdered sugar and vanilla. To make the Andes mint curls hold the mint nestled in a paper towel with one long thin edge exposed above the top of the paper towel. Take a vegetable peeler and gently shave off curls from the long, thin edge. Repeat this process until you have the desired amount of curls to garnish with (I shaved the curls early in the day and kept them on a plate in the freezer until I was ready to use them). You can microwave the mint for 4-5 seconds on power 20 if you want. This is supposed to make the shaving easier but I was fine without doing that.

Unmold the grasshopper pie from the springform pan and pile the whipped cream on top of the ice cream. Spread in large dollops over the top of the pie. Sprinkle with the curls. Cut the pie into slices and serve immediately. If you are planning to have leftovers, serve the whipped cream on each piece separately instead of the whole pie, as the whipped cream doesn’t fare as well being frozen on top of the pie for a long period of time.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Casserole

Creamy Chicken Noodle Casserole

I came across this recipe at A Southern Grace and just knew I had to try it. I am a big lover of comfort food and this definitely fits into that category. I also love how quick it is and that it is all ingredients that I have on hand. I modified it slightly from the original recipe.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Casserole

2 chicken breasts

6 ounces egg noodles

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup sour cream

salt, pepper and paprika to taste

1 1/2 cups cracker crumbs (I used club crackers, Ritz would be good too)

1/2 cup butter

Preheat oven to 350. Cook chicken and shred it. Cook noodles. Mix chicken and noodles together. In a separate bowl mix soups and sour cream together. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Gently stir together the cream soup mixture with the chicken mixture. Put this into a 9x13 pan. Melt the butter and mix it with the cracker crumbs. Spread this on top of the casserole. Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through and golden brown.


Monday, October 11, 2010


Manicotti has to be one of my favorite pasta dishes ever! And this one is the best homemade one I have ever had. I have made a couple and hated them so I decided that I would just give up and I did for a while, until I came across this recipe. I decided to give it ONE more try, and boy I am glad I did! This recipe is so yummy! It is adapted from My Kitchen Cafe.


(6-8 servings)

Tomato Sauce

1-28 oz can diced tomatoes, in juice (I like petite diced)

1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes

2 T extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4-1/2 t red pepper flakes

1/2 t salt

2 t dried basil or 1 t fresh, chopped

Cheese Filling and Pasta

3 cups ricotta cheese (I used low-fat)

2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 t salt

1/2 t pepper

2 T chopped fresh parsley (I like flat leaf/Italian)

2 t chopped fresh basil

16 lasagna noodles, large shells or manicotti shells

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large saucepan heat oil. Add garlic and pepper flakes until fragrant but not brown. Stir in tomatoes, basil and 1/2 t salt and simmer for about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, mozzarella, eggs, salt , pepper and herbs. Set aside.

Cook the noodles according to box directions. I loved using lasagna noodles, they were easy to use and gave a cute ruffle to the edge of the manicotti.

Spread 1 1/2 cups of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Fill noodles. If using lasagna noodles, lay them on a clean dish towel with the short side facing you. Spread 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture on the bottom 3/4 of the noodle, leaving the top 1/4 exposed. Roll the noodle starting with the edge closest to you. Place into the pan. Repeat with the remaining noodles. Put 8 filled noodles in each row creating 2 rows in your pan. Pour the rest of the sauce evenly over the top of the noodles, making sure the noodles are covered.

Cover the manicotti with foil. Bake for about 40 minutes until the sauce is bubbling. Remove foil and top with the other 1 cup of Parmesan cheese. Cook uncovered for 6-7 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving. The manicotti can be prepared up until the baking step then covered with parchment paper and then foil and stored in the fridge for 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw before cooking. To bake, remove parchment, replace foil and increase the cooking time to 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies (shelly)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla

cream above ingredients

1 and 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt

sift and add to cream mixture

Bake at 350-375 for 9 min

Fudge Crinkles (cath)

1 package Betty Crocker Double Choc. Swirl Cake Mix
1/2 cup veg oil
2 eggs
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325.  Mix cake mix, coconut, oil, eggs.  Roll into a ball and cover it with powder sugar.  Bake 15 min.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How to make Bagels (

Forming and Baking Bagels

Step-by-step instructions for boiling, topping, and baking perfect bagels.

With a little practice, you can make bagels that rival those in New York's best bagel shops.

1. To make bagels, a stand mixer is highly recommended. The best bagels are made with high-gluten flour or bread flour, so the dough is very stiff. It also requires a long mixing time to develop properly. We used the Bagels II recipe.

Bagels II

2. Once the dough has risen once, divide it into 12 equal pieces and form them into dough rounds. Cover the rounds with a damp cloth and allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes for easier shaping. Meanwhile, bring 3 to 4 quarts of water to boil in a large stockpot, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C) and lightly oil two baking sheets.

3. Lightly coat your hands with vegetable oil and gently press a dough round down with the palm of your hand. Find the center of the round and push a finger through to make a hole.

4. Swing the bagel around your finger to widen the hole. Be gentle; the goal is to widen the hole without ripping the walls of the bagel. The walls should be approximately 1-inch thick and the hole 2 inches wide. Don't worry if the hole seems too large: it will close up quite a bit as the bagel boils and bakes. After each bagel is shaped, place it back underneath the moist towel.

5. Why boil? Boiling gelatinizes the starch in the outer layer of dough, giving the bagels their characteristic chewy crust. Some bakers add malt syrup (available at health food stores and specialty grocers) to the water to sweeten it, enhancing the bagel's flavor. We used fresh boiling water with no added flavoring. Carefully drop the bagels, two or three at a time--depending upon the size of your pot--into the boiling water. Don't crowd the bagels in the pot; this will cause the water to cool down and the bagels to stick together.

6. Boil the bagels until they have expanded in size and underside appears cooked (1 to 2 minutes); turn them with a slotted spoon or spatula. Let them boil for another minute or two, until both sides are evenly cooked.

7. Remove each bagel from the boiling water; the bagels will have puffed up and the centers will be nearly closed. They will be off-white in color and have some blisters just below the surface. Drop each bagel into a bowl of cold water to cool.

8. If you wish to top your bagels, arrange toppings--poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dehydrated onion--on plates. Remove bagels from the cold water bath and dip the top and sides in the seeds. Arrange the seeded bagels on the oiled baking sheet.

9. With strongly flavored toppings, such as Kosher salt, garlic, caraway, or fennel seeds, sprinkle on the toppings rather than dipping the bagels to coat completely.

10. Bake the bagels in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. After 10 minutes, check the bagels and loosen them from the baking sheet if they are sticking. Once they are done, place them on a rack to cool.

11. You don't need to get up at 4 am, like the bagel bakers do. The shaped rings of raw dough can be frozen and kept for up to three weeks. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bringing to room temperature before boiling. Bake as directed.

Boiled Bagels

Bread Machine Bagels

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Greek Chicken Wrap

Greek Chicken Wrap

Added by: Mission Foods

(229 recipes) Mom Rating


Kid Rating


Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 12 minutes

Total time: 17 minutes


4 Mission 96% Fat Free Heart healthy 10 inch Burrito Tortillas

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1/2 cup Fat Free Italian Dressing

1/2 cup Diced Tomatoes

14 ounce can chopped Black Olives drained

1/2 cup peeled and seeded Cucumber chopped

1 tbsp fresh Lemon juice

1/2 cup Fat Free sour cream mixed with 1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic and 1/2 tsp onion powder

2 cups Assorted Greens


1. Marinate chicken in dressing 2 hours to overnight.

2. Combine tomatoes, olives, cucumber, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of the sour cream mixture. Reserve.

3. Grill chicken, let cool, and cut into very thin strips.

4. Spread each tortilla with 1 Tbsp sour cream mixture.

5. Lay one quarter of chicken strips on tortilla, top with 1/2 cup of vegetable mixture and 1/2 cup of salad greens.

6. Fold in sides of tortilla and roll up tightly. Cut on a diagonal and serve.

(Makes 8)

Citrus Salad

Lettuce, Spinach, Citrus, and Avocado Salad

Added by: Kathy Gunst

(229 recipes) Mom Rating

Not great

Kid Rating


Prep time: 0 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Total time: 0 minutes

This easy salad is chock-full of potassium (avocados actually have more potassium than bananas!), fiber, folic acid, vitamin B6, and omega-3 fatty acids. Adapted from The Greens Cookbook, by Deborah Madison (Broadway Books, 2001).


1 head butter, limestone, or Bibb lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

1 small bunch young spinach leaves (or one head radicchio, thoroughly cleaned and stems removed)

1 ruby grapefruit, peeled

1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup walnuts, pecans, or almonds, toasted


2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice

1/2 tablespoon champagne vinegar or good-quality white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 shallot, finely diced (or 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet red onion)

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Place the lettuce and spinach (or radicchio) in a large salad bowl. Holding the grapefruit over a separate bowl to catch the juice (save if for the vinaigrette), remove the membrane from each section. Add the grapefruit, avocado, and nuts to the greens. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a jar with a tight lid, and shake vigorously until mixed. Drizzle a little vinaigrette over the salad, toss to coat lightly, and serve immediately. (Makes 2 large or 4 small salads.) (Makes )

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

Whole Wheat Blueberry-Walnut Pancakes

Added by: Kathy Gunst

(297 recipes) Mom Rating


Kid Rating


Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Feel free to substitute any of your family's favorite berries for the blueberries.


2/3 cup whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons walnuts, finely chopped

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1 large egg yolk

2 tablespoons melted butter, plus butter for the skillet

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 egg whites

Pinch cream of tartar

1 cup fresh or frozen (and thawed) blueberries

1 cup fresh or frozen (and thawed) blueberries for topping, optional


In a small bowl, mix together the flour and walnuts. Stir in the baking powder and salt. Whisk together the milk, egg yolk, melted butter, and maple syrup in a large bowl. Add the flour-walnut mixture and gently stir together. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the pancake batter. Gently fold in 1 cup of blueberries. Heat a large skillet or pancake griddle over moderate heat and brush lightly with the butter. Let heat 1 minute. Using a large spoon, form pancakes about 3 inches wide, and cook for 2 minutes; gently flip pancakes over, and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve hot with butter and top with the remaining cup of blueberries (if using). (Makes 4 servings)

Grilled Steaks w Lemon Herb butter

Grilled Steaks With a Lemon-Herb Butter

Added by: Kathy Gunst

(297 recipes) Mom Rating


Kid Rating

Not great

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 12 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

A simple mixture of butter and herbs enlivens the flavors of this grilled steak.


2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon chopped dried

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Salt and pepper

2 New York strip steaks, about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds


In a small bowl, mix the butter, thyme, rosemary, lemon zest, salt ,and pepper and set aside. Light a charcoal or gas grill until red hot, or preheat a broiler for 4 minutes. Season the steaks with salt and pepper and grill for about 4 to 6 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the meat and how rare or well done you like your beef. (Note: If you're pregnant, cook the meat until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees when measured with a meat thermometer.) Remove to a platter and spread the herb butter on top of the hot steaks. Thinly slice before serving, spooning the butter on top. (Makes 4 to 6 servings)


You can make the lemon-herb butter a day ahead of time.

Chicken with couscous, tom, and thyme

Couscous With Chicken, Tomatoes, and Thyme

Added by: Kathy Gunst

(297 recipes) Mom Rating


Kid Rating


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Couscous cooks almost instantly, so it makes a great base for any saucy dish.


2 tablespoons olive oil

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium, fat-free chicken broth

1 cup instant couscous

1/2 cup heavy cream

One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)


Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until well browned. Flip the chicken and brown it on the other side, another 4 to 5 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Meanwhile, bring 1 1/4 cups of the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. When the water boils, add the couscous, about 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir quickly, cover, and remove from the heat. Let the couscous sit for about 5 minutes. After you move the chicken to a plate, add the remaining 1/2 cup broth and the cream to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes and thyme, and simmer for 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fluff the couscous with a fork and transfer it to a serving platter. Place the chicken breasts on top of the couscous, and pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top, if using. Serve immediately. (Makes 4 servings)


Try adding 1/4 cup of chopped fresh herbs, such as basil or parsley, to the couscous.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Added by: Meals Matter

(207 recipes) Mom Rating


Kid Rating


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

These are high-protein pancakes and quite a treat!


1 egg

1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese

1 tsp canola oil

3 tbsp whole wheat flour


1. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a whisk until creamy. 2. Push the cottage cheese through a wire strainer into the egg in the bowl. Mix well. 3. Add the oil and flour. Mix well. 4. Lightly oil a skillet and place over low heat. When the skillet is hot, spoon the batter into the skillet making four pancakes. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. 5. Serve with applesauce, apple butter or your favorite whole fruit jam. (Makes 4 servings)

Pan Seared Chicken w Apricot Glaze

Pan-Seared Chicken With Apricot Glaze

Added by: Kathy Gunst

(297 recipes) Mom Rating


Kid Rating

Not great

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Even the pickiest eaters, can't resist chicken with a sweet apricot jam sauce.


1 tablespoon olive oil

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup apricot jam

1 tablespoon water


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. Carefully flip the chicken pieces and continue cooking another 4 to 5 minutes, or until chicken is browned and cooked through. Meanwhile, combine the jam and water in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring, just until warmed. Spoon over the seared chicken breasts and serve immediately. (Makes 4 servings)


You can also spoon the glaze over hot grilled chicken breasts.

Oriental Roasted Asparagus

Oriental-Style Roasted Asparagus

Added by: Kathy Gunst

(297 recipes) Mom Rating


Kid Rating


Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

To trim the tough ends off asparagus, hold one spear by the blunt end and bend the tough part back until it snaps. Trimming asparagus is a great job for kids.


1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon freshly grated or finely chopped ginger


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the asparagus in a shallow baking dish. Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger together in a small bowl, and pour over the asparagus. Toss the asparagus with your hands to mix thoroughly. Roast the asparagus for about 10 to 15 minutes, until bright green and just tender. Serve hot. (Makes 4 servings)


This dish can be assembled and refrigerated up to 6 hours before cooking, and roasted just before serving.

Oatmeal Choc Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Added by: Marcia Smart

(229 recipes) Mom Rating


Kid Rating

Not great

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 14 minutes

Total time: 34 minutes

Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you can't enjoy sweet treats. Here's a healthier (yes, there are chocolate chips!) way to indulge.


1 cup trans-fat-free margarine

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

3 cups rolled oats, uncooked

1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the margarine and sugars together until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Combine next five ingredients; add to sugar mixture and beat well. Stir in oats, then cranberries and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly before moving to a wire rack. (Makes 4 to 5 dozen)

Penne Alla Pizza- from Baby Center

Penne Alla Pizza

Added by: Marcia Smart

(229 recipes) Mom Rating


Kid Rating


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 83 minutes

Total time: 98 minutes

This easy pizza-inspired pasta, similar to lasagna, is adapted from Bugialli on Pasta, by Giuliano Bugialli (Simon & Schuster, 1988).


1 medium celery stalk, diced

1/2 medium red onion, diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 medium carrots, diced

20 large basil leaves

2 pounds fresh Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (or a 2-pound can of seasoned tomatoes, drained)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound regular or multigrain penne

Olive oil cooking spray

8 ounces low-fat mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

30 Gaeta or Kalamata olives, drained and pitted

Salt, pepper, and Parmesan to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine celery, red onion, garlic, carrots, five sliced basil leaves, tomatoes, and olive oil in a saucepan. Cover and cook over low heat for an hour, stirring occasionally. Adjust salt and pepper. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook penne according to package instructions, minus one minute, so pasta is slightly undercooked. Drain. Coat a 13-by-9-inch pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine penne, tomato sauce, mozzarella, oregano, olives, remaining basil leaves (shredded or torn), and salt and pepper to taste. Gently mix ingredients and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 15 minutes, covered with foil. Serve hot directly from pan. (Makes 6 to 8 servings)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

peanut butter bars

If you love peanut butter and chocolate, these bars are for you. Whip them up in no time and watch them disappear even faster.
  • Prep Time 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time 15 Minutes
  • Difficulty Easy


  • ¾ cups Butter
  • ¾ cups Brown Sugar
  • ¾ cups Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ cups Peanut Butter
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ¾ teaspoons Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1-½ cup Flour
  • 1-½ cup Rolled Oats
  • _____
  • ¾ cups Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ cups Evaporated Milk
  • 5 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and peanut butter. Add eggs and vanilla. Add soda and salt and mix until well blended. Add flour slowly, making sure it’s incorporated, but do not overmix. Stir in oatmeal by hand.
Spray a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread mixture in a pan. (I wet my hand slightly and press the mixture evenly.) Cook at 350 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from oven and immediately drop peanut butter (from the topping ingredient list) by teaspoonfuls evenly around the top. Allow to melt and spread smooth with a spatula.
Allow to cool thoroughly.
In a small saucepan, bring sugar, evaporated milk, and butter to a full boil for 45 seconds. Remove from the heat and add the milk chocolate chips. Whisk until chocolate sauce is smooth. Pour evenly over bars and allow to set before cutting and serving.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Almond Crusted Tilapia

Nutritional Information

(per serving)

Calories 315

Total Fat 15g

Saturated Fat 1g

Cholesterol 0

Sodium 380mg

Total Carbohydrate 15g

Dietary Fiber 5g

Sugars --

Protein 33g

Calcium --

Yields: 4 main-dish servings

Total Time: 30 min

Oven Temp: 425


U.S. Metric Conversion chart

2 lemons

2 tablespoon(s) olive oil

1/2 teaspoon(s) salt

1/4 teaspoon(s) coarsely ground black pepper

4 (6 ounces each) tilapia fillets

1/4 cup(s) sliced natural almonds

1 small onion, chopped

1 bag(s) (12-ounce) trimmed fresh green beans

1 package(s) (10-ounce) sliced white mushrooms

2 tablespoon(s) water



Preheat oven to 425 degrees. From 1 lemon, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 3 tablespoons juice; cut second lemon into wedges. In cup, mix lemon peel and 1 tablespoon juice, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper.

Spray 13" by 9" glass baking dish with nonstick spray; place tilapia, dark side down, in dish. Drizzle tilapia with lemon mixture; top with almonds, pressing them on. Bake 15 minutes or until tilapia turns opaque.

Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil on medium-high 1 minute. Add onion and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Stir in green beans, mushrooms, water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. Cook about 6 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates and green beans are tender-crisp. Toss with remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Serve bean mixture and lemon wedges with tilapia.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

White Fish Tacos

And, this is another one of those dinners that is a triple threat – it is quick, easy, and healthy!  I came home from a long, rough work day and despite my exhaustion and less than stellar mood, these came together in no time.  In fact, they completely turned my mood around (well, the margarita probably played a part in that as well.)  You marinate the fish briefly and while it is doing its thing, you can prep all the toppings and the sauce.  I used halibut for these because it is my favorite type of white fish but you could also use tilapia or cod (or some other variety of white fish I am less familiar with).  Try these soon for a healthy, colorful delicious meal.
White Fish Tacos
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For the fish:
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 tbsp. minced cilantro
¼ tsp. cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 lb. white fish (halibut, cod, tilapia, etc.)
For the cilantro cream sauce:
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp. cilantro, minced
6 oz. nonfat greek yogurt (sour cream is fine too)
1 clove garlic, minced
Pepper, to taste
For serving:
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
Green onions, chopped
Red cabbage, shredded
(Or whatever sounds good to you!)
6-inch flour tortillas
Combine the lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, cilantro, cumin, and garlic in a pie plate or shallow dish.  Whisk together until well blended.  Place the fish in the mixture, turning to coat.  Let marinate 15-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the cilantro cream sauce.  Combine the lime juice, cilantro, greek yogurt, garlic and pepper in a small bowl.  Mix until well blended.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Place the fish in the pan and cook without disturbing, 3 minutes.  Flip the fish and cook on the second side 2-3 minutes more.  Remove to a plate, season with salt as desired, and let rest for a few minutes.  Shred the fish into bite-sized pieces with two forks.
Assemble tacos on flour tortillas with shredded fish, cilantro cream sauce and toppings as desired.