Lemony Pasta with Goat Cheese and Spinach

lemony pasta with goat cheese
This is another recipe from Everyday Foods that I really liked. I ended up using pinenuts instead of walnuts since that is what I had on hand but I still loved it for lunch all week long! It was also super fast to make, so great for a busy night.

Ingredients:
Salt and pepper
3/4 pound spaghettini or spaghetti (I used gluten-free spaghetti)
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
10 ounces baby spinach (10 cups)
3 cups fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Directions:
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 2 cups pasta water, then drain.
2. In pot, stir together goat cheese and 1 cup pasta water over medium. Add pasta, spinach, parsley, cilantro, lemon zest and juice, and more pasta water if necessary to create a light sauce that coats pasta; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with walnuts and serve.

Mexican White Bean Soup

mexican white bean soup
Not the best picture, but the soup was actually pretty good! Mike even gave it approval and he was NOT excited when I told him what was for dinner :). It is easy, healthy and great in this cold weather. Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.

Ingredients:
6 cups water
8 ounces dried navy beans ( 1-1/4 cups)
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 stalks celery, sliced (1 cup)
2 medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 14.5-ounce can vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 orange
1 cup salsa verde
Light dairy sour cream (optional)
Fresh cilantro
Cayenne pepper

Directions:
1. Rinse beans. In a 4- to 5 quart Dutch oven combine beans and 6 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans.
2. In the Dutch oven cook onion, celery, carrots and garlic in hot oil until tender. Stir in cumin, salt and cayenne pepper. Add broth and 2 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender.
3. Using a handheld immersion blender, blend mixture slightly. (Or let soup cool slightly. Transfer mixture, one-third at a time, to a blender. Cover; blend slightly.) Return to pan. Finely shred 1 teaspoon peel from orange; then juice the orange. Stir orange juice, peel and salsa verde into soup; heat through. Top with sour cream, if desired, cilantro, and a dash of cayenne.

Serves 6. Per serving: Calories 203, Total Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 653 mg, Carbohydrate 34 g, Fiber 12 g, Protein 10 g, Sugar 7 g.

Chicken with Mushrooms

chicken with mushrooms
This is another recipe found in Everyday Food that looked good and easy. You definitely need to love mushrooms to love this dish, but I do :-)! I wish I would have pounded the chicken to thin it a bit and help it cook faster but overall I thought it was good. We served ours over rice.

Ingredients
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used cornstarch)
1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 pound button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Directions
1. Place flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then coat with flour, shaking off excess.
2. In a large skillet, heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high. In batches, cook chicken until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent loosely with foil.
3. Reduce heat to medium, add thyme, mushrooms, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and cook until softened, 6 minutes.
4. Add wine and broth and cook, stirring, until reduced by half, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Return chicken to pan along with any accumulated juices; top with parsley.

serves 4. per serv: 375 cal, 17g fat, 41g protein, 13g carb, 1g fiber

Quinoa and Spinach Pilaf

spinach quinoa
An easy, healthy and yummy side dish from Everyday Food. I served it with Baked Salmon, also super easy and a dish the entire family loves, and thought it was a great pairing. I had leftovers of the quinoa the next day for lunch with some cheese some melted on top...yum!

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 finely chopped small yellow onion
1 minced clove garlic
1 cup rinsed quinoa
1 1/4 cups water
5 cups baby spinach (5 ounces)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper

Directions:
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add onion and garlic; cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add quinoa and cook 1 minute. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in spinach and lemon zest, then season with salt and pepper.

serves 4. per serv: 215 calories; 5g fat; 7g protein; 37g carb; 5g fiber

Lemon and Thyme Beef Stroganoff

lemon thyme beef stroganoff
This is a recipe I had saved from an issue of Rachael Ray's magazine and finally gave it a try. The first bit seemed strange because I was expecting a traditional stroganoff taste and it definitely has it's own flavor. I ended up really enjoying it though and had the leftovers for lunch the next day (I know I didn't like something if I won't eat the leftovers :-). I had mine on rice but you could also sub gluten-free noodles instead.

Ingredients:
1 (12 oz) package extra-wide egg noodles
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
5 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 lemon, halved lengthwise

Directions
1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the egg noodles according to package directions. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet, brown the beef over medium-high heat, stirring, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Add the onion and 4 tsp. thyme and cook until softened, 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the broth and reduce the liquid for 3 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in the sour cream, mustard and the juice of one lemon half until heated through, 2 minutes.
4. Spoon the stroganoff mixture over the noodles. Top with the remaining 1 tsp. thyme and serve with wedges sliced from the remaining lemon half.

Spicy Chorizo Corn Chowder

spicy chorizo corn chowder
This recipe was in a recent of Shape magazine and looked too good not to try. I subbed a chipotle chicken sausage for the chorizo and halved the corn for mine but really loved it! I love making something like this early in the week so I have yummy leftovers for lunch later on.

Ingredients:
1 med poblano pepper
1 T olive oil
1 link chorizo, diced (used chipotle chicken sausage)
1 med onion, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 1-lb bag frozen corn, defrosted (used 10oz bag)
1/2 t ground allspice
1 bay leaf
1 med tomato, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 t chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 12-oz can FF evaporated milk
1 c low sodium chicken stock
2 T chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper

Directions:
1. If you have a gas range, place poblano pepper directly on a burner grate over a medium flame. Turn with tongs until skin is blistered on all sides, wrap in foil, and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes until cool enough to handle. Scrape off the ski with your fingers, then seed, dice, and set aside. Alternatively, cute pepper in half lengthwise, remove seeds and stem, place skin-side up on a broiler pan, and heat on high until completely charred; rap in foil and proceed as above.
2. Heat oil in a large heavy-bottom pot over medium. Add chorizo and cook for 5 minutes or until browned and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl or plate and set aside.
3. Add onion and celery to pot and cook for 5 minutes or until soft, making sure to scrape up and mix in any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
4. Meanwhile, put corn in a food processor and pulse 4 times or until half the kernels are chopped.
5. Add corn, allspice, and bay leaf to onion and celery mixture. cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes. Add tomato and potato and cook for 3 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add thyme, evaporated milk, and stock; mix to combine. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Mix in additional stock or water if soup seems too thick.
6. Stir in chorizo and poblano pepper; cook until heated through. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste; divide among four bowls and serve immediately.

serves 4. 366 calories, 11g fat, 53 carbs, 17g protein, 5g fiber, 281mg calcium, 2 mg iron, 371mg sodium

Southwestern Chicken and Spaghetti Squash Salad

spaghetti-squash-salad-2991
This is another recipe from Eat, Live, Run and another picture as well. Food pictures taken with a flash just don't look appetizing. I am going to have to have our meals ready to eat by 5pm to get my own pictures and so far I am just not that on top of it!
I was excited to try spaghetti squash for the first time and had a lot of fun peeling it out after it was done baking...crazy how much it really looks like spaghetti! The salad was a surprise hit. I was pretty sure I would like it but even Mike raved about this one. The dressing is delish and it is a healthy yet filling meal. We will be making it again soon!

Ingredients:
for salad —
1 small spaghetti squash
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 orange or red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 bunch cilantro, minced
2 cups shredded green cabbage
2 cups thinly sliced cooked chicken breast (I used 1 can chicken, drained)
avocado for serving
for zesty buttermilk dressing—
1/2 cup well shaken buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice your spaghetti squash in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash cut side down on a greased sheet pan and bake for 40 minutes, until very tender. Let squash cool before using a fork to scoop out “spaghetti” and place in a bowl. You can do this step up to three days before you prepare the salad.
Next, make the dressing. Whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
To prepare the salad, place the cooled spaghetti squash in a large serving bowl. Top with black beans, chicken, bell pepper, shredded green cabbage, cilantro and jicama (I left out), if using. Toss all ingredients together well. Drizzle dressing over salad {you may not want/need to use all the dressing}.
Serve salad on plates topped with sliced avocado.

**Assembled salad will stay fresh, without dressing and avocado, for up to four days covered in the fridge. Dressing will stay fresh for up to a week and is also great served as a dip with raw veggies

Crock Pot Tex-Mex Chicken Lettuce Wraps

lettuce-wraps-0397
crock pot tex mex chicken lettuce wraps
The time change has really made it difficult to take my own pictures of my food, so we will be seeing lots of borrowed images for a bit I think. The top picture and the recipe come from the site Eat, Live, Run which I just recently found out about. The chicken could be used for so much more than just these lettuce wraps. The kids ate them in tortillas and it would be great in soup, enchiladas, quesadillas, taquitos, you get the idea. You can't go wrong with crock pot meals...the easiest way to go!


Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 1/2 tbsp taco seasoning
1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced
1 16 oz jar of salsa
1 yellow onion, diced
salt, as needed (I used 1 tsp)
iceberg lettuce leaves for wrapping

Directions:
Sprinkle seasoning all over chicken breasts, then place breasts at the bottom of the slow cooker.
Scatter onion and jalapeno over chicken breasts. Pour salsa over top. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours.
After 4-5 hours, remove chicken breasts from slow cooker and chop up. Place chopped chicken back in slow cooker and stir to combine. Season with salt to taste.
To serve lettuce wraps, spread one lettuce leaf out and scoop about 1/4th cup chicken mixture on top. Roll up lettuce leaf and enjoy!

Crock pot Ropa Vieja with Cuban Cauliflower Rice

ropa-vieja1-610x300
I took a picture when I made this, but I have no idea what happened to it! So, this is from the blog where the recipe originated, paleOMG, and is probably better anyway :-). I saw this on the Daily Dish and was excited to try it, especially since it was a crock pot meal, I made the cauliflower rice, which was actually pretty good, and some plain brown rice as well. The recipe made tons so we froze some for dinner another week...I always love that :-)!


Ingredients:
For the ropa vieja
•1.5-2lbs chuck roast
•1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
•1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
•1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
•1 (6 oz) can tomato sauce
•1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
•3 tablespoons capers, drained (I left out)
•1 tablespoon cumin
•1 tablespoon dried thyme
•1 tablespoon dried oregano
•4 garlic cloves, peeled
•1 bay leaf
•salt and pepper, to taste
For the Cuban rice
•1 head of cauliflower, stem removed and roughly chopped
•3 thick sliced of bacon, diced (I used turkey bacon)
•1 (4 oz) can tomato sauce
•2 teaspoons cumin
•1 teaspoon garlic powder
•1 teaspoon onion powder
•salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
-Layer your onions and peppers to the bottom of the crock pot.
-Plop your chuck roast on top and cut 4 deep slices into the chuck roast and push your garlic cloves into the roast.
-Now add all your spices and salt and pepper.Then add your tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, capers, and bay leaf to the rest of the crock pot.
-Place on low for 6-8 hours or high for 5-7 hours.
-When your ropa vieja is almost done, it’s time to cook your rice

-Add your chopped cauliflower to a food processor with the shredding attachment. And rice all the cauliflower up.
-Add your diced bacon to a large saucepan and cook down up bacon has browned and cooked almost completely through.
-Then add your cauliflower, tomato sauce and spices to the saucepan. Mix thoroughly then cover.
-Let cook for about 10-12 minutes, stirring randomly to help incorporate all the flavors.

-Once your ropa vieja is done cooking, use a couple fork to shred your beef in the crock pot. Serve ropa vieja on top of cuban cauliflower rice

Butternut Squash and Quinoa Stew

butternut squash quinoa stew
It is finally cold enough to eat soup here without sweating, which I am excited about :-). I even bought my first butternut squash to try this one out. The soup came together so quickly and was healthy and delicious. The picture is actually from my leftovers for lunch the next day when it tasted even better! (and you could easily leave the chicken out and it would still be tasty)

INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts (I used 1 can chicken breast and added it when adding tomatoes, etc)
1 can (14-oz) petite or regular diced tomatoes
3 cups chopped butternut squash (about 1 medium squash, peeled and seeded)
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1-2 cups chopped fresh spinach

DIRECTIONS:

In a large 4 quart pot heat the olive oil until hot. Add the chopped onions, oregano, and garlic. Saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is softened. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and boil until the chicken is cooked, 7-9 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate.

Add the tomatoes, butternut squash, and quinoa. Simmer for 15 minutes until the squash is tender and quinoa is cooked. If desired, scoop out some of the squash, mash it and return it to the pot. Shred the cooked chicken and return to the pot. Add the salt and pepper, adding more salt to taste, if needed. Stir in the spinach. Cook 1-2 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Serve warm.

*In the whole batch of soup there is only 1250 calories by my best calculations, and it makes a ton!

A New Strategy

10-27a-12-0
Every post is better with a picture, so here is a recent one from our busy life.
With all the craziness I have been having a hard time figuring out when to even get to the grocery store! So, I am trying a new strategy and planning 2 weeks at a time.
I know many people do this already but it never really appealed to me. Now I am seeing there may be some big benefits to this. We'll see :-).
I'm planning a quick run for produce and milk the second week. And I am hoping that the yummy new recipes I found to try will motivate to get back in the kitchen more often.

Cafe Rio Tortilla Soup in a Crock Pot

cafe rio tortilla soup 2
pre-broth
cafe rio tortilla soup 1
YUUUM!!! My one complaint with this recipe was that it didn't make enough! I will definitely double it next time so that I can enjoy leftovers for lunches later on. I was impressed with how similar it was to the real deal. In my opinion you MUST use pico instead of salsa to give it a more authentic flavor. It was easy and delicious...make it! (I found the recipe on Peachtree Cooking)

Ingredients:
•1 onion, diced
•1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
•1/2 tsp cumin
•a dash (or two) cayenne
•1/2 tsp. chili powder
•5 c. chicken broth
•3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
•juice of 1/2 lime
•pepper, to taste
•1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
•2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
•2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
•1 Tbsp. paprika
•vegetable oil (to taste)
•pico de gallo or your favorite fresh salsa (definitely use pico!)
•2-3 avocados, diced
•2 c. pepper jack cheese
•tortilla strips
•cilantro (for garnish)
•lime wedges (for garnish)

Instructions:

•In a small skillet, saute onion in 1 Tbsp. oil until onions become slightly soft. Stir in cumin, cayenne, and chili powder and saute an additional minute or two.
(*I skipped this and just dumped it all in the crock pot and it was fine!)
•Transfer seasoned onions to a small crock pot. Add chicken broth, cilantro, lime juice, pepper and pinto beans to onions and simmer on low-heat for at least 2-3 hours.
 (*also, I didn't grill the chicken, just dumped the breasts and spices in the crock pot as well...easy and tasted great)
•In the meantime, combine taco seasoning and paprika. Brush chicken with oil and rub with taco seasoning/paprika mixture. Grill chicken over medium-heat until cooked through, try to turn only once during the grilling process. After cooking on one side, flip chicken, add small amount of water to pan and cover. Remove from grill. Let rest for 10 minutes and shred.
•In individual bowls layer chicken, about 1/3 c. pico de gallo or salsa, 1/3 c. diced avocado, and 1/3 c. pepper jack cheese. Ladle about 1 cup of chicken broth directly over the layers. Top with tortilla strips and garnish with cilantro, sour cream, and lime wedges, if desired.

Cuban Style Pork

cuban pork
Can I just say that is one of my favorite food pictures?! I love it when a dish photographs so well, especially if it was tasty, because I know people are more likely to try it! This meal, which I saw on The Daily Dish, had been on menu for a few weeks and kept getting pushed off over and over again for one reason or another. I am so glad we finally made it though, Mike and I loved it! I bought a can of black beans with jalapenos and lime juice and the spiciness of those with the sweetness of the pork was a perfect combination!

Ingredients:
- 1 lb pork tenderloin, fat trimmed (I used pork loin chops)
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 orange, zest and juice, divided
- Juice of 2 limes, divided
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1/3 cup of water
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Optional: 1 lime, zested and cut into wedges, for garnish
- Optional: remaining orange zest, for garnish
- Optional: cilantro, for garnish

Method:
1. Use a fork to pierce the pork tenderloin (this will help in the marinating process), and then cut the tenderloin into two-inch chunks.
2. In a large ziploc bag or glass container, combine the pork chunks, onion, garlic, the juice and zest of half of the orange (set the other half aside for now), the lime juice, 1 tbsp of olive oil, and salt & pepper.
3. Once the bag or container is sealed, shake up the ingredients to mix them all together, and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes. (Note: the longer you let the meat marinate, the more flavorful it will be).
4. In a large pot, heat the remaining tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat.
5. Using tongs, transfer the pork (only!) to the pot. Leave the onions aside for now.
6. Cook the pork chunks for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until they turn golden brown.
7. Remove the browned pork from the pot and onto a plate.
8. Add the onions to the pot and cook for a few minutes, or until they start to lightly brown.
9. Then add the pork back into the pot and stir together with the onions.
10. Add 1/3 cup of water, the remaining juice of the orange, and another lime's juice to the pot and once it begins to bubble, cook the pork and onions covered for about 15 minutes.
11. Serve and garnish with orange and lime zest, lime wedges, and cilantro (optional).

Pork and Green Chile Stew - Crock Pot

green chile pork stew
You may have noticed I have not been posting as frequently here because it is my busy season with photography. Because of that we have been doing lots of old favorites, super simple stuff or take-out. I have still been trying to mix in a couple new things a week though, because I really do love to try new things, and I have been searching for healthy crock pot meals. Skinnytaste is always one of the first sites I visit and that is where I found this YUMMY stew. I absolutely loved the flavors! Definitely my favorite new recipe in a long time.

Ingredients:

2 lbs* boneless pork loin roast, lean, all fat trimmed off (I used the same amount pork loin chops)
salt and pepper to taste
cooking spray
2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour (I used cornstarch)

3/4 cup diced onion
2 cans (4.25 oz each) whole green chiles, sliced into thick rounds (I used diced)
2 tbsp chopped jalapeño, or more to taste

10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies - Ro*Tel Mild
1/2 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth

1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder

salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste


Directions:
Cut pork into 2-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large non-stick skillet on high heat; when hot lightly spray the pan with oil and brown the pork over medium heat on all sides, about 3 - 4 minutes total. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of flour over pork and stir to cook 30 seconds, sprinkle remaining flour over pork and cook an additional 30 seconds.
Add browned pork to the crock pot, along with the remaining ingredients.
Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours (if using a Dutch oven, cook on low heat for 3-4 hours). When done, adjust season, salt and pepper to taste if needed.
Makes about 5 cups.

*Weight after all fat is trimmed.

Servings: 6 • Serving Size: little over 3/4 cup •  Points+: 6 pts Calories: 253 • Fat: 9 g • Carbs: 5.5 g • Fiber: 0.5 g • Protein: 33 g • Sugar: 1.5 g • Sodium: 836 mg (without salt)

Crustless Spinach and Feta Pie

greek spinach fritata
I had this on our menu for dinner during the week and then ended up needing a breakfast item for a dinner with family so I made it for that. We cut it into 10 pieces, which were pretty small, but with all the other options available it was fine. I think if this is your main dish, it probably would serve 4-6. It is healthy, easily adaptable to make it gluten-free and was pretty tasty too. It was another winner from Skinnytaste!

Ingredients:
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup (2.5 oz) reduced fat crumbled feta (I used garlic-herb version)
2 tbsp grated Asiago cheese
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (I used gluten-free all purpose flour)
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup fat free milk
1 tsp olive oil
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper to taste
cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly spray a pie dish with cooking spray or your misto.
Mix spinach, scallions, dill, parsley, feta cheese, and in the pie dish.
Sift flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and blend well. Pour into pie dish.
Bake 28 to 33 minutes or until knife comes out clean from the center. Let it stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

Servings: 6-8 • Serving Size: 1/6th • Points+: 3 pts • Calories: 125.9 • Fat: 5.3 g • Protein: 8.8 g • Carb: 12.3 g • Fiber: 2.5 g • Sugar: 1.7 g Sodium: 433.1 mg

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

slower cooker chicken tortilla soup
The picture isn't great, but the soup was really good and super easy. I adapted it from a recipe I found on All Recipes and it ended up being pretty similar to my go to tortilla soup recipe, but I loved that I was able to make it in the crock pot. It made tons!

Ingredients:
2 quarts chicken broth
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 T onion powder
3 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (8 oz) package pico de gallo
2 (14.5 ounce) cans peeled and diced tomatoes
3 T chili powder
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can black beans
sour cream, cheese, cilantro, avocado, tortilla strips

Directions:
Dump it all in the crock pot, except the corn and black beans and cook on low for 6 hours. Shred up the chicken, add the beans and corn and let cook another 1-2 hours. Top as desired and enjoy!

Loaded Slow-Cooker Baked Potatoes

loaded slow cooker baked potatoes
Last week we had a lot going on in the afternoons so I tried to plan almost all slow cooker meals for our menu. These potatoes were in the latest issue of Everyday Food and I thought they were such a good idea! Bake your potatoes in the slow cooker?! Why hadn't I thought of this before? You could really top them however you like, but this twice baked potato version with plenty of fresh veggies on top was delicious!

Ingredients:
4 medium russet potatoes
2 T olive oil
10 oz cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
salt and pepper (I also used some garlic powder)
1/4 to 1/2 c vegetable broth, hot (I had leftover beef broth in the fridge and used that)
2/3 c low-fat plain yogurt (I used FF sour cream)

Directions:
1. Wrap each potato in foil and place in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until potatoes are tender, 8 hours.
2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes, then add broccoli and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until broccoli is crisp-tender, 8 minutes.
3. Split potatoes, scoop out flesh, and transfer to a medium bowl, reserving skins. Add broth and yogurt to bowl, then season with salt and pepper (and any other spices you want) and stir until combined; divide among potato skins. Top each stuffed potato with broccoli mixture.

Per serving (serves 4): 344 cal; 8g fat; 14g protein; 58g carbs; 7g fiber

Pepperoni Pasta Bake

pepperoni pasta bake
I love creamy cheesy pasta dishes, so even though I knew I wouldn't get to eat this recipe from Everday Foods magazine, since I've never seen jumbo gluten-free pasta shells, I still wanted to make it! Unfortunately the rest of my family doesn't love those types of pasta dishes quite as much as me. They liked these for the most part, but I know I would have appreciated them much more! I tried a little bite of the filling and I do think I would some salt next time. I also loved that I was able to get some extra veggies in the meal with the addition of zucchini to the cheesy filling.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta
1 1/4 cups grated zucchini (about 1 medium)
1/3 c chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving
1 large egg, beaten
coarse salt and pepper
3 cups marinara, divided
28 jumbo pasta shells (7 oz), cooked according to package instructions
26 small pepperoni slices (2 oz)
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, zucchini, basil, and egg; season with 1/2 t each salt and pepper.
Spread 1 cup marinara in a 9x13 inch broiler proof baking dish.
Fill each shell with 1 heaping Tablespoon ricotta mixture and arrange in an even layer in dish.
Top with remaining 2 cups marinara, then pepperoni and mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake until sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes.
Heat broiler, remove foil, and broil until cheese is browned in spots, about 3 minutes. Top with additional basil and serve.

Serves 4: 694 cal; 28g fat; 39g protein; 72g carb; 3 g fiber

Crazy Pizza

bubble up pizza
Guess what?! My kids LOVED this dinner!!! That has not happened in a looong time, so it was exciting :-). It is no surprise though, this is basically pizza in a casserole form...what's not to love. It is not gluten-free so I ate leftovers instead but the rest of the family ate up their crazy pizza so fast I couldn't believe it! Thanks taste buds for the super easy and fun recipe!

(I doubled it and baked in a 9x13 pan)
Ingredients:
8 oz extra lean ground beef or turkey
1 3/4 cup pizza sauce (I used a jar of spaghetti sauce)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup sliced ripe olives (I left out)
1 can Pillsbury refrigerated buttermilk biscuits - 7.5 oz can
2/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large skillet brown meat. Add mushrooms, green pepper, onion and olives (I chopped mine super small in a food processor first). Mix well to combine. Stir in pizza sauce. Remove skillet from heat. Separate biscuits and cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. Gently stir biscuit pieces into meat mixture. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the top. Continue baking until cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Place baking dish on a wire rack and let set 5 minutes.

Fettuccine with Sausage and Kale

kale sausage pasta
Yum! This Rachael Ray recipe was so easy and super tasty. I used turkey sausage and FF half and half which made it not too bad for you either. Next time I'll use a little more water and half and half though so it's a little more saucy. These are my favorite kind of dinners :-)!

Ingredients:
1 pound fettuccine (I used GF spaghetti)
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, removed from casing (I used turkey)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used FF half and half)
1 large bunch kale, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Directions:
In large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta until al dente; drain.
In large skillet, cook sausage over medium-low until browned, about 7 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup water and cream; simmer until reduced by half, about 7 minutes.
Add kale; toss until wilted. Remove from heat; toss with pasta.
Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Rice and Bean Enchiladas with Creamy Tomatillo Sauce

bean and rice enchiladas
After one not-so-successful recipe attempt this week (the chili bean stuffed peppers were yucky :-(!), I was a little nervous about these enchiladas. They had potential to be a huge success but also a miserable failure. I L-O-V-E-D them! Rachael Ray recipes aren't always the healthiest but you can nearly always make some substitutions to help them out. I couldn't wait for lunch the next day to eat some more! And even my meat-loving husband had no complaints about these meatless enchiladas.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup long-grain white rice (I used brown rice)
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained
1 2/3 cups shredded monterey jack (I used 2% Pepper Jack, adding some nice heat)
2 scallions, sliced
1 3 ounce package cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used 1/3 fat version)
1 2/3 cups jarred salsa verde (I used green enchilada sauce)
2/3 cup heavy cream (I used FF half and half)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnishing
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I heated mine in microwave, so no oil)
8 6 1/2 inches corn tortillas

Directions:
In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water, the rice and 12 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to low, cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a medium bowl to cool slightly. Add the beans, 1 cup Monterey jack, the scallions and cream cheese; stir gently.
Meanwhile, using a blender or food processor, blend the salsa verde, cream and 1/2 cup cilantro until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees . In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Using tongs, carefully place 1 tortilla at a time into the hot oil and fry, turning once, until softened, 5 to 10 seconds per side. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plates to drain. (I place 3 tortillas in a paper towel, wrap them up and micro for 30 seconds to get them soft)
Mound 12 cup of the filling down the center of each tortilla. Roll up tightly, then place seam side down in a 7-by-11-inch glass baking dish. Pour the sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 cup Monterey jack. Bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Top with more cilantro.

Baked Potato Soup

healthy potato soup
I was really excited to try this healthy-fied version of potato soup. It is definitely one of my favorite things and I trust Gina of Skinnytaste to keep it tasting good even if it is good for you. This is so not bad for, yet still so delicious. I loved it and my oldest, Ella, who is the other potato soup lover in the house, loved it too!

Ingredients:
2 russet potatoes, washed and dried
1 small head of cauliflower, stem removed cut into florets
1 1/2 cups fat free chicken broth
1 1/2 cups 1% reduced-fat milk
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup light sour cream
10 tbsp reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6 tbsp chopped chives, divided
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (we used turkey bacon)

Directions:
Pierce potatoes with a fork; microwave on high for 5 minutes turn over and microwave another 3 - 5 minutes, until tender. Or if you prefer to use your oven, bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes.
Meanwhile, steam cauliflower with water in a large covered pot until tender. Drain and return to pot. (I used a ziploc steamer bag)
On medium heat, add chicken broth, milk, potatoes and bring to a boil. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. (I put it all in a blender, blended it, then put it in a pot on the stove to heat it)
Add sour cream, half the chives, salt and pepper and cook on low another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat. Ladle 1 cup soup into each bowl. Top each serving with 2 tbsp cheese, remaining chives, and bacon.

Servings: 5 • Size: 1 cup • Points+: 5 pts • Calories: 207.6 • Fat: 7.8 g • Carb: 22.5 g • Fiber: 2.4 g • Protein: 11.9 g

Fresh Corn Salad

salad
I have been saving this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens for awhile and decided to add it to our menu for Ella's family birthday party. It was the one new recipe I was trying for the big event and luckily it turned out to be a hit. I loved all the fresh crisp flavors and if you don't add all the arugula at once, the rest saves well and you just add the leaves when you are ready to eat again. I will definitely be making this again and again! Maybe next time I'll remember to get a picture of my own before we eat it all!

Ingredients
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t coarsely ground black pepper
4 ears fresh corn
1/2 cup finely diced red onion (cut to same size as the clusters of corn kernels), soaked in ice water for 20 minutes and patted dry (I totally forgot to do this, but it was fine)
1/2 cup cucumber, seeded, not peeled if unwaxed, then diced to same size of onions
1/2 cup red or orange sweet pepper, diced to same size as onions
1/2 cup cherry or pear tomatoes, halved or quartered
3 T parsley, finely torn
1 T basil leaves or buds, pulled apart
1 T fresh jalapeno, seeds and veins removed, very finely diced*
1/2 t sea salt or kosher salt
2 cups small arugula leaves

Directions
1. For dressing, in a glass bowl whisk together vinegar, sugar, the 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and black pepper until sugar is dissolved. Let dressing stand while preparing salad.
2. For salad, cut corn kernels from cobs. In a large bowl toss corn and remaining ingredients except sea salt and arugula leaves.
3. To serve, transfer salad to large serving bowl. Season with the 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Add the dressing; gently thread in arugula leaves. Serve immediately. (Cucumbers and tomatoes will begin to break down.) Makes 8 servings

Serves 8: Calories 77, Protein(gm) 2, Carbohydrate(gm) 17, Fat, total(gm) 1, Dietary Fiber, total(gm) 2, Sugar, total(gm) 10

Pasta, Cheese and Trees

pasta and trees
This recipe was in a recent issue of Parents magazine and I knew that the kids and I would love it. Broccoli is one of our favorite veggies and we don't eat a lot of pasta dishes, so it is always welcome in the dinner line up. It was easy and pretty good. The ricotta didn't get as creamy as I was hoping, but the flavor was still good. My husband didn't think it should be considered a meal on it's own though :-).

Ingredients:
•1 pound penne, corkscrew pasta, or medium shells (I used gluten-free spirals)
•1 pound broccoli tops
•1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
•2 tablespoons butter, cut up
•3 cloves garlic, chopped
•1 cup ricotta cheese (I used skim)
•1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile, pull apart broccoli into small "trees." Put the broccoli into a pot and add enough water to just cover the tops. Bring the water to a boil and add 4 pinches salt. Cook for 5 minutes once the water comes to a boil. Drain.
2. Pour EVOO and butter into a deep frying pan and heat over low heat. When the butter melts, add the garlic and cook 5 minutes. Stir in broccoli and cooked pasta. Add ricotta and Parmesan, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Sausage and Spinach Rice Bowls

sausage spinach rice bowl
I found this meal idea on Fabulously Delicious. It was easy, fast and super tasty. I ate it for I think 4 meals as leftovers over the next few days and still loved it! Sometimes I topped it with some shredded cheese too, which made it even better. Next time I want to try it with quinoa...I think it would be fab!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I brown rice, but I think I'll use quinoa next time)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. hot Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
1/2 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 4-oz can sliced mushrooms
(I added 1 14 oz can of artichokes, drained)
1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers (jarred or fresh)
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach

Directions:
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and onion; cook, stirring to crumble sausage, until sausage is cooked through and onion is tender. Stir in garlic; cook 2 minutes more. Add mushrooms and peppers, stir to combine, then add spinach. Cook until spinach is just wilted. Stir in rice, mix well to combine and continue cooking until heated through.

Red Chile Chicken Tacos

red chile chicken tacos
I was looking for a slow cooker meal and came across this recipe I had saved from a Rachael Ray magazine. Although you do need to do some prep first and let the chicken marinade over night, the rest came together quickly. These may not be my most favorite tacos ever, but they were still a fun way to mix up our tacos. I enjoyed the sweet and spicy flavor of the chicken with the crunch of the slaw. I used the leftover chicken for quesadillas the next day and they were super yummy too!

Ingredients
* 4 dried chiles (such as pasilla negro and ancho)
* Boiling water
* 1 can (15 oz.) sliced pineapple with its juice
* 1/2 cup orange juice
* 1/2 onion, peeled
* 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* Salt and pepper
* 1 whole chicken (4 lbs.) (I used 4 breasts)
* 1/4 head red cabbage, cored
* 4 carrots, peeled and halved
* 1 bunch scallions, greens chopped
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise
* 12 corn tortillas
* 8 ounce log goat cheese

Directions
1. Tear the chiles into pieces; discard the stems and seeds. Place in a bowl.; add boiling water just to cover (place a plate on top to keep submerged). Let soak until tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer the chiles and 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid to a blender. Add 2 pineapple slices, 1/4 cup pineapple juice, the orange juice, onion, brown sugar, cumin, 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Blend until smooth; transfer to a large bowl.
2. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Pat dry and add to the bowl with the chile puree, turning to coat the skin and fill the cavity. Cover and refrigerate for a least 3 hours or overnight.
3. Transfer the chicken and marinade to a large slow cooker. Cover; cook on high until the chicken is tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh away from the bone registers 165 degrees , about 3 1/2 hours.
4. Meanwhile, using a food processor, fitted with the shredding disk, shred the cabbage and carrots. Transfer to a bowl; mix in the scallion greens. Chop 4 pineapple slices; toss with the cabbage mixture.
5. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour the juices and marinade into a 1-qt. glass measuring cup; let stand until the fat rises to the top. Skim the fat from the juices. Transfer the juices to a medium saucepan; simmer until reduced to 1 cup. Using 2 forks, shred the meat. Discard the skin and bones.
6. Meanwhile, mix the mayo and 1/4 cup pineapple juice into the slaw; season.
7. Add the chicken to the reduced chile juices; cook until heated through. Warm the tortillas. Place about 1/4 cup chicken on each tortilla. Top with the slaw and crumbled goat cheese.

Jalapeno Popper Stufffed Chicken

jalapeno popper chicken
I have had this recipe from Skinnytaste bookmarked to try for awhile and knew it was perfect for my first meal back in the kitchen since our trip. My two youngest had a fun time helping me make them and actually ate their helpings! I think it definitely gets them more excited to try things when they were a part of the creation. They were a big hit with the whole family. I just had a leftover one for lunch today and was reminded how yummy they were. Plus, I always think stuffed chicken looks so fancy :-)!

Ingredients:
* 2 slices center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
* 3 jalapeños, chopped (remove seeds for milder...I removed all and they were SUPER mild)
* 3 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
* 4 oz reduced fat shredded cheddar/jack (I used 2% Mexi blend)
* 2 tbsp chopped scallions
* 8 thin sliced skinless chicken breast cutlets, 3 oz each (I used 4 breasts, pounded to thin)
* 1/2 cup Italian seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs (I used GF Italian crumbs)
* 1 1/2 juicy limes, juice of
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* salt and fresh pepper
* olive oil non-stick spray

Directions:
Wash and dry chicken cutlets, season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.
Combine cream cheese, cheddar, scallions, jalapeño and bacon crumbles in a medium bowl.
Lay chicken cutlets on a working surface and spread 2 tbsp of cream cheese mixture on each cutlet. Loosely roll each one, secure the ends with toothpicks to prevent the cheese from oozing out.
Place breadcrumbs in a bowl; in a second bowl combine olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.
Dip chicken in lime-oil mixture, then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down on a baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken. When finished, lightly spray the top of the chicken with oil spray.
Bake 22-25 minutes, serve immediately.

Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 2 stuffed breasts • Calories: 371 • Fat: 17.5 g • Protein: 42.7 g • Carb: 11 g • Fiber: 1.5 g • Sugar: 0.6 g Sodium: 355.8 mg (without salt)

Back in the Kitchen!

I spent the last month on a 5,000 mile trip with my family in an RV.
Yes, that is FIVE THOUSAND MILES!
It was actually awesome although a little crazy at times, but we did it and we made it :-).
After a week back at home catching up on laundry and life, but mostly laundry,
I think I am ready to get back in the kitchen and start trying some new healthy recipes again.
I'll be back to posting again later this week!

(and if you are curious about our adventures in the RV,
you can check out my personal blog where I documented the entire trip)

Grilled Summer Corn and Chipotle Chowder

spicy grilled corn chowder
I love grilled corn in the summer and was excited to try out this Rachael Ray recipe that took advantage of it. I have tried a similar recipe and loved it, but thought the addition of chipotle chiles sounds like a perfect combination with the corn and bacon in this creamy soup. It was super yummy!

Ingredients:
* 6 ears corn
* Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
* 4 slices smoked bacon, finely chopped (I used turkey bacon)
* 1 large onion, finely chopped
* 2 yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as yukon gold, cut into small cubes
* 2 ribs celery from the heart with leafy tops, finely chopped
* 2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
* Salt and pepper
* 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
* 1 32 ounce container vegetable or chicken broth
* 2 cups heavy cream (I used FF half and half)
* Lime wedges, chopped flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped scallions and crumbles cotija cheese or queso fresco, for garnish

Directions:
1.Preheat a grill or broiler. Grill or broil the ears of corn until charred, 7 to 8 minutes (cover the grill to give the corn a smoky flavor). Scrape the kernels from the cob.
2. While the corn is charring, in a soup pot, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate. Add the onion, potatoes, celery and garlic to the pot. Add the bay leaf and thyme, season with salt and pepper, cover the pot and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Using a food processor, puree the chipotle chiles. Stir into the vegetables, then stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and keep warm. Rinse the food processor bowl.
4. Add one-third of the corn kernels to the food processor, pour in 2 cups of the soup and puree. Pour the mixture into the remaining soup and lower the heat to a simmer. Stir in the remaining corn kernels, the cream and reserved bacon and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve the chowder in bowls with the lime wedges, parsley, scallions and lots of cheese.

Honey Cashew Chicken

honey cashew chicken
I absolutely loved this stir-fry! One of my favorites ever I think...plus it was so pretty. I love broccoli and peppers and edamame AND cashews! In my opinion you could definitely leave the chicken out and it would still be delicious, or use tofu instead if you wanted to make it a meatless meal. The sauce was slightly sweet and slightly spicy, a perfect combination. I was excited to have it as leftovers for a couple days after we had it for dinner! (recipe from Cooking Light)

Ingredients:
* 1 cup instant rice (I used a combination of basmati and brown and made 3 cups)
* 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tablespoon canola oil
* 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
* 2 cups broccoli florets
* 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
* 1 red bell pepper, sliced
* 1/2 cup dry-roasted cashews, unsalted
* 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
* 3 tablespoons honey
* 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon Sriracha

Directions:
1. Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
2. Combine chicken and next 3 ingredients in a bowl; toss to coat.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola and sesame oils. Add chicken mixture, and sauté for 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Increase heat to high, and add broccoli and the next 4 ingredients (through red bell pepper). Cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and chicken is done, stirring frequently. Stir in cashews.
4. Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add vinegar mixture to chicken mixture; toss to coat. Serve with rice.

Serving 1/2 c rice and 1 c chicken mixture: Calories: 470 Fat: 17.6g Protein: 29g Carbs: 50g Fiber: 4.5g Chol: 49mg Sodium 638mg

Cajun Chicken Pasta

cajun chicken pasta
I LOVED this pasta from Skinnytaste! If there is one thing I love to eat every now and then is a creamy pasta dish. Sometimes it just hits the spot. I loved the spicy chicken in combination with the crisp veggies and creamy sauce. SOOO delicious! I kept the sauce and noodles separate to help the leftovers stay better.

Ingredients:
8 ounces uncooked linguine (I used gluten-free spaghetti)
1 pound chicken breast strips
1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning (or to taste)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup skim milk
1 tbsp flour
3 tbsp light cream cheese
fresh cracked pepper
2 scallions, chopped
salt to taste
Smart Balance cooking spray

Directions:
Prep all your vegetables. In a small blender make a slurry by combining milk, flour and cream cheese. Set aside.
Season chicken generously with Cajun seasoning, garlic powder and salt.
Prepare pasta in salted water according to package directions.
Heat a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; spray with cooking spray and add half of the chicken. Sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until done, set aside on a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken. Set aside.
Add olive oil to the skillet and reduce to medium; add bell peppers, onions, and garlic to skillet, sauté 3-4 minutes.
Add mushrooms and tomatoes and sauté 3-4 more minutes or until vegetables are tender. Season with 1/4 tsp salt, garlic powder and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
Reduce heat to medium-low; add chicken broth and pour in slurry stirring about 2 minutes.
Return chicken to skillet; adjust salt and Cajun seasoning to taste, cook another minute or two until hot, then add linguine; toss well to coat. Top with chopped scallions and enjoy.

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups • Calories: 323.8 • Fat: 6.2 g • Protein: 25.9 g • Carb: 44.1 g • Fiber: 6.3 g • Sugar: 3.2 g • Sodium: 126.5 mg (without salt)

Cajun Chicken Curry

cajun chicken curry
I don't know how cajun-y this curry was, but it was delicious! I really loved the flavor of the sauce, especially on the fluffy rice. Curry is one of my favorite flavors and I loved this new variation from Better Homes & Gardens.

Ingredients:
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 T oil
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup butter
1 large green sweet pepper, cut in strips
1 large red onion, cut in narrow wedges
1 stalk celery, sliced (1/2 cup)
6 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbsp.)
2-3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used cornstarch)
1 (14 1/2 oz) can chicken broth
1/2 cup tangerine or orange marmalade
1 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
4 cups hot cooked basmati or jasmine rice

Directions:
1. In a 4-quart Dutch oven cook fennel seeds in hot oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Stir in chicken. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until chicken is browned. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon.
2. In the same Dutch oven heat butter. Cook sweet pepper, onion, celery, garlic, curry powder, garam masala, and salt in hot butter over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in flour. Gradually add the chicken broth, stirring until combined. Stir in chicken, marmalade, and hot pepper sauce. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice.

Servings Per Recipe 4, Calories 641, Protein 33g, Carbohydrate 88g, Fat, total 17g, Cholesterol 97mg, Sodium 925mg

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

sweet potato lentil soup
I saw this recipe in an old issue of the Food Network magazine and thought it looked worth a shot. It was easy and pretty flavorful when you sub in broth for the water. I added some turkey sausage to make it more of meal in the eyes of the rest of the family but I personally liked it without the sausage better.

Ingredients:
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 leeks, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (white and light green parts only)
3/4 cup dried yellow or red lentils
1 4-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 teaspoon curry powder
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
*recipe calls for 6 cups water, I used 4 cups veggie broth and 2 cups water
(I added 1 link of turkey sausage)

Directions:
Combine the sweet potato, carrots, celery, leeks, lentils, ginger, 3/4 teaspoon curry powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a 4-to-6-quart slow cooker. Add 6 cups water and stir, then cover and cook on low, undisturbed, 8 hours.
Stir the soup vigorously with a whisk to make a rough puree. Thin with hot water, if desired. (I didn't do this and left it chunky)
Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon curry powder and cook until the curry powder is slightly toasted, about 1 minute. Stir the curry mixture into the soup and add the lemon juice, cilantro, and salt to taste. Serve with lemon wedges.

Per serving (makes 4 huge ones): Calories 257; Fat 4 g; Cholesterol 8 mg; Sodium 580 mg; Carbohydrate 45 g; Fiber 10 g; Protein 12 g

Santa Fe Chicken Rub

santa fe spice rub
This recipe comes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe and we used it to make tacos. We grilled the chicken and sliced it up, sauteed some peppers and onions and made some fancy guacomole. They were De-Licious! A perfect summer dinner!

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

DIRECTIONS:
In a small bowl, combine all the spices and brown sugar. Stir in the olive oil and mix until a crumbly, moist paste forms.
Place the chicken in a single layer in a 9X13-inch or similar size baking pan. Rub the chicken generously with the spice mixture on all sides. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 10 hours.
Grill the chicken over medium heat until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes per side, depending on the size and thickness of the chicken breasts. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. Cut into strips and serve. This chicken is delicious served as-is and is also wonderful served in soft tortillas with taco garnishes.

Texas Sweet Onion Casserole

texas sweet onion casserole
The moment I saw this on Homesick Texan I was dying to try it! Luckily I had an excuse to make a big, yummy dish like this and went on a search to find something else to go with it. I settled on trying a Santa Fe Spice Rub (recipe to come) and grilled chicken. We made tacos out of the chicken and some sauteed peppers, along with guacamole and then had this cheesy, delicious rice on the side. It was a heavenly meal!!!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large Texas sweet 1015 onions, peeled and chopped (about 2 pounds)
3 cups cooked rice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of cayenne
2 cloves garlic
1 or 2 chipotle chiles en adobo, diced (depending on how hot you want it)
2 cups sour cream
2 cups shredded Gruyere (8 ounces), divided
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, on low heat melt the butter. Add the chopped onion and while occasionally stirring cook for 10 minutes until soft.
Meanwhile, stir together the cooked rice, cumin, allspice, cayenne, garlic, chipotle chile, sour cream and 1/2 cup of the Gruyere cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings, then add salt to taste. Add rice mixture to the skillet and stir until onions are mixed well with the rice. (Alternatively, you can bake the casserole in a greased 10-inch baking pan.) Top with the rest of the Gruyere cheese and bake for 30 minutes uncovered or until brown and bubbling. Serve topped with cilantro, if you like.
(I put into 2 8x8 glass dished to bake)

Edamame Fried Rice

edamame fried rice
This was another hit from Skinnytaste and I loved it for lunch for a couple days after we had it for dinner. It was super easy to make, good for you and really flavorful. Loved it and will definitely be making it again!

Ingredients:
3 cups leftover cooked brown rice
2 egg whites, scrambled
1 whole egg, scrambled
1 tbsp Smart Balance oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
5 scallions, chopped, whites and greens separated
1/2 cup shredded carrots
cooking spray
1 cup ready-to-eat shelled edamame
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, tamari for gluten free (or more to taste)
salt and fresh pepper to taste

Directions:
Whisk eggs and egg whites, season with salt and pepper. In a hot wok, spray a little oil and cook the eggs. When cooked, remove from pan and set aside.
Let the wok get really hot. Add oil and cook onions, scallion whites, carrots and garlic for about 30-60 seconds, careful not to burn. Add brown rice and stir well a few minutes to heat through. Add cooked egg along with soy sauce, scallion greens and edamame, mixing well for about 3-4 minutes.

Servings: 6 • Size: just under 1 cup • Calories: 202 • Fat: 5.8 g • Protein: 8.6 g • Carb: 28.5 g • Fiber: 4.3 g • Sugar: 1.1 g • Sodium: 244.1 mg (without salt)

Broccoli & Cheese Quinoa Casserole

broccoli quinoa casserole
I added this recipe to our menu for the week the instant I saw it on Fabulously Delicious! I LOVE cheesy, broccoli dishes and we haven't had anything like that in awhile since we have been trying to eat healthier. But guess what?! This one isn't bad for you and it is still cheesy and delicious!!! So definitely try it, you will be glad you did!

Ingredients:
One 10 oz can condensed Cream of Broccoli or Mushroom soup (I used 98% FF)
1/3 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/4 cups reduced fat shredded cheese (cheddar, colby-jack, etc)
1/2 teaspoon Splenda
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash freshly grated nutmeg
(I added 1 medium onion diced and browned in a dash of olive oil)
(I aso added one can of chicken)
2 cups cooked broccoli
1 1/2 cups COOKED quinoa (3/4 c quinoa and 1 1/2 c water to cook it)

Directions:
In a small saucepan combine the quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 18-20 minutes, or until fluffy and the white ring/tail is visible. Fluff with a fork.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a shallow (8×8 in or 5-6 cups) casserole dish – or individual ramekins – with vegetable cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, shredded cheese, Splenda, pepper, and nutmeg until well mixed. Stir in the quinoa and broccoli.
Spoon mixture into prepared casserole and bake for 35-40 minutes (20-25 minutes for ramekins) or until bubbly on the edges and golden. Makes 8 generous 1/2-cup servings.

Per Serving: Calories 199, Protein 10 g; Fat 9 g; NET Carbs 14 g; Fiber 2 g; Sugar 1 g; Sodium 297 mg
broccoli quinoa casserole 2
*NOTE FOR GLUTEN FREE…Progresso makes a Creamy Mushroom Soup that is gluten free…or here is a recipe for a Cream of Anything Soup. 
Condensed “Cream of Anything” Soup
1 cup cold milk
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper
Instructions
In a small saucepan, whisk milk and cornstarch till well blended.
Stir in butter, bouillon, salt, and pepper.
Heat to a boil, stirring frequently. Simmer on low for one minute more to thicken.
Use in recipes to replace one can of cream of anything soup.
CONDENSED CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP:
Stir in a drained 4 ounce can of mushroom pieces to the recipe above.
Use in recipes in place of one can of Cream of Mushroom Soup.
CONDENSED CREAM OF CHICKEN SOUP:
Stir in 1/2 cup cooked chicken pieces to the recipe above.
Use in recipes in place of one can of Cream of Chicken Soup.
CONDENSED CREAM OF CELERY SOUP
Stir in 1/2 cup sautéed chopped celery to the recipe above.
Use in recipes in place of one can of Cream of Celery Soup

Kale Chips

kale chips
I had heard good things about kale chips for quite awhile but never got around to trying them until now. I found this simple recipe on allrecipes.com but I have heard of sprinkling them with Parmesan cheese and all kinds of variations. I was surprised by how crunchy they were and tasty too! My kids even gave them a try and kind of like them :-).

Ingredients:
1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Directions:
1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
3. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

buffalo chicken lettuce wraps
I was looking for a crock pot meal a couple weeks ago and came across these on Skinnytaste. They looked like a perfect summer crock pot meal (unlike the soup I'm making tonight...oh well :-) and really hit the spot. The chicken was spicy but paired perfectly with the cool crisp lettuce leaves and veggies. We used light ranch in ours since we had that on hand and I made quesadillas with the leftover chicken the next day for lunches. Super yummy!!!

Ingredients:
For the chicken:
24 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
1 celery stalk
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic
16 oz fat free low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup hot cayenne pepper sauce (I used Frank's)
For the wraps:
6 large lettuce leaves, Bibb or Iceberg
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
2 large celery stalks, cut into 2 inch matchsticks
optional: blue cheese crumbles, light blue cheese or ranch dressing

Directions:
In a crock pot, combine chicken, onions, celery stalk, garlic and broth (enough to cover your chicken, use water if the can of broth isn't enough). Cover and cook on high 4 hours.
Remove the chicken from pot,
reserve 1/2 cup broth and discard the rest.
Shred the chicken with two forks,
return to the slow cooker with the 1/2 cup broth and the hot sauce and
set to on high for an additional 30 minutes. Makes 3 cups chicken.
To prepare lettuce cups, place 1/2 cup buffalo chicken in each leaf, top with 1/4 cup shredded carrots, celery and dressing of your choice. Wrap up and start eating!

Servings: 6 • Size: 1/2 cup chicken + veggies (no dressing)• Calories: 147.7 • Fat: 0.1 g • Carb: 5.2 g • Fiber: 1.6 g • Protein: 24.9 g • Sugar: 1.7 g • Sodium: 879 mg

Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies...The Best Ever!!!

chocolate chip cookies!
I recently saw this recipe on Peachtree Cooking, where the poster said that while eating these cookies she had the rare experience of thinking, "These are the best cookies I've ever had!" After reading that, and the list of ingredients, I knew I had to give them a try. I made them to share with my class at church today so I doubled the recipe. This was a terrible idea because now I have so many left at home and I cannot stop eating them! They are sooo delicious! Definitely the best cookies I have ever made!!!
Here is another tip from the original post...
i didn't want to make giant cookies like it calls for so i made them smaller and adjusted the time. but i also learned that you can't do them too small either. they don't spread out very much so be generous in their size. also they taste better when they're a little bigger rather then little bite size cookies.

Ingredients:       
2 sticks ‘cold and cubed’ good quality unsalted butter·
3/4 cup granulated sugar·
3/4 cup brown sugar – not packed too hard. Just spoon it in the cup(s) and press down lightly when full, sweeping off any extra that runs over.·
2 eggs (room temperature)·
3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups All Purpose flour – Spoon and Sweep method. (feel the dough, it should be moist, kind of like cold cookie dough in a tube . . . but not super sticky, so you can portion the cookies with your hands)·
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt·
3/4-1 teaspoon baking powder ( I don’t fill the tsp fully, hence the 3/4 tsp)·
1/4 tsp baking soda·
1 T cornstarch·
1 cup Guittard brand milk chocolate chips·(I found these at HEB)
1 cup Guittard brand semisweet chocolate chips ·
1 cup walnuts (Toast the nuts for more flavor, if desired and/or use any kind of nut you like.)- i usually don't like nuts in my desserts but they add an amazing flavor and there are already enough chunks that it doesn't ruin the texture either. add them!!

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugars until well blended and fluffy.
2. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until well incorporated.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch. Add slowly to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Gently fold in chocolate chips and nuts
5. Transfer dough to clean work surface and gently mix dough by hand to ensure even distribution of ingredients. Divide into 12 equal portions, **about 4 oz each.
6. Place each on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven 16-23 minutes depending on how gooey and raw’ish you like the middle. Bake until lightly browned, taking care not to overbake. Let cool on rack and store what you don’t immediately eat, in an airtight container. To freshen them after a few days (if they last that long), give them a quick nuke in the microwave for 5-10 seconds. (I made normal sized cookies and baked 12 min)

Beef and Asparagus Curry

beef and asparagus curry
This is a recipe from Martha Stewart's Every Day Food magazine and I have been meaning to try it for awhile. The sauce was delicious, the asparagus and peppers are my 2 favorite stir-fry veggies so I loved them, and it's nice to add some beef into our menu every once in awhile. I think you could easily use chicken or tofu in place of the beef though and it would be equally delicious. We ate it the first night on noodles, but had leftovers on rice and preferred the rice (I also used quinoa for mine which was great too).

Ingredients:
1 can (13.5 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk, shaken well (I used light)
1/4 cup red curry paste
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons fish sauce (I was out so I used Hoisin sauce)
1 tablespoon light-brown sugar
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 bunch asparagus (1 pound), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound sirloin steak, trimmed and thinly sliced against the grain
Cooked rice noodles, lime wedges, and fresh cilantro leaves, for serving (we liked it better on rice)

Directions:
In a large wok or skillet, heat 1/2 cup coconut milk over medium-high, stirring, until shiny and thick, 2 minutes. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add remaining coconut milk, broth, fish sauce, and brown sugar and bring to a simmer. Add bell pepper and cook until softened, 2 minutes. Add asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Add steak and cook, stirring, until just cooked through, 2 minutes. Serve over noodles with lime wedges and cilantro.

It said it makes 4 servings...ours went way further than that!
Per serv (sauce only): 410 cal, 25g fat, 31g protein, 17g carbs, 5g fiber

The Best Baked Beans

best baked beans
Once we decided to go with a BBQ-style meal for Preston's family party, I knew most of the sides I wanted to serve. My go-to potato salad, my new favorite quinoa salad with roasted corn and avocado (if you haven't tried this yet, you must! I made it for book club and everyone went on and on about it), potato chips and white bread. But I needed some super yummy baked beans to complete the perfect brisket meal. Of course my first stop was The Pioneer Woman and she just happened to have a recipe for what she called the best baked beans ever...so I believed her without even tasting them, and as usual she was right! I was able to mix it all up the night before and then just bake them before the party which is just what I prefer for my party fare. They were a big hit!

recipe originally by Pam Anderson
Serves up to 18 (seriously! It makes TONS!)
Ingredients:
8 slices bacon, halved
1 medium onion, cut into small dice
1/2 medium green pepper, cut into small dice
3 large cans (28 ounces each) pork and beans
3/4 cup favorite barbecue sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup distilled or cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dry mustard or 2 tablespoons Dijon

Directions:
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Fry bacon in large, deep sauté pan skillet until bacon has partially cooked and released about 1/4 cup drippings. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Add onions and peppers to drippings in pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add beans and remaining ingredients bring to a simmer. (If skillet is not large enough, add beans and heat to a simmer then transfer to a large bowl and stir in remaining ingredients). Pour flavored beans into a greased 13-by 9-inch (or similar size) ovenproof pan. Top with bacon, then bake until beans are bubbly and sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup, about 2 hours. Let stand to thicken slightly and serve.

Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy

chicken bok choy stir fry
I recently got a good deal on an Everyday Food subscription and this is my first recipe to try from it (it is a Martha Stewart magazine). It was simple and tasty and light. Just what I am looking for lately! I love the crunch bok choy and cabbage give to stir fry and was pleasantly surprised at how flavorful this one was despite its lack of other vegetables.

Ingredients:
* 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
* 2 teaspoons light-brown sugar
* 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound total)
* 4 teaspoons cornstarch
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
* 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
* 4 cups sliced bok choy (from 1 head)
* 1 small red chile or jalapeno, seeded and sliced (I used jalapeno)
* Cooked rice, for serving

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and 3 tablespoons water.
Slice chicken into thin strips. In a medium bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch until coated.
In a large wok or skillet, heat oil, garlic, and ginger over medium-high until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add chicken in a single layer, pressing against pan to sear. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add bok choy and chile and cook, stirring, until bok choy slightly wilts, about 1 minute.
Add soy sauce mixture and cook until sauce thickens slightly, 2 minutes.
Serve over rice.

Serves 4. Per serving (without rice): 226 calories, 10 g fat, 24 g protein, 11g carbs, 2g fiber

Quinoa Salad with Zucchini, Arugula, Tomatoes and Mint Vinaigrette

zucchini argula quinoa salad
While looking for new yummy quinoa recipes I came across the blog Authentic Suburban Gourmet and saw this yummy one. It looked delicious and incorporated lots of things I love, plus some new elements I was excited to try (raw zucchini, mint). I made it at the beginning of the week and ate it all week long for lunches. I just kept the arugula separate and mixed it in when I was ready to eat. It was amazingly fresh and light, yet so filling as well. Definitely a perfect combination of flavors for summer!

Salad
1 C. Quinoa
2 C. Chicken Stock (I had made a big batch with just water, and it was fine)
½ t. Salt
2 Medium Zucchini, one inch julienne slices
2 C. Tomatoes, small orange or cherry, halved
2 C. Arugula
½ C. Pine nuts, dry roasted or toasted
¼ C. Cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pan, add the quinoa and chicken stock plus ½ t. of salt. Quickly stir and bring the mixture to a boil. After it boils, reduce the heat to simmer and cover with a lid for about 10 minutes. Check and stir the quinoa. If liquid remains, check every 2 to 3 minutes until liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool.
Once the quinoa is cooled, add to a large bowl to assemble the salad. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, pine nuts and cilantro. Toss gently and add the vinaigrette and toss again to combine. Right before serving, toss in the Arugula. Taste and then season with additional salt and pepper as desired.

Mint Vinaigrette
1 C. Fresh mint leaves, lightly packed
3 T. Red wine vinegar
2 t. Dijon mustard
2 Garlic cloves, minced
½ t. Sugar
½ t. Salt
8 Grinds pepper
½ C. Olive Oil

Add all of the above ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until well combined. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your desired taste level. Set aside to strengthen the flavors for about one hour.

Calories...I divided it into 6 servings, which per my calculations would make it about 315 calories per serving

Bob Andy Pie

bob andy pie
I may have loved the peach pie, but this one was the big hit of the night and was specifically mentioned in our book (Peace Like a River...which we all loved by the way!). Thanks again to Susan for baking the delicious pies and then sharing the recipes with us all! The recipe and notes below are taken straight from the email she sent out...

The notes on this one are from the site where I got it. I have Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, too.
Bob Andy Pie Recipe
* 3 large eggs
* 2 cups whole milk
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 2 tablespoons flour
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 (9-inch) pie shell (flute high; it will be full)

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Crack eggs in a medium bowl and whisk. Whisk in milk. Add sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt and whisk into milk mixture.
Pour filling into unbaked pie shell. Bake until custard has set and crust is golden, about 50 minutes.
Remove from oven, cool and serve at room temperature or chilled.
Serves 8.

It has a fabulously funny name – Bob Andy Pie – and old roots in the midwest Amish communities of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, but it feels right at home today, when we crave simple, comforting flavors and value the utter ease of a dessert for which you will already have all the ingredients. Some might think of it as a spiced chess pie. Others liken it to a Sugar Cream Pie, a staple that is popular in Indiana.
Bob Andy? Say what?
The common story goes that an Amish farmer came in from working in the fields, took one bite of this delicious pie and said, “This pie is as good as Bob and Andy.” Bob and Andy were his two prize gelding plow horses.
That works for me! I guess it speaks to my Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.
One intriguing feature of this pie is that the ample cinnamon floats to the top while baking, making a dark crust, and giving the impression of layers. It’s a very pretty pie when cut!

Peach Pie

peach pie
I hosted book club this month and one of my favorite ladies from church brought 2 pies in honor of the book we read. I LOVED this peach one! I don't eat peaches nearly enough and I forget how much I love them. I think I have posted Susan's crust recipe before, but here it is again in a convenient place for when I try making this pie on my own!

Peach Pie
6 cups peeled, sliced peaches (she used frozen and said there is no need to defrost them)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons corn Starch
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400°.
Prepare crust for a 9" two-crust pie.
Mix the sugar, corn starch and spice together and then mix gently with the sliced peaches.
Place in prepared pie shell. Cover. Seal edges well and cut steam vents in the top crust.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until crust is brown and the juice bubbles through the vents.
Serve warm or cold.

Fool Proof Pie Crust
Cut together with pastry blender:
4 cups flour
1¾ cups vegetable shortening

Mix in small bowl or measuring cup:
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
½ cup water

Combine two mixtures until moistened. Chill 15 minutes. Refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze. Makes 2 2-crust pies

Notes to the wise:

· All pastry recipes benefit from chilled ingredients. If your house is warm, chill the shortening. Use ice water.
· Any pastry will benefit from chilling before shaping. Any pastry can be frozen, airtight for up to 3 months. Label well.