Monday, April 30, 2012

Meijer Products: Chicken/Sausage Squash Marinara

This was a throw together meal for our dinner.

One chicken breast in the freezer, and one partial package of smoked sausage.

This is my own creation and I'll do my best to give you directions on how I fixed it. Or created it....

I cut up my sausage and chicken into bite sized pieces. I chopped a half of an onion and sliced two garlic cloves.

I threw the chicken, sausage, onion, and garlic in a hot skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil. I made sure I browned it really good.

While it was browning I added Italian seasoning. Probably about a tablespoon and a half (I just sprinkled till everything was well coated).

When my meats were cooked, I added some white wine (1/2 - 1 c.). Once again I just poured.

I added my one package of sliced yellow squash, stirred.....

Placed a lid on top and left is simmer till my pasta was cooked (10 minutes), stirring occasionally.

For the marinara, I used Meijer Naturals. I'll tell you what....I'm very impressed with Meijer Naturals and their organic line of products. As you will see, they are low in calories and the nutrition facts a very good.

I hope you can read this label.....

I poured in the marinara, stirred, placed the lid back on and let it heat through.

We served this over spaghetti noodles and it was a meal to die for.....Very delicious!!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Starbucks VIA With Your Cookie? Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who would have thought about adding Starbucks VIA to their cookies?

Me, of course!

And I thoroughly test a recipe before I bring it to you....

If you like a soft chewy cookie, lightly salted caramel taste, then you have got to make these cookies ASAP.

The taste test consisted of one slightly warm: The chocolate was still really melty and soft, but the caramel flavor was rich.

I found that this cookie is best when it is completely cool, chocolate hardened, and the cookie is chewy. Definitely a caramel texture.

But I ran into a problem while making these cookies. Please do not repeat this process......

While my mixer was running I dropped a half of an egg shell in the mixing bowl.
OMG!! I instantly forgot how to use a mixer and didn't know where the buttons were. While I was screaming, "STOP, STOP, STOP....", and desperately trying to find the "off" button, I made the mixer go faster....
Which means I broke up the egg shell even more. Thank God all I had in there was wet ingredients and sugars. I was able to fish out "MOST" of the egg shell. But please chew softly....

A very good cookie... minus the egg shell.

This recipe is linked to:

The inspiration for this cookie came from Framed Cooks. The original recipe can be found here.

Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies (with Starbucks VIA)

1 c. butter (2 sticks)
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 TBS vanilla extract
1/4 c. caramel syrup (Hershey's original caramel sauce)
3 3/4 c. bread flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. Starbucks VIA ready brew caramel flavor coffee
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. chocolate chunks - Ghirardelli premium baking chips - 60% cacao

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars until well combined. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and caramel sauce until well combined.
Place all dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, salt, Starbucks VIA, baking soda) and whisk together. Add slowly to wet ingredients mixing until everything is combined. Mix in chocolate chunks.
Using a large cookie scoop (ice cream scoop will work) place on baking sheets. Using a fork, press cookie down in a crisscross fashion. Lightly sprinkle with salt before baking (yes, salt). Bake 10 - 12 minutes.
I know everyone's ovens are different, but mine took exactly 10 minutes. Leave the cookies sit on the cookie sheets for a couple minutes after taking them out of the oven. Move to cooling racks.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Little Italian Kitchen: Chicken Alfredo (My Way)

This is a step-by-step recipe because I don't have a written one for it. This was created by me!
So, grab your lap top and let's head to the kitchen......

These are some of the ingredients I used.
2 chicken breast halves, cut in cubes
1 pkg. zucchini and summer squash sliced
1 c. chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
1 half of a green pepper, chopped fine
and 1 jar (15 oz.) Meijer brand Roasted Garlic alfredo sauce

I am very happy with the organic line of products that Meijer has to offer. They are low calorie, low sugar, and they don't contain all those extra preservatives. And the Meijer products are packed full of flavor.

Pour a little olive oil into a large skilled (med/high heat).
Place your chicken, onion, garlic, and green pepper in the hot skillet
The seasonings I used were: oregano (approximately 2 TBS) and Italian seasoning (approximately 1 TBS). You can add as much as you like.

I cooked the chicken until done.

I added the zucchini and summer squash, tossed it with the chicken for a couple minutes.

I put my pan of water on to boil for the linguine pasta (from Trader Joes - Spinach and Chive & Garlic Basil). It only takes about 5 minutes to cook in boiling water.

I poured the alfredo sauce over the chicken mixture, stirred, and then placed a lid on top (turned heat down to med/low) to simmer until the pasta is cooked. That gives the zucchini and summer squash time to soften (while the pasta is cooking).

Place linguine pasta on a dinner plate, top with alfredo mixture, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Then enjoy!!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Can You Become Skinny? Penne With Spinach

I thought I'd take some time and share with you what I have been doing. AGAIN!!

This time I don't think I'm going to fall off the wagon. Yup, another diet try.....

One ingredient that has quickly become my best friend is spinach. I never realized how much that can be done with spinach. And it makes foods taste so good.

Just three ingredients (okay 4, if you count the small amount of left-over taco meat) to fulfill my lunch.

I have started the 90 day challenge with Visalus, Body by Vi. This product is reasonably priced, and the morning shake is a plus for me since I am not a breakfast eater. The shake gives my body a jump start in the morning. I use Silk soy milk for the shake and thicken it with sugar-free pudding. A 7:00 a.m. shake holds me over till lunch time, and then I eat light for lunch. I have been eating liquid egg omelets for lunch, and of course, penne pasta with spinach and organic pasta sauce. If you are interested in joining the 90 day challenge, you can click here.

One thing about organic pasta sauce is, it doesn't contain all the extra, what do you call it? GARBAGE!!

Hopefully you can see the nutrition facts in this picture, but if not:

Per 1/4 cup

35 calories
Calories from fat 10
Total fat 1g
Saturated fat 0
Trans fat 0
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 150mg
Potassium 165mg
Total Carb 4g
Sugars 2g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Protein 1g

Pretty darn good for a pasta sauce, huh? I bought this pasta sauce from All Things Food, and I'm definitely going back to get more.

This is what I did for the Penne Pasta and Spinach.

I cooked a half box of penne pasta to my liking
(While cooking my pasta, I was heating the pasta sauce with a little left-over taco meat)
I drained the pasta. A couple handfuls of baby spinach went into the hot pasta pan, and then I returned the hot pasta into the pan with the spinach. I stirred until the spinach was wilted.
I topped the pasta with 1/4 c. pasta sauce, and Parmesan cheese.
A perfect light lunch!
With the left-overs I placed them into clean Lean Cuisine containers and stored them in the frig for two more lunches (or dinners).

I have been doing the 90 day challenge for two weeks now and I have noticed a huge difference in the way my clothes fit. I don't do scales very well (depressing), but judging by my clothes, things are changing.


Friday, April 20, 2012

An OOPS and: Cake Batter Pudding Cookies

Who would have thought such a simple recipe could turn into something dangerous?

I found this recipe at The Better Baker blog, and as you know, my mind started racing as to what cake mix flavor, and pudding flavor would go good together. It didn't take me long to put together spice cake, cheese cake pudding and sugared raisins.
The sugared raisins were given to me by my mother. She picked them out of her Raisin Bran cereal. She says they have way too much sugar.....HUH???? Wouldn't it be a lot easier to just buy Bran Flakes cereal? But my mom is the type of person to not waste anything. So, the thoughtful mother that she is, she bagged up those too much sugar raisins and gave them to her food blogging daughter. They were perfect in these cookies. THANKS MOM!!

But this cookie didn't go together as easily as I thought it would. I got confused with the directions because adding the flour was in the directions twice. "Okay food blogger, you know when and where to add the flour."
The confusion with the directions caused me to neglect the ingredient amounts and I dumped in the whole box of cake mix. When I realized my mistake, it was too late to separate the cake mix and pudding from the butter. HA!! If you can accomplish that please let me know how you did it.
So what I did was, I scooped out what I thought was a fair amount, put it in a container, and now it's stored in my frig (since it has butter in it) for future use in cookies.
Then I adjusted the butter amounts added the eggs and vanilla, and then mixed in the flour that the recipe called for.
For an "OOPS" this cookie turned out pretty good.
But of course, I would love to make them the right way to see if they are better.

This recipe has been linked to:

Spice Cake Batter Pudding Cookies

Recipe adapted from: The Better Baker

1 1/2 sticks butter, soft
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. white sugar
1 pkg (3 oz.) instant pudding (I used cheese cake flavor)
3/4 c. cake mix any flavor (I used spice cake)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/4 c. flour (I used bread flour)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. raisins (sugared raisins from Raisin Bran cereal)
I sprinkled the tops of mine with a cinnamon sugar mixture before baking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In large bowl, cream butter and sugars together.
In a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, and salt together; set aside
In another bowl mix 3/4 c. cake mix and the box of instant pudding. Mix together well.
Add the cake mixture to the butter mixture; add eggs and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Add the flour mixture slowly until well blended.
Stir in raisins.
Roll into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This Is No Lie! The Chicken That Bites Back

I'm getting tired of eating pasta.....I want some meat in my life, but I want the meat to taste good, hold me over for a few days, satisfy me so I can go back to eating veggies......

I created a sauce to bake the chicken in. Something that is tasty and everyone will love.

One of my taste testers responses...."This is the best chicken I have ever ate in my life."

WOW!! That really says something right there. And it also makes me happy, happy, happy.

I had two chicken breast halves that needed to be cooked. I put the sauce mixture in an oven safe casserole dish, placed the chicken in the sauce and turned them a few times to coat them really good. I also turned them half way through the baking time too.

And when I say, "It bites back", it is true. Just wait until you try this.

The Chicken That Bites Back

1 c. maple syrup (I used real maple syrup, not the store brand)
1/2 c. Dijon mustard
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS red wine vinegar
2 TBS BBQ sauce of your choice
1/2 c. chopped onion

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Pour into an oven safe casserole dish. Roll the chicken breast in the sauce to coat really good. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 40 - 45 minutes. Turn the chicken breasts over half way through baking.
You can also make the hasselback potatoes right along with the chicken. Same baking time and temp.


Monday, April 16, 2012

A Very Good Friend and: Meat Pies

I'd like to introduce you to Tami McVey. Tami and I have quickly become the best of buds. She lives in Ontario, Canada, and she creates some of the best foods I have ever tasted.
She operates a blog called Food Forays. Her personal touch is based on ease in the kitchen, cost cutting, and step-by-step instructions with each recipe she provides. Tami is a go-getter and she shows her love for food, people, and making things simple for others in the blog writings that she assembles.
She even does a little teasing too. Go ahead and read what she wrote about me.....Too funny!!
And yes, I cannot make a pie crust to save my life. Tami knows this, and she offered a pastry-free recipe just to aid in my dilemma. Thank you Tami, the meat pies were wonderful and simple.

To view the original recipe, and I would rather have you go there, click here. Tami makes it very easy for a cook to have the recipe right in front of them at all times. I carried my lap top into the kitchen with me and worked with Tami step-by-step on this recipe.

Tami suggests using any kind of ground meat that you prefer. I used ground turkey sausage and was just under a pound in my measurements. So what I did was, I cut the spices and ingredients in half. That is why you would benefit better by using Tami's recipe.

The green stuff on the plate is zucchini ribbons with home-made cheese sauce. And don't ask me for the recipe for the cheese sauce because I was in a rush and didn't measure anything. I can tell you what I put in it though and estimate for you.
I started with the left-over half can of cream of chicken soup, added milk (maybe two cups), flour (1/4 c. or less), garlic powder (?), and pepper. I stirred until thickened. I then added two big handfuls of shredded Monterrey Jack/cheddar cheese, and shredded Parmesan (maybe a half cup) cheese. Stirred until melted.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Bob Evans Anyone? Spinach Onion Omelet

Do you ever eat at a restaurant somewhere and wish you could make the item you just ate at home?

I do that all the time....

And my trip to Bob Evans was a simple recreation in my own home. Have you ever had their Spinach Onion Omelet? Something so simple that packs a powerful punch.

This is my version of Bob Evans spinach and onion omelet.

Only four ingredients to make the palate happy.....fresh spinach, sharp white cheddar cheese, liquid egg, and onion. Oh and, a little butter for the skillets.

I used a medium sized skillet to saute the spinach and onion in a little butter (maybe 1/2 TBS). I left the butter melt over medium heat and threw in two small handfuls of spinach and 1/4 c. chopped onion. I lightly sprinkled in celery salt and pepper. I sauteed the mixture until the spinach was wilted. It doesn't take long, just a couple minutes.
I used a small skillet for my liquid egg with a little butter in the bottom. I also cooked this on medium heat. I swirled the skillet until all the egg was set and cooked. Turn off heat. On one half of the egg I placed the spinach and onion mixture along with a very light sprinkle of sharp white cheddar cheese. Then I folded the egg over, plated it, and then sprinkled just a little more cheese on top.

There you have it.....a Bob Evans Spinach Onion Omelet (my way).


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's Still April: Bunny Bait

It's still April and there are lots of bunnies out there......


I thought so....

This stuff is good anytime though. And so simple to make. Kind of like the Chex Mixes....quick snack.

And I found a place to use my Lucky Charm marshmallows.....Perfect!

Four bricks of white chocolate (and I know the picture only shows three) and you have yourself a sweet snack with lots of goodies in it.
Rice Chex
Lucky Charm marshmallows
Can't get any better than that......

All you do is dump on the white chocolate and mix. Let is turn hard, add the M&M's and it's bunny catching time.....
Right from the bowl to the mouth.

Bunny Bait

2 c. pretzel sticks (two handfuls)
2 c. rice Chex
1 c. Lucky Charm marshmallows
2 c. pop corn (popped)
4 bricks white candy melting chocolate
Frosting sprinkles of any kind
1 1/2 c. plain M&M's

Place pretzels, rice chex, lucky charm marshmallows, and popcorn on a foil lined cookie sheet (I used waxed paper and it was hard to mix because the wax paper kept sliding). Melt the chocolate and pour over the goodies on the cookie sheet. Mix with wooden spoon until everything is covered. Apply the sprinkles while the chocolate is still wet, but don't stir. Let the chocolate harden and then add the M&M's. Break up and put in a bowl or cute little snack bags.



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