Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mary's Apple Crisp

6 medium sized apples
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon clove
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons lemon
3/4 cup white flour
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons softened butter

1. Peel, core and slice apples and place in the bottom of well-buttered 9"x13" baking pan.
2. Sprinkle half of the sugar over the apples.  Add spices and lemon over the sugared apples.
3. Mix flour, salt, butter and rest of sugar in small bowl. Sprinkle flour mixture over the apples.
4. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

My sister Mary and my Nathan. She shared this recipe over 20 years ago!


Grandma Nancy's Cheesy Potatoes

This casserole is incredibly delicious and a favorite in my family! They are one of the first things that I ate in the Colehour household, when we had our first "second Christmas" in Minnesota. We have had cheesy potatoes every Christmas since, and Brian will take no other similar dish being called by their name.

2 lbs. bag hash browns (I use Ore-Ida southern style - cubes not shredded)
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
1 sm. onion, chopped
2 c grated cheddar cheese
1 stick butter, melted
                                      (can add 1/2 can milk if too thick)

Mix together and put in 9 x 13 pan.

Top with 2 c. crushed corn flakes mixed with about 1/4 c. melted butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 min.

French Style Meat Pie

I make this every year at Christmas, but with the fall cooking and baking season rolling in, what the hay bale.

1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork sausage
1 small clove garlic, chopped
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. water
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dried sage
2 pie crusts (uncooked, for top and bottom)

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Put the potato in a small pan and cover with water, bring to a boil and cook about 5 minutes. Mash.

Brown the meat, then add the garlic, onion and water.

Add the spices, and cook until the meat is broken up and browned, and the spices are mixed in.

Remove from heat and mix in the mashed potato.

Put the meat mixture into the pie crust, crimp the edges, and use a knife to put two slits in an "x" in the center to vent the steam. Cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil.

Bake 25 minutes or until the crust is browned.

Serve with brown gray or ketchup.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fajita Fun!

Every Monday we try to do make something Mexican that we can assemble ourselves for dinner. There is just something about knowing we are coming home to sit around the table and have something fun, that makes Monday a little easier to get through.

1 lb meat (lean steak, chicken, pork, shrimp, portobello mushroom caps)
1/2 c Lawry's 30 min marinade - I like the Mexican chili lime flavor
1 large onion
1 bell pepper
whole wheat/high fiber medium sized tortillas
1/2 lime
shredded lettuce
diced tomatoes
MDP's easy guacamole
KMP's black bean soup

Marinate the meat for at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better ( I marinade it the night before and let it sit all night/day).

Heat a grill pan to high (or outdoor grill, but you will need a basket/pan/foil packet for the veggies).

Lay steak on the grille and cook until both sides have grill marks and to your desired doneness. I prefer thin steaks which only take 2-3 minutes per side. When the steak is finished, let rest for 5 minutes and slice against the grain on a diagonal. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the meat.

Cut the onions and peppers and toss with 1tsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out on the other side of the grill pan (or your grillable vessel of choice if on the outdoor grill).

Serve with the diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cups of the black bean soup, sour cream, and warmed tortillas.

Stuffed Jalapenos

12 large jalapenos, sliced lengthwise
1 block cream cheese, softened
1/2 c real bacon bits
1 c cheddar cheese

Clean out the seeds and the ribs from inside the peppers. Mix the bacon and cheese, and fill peppers. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese it melted and starts to brown OR if you are making other dishes just pop them in along side and check on them every 5-10 min until they are done.

Well, they beat the deep fried, breaded cheddar poppers....and real bacon bits are surprising low in fat for being a bacon products.

At-home takeout Chinese : Chow Mein

I found this recipe a few years ago when looking for something different to make with pork. I'm also a HUGE Chinese takeout fan but to save on the sodium and the wallet, I make my own to hold me over between cravings for those little white paper boxes of goodness.

2 TBSP oil
1 lb pork, chicken, shrimp, steak, OR 1 bag broccoli slaw (for a vegetarian version)
4-5 stalks celery, sliced into thin horizontal slices
1 large onion, sliced
1 can bean sprouts with liquid
3 TBSP soy sauce - low sodium version
1 jar chicken/beef gravy (or 1 tsp cornstarch + 2 tsp cold vegetable stock/water for veg version)
salt and pepper to taste
chow mein noodles

Heat a large skillet on high, add oil and heat. Add meat and saute until browned. Push meat to the sides of pan, add celery and onion and cook until softened. Mix all together. Add spouts w/ liquid and cook about 10 minutes. Add soy sauce and gravy and cook for another 5 until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over the chow mean noodles.

* If making the veggie version, just skip the meat and add the broccoli slaw in with the celery and onion.

* This is also great in the crock pot, brown the meat in a skillet, and add all ingredients but the gravy/cornstarch. Cook for 3 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low. Mix well and add in the gravy/starch, cook for another 20-30 min to thicken.

* When you make at home takeout style dishes you control how much sodium goes in.
* Full of healthy veggies, even my onion hater would eat "the onions with the special chow mein seasonings"

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tomato and Red Pepper Soup with Light(er) Grilled Cheese

I got this great little recipe a fews years ago and was afraid I had lost it for good. Until I found it on Family Circle's website. (Just love technology!) Since re-making it, Ive updated this post to be MDP style..

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 large sweet red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) Hunt's fired roasted diced tomatoes (my fav but any work)
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
bay leaf
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick pot over medium heat. Add onion, sweet red pepper, bay leaf and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add tomatoes, broth, tomato paste, sugar, basil, oregano and pepper. Break up tomatoes with a spoon. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. FIND AND REMOVE THE BAY LEAF!!! Puree with an immersion blender or work in batches in the stand up blender.

2 tablespoons light cream cheese
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
8 slices low-calorie whole-wheat bread
6 ounces 2% reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix cream cheese, mustard and shredded sharp in a bowl and spread on 4 slices of bread. Cover with the other slice and spray both sides with cooking spray. Heat up a large George Foreman grill and grill for 2-3 minutes, flip and grill for 1-2 minutes more (you can also just use the regular fying pan too but I like how they get thin and crispy on the grill.)

* Ill just go with the good old fashion nutrition info- not bad at ALL for soup and grilled cheese. Sparing the butter on the bread and using cooking spray saves a bundle and still tastes great!

Nutrition Facts (based on 4 servings)

Calories 362
Total Fat (g) 11
Saturated Fat (g) 6
Cholesterol (mg) 25
Sodium (mg) 822
Carbohydrate (g) 49
Fiber (g) 9
Protein (g) 26

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Buffalo Turkey Burgers

20 oz lean ground turkey or chicken breast (ever wondered why they sell it in 1.25 lb packages?!?)
1 egg
1/2 c bread crumbs
1/2 c finely minced onions
1/2 c finely minced celery
1 shredded carrot
2 tablespoons Buffalo sauce (our favorite is Ken's)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
Buffalo wing sauce for basting

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl. Draw an "x" in the meat to separate into 4 sections. Roll each portion into a ball and then flatten into a patty, use your fingers to make a divot in the center (helps it keep its shape when the meat starts to shrink).

Top with crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese as soon as it comes off the grill/out of the pan (or a slice of your fav if you don't like the funky stuff). Serve on a whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomato, extra wing sauce and a little ranch dressing if you would like.

* Ground turkey/chicken are lower in fat and calories (make sure you buy ground breast for this benefits so its just the lean white meat and not the "extras" OR grind your own from boneless, skinless breast meat)
* You get the taste of buffalo chicken without eating deep fried breaded strips of chicken or deep fried, skin covered fatty wings (not that I don't love me some buff strips or chicky wings)
* Go for the grill pan/foreman/outdoor grill. Making it on the grill over a fry pan lets the grease drain away.

Green Eggs and Ham

The boys in our house are not fans of spinach, so sometimes I have to be a little sneaky....

12 slices ham
8 eggs
1 c frozen spinach
1 tsp dried onion
1/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
1/2 c diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 -1c shredded cheddar

In a 12 cup muffin tin, spray each hole with cooking spray. Line the cups with a slice of ham, and let any extra hang over the top.

Put eggs, spinach, and spices in blender and puree until spinach is broken up and mixture looks green (it will be a little thick almost like pesto, but not quite). Pour the mixture into the cups, there should be just enough to fill them a little more than 3/4 of the way.

Top each cup with the diced tomatoes and cheese. Fold any ham that was hanging over onto the top of the cup.

Bake on 400 degrees about 15 minutes until the eggs have set and the edges of the ham are brown.

* Spinach is a great source of iron and calcium
* Eggs are high in vitamins, minerals and nutrients           

Sometimes we just eat pancakes for dinner....

Every once in a while when I am too tired to make something fancy, or just when I want to make something I know the kids will eat, we do a big batch of pancakes for dinner. These are supereasy, and come out fluffy and delicious!

Make up 1 batch of your favorite pancake batter from baking mix or pre-made pancake mix. I like Pioneer Brand buttermilk biscuit and baking mix (2 c. mix, 2 eggs, 1.5 cups milk).

In a food processor or mini chopper, coarsely chop up 1c. oats.

Mix oatmeal powder and 1 6oz container of flavored yogurt (strawberry and blueberry are my favorites) into the pancake batter.  Pour 1/4c scoops onto a hot griddle or electric skillet heated to medium. Once bubbles form, flip the pancakes.

* The yogurt keeps the pancakes moist without adding fat
* Oats are a healthy source of fiber and said to be healthy for your heart

Monday, September 20, 2010

Baranoff's Bacony Beertastic Beans

Who better to have for a lunch bud than someone who loves the same food?

I made these for a potluck at work-they were a snap to make and a huge hit. The theme was a Spring picnic and they were a great compliment to the fried chicken!

8 slices uncooked bacon, cut into small pieces
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 large)
1 cup barbecue sauce (he likes Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory and Brown sugar, why mess with greatness? )
1 12 oz bottle/can of beer
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, drained, rinsed
2 cans (15 oz each) pinto beans, drained
1 can (19 oz) cannellini beans, drained

1. In 10-inch skillet, cook bacon and onion over medium heat 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bacon reaches desired doneness and drain fat.
2. Place bacon mixture and remaining ingredients in slow cooker; mix well.
3. Cover and cook on Low heat setting 4 to 6 hours.

Well healthy protein and fiber from the beans of course.

All About Avocado

When my son was a baby I made all of his food, and found that a little baby guacamole was the trick to getting him to sleep through the night (unfortunately I didn't realize that until he was about 5 months old). After that, I started to make guacamole for the rest of us because it was so easy!

Take a half of a small, ripe avocado and put into a food mill or mini food processor. Add about an ounce of milk or formula, and puree until its a smooth paste. Keep adding liquid until its the right texture for your little one.

* Leave the pit in the half of the avocado that you do not want to use.
* Take the empty rind from the used half of the avocado, and put it over the full half. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap as air-tight as possibly and covering as much as you can.
* You may need to slice off a thin layer when you use the other half, but sometimes it stays perfectly green for a day or two.

2 ripe avocados
1 medium garlic clove
1 plum tomato
1/4 c fresh cilantro leaves OR 1 tsp cilantro paste (in a tube in the herb section) OR 1/2 tsp dried coriander
zest from 1 lime, plus juice
dash of salt, black and red peppers
Zest the green part from the lime, avoiding the white pith. Zap the lime in the microwave for 15 seconds and roll it on the counter or cutting board a few times (this lets all the zippy juice come out).
Combine all the ingredients until smooth in a food processor or medium bowl with an immersion blender.

Its important to keep guacamole stored in an airtight place once you cut it open. For easy an sandwich spread, snacking or lunches, I like to take snack bags and put about a 1/4 c into each bag. Then flatten the bag, and push out all the air as you zip. I have kept the green goodness looking great for as long as 3 days this way (just make sure there is NO air left behind). When you are ready to eat, you can take scissors and cut a small corner of the bag off making a hole about the size of a pencil, and then squeeze it out. If you are leaving it in a bowl, leave the bits in the guac and lay saran wrap over the surface of the guac.

Have you ever put guacamole on your bagel? MMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Avocados have been said to...
* Lower cholesterol levels
* Include necessary minerals like potassium, calcium, vitamin C and K, folic acid, copper, sodium and dietary fibers
* Contain healthy fats that keep you full (monounsaturated).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tia Panciotti's 4th Grade Southwest Project: "Texas" chili

Over a year before we moved to Texas, Tia was assigned the task of finding a "Texas" chili recipe and making it at home for a project her 4th grade class. We had no idea what made it Texas, or what the difference was from regular chili,  but we have used it every time we have made chili since. ACTUALLY ... this was the last recipe we made before my handwritten cookbook disappeared last January....

Cooking spray
2 c chopped onions
1 c celery
3 garlic cloves
1 lb ground beef, turkey, chicken or thinly sliced chicken breast
2 c tomatoes (diced,  or use whole and mash them with a wooden spoon once added)
2 c tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
2 TBSP agave  nectar or sugar
3 bay leaves
3 whole allspice
1 TBSP chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 ground red pepper

Spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray and cook onions and celery until soft. Put in a stock pot or crock pot. Respray the skillet and brown the meat. Add meat and remaining ingredients to the pot.

Cook on low setting in the crock pot for 5 hours, or low heat in the stock pot for 3 hours.

This is great with oven baked tortilla chips!
* Veggies are meat are browned with cooking spray instead of oil
* The beans are full of healthy protein and fiber
* There is no added salt

Kristine Jones' Congo Squares

2 3/4 cup white flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
1 pound bag brown sugar
3 eggs
1 (12oz) bag chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Melt shortening and add brown sugar. Mix well.
3. Add in eggs one at a time and beat well.
4. Mix in dry ingredients until everything is combined. Add in chocolate chips.
5. Pour into baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

My friend Kristine, her son Danny, and my Tia

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Quick, Cheap or Easy Black Bean Soup

28 oz canned black beans, drained/rinsed
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
4 cups of water/stock (ham stock is my fave)
1 cup minced celery
2 cup minced onion
3 carrot, peeled and shredded
1 finely chopped jalapeno
2 cloves minced garlic
1 small bag frozen corn
1 TBSP cumin
1 TBSP coriander
Black pepper to taste
Red Pepper Flakes to taste

In a large non stick saucepan, combine three fourths of the black beans, one half of the tomatoes and the water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. With an immersion blender, puree until mostly smooth. (or use a regular blender with a towel over lid to prevent steam burns. Hold lid down tightly and be careful when opening)

Add the remaining black beans, tomatoes, and the rest of the ingredients above.  Cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar for steam to escape. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and adjust spices as needed.

Throw everything but tomatoes and corn in the crock pot, cook 8 hours on low. Take half the soup out, and either blend in blender, or use an immersion blender to smooth half. Add tomatoes and corn and increase to high setting and cook an additional 30 minutes.  Adjust spices as needed

Substitute 2 cups dried black beans for canned beans, 2 TBSP of tomato paste for the diced tomatoes, and a dried chili pepper (which ever is your preferred heat level, I do mild red chilies for the fam and add hot sauce to my bowl) for the jalapeno. As the beans are not as salty when you use dried, you may need to add a pinch of salt

Rinse the beans well and place in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add at least 4 cups of cold water and let sit overnight. Drain and rinse beans, and all all but the tomato and corn. Cook on high for 8-10 hours, and remove 2 cups of the bean mixture pouring as much broth as possible back into the soup. Make sure your rehydrated chili pepper is in the pot so it gets broken up. Puree remaining soup with an immersion blender and add back reserved beans, tomatoes, and corn. Cook another 30 minutes and adjust spices as needed.

Makes about 10 servings. This is great with oven baked tortilla chips!

* Beans are full of healthy fiber and protein.
* No added salt and to reduce even further you can use low sodium tomatoes
* Per Serving (canned beans) 102 calories, 1g fat, 7g protein, 24g carbs, 7g fiber, 489 mg sodium.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Not yo momma's oatmeal

I have been making this for myself for a while and now that my kids have a new school schedule and eat together every morning, I make it for them while I'm bagging our lunches. Sometimes I'll make up snack bags with individual servings of the dry stuff and take them to work for the week (you just want to make it right in each bag instead of mixing and portioning to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed).

1/4 c Quaker oats (doesn't have to be the quick kind, regular work fine)
1/2 c water or milk
1 TBSP millet (a small round grain I get in the bulk aisle-google it!)

To this base you can add TONS of great mix-ins. Some out our faves are:

* 1/4 c of almonds, 1/4 c of dried berries (craisins, cherries, mixed)
* 1/4 c of almonds, 1 tsp of powdered flavored coffee creamer ( like hazelnut or amaretto)
* 1 TBSP chunky peanut butter, 1/2 tsp honey or agave nectar, decorated with a squeeze of chocolate syrup
* 1/2 tsp of brown sugar, 1/2 tsp of real maple syrup, walnuts
* 1/2 banana mashed up, 1/2 tsp honey or agave nectar,  dash of cinnamon

The possibilities are endless. If you are taking it on the run, its best to use sugar or artificial sweetener instead of honey/agave because you can just put it in the dry mix and add water when you are ready to use it.

Mix everything together in a cereal bowl or coffee mug. Microwave 30 seconds. Stir and zap another 30 seconds while closely watching that the oatmeal doesn't boil over into a sticky goopy micromess. If you like it thin you can do a little less time or add a little milk at the end, if you like it thick you may need to go up to another 30 seconds but keep a watch on it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Peacemaking Chocolate Cookies

These cookies were created extra special for my friend Jennifer Nance, who was left behind from lunch today. I have been playing around with turning my chocolate chip cookie recipe into a chocolate and ______ chip recipe. (I made a test batch earlier this week that were chocolate w/ butterscotch chips- a must try!) At her request, here is my "something with peanut butter" treat!

Preheat even to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine:
2 c white flour
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt

In a large bowl (or the kitchen aid mixer bowl), beat until creamy:
2 sticks of softened, unsalted butter
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c splenda (granulated)
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Add 2 eggs, separately until incorporated into mixture.
Add flour mixture and beat until well blended.
Mix in by hand (even if you are using the mixer) 1 bag of peanut butter chips (sold with the chocolate chips).

Bake for 8-12 minutes depending on cookie size. Makes 4 dozen small cookies or 2 dozen large cookies.

To reverse back to traditional chocolate chip cookies, leave out the cocoa powder and reduce splenda to 1/4 c.

Crockpot Queso

1 16 oz block Velveeta
1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilis)
1 lb browned ground beef, turkey, chicken, or sausage

Warm for 2-3 hours on low, stirring occasionally until everything is melted and blended together.

Serve with baked tortilla chips.
Im pretty sure its not .... but you gotta live every once in a while! It does have tomatos in it....

Beth Murphy McLean's (Modified) Chili Cheese dip

Nothing reminds me of football like this dip, which we always had for superbowl.  Mmmmmmmm....

8 oz cream cheese (whipped makes it easier)
1 can no-fat re fried beans
1 can chili without beans (or with beans or 2 cups of homemade: leave out the re fried beans)
1/2 c jalapeno slices
2 c shredded cheddar

Layer in a glass pie plate or Pyrex 8x8 baking dish in the order listed. Microwave about 5 minutes or bake in a 350 degree oven 20-30 minutesuntil the cheddar is melted and bubbly .  Serve with baked tortilla chips.

A party girl always knows her party food ;)

Oven-baked tortilla chips

Homemade chips are the perfect companion for homemade salsa that I can for my family!

1. Cut corn tortillas into 6ths.

2. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and line the chips in a single layer.

3. Sprinkle tortilla pieces (lightly) with your favorite seasonings ( I like to use a store-bought blackening seasoning). Spray chips with cooking spray.

4. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until they are golden brown and the edges have rolled up a little. (Watch the first batch very closely to figure out how long they will take in your oven).

5. Line a large bowl with paper towels, dump chips into bowl as they come out of the oven. Once chips have completely cooled, store in gallon bags.

Peanut Butter Frosting

Great on brownies, in/on cupcakes, and (dont tell my kids) right off the spoon.

4 TBSP softened butter
1/2-2 c powdered sugar
1/4-1 c creamy peanut butter

In a medium bowl, whisk the butter and peanut butter until smooth and combined. Add in 1/2 c. sugar and continue to whisk until it resembles..... frosting. You may need to keep adding a little sugar at a time until it comes to the right consistency, and you have to really a strong fast whisk into it (or cheat and use the Kitchenaid with the whisk attachment).
As a cupcake filling: Put icing into a pastry bag with a wide tip (like the star). Poke the top of cooled cupcake with the tip and squeeze for a few seconds. You will need to put your finger over the hole for about 15-20 seconds while the frosting settles, and then frost the top right away to keep the filling in.
AMAZING when you fill chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing.

Yield is usually about 1-2 cups of frosting.

* This is one of my guessipes and a lot is usually done on sight and taste.

STAY TUNED FOR THE PEANUT BUTTER CAKE RECIPE (2 layer PB flavor cake, PB center icing, frosted in chocolate and decorated with peanut butter cups!!!)

Fruity Tutty Healthy Tip

We shop the sales and always fill the fridge with fresh fruit so that there is a variety of healthy options for snacking, healthy breakfast/dinner sides, and packing lunches. Many times the bananas have brown spots before we eat them (we are a non-spot loving family), the berries start to get mushy, and the pineapple and melon just get forgotten.

At the first sign that our fruit is about to move on to a better place, I freeze it for smoothies so its already preparted and ready to go. After washing, cutting, and individually freezing, I throw them in a freezer bag like ice cubes.

Strawberries- Wash and remove the tops. Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet cut side down and freeze overnight (keeps them still).

Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries- Wash in a colander and let dry completely. Throw directly into a freezer bag.

Bananas, cantaloupe, honey dew melon, pineapple- Peel and slice into 1" chunks. Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and freeze overnight. (Also great for banana bread)

Watermelon- puree in blender, pour into an ice tray. Freeze overnight, throw cubes into a freezer bag.

Apples- Peel and core. Cut into slices and toss with a squeeze of lemon juice. Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet cut side down and freeze overnight. ( I have never used them for smoothies but they are great to store for future baking)

Tracy Foley's Deliciously Easy Pulled Pork!

The soda really tenderizes the meat and flavors it at the same time. You can also make it with a pork shoulder, and trim the fat once its cooked before shredding.

2-3 lb pork tenderloin
1 can root beer or Dr. Pepper ( A&W is Foley's Favorite!)
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

Cook the pork tenderloin in the crock pot on low for 6-8 hours. Drain the liquid and shred the pork in the pot with 2 forks. Pour in your favorite sauce and mix well.

Unstuffed Cabbage

This is a great dish that is quick and easy to make (and a hit with my kids)! One of the few healthy dinners  my son will gobble up without a fight!

1 lb ground chicken or turkey sausage
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 can diced regular or fire roasted tomatoes
1 c chicken broth OR 1 c water and 1 tsp chicken bouillon
1/2 medium size head of green cabbage, shredded or cut to fine ribbons
1/4 tsp cumin
bay leaf
salt, black pepper, red pepper to taste

Heat a large pot to medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Brown sausage and break up until crumbled. Add the garlic and onion and saute until softened. Add tomatoes, seasonings, bay leaf and broth/water and bring to a gentle boil.  Turn back to medium, add in cabbage and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Serve over brown rice, whole wheat pasta, or Mashed Potatoes !

* You can also use ground turkey or chicken, but will need to season the dish up a little more with a few shakes of Italian seasoning, fennel, extra salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper.

You can also adjust the seasonings to what you like and for variation.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Taco Seasoning

This is a great homemade substitute for the salty packets of taco seasoning. With all the flavorable herbs, its tastes as good but is much healthier for you! I make it in a 4-cup tupperware so that it can be mixed up well and stored easily.

8 TBSP (1/2 cup) dried onion (chopped or flakes)
4 TBSP (1/4 cup) onion powder
4 TBSP (1/4 cup) chili powder
2 TBSP (1/8 cup) salt 
2 TBSP (1/8 cup) oregano
2 TBSP (1/8 cup) cornstarch
2 TBSP (1/8 cup) crushed red pepper
2 TBSP (1/8 cup) garlic powder
2 TBSP (1/8 cup) cumin

Use 2 TBSP of the seasoning mix (equal to 1 packet) for every pound of ground beef, turkey, chicken, steak, shrimp, veggies, etc.

1 4oz serving of seasoned meat/vegetables has 260mg sodium from this blend.

Enjoy this seasoning in:
Taco Ranch Soup
Shredded Beef Tacos
Baked Tostada Nachos
5 Time-Saving Meal Ideas for the Busy Mom

Make a quick taco dip by mixing 2 TBSP seasoning into 16oz sour cream or greek yogurt and serving with tortilla chips.

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