Friday, January 31, 2014

Italian Vegetable "Goulash"

Ok... I know Goulash usually has meat and pasta in it,,,,but my Mom always used to make this,,,it never really had a name. It was always one of my favorites though!,,,So I figured I would call it Italian Goulash!,,,Here is my version,,,Enjoy!

2 T olive oil
1 small onion (diced)
5 small potatoes (Cut Big)
3 zucchini ( cut in 1/2 inch pieces with skin on)
2 C fresh green beans
1 24 oz Jar Marinara pasta sauce + 1 jar water
1 small can petite diced tomatoes
salt and pepper
grated parmesan cheese
saute onion in olive oil,,,once soft add all of the vegetables then
add the jar of Maranara sauce next fill the jar with water and add the  water along
with the petite diced tomatoes
Let it come to boil and then simmer for 50-60 minutes until potatoes are cooked
salt and pepper to taste
You can also cover pot while cooking
serve topped with parmesan cheese!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

~Chili Cheese Dip~

Well this may not be some fancy recipe,,,but let me tell you for 3 Ingredients that you can keep on hand,,,this is awesome!,,,,,My kids (and their friends) just Love this, and I have to warn you sometimes you need to make 2 of them!,,,Tostitos Scoops work great to scoop up all of this goodness! And with the Super Bowl coming up I thought this would be an easy no brainer type appetizer to post!,,,Here is what you do,,,Enjoy!

1 brick cream cheese (I use 1/3 less fat)
1 can Hormel chili (no beans)
shredded cheddar cheese
press cream cheese into pie plate with spoon,,,,top with chili
than sprinkle with cheddar cheese
You can place in a 350 degree oven until cheese melts or place in microwave for 2 minutes or
longer to melt cheese

Monday, January 27, 2014

No~Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

Here is a no bake version of Chocolate Cheesecake,,,,,if you like cheesecake and chocolate,,,,this one is for you!,,,,I used Milk Chocolate morsels ,,,not semi-sweet,,,and I made my own graham cracker crust,,,,but I am sure you could use a ready made crust if you choose....they also make the ready mades in individual serving sizes which might be fun!...This filling is dense more like a cheesecake than a pudding filling!...Here is what I did,,,Enjoy!

3/4 C graham cracker crumbs
 (I used about 5 whole crackers,,,placed in a freezer bag and smash with a mallot or can)
4 T sugar
2 T brown sugar
4 T butter (melted)
mix these ingredients together, then pour in a sprayed pie plate,,,press mixture into plate going up the sides about a 1/2 inch
Place pie plate in freezer while you make filling
1 1/2 C MILK CHOCOLATE morsels (I used toll house)  melted
11 oz. cream cheese
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C butter (softened)
2 C cool whip
Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl (about 60 seconds),,,stir and set aside
Place cream cheese, butter and sugar in mixing bowl
Beat with paddle attachment until well combined,,,add chocolate mixing well
once mixed replace paddle with whisk attachment and add cool whip,,,,combing well and scraping as needed....then remove crust from the freezer and pour filling in spreading around nicely
put pie in refrigerator until ready to serve
Serve with a dollup of Cool Whip!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cowboy Caviar

Well I have been making this for years and I just called it Bean Salsa,,,but apparently it has a name,,,"Cowboy Caviar",,,,who knew!,,,This is a guilt-free snack I serve with Tostitos Multigrain Scoops,,,,,You can store this in the fridge for days,,,If it lasts that long!,,,,You use 3 cans of beans for this Black, Pinto and Cannellini,,,,but you can use what you like,,,garbanzo would be good in here also or Kidney or black eyed peas,,,I also used pimentos from the jar but you could also finely dice a red pepper.....you could also add diced tomatoes if you like and if you are eating quickly you can add avocado before serving,,,Have fun with it,,,here is what I did,,,Enjoy!

1/2 Cup vegetable oil
3/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Water
1/3 Cup Sugar 
 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon t salt
Bring these ingredients to boil then cool
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can white cannellini beans, kidney beans or black eyed peas (your choice)
1 can sweet corn drained
1 small jar diced pimentos
1 cup finely diced celery
1 small onion finely diced
Place all of the beans in a colander and rinse and drain
add to a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients
Pour cooled dressing over it
Mix well
Cover and refrigerate overnight to marinate
Serve with chips and enjoy!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lentil Soup

I love Lentils!,,,they are pretty much a super food,,,packed with Protein, Iron and Fiber! This is a  great soup and the cumin in here gives it a great flavor,,,It takes a while to cook, but trust me it is worth the wait!!,,,,Enjoy!

2 T oil
1 small onion (diced)
2 carrots (diced)
3 celery ribs (diced)
1- 14 1/2 oz can petite diced tomatoes (undrained)
2 C Lentils (rinsed and picked)
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 t cumin
1 bay leaf
2- 32 oz boxes Beef broth
first place dry lentils in a colander,,,rinse and pick out any stems you may see (set aside)
saute onion carrot and celery until soft and onion is translucent
add tomatoes lentils and spices,,,,,,then pour in beef broth
Bring soup to a boil and then simmer for at least an hour,,,,stirring occasionally..
you can cover pot if you like
just give it a taste to make sure lentils are soft
remove bay leaf and enjoy!
(I sprinkled a tad more cumin in mine because I love the flavor!)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gnocchi~Chicken Soup

Here is my version of Gnocchi Chicken soup,,,,for this recipe you will use the Gnocchi that you find vacuum sealed on the shelf,,,not the frozen ones,,,,you can find these in most Italian markets! (I posted a pic below). I have seen these in a Gluten Free variety also,,,Here is what I did,,Enjoy!

2T olive oil
2T butter
1 small onion (diced)
2 carrots (diced)
3 celery ribs (diced)
3 T flour or corn starch
1/2 C half and half
1 C milk
1 32 oz box Chicken broth (4 cups)
1 C frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed) you can use fresh also
2 C Chicken (cooked and diced) you can also use rotisserie
1 package dry gnocchi
1 t thyme (dry)
1 t parsley (dry)
1 t salt
dash pepper
1 bay leaf (dry)
saute the carrot onion and celery in the oil and butter until soft and translucent
turn burner to low
whisk in the flour to make a roux,,,cook this for about 1-2 minutes not burning
whisk in the half and half and milk until smooth
add the chicken broth and all of the spices whisking together
turn heat to medium now,,,once it comes to boil turn down to simmer
you can now add the chicken and spinach
here is the gnocchi,,,any brand is fine
once broth looks thick enough you can add the gnocchi and simmer about 10-15 minutes (they don't take long to cook)
remove bay leaf and Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Home Made Granola Bars

These Granola Bars are very easy to make,,,,and again you can add what you like to them!,,,,,My daughter is always bringing Granola Bars to work to snack on,,,so we thought we would come up with our own!,,,,Here is what we did,,,,Enjoy!!

2 C crispy rice cereal
2 C quick oats (I use gluten free)
1/3 C nuts of your choice,,(we used sliced almonds)
1/3 C Craisins (we used cherry infused flavor)
Put ingredients above into a large mixing bowl and set aside
2/3 C honey
1/2 C peanut butter
1/4 C light brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
put these into a microwaveable bowl and cook for 1 minute
stir mixture when done
add to dry mixture and incorporate well
once all mixed and not too hot (chips will melt) we added 1/3 C mini chocolate chips
prepare an 8x 8 pan with a piece of foil or wax paper overlapping in 2 sides and spray with cooking spray
pour mixture into pan and press down to make even
then put into freezer to set for about an hour
once done,,,pull 2 sides of foil up to remove from pan....then slice as you like!
So have fun with these...I think pumpkin seeds would be a great addition also or dried cherries...but
like I said,,,add your favorites to make them to your liking!
I store these in a container and refrigerate!

Monday, January 20, 2014

French Onion Soup Casserole

If you are like me and Love French Onion soup, but find it difficult to make individually,,,,then this recipe is for you!,,,I have made 2 of these before for my Christmas dinner of 20! Here is what I do

3 T Butter
3 large sweet yellow onions (halved, then sliced)
In a dutch oven or lg pot start by sauteing onions in butter
until translucent and soft about 20-25 minutes
next add
1 32 oz box beef broth
1 T worcestshire sauce
1 bay leaf
1/2 t dry thyme
1 can condensed onion soup (undiluted)
salt and pepper
whisk this into onion mixture and bring to boil then simmer for 25 minutes until thickened
12 slices  French baguette bread
1/2 C shredded mozzarella
1/2 C shredded swiss. (mix 2 cheeses together)
meanwhile broil bread slices on a cookie sheet until lightly toasted (set aside}
Once soup is ready,,be sure to remove bay leaf ...pour into a large casserole dish ,,,place toasted bread slices on top
top with cheese mixture and bake at 350 until cheese is melted
When finished ladle into bowls with a piece of the bread and enjoy! 
If you are using a dutch oven,,,you could keep it in there to bake!

Skinny Chicken Salad

Now this is a great one to make and have on hand to Snack on!,,,The possibilities are endless to what you can add to yours!,,,I use the Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in the can from Coscto, but you could easily dice up a chicken breast that you have poached,,,,Have fun with it,,,,you can serve on crackers or roll it in a lettuce leave or a flour tortilla,,,,or serve on a cucumber slice! Enjoy!

1/2 Cup plain Greek yogurt
2 t honey
1 can Chicken or 1 Breast diced
1 rib celery (diced)
salt and pepper
I added dried cherries and sliced almonds
Here are some other things you could add:
green onion
diced apples
red seedless grapes (halved)
dried cranberries
add yogurt and honey to a bowl, stir,,, add chicken and remaining ingredients you like
mix together,,,,cover and refrigerate

Friday, January 17, 2014

Breakfast Cookies

These cookies are  healthy and fiber filled ,,,they also have no flour or sugar in them,,,again you can add what you like as far as the fruit goes!,,,Great for breakfast on the go,,,Have fun with it!,,,Enjoy!


C oats (I use Bob's Red Mill, gluten free)
1C coconut flakes
¼C almond meal
¼C quinoa flakes
¼C ground flax meal
½t salt
1t cinnamon
1t allspice
½C nuts chopped
1C dried fruit (I use ½ C dried cherries and ½ C dried apricots chopped)use what you like...raisins or dried cranberries would be good too!
¼C mini chocolate chips
¼C melted coconut oil
3ripe bananas mashed
1egg beaten


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gluten~Free Apple Kuchen Cake

This recipe is one that my sister Pauline used to make years ago,,,and I always loved it!,,,Well I wanted to see if I could make it Gluten Free and here is what I came up with!,,,,If you are not worried about making this gluten free,,,use regular flour and omit xanthum gum,,,,you can also use canola oil in place of coconut oil,,,,This is a very moist and tasty cake!,,,,Here it is,,,Enjoy!



3beaten eggs
C sugar
1C coconut oil melted and cooled
1t vanilla
2C gluten free flour (I use Bobs red mill)
t baking soda
1t salt
2t cinnamon
1t xanthum gum
1C chopped apples (granny smith)
1C chopped walnuts
powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350....In a bowl whisk together the eggs sugar oil and vanilla.....in another bowl add dry ingredients and whisk to sift....add the dry ingredients to oil mixture and mix well....add apples and nuts batter will be thick.....pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes....sprinkle with powdered sugar when cool

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

No~Bake Balls of Energy

These no bake energy balls are a great go to snack ...packed with protein,,,,My daughter makes these to bring to work for a those times when you need a little something and don't want to resort to something unhealthy for you,,,this recipe will make enough for the week.....just store in a container in the fridge and take them as you need them!

1/2 Cup walnuts
1/2 Cup almonds
1/2 Cup dried cherries
2 Tablespoon ground flax meal
1 -1/2 Cup quick oats
1/2 Cup coconut flakes
1/2 Cup peanut butter
1/2 Cup honey
1/2 Cup mini chocolate chips
Pulse nuts in blender or food processor add cherries, flax, oats and coconut pulse until finely chopped Transfer mixture to a bowl and add honey and peanut butter Mix until incorporated add chocolate chips... Roll into balls .....leave plain or roll in coconut flakes Store in container in fridge.... Enjoy when you like!
(You can also use dried dates or any other dried fruit to replace cherries)

Cabbage Soup ~ Vegetarian

Here is a really simple Cabbage soup recipe,,,,Best part 0 points and less than 100 calories per serving!! I make a pot of this for my Mom weekly,,,she Loves it,,,I just recently started adding the white beans to this recipe and I really like the addition!,,,,Enjoy!

1 small onion chopped
2 T oil
3 carrots Diced
3 ribs celery diced
1 small head cabbage chopped
1 can cannellini beans drained
1 46 oz can Tomato juice
2 - 11 1/2 oz cans V-8 juice
salt and pepper
Saute oil and onion in Large pot until translucent,,,add all of the vegetables and beans
Pour in the juices
bring to boil ,,,then simmer 45-60 minutes
until carrots are tender

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Gluten~Free Cherry Nut Oatmeal Cookies

Here is a recipe I came up with years ago!,,,,Many have asked me for this recipe so I figured I would share now!,,,If you are not worried about making these Gluten free,,,just use regular flour and quick oats and omit the xanthum gum,,,,everything else will remain the same,,,,I love the cherries in these cookies but if you are not a fan, you could replace with raisins!! Here is what I do....Enjoy

1 C (2 sticks) butter softened
2 C packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 C gluten free flour ( I use Bob's Red Mill)
3 C quick oats ( Bob's Red Mill)
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 t xanthum gum
2 t cinnamon
1 C chopped walnuts
1 1/2 C dried cherries
Preheat oven to 350
Add all of the dry ingredients to a bowl and give it a good mix,,,set aside
In a mixer cream together the butter brown sugar and eggs until mixed well
start adding the dry mixture to the bowl
Mix until well incorporated then stir in the cherries and nuts
drop dough by rounded tablespoon to silpat or parchment  lined cookie sheet
Bake for 9 to 10 minutes
This recipe yields about 3 dozen cookies

Monday, January 13, 2014

Stuffed Pepper or Cabbage Roll Soup

Here is my recipe for Stuffed Pepper soup,,,,if you want to make it Cabbage Roll soup you will just switch out the peppers for cabbage,,,,all of the other ingredients will remain the same,,,,so this recipe is a two~fer!!,,,Enjoy!

Stuffed Pepper Soup
1 small onion chopped
1 Pound lean ground beef
1 clove garlic minced
3-5 green peppers diced or 1 small head cabbage chopped
1 32 oz box or 4 C chicken stock
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14 1/2 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 family size bag success rice (cooked)
1 C water
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese (for garnish)
In a large pot brown ground beef and onion together until beef is cooked
 then add peppers and garlic followed by the broth, tomatoes, water and the cooked rice
season with salt and pepper...cook over med heat for 30-45 or until peppers are tender
this soup will be thick,,,like you just cut up a stuffed pepper in your bowl (without all the work!
don't forget to garnish with parmesan cheese!
For a Creamy version use this 32 ounce box of creamy tomato soup along with a can of petite diced tomatoes and 2 Cups Knorr bouillon broth
 instead of the chicken broth and tomatoes listed above

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Crockpot Lasagna

I had given up on making Lasagna years ago!,,,everytime I would make it, it turned out dry and crusty on the top no matter how much sauce I woud use,,,so I just never made it again....until I started making it in my crockpot!,,,,It has always turned out great,,,and I make it a lot now! I never really followed a recipe for it so I am going to try to give you the best instructions I can!,,,Here it goes... Also I have made this with 1 container of ricotta and I have made it with 3 the choice is yours you can also use your own method of making lasagna just be sure to use plenty of sauce so it doesn't dry out good luck
Here is what it looks like finished

Preheat your crockpot on high while you are getting everything together!


Ricotta Filling

1-3 ...15 oz containers Ricotta Cheese
1/4 C parmesan cheese
1/4 C seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
2 T parsley flakes
2 eggs (beaten)

Mix this together and set aside

6 C pasta sauce (I used my home made meat sauce)
4 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C parmesan cheese
1 box lasagna noodles (I actually only used 12)
I have also used gluten free noodles to make this and it came out great!

To Assemble

pour 1 cup sauce in preheated crockpot and spread around you want a generous amount to start add more if you think it needs it
add raw noodles you should be able to add a full noodle in center and then break 1 in halve for each side to cover bottom
add a little more sauce
then add ricotta mixture 1/3 of it... top ricotta with mozzarella then parm cheese
ladle more sauce over cheeses then add another row of noodles
repeat with cheeses and sauce
you will end with noodles that you will cover with just sauce,,,a lot of it..,,,this is what it should look like before you cover and start cooking

 and let it cook for about 2-3 hours on high (if during the course of cooking, the top layer of noodles get dry,,,add more sauce)....It is done once the top noodles look soft.......do not add the top layer of mozzarella till the very end when it is finished cooking it wont take long to melt
(re-cover after adding mozzarella)
0nce it is melted you can turn crockpot to low (you can also cook this on low for a little longer time if you like)

Edible Italian Centerpiece & Antipasto Display

Here is an appetizer display idea for your next spaghetti dinner!,,,,,Just grab a vase and add some caprese  skewers....I add some lettuce garnish around the rim,,,,I used pre marinated mozzarella balls then some fresh basil and topped it off with a cherry tomato,,,,for the antipasto display I just added my meats, cheeses and olives onto a pizza peel board,,,you can find these anywhere,,,I even saw them at the grocery store,,,,,,just add some crackers and bread and you are good to go,,,,Your guests will love to pick at this!,,,Be creative and add any specialty items you like to use,,,,This is what mine looks like,,,,Have fun with it!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Brussel Sprout Slaw

I just love Brussel sprouts!,,,,and I usually just roast them in the oven, but when I came across using them to make a cold salad or slaw I just had to try it,,,,,it makes such a nice and refreshing side dish,
I added chopped dried cherries to mine for a little sweetness,,,you can omit them if you like....or you can  add crumbled bacon to this recipe,,,, but the sunflower seeds in here are just a little added crunch that makes it yummy!,,,here is what I do

2 T olive oil
3 T white wine vinegar (I use white balsamic)
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 T honey
2 t mustard
1 T parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1 pound brussel sprouts raw  (halved then finely chopped)
1/4 C sunflower seeds
1/4 C dried cherries (chopped)
Mix together all ingredients for dressing in a bowl and whisk until combined set aside
Start chopping you brussel sprouts ,,,I halve them first then lay flat and give then a fine chop with my knife
put  them in a large bowl adding the sunflower seeds and cherries
Pour dressing over them and give them a good toss to combine well
cover bowl with plastic and refrigerate a couple hours before serving

Crown Royal Bottles

So I was ready to throw away an empty Crown Royal bottle,,,,And I said to my daughter "What a shame,,,this little bottle is so cute, I should keep it for something", and she said why don't you use it as a soap dispenser,,,,guess what it fits on there!,,,here it is
Then we were at a Restaurant last night, and they were using a Crown Royal bottle for the olive oil on their ceasar salad cart,,,It was so cute,,,,,you just add a liquor spout to the bottle...and here it is!
So I guess I will soak off the label (or I may just leave it on),,,,,,and tell my son to start drinking up, and save Mama some bottles LOL!!!