Greek Green Beans

Green Beans featured on upper right side!
Here is the link for the Greek Stewed String Beans. We brought these to dinner on Christmas Eve for the Dumper side of the family. I have never had so many complements on a dish!


Winter Fruit Salad

Pineapple (fresh preferred, frozen ok)
Ruby Red Grapefruit
Apples (optional, toss in lemon-lime soda to keep them from turning brown)

Tortellini Skewers / Salad

This is great to serve on skewers as appetizers, but its also great to just toss together and serve with your easy weeknight meal. Mix and match your favorite ingredients!  

4-6oz pre-made pesto
1 pkg frozen tortellini
1 pkg cherry tomatoes
6 inch skewers
handful klamata olives
fresh mozzarella balls
artichoke hearts

Cook pasta, drain. Toss with pesto.
Add additional olive oil, salt and pepper- only if needed.
Assemble on skewers. Serve at room temp.

Crack Bread

This is a great appetizer to bring to a party. We call it crack bread because someone referred to it as it disappeared at a party, plus you cut a crack in the bread!

8oz swiss cheese, shredded
1pkg creamed spinach, microwave til hot
1pkg cream cheese

1 loaf french bread
Red bell pepper, diced

Combine 1st 3 ingredients until mixed.
Cut a triangle wedge out of the top of the french bread and toss.
Fill with creamy mix.
Wrap entirely with foil.
Bake at 350 for 15 min or until hot
Garnish with red bell pepper.
Slice into pieces.


Not enough chili until you've tried this too!

White Turkey Chili. 'Nuff said.

Just go make it

and eat it


Why are you still here? Get!

It is that good! There were no leftovers for me to bring to work. THAT good.

Plus it has hominy - which I had never tried before. I'm now a fan. Think corn tortilla flavor with a potato texture in a nugget that looks like a FAT white corn kernel.

So again, White Turkey Chili. 'Nuff said.

A long long time ago, or just last week...

You may remember when I posted a bunch of pictures that I was going to update with the recipes? Yeah, that hasn't happened. What has happened is that I have found all of the recipes that are not-so-greatly pictured below from an awesome must-drink-more-prosecco dinner party in Jan 2011:

Here is the link for the Greek Stewed String Beans... if you were lucky enough to have Indian feast leftovers a few weeks back, then the String Beans were included. They will be making an appearance at a potluck this week too!

Also on that plate is the Orzo Salad from Food Network's Giadia DeLaurentiis

And lastly, the Chicken with Salsa Verde, which is more pesto than salsa, but try it yourself. You will want to cover everything in that sauce :-)


Lesa Vaughn's Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Yum! Lesa was generous enough to share her chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake recipe. Katie made the frosting for one of her boy's birthdays, they were so impressed :-)


Soup Kick!

Big Fat Leaf Soup
Katie - "Bock choy smells like the big flat leaves in Grandma's back yard"

8 C chicken broth
1/2 a bag of shrimp & pork wontons
1 stalk bock choy, cut into strips, stalk and green included
3 carrots, cut into matchsticks
5 green onions

Bring stock to a boil
Add wontons and carrot
Let cook 5 minutes.
Add bock choy and green onion.
Let cook 5 minutes. Serve.

Asian Chicken Salad

1 C Diced Chicken
4 C Shredded Greens (Lettuce or Cabbage)
1 Carrot, Shredded
3 Green Onions, diced
2T Slivered Almonds
1 t Sesame Oil
1/2 T Canola Oil
1 ½ T Rice Vinegar
1/2 T Sugar
1/4 t Salt

Toss salad ingredients together in a bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together.
Pour over salad just before serving.


Comfort Foods

So here is my latest eat... comfort food!

This soup recipe uses many processed ingredients, which is atypical for what I usually cook. By adding additional ingredients and extra liquid to this packaged mix it really isn't too bad for you. No additional salt is needed!

I was also craving something cheezy and greasy, its kinda like a monte cristo, without the heart attack, enjoy - I did!

Quick N Hearty Soup
1 Pkg Cream of Wild Rice Mix (Like Bear Creek Brand)
10 cups water or chicken stock
12-15 turkey meatballs (pre-cooked, defrosted in micro or oven)
4 carrots, chopped
15 oz can diced potato, drained
1 C frozen peas

Bring water and carrots to boil. Add packaged soup mix and return to a boil.
Let cook at a medium heat simmer for 12 min., covered to soften rice.
Roughly chop meatballs and toss in. with the potato. Return to a simmer.
Once rice is fully cooked, add peas, let them heat through, but not boil and serve.

Mmmm Sandwich
2 pieces of healthy bread
1/4 C egg white
1 t simple syrup or sugar
light sprinkle of cinnamon
2 slices 2%swiss cheese, ripped into pieces
2-3 oz lean turkey lunch meat

Take egg white, syrup and cinnamon an mix on a plate.
Heat pan medium high with small amount of smart balance.
Lay bread in mixture, turning until all liquid is absorbed.
Put bread in pan. Let cook until browned on 1 side. Flip.
Apply cheese to toasted side. Top with turkey.
Once 2nd side is browned, flip bread together. Yum.


Peach Cobbler

1 stick of butter
1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 (28-ounce) can sliced peaches in light syrup, don't drain
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put butter in a 9x13 baking dish and place in the oven to melt.

Mix 1 C sugar, with the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.
Add milk and stir/whisk until lumps are out of your batter.

Mix ½ C sugar in with the sliced peaches.

Take the baking dish out of the oven.
Pour batter directly over butter in baking dish. DO NOT STIR.
Spoon fruit on top of batter, including any liquid. DO NOT STIR.
Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.


Veggie Roasted Veggie Veggie Lasagna

2 Supersized Zucchini
6 Heads of Broccoli
3 Carrots
30 oz Spinach

2 T Olive Oil
3 Onions, diced
3 Cloves Garlic
1T Basil
1T Oregano
1 t Italian Seasoning
2T tomato paste
56oz Crushed Tomatoes
28oz Diced Tomatoes, slightly drained

60 oz Low-Fat Ricotta
1t salt
1t pepper
1t garlic powder
½ bunch parsley, finely chopped

4 C Mozzarella Cheese
1 Box no-boil lasagna noodles

Spray 2 cookie sheets with oil. Slice Zucchini into large pieces ½ in thick. Lay tightly on cookie sheets and roast for 25 min. Flip slices and roast additional 15 minutes. Let cool. Slice into bite sized pieces.
Cut Broccoli into florettes. Cut carrots into thin slices. Combine. Sprinkle lightly with S&P. Spray a cookie sheet with oil. Layer vegetables and roast for 25 min.
Make scratch tomato sauce. Heat 2 T Olive Oil in a pan, add diced onion and cook until they begin to sweat. Add 3 Cloves Garlic, basil, oregano & italian seasoning. Cook for 5-7 minutes until starting to get golden. Add tomato paste. Stir until well combined. Add crushed & diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn down to simmer. Simmer until ready to assemble, at least 15 min.
Wilt the spinach in the microwave. I covered it with saran wrap and added a T of water, then microwaved for 3 min. Drain and toss with Broccoli & Carrots, after roasted.
Combine Ricotta cheese with 1t salt, 1t pepper, 1t garlic powder, and ½ a bunch of parsely.
Spray 2 9x13 (or larger) pans with oil. Assemble each pan of lasagna.
Place a ladle of sauce in the bottom of the pan. Cover with 4 lasagna noodles, layer with ricotta. Layer with zucchini. Layer with mozzarella, layer with other veggies, layer with sauce. Repeat.
Save some mozzarella for the top of the lasagna. Bake 350 for 30-45 min, until bubbly and meltey.


Temphe Tacos

The Pizza Challenge

So we have been trying to perfect our pizza. Not part of our "Healthiest Year of Our Lives" but an ongoing challenge nonetheless. I know there is such a debate over what is considered "good" pizza, but my 2 favorite types of pizza are:

The uber heavy deep dish Chicago-Style pizza with buttery flaky crust. Trademarked also by cheese on the bottom / sauce on the top. Its like nothing else in this world.

Thin crust, not to crackery, not too doughy. Thin enough to be crisp but strong enough to hold a slew of veggies on top.

We prefer this no-cook pizza sauce: 
*I love it this way but I have had kids tell me it is too spicy (peppery)
28oz crushed tomatoes
3 oz tomato paste
4 T Romano or Parmesan
1 t Oregano
2 t Basil
3 t Sugar
2 T minced fresh garlic
1 T black pepper

This is our favorite found thin crust:
1 1/2 C warm water
1 t dry yeast
1/4 t sugar
3 T olive oil
1/4 t salt
4 C all purpose flour
semolina flour

Turn on oven to 500 degrees. Wisk water, yeast, sugar, and 1 C flour in bowl.
Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place for 10 to 15 minutes, until yeast is active and bubbly.

Add 2 T olive oil and salt. Knead in remaining flour, 1 C at a time.
Cover bowl and allow dough to rise for 1 hour.

Punch down dough and transfer to floured surface.
Divide into 10 - 3oz balls. Allow to rest 10-15 min.

Using your hands, stretch out dough. Sprinkle semolina flour on peel. Place dough on peel and decorate with sauce, toppings and cheese. Bake approx 10 minutes.

And most impressive is the Flaky Deep Dish:
The website we adapted this from (www.toptastes.com forum:Flaky Deep Dish Pizza Dough) does not seem to exist. My notes include "DO NOT DOUBLE! Crust was very thick in large pizza pan" and use cut slices of motzarella. This crust is like a crescent dough.

Flaky Deep Dish Crust Pizza
2/3c warm milk 110*
2Tbls sugar
1 tsp yeast
1/2C butter, cubed
1tsp salt
2C bread flour

Mix milk, sugar, and yeast together. Let it sit until foamy. Mix butter, salt, and flour together. Add the milk mixture and knead until you have a soft dough. 
Grease a deep dish pizza pan and spread out the dough, pinching up the sides. Cover and rest 30minutes. 
Preheat oven to 450*
Uncover, prick the dough several times with a fork and pre-bake crust 4-5min at 450*.
Lightly cover with olive oil. Layer ingredients in this order:
1lb motzarella slices
1/2 lb browned meat (sausage)
Vegetables go on top!
Bake 25-30 min at 350*, until golden brown. 
Let rest until cheese can resolidify a bit before slicing.

Recipes to come...

Quick Asian Meal

The best thing to make when I don't want to cook? Dumplings! They are quick and simple with little clean up.
We prefer chicken and veggie ones from our International Grocery store.

We make these in a bamboo steamer with cabbage or lettuce leaves spread out under the dumplings. After the water boils in the wok, it takes about 15 min. til dinner is served.

These are topped with green onion and the sauce put on it includes a couple of shakes of: hot dumpling sauce, soy, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. All things that are just hanging out in our pantry!

Paired with a salad...Lettuce, Carrot (cut in sticks), Cucumber (cut in sticks), Green onion, Sesame Seeds, and 2 T of bottled Asian dressing.

And for dessert... 5 Spice Ginger Oranges! Yum! 

The original recipe from 1000 Low Fat Recipes and calls for:

5 seedless oranges, peeled and pith removed sliced across
1/2t Five Spice Powder
1 t Cinnamon
1/2 C honey
2 T Crystallized Ginger, very thinly sliced

Melt honey (in microwave) til runny. Mix in spices. Pour over sliced oranges. Toss. Sprinkle with ginger.

Finally got pictures off of my phone!

My cake wreck, complete with fault lines. Happy Birthday Guy! Dec 2010

The best part of going home for Thanksgiving (besides family)?
The WORLD's BEST Guacamole from El Burrito Mexicano in Lisle at 2am!

My 5 year anniversary cupcakes from May 2009
The closest thing I could make similar to our wedding cake!

Sloppy Joes

Yes, this qualifies for a healthy meal. Made with 98% lean ground turkey and having 1/4 of the dish (i.e. 1/4lb of turkey) for all this food is extremely filling and nutritious. We most recently served this with mashed honey sweet potatoes from Rachel Ray.

1lb Lean Ground Beef (or meatless veggie substitute or ground turkey works great too!)
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 minced garlic cloves
½ C ketchup
1 T brown sugar, packed
1 T vinegar, white or cider
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t yellow mustard
¼ t salt and pepper
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
4 Whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted

Brown meat, onion and green pepper in skillet over medium heat.
Drain fat. (If using veggie meat sub, brown vegetables first, then add meat sub.)
Add garlic & cook 3 minutes.
Mix ketchup, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, salt and pepper together.
Add mixture and can of tomatoes to skillet.
Mix well and cook uncovered 10 minutes, until thickened.
Divide between buns and serve.
Serves 4.

~ Mom's Recipe


Starting off the new year on a healthy track!

I'm hoping to post more of my healthy daily recipes this year instead of just my special occasion foods. I'm happy about a few new cookbooks added to my collection. Lots of new and yummy flavors to come!

Chicken with Wild Rice Soup
Make stock, cook chicken, and rice ahead of time to make this a quick weeknight meal.

1 T Olive Oil
1 Lrg Red Onion, Chopped
4 Stalks Celery, diced
3 M Carrots, chopped
1/2 t salt
4 cloves Garlic, minced
8 oz Button Mushrooms, halved or quartered
1/4 C flour
1/4 t rubbed sage
1/2 t thyme
1/4 t oregano
1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
1/2 T salt
2 T dry sherry (could substitute white wine)
48 oz chicken stock ( I used my own, made from this recipe, minus the turnip)
12 oz fat free evaporated milk
3 C cooked chicken breast, diced (I boiled the chicken the night before)
3 C cooked long grain and wild rice blend ( I made in the rice cooker the night before)

Heat oil in stock pot or dutch oven. Add onion, celery, carrot, and salt. Cook over medium high for about 6 min. Add garlic and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms start to release juices and begins to color, about 5 min.

Add flour and spices. Sir frequently until flour is light brown and thickens a little for a few minutes.
Add dry sherry. This will release any of the browning flour and prevent anything from scorching. Add chicken stock and evaporated milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 20 min.

Add chicken and rice to the soup. Cook an additional 10 minutes to let flavors combine.