Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Zucchini Ribbon Pasta with Light Creamy Lemon-Basil Sauce

We had this for dinner tonight.  Jesse thought it needed meat, but I thought it was perfect as-is.  I liked how light and refreshing it was for a summer evening dinner.  An extra squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of basil on top would be much welcomed!  I served it with green salad with Olive Garden dressing and grapes.

Picture and Recipe from OUR BEST BITES

WW PointsPlus:  7 points for 1/4 of recipe.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Oven Baked Ham and Cheese Sliders

These sandwiches were SO good I couldn't stop at just one.  Now I'm so full I'm slightly regretting that extra sandwich.  Just slightly.

Oven Baked Ham and Cheese Sliders
6 Rhodes dinner rolls, baked
1 T. mayonnaise
1 T. miracle whip
6 slices Black Forest ham
6 slices provolone cheese
2 T. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. poppy seed
2 tsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. dried minced onion

Slice rolls in half.  Mix mayonnaise and miracle whip, and then spread on both the bottom and top halves of rolls.  Place bottom half of rolls in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet close together. Place 1 slice of ham, folded to fit, and one slice of cheese on each roll.  Replace top.  Mix poppy seed sauce ingredients and pour evenly over the tops of the sandwiches.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, until tops are browned and crispy.  Serve warm.  Note:  sandwiches can be prepared a day ahead and kept in fridge.

WW PointsPlus:  10

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Healthier French Toast

I've been trying to make a few healthy changes to our diets without sacrificing flavor or texture (and that I can maintain throughout our lives).  Here's a successful change that no one could tell the difference between the original and the healthier version.

Healthier French Toast
8 slices high fiber wheat bread (at least 3 grams fiber, but preferably 6 grams) - I used Granny's Delight 100% Whole Wheat Bread
1 whole egg
3 egg whites
1/3 cup 1% or 2% milk

Mix egg, egg whites, and milk.  Quickly dip both sides of bread in egg mixture and place on a hot non-stick griddle.  Cook until golden brown on both sides.  I served mine with fresh strawberries and 1 T. powdered sugar sprinkled over top.  Delish!

WW PointsPlus:  5 pts for 2 slices (syrup, sugar, etc. are extra points)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Twice-Baked Potatoes

I made these delicious potatoes from The Sisters Cafe for dinner last night.  I doubled the recipe so I would have leftovers to freeze, which I plan to take to Heather's on Friday!  I used low-fat buttermilk rather than butter and milk.  Also, the Hormel Real Crumbled Bacon (I get mine at Costco or Sam's) works great for this recipe (1 tsp. per potato half was perfect!).  Even Kaysen tried this with no complaints once I told him the inside is like mashed potatoes, and the outside shell is a baked potato!

WW PointsPlus (using 11-13 oz. potatoes - baked weight): 9

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dinner Roll-Ups

We usually call these Tuna Roll-Ups, but you could probably use any cooked or canned meat, as well as your preference of cream soup.  In fact, let's have a Roll-Up Challenge!  Try a different meat/soup combination and tell us all how it turned out!

Tuna Roll-Ups
1 recipe Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cans (5 oz. each) tuna
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 - 1/2 cup water

Make Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits according to recipe, except roll into a 16x10" rectangle. Spread 1/2 cup condensed soup over biscuit dough, leaving about 1" on the lengthwise side furthest from you without any soup.  Open cans of tuna and drain.  Flake and sprinkle with your fingers over the rolled out dough/soup.  Roll up lengthwise, like cinnamon rolls.  Seal the portion of dough to the roll that didn't have any soup on it.  Cut into approximately 1 1/2" slices, making 10 roll-ups.  Place each roll-up on a parchment-lined baking pan.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.

In a medium saucepan, mix remaining soup, lemon juice, and enough water until gravy consistency.  Heat and serve over roll-ups. Makes approximately 1 cup gravy.

We always serve these with green beans, but they would be good with any side vegetable or green salad.

WW PointsPlus:  5 points per roll-up + 1 T. gravy

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

This is what I'm having for dessert tonight and breakfast tomorrow morning. I got the original recipe from Will Cook for Smiles, but decided to tweak the ingredients just a tad.  I love how plump the muffins turned out.  They are very moist, with a deep chocolate flavor. I'm not sure how the original muffins taste, but I like my edition A LOT!

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
2 cups shredded zucchini (I peel the zucchini and remove seeds before shredding)
3 egg whites
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda

Mix wet ingredients, including zucchini, in a medium mixing bowl.  Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Using a medium scoop (Pampered Chef), place 1 scoop of batter into 16 paper-lined muffin cups.  Using a small scoop (also Pampered Chef), add an additional scoop of batter to each muffin cup.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  WW PointsPlus:  4 points per muffin.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lemon Pepper Zucchini & Onions

We had sauteed zucchini and onions from the garden tonight.  Delish!  Here's my method.

1 small zucchini (I used gold rush)
1 small onion (I used a wala wala white)
2 tsp. canola oil
lemon pepper seasoning

Slice zucchini into fourths lengthwise, then slice horizontally into pie-shaped pieces.  Set zucchini aside.  Slice onion.  Heat oil in non-stick skillet.  Add onion and stir to coat onion with oil.  Let cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add zucchini and cook until vegetables are crisp-tender.  Sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning.  Enjoy!  This made 2 large servings of vegetables.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Moist Chocolate Cake

I found this recipe in The Taste of Home Baking Book (pg 126). It is seriously THE BEST cake I have ever had. It was easy to make, I had all the ingredients on hand, I could lick the cake batter left over in the bowl (b/c there aren't any eggs in it!), AND the cake is SO moist and good, it doesn't need frosting. Delicious!

PREP: 10 min.
BAKE: 30 min. + cooling
YIELD: 9 servings

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil (I thought this was annoying measuring 6 tablespoons... anyone know the equivalent in like 1/4 cups?)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cold water
Confectioners' sugar

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. using a spoon, make three wells in the dry ingredients. Pour oil into one, vinegar into another and vanilla into the third. Slowly pour water over all. Beat on low speed until thoroughly combined (batter will be thin).

2. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Really Crispy Potatoes

(We watched this on America's Test Kitchen, and I didn't get the name of this recipe, so the name above is my description of the potatoes.)
2.5 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Rosemary (I didn't have Rosemary, so I used parsley)
1 teaspoon corn starch
     Wash the potatoes.  (I peel mine but you can leave the peelings on.)  Cut into 1/8-inch slices.  Place into a large bowl of cold water to remove the starch.  Swish around with your hands, then drain the potatoes in a colander.  Dry the sliced potatoes really well by dumping some onto a clean kitchen towel and drying with another clean kitchen towel.  Let sit as you prepare the flavoring. (At this time I turned the oven to 450 degrees to heat it up.)
     To flavor the potatoes prepare the following in a bowl that will hold the potatoes.  (I just rinsed out the bowl that I had used and dried.)  Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, whisk in the salt, pepper, rosemary and corn starch.  Add the potatoes to the bowl and, using the best two tools in the kitchen--your hands--toss the potatoes with the butter mixture until well coated.
     Prepare the pan--they used a 10-inch non-stick frying pan that the handle could be put in a hot oven.  I used my castiron frying pan--the heavier one.  Put 1 tablespoon melted butter into the pan and coat all the sides and the bottom (you may have to use your fingers).  Arrange a layer of potatoes on the bottom (starting at the center and moving out to the edges), this is for appearance.  Then dump in the rest of the potatoes and move around and press down until it feels level.  Place the skillet on the stovetop and turn the heat to medium high, and cook about 5 minutes--just to sizzling.
     Place a square of sprayed aluminum foil over the potatoes, pressing it down.  Put a 10-inch round cake pan on the foil, and place pie weights in the cake pan.  (This is to weigh down the potatoes.)  Place in a 450 degree oven and bake 20 minutes.  Remove the cake pan and foil from off the potatoes, and continue baking another 20 minutes. 
     America's Test Kitchen, then removed the pan of potatoes from the oven and placed on the stove top and over medium heat, shook the frying pan until the potatoes loosened from the bottom of the pan--this only took a minute or two.  (This did not work with the castiron skillet.)  Invert the potatoes onto a serving platter, slice and serve.
     This potatoes are really crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  The taste is really good, too.  I can't wait until our Yukon Gold potatoes are ready.  We have just been using Russet, Burbank.  To do in a 12-inch Dutch Oven, we put aluminum foil in the bottom and sides; followed the directions above adjusting the potatoes and flavoring as needed for the number of potatotes we used, put 10 briquets on the bottom and loaded the top.  We put the sprayed foil over the potatoes, and weighted it down with a 10-inch Dutch Oven lid, baked 25 minutes.  Removed the 10-inch lid and foil and continued baking another 25 minutes.  The potatoes didn't get very crispy, but they were very delicious. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chicken and Guacamole Tostadas

This is a recipe I found online. I didn't take a picture of the completed meal--so this picture is from the recipe I found. I like to buy rotisserie chicken meat that has been cut off the bone and packaged at Costco. You can ask for it at the deli counter. We found this meal to be refreshing, super easy to prepare, and very yummy! It's perfect for summer because it doesn't involve any heat to prepare.

1 ripe peeled avocado
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped tomato, divided
3 tablespoons minced fresh onion, divided
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeño pepper
2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
8 (6-inch) corn tostada shells

1. Place avocado in a small bowl; mash with a fork. Stir in 2 tablespoons tomato, 1 tablespoon onion, 1 tablespoon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and garlic.
2. Combine remaining 1 cup tomato, 2 tablespoons onion, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cilantro, and jalapeño; toss well.
3. Combine chicken, remaining 1 tablespoon juice, and paprika; toss well to combine. Spread about 1 tablespoon guacamole over each tostada shell; top each with 1/4 cup chicken mixture and about 2 tablespoons salsa.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Pioneer Woman's Restaurant-Style Salsa

This recipe will surely impress your family and friends, especially if you use cilantro growing in your garden!  It's good with chips, all Mexican food, scrambled eggs, as a side dish with ANY meal, etc.


  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice (I used a quart of home-canned tomatoes)
  • 2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Onion (from the garden, baby!)
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin (from the garden!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro (more To Taste!) (again, from the garden!)
  • 1/2 whole Lime Juice

Preparation Instructions

Note: this is a very large batch. Recommend using a 12-cup food processor (I used my blender), or you can process the ingredients in batches and then mix everything together in a large mixing bowl.
Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you'd like---I do about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.
Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Harriet's Potato Salad

I've always loved Harriet's potato salad and was thrilled when she included the recipe in the Wilson Family Cookbook.  I usually half the recipe for our small family, but the full recipe would be perfect to bring to a family reunion or party.

5-6 medium potatoes boiled or baked until tender
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 - 1/2 cup finely diced purple onion, to taste
1/2 cup minced dill pickles
1/4 cup minced sweet pickles
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1-2 cups mayonnaise (NOT miracle whip)
1 tsp. yellow mustard

Peel and finely chop warm potatoes (they seem to soak up the flavors better when they're warm).  Add finely chopped eggs.  Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.   The size of the potatoes will determine how much mayonnaise you use.  Refrigerate until chilled.

Rice Pilaf

We're having this for dinner tonight, with Catalina Chicken and Grilled Trout.

2 cups long-grain rice
4 T. butter
4 cups boiling water
2 T. chicken bouillon (or 6 cubes)
2 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup diced celery
3/4 cup grated carrots
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Brown rice in melted butter on stove-top.  Place browned rice in 9x13 pan.  In sauce pan, boil water and bouillon.  Remove from heat and add lemon juice.  Pour carefully over rice and stir.  Cover pan with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Add veggies and nuts and fluff with fork.  Cover with foil again and continue to bake for about 20 more minutes.  Note:  I've also made this as a "skillet" dish, similar to the directions on a Rice-a-Roni package, with great results.

Crockpot Fajitas

Crockpot Fajitas
Serves 6 people
Recipe slightly adjusted from The Ultimate Bulk Buying Cookbook

1 1/2 lbs flank steak (or london broil), trimmed and cut into three pieces (the best price was at Winco for $2.98 per pound; Sam's Club was double the price, and Albertson's best sale price was $3.99/lb!)
1 1/2 T. vegetable oil
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. dry oregano
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
2 large bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 cups salsa
salt and pepper
flour tortillas
toppings as desired:  shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, etc.

Add oil to a saute pan over high heat.  Combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, and oregano.  Rub steak with the mixture.  Sear steaks in the hot pan until browned, and then let cool on a plate.  Once cooled, transfer steak to gallon-size ziploc bag, and add salsa.  Seal and freeze flat.  Place sliced onion and peppers in a quart-size ziploc bag and freeze flat. Place tortillas in a gallon-size ziploc bag and freeze flat.

Thaw steak completely.  Place in crockpot and cook on LOW for 8 hours, or on HIGH for 4 hours.  Shred steak and leave shredded steak in sauce.

Use a small amount of oil or butter to stir-fry the onion and peppers.  If desired, mix onion and peppers with shredded steak and sauce.  Or, for picky eaters like mine, serve the stir-fried onion and peppers separately for individual assembly.

Wrap steak and peppers/onion in warm tortillas and top with your favorite toppings.  We like to serve this with a squeeze of lime juice.

Taco Seasoning

I was making Taco Soup and realized I didn't have a taco seasoning packet.  I found this recipe for taco seasoning on allrecipes.com.  It made the equivalent of one packet of seasoning.  And it tasted great!

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix spice together and store in an airtight container.