Monday, September 28, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

This is a super easy recipe. The chicken always turns out moist and tender. This recipe is originally from Kraft.

Chicken Parmesan

6 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 jar or can (26 oz) of prepared spaghetti sauce
parmesan cheese
1.5 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour 1 cup of spaghetti sauce into 9x13 pan and spread evenly over bottom of pan.
Place chicken in pan. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 - 60 minutes. Check for doneness by slicing into the middle of the largest piece of chicken. There should be no pink remaining. Remove cover and sprinkle with mozzarella. Place pan back in the oven (uncovered) until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

This is a very dense moist muffin. Even though you can buy pumpkin in a can all year long, pumpkin recipes seem like fall.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1.5 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
One 6 oz. container vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbl. canola oil
1 small can (15 oz.) solid pack pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Combine dry ingredients. Add yogurt, milk, oil, and pumpkin. Add nuts. Stir until well blended but do not over beat. Spoon into 12 greased or paper-lined muffin tins. Tins will be very full. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Often when I am baking I think "I'd like Grandma to help me with this" and I get out her wooden spoon.  The above photo features her spoon AND her apron.

This recipe was in Prevention magazine. It has healthy ingredients, so don't expect a super rich brownie from this one. They are tasty, though. Just don't go overboard because you think they are healthy; they still have enough calories to be dangerous. It's just that the calories come from good ingredients, such as walnuts and canola oil. As usual, I can't leave well enough alone so I cut the sugar in 1/2 from the original recipe, with good results. Oh, and I switched out the white flour for whole wheat.


1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
dash salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup no-sugar-added applesauce
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Break up any lumps in the cocoa.
Put sugar, oil, applesauce, egg and egg white, and vanilla in small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Pour into flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts (batter will be stiff).

Spread batter in prepared pan. Put in oven and bake 20 to 22 minutes or until firm at edges and wooden pick inserted off center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Place pan on rack and cool completely. Cut into bars to serve.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Aussie Chicken

Here's another recipe that Diedra made. She found it at It's a simple recipe that tastes really special, using ingredients that are usually on hand. As usual, I changed a few things. I left out some seasoning salt (too much salt), corn syrup (nasty stuff) and gave an option for microwaving the chicken breasts.

Aussie Chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
4 slices bacon
1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayo
1 Tbl. dried onion flakes
1 Tbl. vegetable oil
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook bacon by frying or microwaving. (I used the pre-cooked bacon; I love that stuff.) Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the mustard, honey, mayo, and dried onion flakes. Remove half of the sauce, cover and refrigerate to serve later.

Prepare chicken one of two ways:
Option 1: In a non-stick pan over medium heat, saute for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until browned; or
Option 2: Microwave in covered glass dish until cooked through.

Place the cooked chicken into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Apply the honey mustard sauce to each breast, then layer each breast with mushrooms and bacon. Sprinkle top with shredded cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken juices run clear. Use reserved honey mustard sauce for garnish or dipping.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Taco Soup

I got this recipe from Diedra after she made it for us during our last visit to Minneapolis. It was very tasty and perfect for the first day of fall.

Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef or turkey, browned and drained
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can corn (I used Mexicorn)
1 can kidney beans (drained)
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix

Combine all ingredients in large pot and simmer until heated through. I added about 2 cups of water to get the desired consistency.

Topping ideas: sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped green onions, crumbled corn chips

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Easy Guacamole

I love love love guacamole. Most guacamole recipes are pretty simple but if you have a craving and want a quick snack, this recipe is great.

Easy Guacamole

Two ripe avocados
Prepared (jarred) salsa
Lime juice (optional)

Peel, pit, and mash avocados in a bowl. Stir in salsa until it is the consistency you prefer. If you don't plan on eating all the guacamole right away, stir in two Tbl. lime juice to prevent browning. Serve with corn chips or crackers (we enjoy it on Triscuits).

Pecan Crusted Tilapia

Cracker Barrel had a dish on their menu, Pecan Crusted Trout, that I once ordered and loved. This recipe is pretty close to that and very simple to make.

Pecan Crusted Tilapia

1 lb. tilapia filets (defrosted, if frozen)
olive oil
Old Bay spice, any type (I used garlic and herb)
ground pecans (keep these in the freezer to retain freshness)

Lay out the fish filets in a glass baking dish. Drizzle a little olive oil over the filets and use your fingers to spread evenly to coat fish. Season with Old Bay spice. Cover with a thin layer of ground pecans. Cover dish with Saran Wrap, leaving one corner open to vent. Microwave for about 8 - 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Adjust time if needed for your microwave oven. Ours has an automatic button labeled for fish which works great.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Super Sloppy Joes

All of these vegetables go into this recipe for sloppy joes! The measurements below for vegetables are approximate and estimates are fine. You'll be surprised how good these taste -- even the carnivores in your family will love them. Oh, and if you don't have the Pampered Chef chopper, you really need to get one.

Super Sloppy Joes

20 oz. ground turkey (I use the 93/7 Jennie O brand)
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 finely chopped red or green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used jarred)
1/2 cup ketchup
2 (8 ounce) cans no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. brown sugar

Cook ground turkey, onion, carrot, celery, pepper, and garlic in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until meat is fully cooked, stirring frequently to crumble meat. Drain.

Add ketchup, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder and brown sugar. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. (Test a carrot - they take the longest.)

Serve on toasted buns or toast.

Easy Stir-fry

This recipe was originally written using beef and broccoli, which is how I made it the first time. The second time (pictured here) I used chicken, carrots, and cauliflower. Both variations were delicious and I am excited to try even more combinations.

Easy Stir-fry

In a bowl, combine:
2 Tbl. cornstarch
2 Tbl. water
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Add chicken and toss.
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into thin 3-inch strips

In a large skillet or wok (use no-stick cooking spray) over medium high heat, stir-fry chicken until done. Remove and keep warm.

Stir-fry veggies and onion for 4-5 minutes.
4 cups chopped fresh vegetables
1 small onion, cut into wedges

While veggies are cooking, combine the following in a small bowl until smooth:
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbl. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbl. cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Return chicken to pan with veggies and add sauce. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Serve over hot cooked brown rice.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Baked Onion Rings

Randy loves these onion rings, so he is in charge of preparation. I was 8 feet away and still crying! But no matter how strong the onions, these always turn out yummy. Cooking seems to mellow out even the sharpest onion.

Baked Onion Rings

Slice two whole large onions into about 1/2" slices. Separate the rings and place in large mixing bowl. For every two onions, use two lightly beaten eggs; pour eggs over the onions and mix with a large spoon. Sprinkle about 2 tsp. garlic powder over all. (You can experiment with other spices; barbecue blends are good.) Then sprinkle about 1/2 cup purchased dried bread crumbs over and stir lightly.

Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Spray foil with non-stick coating. Place onion rings in single layer on foil.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 1/2 an hour. Just enough time to grill your steaks.

We used a Butcher's Rub on our steaks that we purchased in Charleston from The Spice and Tea Exchange. Very peppery and spicy. Yum!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Slow-Cooker Lasagna

This was very simple to make and tasted delicious. Keep an eye on it after 4 hours; it all depends on your slow cooker. Mine took about 5 hours.

Slow-Cooker Lasagna

1 - 1.5 lbs ground turkey (I use the 93/7 fat variety)
1 jar or can (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 cup water
1 container (15 oz) part skim or lowfat ricotta cheese
1 pkg. (8 oz) lowfat shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
6 lasagna noodles, uncooked

Brown meat in large skillet; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and water. In separate bowl, mix ricotta, 1.5 cups mozzarella, 2 Tbsp. parmesan, egg and parsley.

Spoon 1 cup meat sauce into slow cooker; top with layers of half each of the noodles, broken to fit, and cheese mixture. Cover with 2 cups of the remaining meat sauce. Top with remaining noodles, broken to fit, cheese mixture and meat sauce. Cover with lid.

Cook on low 4 to 6 hours or until liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; let stand, covered, 10 min. or until melted.

Note: for best results, do not cook on the high setting.

Blueberry Lattice Pie

This pie won 5th place in a pie contest. Fifth isn't too impressive until you hear that there were 21 entries!

Flaky Whole Wheat Pie Crust

2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled (I used butter flavored Crisco)
5 to 8 Tbsp Ice Water

Sift flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into 12 pieces and use a pastry blender to rub into dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with some pea-size pieces. Sprinkle water over mixture, one tablespoon at a time and knead lightly just until a dough forms. Form dough into a ball. Cut in half and press each into a disc shape. Wrap each disc in waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.
Yield: 2 - 9" single pie crusts or 1 - 9" double pie crust.

Blueberry Lattice Pie

1- 9" double pie crust
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
5 cups blueberries
1 egg whisked with 1 tsp water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

On a floured surface, roll half of pie dough (one disc) into a 12-inch circle; fit into a 9-inch pie plate.

Combine sugar, cornstarch and lemon rind in a large bowl. Add blueberries; mix gently. Spoon into pie plate.

Roll remaining pie dough into a 10-inch circle. Cut into 12 strips. Arrange strips in lattice pattern over fruit. Press edges of dough together and fold under. Brush dough with egg mixture.

Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and bake 20-30 minutes, or until pastry is glazed and fruit is bubbling. Cool on wire rack.

Note: I used a 10-inch glass plate and pie was done at the 20 minute mark.

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