Saturday, November 28, 2009

Banana Bread

I love my big stainless steel mixing bowl. I probably use it 3 or 4 times a week.

The recipe, as written, makes one loaf. I doubled it today and made two loaves of bread.

These loaves won't last long in this house. I hope you enjoy it!

Banana Bread

Preheat your oven -- 325 degrees for a glass baking dish; 350 degrees for a metal pan

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar or splenda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda (increase to 1 tsp. if you use splenda)
1/2 cup butter or transfat free butter substitute (I used Smart Balance)
3 mashed bananas
2 eggs - slightly beaten

Spray loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Mix first 5 ingredients with fork. Cut in butter with pastry blender. With fork, stir in bananas and eggs.

Bake 55 minutes - 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Oven Apple Pancake

This dish was a good choice for a light breakfast on Thanksgiving. It would also work well for Christmas.

It is simple to prepare, and makes up into something a little special for a holiday breakfast.

Serve with just a little drizzle of real maple syrup.

Oven Apple Pancake

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3 cooking apples, peeled and diced (I used Macintosh)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar or splenda

Spray sides and bottom or a 9 or 10-inch pie plate with nonstick spray. In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt, and flour until smooth. Let batter rest for a few minutes.

Peel and dice the apples. Mix the apples together with the sugar and cinnamon right in the pie plate and distribute evenly.

Pour the batter over the apples and bake in 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.

Serve with maple syrup.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Baked Beans

These dressed up baked beans taste very close to homemade. A very simple recipe produces a delicious side dish. I hope you enjoy this mouth-watering recipe!

Baked Beans

5 slices pre-cooked bacon, prepared in microwave according to directions on package
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 21-oz. can vegetarian baked beans, drained slightly (just use can lid to drain most of the liquid off)
1 15 to 16-oz. butter beans, pinto beans, or mixed beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbl. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. prepared yellow mustard
1 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crumble cooked bacon, set aside.

Saute onion in nonstick pan about 5 minutes or until tender.

In a 1.5 quart casserole combine beans, bacon, and onion. In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Pour sauce over bean mixture and stir gently to coat.

Bake, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes or until heated through and bubbly at the edges.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this recipe in the March 2009 issue of Prevention magazine. They turned out to be absolutely delicious!

There are some healthy tweaks from a traditional chocolate chip cookie, but I have to say that I think they actually taste better. The taste reminds me of the cookies you can buy at the mall or at a bakery.

You won't feel deprived when you eat this cookie, I can tell you that. Just be careful, if made according to directions this is a big cookie and it would be easy to eat a handful and negate any healthy benefits.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup canola oil
2/3 cup granulated sugar (I substituted Splenda)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large egg whites (I substituted one whole egg)
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (4 oz.)

1. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk together oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in large bowl. Whisk in egg whites and vanilla until smooth. Stir in dry ingredients until blended. Fold in oats and then chocolate.

2. Cover and chill dough at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

3. Shape dough into 16 balls (1/4 scant cup each) with hands, using a little pressure. Place 8 balls on each prepared sheet. With fingers, press each into a patty about 3" in diameter, allowing about 2" between patties for slight spreading.

4. Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until desired brownness (do not overbake), switching position of sheets halfway through. Let cool a few minutes before moving to rack to cool completely.

Note: First, I did not chill the dough and still had great results. Second, I made the recipe into 15 cookies, and placed them 3 x 5 on one baking sheet. They were crowded right up to each other but turned out fine. Also, I sprayed the baking sheet and did not use parchment paper.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Party Press Cookies

Here is the recipe that I talked about over on my other blog. I think the secret is using real butter and the almond extract. My mom has always added food coloring to make the cookies more festive looking. Enjoy!

Party Press Cookies

Developed by Ann Pillsbury

Sift together:
1 2/3 cups sifted enriched flour
1/2 tsp. salt

In separate bowl, cream:
1/2 cup butter, gradually add
1/2 cup sugar, creaming well

Blend in:
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract. Beat well.

Add the dry ingredients gradually; mix thoroughly.
Chill dough in refrigerator, at least one hour.
Press dough through a cookie press onto ungreased cookie sheets. (Pack dough firmly into cylinder to eliminate air pockets.) If desired, cookies may be decorated with red or green crystal sugar.
Bake in moderately hot oven (400 degrees) 8 to 10 minutes until delicately browned.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bubble Pizza

Over-used Recipes Swap

This is an old family favorite dating back to when the kids were little. The original recipe came from an issue of Taste of Home magazine. I have modified it to make it healthier.

Bubble Pizza

Rhodes 100% Whole Wheat Texas Rolls (frozen)
1 pound lean ground turkey or ground beef, browned and drained
One 15-oz can pizza sauce OR equal amount of canned or jarred spaghetti sauce
2 cups shredded low fat mozzarella cheese

Place 11 frozen rolls in a non-stick sprayed pan and let rise according to directions. (I start them in the morning and they are ready to use at suppertime.)

Press risen rolls down into pan. They don't have to be pressed perfectly. That's where the "bubbles" come from.

Mix browned turkey or beef with the pizza sauce and spread this mixture over the rolls. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle shredded cheese over the top. Return to oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Monday, November 16, 2009


After a conversation with my cousin Kathy, I decided to tweak my favorite brownie recipe. You can see it in the photo to the left, typed on a recipe card. Yes, I used a typewriter to do that, a long time ago.

Below is the original recipe, with healthy ingredient substitutions in brackets.

We all need a treat once in a while, and these turned out to be pretty tasty. I hope you like them!


1/2 cup butter [1/4 cup butter and 1 single serving no-sugar-added applesauce]
6 Tbl. unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1 cup sugar [1/2 cup honey]
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup flour [whole wheat flour]
dash salt
1 cup walnuts

Melt butter in large glass mixing bowl in microwave (about 40 seconds). Stir in cocoa and honey. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt. Stir in walnuts. Spread in 8 inch square baking pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chicken and Rice Soup

This soup is very mild flavored. If you'd like, you may add a bit more salt to taste but we prefer it the way it is -- not too salty.

The original recipe called for mushrooms, but I substituted carrots since Randy doesn't care for mushrooms.

Be sure to use bone-in chicken breasts. They add more flavor to the soup than boneless chicken does. Plus, they are less expensive.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Yield: 8 cups

2 skinless bone-in chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups thinly sliced or chopped peeled carrots
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced celery (include the leaves)
3/4 cup brown rice (not "minute rice")
2 tsp. crushed garlic
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper

Coat a 4-5 quart pot with nonstick cooking spray and preheat over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for a couple of minutes on each side or until the chicken is nicely browned.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes or until the chicken is tender and thoroughly cooked. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool enough for handling. Cook the soup for an additional 30 minutes or until the rice and vegetables are tender.

Pull the chicken meat from the bones, and tear it into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken to the soup, and simmer for an additional minute or two. Serve hot.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Mmmm, this is baking as I write this and it smells heavenly!

This recipe is the result of surfing the web and combining the ingredients that appeal to me from the myriad of granola recipes available. Well, I can't really say all because I'm sure there are many many more out there.

Feel free to add and subtract ingredients to your liking and personalize your own granola recipe.

What do you like in your granola?

Granola Recipe

2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ or ground flax seeds
1/2 - 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup dried fruit (ideas: raisins, dried apricots, craisins and dried apple)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey

Mix the dry ingredients, except the dried fruit, in a large bowl.
Measure oil into the measuring cup and swirl it around before pouring into bowl.
Then measure out the honey in the same, unwashed cup. The oil will help the honey exit the cup.
Toss everything together until evenly coated and then spread out evenly in a baking pan.
Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, turning and stirring it with a spatula every ten minutes or so until it is an even golden brown.
After it is finished cooking, return the baked granola to the mixing bowl, add the dried fruit and stir to combine. Let cool at room temperature. Store in a tightly sealed container.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Taco Pie

Tonight's feature is a good one. This recipe was created by my friend, Dianna. It is full of familiar Mexican food flavors, but they are presented in a unique way. It makes a great potluck offering, as well as a family-pleasing favorite.

Taco Pie

One pound very lean ground beef or turkey, crumbled and cooked, with grease drained away.
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
water called for on the seasoning mix packet
1/2 of a 16-oz. jar salsa, drained
5 tortillas (I use LaTortilla Factory low carb/high fiber)
1 can nonfat refried beans
1 can Mexicorn
6 oz. shredded cheese (cheddar or co-jack)

Cook beef, drain well, place back in pan and add taco seasoning and water and cook until water is absorbed or evaporated.

Spray 10" deep-dish pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange 4 tortillas to cover bottom and sides of pie plate.

Over the tortillas, layer as follows:
1/2 can of refried beans
1/2 beef
All of the salsa
1/2 Mexicorn
1/2 cheese
Last tortilla centered
Remaining refried beans
Remaining beef
Remaining corn
Cover with the rest of the cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until nicely browned. Serve with lowfat sour cream and salsa. Optional toppings: sliced green onions, sliced black olives.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Shrimp and Grits

This dish was prepared for us while we were visiting Dylan and Lauren in South Carolina. It comes from "America's Test Kitchen: Cooking for Two 2009."

The recipe as written serves two, but it can be easily doubled.

Shrimp and Grits

Do not substitute instant grits or old-fashioned grits for the quick-cooking grits in this recipe, as they require different amounts of liquid for cooking. To make this dish easier to eat, we suggest peeling the shrimp completely, including the tail shells.

8 ounces large shrimp (31 to 40 per pound), peeled and deveined
1 Tbl. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1 Tbl. unsalted butter
1 small onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1.5 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
1/2 cup quick grits
4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
1 scallion, sliced thin

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the shrimp with the oil, garlic, and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate while preparing the grits.

2. Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the water, cream, hot sauce, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring often, until the grits are thick and creamy, 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Off the heat, whisk in the cheddar until combined. Lay the shrimp on their sides in a pinwheel formation over the grits, then press on them lightly to submerge about halfway. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the shrimp are cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with the scallion before serving.

Normandy-Style Chicken with Apples

Another of Dylan and Lauren's favorites that they prepared for our visit. Recipe courtesy of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cooking for Two."

Normandy-Style Chicken with Apples

The cuisine of Normandy usually involves cream, apples, and the region's famed Calvados apple brandy, and you'll find them all in this dish.

2 (6-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 Granny Smith apple
2 leeks, white part only
3 Tbl. unsalted butter
1 Tbl. sugar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tsp. fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
2 Tbl. Calvados or brandy
1 (5.5-oz.) can apple juice
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Trim all visible fat, and pound between two sheets of plastic wrap to an even thickness of 1/2-inch. Rinse and core apple. Cut apple into slices 1/2-inch thick. Slice leeks in half lengthwise and then thinly slice each half. Place leek slices into a colander and rinse well under cold running water. Set aside.

2. Heat 1.5 Tbl. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add apple slices and cook for 3 minutes. Turn apple slices gently with a spatula, sprinkle with sugar, and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until apple is tender. Remove apple slices with a spatula and keep warm.

3. Heat remaining 1.5 Tbl. butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes per side, turning chicken gently with tongs. Add leeks, thyme, Calvados, apple juice, and cream. Bring to a boil, cover the skillet, and cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.

4. Remove chicken with a slotted spatula and keep warm. Reduce sauce over medium heat for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, place chicken on plates with apple slices and spoon sauce on top of chicken. Serve immediately.

Variation: Substitute boneless pork chops for chicken. Cook pork for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.

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