Saturday, October 31, 2009

Creamy Hot Cocoa

If you've never made cocoa from scratch, you're missing out on a treat. It was a liquid dessert. Yum!

We found this recipe at

The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup sugar. We used just over 1/2 cup and it could be cut down even more with delicious results. Especially if you like dark chocolate, like we do.


Creamy Hot Cocoa

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups milk
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup fat free half and half

Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs. Add the half and half to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Spinach and Feta Frittata

What's better than breakfast for supper? Breakfast-type foods are on our menu often. They are easy to prepare and healthy too.

This frittata is one of our favorites. The leftovers will be great for Sunday morning breakfast!

Spinach and Feta Frittata

1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup green or red pepper, diced
14-16 oz. fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
8 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. dried oregano
4 ounces crumbled Feta cheese (I use reduced fat)
dash of fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat large saute pan with non-stick spray. Add onion and peppers and saute over medium high heat until onions are translucent. Add spinach and cook covered over low heat for another few minutes, until spinach is wilted. Spread this mixture over the bottom of a 9 or 10-inch glass pie plate, which has been coated with non-stick spray. Sprinkle mozzarella over top.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs together with the oregano and feta cheese. Pour this over the ingredients in the pie plate. Sprinkle top with ground black pepper. Bake in oven for 35 to 45 minutes until golden brown.

Let the frittata sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


A BLT using the last tomato from the farmers market. Sigh. No recipe needed.

One tip, though. Buy the already cooked bacon. Most of the fat has been cooked away already, plus it's super quick to make.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Salmon with Sweet and Spicy Rub

I debated putting this one up here because the salmon looks so dark in the picture, but it was really delicious. It really has a zip to it. This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks Ellie Krieger: The Food You Crave. She shares my food philosophy that healthy food does not have to be bland and/or boring.

I divided the rub among 3 salmon filets with good results, so you could make anywhere from 3-6 with this recipe. I used an indoor grill pan. Be prepared for a little bit of smokiness and open a window or use your exhaust fan. It's worth it!

Salmon with Sweet and Spicy Rub

2 Tbl. packed light brown sugar
1 Tbl. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Six 5-ounce salmon fillets
1 Tbl. olive oil

Coat your grill or a grill pan with cooking spray and preheat over medium heat. While the grill is heating, combine the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Brush each salmon fillet with 1/2 tsp. of the oil, then rub each fillet with about 1/2 Tbl. of the spice mixture.

Grill the salmon, flesh side down, until charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the salmon and cook another 5 to 6 minutes for medium doneness. For well-done fish, cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.

No Sugar Added Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are a nice healthy treat, with no added sugar. Well, technically the chocolate chips have sugar so you have a little bit there. This recipe is a modification of this one Healthy Cookies Recipe from one of my favorite web sites: 101 Cookbooks.

No Sugar Added Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 cups oats
2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup coconut
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
dash salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 of a 12 oz. package mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Drop 2 tsp. size spoonfuls on to lightly sprayed cookie sheet. These cookies do not spread so you can put them close together. Bake on oven rack at top position in your oven for about 10-12 minutes.

Substitution idea: exchange raisins or craisins for 1/2 or all of the chocolate chips.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New Blog

Hey! Check out my new blog where I post about quilting, sewing, and other things that might come along.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry

Supper tonight. Yum!

For recipe, click here: Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry

(Don't waste the broccoli stems. Peel them and chop them up and use them in the stir-fry.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Turkey Meatloaf

Over-used Recipes Swap

Meatloaf, "Yukon Gold" potatoes (with a little low-fat sour cream), and peas. Yum! This meatloaf is moist and delicious. The secret is the first step: bread soaked with milk. I keep the heel ends of the bread loaves in the freezer ready for recipes like this one.

Turkey Meatloaf

2 slices day-old (or older) wheat bread
2/3 cup skim milk
20 oz. pkg. Jennie-O ground turkey - 93/7 fat content
1 egg
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix (I use Mrs. Grass brand, it's less expensive than Lipton)
1/2 cup oat bran or oatmeal

Tear bread into pieces into large bowl. Pour milk over bread and allow to sit until bread has soaked up the milk. Use fork to combine bread and milk completely. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Line a shallow baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Form meat mixture into a loaf and place on foil. I make a thin loaf (about 1.5 inches thick) so that it cooks through in less time. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tuna Melts

Why have regular old tuna melts when you can flavor them up a bit? If you don't like pepper-jack cheese, you can substitute cheddar or co-jack. We just discovered these whole wheat thin buns (pictured above), but you can use whole wheat bread or buns or english muffins, if you wish. After many years, I've finally wised up and put the cheese under the tuna to avoid burning the roof of your mouth with hot cheese!

Tuna Melts

1 can (5 oz) water-packed tuna
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 heaping Tbl. low-fat mayo
1 heaping Tbl. dill pickle relish
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dijon mustard (any mustard would work here)

Mix these ingredients well. Place one slice reduced-fat pepper-jack cheese on each of 4 slices bread, or 2 split buns or english muffins. Divide mixture and spread over cheese. Broil in oven or toaster oven until bread is toasted and tops are lightly browned.


This is a family favorite that has been tweaked to make it a bit healthier. It still isn't at the top of the list of healthy foods, but by modifying the ingredients we can enjoy this comfort food once in a while. This recipe serves 4-6 as a side dish, but can easily be doubled or even tripled.


1 egg
1 cup low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or trans-fat free margarine, melted
1 can whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can cream style corn
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix

Beat egg; add sour cream (yogurt) and blend. Add margarine, corn, and muffin mix. Bake in casserole dish for 60-70 minutes at 350 degrees, until nicely browned on top.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Oat Bran Muffins

This muffin recipe is on the back of the Quaker Oat Bran Hot Cereal box.

Oat Bran Muffins

2 cups Quaker Oat Bran, uncooked
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (optional) (I used just a pinch or so)
1 cup skim milk
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
1/4 cup honey or molasses
2 Tbl. vegetable oil

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line 12 medium muffin cups with paper baking cups or spray bottoms only with no-stick cooking spray. Combine dry ingredients; mix well. Add combined milk, egg whites, honey and oil; mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. *Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake 15 to 17 minutes or until golden brown.

*Variations: Stir into batter 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries or 1/2 cup (1 medium) mashed, ripe banana.

Broccoli Salad

I have made this recipe many times and almost always use a different combination of ingredients. You can make it with just broccoli, or a broccoli and cauliflower combination. You can use sunflower seeds or chopped cashews. I've never tried walnuts or pecans, but those would probably work well too. Then, you have to decide: raisins or dried cranberries? Any way you make it, it's very tasty and healthy. The original recipe had twice as much dressing so I cut it in 1/2 with good results. I don't think anyone needs that much mayo. It also called for bacon, but I left that out, too. Enjoy!

Broccoli Salad

1 bunch broccoli, cut in bite size pieces
1 red onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup raisins or craisins
1 cup cashew pieces
1/2 cup low-fat mayo
1/4 cup sugar (I used splenda)
1 tsp. vinegar

Mix first 4 ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix mayo, sugar, and vinegar in small bowl. Pour mayo mixture over the veggie mixture and mix well.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pumpkin Bars

Not sure if you've noticed, but there seems to be a canned pumpkin shortage at our local supermarkets. No worries. I used cooked butternut squash as a substitute in this recipe and it turned out wonderfully. Just quarter the squash, slicing carefully lengthwise and across the middle. Scoop out the seeds. Place in a microwave-safe baking dish with a few tablespoons water, cover with saran wrap, and bake. Start out microwaving about 9 minutes on high and add a few minutes at a time until a knife pierces the squash very easily. Spoon out the squash flesh and discard the skin. Yum!

This recipe was given to me by my cousin, Kathy. I divided it in half and used a 9x9 pan with perfect results. The recipe below is the original, made for a jelly roll pan.

Pumpkin Bars

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin
1.5 sticks butter
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix eggs, sugar, pumpkin and butter thoroughly. Sift flour, baking powder, soda and cinnamon -- add to batter. Pour into a greased jelly roll pan. Bake 25-30 minutes.


One 3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
6 Tbl. softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbl. milk or cream
3 cups powdered sugar

Mix -- beat and frost cooled bars.

Apple Crisp

Another fall recipe: apple crisp! This recipe bakes up into a caramel sauce in the apple layer and a yummy crunchy layer over the top. This is the best apple crisp you've ever had. Serve it warm with a little ice cream. A comfy chair by the wood stove makes it taste even better.

Apple Crisp

1/2 cup brown sugar, not packed
1 Tbl. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
dash salt
5 apples - cored, peeled, and sliced
1/2 cup oatmeal (regular, not quick)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar, not packed
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted (I use Smart Balance)

Mix together the 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 T ww flour, cinnamon, and salt. Gently combine with apple slices. Spoon into greased 8x12 pan.

Mix oatmeal, 1/2 cup ww flour, ground pecans, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking soda and powder. Stir in melted butter. Crumble over apple mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chicken Florentine

I do not use cream of . . . soup in cooking. Once you have tried recipes like this one, you will give it up too.

I have substituted cooked chopped broccoli for the spinach in this recipe with good results.

Chicken Florentine

10 oz. package chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken
2 cups cooked brown rice (I use Steam Fresh frozen cooked rice)
1 cup shredded cheddar or co-jack cheese
1/2 cup mayo (I choose mayo made with canola or olive oil)
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1 Tbl. lemon juice
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 cup parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, and curry powder in a small bowl. Mix spinach, chicken, rice, and cheese in large bowl. Pour mayo mixture over ingredients in large bowl and mix well. Spread mixture into a sprayed 9x13 pan or baking dish. Shake parmesan cheese over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered.
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