Search My Blog!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Taco Soup

I made this recipe last night because I had been wanting to try it and Ron had been wanting chili.  I thought that he might be OK with this one.  Fortunately, he was and he said it tasted like chili.  This makes a ton of soup and is very good!  I had some baked tortilla chips with mine and Ron ate Fritos with his.  Both chips were very, very good.

Despite how bad they are for you, I used canned tomatoes.  I just didn't have the patience to dice and seed tomatoes.  My changes:  I did not puree the tomatoes and I did not use the olives.

Taco Soup
*This is my 8th soup recipe from her blog that has been such a success and so low in calories! 
Yield:  Makes 12 servings about 1 cup each.
Per serving: Calories 241; Protein 13; Fat 11 g; Carbs 18; Sodium 470 mg

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (if using meat sub or ground turkey)
  • 1 pound ground beef (try to use grass-fed, lean beef) or turkey OR 1 pkg. Morningstar Crumbles
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Splenda
  • One 16-ounce can chili beans, undrained (NOT chili, just chili-seasoned beans)
  • One 15-ounce can kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 cup frozen corn – optional
  • One 10-ounce can tomato soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups water
  • Two 14-ounce cans peeled and diced tomatoes, undrained and pureed
  • One 4-ounce can diced green chilies
  • One 4-ounce can sliced olives (I omitted)
  • One 1.25-ounce envelope taco seasoning
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder

  1. If using hamburger:  
    1. In a large saucepan brown hamburger until just no longer pink, breaking it up with a wooden spoon into small chunks. 
    2. Remove from pan and drain grease, reserving 1 tablespon.
    3. Sauté the onions and garlic with the Splenda in reserved grease, until onions are soft and golden.
    4. Return hamburger to the pan.
  2. If using veggie meat or turkey
    1. In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. 
    2. Sauté the onions and garlic with the Splenda until onions are tender and golden. 
    3. Add turkey or crumbles and sauté until turkey is no longer pink, breaking into small chunks.
  3. For soup:
    1.  Add to the meat/onion mixture the chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato soup, water, tomatoes, green chilies, olives, taco seasoning, and chili powder. 
    2. Bring to a boil. 
    3. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
    4. Serve with your choice of toppings, such as tomatoes, tortilla chips, frito corn chips, avocados, shredded cheese, sour cream, etc. 

Pretzel Rolo Candies

I'm trying to make my own candy this year to give away at the holidays instead of buying it.  Here is a very, VERY quick and easy way to make up some REALLY yummy little candies.  Seriously, they may look boring but don't underestimate them.

The only annoying part is unwrapping the rolo candies.  Note:  if you buy rolo candies in the store at the check-out line, they are unwrapped.  However, you will have to buy several (depending on how many you plan to make) and it will add up. 

Buy some cute little holiday treat carriers from Michael's or Target to disburse individually.
Pretzel Rolo Candies
adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything
  • Bag of mini pretzels (if you are lucky you can find the mini star holiday pretzels, they have them out here)
  • Bag of Rolos, unwrapped
  • Choose your Toppings:  Halved Pecans, Halved Cashews, M&Ms, Hersheys kissables, etc.
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Place pretzels on an ungreased cookie sheet. 
  3. Place unwrapped Rolos on top of pretzels and bake for 3 minutes.  (You don't want them too melted.)
  4. Remove from oven and push half of nut (or candy) halfway down into the melted Rolo. 
I put mine in the fridge to cool for a bit and then took them out.  They are really good!!


Rotisserie Chicken, Hummus, Veggie and Brown Rice Wrap

Lunches normally consist of a lot of rice and vegetables for me.  This is the easiest, yummiest and quickest wrap that I've ever created.

Tip:  buy vegetables and smaller portions of meat at the salad bar to save money.  I ALWAYS do this because I have lettuce at home, but I want to have more stuff on my salads.  This way, I ensure that I can have some sprouts (without spending $4 on a package of sprouts) or beets (without spending $4 on a package of beers).  There is more variety and it costs significantly less.  My assortment of cucumbers, baby tomatoes, shredded carrots, rotisserie chicken, sprouts and green peppers cost about $3.  I was able to make 2 sandwiches out of this.

Rotisserie Chicken, Hummus, Veggie and Brown Rice Wrap
By Me!

Yield:  1

  • 1 wrap (I use LaTortilla Factory, Traditional w/ Extra Dietary Fiber - 90 cal, 3g fat, 13g dietary fiber.  Note:  Mission Tortillas are unnecessarily high and run at about 200+ calories for one wrap)
  • Hummus (or any type of spread you prefer)
  • 2-3 oz. of rotisserie chicken (or whichever meat you prefer)
  • Assortment of vegetables that you want on your wrap
  • Rice (I used the Minute brown rice individual cups that cook in 1 minute)
  1. If using brown rice bowl, cook in microwave for 1 minute.
  2. Spread hummus (or whatever spread you choose) down the middle of the wrap.
  3. Lay veggies on top of spread.
  4. Place meat on top, sprinkle with italian seasoning or salt/pepper.
  5. Spoon a couple of spoonfuls of rice on the wrap.
    1. Reserve the remainder for a side.  Sprinkle salt, pepper and italian seasoning in mixture.
  6. Roll and enjoy! 
Be careful you don't overstuff the wrap!

Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars Top Secrets Recipe

Despite screwing up the icing, badly (I failed to soften the cream cheese correctly and ran out of lemon juice), this recipe still turned out pretty well.  It is very, very sweet.  I tried it at 10pm and ended up bouncing around the house until 3 am because of all of the sugar.

I cut the entire cake into the triangle shape sizes and brought it into work for the folks at school.

Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars
Yield:  16 triangular bars
Nutrition:  You don't want to know :)

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup diced dried cranberries
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks (I just use chips here.  It's easier.)

  • 4-ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup diced dried cranberries
Drizzled Icing: (I think this step is optional.  I've always left it out because they are just so sweet already!)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening (melted if you want a smoother consistency).
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Make cake by beating butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt and beat well. 
  4. Gradually mix in flour until smooth. 
  5. Mix 3/4 cup diced dried cranberries and white chocolate into the batter by hand. 
  6. Pour batter into a well-greased 9x13" baking pan (I used parchment paper). 
  7. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan. 
  8. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges. 
  9. Allow cake to cool.
  10. Make frosting by combining softened cream cheese, 3 cups powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. 
  11. When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread frosting over the top of the cake.
  12. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of diced cranberries over the frosting on the cake.
  13. Optional Steps #13 and 14:  Whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and shortening. 
  14. Drizzle icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion or use a pastry bag with a fine tip to drizzle frosting across the top of the cake.
Allow cake to sit for several hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle.  Slice the cake across the width three times making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Baked Chicken Parmigiana w/ Whole Wheat Spaghetti

I decided to cook tonight.  I think the meal went over pretty well.  Ron ate 2 pieces of chicken.  It was pretty good and light tasting.  Quick and easy - took about 5 minutes to prep.

Chicken Parmigiana with Whole Wheat Spaghetti
adapted from This Mama Loves to Cook

Yield: 2 people if you live in this house!
Nutrition:  Not calculated.  But, you have a ton of breadcrumbs remaining so it's not like it's coated in breadcrumbs.  Plus, it's not fried in oil like restaurant chicken parm.  Definitely worth it!

  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 14 oz.)
  • 1/2 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese (or omit this if your parmesan cheese is moldy :( )
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil (or just a few tsp)
  • 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 9 oz. linguini, cooked according to package directions (I used 1/2 box of WW linguine)
  • 1 jar your favorite spaghetti sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 375. 
  2. Cover chicken breasts with wax paper and pound with meat mallet until about 1/2 inch thick or less. 
  3. Combine bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a shallow dish. 
  4. Dip breasts in the beaten eggs making sure to coat each side, then dip in the bread crumb/cheese mixture coating both sides. 
  5. Arrange chicken breasts in a greased 9X13 pan. 
  6. Drizzle olive oil over breasts. 
  7. Bake 35-40 minutes or until cooked through. 
  8. Remove from oven. 
  9. Pour about a cup of the spaghetti sauce over the breasts.  
  10. Then sprinkle with mozzarella and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  11. Toss linguini with the remaining spaghetti sauce. 
  12. Place pasta on dishes and top with the chicken. 

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mini Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Every now and then, I get very strange cravings.  Today, my craving was for poppy seed muffins.  All of this stress & running is starting to really up my appetiteI cut the recipe in half (otherwise I would be eating all of them because they are so easy to pop in your mouth in passing).

Tip:  If you are ever planning to make a recipe that calls for a minimal amount of one ingredient, check the bulk section at the grocery store (or natural food store / co-op).  Especially items like dried fruits, wheat germs, etc.  Things that you may not have good use for after the recipe.  I purchased just the right amount of poppyseeds for this recipe instead of buying a bunch.  Total cost = 47 cents!  Score!!

These tiny muffins are really good.  I enjoyed the lemon flavor.  I used egg-beaters because that's all I had, but I couldn't tell the difference.  I also had to make my own buttermilk (1 cup milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice, sit for 5 minutes) because I forgot to get some at the store.

Mini Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
adapted from The Parsley Thief

Yield:  About 3 dozen*

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 packed tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees & grease two mini muffin tins.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt & baking soda into a mixing bowl & set aside. 
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk & lemon juice together. 
  4. Using either a hand, or stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar & lemon zest together until blended. 
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each & occasionally scraping down the bowl.
  6. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, in 2 additions.
  7. Mix until just blended. 
  8. Stir in the poppy seeds.
  9. Fill the muffin tins with heaping tablespoonfuls of the batter.  (They should be nearly full to the top.)
  10. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. 
  11. Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a metal rack to cool completely.

*I cut the recipe in half and the recipe yielded about 20 mini muffins.  Each one is around 65 calories or so.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

S'mores Cookies

These cookies are absolutely amazing!   Plus, they only use one bowl which is a significant bonus. 

I've been wanting to bake for some time now and had some leftover marshmallows from Thanksgiving.  These required minimal attention, so I was able to listen to some audio lectures while mixing up the dough.

The only complaint I have is with my oven!  It just randomly picks and chooses what temperature it wants to be.  Despite having an oven thermometer, it doesn't matter so much if it decides to increase while the food is in the oven.  I put these in preheated at 375 only to find that it increased to 400 and burnt the outside a bit and undercooked the inside!  Grr... but they set up nicely on the wire rack.

The graham crumbles are awesome in the cookie.  It just tastes like you are eating a s'more.  So good, especially right out of the oven.  However, I also had one the next day and it was still pretty dang incredible.

S'mores Cookies
adapted from Make and Bake who adapted from Cookie Madness

Yield:  3 dozen cookies*

  • 3/4 cup softened butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup mini marshmallow
  • 2 Hershey bars, chopped up (I used mini-Hershey's kisses)
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars until fluffy. 
  3. Mix in egg and vanilla until combined. 
  4. Add the flour, graham crackers, salt, and baking soda, and mix well. 
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheets lined with parchment. 
  7. Bake for 8 minutes, and remove from the oven. 
  8. Push 3 to 4 marshmallows and a few pieces of hershey bar into each cookies. 
  9. Return to the oven and bake an additional 3-4 minutes until fully cooked. 
  10. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
*I halved the recipe and got about 16 cookies using my teaspoon cookie scoop.