Monday, January 17, 2011

Tostada & Cindy's Salad

Hubby cooked dinner tonight while I sat in my sauna & took a much needed bath.  
I call this Cindy's Salad because my friend Cindy made it for me once for dinner.  It was a huge salad with a TON of stuff.  Ingredients:
Romaine Lettuce
Beets from a can (drained)
Diced tomato
Sliced red onion
Sliced mushrooms
Diced bell Peppers
Garbanzo beans from a can (drained)

I topped mine with blue cheese dressing by Bolthouse, it's made with Greek yogurt & so it's low in fat.  I found it in the refrigerated isle.  Best one I've found so far that's in a bottle.
Ingredients & directions:  We browned ground beef & left the taco seasoning out.  Sometimes we like it plain.  We grocery store tostada shells, topped with heated refried beans from a can, then the ground beef (after draining if needed), then shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend.  We then topped with lettuce, taco sauce, tomatoes & sour cream.  TO DIE FOR!  Also super easy.

Reviews:  All four of us gave the thumbs up.  The salad, I am sure the kids picked most of the veggies out.  They aren't too adventurous.  Although we do make them eat veggies.

Four Cheese Baked Penne

Last night hubs and I made something from Ellie Krieger.  She makes bad food healthy-er.

Finished Product.  I served with zucchini & yellow squash sauted in olive oil & garlic salt.


  • 1 pound whole-wheat penne
  • 1 1/2 cups small-curd low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (8-ounce) can low-sodium tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (3/4 ounces)

**I used chopped spinach instead of the parsley.  I had some on hand and wanted to add another element of health.  I also used 2 teaspoons of jarred diced garlic instead of the cloves.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine the cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella and parsley in a bowl and stir with a fork to incorporate and set aside. Cook pasta until tender but still firm, a minute or 2 less than the package directs. Drain.
Heat the oil in the same pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, rosemary, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until sauce thickens slightly. Return pasta to pot with sauce and turn off heat. Add cottage cheese mixture.
Spray a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray then transfer pasta mixture to pan. Top with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella and the Parmesan. Bake until heated through and cheese is melted, 30 minutes.

Everyone was starving by the time it was taken out of the oven.  They couldn't wait for me to take my picture. 
Reviews:  I thought it tasted healthy.  I don't like whole wheat pasta.  Hubs said "it was good".  14 year old said "It was really good".  We all had left overs today and last night 14 year old & son had seconds.  So it was a success.  I am picky :)  I think it would have tasted better with regular pasta.
**Here is where I got the recipe from:

  I want to get her SO EASY cookbook.  I have her The Food You Crave book.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Crisp & Creamy Baked Chicken

Oh this was GOOOOOOOOD.  I started the meal & my husband finished it.  I was sick that night & my nurse was coming over so I had to get ready for him.  I got this recipe off the Kraft Foods website when hubby called from being out working, taking a kid to the doc & taking another to the batting cages.  He wasn't done working, but since I was stuck in bed, he offered to cook if I emailed him a recipe & shopping list.  I ended up cooking it, but he finished it & brought me dinner in bed.  He even snapped a pic for the blog.

Family reviews were all:  MMMmmmmmm..... gooooood.  It was creamy & gooey and moist.  I have never tried the Kraft Touch of Philly shredded cheese before.  It's creamier when it melts.  Good.  Bought the brand name of everything in this case except the cream of celery soup (hubs did the shopping).  Extra Crispy Shake n' Bake & the Kraft cheese instead of the store brand.  You could probably buy generic in all these & do just fine.  Or just use bread crumbs & season them.  I threw some brown jasmine rice in the rice cooker.  I usually cook it with chicken broth, but I didn't have any on hand, so I sprinkled some chicken bouillon in to give it flavor.  Then I jumped in the tub & left the rest up to hubs.

what you need

4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
6 Tbsp.  (1/2 of 1 pouch) SHAKE 'N BAKE Extra Crispy Seasoned Coating Mix
2 cups instant white rice, uncooked
2/3 cup  (1/2 of 10-3/4-oz. can) condensed cream of celery soup
1/4 cup milk
1 cup  KRAFT Shredded Three Cheese with a Touch of PHILADELPHIA

make it

HEAT oven to 400°F.
COAT chicken with coating mix as directed on package; place in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Discard any remaining coating mix.
BAKE 20 min. or until chicken is done (165°F). Meanwhile, cook rice as directed on package.
MIX soup and milk until well blended; pour over chicken. Top with cheese. Bake 5 min. or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. Serve with rice.

Here is the where I got the recipe:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lasagna Pinwheels

Last night I made Lasagna Pinwheels.  I had made it before when my friend Trish from Idaho came to visit me for a while.  She made these & I helped. You can double the batch & make one & freeze one before you bake it.  I use cottage cheese instead of ricotta.  It is high in protein & it really takes very good.  I have ricotta, but I am saving that for my Lemon Ricotta Cookies.  Well, they are Giada Delaurentiis' cookies.
This is the finished product.  I wasn't feeling well enough to plate it.  I made a mistake & stood my rolls up (you'll see later).  Next time I make it, I will lay the rolls on their side instead of standing them up.  A few fell over.  But they still tasted good!

Ingredients:  Lasagna noodles - cooked with sea salt in the water, 
Cottage cheese (large container)
About 2 cups plus more for topping of mozzarella cheese
 A jar of your favorite spaghetti or  marinara sauce
Pepperoni (I use turkey.  Less fat & a pig didn't have to die)
If you don't have the spices you could omit them no problem

This is the amount of the 3 spices I use.  About a teaspoon each.  But you can mix it & add to taste.  That's how I do it.

I then add about 2 cups of the shredded cheese & stir everything together.

I clean my counter tops (they are sealed) well with warm water  & vinegar.  Then I lay out the noodles while they're still hot spoon & spread on cheese mixture then add pepperoni.  Then I roll them up and lay them in a lasagna pan.

I should have laid them on their sides, but they looked so cute like that!  I made 12 & had enough to make another 4 & throw them in the freezer for a dinner for 2 later.  Add your jar of sauce to top all of the pinwheels.  You may cover with foil (couldn't do it since I stood them up) and bake @ 375 for 20 minutes. Then pull them out, add mozzarella cheese (I used about a cup because we like a lot of cheese).  I also put some Parmesan on top (I found a little in the fridge).  Then pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.  If you had foil on them, remove the foil for this step so cheese can melt & crisp a bit.  I served mine with a salad from Costco (of course).
 Even though some of mine fell over, they were delicious!

Reviews:  Hubby said, "This was good, but he didn't love it."
14 year old:  "It was very good."  He ate seconds.  He really liked it.
16 year old:  "A quick that was good."  She ate it right up.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Taco Soup

My friend Christina made this one day & gave me the recipe.  Then my friend Colista gave me her recipe.  I kind of critiqued them both & make it different depending on what I have on hand.  It is now a regular meal in our home.  It's amazingly   easy, I keep the ingredients on hand, stock up when the beans are on sale, etc.  You can do a search on the Internet & find a variety of taco soup recipes.  Here's what I used tonight:

1 or 2 lbs browned ground beef if there is fat, drain it) -
2 cans pinto beans (drained & rinsed)
2 cans kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
2 cans corn (not drained)
2 cans diced tomatoes (not drained)
**Use whatever beans you have on hand.  I sometimes substitute black beans.
1/4 cup Taco Seasoning (or 1 packet) - I buy a large container from Costco
32 oz Beef or chicken broth (vegetable broth if you want to do a vegetarian version - omit beef)
Ranch Dressing packet (optional)
(Optional) Top with cheddar or Mexican cheese blend, crushed tortilla chips or Frito's corn chips, sour cream, or fresh diced onion.

I use the pot (the size you would use to boil pasta) I'm going to make the soup in to crumble & brown the beef.  I use lean mean, so there is nothing to drain.  Then I put all the beans into a strainer & rinse them (I heard it reduces gas).  Once the beef is browned, I throw all the rest of the ingredients.  Stir, bring to a boil & then set it to low & simmer until you are ready to eat.  At least 10 minutes.  Then scoop into bowls & add your desired toppings.  I serve mine with a salad pre-made from Costco.  You can also throw this together in a crock pot in the morning (brown the beef first) but if it's this easy, why bother?  This recipe easily feeds 8.  If you do 2 lbs of ground beef, feeds 10.  I have a family of four, so I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Our 14 year old young man said, "That was really good, thank you!"
Hubby says, "MMMMMmmm MMMmmmmm"
Our 16 year old is at work still & hasn't had it yet.  But I know she loves it.  She just probably wouldn't admit it ;-)