Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chicken and Rice Supreme

This post is dedicated to my mother-in-law, Terry Pratt.  The woman is my idol in making AMAZING, DELICIOUS, COMFORT food.  She is known for her good cooking by many people and her recipes are always requested.  She makes the best fajitas and chimichangas, fettuccine alfredo that beats Olive Garden's any day, "clones" of Cinnabon cinnamon rolls (they are probably better), fluffy, perfect homemade bread, creamy soulful broccoli-cheese soup, this incredible cheesy baked ziti and many other amazing things. And THIS incredible chicken recipe is hers as well.  The picture does NOT do it justice, but this dish is extremely flavorful and comforting.  In addition, it's very easy to put together and throw in the oven for a while.  It's a keeper for sure!


1 cup dry, uncooked rice
4 chicken breasts halves, seasoned to taste
1 can cream of celery soup (I use cream of chicken)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 packet onion soup mix

Dab butter in bottom of flat baking pan.  Sprinkle rice over butter.  Lay chicken on top of rice.  Mix together soups and 3/4 can of water.  Pour soup mixture over chicken.  Sprinkle onion soup mix over soup mixture and chicken.  Cover and bake 1 hour at 375 degrees F.  Then add 1 cup water and uncover.  Bake 1 more hour.  Serves 4.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Cowboy Spaghetti

If you have a man in your life, I suggest you make this for him.  There are 4 different meats in this thing.  FOUR!  And it is dee-licious!! Probably not something to make every week, as it's not "healthified," sorry to say. But a good one to keep in the recipe box. I found this recipe at Favorite Family Recipes.  A good, cute blog with some yummy food!

 Cowboy Spaghetti

1 pkg (1 lb) spaghetti noodles
6 slices bacon (chopped)
1 Lb ground beef
1 medium onion (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
salt & pepper (to taste)
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Lb deli pastrami, roughly chopped
1/3 c. pepperoni, chopped
2 Tbsp canned, chopped jalapeno
1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
1 small can diced olives
½ c. beef broth
1 (14 oz) can fired roasted diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
green onions (chopped)

Heat a large deep skillet to medium-high heat. Add bacon and fry until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. In the same skillet add ground beef. When beef is browned stir in onions and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in bacon, pastrami, pepperoni, jalapeno, mushrooms and olives. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
Add beef broth and cook for an additional 5 minutes or so. Stir in tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cover and reduce heat to low (at this point you can also throw everything in a crock pot and cook on low heat for a few hours. If it gets too thick, add another can of fire roasted tomatoes and a little more beef broth). Prepare spaghetti noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles well, add to meat sauce, and toss it all together (or you can serve with the sauce over the top). Top with sharp cheddar cheese and green onions.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

Alright so I have one more soup/chili recipe to post before it definitely gets too warm to make anymore!  I LOVED this recipe! It is SO easy because you just throw everything in the crock pot and then let it sit all day.  And it tastes SO good! Very creamy and delicious! I even used frozen chicken breasts and it turned out wonderful.  One tip for shredding the chicken when it is cooked- throw the chicken into a kitchenaid mixer straight from the crock pot and set the speed to low/medium for around 20 seconds.  You will then have beautifully shredded chicken in seconds! The best tip I've seen on Pinterest so far!

 Cream Cheese Chicken Chili
from Plain Chicken, adapted from Tried and Tasty

1 can black beans
1 can corn, undrained
1 can Rotel, undrained
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 8 oz package light cream cheese
2 chicken breasts

Drain and rinse black beans. Place chicken at bottom of pot, then pour out whole can of corn (undrained), rotel, and black beans. Top with seasonings and ranch mix. Stir together. Place cream cheese on top. Cover with lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir cream cheese into chili. Use 2 forks to shred chicken. Stir together and serve.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars

I actually made these around Christmastime last year and have just not gotten around to posting them! But I made this recipe that I found in a Land O' Lakes recipe magazine on my our annual "bake day" and they were really yummy! Cranberry and orange blend beautifully together, that's for sure!

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars


1/2 cup butter softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1 cup mini real semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
 Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 8-inch square baking pan with no-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Combine butter and brown sugar in large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour, oats and orange zest. Beat until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries. Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture.

Firmly press remaining crumb mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine cream cheese and sugar in medium bowl. Beat at medium speed until smooth. Add whipping cream and vanilla, beat until smooth.

Pour cream cheese mixture evenly over hot, partially baked crust. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture gently over filling. Continue baking for 27 to 30 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool completely; cut into bars. Store refrigerated.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cheesy Sloppy Joes

Lately things have been tight financially for my hubby and I since my hubby is preparing to apply for dental school and we are both finishing up our last year as students at ASU.  However, I will never give up my passion and hobby known as cooking, no matter how tight money gets.  There are such things called inexpensive dinners, and this is one of them.  Plus, was pretty quick to put together and much better than sloppy joes made with Mamwich brand sauce that I grew up on!

Cheesy Sloppy Joes

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp minced onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp prepared mustard
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 whole wheat buns
  • 4 slices provolone cheese (in place of this I used shredded Monterey Jack and it worked great)
  • Brown the ground beef. (If you want softer green peppers, cook them with the ground beef.) Drain and let sit.
  • In the same skillet, add the tomato sauce, minced onion, minced garlic, vinegar, mustard and brown sugar. Stir and let simmer over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes.  Add the brown beef and (uncooked or cooked) green peppers and combine. Simmer over low heat for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until ready to serve.
  • Spoon the sloppy joe meat over the buns and top cheese. Let the warm sauce melt the cheese, or microwave.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Banana Nut Oatmeal Smoothie

I haven't really tried many smoothie recipes as I usually just rely on Jamba Juice when I get a smoothie craving.  HOWEVER, this smoothie was really impressive, super easy and healthy too.

I added about 1/2 tablespoons of chunky peanut butter to the original recipe, which I think added a bit more nuttiness and creaminess.  Delicious!

Banana Nut Oatmeal Smoothie
  • 2 whole ripe bananas (best with brown flecks on peel)
  • 2 cups Ice
  • 1/3 cup Yogurt - preferably Greek yogurt flavored with honey
  • 1/2 cup Cooked oatmeal  (I just cooked up a packet of plain Quaker oatmeal)
  • 1/3 cup Almonds 
  • 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter
Pour all ingredients in the blender, pouring in ice last.  Blend for about 30 seconds or until it is smooth.   Serves 2.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

It's getting warmer here in Mesa and chili/soup season is almost over!  I'm almost a little sad about the cool weather disappearing... until I think of summer and all that it entails! I cannot wait for a break from school, the beach, swimming, baking yummy summer treats and eating ice cream of course!

But before you get ahead of yourself, go ahead and make this scrumptious soup from Jamie Cooks it Up!  She has an awesome blog and I definitely want to try more of her recipes.  This one is SO easy because you can throw it in the crock pot and can even use FROZEN chicken breasts! Now that is my style :)

Chicken Enchilada Soup
Time: 10 min. hands on + 4-6 hours crock pot cooking
Yield: 8 servings
Recipe adapted from Real Mom Kitchen

1 (14.5 ounce) can Mexican Style Stewed Tomatoes
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
2 (15 ounce) cans corn
1/2 C onion, chopped
1/2 C red or green pepper, chopped
2 chicken breasts (I used frozen)
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 (10 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
2 1/2 C milk
4 bullion cubes (or 4 t bullion granules)
1/2 t lime juice (can be bottled)
1/3 C sour cream
2 T butter

Tortilla Chips
cheddar cheese
1. Pour the whole can of stewed tomatoes into your crock pot, juice included. Diced tomatoes work best...but if you only have whole stewed tomatoes, like me :)...then stick some kitchen scissors into the pot and cut up your tomatoes.
2. Drain and rinse the black beans and add them to the pot.
3. Drain the corn and add them as well.
4. Roughly chop up 1/2 C onion and 1/2 C of red or green pepper and toss them in.
5. Pour the enchilada sauce into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the cream of chicken soup, 2 1/2 C milk and then crumble the bullion cubes over the top.
6. Whisk it all together until nice and smooth.
7. Place two chicken breasts over the vegetables in your crock pot. (I used frozen)
8. Pour the sauce over the top of the chicken.
9. Cover your crock and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7-8, depending on how fast your crock pot cooks things.
10. Remove the chicken and place it on a plate. Shred it with a fork.
11. Add the 1/2 t lime juice, 1/3 C sour cream and 2 T butter to the soup. Whisk it in until the butter has melted and the sour cream is well combined.
12. Toss your chicken back into the pot, give it a stir and you are ready to eat.
Serve with tortilla chips and cheddar cheese. Cilantro and avocado are also fabulous.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Skinny, Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies!

So even though I'd like to say that every low-fat, "lightened" recipe that I've made has been delicious and just as good as its "original" version.... that is just not the case.

Don't get me wrong... there are plenty of healthy, low-fat and YUMMY recipes out there. And some of them are on my blog ;)!

Well let me tell you, friends... this recipe for low-fat chocolate chip cookies is A-MAZING. Phenomenal. Almost better than my go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I got them from the blog and she even describes them as the BEST low-fat cookies! They have half whole-wheat flour and only 2 tablespoons of butter in the whole batch!

I dare you to make these, folks. Make 'em and feed them to someone you love... see if they can tell any difference. I doubt they'll be able to! The only thing I would do differently is spray a little more cooking spray on the baking sheets as the cookies were a little fragile after cooling for a few minutes and several broke apart as I was trying to transfer them from the sheet. So use plenty of Pam or as the recipe recommends, use silicone baking mats (I didn't have any). After cooling though, these cookies have just the right texture and form. Delicioso!!

Skinny Low-fat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 12 • Size: 2 cookies • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 170.7 • Fat: 5.0 g • Protein: 1.4 g • Carb: 34.5 g • Fiber: 1.4 g • Sugar: 25.4 g
Sodium: 113.1 mg

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg white
2 tbsp apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°. Line two cookie sheets with non-stick silicone baking liners such as Silpats (I highly recommend for best results) or lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and stir to blend. In another bowl, whisk the sugars, butter, egg white, applesauce and vanilla together until light and fluffy.

Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions until the batter is very well blended. If the batter looks more “crumbly” than smooth, add just a drop of water at a time (ONLY if needed) until it smooths out.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by level spoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto baking sheets.

Bake 8 - 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let them stand 5 minutes before removing the cookies from the pans to cool on wire racks.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.
Adapted from Cooking Done Light.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Best Broccoli You'll Ever Have

So sometimes Pinterest is the best invention ever. I mean, you get to look at photos of the perfect house, perfect food, gorgeous girls with the perfect bodies in perfect clothes... what a great way to feel so uplifted about our own perfect lives, right?! Ha but no I really do enjoy it. I tried one of the recipes I pinned just a few days ago- it advertised that this was "the best broccoli you'll ever have..."

The best? I've never even had really good broccoli so I didn't have much to compare it to. BUT nevertheless I wanted to try it out since I had all the ingredients.

And... it is phenomenal!! Soo flavorful and crunchy and tart and sweet and just all around amazing. It will become a routine side dish for me for... ever.

Amazing Roasted Broccoli

1-2 heads of broccoli, cut into small parts
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
zest of a lemon
juice of a lemon
3 Tbsp. pine nuts (optional)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (I used thinly grated Monterey Jack)

Preheat oven to 425. Now the key is to have SUPER dry broccoli. I didn't wash because I believe the high temperature of the oven will kill the bacteria... but if you do wash, then dry obsessively. Place on cookie sheet lined with foil. Toss with 3 Tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper. Add garlic slices in with the broccoli. Roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until "crisp-tender and the tips of some florets are browned."

After you take it out, zest a lemon over the broccoli, and squeeze the juice over it as well. Add 1 more Tbsp. of olive oil, pine nuts, basil and cheese.

And enjoy!!!!

The second part of this picture (the chicken and rice will come later- this chicken recipe is not to miss!)

Healthy White Bean and Turkey Chili

Yeah so I realize this is only my first post of 2012! And on the very last day of January. Whoops. Can I just say that this month has literally been one of the most busy and emotionally draining I've had? Well, there ya go. It was. Personal reasons (and also very hectic college classes to blame). Well this recipe is realllly yummy and would be perfect for Superbowl dinner.

Plus it is very healthy! And, did I mention, delicious?!?

White Bean and Turkey Chili
from Skinnytaste

Servings: 14 • Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 211.5

cooking spray
2 small onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves
2 tsp chili powder, to your taste
1 bay leaf
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp oregano
2 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)
3 lbs 99% lean ground turkey
4 16 oz cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups of fat free chicken broth
1/2 cup of fat free sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large heavy bottomed pot over medium flame. When hot, spray oil. Add onions, garlic, saute about 5 min. Add meat and cook, breaking it up until white, about 5 minutes. Add salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes. Add beans, broth, cook uncovered about 10 minutes.

Lower heat and cover, simmer about 45 minutes mixing occasionally. Add sour cream and cook 5 more minutes. Adjust seasoning and salt to taste.

Top with chopped red onion, chopped fresh cilantro, light sour cream, jalapeƱos and reduced fat cheddar if desired.
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