Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Black and White Honey Wheat Swirl Bread

Notes: This recipe is from my bread mentor and dear friend, Meg. Not only does this bread look incredible, it's amazingly soft and delicious. My kids can't get enough of it and neither can I! The only thing I do a little differently is I don't use the caramel color (cuz it's hard to find) so instead I use dark cocoa powder to make it extra dark. But neither changes the flavor, just the color, so just use what you have.

2 1/2 c. room temperature water* (100°-110°F)
4 TBS vegetable oil
2 TBS caramel color (or water if you don't have caramel color)
1/2 c honey
3 1/2 c wheat flour (100% winter white wheat)
3 1/2-4 c all purpose flour or bread flour
2 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
2 TBS active dry yeast (I use SAF yeast---it's the best!)
2 TBS vital wheat gluten
2 tsp table salt
cornmeal for dusting bottom
oatmeal to decorate top

1) Combine water, oil, caramel color, and honey in KitchenAid until well mixed. 

2) Add yeast, whole wheat flour, cocoa, gluten and salt, making sure not to dump the salt directly on top of the yeast (salt kills yeast).   Mix until well blended. Use a rubber scraper to make sure the entire contents of the mixer bowl are well mixed. Sometimes ingredients like to hide in the bottom of the bowl and the color doesn't mix in evenly. Give everything one good scrape by hand. 

3) Let mixture rest 10-12 minutes.  

4) Add all purpose/bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Dough will start to climb the mixer.  Stop adding flour when the dough clings to hook and almost cleans the sides of mixer.  

5) Let dough rise until doubled in mixer bowl bowl, covered with a towel. About 30 minutes.

6) (if making swirl bread, Skip step 6 here and use directions below for step 6, returning back to this recipe for step 7. )  Divide in half. Shape into loaves by rolling dough flat on an oiled surface, into an oval/rectangle about 12 inches long x 8 inches wide.  Then roll up sideways into a 12 inch "log", pinching seam and ends together.  

7) Roll bottom side (seam side down, obviously) of loaf log in cornmeal and top side in oatmeal, then sprinkle top with sea salt or a little coarse pretzel salt.  

8) Place loaves into two 3 1/2 x 12 inch metal loaf pans. Cover with dishtowel and allow to rise until big and loafey (yes, loafey), doubled and delicious.  Be patient, it may take about 40 minutes to an hour. (note: less time if it is a very warm/humid day…maybe 25 minutes.)

9) Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes. The bread top will suddenly turn a little white/dry on top when it's done and the smell, OH THE SMELL, will tell you for sure that it is done. 

10) Cool on wire racks and enjoy with honey butter (see below for recipe). 

Note: instead of  making two 3 1/2 x 12 inch loaves, you can make three 3 1/2 x 8 inch loaves (med standard size) or  a bunch of mini loaves (adjust bake time a little shorter) or  even just throw a lump on a pizza stone and make it like an old fashioned artisan loaf. This recipe is SO user friendly. Get on it and make something amazing!  

Speaking of amazing, see below for swirl recipe:

For swirl bread or marble rye: Yield 4 loaves
Use recipe and directions above except make two batches of the bread recipe. Omit the cocoa powder and caramel color in one batch.  In that same batch, add 2 TBS of wheat flour and (optional) replace up to 1c of the whole wheat flour with rye flour. 

1) Divide each recipe into 4 equal sized dough balls, so you have 4 dark and 4 light colored balls. 

2) Roll loaves out very thin so they are in a 12 inch long x 8 ish inch oval/rectangle on a greased surface.  

Layer rolled dough into a "dough sandwich" as follows: 
Loaf 1: dark, light
Loaf 2: dark, light
Loaf 3: light, dark
Loaf 4: light, dark

3) Press the layers down tightly together with a rolling pin so there are no air bubbles between them.  

4) Roll the entire "sandwich" up into a log and be sure to pinch the seams tightly so that no contrasting dough color is peeking out.  You will have two "wheat bread colored" loves and two "black bread colored" loaves. Follow directions as seen above in step 7. Rise, Bake, etc. 

Honey Butter
Who knew how easy it is to "whip up" some honey butter?  This recipe comes from my friend, Angie, who introduced me to the goodness of honey butter. 

Use equal parts butter and honey (1 lb salted butter to 2c honey). 

Soften butter on countertop for an hour, then whip in kitchen aid until fully blended and nice and fluffy. Store in fridge. Youcan halve or quarter the recipe, but don't. You'll want butter to share when you share all that bread! 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Harvest Lasagna Soup

I have a thing for soups with cream in them. This one is a tomato cream base with hearty root vegetables. As with the butternut squash soup, I prefer Jimmy Dean's maple sausage in this. It is so delicious. There are no measurements on this-- just throw in whatever you have until it looks right.

Campanelle noodles 
Chicken broth 
Tomato sauce 
Ground beef/ground sausage (Sautéed with diced onions) 
Sliced carrots 
1 can of tomatoes with the juice. 
Peeled, sliced and diced sweet potato
Fresh thyme, oregano, and rosemary, and dry Italian seasonings. 

Put everything in a big pot (noodles just the last 15 min) and simmer to soft veggie perfection. Add a splash of heavy cream. Yum. 

Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Soup

This soup is fall at it's finest. It is amazing and you won't believe me until you try it. I highly recommend using Jimmy Dean's maple sausage. It takes this thing to a new level.

32 oz butternut squash soup (you can make your own or buy it in the box)
2 lb pork sausage
2 c chopped onions (I usually skip this and throw in some onion powder instead)
salt and pepper
7 c chicken stock (or 7 cups water and 7 tsp chicken bouillon powder)
2 c wild rice
2 c frozen corn
2 c cream


1. In a BIG soup pot, over medium heat, brown onion and sausage. Set cooked meat aside.

2. Add chicken stock to rice and boil for 1 hours. Add squash soup, sausage and corn. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 min.

3. Remove from heat and stir in cream and season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving {Stuffing Balls}

4-6 Tablespoons Butter
2 Celery Stalks-diced
2 Onions-diced
1/2 Cup dried Craisons (the original recipe called more mushrooms but I don't like shrooms but think craisons are a better fit)
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Can Creamed Corn
1 Can Corn Niblets
1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
2-4 teaspoons Poultry Seasoning
1/2-1 teaspoon Seasoning Salt
1 teaspoon Pepper
2-4 teaspoon Parsley
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
3 Lg. Eggs, slightly beaten
8 Cups of dried bread Cubes
1/3 Cup Melted Butter

Saute Onions and celery in butter until they are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and craisons and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add corns, broth, poultry seasonings, parsley, cheese, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, simmer for 10-15 minutes over low heat. Remove mixture and let cool for 30 minutes.
Add in eggs and mix well. Add bread cubes and mix well. Get in there with your hands, don't be scared.
At this point you can taste it and adjust your salts and poultry seasonings.
At this point you can refrigerate the mixture until cooking day and time.
your hands or an ice cream scoop, shape into golf ball sized balls. If they are not feeping shape after a few balls, add more bread crumbs. Place the balls in a buttered baking dish. drizzle with melted butter and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Thanksgiving {Creamed Corn}

2 Bags of frozen corn, approx. 16 oz. each
8 oz. Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup Butter
2 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Tablespoon Water

Place it all in crock pot on low for 4 hours, stirring every hour.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Thai-Style Stir-Fried Noodles (and others)

Does anybody still look at this? I reference it all the time, but haven't added anything in awhile, so I thought I'd share some new favorites I've found. My friend, Chelsea, started a food blog as a place to store and organize all her recipes. She is trying new stuff all the time and if it makes it to her blog, you know it's good. Here are some of my favorites that I've tried. I've been trying to make more ethnic food lately to change things up so that's why they are all Eastern dishes.

Chicken Tikka Masala - If you like Indian food, this is a must. I left out the jalepeno and cayenne pepper so my kids would eat it. I made naan using this recipe to go with it. Super easy and so delicious.

Asian Chicken Strips - Quick, easy, crowd pleaser.  Made this last night and my kids loved it. This is a simple meal that can be dressed up with vegetables and/or a salad.

This one isn't on her blog, but was given to me by the same friend. I was complaining about having bought fish oil for a new recipe (that was not a winner) and not knowing what else to do with it, so she gave me this recipe. It uses a few strange ingredients (fish oil, oyster sauce, rice noodles), but you can find them all in the asian section and they aren't terribly expensive. I actually didn't bother with the chili vinegar and it was still amazing.

Thai-Style Stir-Fried Noodles

Chili Vinegar

  • 1/3 C white vinegar
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
Stir Fry
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut against the grain into 1/4 in thick slices
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 8 oz 1/4 in wide rice noodles
  • 1/4 C veggie oil
  • 1/4 C oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar (or just regular brown sugar works fine too)
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 10 oz broccolini, florets cut into one inch pieces stalks in 1/2 in pieces (or way more and different variety of veggies - I used carrots, bean sprouts, red peppers, regular broccoli)
1. For chili vinegar: Combine vinegar and serrano in bowl. Let stand at room temp for at least 15 minutes.
2. Combine chicken with 2 Tbsp water and baking soda in bowl. Let sit at room temp for 15 mins. Rinse chicken in cold water and drain well.
3. Bring 6 C water to boil. Place noodles in large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles, Stir, then soak until noodles are almost tender, about 8 mins, stirring once halfway through soak. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well and toss with 2 tsp oil.
4. Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, molasses, and fish sauce together in bowl.
5. Heat 2 tsp oil and garlic in 12-in nonstick skillet over hight heat, stirring occasionally until, until garlic is deep golden brown 1-2 mins. Add chicken and 2 tbsp sauce mixture, toss to coat, and spread chicken into even layer. Cook, without stirring, until chicken begins to brown, 1 to 1 1/2 mins. Push chicken to 1 side of skillet. Add 2 tsp oil to cleared side of skillet. Add eggs to clearing. Using rubber spatula, stir eggs gently and cook until set but still wet. Stir eggs into chicken and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, 30-60 seconds. Transfer chicken mixture to bowl.
6. Heat 2 tsp oil in a now-empty skillet until smoking. Add broccolini and 2 Tbsp sauce and toss to coat. (Here is where you can throw in other veggies either veggies that take the same amount of time to cook or you may want to start with veggies that take longest and add in other in order of what takes longest to shortest time to soften) Cover skillet and cook for 2 mins, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove lid and continue to cook until broccolini is crisp and very brown in spots, 2-3 mins, stirring once halfway through cooking. Transfer broccolini to bowl with chicken mixture.
7. Heat 2 tsp oil in now-empty skillet until smoking. Add half noodles and 2 Tbsp sauce and toss to coat. Cook until noodles are starting to brown in spots, about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Transfer noodles to bowl with chicken mixture. Repeat with remaining 2 tsp oil, noodles and sauce. When second batch of noodles is cooked, add contents of bowl back to skillet and toss to combine. cook, without stirring until everything is warmed through, 1-1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to platter and serve, passing chile vinegar separately.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Banana Bread

This was a great version of banana bread that I don't want to forget.


  1. Grease 1 large loaf pan.
  2. Cream margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add dry ingredients, then bananas, nuts and sour cream.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 1 hour.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Jamba Juice Mango-A-Go-Go Copycat Smoothie

Jamba Juice Mango-A-Go-Go Copycat
  • 2 cups natural orange juice (or you can do 2 cups water and 1 orange peeled)
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 cups organic frozen mango chunks

In a Vitamix blender, add ingredients in order listed. Blend on high until smooth and slushy.

Caribbean Passion Smoothie

  • 2 cups Orange Juice
  • 2 cups frozen peaches
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
If you use fresh strawberries or peaches instead of frozen add ice. But be sure to use a frozen banana!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

My favorite green smoothie!

This is a good one. My kids even love it.

I use the Wide jar with my Blendtec for the recipe and it makes 2 XL glasses and 3 mini ones for the kids. Feeds the whole fam! :)

Stuff blender with LOTS and LOTS of greens. All the way full! I buy bags at Costco and put them in the freezer so they don't go bad.

This part is hides the taste of the greens and there is awesome health benefits to eating ginger and lemon.
Add a few cups of water
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 T. fresh ginger
1 dropper of stevia

BLEND very well!


Frozen Banana
Frozen Strawberries
Frozen Pineapple



Substitute banana with half a can of coconut milk

Substitute pineapple with an orange

Robyn's Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie

1 1/2 cups coconut water (fresh or canned/boxed)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large carrot, halved
1/2 medium raw beet, peeled
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup chopped dates (or 4 – 5 large, pitted dates)
1 tbsp. protein powder (optional)
12 frozen strawberries

Place all ingredients in blender and run on High speed for 50 seconds (“Whole Juice” cycle with a Blendtec).  Additional blending time is fine if strawberries aren’t completely incorporated into the smoothie.

Blueberry-Orange Smoothie

This is a great smoothie for people starting out with greens in their smoothies. Even though I'm not starting out, I have it all the time because it's my personal favorite!

- big handful of spinach
-2-3 peeled oranges
-1 peeled banana
-approx a cup of frozen blueberries
-1 small container of blueberry (or plain) greek yogurt
-water/ice to get the consistency you would like


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Penne Pasta Bake

This dish is crazy easy and devoured by all.

1 box of penne
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 jar of a quality Alfredo  sauce - I have found that all Alfredo sauce is not created equal. Skip the value brands and go for a good quality sauce. I like new the Newmans brand.
2 cups of mozzarella cheese-divided
Parmesan to top

Cook the pasta as directed on the box. In a large bowl mix marinara and alfredo, add the hot pasta and combine. Add 1.5 cups of cheese and stir it until the cheese is evenly distributed. Pour into a 9X13 baking dish and top with the remaining cheese and grated Parmesan. Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted and bubbly, maybe 20-30 minutes but I really don't know the exact. I just watch it.

Creamy Tomato Soup

2 quarts of canned tomatoes (diced or whole)
1 garlic clove
1/4 onion
2 1/2 t. Knorr Caldo con sabor de Pollo (Chicken Flavor Bouillon) (this can be found in the mexican section of most grocery stores, Walmart and Costco) I am sure you can use chicken bouillon cubes as well.
1-2 quarts of milk
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
basil, oregano, pepper to taste


There is no exactness to this - you have to do it to taste, desired thickness, and desired amount - it can be easily halved. This amount easily serves 10 people.

Place tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil, oregano, and chicken bouillon in blender on high. Allow to run for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy bottomed pan on med-high. Add flour and mix, making a nice roux. This may need more or less flour. You want a thick paste (almost too thick) consistency. While stirring, allow to cook for a few minutes, taking care not to burn. Place sieve over pan, and pour tomato mixture into roux, straining out all seeds. Quickly stir into roux, making sure to
eliminate any lumps. Continue stirring until entire mixture is smooth, heated, and on the brink of 
boiling. Add milk (once again - to taste and desired thickness), stirring constantly. Heat stirring constantly, but do not bring to a boil (this will curdle the milk) and serve. Season with pepper and fresh basil to taste. 

You can garnish with Parmesan or mozzarella cheese or I like to serve this with mozzarella grilled cheese sandwiches. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A few of my favorite "challenge" recipes

Here are the recipes I told those doing the "challenge" that I would post for you... some of my favorites!

1 cup peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, or your favorite nut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup flaxseed (you can omit this and do 1 cup of coconut instead of 1/2)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, optional (if you're doing the challenge make sure you use a "challenge worthy" chocolate chip)

In a medium pot set over medium-low heat, melt together nut butter, honey, and coconut oil, stirring until smooth. Remove from stove and stir in oats, coconut and flaxseed. Pour mixture into a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Spread into an even layer, sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, and firmly press down with the back of a spatula or clean hands. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Slice into squares or bars (I like to cut 3 rows of 6 bars each) and remove from pan. Store in refrigerator.

6 cups natural popcorn, popped
1/8 c coconut oil
1/8 c honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Pop popcorn.  Melt oil and honey together, then add vanilla and salt.  Coat popcorn with mixture.

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 box wheat linguini
16 oz bag stir fry vegetables
1/4-1/2 cup chicken broth
Cooked cubed chicken (if desired)

Melt together peanut butter, milk, soy sauce, honey, lime juice, and garlic.  Spray large pan and dump veggies in.  Cover and cook on med-hi for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, cook linguini.  Once veggies are tender, add prepared peanut sauce and then broth slowly (stop when you reach desired consistency of sauce).  Add chicken, if desired.  Turn heat to low and cook until warms through.  Toss in linguini.

2 tomatoes, diced
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
2 chopped avocados
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all together in a bowl and enjoy!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Southwest Rice and Bean Salad

 Let me tell you, this stuff is AMAZING! My sister in law made it for me when I had Jonah. I was eating it and thought I must have had five days of hospital food because this stuff is unreal. But I have made it again and again and it just really is that good. Anyone I make it for raves and chows it down. As one of the missionaries said the other day, "I thought I thought I was going to  hate that but it was like the best thing I've ever had". Have I convinced you yet, let me finish by saying it comes together really fast and easy, make great for left over and did I mention it is delish! 

:side note, it is called salad, yet its a warm dish, you figure that one out:

  • 5 cups cooked rice, warm or at room temperature (white, brown, wild rice or a combination!)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
  • 1 (12-oz.) can corn, drained
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 pickled jalepeno pepper rounds (found in the glass jars next to the olives, usually)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  1. Combine all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Combine dressing ingredients in blender until peppers are finely minced. Toss with salad. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    Now this is the strange ingredient of the batch. But don't be afraid and skip it. They are not hot and adds a great flavor. And trust me, once you make this, you will have not problem using up the whole jar. Fun fact: this company is a client of Jons-true story.

    I think all my current favorite recipes include this beauty.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pasta Al Forno

As mentioned this is a great go-to dish when making meals for someone. I often double it, or just freeze half so I have a meal for another day...Marianne made this for me after I had Raleigh, she was given the recipe by Natalie Paul. This is my version, I believe Natalie makes her own marinara so the original is a bit different.


1 jar of your fav. marinara (I use Newman's Own Marinara)
1 box penne pasta
1/2 lb ground beef
fresh mozzarella

White sauce:
1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
2 1/4 c milk
pinch nutmeg
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

Start water boiling for penne, then make white sauce in separate pan: Melt butter. Then add milk, and flour. Whisk constantly until boiling. Once boiling turn temp. down to simmer for 20 min, stirring occasionally. Let cool 10 min.

Cook penne and drain. Brown meat and drain, then mix in marinara sauce w/ meat.

In a 9X13 casserole dish layer penne, white sauce, a couple handfuls mozzarella, then marinara/meat and mix all together. Top with mozzarella (I always put a little shredded parmesan on top too!) and cook uncovered 25 min @ 350 or until a bit crispy on top and heated all the way through.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Milk conversion chart

I found this on line when I needed whole milk and only had skim and half and half. Ridiculously handy, I would say!!! 
Add the following to 1 cup of skim milk to approximate 1 cup of
1.5t heavy cream= 1% milk
1T heavy cream= 2% milk
2T heavy cream= whole milk
5T 1t heavy cream= half-&-half
9T heavy cream= light cream
1T light cream= 1% milk
1T 2t light cream= 2% milk
3T light cream= whole milk
5 oz light cream= half-&-half
2T half & half= 1% milk
3T half & half= 2% milk
4T half & half= whole milk

Friday, October 25, 2013

Death by Chocolate Cheesecake

My sister-in-law introduced me to this cheesecake. It is super, super rich so make at your own risk! I used dark chocolate cocoa powder, but I don't know that it would change the flavor that much.
Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake
Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake
Yield: Serves 8-10
Note: This cheesecake needs to be chilled overnight so plan ahead! The good news is this cheesecake can be made all the way through the topping, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving. It is preferable to let the cheesecake stand at room temperature 1-2 hours before serving.

  • 9-ounce package of chocolate cookies (such as chocolate wafers, graham crackers or teddy grahams)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (use the best quality you can afford – I love the Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chips and I’m not ashamed to admit I buy them in bulk, often, at Sam’s Club)
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Chocolate curls for garnish (I use this method)
  1. For crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch-high sides (or use a 10-inch springform pan with 2-inch sides). Process the chocolate cookies in a food processor (or the old-fashioned way with a bag and a rolling pin) until they are finely ground. Transfer them to a small bowl and mix in the sugar. Add the melted butter and mix until well combined. Press the crumbs evenly onto the bottom only of the prepared pan. Bake just until set, about 5 minutes. Cool while preparing filling. Keep the oven heated at 350 degrees.
  2. For filling: Melt the 10 ounces of chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler until melted and smooth. Cool the chocolate until lukewarm but ensure that it is still warm enough to be pourable. In a large bowl (or with a stand mixer), blend cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Mix in lukewarm chocolate. Pour the cheesecake filling over the crust; smooth the top. Bake until the center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
  3. For topping: One hour before serving (or up to 3 days ahead of time), stir cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Pour over the center of the cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge and filling any cracks. Chill until the topping is set, about 1 hour.
  4. When ready to serve, release the springform pan sides. Transfer the cheesecake to a platter. Top with chocolate curls. It is preferable to let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving.
Original source:

Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash & Quinoa

I found this on Pinterest and made it for the first time a few weeks ago. It was so good I've already made it again! It's got all the elements for comfort food, but is low in calories so you don't have to feel guilty eating it. I am not an olive fan, so I left those out, but here is the original recipe.

Serves 6
  • 1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup pitted and quartered kalamata olives
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  1. Steam the butternut squash until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Remove half of the squash pieces and set aside.
  2. Steam the remaining squash until very tender, an additional 4 to 6 minutes. Mash this squash with the back of a fork. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.
  4. Add chicken thighs, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate and allow to cool. Pour broth into a medium-sized bowl.
  6. Return the saucepan to the stovetop and lower heat to medium. Add olive oil.
  7. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is starting to turn brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Add the salt, minced garlic and oregano. Cook, stirring, for 1 additional minute.
  9. To the saucepan, add tomatoes, butternut squash pieces, mashed butternut squash. Stir to combine.
  10. Stir in reserved chicken broth and quinoa. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa turns translucent, about 15 minutes.
  11. Shred the chicken with your fingers or a fork.
  12. Stir the chicken, olives and pepper into the stew and simmer, uncovered, to heat, about 5 minutes.
  13. Stir in parsley and serve.
Original source:

Calories 329 / Total Fat 14.1g / Saturated Fat 1.0 / Cholesterol 15.2mg / Sodium 1209mg / Total Carbohydrates 32.8g / Fiber 5.4g / Sugars 3.0g / Protein 19.4g / WW (Old Points) 7 / WW (Points+) 9

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Broccoli Bites w/ dipping sauce

This is a new way to eat broccoli and I love it. Don't skip the's the best part! 
*From the Unconventional Kitchen. 


1 lb broccoli, chopped in small bit- sized pieces
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded (I used mozzarella)
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, shredded 
3 eggs
1 c. almond flour
1 t. oregano
salt & pepper to taste   

Preheat oven to 375F. Mix all ingredients except for the broccoli in a medium sized bowl.

Next toss in the broccoli. It helps to use your hands to roll the pieces of broccoli in the mixture into little bite sized balls. Place balls on lightly greased parchment paper.

Put them in the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes, or until brown. Serve with the tasty Maple-Dijon Dipping Sauce.

6 T sour cream
2 T pure maple syrup
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T fresh lemon juice
salt to taste



Simply whisk all the ingredients together and you have yourself an awesome sauce. Kids love dipping so that is what makes this sauce extra fun. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Chicken Spaghetti


This is a kid favorite. I remember eating it often at my aunts house. I loved it then and now that I have the recipe from her, my kids gobble it up as well. It makes a lot. You could easily split it or it is one of those good left over meals.

1 Cube Butter
8 Tablespoons Flour
4 Cubes or 4 Teaspoons of Chicken Bouillon- Dissolved in 2 Cups of Water
2 Cups of Milk
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
5-6 Chicken Breasts-cooked and shredded

Melt the butter in a pot, whisk in flour. Add boullion water and milk. Cook until thick, like alfredo consistency. Finish be adding garlic powder and chicken. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over spaghetti. 3/4-1 box is about how much you need for that much sauce.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Kale & Craisin Salad with Feta

Don't discount this because of the name. Kale is awful tasting, trust me, I've tried to talk myself into eating it raw because it is CRAZY good for you. If it is not hidden in something is pure torture to eat(I think so anyways) That is what is so great about this recipe. It is raw kale that actually tastes good. My sister in law made it and I went back for seconds.....then thirds.......then finally just grabbed the big bowl when everyone else was finished and cleaned it out.

1 bunch kale
3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt or sea salt
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup dried cranberries/craisins
3/4 cup small-diced apple
1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds(I don't think these were in the one I had, so it or leave it)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup crumbled Feta cheese
Wash the kale and pat it dry. Slice off the stiff stems below the leaves and continue slicing the stem away from the leaf until you have cut a thin v-shape into the kale leaf and removed the tough stem all the way up. Stack the kale leaves two or three at a time, roll them up, and slice the leaves into thin ribbons.
Place the kale ribbons in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and massage it into the kale with your hands for two minutes. You’ll notice the kale start to turn a darker green and the texture of the kale will begin to soften a bit.
Toss in the red onions, craisins, apples, and sunflower seeds. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and sugar. Pour over the salad and toss. Sprinkle feta cheese over the top and serve. The salad can be refrigerated for up to a day before serving (if doing this, I would suggest refrigerating the salted kale separately from the other ingredients and tossing the salad together an hour or two before serving).

Monday, March 4, 2013

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

ALL of my kids ate this without one complaint which pretty much means it's a winner...

2 whole large cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 10 3/4 oz cans of condensed tomato soup
1/4 c sundried tomatoes, chopped or 2 Tbsp of Sun Dried Tomato Paste (this is what I used but I only used about 4 tsp)
2 c half and half (I just used 1 c whipping cream mixed with 1 c water)
2 c chicken stock
1 tsp onion powder or dried onions
1 Tbsp Italian Seasonig
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 9 oz pkg cheese filled tortellini (I used dried tortellini and just boiled it according to pkg directions before I
added it. I think the refrigerated kind would taste better though.)
1/2 c shreded parmesan cheese, for garnish


Saute garlic with oil in large soup pot over medium heat until golden brown. Watch closely. Add all other ingredients except cheese and tortellini. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, drop tortellini into soup. (If using refrigerated tortellini follow package directions until fully cooked.) If using dry tortellini, cook fully, drain, then add to soup. Serve with cheese sprinkled on top.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Black Bean Soup

I also have a cupboard full of beans, but only because I have recently come to appreciate them. I used to hate beans, but now I love them. I found this recipe in a magazine and like it for several reasons (cheap, low cal, tasty).

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chili powder (less if you don't want a kick)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
6 tablespoons low-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Warm oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, carrots and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 12 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin. Sauté for about 3 minutes.

2. Stir in broth and beans, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove 2 cups of soup and puree in a blender. Stir pureed soup back into pot and cook 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Spoon soup into bowls, top with yogurt and cilantro and serve.

The less healthy version uses sour cream instead of yogurt, which I usually substitute just because it's what I have on hand and I don't think a dollop of sour cream every so often is going to kill ya.

Other bean favorites:
  • This is a pretty good chili recipe:
  • I second the cowboy caviar from Nichole.
  • We often eat beans as a side with Mexican meals.
  • I like adding beans to salads. (Cafe Rio pork salad, perhaps?)

Beans-- Just for you Becky

Besides Chili, my favorite recipe with beans is Cowboy Caviar
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1/2 can corn
1/2 jalapeno pepper
A couple green onions
2 or 3 tomatoes
1 ripe avocado
Juice from one lime
Cumin to taste
Eat it with tortilla chips

I love white Chili too

My mom loves Mango-quinoa salad

We always put beans in our quesadillas or fajitas

And just incase you need some more ideas

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan

I like good food, but I am kind of a lazy cook.  I prefer things that taste good, but didn't take me a long time to make.  Usually when I find something that is labor intensive, even if it's good, I won't make it again because the final product wasn't SO good that it justifies how long it took to make.  
This is different.  This is totally worth it.
Eggplant Parmesan
1 lb. eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Peel and slice the eggplant. I prefer to peel mine, but you don't have to. The skin is edible, it's just a little tough for my taste. Place in layers in a colander and sprinkle each layer with salt.  Place over an empty bowl.  Let stand for 30-45 minutes until the eggplant has released at least 1 tablespoon liquid.  The eggplant will change color, but it's fine. Rinse the slices, lay on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Press firmly to release as much liquid as possible.  This process prevents the eggplant from becoming mushy.
After about 20 minutes, place a cookie sheet in the oven and heat to 425.
Meanwhile mix together:
1 cup bread crumbs (I use Italian flavor, but you don't have to)
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated fresh or in the can, doesn't matter)
pinch of salt
Set aside
Beat three large eggs and put in a bowl.  Then combine 3/4 cup flour with 1/4 tsp. pepper in a large zip-loc bag.  Add the drained and dried eggplant and shake.  Then dip the eggplant slices in the egg and
bread crumb mixture.  Set aside.
Remove the cookie sheet.  Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to the sheet and tilt to coat.  Place the eggplant slices on the cookie sheet and place back in the oven for 30 minutes (turning once at 20 minutes).
While the slices are baking, you make the sauce.
2 cans diced tomatoes (or 30 oz. fresh chopped tomatoes)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste (if you use fresh tomatoes, you'll need more salt)
Blend half the tomatoes until smooth.  Add pepper, garlic, onion and olive oil to a skillet and saute over medium heat 3-5 minutes.  Then add the pureed tomatoes and chopped tomatoes and increase heat to bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.  Add chopped basil and salt and pepper. 

Spray a 2 qt. casserole dish, or lasagne pan with Pam.  Pour in some of the prepared sauce.  Add eggplant in layers, putting sauce and mozzarella cheese between each.  You should have two layers, with a few slices making a third.  Top with remaining sauce and more cheese.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and dish is bubbling.