Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mexican Lasagna


1 14oz can black beans, rinsed and drained (or 1-1/2 cups cooked black beans)
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
4-5 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (fire roasted if available)
9-12 no-boil lasagna noodles
8 oz. shredded Mexican blend cheese
hot sauce

Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, combine first 7 ingredients. Spread a thin layer of tomatoes in the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish (about 1/5 of them). Layer with 3-4 lasagna noodles, breaking to make them fit if necessary. On top of the noodle layer, spread 1/3 of the bean mixture. Layer evenly with about 1/4 of the remaining tomatoes and drizzle lightly with hot sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese.

Repeat the layering process two more times (noodles, beans, tomatoes, cheese, noodles beans, tomatoes, cheese). Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake 35-45 minutes, or until noodles are tender and cooked through. Remove foil and bake 5 minutes more, until cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Yields about 6 servings.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quinoa Burgers

This recipe is from my good neighbor, Aimee. Her's, of course, turned out much more appealing than mine did. This is a great nutritious alternative to those icky old ground-beef (Pink Slime) burgers! I'm even thinking they'd be great warmed up for breakfast!


2 heaping cups cooked quinoa
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (can use whatever variety you like)
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup carrot, finely grated. (about 1 medium carrot) you could also use 1 cup grated zucchini squeezed dry
3 eggs
6 tbsp whole wheat flour
3 green onions, including white parts
1/2 tsp sugar, or sugar substitute
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne (can omit if you don't want any heat)
Olive oil for frying
To cook quinoa, bring 2 cups water & 1/2 tsp salt to a boil, add 1 cup quinoa and cover. Reduce heat to low & cook for 15-18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Let cool to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl combine cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, carrot, eggs, flour, green onions, sugar, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne if using. Mix to combine thoroughly. Heat a frying pan over med-low heat so they have time to set up without falling apart. Add a about 2 tbsp olive oil and shape about 1/4 -1/3 cup portions into patties (they will be sticky). Drop into pan and flatten to about 1/2 inch thick. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Makes about 10-12 burgers.

Creamy Bacon Tomato Avocado Pasta Salad

Yes, I eat out of a kiddie bowl sometimes!


6 slices bacon, chopped into one inch pieces
1/2 pound dried rotini pasta
1/2 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 avocado pitted and sliced

Cook bacon until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Cook pasta according to package directions. Strain. Run cold water over the top until the pasta is cooled. While bacon and pasta are cooking, whisk mayonnaise, lemon, salt, garlic powder, pepper and dill together in a bowl.

Stir cooled pasta, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado and bacon into the dressing. Toss to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp lemon zest or more (zest from 1 large lemon)
7/8 cup* + 1 tablespoon sugar**
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk

* 7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
** This 1 tablespoon is for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 350ยบF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour and set aside. In another bowl whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mississippi Roast

No pictures, but OH MY GOODNESS!

chuck roast (whatever size you need)
1 packet Ranch Dressing mix (see my homemade recipe)
1 packet Au Jus mix
5 pepperocini peppers (come in a jar)
1 stick of butter

Put the chuck roast in the crockpot. Sprinkle ranch dressing mix and Au Jus mix all over. Place stick of butter on top of roast and surround with peppers. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cheddar Garlic Oven-Fried Chicken

13; cup butter , melted
2 tablespoons minced garlic (can use more or less)
2 teaspoons garlic powder , divided (garlic lovers can use more)
½ teaspoon seasoning salt (or can use white salt)
¾ cup seasoned dry bread crumb (seasoned or plain)
½ cup finely grated cheddar cheese
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
shredded cheddar cheese (optional and use any amount desired, or can use shredded mozzarella cheese)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 11 x 7-inch pan (if using more than 4 breasts use a larger pan). In a bowl, combine melted butter with fresh minced garlic, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and salt. In another bowl, combine the dry breadcrumbs with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and pepper. Dip chicken in butter mixture, then in crumb mixture. Place in prepared pan and bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes or until cooked through, larger breasts may take more time (placing the chicken on a rack in a pan will produce an extra crispy crust). Top with shredded cheddar or mozzarella the last 5 minutes of cooking (this is optional).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Black Bean Brownies

1 (15 oz.) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. cocoa
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/3 c. roughly chopped walnuts (optional)
Drain and rinse black beans as thoroughly as possible.  Combine beans, sugar, eggs, and butter in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add in cocoa, vanilla and salt and blend until completely pureed. Gently stir in chocolate chips and walnuts then pour into a greased 8"x8" pan. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lemon Yogurt Muffins

1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar (I used Stevia)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted (I omitted totally)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup lemon yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
sugar (I sprinkled with Stevia)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a mini muffin pan (I just used a regular-sized one). In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate large bowl stir together milk, lemon juice, 1/4 cup butter, egg, yogurt, lemon zest and vanilla (don’t worry if it looks clumpy or curdled). Make a well in center of dry ingredients and add wet, stir just to combine. Spoon batter or use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin pan. Bake 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (Even making the larger muffins, they were done in 15 minutes).

Cool pans on wire racks 5 minutes, then turn out and brush tops with melted butter. Dip or roll in sugar while still warm. Best eaten immediately. If they cool off and become sticky roll in sugar again.

Guacamole Salsa

This is sooooo good! The thinner version can be used as a salad dressing, or let it thicken up and eat it with tortilla chips!

 1 lb. tomatillos (or more if you want it thinner)
1 jalapeno pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
1/3 bunch cilantro
1 thick slice of onion
1 garlic clove
1 avocado
1 tsp. salt

Peel and wash the tomatillos - they are usually found over by the cilantro & peppers, and have a husk on them. Cut them into quarters and put in the blender or food processor. Follow with the jalapeno, cilantro, onion, garlic, avocado and salt. Be sure to put the tomatillos in the bottom of the blender and not the avocado so it doesn't stick to the blade. It should last for about a week in the fridge. I did notice that it thickens up in the fridge, so if you want it thinner grab a couple more tomatillos to mix in again. Super easy and so good!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Key West Grilled Chicken Kabobs

This is so obviously not a picture of mine. I forgot to soak my skewers before broiling them in the oven. Things started smoking, so I hurried them out, unskewered them and finished broiling them in a pan. Needless to say, I will probably remember to soak them the next time. Live and learn.

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon cooking oil
juice of one lime
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a small bowl combine soy sauce, honey, vegetable oil, lime juice, and garlic. If you want to have grilled breasts, place chicken breast halves into the mixture, and turn to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes. If you prefer kebabs, as are pictured, cut the chicken into large chunks, skewer onto bamboo sticks that have been soaked in water for 5 minutes, and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Grill on medium high heat for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, until juices run clear.

Hasselback Potatoes

however many potatoes you want to cook
thinly sliced garlic cloves
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Thinly slice each washed and scrubbed potato almost to the bottom. Do not cut all the way through. Stick pieces of garlic in between the slices (I just sprinkled with garlic powder). Drop small bits of butter over potatoes (I just rubbed some softened butter all over with a fork). Drizzle olive oil all over. Bake at 425F for 40 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.

Note: If you go the easy route, as I did, with the garlic powder, make sure you get it down in between the slices. I kind of pushed the potatoes up from the bottom side to fan the pieces apart so the spices could get down in the cracks.

Whole Wheat Crepes (aka Tortillas)

3 eggs
23 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon salt
13 cup whole wheat flour

In a small bowl, beat the eggs, milk, butter, and salt until well combined - about 20 seconds. Sift the flour into a medium size bowl or a 2 quart measuring cup, then add the liquid mixture, beating until well combined - about 1 minute. Or blend the eggs, milk, butter, and salt in an electric blender or food processor for 15 seconds; sprinkle in the flour and blend until smooth-about 30 seconds. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let stand for at least 1 hour refrigerated or at room temperature. (The flour will swell to make a softer batter.) Will keep, refrigerated, for up to 4 hours.

Brush butter on the bottom of a crepe pan or heavy 7-inch skillet. Set over moderate heat for about 30 seconds or until a drop of batter sizzles. Stir the batter well, pour 2 tablespoonfuls into the skillet, and quickly tip it back and forth so that the batter evenly coats the bottom. Cook until the crepe edges are golden brown - about 1 minute. Slide a spatula under the crepe, flip it over, and cook for about 30 seconds. Transfer to a warm plate. Repeat with the remaining batter, rebuttering the skillet when necessary.
The crepes can be cooled to room temperature, separated by sheets of wax paper, and stored.

Note: If you want to make regular crepes, not using whole wheat flour, use 3/4 cup milk, 2 tbs cold water, and substitute 3/4 cup white flour.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Crockpot Applesauce

10-12 large apples
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Core your apples and cut into chunks...any size chunks will do. You can peel the apples first if you like but if you cook them in the crockpot the skins mostly dissolve. (I did because "mostly" dissolve didn't appeal to me). Mix your apple chunks, sugar and cinnamon together and pour into your crockpot. Add the water and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5. You may need to mash up the apples a little depending on how chunky you want it.
Notes: Like I said, I peeled mine. I didn't want red applesauce either, so figured that would help prevent that. It probably did to some degree, but my applesauce still turned out a little dark. I only made half a batch and it filled up three pint-sized Mason jars. I also used sweet Gala apples and omitted the sugar.

Chicken Enchilada Chili (w/homemade Enchilada Sauce)

This isn't a picture of mine because I totally forgot to take one! Matt said this one is "a keeper" (which is a good thing since we have leftovers and will be having it again tomorrow night)!

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 15 oz. can corn, drained
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained
1 10 oz. can Rotel Mild diced tomatoes
1 cup red enchilada sauce (see recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup chicken broth (optional - I didn't need it)
2 cups cooked rice
sour cream and shredded cheese to garnish (optional)
Place all ingredients into crock pot. Cook on high for 4-5 hours until chicken shreds easily with a fork. Shred both breasts into bite size pieces and spoon over cooked rice. I add about 1 cup chicken broth to the chili to make it a bit saucier if needed (mine didn't need it). Garnish with sour cream and shredded cheese if desired. Serve with tortilla chips (organic, of course).
Makes about 6 servings.


1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a large skillet to medium heat. Whisk in flour and chili powder. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to whisk until lightly browned. Gradually whisk in tomato sauce, chicken broth, cumin, garlic powder, onion salt and salt. Stir until smooth, and continue simmering over medium heat about 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Serve immediately, or keep in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Makes about 3 cups, so you can adjust amounts if using just for the above recipe. I put mine in the freezer for next time!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy Bread

2 teaspoons dry instant yeast
1 tablespoon honey
between 1/3-1/2 cup warm milk
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and flouring
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup warm milk (extra)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
butter, melted and cooled

1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/3-1/2 cup warm milk, cover and leave in a warm place to rise 10 minutes.

In another bowl, sift the flour and salt together. Make a well in the middle and add beaten eggs into it, honey, the remaining warm milk, olive oil, lemon juice and yeast mixture. Knead the dough with your hands or in your mixer until it separates from the sides of the bowl. Remove dough, place on lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until it becomes a soft, pliable dough. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a towel and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume - about an hour.

Punch risen dough and transfer onto a floured surface, divide dough into 2 equal parts. Divide each of these again into 4, so you have 8 pieces of dough altogether.
Roll each piece of dough out into a roughly rectangular shape with a thickness of 1/4 inch. Brush cooled, melted butter over each piece. Set aside remaining butter for later. 

Place one piece of rectangular dough over another one and roll into a cylinder. Do the same with the rest of the dough; you will end up with 4 cylindrical rolls altogether.

Cut each roll into three pieces in this way - slice at both ends of the roll about 1.5 inch long each, and put these two pieces aside. Then cut the middle part of the roll into 4 triangles.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or line a large baking tray. In the middle of the tray, arrange the cut ends of the rolls around each other to form a circle, placing the cut sides down. Arrange the cut triangles to completely surround the middle circle. Cover with towel and leave the dough to rise in a warm place for about 30-40 minutes

Beat the yolk; combine with the milk with a fork to form a glaze and brush top of the bread with the glaze. (You can sprinkle with sesame seeds or other dry toppings at this point.) Bake bread for 20-30 minutes, reducing the temperature to 320F after 10 minutes in the oven.

Brush bread with melted butter as soon as it comes out of the oven, cover with a towel and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes before eating.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Homemade Lotion

This turned out pretty good - not too greasy (I don't like greasy lotion). But I will triple the amount to fill the bottle next time!

2 Tablespoons of small peices of beeswax
1/3 Cup of Sunflower Oil
1/8 teaspoon Borax
1/4 Cup distilled water
8+/- drops of essential oil (I used "Fresh Rain")

Pour the oil into a microwave safe container and add the beeswax. Heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds, stir, heat 30 seconds, stir, etc. until wax is all disolved. You will have a yellowish liquid that is HOT but not boiling. Then in a SEPARATE microwave safe container combine the Borax and water. Heat in microwave to boiling (it's not much so about a minute). (Mine did not ever boil, but it turned out okay anyway.) Then while stirring the oil mix with a wisk, or fork, pour the water mixture into the oil/beeswax mixture. The clear water and yellowish oil, turn white as they mix. Continue stirring until it is all combined. It will thicken as it cools. When it is cool to the touch you can add your essential oil and transfer it to a container. The Borax acts as a preservative, so it should keep well.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tomato & Spinach Pasta Toss

I was looking for something to fix for lunch (the worst meal of the day, IMO). Matt doesn't like spinach or sausage, so I halved the recipe hoping that Tara (who is a pasta FREAK) would like it and help me eat it. The recipe below is for the whole version, not the half. It came from, thus all the Kraft ingredients. Feel free, like I did to use whatever brand you'd like!
2 cups rotini pasta, uncooked ( I used whole wheat)
1/2 lb. Italian sausage
1 pkg. (6 oz.) baby spinach leaves
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
Cook pasta in a large saucepan as directed on package directions, omitting the salt. Meanwhile, cook sausage in a deep, large skillet on medium-high heat 10-12 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally. Drain sausage and return to skillet. Add spinach and tomatoes; cook 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta and return it to it's pan. Add sausage mixture and cheeses; mix lightly. Would be delicious with some whole wheat garlic toast!
Note: I didn't have Italian-style diced tomatoes, so I used regular and sprinkled some Italian seasoning on it. It worked.

Delicious (and actually healthy) Meatloaf

I've been making meatloaf this way for years (because it's something my whole family will actually eat). It's really good with a squirt of ketchup on top (or without since I don't eat ketchup anymore).

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
1 cup rolled oats
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (optional)
1/4 cup dried onion flakes
1 egg
salt and pepper as preferred

Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Turn into a small casserole dish or loaf pan. Bake at 350F for 1 hour. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Drizzle with ketchup if desired.

Note: I like diced tomatoes in just about everything, so sometimes I put them in just for me. They do tend to make the meatloaf more saucy and pink giving the appearance that it's still raw.

Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffins (Whole Foods Knock-Off)

These were made by a 15-year-old girl from the Netherlands. I'm impressed! I'm not sure where the "triple" part comes in, so I'm renaming them "Double Chocolate Chunk Muffins." I didn't follow the directions exactly (more about that at the end), but I will do so more closely the next time as I think that would make them even better. Still though, they turned out pretty good!

1-3/4 c oats
3 egg whites
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (or 1-1/2 Tbsp. vinegar, or 1/2 tsp lemon juice)
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup hot water
1 cup sugar substitute or 1/4 cup + 2 tbs Stevia
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or use dark or white chocolate or peanut butter chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 (12-cup) mini-muffin pans or 1 (12-cup) regular muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside. In a blender (or food processor), mix all of the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips. Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth. Place mixture in a bowl and gently stir in 1/2 of the chocolate chips. Set the rest of the chips aside. Scoop mixture into prepared muffin pans. Bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove muffins from the oven (but don’t shut oven off), and distribute the other half of the chocolate chips on top of each muffin.* (This was the most difficult part! The chips kept rolling off onto the pan.) Place  the muffins back into the oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

*Note, you could skip this step by putting all of the chips in the batter, and baking the muffins for 12-15 min straight, but this method gives the muffins the traditional Whole Foods ‘VitaTop Muffin’ look with the chocolate chips on top!

Cool muffins before removing from pan.

Servings: 24 Mini-Muffins or 12 Regular-sized Muffins

Notes: I was really unprepared. I did not have unsweetened cocoa, unsweetened applesauce, plain yogurt, or cream of tartar. I used regular cocoa, regular applesauce, low-fat vanilla yogurt and lemon juice in place of the cream of tartar (gotta love the internet for that one!). I also used dark chocolate chips (because I like them better) and forgot to mix half into the batter before cooking. Because I was using all of these pre-sweetened ingredients, I wasn't sure how much additional sweetener to add, so I just squirted a little bit of honey into the mix (probably only 1/8 cup). I would probably add 1/2 cup next time. I would also make sure to mix the chocolate chips into the batter as directed. Kayleigh ate the chips off the top of hers and then didn't like the muffin part and, I have to admit, just the muffin by itself was kind of tasteless. I talked her into making sure she had a chocolate chip in every bite and she ended up eating two of them. If they had been mixed in, that wouldn't have been an issue. All in all, as healthy as these are, they could have been even more so had I had the right ingredients on hand. But hey, my girl ate oatmeal and didn't even know it! I'm calling that progress.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken

Taken from

This was really good, though I picked the bacon off of mine. It didn't turn out as crispy as I would have liked or as shown in the above picture. She grilled her's though and I baked mine in the oven. It was good none the less!

4 chicken breasts cut in thirds (12 pieces)
bacon slices
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder
chili powder
brown sugar

Cut each breast into 3 pieces, season all the chicken with the spices, then wrap a bacon slice around each piece (you can use half a slice of bacon around the smaller pieces), roll in brown sugar and place into an oven proof dish....make sure you have some olive oil in the dish too, like 2 or 3 tablespoons is fine (mine created so much juice from the brown sugar that it really didn't need the olive oil). Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and bacon is nice and brown and crispy.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix

Equal to one packet of dry dressing mix.

2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper

Add each of the dried spices to a bowl and mix carefully. Store in a canning jar or Ziploc bag.

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

Yields 3 cups of soup, which is equal to about 2 cans.

1 1/2 cups organic chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon parsley
dash of paprika
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup flour (can substitute gluten free flour)

In medium-sized saucepan, boil chicken broth, 1/2 cup of the milk, and the seasonings for a minute or two (longer if using fresh onions or garlic). In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of milk and flour. Add to boiling mixture and continue whisking briskly until mixture boils and thickens.

Slow Cooker Creamy Ranch Pork Chops w/Potatoes

First off, we don't eat potatoes anymore, so I made this without. The pork chops came out really tender and tasty (I love cooking in the slow cooker!). I also  made homemade Cream of Chicken soup and Ranch Dressing mix - recipes follow. I'll also post them separately for future use.

4-6 pork chops
6-8 medium potatoes, chopped into large pieces
2 cans fat-free cream of chicken soup*
2 packages dry Ranch dressing mix*
1 cup milk
Dried parsley to sprinkle on top (optional)

Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray (I just used a Slow Cooker bag) and put potatoes on the bottom. Place the pork chops on top of the potatoes. Mix together the condensed soup, Ranch dressing mix and milk. Pour on top of the pork chops and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours. Use the extra sauce in the slow cooker as a gravy for the potatoes and the pork chops. Sprinkle with dried parsley if you want.
Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
(makes 3 cups which is equal to 2 cans of soup)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (or less; taste to test)
1/4 teaspoon parsley
dash of paprika
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup flour (can substitute gluten free flour)

In medium-sized saucepan, boil chicken broth, 1/2 cup of the milk, and the seasonings for a minute or two (longer if using fresh onions or garlic). In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of milk and flour. Add to boiling mixture and continue whisking briskly until mixture boils and thickens.

Homemade Ranch Dressing Recipe
(makes the equivalent of one packet of dry dressing mix, so for the above recipe, double this!)

2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper

Add each of the dried spices to a bowl and mix carefully. Store in a canning jar or Ziploc bag.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Knock-Off Chipotle's Guacamole

I've been wanting to make this for a few weeks, because I wanted something to put on my salads since I'm not eating dressings. But I was scared...of onions, of peppers, of avocados, of it being too hot, of the onions being too chunky, etc. Though I basically like guacamole when I go to restaurants. Weird.

3 ripe avocados
1/2 cup of chopped red onions
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped jalapeno
1/8 cup of lemon and lime juice — 80/20 ratio
pinch of salt

Place avocados in a bowl and mash with a fork – you will want to leave it a little chunky. Add all the other ingredients and mix.

Notes: I put it all in the food processor because I didn't want chunks of onion and pepper. I also used an Anaheim pepper so it wasn't too spicy. I would omit the lime and add more salt next time (my preference).