Monday, November 7, 2016

Healthy Cheese-Like Sauce

Healthy Cheese-Like Sauce
  1. Place 1 cup water and next 9 ingredients (cashews through tahini) in blender and blend until very, very smooth. (A high-powered blender works best for this.)
  2. Add oil and blend well.
  3. Add tapioca starch or corn starch. Blend until well mixed.
  4. Pour into medium/large sauce pan. Rinse blender with remaining 1 3/4 cups water and add to sauce pan.  
  5. Bring to boil over medium/high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and bubbly.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Serve warm or chilled.

The original recipe for this can be found here . I made a few changes to suit my tastes.  I added the nutritional yeast for a more cheesy flavor, cut back on the salt (because the nutritional yeast is salty) and added the tumeric for color.  I am going to try this the next time without the oil, I am not sure it needs it. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015


HUMMUS is wonderful!  It's so versatile - it's delicious, a good source of protein, healthier than many dips, comes in all sorts of flavors, and is so easy to make.  Yes people, you CAN make your own hummus!  It's super simple, it only takes a matter of minutes and you get to control what is in it!  If I had to give you a recipe I would direct you HERE, but don't over complicate this.

Here's what I do.  In my food processor I add a can of drained, rinsed chickpeas - also known as garbanzo beans, some minced garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  I do this all to taste. I like mine with a little more lemon juice than most.  Turn on your food processor and slowly add water until it gets to the right consistency.  You can use olive oil instead of water but who needs the extra calories??  Almost all recipes you find will call for tahini, I do not like tahini at all so I never use it.

I personally like just plain, traditional hummus.  However, you can make this in whatever flavor you like. Sometimes I add in some cumin, roasted red peppers and a few dashes of hot sauce.  Or olives and feta cheese.  There's a white bean and roasted garlic variation in the link posted above that sounds really good too.

Remember when I mentioned that Hummus is versatile?  It really is!  It's good as a dip for veggies - I love it with pepper strips or baby carrots, it's awesome in place of mayo on sandwiches, it's amazing with homemade pita chips*, it's delicious to make Greek nachos*, heck - it's yummy on a spoon!!
THIS is my latest favorite recipe using it, it's from the Forks over Knives cookbook.  I make it in a tortilla like a quesadilla.

You can add anything you like really.  This one has hummus, spinach and roasted red peppers.  Just cook til it's warmed, fold over and eat.  Slice some cucumbers while it's cooking and you've got a healthy, cheaper spin on "fast food" right in your kitchen.  Wraps are super simple - spread a soft tortilla with a layer of hummus, add whatever fillings you like, roll it up and there you go.

Homemade pita chips are just as easy to make as hummus is!  Buy a pack of pita's, cut them into 8th's, place on a pan, brush or spray with olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.  If you want flavored ones you can sprinkle on whatever you want - garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, cumin, etc...  Here's a pretty basic recipe for them as well.

Greek nachos - this may be something I made up lol.  You can use homemade pita chips, or tortilla chips if you prefer.  Top them with hummus, olives, diced up roasted red peppers and some feta cheese.  Bake in the oven until warmed through and cheese is soft.  YUM!

I hope you all start making your own hummus!  It's so easy, and so good!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Wonders of Shredded Chicken

My daughters are attempting to eat healthier, so this post is dedicated to them!  Marissa told me she needed to find things she can make in big batches to eat throughout the week, and also take to work for lunch.  Cassie has mentioned the same thing, packing healthy lunches can be a struggle. My first thought was shredded chicken.  Having pre-cooked, shredded chicken on hand can be a huge time saver in the kitchen, and if you find it one sale it can be kind to your grocery budget as well.

Some tips to start with:
*From everything I have looked up it seems 2lbs of raw boneless skinless chicken breasts = 3-4cups of cooked, shredded chicken.
*The easiest way to cook up all your chicken is in a crockpot.  Cook it all day while you're at work, come home and shred it.  Easy peasy.  From there you can either just leave it in a container in your fridge to use during the week or portion it out and freeze it.  Personally, I would leave out what I was going to use over the next 3 days maybe, and freeze the rest.  But that's just me.  I know it's fine for longer than that in the fridge once it's cooked, but I'm weird about stuff like that!
*The easiest way to shred up all your chicken in in your kitchen aid mixer, trust me on this!  Use the paddle attachment, turn it on low speed and it will shred in seconds.  I find doing 2-3 breasts at a time works best.  If you don't own a stand mixer you can use 2 forks and just shred it up.  Or a Pampered Chef Mix-N-Chop.  That's what I use here since I left my mixer in NY (lucky for you Marissa, now you can shred your chicken quickly!).
*If you plan on freezing some of your chicken make sure you have freezer bags on hand and a sharpie to label your bags!  (Daughter do not try and just put it in sandwich bags, you will end up with freezer burnt chicken and that is a sad, sad thing.)  Also on that note, make sure your chicken is cooled before you freeze it - don't put it in the freezer when it's hot.  That goes for any food, not just chicken.
*Know your crockpot.  The low setting on one of mine is like the high setting on the other one. Yes, I own more than one crockpot - don't judge me :p  The last thing you want is overcooked dry chicken.

So how do you go about cooking all these chicken breasts?  SIMPLE!  Get out your crockpot and put as many boneless, skinless breasts in there as you want. If you're using fresh chicken add about 1/2 cup of water.  If you use frozen you don't need the water as it will make it's own as it thaws.  And yes, you can put the frozen breasts in the crockpot, no need to thaw them first.  Now, most of you know I am a picky food person.  I would cut all visible fat and anything else off the breasts before adding them to the crockpot, but that's because it grosses me out.  Cook on low for about 8 hours.

You can add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, slice up a whole onion and add it - whatever you want.  Just remember if you plan on using this chicken in a variety of dishes you may want to skip the seasoning and add it when you cook your dishes.  I usually just add some salt, pepper and an onion for flavor.  If you are a person who needs a recipe to follow, this one will work.
Shredded Chicken

If you don't own a crockpot, get one!  For real.  You won't regret it - even if you only use to make shredded chicken.  No worries though, until you get one you can use this cooking method.  Stove Top Method  This way just requires more hands on time that the crockpot method.

Now that you have a lot of shredded chicken on hand, you can eat quickly and healthy throughout the week.  Who says "fast" food has to be bad for you?!!  Some of my favorite ways to use this are in tacos and burritos, in soups, and mixed into a tossed salad.  I must get ready for my day, which includes dragging Zach out of bed so we can go grocery shopping at 8:30 (wish me luck on that one, that boy does not like to wake up early!!  But he leaves for college again tomorrow and needs supplies, so... I think he'll get out of bed ok this morning.  I hope...)  I am going to church after that while he goes to play paintball. Since Russ is working today and Zach will be gone, I am hoping to get my crafty on this afternoon - I found a cool project to work on!

Stay tuned, my next post will be various recipes to use this shredded chicken in.  Maybe as soon as this afternoon since the ideas are flowing now!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shrimp Scampi

Russ asked for shrimp scampi for dinner last night.  Sounded good to me!  I added scallops to ours, and loosely followed this recipe from Tyler Florence.  I added lemon zest, more red pepper flakes, used coconut oil in stead of olive oil and added some fresh Parmesan cheese to it.  We both liked it, but agreed we'd like a more creamier sauce.  Not like an alfredo sauce, just a thicker sauce so it sticks to the linguine a bit.  I'll adjust that the next time I make this. 

Shrimp Scampi with linguini

1 pound linguini
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used chardonnay)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves

For the pasta, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it has come to the boil, add a couple of tablespoons of salt and the linguini. Stir to make sure the pasta separates; cover. When the water returns to a boil, cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the pasta is not quite done. Drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using) until the shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan; set aside and keep warm. Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil. When the butter has melted, return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley and cooked pasta. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a bit more olive oil and serve immediately.

*I did not drizzle oil over it, I garnished it with parsley and parm cheese instead!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Spicy Italian Crescent Ring

  • 2 cans (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 1/2 cup well drained roasted red bell peppers (from a jar)
  • 8 slices provolone cheese, halved
  • 1/2 lb deli ham
  • 1/3 lb deli sliced hot salami
  • 1/4 lb deli sliced capocollo
  • 1/2 cup well drained hot pepper rings (from a jar)
  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Unroll both cans of dough; separate into 8 rectangles. On ungreased 12-inch pizza pan, arrange rectangles in ring so short sides of rectangles form a circle in center. (Dough will overlap; half of each rectangle will hang over edge of pan. Dough ring should resemble a sun.)
  3. Spread roasted red bell peppers towards center of ring on bottom halves of rectangles. Top with half of the cheese. Layer salami, ham and capocollo slices over cheese. Arrange pepper rings over top. Cover with remaining half of cheese.
  4. Bring each dough rectangle hanging over side of pan up over stacked filling, tucking dough under bottom layer of dough to secure it. Repeat around sandwich until entire filling is enclosed (some filling might show a little but that is okay.) Sprinkle with black pepper.
  5. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until dough is golden brown and thoroughly baked. Remove from oven; cool 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into serving slices.


To drain the roasted red bell peppers thoroughly, use a fine mesh strainer, then set on a few paper towels to absorb any extra moisture.

If you don’t like it spicy, switch out the deli meats for a milder flavor, and swap in some ripe olives instead of the hot pepper rings.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chicken Wing Dip

4-6 oz Frank's Original Hot Sauce
2 8-oz packages regular (not low fat) cream cheese
8 oz bottle Ranch or bleu cheese salad dressing
2 lg cans chicken, drained and flaked apart with a fork
8 oz shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese

In a medium-size saucepan, bring hot sauce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add cream cheese and stir continuously until fully melted. Stir in dressing.Add chicken and stir until fully coated. Add shredded cheese and stir until fully melted.
Transfer mixture to a small crock pot and heat on low. Or transfer to a small casserole dish and bake at 350°F until bubbly (approximately 20-25 minutes).
Serve warm with tortilla chips or tortilla scoops.
Be prepared to share many copies of this recipe!
Note: You may substitute two cups cooked and shredded chicken in place of canned chicken.

original link

French Onion Pasta


2 cups of uncooked penne pasta
1 to 1.5 cup of chicken stock
1 packet of Lipton's Onion Soup mix
1 shallot, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 cup of marsala wine
4 tablespoons of light cream
1 tablespoon of flour
1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon of EVOO

1- Cook pasta according to directions, set aside and keep warm.
2- In a saucepan, heat the EVOO. Add the scallions and garlic, stir continually until soft and fragrant.
3- Add the marsala wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck on pieces of onion.
4- Add the stock and soup mix packets, allow to cook on low for about 20 minutes.
5- Stir in flour, whisking continually until well incorporated and thickened.
6- Add the light cream, mix well.
7- Add the pasta to the sauce, stir well.
8- Pour into an oven safe dish. Top with the mozzarella cheese.
9- Set it under the broiler until the cheese gets a little crispy.

Original Link