Wednesday, March 31, 2010

April Fool's Day Meatballs

Did you think that this was a big tray of meatballs?

Look again.....

Both of my kids and my husband thought that I had made meatballs on first glace. All of them asked about the "white stuff" in the meatballs. hahaha!


They are really cocoa rice krisp balls.

Perfect for a "meatball" dinner item.

I think that just about everyone knows how to make rice krisp treats but in case you need a reminder, here's the recipe from Kellogg's:


3 tablespoons  butter or margarine
1 package  (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
- OR -
 4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups  Ready-To-Eat Cereal Cocoa Krispies


1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

2. Add Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.  I rolled the mixture into golf ball-sized balls and laid them on a baking sheet. 

Store in a container with a tight lid.

To make a "meatball sandwich":

Slice a "v" into the middle of a a mini pound cake loaf. Place two "meatballs" into the middle of the pound cake. Trim both sides of the pound cake to "flatten" the sides to resemble a hoagie roll.  Top with red cake icing for "sauce" and shave white chocolate on top for "cheese". (Sorry that I don't have a picture of this but my kids don't like meatballs sandwiches so they would've never fallen for this one.)

Happy April Fool's Day!!

What are you doing to fool your family?

Rutabaga Fries - Low Carb, Too!

There's a lot of controversy out there on whether or not rutabagas are really low carb. I've seen counts from as high as 15 carbs per cup of rutabaga to as low as 9 carbs per cup. I look at it this way, I only eat it once in a while when I want "fries" and then, I only cook 1/2 of a medium-sized rutabaga at a time to avoid temptation to eat more. Any way you look at it, it's better than eating an order of french fries!

Many people mention tasting a slight sweet taste when eating them but I do not pick up on that. I find them to have a slight peppery bite to them - probably why I like them so much.

If you are buying them in a grocery store, the rutabagas will probably be covered in wax. You have to peel the skins off of them before eating them. I love the fact that you can store it raw for several days in the refrigerator.

Rutabaga Fries
this recipe uses 1/2 of a medium-sized rutabaga

1/2 raw, peeled rutabaga, sliced into "steak fries"
olive oil
red pepper flakes
garlic powder
onion powder
black pepper

In a bowl, toss together the rutabaga sticks, olive oil and seasonings to taste. Spread out onto a baking sheet, making sure to not over lap or crowd the sticks.

Bake at 450* for 6 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and flip the sticks over to brown on the other side. Bake for another 6 minutes or until the sticks are tender and browned to your liking.

Other seasoning that I've used on the rutabaga fries:

chili powder & cumin

Can be served with a bit of Heinz Low Sugar Ketchup, spiced up mayo, mustard or tzatziki sauce -depending on which spices you use.

Serve immediately.

What's your opinion on rutabagas? 

What's your favorite ways to cook them? 

I'd love for you to share your thoughts with me!

Pan Fried Squash & Zucchini

What happens when you really crave grilled veggies but you can't use your grill at the time? Gently pan fry them in a little olive oil and they will turn out better than good....really, really good.

This is such a simple side dish that took just 5 minutes to cook- yet it's so colorful and pretty enough to serve to anyone.

All low carbers can enjoy this dish!

**Note** - You won't find any breading on these veggies so if you need the crusted coating, stop reading now.

Or better yet....   Continue reading and then try the recipe. It might just change your mind. :)

Pan Fried Squash & Zucchini
recipes makes 1 -2 servings

1 baby zucchini
1 baby yellow squash
olive oil
red pepper flakes
dried basil
garlic powder

In a large frying pan, drizzle oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Turn heat to high to warm up the pan, and then turn the heat back down to medium-high before adding the veggies.

While the pan is heating up, slice each veggies vertically into strips. Place the veggies into the pan and turn to coat in the oil. If needed, lightly drizzle a little more oil on top of the veggies - being careful not to drown them in oil. These veggies will soak up a lot of oil so use a light hand.

Sprinkle on the red pepper flakes (I used about 1/2 tsp), dried basil (about 1 tsp) and garlic powder (about 1/2 tsp).

Once the veggies are starting to soften and the undersides are browning nicely, flip the slices over to brown the other side. Only cook until each side has slightly browned or you will end up with a pile of mushy veggies.

Serve immediately.


Vary the spices for a nice treat. In place of the basil, try chili powder, Italian seasoning, lemon pepper, onion powder, oregano...the list goes on and on.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Turkey & Egg Cups on Spinach - Low Carb, Too!

I've seen a lot of different recipes all over the Internet for eggs and ham baked in muffin tins but I didn't see any for turkey and eggs baked this way. My local grocery had turkey breast deli meat on sale for a really good price so turkey it was, instead of ham.

I figured that it wouldn't be that difficult to put a few ingredients together to come up with something similar to the pictures I've seen. Since I was planning on making only two turkey and egg cups, I decided to use silicone baking cups instead of a muffin tin. The silicone cups worked perfectly. I ended up with these delicious turkey cups that were filled with a soft-baked egg. My decision to serve them on top of spinach came from my love of spinach in quiche and omelets. I sprinkled fresh Parmesan cheese on top of everything. This dish was delicious! (If I do say so myself!)

Turkey & Egg Cups on Spinach
recipe makes 2 cups

1 egg per serving (2)
1/2  slice of turkey breast deli meat per serving (1 whole slice cut in half)
1/4 tsp garlic powder x 2
1/4 tsp onion powder x 2
1 silicon baking cup per serving
non-stick baking spray
1 can of spinach, drained well
fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400*

Set silicone baking cups on a baking tray. Lightly spray each cup with non-stick spray.

Line each cup with 1/2 slice of turkey, trimming to fit, if necessary. I used large eggs in each cup because I wasn't planning on adding anything else to the cups. The large egg filled the cup perfectly. If you want to add veggies or cheese to the cups, I would recommend using small, or at least medium-sized eggs so that you have some extra room so the egg doesn't overflow when it's baking.

Sprinkle the garlic and onion powder on top of each egg. Stick the baking pan into the oven. Bake for 13 minutes to achieve a yolk that is still partially soft and "dippy".

Drain the spinach; pour into a microwavable dish. Heat through. Divide the spinach equally onto two plates.

Top the spinach with one or two turkey and egg cups. Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top of everything.

Serve immediately.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday & Bad Weather

We are very thankful today that we were able to escape harm from the terrible weather that surrounded us last night. If you watched the morning news today, you probably saw coverage of all of the damage that occurred around the Charlotte, NC area. We live smack dab in the middle of it. Yes, Dorothy, tornado season is here.

I spent most of the evening watching weather radars and standing outside on our patio watching the fabulous lightening show off in the distance....instead of menu planning. My kids were up late because no one could've possibly slept through the thunder and lightening or the noise of the rain and hail hitting the side of our apartment.

So, here I am once again posting a late menu. I'm ok with it, though, because my family and I are together safe & sound. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families who sustained damage by the storms.

And....   Let me tell you how one big storm can make for a class of very excited 1st graders! I walked into  my daughter's class this morning only to be surrounded by several students who were very eager to tell me their versions of what they saw last night. Watching their faces as they told me everything, seeing their eyes widen  with every descriptive word.....that just reassured me that even though I'm late making a menu plan or that my house is somewhat messy at times, I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to spend the morning with them whenever possible!

Have a great week! It's supposed to be sunny and warm here for the rest of the week! Yay!

My Low Carb Menu

M - turkey & egg cups on spinach* - new recipe

T - grilled sausage, grilled squash & salad

W - beef or pork kebabs, coleslaw & cucumbers in vinegar and oil

H - bbq chicken salad* - didn't try last week so new recipe this week

F- out with the family to celebrate my husband's BD

A - low carb pizza casserole

Family Menu

M - hot turkey sandwiches w/gravy

T - grilled hot dogs, pasta salad & carrot and celery stix w/ranch dressing

W - beef or pork kebabs, wild rice & cucumbers in vinegar and oil

H - bbq chicken salads

F - out with family to celebrate dad's BD

A - pizza loaf* and salad - new recipe

If you're looking for some new ideas for dinner, check out Menu Plan Monday.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 2010 Cookie Carnival - Pecan Mint Bars

I finally got around to making our March Cookie Carnival Cookie - Walnut Mint Bars.

 Here's my version:

Pecan Mint Bars

* 1/2 cup (1 stick)plus 2 tablespoons margarine, divided
* 1-1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (about 45 wafers, crushed)
* 1 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans because my family doesn't care for walnuts)
* 1/3 cup powdered sugar
* 1/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
* 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
* 1 egg
* 1-1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract OR 1 tablespoon green creme de menthe
* Green food color(optional)
* CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE(recipe follows)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Melt 1/2 cup margarine in medium saucepan; stir in crumbs, walnuts, sugar and cocoa. Press firmly on bottom of ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Beat cream cheese, remaining 2 tablespoons margarine and cornstarch in small bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk then egg, peppermint extract and food color, if desired. Pour evenly into prepared pan.

3. Bake 25 minutes or until center is set. Cool. Drizzle CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE over top. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Cut into bars. Store covered in refrigerator. 24 to 36 bars. bars.

CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE: Melt 1 cup HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips with 1-1/2 teaspoons shortening (do not use butter, margarine or oil).


They were easy enough to whip up and they look pretty...but...I'm not sure how crazy I am about the peppermint extract in these bars. I liked them but I think that I would've liked them much more if the chocolate was mint flavored instead of the cream cheese filling being flavored with the extract. Something is just off to me ....  My daughter and I globbed extra chocolate on the top of the bars because it was sooo good. :)

I like the bars, though, so I might try them again with another flavor of extract -- maybe almond extract with bits of maraschino cherries chopped up and sprinkled on the top of the filling before baking it. Then afterward, I'd drizzle dark chocolate on top --doesn't that sound good?

You can see the original recipe for Hershey's Walnut Mint Bars here

I hope that everyone will check back for the round-up for this cookie at the end of the month!! I can't wait to read what everyone else thought of these cookie bars.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Really Late Menu Plan

Better late than never, right?

Here's our menus for this week.......

Family Menu
  • Monday - cheeseburger sliders & spicy mac n cheese
  • Tuesday - hamburger stroganoff
  • Wednesday - crockpot chicken tacos* & Spanish rice - new recipe
  • Thursday - pork tenderloin & tomato pasta salad* -new recipe
  • Friday - bbq chicken chopped salads* - new recipe
  • Saturday - breakfast for dinner - poached eggs & fried potatoes

My Low Carb Menu 
  • Monday - cheeseburger & salad
  • Tuesday - chicken sausage & sauteed green beans
  • Wednesday - chicken taco salad
  • Thursday - grilled pork tenderloin & broiled tomatoes w/cheese
  • Friday - lc bbq chicken chopped salad
  • Saturday - breakfast for dinner - scrambled eggs and turkey bacon

Have a great week! Be sure to check out other menus at Menu Plan Monday.

Low Carb Chicken Lettuce Cups w/ Avocado Bacon Dressing

Spring is in the air! It's the perfect time to start using one of my favorite low carb food cups - Romaine hearts. This is a perfect "cup" to hold all sorts of salad mixtures. Today I'm using grilled chicken with an avocado bacon dressing.

Chicken Lettuce Cups w/ Avocado Bacon Dressing

3 lg. Romaine hearts, rinse and pat dry with a paper towel
1 grilled chicken breast (leftovers are perfect!)
Avocado Bacon Dressing* - recipe below

To assemble: 

Lay Romaine hearts open on a plate. Slice the chicken breast into 9 thin strips. Lay 3 chicken strips on each lettuce "cup". Top with 1-2 tablespoons of avocado bacon dressing.

Avocado Bacon Dressing 

1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped into medium pieces   
1/4 tsp no salt cajun seasoning
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Frank's hot sauce
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 C. celery, chopped into very small pieces3 pieces of bacon, fried crisp and broken into crumbles
**note** Do not add any salt until you do a taste test first. I found that there was plenty of salt in it from the bacon that I used. 

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl with an electric mixer. Stir in celery & bacon.Spoon immediately on top of the chicken lettuce wraps.

This dressing can also be used as a dip for vegetables. If a thicker dip is desired, mix in more avocado to the recipe above. Adjust seasonings, if needed.


Another Yummy Meatball Recipe

This Italian meatball recipe comes from a member named Catwoman on The meatballs have a really good flavor to them, plus they held up well when I cooked them in the spaghetti sauce after baking them.

Italian Meatballs
2 lbs. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
2 eggs, scrambled
saltine crackers, crushed small, half tube +
(I ran the crackers through the food processor to make fine crumbs)
1/2 onion, minced
3 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated finely
garlic cloves, minced
dried parsley to taste
dried sage (my secret ingredient!)
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cooking spray onto a cookie sheet.

Mix all ingredients together well. Use as many cracker bits as needed- meatballs should be moist but not slimy. Form into half-dollar sized balls and place on cookie sheet so sides are not touching. Cook in oven for 15-18 minutes, watching so they don't burn, until brown. (Make sure to not over cook them if you are going to add them to spaghetti sauce to finish cooking.) If desired, roll meatballs on paper towels to get rid of extra grease.

** My Notes **  I cooked the meatballs for 15 minutes and then dropped them into spaghetti sauce to cook for another 1/2 hr. They held their shape in the sauce. I froze the leftover sauce and meatballs and then had no problem reheating them for the next meal.

Coconut Meringue Macaroons

These macaroons are slightly crisp on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. Great for an after-dinner dessert or even a midnight snack. The macaroon is also an accepted dessert or snack for Passover.

What You Need

2 Egg Whites
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/8 tsp. Salt
1 2/3 Sweetened Flaked Coconut
2/3 C. Sugar
2" Ice Cream Scoop

What You Do

Beat together egg whites, vanilla, & salt until it forms soft peaks. Slowly add sugar to the mix, and then beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold coconut into the meringue.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Generously grease a baking sheet. Using a 2" ice cream scoop, drop the coconut meringue mixture onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until very lightly browned.

Cinnamon Bunnies

What could be better than waking up to the smell of cinnamon buns early in the morning? These Easter Bunny cinnamon rolls are the perfect addition to your Easter breakfast or brunch table.

What You Need

2 - 8 ct cans cinnamon rolls (regular size, not jumbo)
1 can cream cheese frosting
red food coloring

(Makes 5 bunnies)

What You Do

On an un-greased cookie sheet lay down 2 cinnamon rolls, creating a head and body. Slice a 3rd roll in half vertically. These 2 halves are the bunny's ears. Trim a small piece off of the bottom end of each ear and roll together to form a ball. This ball is the bunny's tail.

Bake at 350* for 7-10 minutes or until light brown and cooked in the center of each roll. Do not over bake. Cool completely.

Frost the head, body, tail and ears with cream cheese frosting. Add 2 raisins for eyes & 1 raisin for a nose on each bunny.

Tint 1/4 c. frosting pink. Use this pink frosting to fill in the bunny's whiskers, to color in the ears and to attach buttons or bows on his/her shirt.

To save time, the cinnamon buns can be made a day ahead of time and stored in a well-sealed container. Frost and decorate right before eating.

Linking to:

Gooseberry Patch Kids Recipe Round Up

Cute Carrot Cupcakes

Bunnies love carrots so it only makes sense to serve these carrot cupcakes for dessert at your Easter dinner.

Your family will hop to the table for them!

What You Need

1 package carrot cake mix, prepared as directed on box
1 cup raisins
1 can cream cheese frosting
yellow, red & green food coloring
sweetened, shredded coconut

Prepare the carrot cake mix as directed on the box. Stir 1-cup raisins into the batter. Bake cupcakes and cool completely before frosting. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting on each cupcake.

For Grass on Cupcakes: Mix one cup coconut and 5 drops green food coloring together until the coconut is completely tinted. Dip each cupcake into the coconut, covering the entire surface.

For Carrots: Tint 1/2 c. cream cheese frosting with yellow and red food coloring until a bright orange color is achieved. Add icing to a plastic baggie, creating an icing bag. Snip 1/8 in. off one corner of the baggie. Pipe a carrot shape onto the coconut on each cupcake. Refer to the picture for an example of how the carrots should look.

For Carrot Tops: Tint 1/4 c. cream cheese frosting with green food coloring. Add icing to a plastic baggie creating an icing bag. Snip the very tip off one corner of the baggie. Pipe icing on top of carrot.

Store cupcakes in a sealed container. Cupcakes, without frosting, can be frozen. Defrost before frosting.

Anise Easter Bread

Using your bread machine to make this Easter bread takes all of the hard work out of it! Decorated with bright colored eggs, this bread makes a beautiful table centerpiece for your Easter gatherings.

What You Do

Add all ingredients to your bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Choose sweet bread dough cycle, then Start.

Dye uncooked eggs. Make sure to use a natural, edible dye because the dye does seep into the bread. Do not use cooked eggs because the eggs will cook while the bread is baking.

Once the cycle is completed, roll the dough out into a long rope. Starting 1 inch from the left end of the rope cut the dough horizontally into 3 strips. (Bread dough is lying across from left to right.) Braid dough and shape into a circle. Place on large greased cookie sheet. Let rise 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Once dough has risen, stick the dyed eggs randomly into the bread dough. Bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Ice with Anise flavored powdered sugar icing below.

Anise Powdered Sugar Icing

2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp. anise flavoring

Stir until smooth. Drizzle over Easter bread.

Enjoy hot out of the oven! For a different twist, toast lightly for a sweet breakfast treat. Leftovers should be wrapped up and refrigerated.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Short and sweet.....

Here's this week's menus:

Family Menu

M - corned beef w/fried noodles and cooked carrots (my family doesn't like cabbage)

T - grilled chicken, hashbrown casserole and corn

W - Pastees*, salad and green beans - new recipe for St. Patrick's Day

H - steak salads

F - hamburger stroganoff and salad

A - pizza

My Low Carb Menu

M - corned beef and cabbage

T - grilled chicken salad

W - roasted tomatoes w/goat cheese* and sauteed green beans - new recipe, didn't try it before

H - steak salad

F - cheeseburger, salad, grilled squash

A - deep dish pizza* - new recipe

I hope to post 3 new St. Patrick's Day desserts this week, too, so be on the lookout for those! 

If you're looking for a great dessert for St. Patrick's Day, join The Cookie Carnival right here at Tami's Kitchen Table Talk! This month's cookie is a perfect dessert for St. Patrick's Day!

Have a wonderful week! It looks like we might finally get to enjoy a week of sunshine and warmer weather. YAY!

If you aren't part of Menu Plan Monday, join us today.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Leftover Broccoli? Make (Low Carb!) Soup!

The chilly weather here is perfect for soup! Since I'm trying not to waste veggies as much as have been in the past, I decided to use the leftover broccoli that was sitting in the frig to make soup. It was much more interesting that eating it with melted cheese or a splash of red wine vinegar. It's a great soup whether you are a low carber or not.

Lately, there's times when I swear that I'm going to turn into a green vegetable. I have eaten so many of them in the past couple of months. It's a good thing that I really like them...right? Talk about suffering if I didn't.

This soup is quick and easy. Perfect for using up leftovers!

(Low Carb) Broccoli Cheese Soup
makes 1-2 servings

2 C. chicken broth
1 C. heavy cream
1 1/2 C. cooked broccoli, chopped into medium-sized pieces
1 C. shredded sharp cheddar cheese - jalapeno cheese would be great, too. 
1 - 2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 -2 tsp garlic powder
1 -2 tsp onion powder
pinch of salt and black pepper

Add 1 C. of chopped broccoli to a mini food processor. Process until smooth, no chunks left. Set aside.

Warm chicken broth in a medium-sized pot. Stir in heavy cream, warm through until hot.

Add cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. If necessary, add a little more chicken broth or cream to thin it out a bit. (I didn't need to add any more because I like thick soups).

Stir in the broccoli from the food processor, along with the seasonings. (Note: I like my food to be seasoned on the heavy side so I used 2 teaspoons of red peppers, garlic and onion powders. If you don't usually like as much seasoning, taste it with just one tsp of each and then add more if necessary.)  Continue cooking until hot.

Before serving, stir in remaining 1/2 C. of broccoli pieces.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Low Carb Sloppy Joe Stuffed Pepper #2

I made this delicious sloppy joe casserole for dinner last night for my family. While they gobbled it, I was also enjoying my low carb version of a sloppy joe stuffed into a green pepper.

If you've been following my low carb recipes, you might realize that I already have a recipe for sloppy joe stuffed peppers posted on my blog. While they share the same name, the sloppy joe mix is different. I like both recipes but I favor this one a little more. I will keep both of them in the rotation, though, because I'm easily bored eating the same thing all of the time. You can see the original sloppy joe recipe here. Believe me, this recipe really is just as good in the low carb version as it is in the original recipe.

Low Carb Sloppy Joe Stuffed Pepper # 2
makes 1-2 servings

1 green bell pepper, cut in half
enough sloppy joe mix to fill both halves of the bell pepper (recipe below)
1/4 C. shredded cheddar cheese

Par boil green pepper halves until fork tender. Remove the peppers from the water and dry them off well with a paper towel. Fill the peppers with the sloppy joe meat mixture and place in an 8 x8 baking dish. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of the peppers. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

Turkey Sloppy Joes - Low Carb version in bold below

olive oil

1/2c. celery, sliced (I omitted)

1/2c. onion, chopped

1/2c. red & green peppers,
chopped (I now use all green to
save $$)

2c. ground turkey, browned - I used 1 lb hamburger & 1 lb ground turkey because that's what I had here

1c. ketchup - I used low sugar Heinz Ketchup. It's sweetened with Sucralose and low carb
3 Tbs. white vinegar

1Tbs. brown sugar, packed - I used Splenda Brown Sugar Blend - check this, I thought that it was sweet enough with only 1 tsp of brown sugar. Sweeten to your liking

1/2 tsp dry mustard-this is needed
but I did use regular spicy brown
mustard in a pinch and it worked
fine - I've come to find that I like regular yellow mustard with this now

1/2 C. water

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sloppy Joe Pasta Bake

Years ago, I adapted a sloppy joe recipe that I found in a newspaper to work with ground turkey. Later on I  swapped some ingredients for the low carb versions. This has become my family's favorite recipe for sloppy joes.

Of course this dish isn't low carb with the pasta added to it. I ate the filling in a green pepper. (I'll post it a little later.)

Since I'm trying to use up what stock I have at home this week, I didn't want to run out to buy buns and then a side dish to go along with the sloppy joes. (sound like I'm being cheap, huh?) Instead, I put it together with rigatoni and created a pasta casserole. My family ate it up like crazy....even my picky daughter.

Here's my original sloppy joe recipe, along with my low carb changes in bold.

Sloppy Joe Pasta Bake

olive oil

1/2c. celery, sliced (I omitted)

1/2c. onion, chopped

1/2c. red & green peppers,
chopped (I now use all green to
save $$)

2c. ground turkey, browned - I used 1 lb hamburger & 1 lb ground turkey because that's what I had here

1c. ketchup - I used low sugar Heinz Ketchup. It's sweetened with Sucralose and low carb
3 Tbs. white vinegar

1Tbs. brown sugar, packed - I used Splenda Brown Sugar Blend - check this, I thought that it was sweet enough with only 1 tsp of brown sugar. Sweeten to your liking

1/2 tsp dry mustard-this is needed
but I did use regular spicy brown
mustard in a pinch and it worked
fine - I've come to find that I like regular yellow mustard with this now

1/2 C. water

8 hamburger buns - I subbed one pound of cooked rigatoni this time

2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

Cook rigatoni. Rinse and keep warm.

Brown the hamburger, turkey, onions & peppers; drain very well. Return the mixture to the frying pan. Stir in ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar and mustard. Cook for 5 minutes to blend flavors. Add water, then heat through.

Pour rigatoni into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Sprinkle 1 C. of cheddar cheese on top of the rigatoni. Pour the sloppy joe mixture into the casserole dish. Mix thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Broil in oven long enough to lightly brown the cheese.

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts - Low Carb

There's been a lot of chatter lately in the low carb world about roasted Brussels sprouts. The pictures and recipes that I've seen look delicious. Until now, I've never cooked raw Brussels sprouts, only frozen ones. I decided to give it a try to pan roast some for my dinner last week. The results were heavenly -- yes, I said that about the "dreaded little cabbage heads" that most people won't touch! You don't know what you're missing.

My Mom would cook Brussels sprouts when I was a child and I would be the only one in the family to eat them with her. My sister wouldn't touch them with a ten ft. pole. hahaha! I still like them today--and once again, I'm the only one in my family who will eat them. That's ok...they're low carb so I can enjoy them all to myself.

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1 lb of raw Brussels Sprouts, trim ends & remove any wilted leaves
minced garlic

Add sprouts to a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, cooking for 5 minutes or until fork tender. Drain well.

Melt 2 TBSP butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir in 1 tsp minced garlic. Slice the sprouts in half lengthwise and add flat side down into the pan. Fry for 1-2 minutes and then gently turn to coat in the butter. Fry until the tops are nicely browned. Flip over to the flat sides once again and continue cooking until the sprouts are nicely browned, too. Keep a close eye on them while they are cooking so that they do not burn.

Serve immediately.

I like to splash on a bit of red wine vinegar right before eating them.

Easy Chicken & Dumplings

On a dreary, rainy day, there's nothing better to warm you up from the inside out than a big bowl of my chicken & dumplings. The house fills with the wonder smell of this dish while it's cooking. One of the best things about this recipe is that you don't have to slave over a hot stove all day to get that "cooked all day" taste. With a few simple ingredients, you can have this on the table in under 1 hour.

 Tami's Easy Chicken & Dumplings
 64 oz chicken broth
3 boneless chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
8 oz sliced button mushrooms
3 TBSP poultry seasoning
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. black pepper
1 box Anne's Flat Dumplings
Warm the chicken broth in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breast and poach until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate and allow to cool until it can be easily handled to shred.

Stir both cans of cream of chicken soup into the chicken broth, along with the mushrooms, poultry seasoning, thyme and black pepper. Cover and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.

Uncover the broth. Break the flat dumplings into pieces (I usually break each strip into 3 pieces) and drop into the broth. Stir frequently to prevent the dumplings from sticking together. Continue cooking until the noodles are tender. (approx 10 minutes)

Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving - the broth will continue to thicken a little bit while it is cooling.

Serve with warm bread.

Save any leftovers to reheat the next day. My husband says that it's just as good, if not better, the next day.

Chocolatey Raisin Oatmeal Jumbles

We usually have a container of raisins and M&Ms here at home for our kids to snack on. When I saw that it wasn't being eaten as fast as usual this time around, I decided to hunt for a chewy cookie recipe to make to use it up before the mix became stale. These delicious cookies were the result...

I found a great chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe at the Sunday Baker blog. She provided great step-by-step pictures to go along with the recipe.

This is a simple, easy-to-make recipe. My daughter had fun helping out making these cookies. You probably already have the ingredients on hand to make them. I followed the recipe exactly as she says to do, only adding 2 cups of the raisin and M&M mix in at the end instead of chocolate chips.

Here's the recipe:

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

In a large bowl, beat together:
1 c. real butter, unsalted
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 t. vanilla

Beat until the mixture looks soft and wispy.

In the food processor or blender, blend 2 1/2 C of oats (the secret to the chewy goodness) until they are the consistency of flour.

To the Ground Oats Add: 

2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda

Mix it well and combine with the sugar/butter mixture.

Once it is well combined, add in your favorite extras - I used 2 C. of a mix of raisins & M&Ms. 

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes. 

 **My notes** - This batch made 32 jumbo sized cookies.  Both of my kids took some in their lunch boxes today and my husband enjoyed them at work last night, too! Store them in an airtight container. Any leftovers can be easily frozen. 


{Edited to add....  My husband said that he never would've thought that these cookies would taste good with M&Ms in them but he loves them. He asked me to make them again real soon. He also said that he popped some into the microwave at work to warm them up and that they were perfect.  He's so sweet for making a comment like that!}

Monday, March 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

The forecast for today was supposed to be sunny with a high of 66* -- look out the window now and you will see rain. Better than snow, I guess.

This week's menus are simple. Our budget is a little short this week so I'm working mostly with what we have on hand. Nothing to complain about, I'm so thankful that we have food in the freezer to eat.

Family Menu

M - leftovers from the weekend

T - baked chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, veggie

W - turkey sloppy joe pasta bake

H - 4 ingredient casserole (leftovers using baked chicken from Tues.)

F - pizza & salad

A - hot dogs & pierogies

My Low Carb Menu

M - leftovers - maybe in an omelet

T - baked chicken & broccoli

W - turkey sloppy joe stuffed pepper

H - chicken lettuce wraps

F - broiled tomatoes w/ goat cheese, sauteed green beans

A - undecided - probably leftovers in frig

Have a wonderful week! Hopefully we are seeing a peak of spring coming our way!

Check out Menu Plan Monday for some great weekly menu plans.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cookie Carnival - February Round Up!

Hi Everyone

It's Cookie Carnival Round Up time!

This month's cookie was Raisin Heart Pockets from Martha Stewart.

Check out what everyone had to say about these cookies.....

Nathalie from Snowbell Jewelry made very pretty stars:

Mia from Vanilla Strawberry Spring Fields created these little works of art:


and I made these raisin heart pockets:

Thanks, Ladies, for jumping in with me and baking these cookies on such short notice!

If you would like to join us in the Cookie Carnival, here's more info. on how to sign up.

Thank you so much for all of the support and well wishes that everyone has sent to me for keeping the Cookie Carnival going!!

My thanks, again, to Kate for giving me the opportunity to do so!

Be sure to check your email this evening for March's cookie!

Happy Baking!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Greek Turkey Burgers - Low Carb, Too!

To understand where my idea for these burgers originated, you need to read my post on Greek Turkey Meatballs. I doubled the meatball recipe to make 6 big burgers with plenty of meat left over to make mini meatballs for soup.

I added grilled portobello mushrooms on the sandwiches, too. This was my low carb "bread"!

 These burgers were very good, although they lacked some flavor. Don't get me wrong... the meatballs are full of flavor but I think that when I changed the little meatballs into larger burgers, more of a "kick of flavor" needed to be added to them. I used provolone cheese - boring - some sort of spicy cheese might have given it the kick I was looking for. I would also add some Montreal Steak Seasoning. (Yes, I know that I have an obsession with this seasoning.)  My husband and kids (yep, kids!) poured on some steak sauce and loved it. Steak sauce is not low carb so I need to make up for that flavor in some other way. I'm open to any suggestions.

I broiled these burgers. They were very moist with a nice chewiness to them. Be careful not to overcook them or it will dry them out.

I will definitely play around with this recipe until I come up with the perfect combo for this burger.

Please let me know if you make these burgers and what you think of them.

Cookie Carnival - Raisin Heart Pockets

Boy, talk about coming in under the wire ....  I just made these raisin hearts this morning so I guess technically I didn't even make the deadline. lol

These cookies were pretty easy to mix up but there were several steps for putting it all together. Nice looking cookies but in the end, the verdict from my family was "they're ok...nothing great".

My husband said that they were sort of dry due to the lack of filling. My son and daughter thought that they were bland. My daughter said that they would taste much better filled with chocolate chips. I laughed at that but then I thought of filling the dough with Nutella or something similar.  HHHHmmmm......

(Can you picture a creamy chocolate filling spilling out as you take your first bite?)

In my opinion, I think that the cookies are too big. I think that they would taste much better if you were to use a small circle cutter -- something that's no bigger than 2 bites -- that way you could fill the cookie much easier and with the round shape, you would taste more of the filling in each little bite. Granted, this would take a lot more time to cut, assemble and bake. In the end, I think that it would be worth it.

Raisin Heart Pockets
from Martha Stewart

Makes about 30 cookies

    * 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
    * 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    * 1 cup granulated sugar
    * 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    * 1 large egg
    * 2 tablespoons whole milk yogurt
    * 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    * 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, or more to taste
    * Raisin Filling for Heart Pockets, or 1 1/2 cups lekvar (prune paste)
    * Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


   1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the granulated sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, yogurt, vanilla, and lemon zest, and beat to incorporate. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add flour mixture, beating until combined.
3. Divide dough into quarters. Place each quarter between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Roll out dough 1/8-inch-thick. Stack packages of dough on a baking sheet and refrigerate until chilled about 1 hour (or freeze for 30 minutes).
4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpats.
5. Remove one package of dough from refrigerator. Remove top piece of parchment, and then gently pat back into place. Flip entire package over, and peel off and discard second piece of parchment. Using a 3 1/2-inch heart cutter, cut out 15 cookies and place half of them on a prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between cookies.
6. Place a generous tablespoon of filling in the center of the hearts on the baking sheet. Spread filling leaving a 1/4-inch border. Top with remaining hearts. Use the tines of a fork, to decoratively press the pocket edges together. Re-roll and chill any remaining dough scraps. Repeat process until all the dough and filling is used. If at any time dough becomes too soft to work with, return to refrigerator until chilled.
7. Bake until golden around the edges, 12 to 14 minutes. Rotate pans once after 7 minutes to ensure even baking. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

** The only change that I made was to switch out the yogurt for sour cream that I had on hand. **

Raisin Filling 

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

    * 1 2/3 cups raisins
    * 1/2 cup water
    * 1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
    * 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
    * 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Combine the raisins, water, sugar, flour, lemon zest, and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Process until smooth. Refrigerate filling until cool and thickened slightly, about 1 hour.

If you're a cookie dunker, you might just be ok with this one.

If you like to bake, why not join in on the fun at the Cookie Carnival? Click here to find out how to join today!

I would love to meet you!
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