Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Guilt-Free Banana Bread

Prep Time: 10 min    
Cook Time 55 min    
Yields: 1 loaf

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 egg whites
1 cup banana, mashed
1/3 cup applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon). Add egg whites, bananas & applesauce; stir until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes (until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean).  Turn out onto wired rack (or plate) and allow to cool before slicing.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dutch Apple Pie

Pies do not have to be a difficult chore. I modified this recipe from one I got from my mother-in-law. It's so simple and tastes like you spent all day making it!

Bottom Crust:

1 C flour
1 stick butter (or margarine)
1 Tb sugar

Crumble Topping:

1/4 C butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1 C flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp all-spice (optional)

Filling: 1 (21 oz) can apple pie filling

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees (F). Melt butter on low heat in small saucepan. Add sugar - stir until dissolved. Mix in flour - you'll end up with a warm ball of dough. Press into pie pan with large spoon. (Optional: sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar) Bake for 10 minutes. For the crumble topping, melt the butter in the same small saucepan, adding the brown sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and all-spice. Mix with a fork to ensure the mixture crumbles (if it's too gooey, add a little more flour). Take the crust out of the oven, pouring in the pie filling. Top with crumbles and place back into the oven for 20-30 minutes. Best with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top. Yum!

Creamy Coleslaw

This is a great Taste of Home recipe that I slightly modified. Delicious!

1 (16 oz) pkg coleslaw mix
3/4 C mayo
1/3 C sour cream
1/4 C sugar
3/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp celery salt

Place coleslaw mix in large bowl. Mix remaining ingredients in small bowl. Pour over coleslaw mix and toss until coated. Refrigerate until serving (1-2 hours).

Shepherd's Pie

I originally got the idea for this from a Rachael Ray recipe - it quickly became a family favorite!

4 med potatoes, chopped (I prefer to use red potatoes)
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 C frozen green beans
1/2 C baby carrots, coarsely chopped
1/2 C frozen peas
1 (10.5 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
2 Tb Worcestershire sauce
1/2 C milk
1/4 C sour cream
1/4 C butter or margarine
Salt & pepper (to taste)
1/2-1 C shredded cheddar cheese (depends on how much you like cheese)

Preheat oven to 350. Boil 4-6 cups water in med-lg pot. Add 2 tsp salt to water. Chop potatoes and add to boiling water - boil until soft and remove from burner. Mash together with sour cream and butter - set aside. Cook ground beef and chopped onion in a frying pan (salt and pepper to taste). Mix together mushroom soup, Worcestershire sauce, and milk in a small bowl and add to ground beef/onion mixture. Put remaining vegetables (peas, green beans, carrots) in a microwave safe container and microwave covered for 4-5 minutes. Take glass baking dish (med-lg) and spread the mashed potatoes on the bottom. Next, layer the vegetables. Top with the ground beef mixture, and finally, top with the shredded cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Enjoy!

Left-overs from this one-dish meal are awesome!

Balsamic-Garlic Chicken

Simple. Healthy. Delicious. What more can you ask for? (Serves 2)

4 Chicken Thighs (you could substitute with 2 lg breasts)
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/4 C Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tb Minced Garlic
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). Place thighs in glass baking dish. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over chicken. Sprinkle minced garlic. Salt and pepper each piece (fresh ground black pepper works best). Bake covered for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes. TIPS: If you want the outside of your chicken to be slightly crispy, put under the broiler on high for about 5 minutes. Also, don't be afraid to be liberal with the salt. The vinegar is tangy, so you'll need to balance it out with the salt.

Awesome with: lightly buttered herb-garlic pasta and a simple green salad

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stuffed Shells with Garden Vegetable Sauce

It's super delicious and easy to make. Your family will think they're dining at a fine Italian restaurant! Serves: 4

Shells & Stuffing:

10-16 Jumbo pasta shells
(2) 15 oz. Containers Ricotta cheese
2 Tb Minced garlic
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp Salt


2 C Traditional spaghetti sauce
2 Small zucchini squash
1/2 Medium onion
6-8 Medium/large mushrooms
2 Roma tomatoes
1 Tb Minced garlic
2 Tb Olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Start working on the sauce so that the vegetables have time to soften. Slice and quarter the zucchini, coarsely chop the onion, and quarter the tomatoes and mushrooms. Sautee the vegetables in a medium saucepan with the olive oil and garlic. Set aside and occasionally check on the vegetables. When the zucchini is nice and soft, add the spaghetti sauce.

Next, cook the shells in salted boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Once they're done, set in a baking dish and refrigerate until they're cool to touch.

In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, salt, herbs, and garlic. Pull the shells out of the fridge and spoon about 1 Tb of the cheese mixture into each shell (feel free to add more or less to your taste). Pour your vegetable sauce over top and sprinkle with some parmesan or asiago cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Bon appetite!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fiesta Omelet

Makes a great weekend brunch!
Yields: 1 omelet

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 1/4 C diced onions
  • 1/4 C diced red (or green) peppers
  • 1/4 C diced mushrooms
  • 1/4 C diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 C shredded Monterrey jack cheese
  • paprika, salt, and pepper to taste
  • optional: 1/4 C diced ham
Melt butter in frying pan. Sautee vegetables on medium heat until onions are slightly caramelized. While vegetables are cooking, beat eggs in small bowl with 2 Tb of water and seasonings. Add to vegetables and stir. Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes. This will cause both sides of the omelet to cook. Add cheese and cover again until cheese is melted. Fold in half and slide onto plate. Enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Chicken Pomme de Frites

Fancy name. Simple dish. This is a more "peasant" version of a dish I had at Bistro N in Dallas.
Yields 4 servings.

  • 4 chicken breasts (w/ skin)
  • 1/3 C melted butter (you can substitute olive oil for a healthier alternative)
  • 3 Tb lemon juice
  • 1 Tb parsley
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tb flour
  • 3 lbs frozen steak-cut french fries
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Rinse chicken. Lightly coat chicken with flour and place in glass baking dish. Mix together butter, lemon juice, parsley, and garlic in a small glass measuring cup. Pour over chicken. Bake for 20 minutes.

Spread fries on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes (with your chicken). When the 20 min are up, place chicken on top rack and broil for 5 minutes (or until slightly brown and crispy on top). Take fries out to salt and pepper, then place back in the oven for 5 min as well.

Before you serve the fries with the chicken, dash some lemon juice on the fries, add a little more salt, and sprinkle with parsley. Voila!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Baked Ziti

This recipe is super easy and will cure any cheese craving in three bites.
Serves 4-6.

  • 1 C Alfredo sauce
  • 1 C Spaghetti sauce
  • 1 C Italian cheese mix (I like to use a mix of Parmesan, Asiago, Mozarella, and Romano)
  • 2 C cooked Ziti pasta
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic

Begin by cooking the ziti pasta (see article "Easy Fettucine" for tips on cooking pasta). After pasta is drained, stir in the olive oil and garlic. Add alfredo and spaghetti sauces. Stir in 3 Tb of grated Parmesan cheese and pour mixture into 9X9 baking dish. Top with 1 C of the Italian cheese mixture and optional sprinkling of parsley. Broil for a few minutes in the oven to thoroughly melt cheese (don't take your eyes off or you might have burnt ziti).

Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Spicy Italian Soup

This is a favorite in our family. It's full of flavor and doesn't take much time to cook.
Serves 6-8.

  • 1/2 -1 lb ground beef (depends on how much meat you want in the soup)
  • 14 oz. mixed frozen vegetables (I use Pictsweet's cracked pepper-seasoned summer vegetables with squash, green beans, baby carrots, onions, and red peppers)
  • 4 med red potatoes
  • 3-4 bunches of chopped scallions (green onions)
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 C shell pasta
  • 2 C water
  • 2 C beef broth
  • 3 Tb olive oil
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp savory
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
Soup base: combine tomatoes, water, beef broth, 2 Tb olive oil, seasonings, and 1 tsp garlic in a large pot over a med-low heat. Let simmer.

Chop potatoes into 1-inch chunks. Add to soup base and turn up the temperature to med-high. Once boiling, add the pasta and remaining vegetables. Reduce to medium heat.

In medium frying pan, brown ground beef with 1/4 tsp of garlic and 1 Tb of olive oil. Add a few dashes of salt and pepper. Once beef is thoroughly cooked, stir into the soup and let simmer for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Easy Fettucine

An easy-to-make pasta dinner with a delicious cream sauce

  • 1 jar plain alfredo sauce (I used a 26-oz jar of generic sauce from Wal-Mart)
  • 1/4 C parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 C half & half
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz fettucine pasta
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 6 C water (to boil)
In med-large pot, cook fettucine pasta in 6 cups of water on med-high heat. Cover and boil for 10 + min until pasta is tender. Drain and stir in olive oil, with a little salt to taste.

In med saucepan, combine alfredo sauce, parmesan, half&half, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper (to taste).

Serve pasta on plate and pour alfredo sauce on top. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Autumn Harvest Green Beans

A simple, delicious alternative to green bean casserole

1 lb fresh green beans, washed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 Tb maple syrup
1/2 C butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1/2 C chopped pecans
pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large glass baking pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

California-Style Tuscan Pizza

Salsa di Carina
Good for pizza or pasta dishes, this tangy sauce is a pow in the mouth.
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 28 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp oregano
Combine ingredients and heat over medium-low heat in a small saucepan.

California Pizza Crust
This crust is simple to make and doesn't require yeast.
  • 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 C warm water
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 3 Tb Parmesan cheese
Combine dry ingredients. Stir in eggs, water, and oil. Make sure you have plenty of flour on hand to knead your dough. Place the dough on a well-floured surface and flatten with a rolling pin. Press the dough into a non-stick pizza pan (you may wish to lightly grease it as well). Brush with olive oil and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

You can customize these as much as you like, but here are some delicious suggestions:

  • Sautee thinly-sliced chicken breast in 1 Tb olive oil with 1 tsp of minced garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 C sliced mushrooms
  • 1 C chopped green onions
  • 1/2 C sliced black olives
  • 1 C grated fresh mozarella cheese (do not use pre-shredded cheese, it contains paraffin wax and will not melt as well on the pizza)
  • 1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
Spread sauce over pizza crust. Next, the mozarella, chicken, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, olives, onions, and parmesan. Place in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes for the cheese to thoroughly melt and the topping to heat. Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Cookies

Quick, easy, and oh-so delicious. This is a great recipe for your kids to make.

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 10-12 min
Ready In: 25-27 min
Makes: 20 cookies


1/4 C & 2 Tb softened butter
1 egg
3/4 C sugar
1 1/4 C oats
3/4 C & 2 Tb all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 C milk chocolate chips
1/2 C butterscotch chips


Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowls. Drop tablespoons of dough onto greased cookie sheet(s). Bake at 325 F for 10-12 minutes.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Quickie Crisp

Whether you're a working mom or a college student who swears by the microwave, this is the perfect dessert when you don't want to spend time slaving over a hot stove.

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 17-20 min
Ready In: 27-30 min
Makes: 4 servings


3 apples – thinly sliced
2/3 & 1/4 C melted butter
1 C sugar
1 C oats
2/3 C all-purpose flour
1-1/2 & 1/4 tsp cinnamon


Spread apple slices in the bottom of an 8” x 8” glass baking dish. In a small glass measuring cup, melt 1/4 C butter. Stir 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon into 1/4 C melted butter; drizzle over apple slices. Microwave apple slices for 4 minutes on high.

While apples slices are in the microwave, mix the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl: 2/3 C melted butter, 1 C sugar, 1 C oats, 2/3 C flour, 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon. Stir apple slices and spread oat mixture on top. Microwave on high for 10 minutes.

While crisp is in the microwave, preheat the oven to 450° F. After removing dish from microwave, place in oven for 5 additional minutes. (You can just microwave it for an additional 3 minutes, but the time in the oven gives it a better crispness.)

Let cool for 5 minutes and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!