Monday, December 29, 2008

Linguine With Sundried Tomatoes

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

2 cups green peas or 1 cup peas and 1 cup edamame
1 pound linguine
6 Tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, peeled and minced
1 cup sundried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
parsley for garnish

Cook peas and edamame and drain. Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a pan, heat olive oil, garlic and shallots over low heat. Add broth, peas and sundried tomatoes and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and toss with the pasta. Salt and pepper to taste and garnish with parsley.

Tips and Tricks
I used about half a pound of whole wheat spaghetti in place of the linguine. Use sundried tomatoes, not chopped in oil. I buy the kind in a foil package that can be refrigerated and I buy the prechopped kind to save time. I made this using the peas/edamame option. I also slightly decreased the oil and garlic.
Make It Healthier
Use whole wheat pasta and low-sodium broth.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Older kids can use a garlic press.
Recipe Source
adapted from The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno

Roasted Garlic Spinach Dip

Prep/Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

1 small head garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp hot sauce
8 oz cream cheese, cut into small chunks
salt to taste
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
crackers or veggies

Using a sharp knife, slice the top off the pointed end of the garlic, exposing the flesh. Remove the papery outer skin, but not all of the skin. Drizzle one Tbsp of olive oil over the garlic, wrap in foil and roast at 400 for 25-30 minutes. Unwrap and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, mix the milk, remaining olive oil, salt and hot sauce in a sauce pan and heat on low. Add the cream cheese and stir until melted.

Squeeze the soft garlic out of the skins and mash with a fork. Add the garlic and spinach to the saucepan. Stir to combine.

Serve warm with crackers or veggies.

Tips and Tricks
An entire head of garlic may seem like a lot, but it really isn't. Roasting mellows the flavor of the garlic, so it is still rich without being intense. I prefer to microwave my spinach to make sure any ice crystals are fully thawed. I also use a potato ricer to squeeze the spinach dry.
Make It Healthier
Omit the salt. Use reduced-fat cream cheese.
How Kids Can Help
Wrap garlic in foil. Mash cooled garlic with fork. Older kids can cut the cream cheese into chunks.
Recipe Source
original recipe

Monday, November 17, 2008

Smothered Round Steak With Egg Noodles

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 7-8 hours
Yield: 4 servings

1 pound round steak, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp molasses
5 Tbsp soy sauce
1 package egg noodles, cooked

In a plastic bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Add the meat and shake to coat. Transfer to a slow cooker.

Add the mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, onion, molasses and soy sauce.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours or until meat is tender. Serve over cooked egg noodles.

Tips and Tricks
I used an 8-ounce package of fresh sliced mushrooms in place of the canned and 3 sliced green onions in place of the regular onion. I also used honey instead of molasses.
Make It Healthier
Use no salt added canned tomatoes. Use low-sodium soy sauce.
How Kids Can Help
Shake bag to coat meat. Pour ingredients into slowcooker.

Broccoli and Tortellini Salad

Made this for a family party yesterday and its soooo yummy!

Prep: 15 minutes
Yield: 12 Servings

6 slices bacon
20 oz. frozen cheese Tortellini, heated according to package directions
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp cider vinegar
3 heads fresh broccoli, cut into florets
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup hulled sunflower seeds
1 red onion, finely chopped

Cook & drain bacon. Crumble and set aside. In small bowl combine mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar to make dressing. Set aside. Combine broccoli, pasta, bacon, raisins, sunflower seeds and onion. Pour dressing over salad and toss.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Artichoke-Spinach Dip

1 can drained artichokes
1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayonnaise
3 oz. cream cheese
1/3 c. shredded Mozzarella
1/4 - 1/2 c. fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 to 1 tsp. garlic salt

Cook spinach according to the directions on package and
drain. Drain the artichokes and chop them. Mix the
artichokes and spinach with the remaining ingredients. Put
in greased 1 quart dish and bake at 325 degrees for 20-30

Suggested Sides:
Serve with tortilla chips. Also good served with
sour cream and salsa on the side. Or, serve in a bread bowl.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Garlic-Butter Roasted Veggies

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40-50 minutes
Yield: 5 servings

2 medium turnips, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2-3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch piece
2 medium potatoes, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
one small white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Combine veggies in a baking dish and spread out evenly. Toss with olive oil and garlic and add butter to pan. Sprinkle herbs over vegetables.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until veggies are tender. Stir occasionally to coat with olive oil and butter. Add additional olive oil if mixture seems too dry.

Tips and Tricks
I used red potatoes, because the thinner skin means I didn't have to peel them. Omit or add additional vegetables to meet your families tastes.
Make It Healthier
Use unsalted butter or trans-fat free spread.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can peel the carrots and turnips. Younger kids can sprinkle the herbs.
Recipe Source
original recipe

Apple and Pear Crisp

Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 50 minutes
Yield: 9 servings

1 pound apples cut into 1-inch-thick slices
1 pound pears, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp dark brown sugar, unpacked
1 large egg(s)
6 tbsp dark brown sugar, unpacked
1/4 tsp table salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup(s) rolled oats
6 tbsp light butter, melted

Place apple and pear slices in a medium bowl. Toss with lemon juice and sugar; set aside.

To make topping, in another medium bowl, beat egg. Add sugar, salt and cinnamon; mix to combine. Add oats; mix well.

Spoon fruit into a glass baking dish and evenly sprinkle oat mixture on top; drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 375 until fruit starts to bubble and topping starts to brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Allow crisp to cool completely before serving.

Tips and Tricks
Peeling the fruit is optional. Use any variety of apple you prefer.
Make It Healthier
Use less sugar. Use unsalted butter or trans-fat free spread.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Pour topping over fruit.
Recipe Source

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Heydey Bars

Yield: 20-25 cookies

14 oz. bag of Caramels
9 oz. package of vanilla sugar wafers
1/4 cup of water
3or4 cups of chopped peanuts
8 oz. Hersheys Chocolate Bar, Milk or Dark

Separate the Sugar Wafers with a knife,carefully removing the filling,so that all you have left are the wafers themselves.Stack the empty wafers in stacks of 3.On a sheet of wax paper,take one(1)wafer from each stack,and lay them out on the wax paper.Put the caramels in a microwave safe bowl and add the water to them.Microwave them on high for 5 minutes,stopping after each minute to stir them.When they are completely melted,use a spoon to drizzle the caramel on each wafer,doing on 5 at a time,then put a second wafer from the stack on each when you finish.Drizzle caramel on all the remaining wafers on the wax paper the same way,5 at a time.Now drizzle caramel on all the ones you just finished,and add the third wafer to each of them.You should end up with between 20 and 25 completed cookies with three wafers each with caramel in between.Put the chopped peanuts in a bowl.Using a pair of tongs,dip each cookie in the melted caramel,drain off the excess caramel,then roll in the peanuts,completely covering the cookie,and set on wax paper.Finish all the remaining cookies the same way.After letting them sit for ten minutes to set,break up the chocolate bar in a microwave safe bowl,and microwave on high 30 seconds at a time,stirring after each time,until its completely melted.Using a spoon,drizzle the chocolate in stripes over the cookies.Let the cookies rest until completely set.

Makes 20-25 cookies.

Tips & Tricks:
3-4 cups of nuts is way too much. Use about 2 or 2 1/2. I ran short on caramel and had to melt more--so use about 50% more than the recipe calls for. I used bulk milk chocolate coating instead of Hershey bars. Be sure to buy extra wafers because some will break while you try to remove the filling.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vampire Cookies

Just in time for Halloween--check out what is cooking over at Baking Bites. I can't wait to try these!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pork Potstickers With Garlic-Ginger Dipping Sauce

I made this dish after my husband put in a request for Asian potstickers. This recipe from The Food Network was easy and absolutely delicious!

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 35-40 potstickers

1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons ketchup
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
35 to 40 small wonton wrappers
Water, for sealing wontons
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying
1 1/3 cups chicken stock, divided

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 Tbsp grated ginger
2 Tbsp chopped scallions
2-3 drops sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Combine the first 11 ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl (pork through cayenne). Set aside.

To form the dumplings, remove 1 wonton wrapper from the package, covering the others with a damp cloth. Brush 2 of the edges of the wrapper lightly with water. Place 1/2 rounded teaspoon of the pork mixture in the center of the wrapper. Fold over, seal edges, and shape as desired. Set on a sheet pan and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat procedure until all of the filling is gone.

Heat a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat. Brush with vegetable oil once hot. Add 8 to 10 potstickers at a time to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, without touching. Once the 2 minutes are up, gently add 1/3 cup chicken stock to the pan, turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove wontons to a heatproof platter and place in the warm oven.

Clean the pan in between batches by pouring in water and allowing the pan to deglaze. Repeat until all the wontons are cooked.

To make sauce, mix all ingredients together.

Tips and Tricks
Follow the directions on the wonton wrappers for shaping. Wonton wrappers are usually found in the refrigerates section at the grocery store.
Make It Healthier
Use lean ground pork. Omit salt. Use low-sodium soy sauce and broth.
How Kids Can Help
Mix filling in bowl. Older kids can help fill and seal the wonton wrappers.
Recipe Source
The Food Network (potstickers), original recipe (dipping sauce)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pumpkin Waffles

This recipe is from the Kennebec Inn a gorgeous bed and breakfast in Bath, Maine. Sounds like the food isn't too bad either! I can't wait to try out this recipe this weekend.

Pumpkin Waffles

To save time in the morning, mix the dry ingredients the night before. Top the waffles with fresh fruits in season and whipped cream for added elegance.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs, room temperature
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup finely chopped apple, peeled and cored
1/3 cup ground toasted walnuts

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside. In a separate large bowl, beat together the eggs and brown sugar. Add the buttermilk, butter, and pumpkin; beat well. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Fold in the apples and nuts.

Ladle the batter into a hot, well-oiled waffle iron (or non-oiled no-stick waffle pan) and cook until done. Serve with butter and a choice of warmed syrups such as maple, blueberry, and raspberry.

Serves: 4

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Revisiting Texas 2 Step Chicken

Texas 2 Step Chicken

A new spin on an old favorite:

Use cooked (leftover?) shredded chicken instead of boneless skinless breasts. Makes a nice, thick filling for burritos.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Most Dangerous Cake in the World: Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

Prep: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

1 Coffee Mug
4 tablespoons flour(that's plain flour, not self-rising)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional) Some nuts (optional) Small splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well . Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes on high. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to share!)

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Peanut Butter Cookies

I made these cookies from Parents Magazine and they were easy and delicious!

Prep: 5 minutes
Bake: 10 minutes
Yield: 10-12 cookies

1 cup peanut butter, chunky or smooth
1 cup sugar + additional for rolling
1 egg

Mix peanut butter, sugar and egg in a bowl. Form into one inch balls and roll in additional sugar.

Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and use a fork to form cross marks in the cookies.

Bake at 375 for ten minutes or until edges are browned but not burned.

Tips and Tricks
This recipe does have a lot of sugar, so the next time I make it, I'll play around with alternative sweeteners. If your peanut butter has been refrigerated, let it sit out for awhile to soften. It will make the mixing process easier.
Make It Healthier
Use trans-fat free peanut butter.
How Kids Can Help
Measure and mix ingredients. Roll cookies in sugar. Press cookies down with fork.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blueberry Chocolate Parfait

Prep/Total Time: 2 minutes
Yield: one serving

1/4 frozen blueberries
1/2 c cooked oatmeal
30 dark chocolate chips

Place berries in an oven proof dish and top with oatmeal and chocolate chips. Microwave on high for about 30 seconds.

Tips and Tricks
Be sure to use caution when biting into this, the microwave can create hot pockets!
Make It Healthier
Use trans-fat free chocolate chips.
How Kids Can Help
Layer ingredients, push buttons on microwave.

Turkey Meatballs

Prep/Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

1 1/2 lb lean ground turkey
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 egg

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Shape into one-inch balls and bake in a single layer in a baking pan at 400 for about 20 minutes.

To serve, simmer in 1 1/2 to 2 cups of sauce, and serve over pasta.

Tips and Tricks
Make sure your ground turkey says extra lean on the label. Regular ground turkey includes the dark meat and is high in fat. These meatballs also freeze well.
Make It Healthier
Use all natural tomato sauce.
How Kids Can Help
Measure oats. Chop onion with food chopper.

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Prep/Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 tilapia or salmon fillets
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup quick-cooking oats
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp grated nutmeg

In a shallow bowl, combine oats, cheese and nutmeg. Coat fish fillets in olive oil and roll in the oats mixture. Bake at 350 for ten minutes per inch of thickness or until fish flakes easily.

Tips and Tricks
Use quick-cooking oats instead of old-fashioned oats, because they will stick to the fish better. Try using different spices in place of the nutmeg.
How Kids Can Help
Mix oats and spices. Coat the fish.

Key-West Chicken Avocado Sandwiches

Prep/Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 cup mashed avocado
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp green pepper sauce , optional
1 cup baby spinach
10 oz grilled or roasted chicken breast, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 mango, peeled, pitted and sliced (about 1 cup)
4 small whole grain rolls, split

Combine avocado, lime juice and green pepper sauce in small bowl. Spread tops and bottom halves of rolls with 2 Tbsp each of the avocado-lime mixture.

Layer 1/4 cup of the spinach, one quarter of the chicken, and 1/4 cup of the mango on bottom halves and top with other halves of rolls.

Tips and Tricks
If you don't like mango, try using sliced cantaloupe or orange slices.
Make It Healthier
Pre-trim fat from chicken.
How Kids Can Help
Mash avocado. Layer sandwich ingredients.

Nutrition Facts
one sandwich equals 367 calories, 29g protein, 41 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 1 g fat, 2.5 g sat fat 60mg chol, 355 mg sodium

Chocolate Mousse

Prep/Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

12 oz silken tofu, drained
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 c semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup fat-free Greek-style yogurt

Place tofu and vanilla and almond extracts into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add chocolate and blend 1 minute. Scrape sides with a spatula and blend another minute or until chocolate is incorporated. Pour into a bowl. Fold in yogurt until just blended. Refrigerate until serving.

Tips and Tricks
I'm not fond of tofu, so this recipe was an attempt for me to leave my food comfort zone. It didn't taste bad, but I'm still not a fan of tofu. In place of Greek yogurt, I drained the extra liquid from plain yogurt and used that. Vanilla yogurt probably would have been the better choice.
Make It Healthier
Use chocolate chips free of trans-fats.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients, push buttons on blender, stir in yogurt.

Nutrition Facts
one serving equals 350 calories, 11 g protein, 40 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 18 g fat, 10 g sat fat, 0 cholesterol, 15mg sodium

Friday, September 19, 2008


Have you heard of the new trend in packed lunches for school? Bento Box lunches are a traditional Japanese packed lunch, designed to be both delicious and beautiful. Crescent Moon has given me permission to post her ideas for Bento lunches for her kids.

She started by decorating the plain plastic lunch containers she got for each member of her family. She started out with these new Fit&Fresh lunch boxes.

Then she used stickers and glow-in-the-dark acrylic paint to decorate them, then painted over them with clear nail polish, so she could wash them without ruining the stickers.

This is the lid of hers:

This one is for her DH:

She gave DS a Cars theme:

Her DD has a sort of pirate theme:

And here are some of the lunches she has prepared:

The first day of school Bento:

Breakfast for lunch:

Fall Bento #1:

Fall Bento #2:

And some Pirate themed Bento lunches because Talk Like a Pirate Day was this week:

There is no picture of today's full lunch, but it contains this pirate pizza:

Are you doing something special for your kids' lunch? We would love to see your ideas! Leave us a comment with a link to your post, and if we like your idea we may include it in a future post.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bacon and Potato Salad with Green Celery Leaf and Cider Vinegar

Yield: 4 servings

20 new potatoes
8 slices of bacon
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
6 fl. oz. olive or sunflower oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
A handful of celery leaves, finely chopped
2 shallots, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the potatoes in boiling water until just tender but not too soft. Drain, cut each one in half and set aside. Meanwhile, cut the bacon slices in half and cook over a medium heat for about ten minutes, turning once or twice, until crisp. Put the sugar, mustard, oil, vinegar and water in a bowl and mix until well combined. Stir in the celery leaves and shallots. Taste and add salt if necessary, then season with black pepper. Put the potatoes in a big bowl, throw the bacon slices over the top, and pour over the dressing. Mix well. It doesn't mater if the bacon slices break up—that way it just tastes better.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sesame-Mango Chicken With Brown Rice

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

2 1/2 cups water
2 tsp salsa
1 cup brown rice
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast tenderloins
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 mango, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch pieces (about 1 cup)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tbsp lime juice

In a medium size sauce pan, bring water and salsa to a boil. Add rice and simmer over low heat for about 25 minutes or until rice is tender.

Meanwhile, toast sesame seeds in a dry pan over low heat for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Pour olive oil into pan, add garlic, ginger and pepper, and cook chicken until cooked through, stirring ocassionally.

And mango to pan and cook until fruit is tender, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and lime juice and cook an additional 5 minutes. Serve over rice and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Tips and Tricks
I used my microwave to cook the rice. Follow the directions on the package for cooking times. I would also recommend using a large pan or a wok to cook the chicken mixture, for ease of stirring.
Make It Healthier
Use all natural salsa.
How Kids Can Help
Press buttons on microwave. Measure spices.

Nutrition Facts
One serving equals 391 calories, 6 g total fat, 1 g sat fat, 51 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 112 mg sodium, 66mg cholesterol

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quick Sandwich Ideas

Pressed for time? Out of ideas? Need lunch right away? Try one of these quick sandwich ideas from Andrea Astrachan, consumer advisor for Giant Food. If you're in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area, be sure to read my account of Giant's new offerings!

Bat Boy
1 slice of turkey, ham or bologna
1/4 tsp light mayo
a pinch of shredded cheese
1 large pretzel rod

Spread mayo on the turkey, ham or bologna. Sprinkle with cheese. Roll up lunch meat and cheese with pretzel rod in the middle.

On The Go Burrito
1 tortilla
1 tbsp salsa
3-4 slices chicken
1/4 cup black beans
1/4 cup shredded cheese

Spread salsa on the tortilla. Layer the chicken, beans and cheese. Roll up the tortilla into a burrito.

Chicken Caesar Pocket
1 pita pocket
handful of romaine lettuce
1 tsp light ranch dressing
3-4 cooked chicken strips

Spread ranch dressing inside the pita pocket and add chicken and lettuce.

Mac And Cheese With Tomatoes And Celery

Another recipe from Giant Food consumer advisor Andrea Astrachan.

Prep/Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
8 oz reduced-fat colby or cheddar cheese shredded
1 tbsp butter
1 1/4 cups low-fat milk
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 small onion
1 tbsp flour

Cook macaroni according to package directions and drain. Put in a bowl with tomato and celery. In a medium saucepan, saute diced onion in butter until translucent. Stir in flour and black pepper. Add milk. Cook until slightly thickened and bubbly. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add macaroni mixture to cheese sauce and coat evenly. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Cool for about ten minutes before serving.

Tips and Tricks
Use whatever pasta you have on hand. Try different types of cheeses for different flavors. I omitted the celery.
Make It Healthier
Use trans-fat free spread or unsalted butter.
How Kids Can Help
Kids can shred the cheese or add ingredients to the pan.

Nutrition Facts
One serving equals 182 calories, 6 g total fat, 4 g sat fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 285 mg sodium, 19g carbs, 14g protein

Watermelon Breakfast Lasagna

This recipe comes from Andrea Astrachan, consumer advisor for Giant Food.

Prep/Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 cups corn flakes
2 cups fresh blueberries and/or strawberries (or 1 cup each)
2 cups minced watermelon
2 cups lowfat vanilla yogurt

Layer 1/3 of corn flakes evenly in bottom of an 8 by 8 serving dish. Mix together watermelon, berries and yogurt; spoon half of fruit mixture evenly over corn flakes. Sprinkle half of remaining flakes over fruit mixture; top with remaining fruit mixture. Finish with layer of corn flakes.

Tips and Tricks
If you don't have berries, substitute any fresh fruit!
Make It Healthier
Use fat-free yogurt and bran flakes.
How Kids Can Help
Mix fruit and yogurt. Layer ingredients.

Nutrition Facts
1 serving equals 262 calories, 2g fat, 1 g sat fat, 6mg cholesterol, 285 mg sodium, 55g carbs, 3 g fiber, 9g protein

Sea Scallops With Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

This recipe comes from Chef Geoff's Downtown. This dish was served at a luncheon I recently attended for Giant Food. If you're in the Maryland/Virginia/DC area, check out the changes coming soon to a Giant near you!

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1/4 cup minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup Arborio rice, uncooked
2 oz white wine
3 cups water, simmering
4 ounces butter
1/2 cup Grana Padano cheese, grated
1 cup asparagus, blanched and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups sauteed mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste
white truffle oil, to taste
8 oz white balsamic reduction (see recipe)
16 U10 dry sea scallops, seasoned and sauteed once rice is complete

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil over low-medium heat until softened but not brown. Add rice and toss in oil until rice becomes white white stirring with a wooden spoon.

Add a splash of white wine. Add one cup of the water and stir gently and continuously until all the water is absorbed. Repeat one cup at a time until all water is absorbed.

Fold in diced butter and cheese until rich and creamy. Fold is sauteed mushrooms and blanched asparagus. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the balsamic reduction, slowly stir 8 ounces of white balsamic vinegar until it is reduced to 2 ounces.

Put one cup rice in a bowl add four scallops on top. Drizzle with white balsamic reduction and white truffle oil.

Tips and Tricks
Do not be scared by the ingredients list or the instructions for this recipe! Risottos are actually very easy to make and can be tailored to your needs and tastes. Check out the tips on this recipe for more help on making risotto. If I was making this recipe at home, I would leave out the white truffle oil and substitute chicken broth for the white wine. U10 scallops are extra large scallops. U10 is a designation that means "under ten" per pound. Grana padano cheese is a type of Parmesan. use whatever Parmesan you have on hand.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can stir the rice as it cooks and add the liquid to the pan. Younger kids can chop the onions and garlic using a food chopper.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cheeseburger Casserole

This super-easy casserole is a great for a busy night when you don't have time to cook!

Yield: 4 servings
Prep: 30 minutes

1 box of Au Gratin Potato mix
1 lb of ground beef or turkey
1 tomato
1 can diced tomatoes
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Prepare the Au Gratin potatoes as directed on the box in a 8x9 casserole dish.
Once done, let set 5 minutes. Meanwhile, brown ground beef or turkey and drain. Slice tomato thinly and place sliced tomato over Au Gratin potatoes. Drain diced tomatoes and pour over sliced tomatoes. Cover with browned meat. Spread shredded cheese on top. Cover and bake another 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Let set 5 minutes to cool and serve.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Zucchini Quesadillas

This recipe is from my mom at Alice's Wonderland:

Yield: about 10

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 tsp salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (8-9 inches long and approx 2 inches across! Small is better!)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Taco seasoning or chili powder
Cooked chicken, pork, or shrimp (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
flour tortillas
2 cups grated pepper jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. In large skillet heat oil, add onion, salt and cook until onion is soft, then add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
3. Add zucchini and frozen corn kernels; cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is soft and corn is tender, about 6 minutes.
4. Heat tortilla in another pan. (We warmed ours in the microwave.)
5. Spread filling on 1/2 of tortilla, top with cheese and fold in half.
6. Repeat with the rest of filling and tortillas and place on a baking sheet.
7. Bake until cheese has melted and tortillas are golden brown, turning once
8. Remove from oven, slice into wedges.

Tips and Tricks:
We used the soft taco size tortillas. I would guess they are approximately 8 inches in diameter? This recipe made about 10 quesadillas. I used canned pork and it was very good. Chicken or shrimp would be good. Nathan thought that steak would be good. I'm sure it would! I served this with a little sour cream and fresh salsa since we have lots of tomatoes right now. We also have jalapeno peppers and fresh salsa is so delicious. Here is how I do it:

Fresh Salsa

Four or five Roma tomatoes (I like Roma because they are more meaty and less juice but other tomatoes work too just squeeze out some of the juice.)
1/2 med. onion
1/2 jalepeno pepper (with seeds)
Fresh cilantro
1 or 2 garlic cloves ( I have been using the bottled minced garlic and like it a lot. I just figure about 1 teaspoon per clove. That is probably generous, but I like garlic.)
Lemon or Lime juice
Salt to taste (probably at least 1 teaspoon)

Tips and Tricks: Use a food processor or blender on pulse. Don't puree everything, you still want everything to be somewhat chunky. If it is too hot, add more tomatoes or less peppers and garlic. I have also made this using my Pampered Chef food chopper.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Blackberry Apple Crisp

An Oregon Girl at heart, this made me homesick when I saw the recipe at Renaissance Mama. In Oregon, blackberries grow wild...mmmmm.

Blackberry Apple Crisp

You need:
At least 5 cups of blackberries or whatever
4 large apples
3 cups steel cut oats
1 cup whole grain wheat flour
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In large pan, lay the berries down on bottom, add sliced apples, and about 1/4 c. water. In separate bowl, combine all other ingredients. If too dry, add more syrup. Put mixture over berries and apples. Bake 45 minutes @ 350.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bacon Cheddar Quiche

This quiche could be served for brunch or lunch, along with mixed fresh fruit or a tossed salad. Use prepared pie pastry or a frozen thawed pie shell if you need to cut time.

Yield: 8 Servings
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut in small pieces
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ice-cold water
  • .
  • Filling
  • 8 strips lean bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Prepare crust for quiche. In a mixing bowl, mix together flour and salt. Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form; add water, a little at a time, until dough holds together and forms a ball. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll out dough into a circle about 11 inches in diameter. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate or quiche pan. Trim edges, leaving a little overhang, about 1/4-inch all around the edge. Prick dough with a fork. Line with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake quiche crust for 10 minutes at 375°.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, thyme, and pepper. Pour into the baked crust. Crumble bacon over the top with the shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes, or until quiche filling is set and top is lightly browned.

Suggested Sides: Serve the quiche with fresh tomato wedges or a tossed salad.

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

I found this recipe at, and it claims to be the original recipe from the restaurant. I'm putting it on the menu to serve on a chilly autumn night.

Yield: 6-8 servings

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 large diced white onion
  • 4 Tbsp bacon pieces
  • 2 tsp garlic puree
  • 10 cups water
  • 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
  • ¼ of a bunch of kale

  1. Sautee Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
  2. In the same pan, sautee bacon, onions and garlic for approxiamtly 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
  3. Mix together the chicken bouillon and water, then add it to the onions, bacon and garlic. Cook until boiling.
  4. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
  5. Add heavy cream and cook until thoughouly heated.
  6. Stir in the sausage.
  7. Add kale just before serving.
photo credits:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Grilled Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

I found this recipe on HGTV this morning and it looks delicious!

Prep: 30 minutes, plus marinating
Yield: 6 servings

Chicken and Marinade Ingredients:

30 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2-inch strips
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs. brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
2 green onions, minced
1/4 tsp. red chili flakes

Preparation for grilled chicken:

In a large bowl, combine soy sauce with the next five ingredients. Blend well. Add sliced chicken, cover and refrigerate for two to three hours. Remove from refrigerator and thread one chicken slice onto each skewer. Grill over ash-white coals for three to four minutes on one side and then about two minutes on the other side. Be careful not to overcook chicken. Serve with Peanut Sauce on the side.

Ingredients for peanut sauce:

2 tsp. peanut oil
1/3 cup yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs. lime juice
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 dash Tabasco sauce (more, if desired)
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 cup chunky peanut butter

Preparation for the peanut sauce:

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add onion and garlic and saute for three to four minutes or until onions are translucent. Stir in remaining ingredients except peanut butter. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and stir in peanut butter until well blended. Serve warm. Serve as an appetizer with crisp vegetables.

Tips and Tricks: Chicken may be marinated, skewered and refrigerated the day before. Grill just before the party.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Seven Layer Southwest Salad

Fresh vegetables, black beans and a zesty salad dressing are united in a layered salad with lost of zip.
Yield: 8 servings

1 1/2 c. sour cream
3/4 c. thick and chunky salsa
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large green bell pepper, diced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 c. thinly sliced green onions with tops
1 pkg. (16 oz.) iceberg lettuce salad mix (10 c.)
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c. corn chips (optional)

In bowl, combine sour cream and salsa; mix well and set aside. Drain and rinse beans. Using Dice bell pepper and tomatoes; thinly slice green onions. Layer beans, bell pepper, lettuce, tomatoes and green onions in Large Bowl. Spoon sour cream mixture over top using spreading evenly. Grate cheese over top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with corn chips, if desired, and serve.

Tips and Tricks: For a heartier main dish salad, 2 cups diced cooked chicken can be added between the bell pepper and lettuce layers, if desired. This salad can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tex-Mex Frittata

Prep/Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 cup cooked black beans
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 tbsp chopped pickled jalapenos
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 whole eggs
4 egg whites
pinches of dried oregano, sea salt and ground black pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped red onion
1 cup cooked corn
12 grape tomatoes, cut in half

To make salsa, combine green onions with beans, cilantro and jalapenos. Drizzle with vinegar and olive oil, then toss to mix. Let stand while preparing frittata.

In a bowl, whisk whole eggs with egg whites and seasonings. Coat or spray an oven-proof non-stick medium-sized skillet with olive oil and set over medium heat. Add red onion to skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Add corn and tomatoes, then eggs. Stir to evenly distribute ingredients. Cook just until bottom starts to become firm, 1 to 2 minutes, then bake in preheated 300 degree oven until center is set, 10 to 12 minutes

Tips and Tricks
I skipped the precooking of the onions and just mixed everything in one bowl and poured it into the skillet. I also used a larger pan, yielding a thinner frittata and adjusted cooking times accordingly. For the salsa, I used dried cilantro and left out the jalapenos.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Measure and dump spices. Pour eggs into pan.

Nutrition Facts
1.6 of frittata and 1/4 cup of salsa equals 115 calories, 3.5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 14 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 8 g protein, 86mg sodium, 62 mg cholesterol

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Steaks With Veggie Salsa

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 mesdium zucchini, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
4 4-oz sirloin steaks, trimmed of fat

In a small bowl, combine first seven ingredients plus a pinch of sea salt and 1/2 tsp pepper to make salsa. Then, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. In another bowl, combine chili powder with remaining sea salt and pepper. Sprinkle both sides of steak with spice mixture. Cook until done to taste--2 minutes on each side for medium-rare, 2 1/2 minutes on each side for medium. Let stand 5 minutes, then serve, topped with salsa.

Tips and Tricks
Instead of the chili powder mix, I used the meat rub from this recipe for Broiled Steaks. I also used lemon juice in the veggie salsa because I used the last of the lime juice for the steaks. Instead of a cast-iron skillet, I broiled the steaks for about 7 minutes per side. If your meat is thick, consider slicing it into thinner pieces, it will be easier to cook. Use dried cilantro if you do not have fresh.
Make It Healthier
Omit the salt.
How Kids Can Help
Dump salsa ingredients into bowl and measure spices.

Nutrition Facts
1 4-oz piece of steak plus 1/4 cup salsa equals 240 calories, 7 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 7 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 3 g sugars, 36 g protein, 203 mg sodium, 66 mg cholesterol

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Snicker Snack

This yummy mix comes from my days as a Girl Scout.

Prep/Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 8-12 servings

4 cups Cheerios or other oat circle cereal
1 bag milk chocolate chips
2 cups raisins
1 cup peanuts
1/2 cup butter

In a plastic bag, mix together the cereal, peanuts and raisins. Melt the butter in the microwave and pour it over the cereal mix. Toss to coat. When butter has cooled, add the chocolate chips and shake to mix.

Store in a cool, dry place.

Tips and Tricks
Be sure to add the chocolate chips AFTER the butter has cooled. Otherwise you'll end up with a melty mess. Use less butter if you prefer, or change the ingredients to suit your family's tastes.
Make It Healthier
Use unsalted peanuts and trans-fat free spread or unsalted butter.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can make this recipe by themselves. Younger kids can press the buttons on the microwave and shake the bag to mix the ingredients.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

1 pound chicken breasts
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 teaspoons grill seasoning, (like McCormick Montreal Seasoning)
1 pizza dough
Cornmeal handle dough (you can use flour as well)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce, (to taste)
1/2 cup tomato soup (you can use tomato sauce but I think soup gives a better flavor)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles (optional)
3 scallions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Preheat grill pan to high.
Place chicken on a plate and drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the chicken then season with grill seasoning. When grill is hot, add chicken and cook throughly.

Stretch dough to form pizza into cookie sheet using cornmeal or flour to help you handle it. If you let it rest and warm up a few minutes it will handle even easier.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter and stir in Worcestershire, hot sauce, and tomato soup/sauce.

Remove the chicken from grill and thinly slice it. Add chicken to sauce and coat. Cover the pizza dough with the saucy Buffalo chicken, cheeses, and scallions. Bake 18 minutes or until crisp.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Crab and Cream Chees Wontons

1 pkg Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 can crab meat, drained
2 T flour or Wondra
3 scallions, minced ( I used regular onion and choped it up very small)
1/4 tsp onion poweder
1 egg, beaten
oil for deep fryer
Wonton Wrappers

Finely mince the scallions. Combine with cream cheese, crab meat, and flour or Wondra.

Beat the egg in a small bowl- this will be used to brush the edges of the wonton wrappers befor folding and helps to keep them together.

Place large tablespoon fuls of the crab mixture in the center of each wonton skin and brush edges with egg mixture. Fold over to form a triangel, then press edges together to seal.

Bring the two side edge coners of the triangle to the middle and press these together to form a ring.

Heat oil to 350 degreese in a large heavy bottomed pan, sufficient to cover the wontons. (We used our deep fryer)

Fry wontons until golden turning once, about 2-3 minutes. In order to avoid lowering the temperature of the oil, do not attempt to fry to many at once. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towles and serve.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's 5PM at the end of a long day, the kids are crying for dinner, you haven't been to the store, and you have no idea what to make.

Does this sound familiar?

Do you need help?

Check out for a search engine that gives you recipes that you can make right now with what you have on hand.

I read about this site in Guideposts recently and decided to check it out. I've tried other recipe sites before, but wasn't impressed by those that gave me recipes that required ten other ingredients I didn't have on hand.

The Supercook site was easy to navigate and gave me tasty looking, easy, family-friendly recipes to make. Even better, it's free to use. I'm definitely bookmarking it for future use and to help me with my menu plans.

Be sure to visit the site and let us know if you have any other planning sites you like!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tomato Basil Soup

This amazingly easy soup gets its wonderful flavor from fresh basil.

Prep/Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, shredded
1-1/2 teaspoons butter
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

In a small saucepan, saute onion and carrot in butter until tender. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool slightly. Transfer to a blender; add basil. Cover and process until smooth. Return to the pan; stir in broth and heat through.

Tips and Tricks
This easy recipe took me much less time than 40 minutes. Double or triple the recipe for larger crowds. The carrots in the soup will give it an orangy color. I used green onion in place of regular onion and used my food chopper to finely chop the carrot instead of shredding it. I also did not peel my tomatoes.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Chop carrots and onions with food chopper. Press buttons on blender.

Turkey Lunchbox Wraps

Prep/Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

2 whole wheat tortillas (8 inches), room temperature
4 teaspoons honey mustard
6 ounces thinly sliced deli turkey
2 thin slices Muenster cheese
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 bacon strip, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup chopped seeded cucumber
1/4 cup chopped roasted sweet red pepper

Spread tortillas with mustard. Layer each with turkey, cheese, spinach, carrot, bacon, cucumber and red pepper; roll up tightly.

Tips and Tricks
I omitted the sweet red pepper and made my own honey mustard sauce. My husband and kids liked the honey mustard spread, but I would have preferred the wraps with ranch dressing instead. Use whatever variety of cheese you like. I also finely chopped my carrot instead of shredding it to save my fingers. i also used larger tortillas, so it was helpful to cut them in half once rolled up for neater eating.
Make It Healthier
Use trans-fat free tortillas and center-cut bacon.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can shred carrots. Younger kids can layer the ingredients and help roll them up.

Mexican Pizza

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 slices

1 large onion
1 prebaked Italian bread shell crust (14 ounces)
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/3 cup chopped seeded tomato
2 tablespoons sliced ripe olives
1/2 cup coarsely chopped ranch-flavored tortilla chips

Slice half of the onion and chop the rest; set aside. Place crust on an ungreased 12-in. pizza pan. Spread beans over crust to within 1/2 in. of edges. Top with cheddar cheese and sliced onion.

Bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with lettuce, Mexican cheese, chopped onion, tomato, olives and tortilla chips.

Tips and Tricks
I used green onions in place of the regular onion, skipped the Mexican blend cheese and used regular tortilla chips. I also found a tiny can of black olives at my local grocery store. My husband is the only one who likes them, so I placed them on his portion only.
Make It Healthier
Use thin-crust pizza crust. Use fat free refried beans. Use trans-fat free tortilla chips.
How Kids Can Help
Spread beans on crust. Top with cheese and other toppings.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuna Stuffed Shells

This recipe comes to us from My Little Corner of the World. I can't wait to try it out!

Tuna Stuffed Shells
Nancy Dell'Aria

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


18 jumbo pasta shells
1 can (6 oz) light tuna in oil, well drained
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs
1⁄4 cup finely chopped onion
1 large egg
1⁄4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 can (103⁄4 oz) condensed cream of celery soup
1⁄2 cup milk
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Paprika (optional)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 11 x 7-in. baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Boil pasta as package directs until just firm-tender.

3. Meanwhile mix tuna, bread crumbs, onion, egg, 1⁄2 the parsley and the lemon juice to blend.

4. Drain pasta shells. Rinse gently to cool; drain. Fill each shell with 1 Tbsp tuna mixture. Place in prepared dish.

5. Whisk soup and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot. Remove from heat; stir in remaining parsley. Pour evenly over shells. Sprinkle with cheese and paprika. Cover with foil. Refrigerate overnight, if desired.

6. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until bubbly.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Greek Rice & Lemon Soup

There is a fabulous little Greek restaurant here that makes the best rice and lemon soup. I finally found a recipe to try to duplicate it:

Yield: 6 servings
Prep: 30 minutes

2 Tbs butter
1/3 cup minced green onions with tops
6 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup uncooked white rice
4 eggs
Juice of 1 lemon
1/8 tsp white pepper

Melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add green onions. Cook and stir about 3 minutes or until green onions are tender.

Stir in chicken broth and rice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender.

Beat eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk until well beaten. Add lemon juice and 1/2 cup broth mixture to bowl. Gradually return egg mixture to broth mixture in saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over low heat 2 to 3 minutes or until broth mixture thickens enough to lightly coat spoon. Do not boil.

Stir in pepper, if desired. Garnish with fresh mint and lemon peel, if desired.

Suggested Sides:
Fresh Pita Bread

Friday, June 13, 2008

Miniature Shepherd's Pies

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

1 pound ground beef
2-3 large green onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups baby carrots, finely chopped
1 cup petite peas
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 cups mashed potatoes

In a large pot, brown the ground beef. When almost finished, add the onions, carrots and peas. Stir and cook until veggies are tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle corn starch over meat mixture and stir to combine.

Add broth and stir. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Spoon meat mixture into muffin cups. Top with the mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 for twenty minutes or until bubbly and heated through.

Tips and Tricks
Substitute regular onions if you don't have green onions. I used my Pampered Chef food chopper to finely chop the carrots. You can also substitute other veggies. I used corn and I presteamed it in the microwave to save time. I also added some Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce to darken the gravy. I usually make my own mashed potatoes from scratch, but on hot or busy days, will use a pouch of instant flavored potatoes.
Make It Healthier
Use lean ground beef and rinse beef before adding broth. Use low sodium broth.
How Kids Can Help
Chop veggies with food chopper. Measure broth.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Chicken Teriyaki Pasta Salad

Prep: 2 hours (marinating), 10 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

1 cup oil
2/3 cup teriyaki sauce
2/3 cup light wine vinegar
6 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine dressing and mix well.

6 chicken breasts, cooked, cooled & diced
12 oz cooked bowtie pasta

Marinate in dressing at least 2 hours.

2 oz mandarin oranges, drained
16 oz drained water chesnuts
1 cup honey roasted almonds
1 cup honey roasted peanuts
1 bag dried cranberries
1 bag chopped romaine lettuce
1 bag baby spinach

Toss all together & enjoy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

All Day Crock Pot Chicken

Yield: 6-8 Servings

2 cups chicken broth 2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper dash ground allspice
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste dash ground ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tsp salt

Remaining ingredients:
6 chicken breast halves
6 to 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
1 small bell pepper, green or red, seeded, cut in strips
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold milk
1/4 cup cold water

Combine marinade ingredients in a non-reactive container with lid or a large seal able food storage bag; blend well. Add the chicken to marinade; cover or close bag and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours, or overnight. Place the marinated chicken in the slow cooker. Pot Add marinade to cover chicken. Sautee mushrooms in the butter, then add to chicken in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours. About 1 hour before done, add mandarin orange sections, green pepper and ginger; stir well. When done, mix together the cornstarch, milk and cold water, then gradually add into the slow cooker while stirring; cover and cook 15 minutes longer, until thickened.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Herbaceous Beef Burgers

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 1/2 pounds ground beef sirloin
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped dill
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
One 4-ounce log goat cheese, quartered
olive oil
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
4 crusty whole grain kaiser rolls, split
4 leaves green-leaf lettuce
1/4 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
4 radishes, thinly sliced
4 thin slices red onion

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. In a large bowl, combine the beef, parsley, dill, chives and Worcestershire sauce; season with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into 4 mounds. Press 1 piece of cheese into the center of each mound, then form a patty around the cheese. Drizzle the patties with olive oil and grill for 4 minutes on each side for medium.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mustard and honey; season with salt and pepper. Layer each roll bottom with lettuce, cucumber, radish, onion and a burger. Spread honey mustard sauce on the cut side of the bun tops and set into place.

Tips and Tricks
I used a little less than a pound of meat and made four smaller burgers. I used dried dill, fresh curly parsley, and omitted the chives altogether. You could also substitute green onions. I used spicy brown mustard in place of Dijon, cream cheese instead of goat cheese, and left the radishes off. Make sure the meat is sealed well around the cheese, because the cream cheese I used leaked out as the meat cooked.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt. Serve on whole wheat rolls. Use low-fat or fat-free sour cream.
How Kids Can Help
If you place the meat and ingredients into a plastic resealable bag, kids can mix the meat. Kids can also measure ingredients and mix the sour cream topping.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings

5-6 cups cooked rice
2 chicken breasts, cooked & diced
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 small can diced green chilis
3 tbs mayonnaise
2 tsp dried onion flakes
salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients & cook on stove top or bake until cheese is melted & casserole is heated through.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Panko Crusted Chicken

Prep/Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 pound chicken tenders or boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
olive oil

Using a pastry brush, apply a thin layer of salad dressing to the chicken. Roll in bread crumbs. In a large skillet, cook the chicken in olive oil until crispy and chicken is cooking through.

Tips and Tricks
Try using different flavors of salad dressing for a unique meal.
Make It Healthier
Use low fat salad dressing.
How Kids Can Help
Brush dressing on. Older kids can coat the chicken in bread crumbs.
Suggested Sides
Baked potatoes (in microwave), green salad, steamed peas

Chilled Leek and Summer Squash Soup

Prep/Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

6 tablespoons butter
2 leeks, washed and chopped
1 1/2 pounds yellow summer squash, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Two 14.5-ounce cans chicken broth

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and yellow squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and, using a blender, puree the mixture in 2 batches, adding one can of chicken broth to each batch. Stir the batches together and refrigerate until chilled.

Tips and Tricks
I'm not a fan of squash, but the leeks and broth in this recipe disguise the squash nicely. Another way to get veggies into your kids.
Make It Healthier
Use unsalted butter or trans-fat free spread.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Press buttons on blender.

Chilled Cucumber Soup

Prep/Total Time: 10 minutes + chilling
Yield: 4 servings

2 medium cucumbers
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 green onions, chopped
Fresh dill, optional

Cut four thin slices of cucumber; set aside for garnish. Peel and finely chop remaining cucumbers. In a bowl, combine the buttermilk, sour cream, sugar, dill, salt, pepper, green onions and chopped cucumbers; mix well. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with cucumber slices and fresh dill if desired.

Tips and Tricks
This recipe is a great way to use up veggie garden bounty. I use powdered buttermilk and follow the directions to reconstitute it.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Peel cucumbers with veggie peeler. Measure and mix ingredients.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Meals In A Jiffy

Recently, I posed a question to the members of an online forum I belong to. "You have ten minutes to get dinner on the table. What do you make?"

Overwhelmingly, the answers were things like hot dogs or macaroni and cheese or canned soup. Things, in other words, that are quick but not necessarily healthy.

Hot dogs or macaroni and cheese or canned soup make a quick and easy dinner every once in awhile, but what if your consistently pressed for time? A friend of mine with two kids in school, sports and other activities, who also commutes an hour each way to her full time job, and who is a single mom, says that she rarely has time to put a lot of effort into making dinner. She says, "My schedule means I don't have the time or the energy to cook a complicated meal, but I also don't want my kids to eat a lot of processed foods that are unhealthy." Her solution was to invest in a copy of Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals cookbook, and then further slash the time spent cooking by buying convenient versions of healthy ingredients. Precooked and precubed white meat chicken, for example, or shredded cheese over block cheese or prewashed bagged salad.

Tonight, I fed my family Panko Crusted Chicken with salads, steamed peas and baked potatoes. The meal actually took me about fifteen minutes to cook, because I was also refereeing a disagreement over a toy between my kids. But had I been able to give dinner my undivided attention, it would have been on the table in ten minutes.

Here's how: I used Perdue chicken tenders over chicken breast, because they are smaller and thinner, thus cook faster. I used a pastry brush to apply a thin layer of ranch salad dressing to the chicken, rolled them in panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and then cooked them in olive oil in a skillet. While the chicken cooked, I scrubbed and pierced a couple of potatoes, then microwaved them on high for 8 minutes. Then I made the salads. When the potatoes were done, I used my Pampered Chef microwave steamer to cook the peas for 5 minutes.

By the time the peas were cooked, the chicken was nice and crispy and the potatoes had cooled enough to eat. Dinner was served!

This meal did require some forethought, because I already had my meat thawed and my lettuce and other produce washed and ready to chop. But it required very little of my time to make it and I felt good that I had prepared a healthy and tasty meal.

I also like the Perdue Perfect Portions chicken breasts because they can be baked in ten minutes without thawing them. I also utilize instant brown rice and frozen vegetable mixes to make fast and easy stirfries on busy nights.

How about you? Given the Ten Minute Meal challenge, what would you make?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Breakfast Tostadas

Prep: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 corn tortillas
4 eggs
4 slices of cheddar cheese
2 tbs salsa
4 tsp sour cream

Fry eggs over medium. Fry each tortilla until crisp and arrange on a baking sheet. Top each tortilla with a fried egg and a slice of cheese. Place under broiler until cheese is melted & bubbly. Top each with 1/2 tbs salsa and 1 tsp sour cream.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Better Than Orange Julius

This is an original recipe we made up this afternoon for FHE:

Prep: 5 minutes
Yield: about 6 cups

6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate
2 cups milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
16 ice cubes

Blend together until smooth, serve immediately.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nutella Swirl Ice Cream

This recipe comes from Whine, Cheese, and Chuckles. It's that time of year again for homemade ice cream!

Nutella Swirl Ice Cream
This brown sugar ice cream, rich but not overly sweet, has just a swirl of Nutella. Even better, a simple method for making the custard base means no standing over the stove.

Ingredient - Volume - Weight

Milk - 2 1/2 cups - 20 ounces

Cream - 1 1/2 cups - 12 ounces

Brown sugar - 1/2 cup - 3 1/2 ounces

Egg yolks - 4

Nutella - 1/2 cup - 5 1/4 ounces

Oil (flavorless or nut) - 2 tablespoons - 1 ounce

1. Heat the milk, cream and sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, to just under a boil.
2. While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks in large mixing bowl until combined. Run tap water until it is hot and put a couple of inches of water in the larger bowl. Float the mixing bowl on the water (hold it to stabilize) while continuing to whisk the yolks until they are warm and frothy, a minute or so. (The yolks should be just under body temperature, about 90-95F.)
3. When the milk is just starting to bubble, put the mixing bowl on a towel next to the stove. Slowly pour the milk into the warmed yolks, whisking constantly. Continue whisking for a minute after everything is combined.
4. Chill the mixture thoroughly. I generally dump the hot water from the big bowl at this point and fill it with ice and water to cool the ice cream base faster. Just float the bowl in the ice water - remember to make sure it is stable so it doesn't tip over- and give it a little time (30-60 min) to cool. (The texture is a bit better if the ice cream base is chilled overnight before churning but it's really not necessary.) When the ice cream base is thoroughly chilled, strain the mixture and freeze it using your ice cream maker.
5. While the ice cream is churning, stir together the Nutella and oil. The oil keeps the Nutella from freezing, although it occurs to me now that a shot of alcohol would accomplish the same thing. I'll obviously have to try it.
6. If your ice cream maker has a hole to drizzle it through, add the Nutella to the ice cream in the last 30-60 seconds of churning. Watch and stop it quickly so it remains in swirls. If you can't add it while the ice cream machine is running, fold it in quickly when the ice cream is done, while you are scraping it into a storage container.

Tips And Tricks
You will need two bowls, one for mixing and a larger one that your mixing bowl will fit inside of with a couple of inches of room around it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Chicken And Mushrooms In Foil

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30-35 minutes + resting
Yield: 6 servings

1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1-1/4 cups water, divided
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stuffing Mix for Chicken
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb.), 1/2 inch thick
4 slices Thin Sliced Smoked Ham, chopped
1-1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1-1/2 cups frozen peas

Mix soup and 1/4 cup of the water; set aside. Combine stuffing mix and remaining 1 cup water; spoon evenly onto center of each of six large sheets of heavy-duty foil. Top each with one chicken breast. Cover evenly with the ham, mushrooms, peas and soup mixture.

Bring up foil sides. Double fold top and both ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Place packets in single layer in a baking pan.

Bake 30 to 35 min. at 400 or until chicken is cooked through (170°F). Remove packets from oven; let stand 5 min. Place one packet on each of six dinner plates. Cut slits in foil with sharp knife to release steam before opening.

Tips and Tricks
I used my own homemade stuffing (from the freezer) and added chicken broth instead of water. I also used a frozen peas and carrots mixture. Spray the foil with cooking spray to prevent the stuffing from sticking. Open the foil packs carefully. I also used chicken tenderloins and made four foil packs instead of six.
Make It Healthier
Use reduced-fat condensed soup.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Fold up foil packets.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Creamy Chicken With Rice and Spinach

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into wide strips
1-1/2 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked
4 oz. Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1 pkg. (8 oz.) baby spinach leaves (8 cups packed leaves)
1 large tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp.grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat dressing in Dutch oven or large deep skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 min. Add broth; bring to boil. Stir in rice; return to boil. Cover. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 5 min.

Add Neufchatel cheese; cook 2 to 3 min. or until melted, stirring frequently. Add spinach. (Skillet will be full.) Cover skillet with lid; cook 1 min. or until spinach is wilted. Stir gently to mix in spinach.

Remove skillet from heat; let stand, covered, 5 min. Stir in tomatoes; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Tips and Tricks
I skipped cutting up the chicken and broke it up with a spoon as it cooked. I also used my wok to cook this dish. When you add the spinach, the skillet will be very full. Be sure to use a large pot.
Make It Healthier
Use light salad dressing or make your own.
How Kids Can Help
Grate the cheese. Dump the spinach in the pan.

Easy Baked Fish and Chips

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

2 large baking potatoes (1-1/2 lb.)
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
1 pkt. Extra Crispy Seasoned Chicken Coating Mix, divided
4 haddock fillets (1 lb.)
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Cut each potato lengthwise into eight wedges; place in large bowl. Add Italian dressing; toss to coat. Add 1/4 cup of the coating mix; toss to coat. Place in single layer on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 20 min at 400 degrees.

Spread remaining coating mix onto large plate. Spread tops of fish fillets evenly with half of the mayo; press, mayo-side down, into coating mix on plate. Repeat with remaining mayo and coating mix on plate to coat remaining sides of fish fillets. Place on rack of broiler pan. Add to oven with potatoes.

Bake potatoes an additional 15 min. and bake fish 15 min. or until fish flakes easily with fork and potatoes are tender.

Tips and Tricks
I made this dish with tilapia and it turned out well. In place of the seasoned chicken coating (AKA Shake and Bake), I used my homemade Cornflake Coating For Chicken, which I already had made up. I also used homemade Italian salad dressing in place of storebought. To coat the fish evenly with mayo, I used a basting brush.
Make It Healthier
Use reduced-fat mayo and reduced-fat salad dressing.
How Kids Can Help
Kids can pour dressing and coating over potatoes. Older kids can brush mayo on fish and press into coating.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Homemade Ranch Salad Dressing

Prep/Total Time: 5 minutes = 30 minutes chilling
Yield: 12 servings

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Tips and Tricks
I omitted the chives because I didn't have any. I also used light sour cream and reduced fat mayo and it still tastes very rich to me. Cut it with milk if it's too thick. This dressing also makes a great dip.
Make It Healthier
Use low-fat or light mayo and sour cream. Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Measure spices. Mix in bowl.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Chicken Parmigiana

Prep: 60 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
Pinch sugar
Pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
1 cup dried plain bread crumbs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat a saute pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. When the oil gets hazy, add the onions, garlic, and bay leaves; cook and stir for 5 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add the olives and some hand-torn basil, reserve the rest of the basil for finishing the chicken. Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes), cook and stir until the liquid is cooked down and the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes; season with sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and keep warm.

Get the ingredients together for the chicken so you have a little assembly line. Put the flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. In a wide bowl, combine the eggs and water, beat until frothy. Put the bread crumbs on a plate, add the 1 cup Parmesan, chopped parsley, and garlic powder Season with salt and pepper and stir with a fork until thoroughly combined.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high flame in a large oven-proof skillet. Lightly dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, and then dip them in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off, then dredge in the bread crumbs. When the oil is nice and hot, add the cutlets and fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden and crusty, turning once.

Ladle the tomato-olive sauce over the chicken and arrange the mozzarella on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan, and remaining basil. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve hot.

Tips & Tricks:
Make sauce ahead and simmer in the crock pot to cook down.

Suggested Sides:
Spaghetti, green salad, and bread.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Best Beef Bourguignon

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Yield: 4 servings

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup butter
3 slices bacon
2 pounds boneless beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1 peppercorn
3/4 cup beef stock or broth
1 1/2 cups red cooking wine
1/2 pounds whole small white onions
cherry tomatoes
hot cooked rice

In a large pot, saute mushrooms in butter. Remove mushrooms and liquid and set aside. Fry bacon, cut up, until crispy. Remove and set aside.

Add beef to the bacon drippings. Brown well, then add flour and blend well. Add sugar, salt, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorn.

Add beef stock and cooking wine, then cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add onions, mushrooms and bacon and simmer one hour longer. Add more cooking wine if liquid has evaporated. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and serve over hot rice. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Tips and Tricks
Omit the bay leaf and peppercorn if you don't have them on hand. In place of cooking wine, use any red wine, additional beef broth or grape juice. I also use cut up onions in place of the pearl onions. I cook the rice in the microwave to save time.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt. Serve over brown rice.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Push buttons on microwave.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cheese Straws

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 48 cheese straws

1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cold butter
1/3 cup fat-free milk
2 teaspoons paprika

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir in cheese. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add milk, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-in. square. Cut in half lengthwise; cut each half widthwise into 1/2-in. strips. Sprinkle with paprika.

Place 1 in. apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.

Tips and Tricks
Cut the recipe in half to make less cheese straws.
Make It Healthier
Use unsalted butter or trans-fat free spread.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Mix ingredients. Roll out dough.

Nutrition Facts
One cheese straw equals
1 g
Saturated Fat:
1 g
2 mg
52 mg
2 g
0 g
1 g

Fish Tacos

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
4 tilapia fillets
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg white, beaten
1/2 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each white pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika
8 corn tortillas, warmed
1 large tomato, finely chopped

Place the sour cream, chilies, cilantro and lime juice into a food processor. Cover and process until blended. Set aside.

Cut each tilapia fillet lengthwise into 2 portions. Place the flour, egg white and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip fish in flour, then egg white, then bread crumbs.

In a large skillet, cook tilapia in oil over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily. Combine the seasonings and sprinkle over fish.

Place a portion of fish on each tortilla, top with about 2 Tbsp sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with tomato.

Tips and Tricks
I warm my tortillas in the microwave to save time. I don't have a food processor, so I use my mortar and pestle to grind the cilantro finely before mixing with the other ingredients. You could also use a blender.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Older kids can help coat fish.

Nutrition Facts
one taco equals 196 calories, 3 g fat (trace saturated fat), 31 mg cholesterol, 303 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 16 g protein

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thai Noodle Bowl

Prep: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

6 oz whole wheat angel hair pasta
12 oz pork tenderloin, cut into strips
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tbs olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 cup snow pea pods, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup canned coconut cream
3 Tbs lime juice
1 tbs water
1 tsp green hot-pepper sauce
1/2 tsp salt

Prepare the noodles according to package directions. Drain, set aside. In a medium bowl, toss together pork, garlic, ginger. Heat oil in 12" skillet and saute pork mixture and ginger for 4 minutes. Add snow peas and green onions, cook for another 2 minutes. Add cream of coconut, lime juice, water and pepper sauce. Stir to combine, add salt. Add noodles and toss to heat through.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Stuffed Mushrooms

Prep: 5 minutes +2 hours chilling
Cook: 6-8 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

16 ounces whole mushrooms
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 package cheese dip mix
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil

Wash mushrooms thoroughly and dry on a paper towel. Remove stems and chop finely until you have three tablespoons.

Mix chopped stems with cream cheese and dip mix. Cover and chill for 2 hours.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Brush the rounded tops of the mushrooms with olive oil and place round side down on the baking sheet. Stuff with cheese mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Broil for 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Tips and Tricks
I used Warm The Oven Savory Dip Mix from Tastefully Simple, but you could substitute any powdered cheese dip mix, or any vegetable dip mix. Or add your own spices!
Make It Healthier
Use fat-free cream cheese.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can shred the cheese. Younger kids can mix the filling.