Monday, December 28, 2009

Authentic Sour Beef And Dumplings

Prep: 10 minutes plus marinating
Cook: 6 hours
Yield: 12 servings

1-1/2 cups water, divided
1-1/4 cups cider vinegar, divided
2 large onions, sliced, divided
1 medium lemon, sliced
15 whole cloves, divided
6 bay leaves, divided
6 whole peppercorns
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 beef sirloin tip roast (3 pounds), cut in half
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 gingersnap cookies, crumbled
3 pounds russet potatoes
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash pepper

In a large plastic bag or bowl, combine 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, half of the onions, lemon, 10 cloves, four bay leaves, peppercorns, sugar and salt; mix well. Add roast. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally.

Drain and discard marinade. Place roast in a slow cooker; add pepper and remaining ingredients except gingersnaps. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove roast and keep warm. Discard bay leaves. Stir in gingersnaps. Cover and cook on high for 10-15 minutes or until gravy is thickened.

Two to three hours before roast is finished, boil potatoes whole until tender. Drain well. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Peel and grate potatoes. In a bowl, combine the eggs, 3/4 cup flour, bread crumbs, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Add potatoes; mix with hands until well blended. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls; roll in remaining flour.

In a large kettle, bring salted water to a boil. Add the dumplings, a few at a time, to boiling water. Simmer, uncovered, until the dumplings rise to the top; cook 2 minutes longer. Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl. Serve with roast and gravy.

Tips and Tricks
If your roast is large, make sure to cut it in half for even cooking. I skipped the bay leaves for the second half of the recipe. You could also use various types of vinegar if you don't have cider vinegar. I strained the onions and other ingredients out of the gravy, but you could leave them in if you prefer. Be sure to not overboil your potatoes. Russets work best, other varieties of potatoes don't have the starch content needed for dumplings, and overcooked potatoes will not form balls. The refrigeration step is crucial, I also refrigerated my grated potatoes for about 30 minutes to make sure they were dry enough. Mix only until combined, overkneading will negatively affect the quality of the dumplings. If the pot is not large enough, you may need to cook them in two batches.
Make It Healthier
Trim fat from roast. Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Push buttons on slow cooker. Crush gingersnaps.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

This year's Christmas Cookies:

Yield: About 4 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs or 1/2 cup egg beaters
1 teaspoon vanilla (I allways put a little more in)
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips

Combine flour and baking powder and set aside

in a mixing bowl mix butter and sugars until fluffy, add eggs and vanilla mix until well blended add flour and stir until combined stir in oats cranberries and white chocolate chips

Bake at 350 for 12 - 14 minutes until edges are golden brown and center is still soft

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sweet Pork Salad

I had a sweet pork salad at Costa Vida last week and was determined to find a way to make this delicious dish at home.

Prep: 30 minutes (plus 6-8 hours to slow cook the sweet pork)
Yield: 6 Salads

* 1 head of Romano lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces.
* 1 can Black or Pinto beans
* 3 Cups of Sweet Pork (recipe below)
* Cilantro Ranch Dressing (see recipe below)
* 6 flour Tortillas
* Pico de gallo (see recipe below)
* Tortilla strip crunchies
* Cilantro Lime Rice (recipe below)

Place a warm tortilla in a bowl or on a plate. Place approximately 1/3 cup of warmed sweet pork and 1/3 cup of warmed Bush’s beans on the tortilla. Place a portion of rice on top of the beans. Place lettuce over the meat and beans. Sprinkle ¼ cup of pico de gallo over the salad as desired. Drizzle with cilantro ranch dressing and top with a healthy amount of tortilla strip crunchies. Serve and enjoy.

Mexican Sweet Pork

* 4 lb pork shoulder roast (the more fatty the roast, the better)
* 1 Cup of Pace Picante sauce. (Medium heat is best, but the mild version will work)
* 2 Cups brown sugar
* Salt and pepper to taste

1. Remove pork roast from packaging, and wash. (Avoid cutting the roast to expedite cooking time)
2. In a separate bowl, mix picante sauce and brown sugar and whisk until sugar is mostly dissolved.
3. In a crock pot or slow cooker, place the roast in the cooker and cover the roast with the mixture of picante sauce and sugar.
4. Place on medium heat, cover and simmer. Check it every hour or so to rotate roast in the juices. The roast will eventually produce enough juices to make the right consistency, so do not add water.
5. Once the roast is fully cooked, it will begin to fall apart. Use a fork to separate the meat into smaller segments. Cover and continue cooking.
6. After 8 hours, continue to shred the meat until no chunks remain.
7. If it appears to be too juicy, turn slow cooker down to its lowest setting, remove the cover and let it reduce as needed.

Cilantro Ranch Dressing

* 1 package of Hidden Valley ® buttermilk ranch dressing, prepared to pkg directions
* 3 Tbsp of prepared salsa verde
* cilantro (1/4 bunch)
* 2 cloves of garlic
* ¼ cup lime juice
* 1/8 tsp Tabasco

Clean and rinse cilantro and remove large stems. Pour prepared ranch dressing in a blender, and add cilantro leaves, salsa verde, garlic, lime juice and Tobasco. Blend until cilantro is finely chopped. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until dressing has thickened.

Pico de Gallo

* 1 cup diced tomatoes (remove seeds)
* 1/3 cup diced red onion
* 1 Jalapeno diced (at least a Tablespoon, but more if you prefer)
* 1 Tbsp minced garlic
* 2 limes juiced (about 1/3 Cup of lime juice)
* 1 Tbsp cilantro, plus extra for garnish
* Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and stir well. Chill.

Cilantro Lime Rice:

* 1 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1 cup basmati rice
* 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
* 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
* zest from one lime
* 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
* 1 tsp. salt

Add the oil to a sauce pan and heat on low. Add the garlic and rice to the oil and saute for 2 minutes on medium heat stirring frequently.

Add the chicken broth, salt, lime juice and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes or according to rice package directions.

When the rice is done, add lime zest and chopped cilantro and stir to mix in. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How to Carve a Turkey

Because you know you want to know...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Coconut-Red Curry Pumpkin Soup

Curry and pumpkin in the same dish? I think I'm in love.

Yield: 4 servings
Prep: 15 minutes

3C Fat-Free Less Sodium Chicken Broth
1 can of Pumpkin (15oz)
2tsp chili sauce w/ garlic (such as Hokan)
1/8tsp salt
1/8tsp curry powder
1C light coconut milk
1T fresh lime juice
Chooped fresh cilantro (optional)

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium saucepan, stirring until smooth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and add coconut milk, stirring with a wisk. Cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat, and stir in lime juice. Ladle soup into bowls, and sprinkle with cilantro, if desired.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Fun Bloggy Award, and a Bento Link

Arkonite's Bento has given us this award! I'm interested in browsing her blog for more great Bento ideas! Thank you!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fun with Sandwiches and Bento

I found this site today, with all sorts of creative ideas for sandwiches. No more boring school lunches! Check it out!

If you liked this, you will probably also enjoy the feature we did last year on Bento lunches.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Organizing your Way Out of the What's For Dinner Funk

Do you ever find yourself stuck making the same foods over and over again?

Try this: make a file folder of your favorite recipes. On the back list the non-staple ingredients for making quick shopping lists. Put a divider in the back, and one in the front. As you find a new recipe your family likes, make a new card. Place your cards between the two dividers.

When you are planning your meals for the week, choose the number of cards for the number of meals you want to make. Copy the ingredient lists on to your shopping list, and put those recipe cards in front of the front divider to refer to over the upcoming week. Your pantry will be stocked with the necessary ingredients, and you won't be locked into a calendar menu that isn't flexible. Just pull out a card that sounds good and make it.

Once you have made a recipe, tuck it behind the back divider. This will help you keep track of what you have made recently, so no too-soon repeats. But if you want to make something again, you know exactly where to find it.

What is your best tip for making meal planning quick and easy?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Crockpot Chicken Cassoulet

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 4-6 hours
Yield: 6 servings

1 can white beans or black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
salt and pepper
1/4 cup sliced sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil
2 tsp EACH dried parsley, thyme and basil
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
one medium onion, cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 2/3 cup chicken stock

Place half the canned beans on bottom of crockpot and top with chicken. Season with salt and pepper, and add chicken stock.

In a small skillet, saute vegetables and spices in oil until tender. Add to chicken and top with the rest of the beans. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours or until chicken is cooked through.

Tips and Tricks
I used frozen black eyed peas. Brown the chicken if you wish.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can open the beans. Younger kids can dump spices.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mexican Zuchinni Casserole

Cinnamon gives this stove top casserole a delicious Central American flair. It's a delicious way to use up Zucchini from your garden!

Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

2 T olive oil
3 whole peeled garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 ripe Roma tomatoes, diced
4 small zucchini, chopped
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup chopped mushrooms
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheese

In a large skillet, heat oil, add garlic, onion, & tomatoes. Saute 5 minutes, add zucchini and saute 5 minutes more. Add mushrooms, broth, chicken & spices, mix well and cook until heated through and vegetables are tender. Top with cheese, turn heat to low and cover 5 minutes so the cheese can melt.

Tips & Tricks:
This meal was a hit with all members of my family, but especially my husband. For an even faster dinner, combine ingredients except cheese with raw chopped chicken in crock pot in the morning, then top with cheese 10 minutes before serving.

This casserole would be a delicious wrap filling. Simply heat tortillas & fill with casserole.

Yellow crookneck summer squash can be substituted for zucchini, for either type of squash, peel before hand for a nicer texture.

I didn't have precooked chicken, so I simply cooked 3 half chicken breasts in the oil before adding the veggies, then I cut them up & returned them to the casserole with the broth.

Make it Healthier:
Omit cheese. Reduce or omit salt.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rustic Herbed Tomato Tart

photo credit: Maura McEvoy, Intimate Gatherings

This recipe was shared recently by Dawn at Renaissance Mama. She says, "I have been anxiously awaiting the day when I would have enough fresh tomatoes in my backyard to make this favorite tomato tart and today's the day! This is a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks called Intimate Gatherings, Great Food for Good Friends This is the food that says "summer" to me- and it's very easy."

I can't wait to try this out with tomatoes fresh from my own garden.

Rustic Herbed Tomato Tart with a Parmesan Crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 5 pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
zest from 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup ice water

1 1/2 TBS. Dijon mustard
2 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBS finely chopped fresh basil
1 TBS finely chopped frsh thyme
1 TBS finely chopped Italian parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
6-8 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 1/4 lbs.), cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 TBS olive oil
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp. water

1. To prepare the pastry: In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the flour, butter, salt, and Parmesan cheese. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with the motor running, add the lemon zest and pour the water through the feeder tube in a steady stream. Process 5-10 seconds, until the dough begins to bind. Remove dough and shape it into a 12-inch disk.

2. The dough can be used immediately or wrapped in plastic and refrigerated. When ready to use, remove dough from refrigerator and let soften at room temperature, about 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 425
4. Place pastry on a baking sheet, using a pastry brush, paint the pastry with the mustard, leaving a 1 1 1/2 inch border all around. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the mustard.
5. In a small bowl, combine the basil, thyme, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Arrange half the tomato slices over the mustard coated portion of the pastry, and sprinkle the herb mixture over the tomatoes. Cover the herbs with the remaining tomatoes, overlapping the slices if necessary.
6. Fold the pastry in half over the tomatoes to enclose the sides of the tart, gently draping the pastry over the tomatoes and folding soft pleats every few inches. Pinch any cracks to seal the pastry and prevent tomato juices from running out during baking. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes. Using a pastry brush, paint the dough with the egg wash. Place the tart in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes, or until the dough is golden. Cool slightly, slice and serve warm.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins with Pumpkin Glaze

I found this recipe browsing on a forum where many were raving about how good it is. I haven't tried it out yet to see how much it makes or how long it takes, but it has great reviews and I love pumpkin so I'm looking forward to trying it out!

This is a double batch:

3 C sugar
1 C applesauce
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Mix together until combined

3 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda

sift dry ingredients, then add wet to dry

2/3 cup soy or dairy milk
1 3/4 cups canned pumpkin

add half the milk, mix, half the pumpkin, mix again,
the rest of the milk, mix, the rest of the pumpkin, mix

1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup chocolate chips

(just fold these in)

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Pumpkin Icing/Glaze:

2 T butter
2 T canned pumpkin
1 T milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 C powdered sugar

Melt butter, stir in pumpkin, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Add the sugar. Blend until smooth. I love to add it on the muffins when the muffins are still warm, I generally wait 10mins then slather the mix on and watch it melt into the muffins and give such a nice texture and taste when you bit into the muffin.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Backpack Snacks

I found these delicious looking home made granola bars over at Mennonite Girls Can Cook. Click here for the recipe.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Saving Money in the Kitchen

I'm jumping on the bandwagon here, since in the current economy most are trying to pinch pennies wherever they can. Often, the grocery bill is the only flex people have in their budgets. The Toronto Star discusses 5 meals under $5 (Canadian) each also with 5 tips for stretching your food budget.

Finally, the USDA has created a helpful resource for creating meals to fit your budget at their Recipe Finder. Here you will find a form where you can enter the ingredients in your kitchen to search for nutritious recipes, or simply put in a dollar amount and it will bring up recipes that cost that amount or less per serving. You can even search by what appliances you have available--so it can be a cost effective option for cooking while traveling.

What have you found to help you save money in the kitchen?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Honey Baked Beans

Prep: 35 Minutes
Cook: 3-4 Hours

½ 1b dried great Northern beans 1 ¼ c rinsed
2tbsp olive oil
1 med onion, sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 c water
¼ c dark, full-flavored honey
1 ½ tsp salt

1. Put beans in medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30mins. Drain and set aside.
2. Place oven rack in center position and heat oven to 325
3. Heat oil in ovenproof 1 ½ quart dutch oven over med high heat. Add onion and cook until lightly browned, about 4 mins. Stir in tomato paste, chipotle pepper and garlic. Add water, honey, salt and reserved beans and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover and pour into crockpot.
4 Cook on high until beans are tender, 3 to 4 hours. Stir every hour. Add boiling water, if needed to keep beans covered and soupy.

Nutrition Facts
Per serving: 208 cal, 8g pro, 35g carb, 7 g fiber, 5g fat, 1g sat fat, 0mg chol, 637mg sodium

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Help Us Help You Feed Your Family Better

I am so thrilled with the response to this site, and the consistent and growing readership since we started Mommy What's For Dinner.

As this site grows, we love that we are hearing more and more from our readers about what they like and what has worked for them as they try to feed their families well. We love hearing your comments!

We'd also love to be able to respond to what you have to say, especially when you leave such great feedback and ideas and I want to know more! So, if you leave us a comment, and you have a blogger account, please sign in so we can track back and visit your blog and respond to you there. Or, do us one better by having your email address in your profile so we can reply to your comments. For your convenience, you can follow this blog on your Dashboard or add us to your feed reader to get updates as soon as they are posted.

As always you can email me with your ideas, suggestions, comments or recipes you would like to see on this site.

Mexican Chicken Casserole

Yield: 8 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes

1 20-24 oz bag of tortilla chips
2 c of cooked chicken (diced or shredded)

6 c of chicken stock (boxed, homemade, canned)
8 oz of shredded cheese (sharp cheddar or a mex mix)
5 tsp of chili powder
salt to taste (depends on the salinity of your chili powder)
1 15 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
1 4.5 oz can of chopped green chilies (near the taco shells in the supermarket)
4 oz of shredded cheese (sharp cheddar or a mex mix)

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with oil. Take 2 handfulls of whole chips and put aside for later. Lightly crush the rest of the chips. Spread them in the casserole dish (NOT TIGHTLY). Spread cooked chicken over the chips.

Heat the chicken stock to a slight boil in a saucepan. Add chili powder, salt, 8 oz shredded cheese, tomatoes & chilies. Reduce heat and cook on low until cheese is almost completely melted.

Pour over chips.

Spread the reserved whole chips over top. Sprinkle the ~4oz of shredded cheese. Bake for 30 mins.

Tips & Tricks:
The texture of the chips is similar to a tamale. It's even better reheated the second day, so the large recipe is nice for those like me who love leftovers!

This is a great way to use up the crumbly chips in the bottom of the bag that no one wants to eat.

How kids can help:
Kids can crush chips, open cans, shred cheese.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tucanos Grilled Pineapple

My brother has been singing the praises of grilled pineapple, so I set out to find a good recipe and try it out. We have been loving this Tucanos Pineapple from Kieras Recipes. (I really only got a taste because my 8 year old gobbled up the rest.)


* One half pineapple, cut into long spears
* 1 TBPS butter
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1 Tsp. cinnamon, in all
* lemon juice

Fire up the grill to medium heat. Before putting the pineapple down, sprinkle the spears with half of the cinnamon and a little bit of brown sugar. This will facilitate a sweetness and instant carmelization when they hit the grill.

In a small saucepan, heat the butter, brown sugar and the rest of the cinnamon. Heat until bubbly and the sugar is properly melted.

Grill the pineapple spears over direct heat about 2-3 minutes per side, turning occasionally. Each time it turns, baste with a brush of glaze. When finished, plate up and drizzle a final amount of glaze on top.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Meal Planning: E-Mealz Feed your family for $75 a week?

Meal planning is one of the hardest aspects of running a household. This is why I created this site, because I am rarely prepared to answer the daily question, "What's for dinner?"

In my ongoing quest to find a system that works to keep my family well fed, our budget in check and keep myself ahead of the game someone recommended E-Mealz. E-Mealz is a website that does your meal planning for you. They have defined six goals:
  • Spending time with your family
  • Save time and money
  • Serve delicious food
  • Save yourself from multiple and last minute trips to the grocery store
  • Stare at your children across from the dinner table rather than into the
  • pantry looking for a dinner idea
  • Lose weight without preparing separate meals for the family.
E-Mealz is a subscription-based website that creates a concise meal plan (with recipes for the week all on the same page) as well as a shopping list based on sales and organized by aisle. They have a variety of diet options including weight-watchers, vegetarian, and low-fat in addition to lists for typical American family-style dining. You can view samples of the menus here.

I decided to try out E-Mealz and see how it works for my family, but I didn't want to invest the money ($15 for 3 months of menus) to subscribe until I knew whether this would work for us. The website promises a dinner budget of $65-85 depending on which menu choice you make and what store you shop to feed 4-6 people per week.

I printed off a sample menu and went shopping. The sample menu I chose was based on sale prices for July 2006, and the estimated total was $68.90. Normally I keep my pantry well-stocked and I am working to grow a lot of my own produce so there were some menu items I did not need to purchase. I wondered how this list would hold up at today's grocery prices.

I came back from the store having spent $112, but my shopping included staples for my pantry that were unrelated to the dinner menus, such as breakfast and lunch items, strawberries for making jam, fresh produce & healthy snacks for the kids, and toothpaste. Sitting down with my calculator I can see that I spent a grand total of $61.25 for items on the dinner list, without shopping around for sale prices. I omitted from the list bagged salad, head lettuce (lots of lettuce in my garden), frozen biscuits (I can make biscuits from scratch for pennies from my food storage), green beans (already in my food storage), and ground chuck (in my freezer.).

So, I didn't do too bad, considering my shopping list was based on prices 3 years ago! But I still came in $12 over my normal weekly grocery budget of $100 when I included breakfast, lunch, and kitchen staples in my shopping.

The good news is I have fresh food for 7 days with no emergency trips to the store or last minute "let's just go out to eat, I can't think of what to make." I'll check back in a week or so to update you on whether my family liked the food.

Have you tried E-Mealz or a similar meal planning resource? How did it work for you?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gooey Butter Cake

I found this recipe on and its perfect for cooking with children. This cake is somewhere between a coffee cake and a bar cookie. It's fast, easy, and has lots of steps children can do to help out through the whole process. Older children could probably handle this recipe on their own. Best of all? Kids love to eat these yummy cookies!

Prep: 10 minutes
Yield: 24 servings

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1/2 c. butter
1 egg


1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 lb. box confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together cake mix (just the mix, not the other ingredients called for on the box) with butter and 1 egg. Pat into an ungreased 9 x 13 inch cake pan. Cream together cream cheese, 2 eggs, powdered sugar and vanilla. Pour over cake mixture. Spreading to the edges. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

How Kids Can Help:
Kids can unwrap butter & cream cheese, crack eggs, blend crust ingredients, and press dough into cake pan.

Tips & Tricks:
This recipe works equally well with softened as with melted butter.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chicken Athena

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Yield: 6 servings

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (6 ounces each)
1/3 cup chopped sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Greek olives, chopped
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or until chicken is cooked through.

Tips and Tricks
I used scallions in place of the regular onion. This recipe can also be adapted for an oven.
Make It Healthier
Use organic chicken. Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Chop onion with food chopper, measure liquid ingredients.
Recipe Source
adapted from Healthy Cooking Magazine

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One Pot Chicken Dinner

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

2 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
3-4 medium to large potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into chunks
10-12 Campari tomatoes, sliced in half
2 Tbsp water
2-3 Tsp olive oil
1/2 cup prepared pesto
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, at 425 for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender.

Tips and Tricks
Try using whole new potatoes in place of sliced potatoes, or a whole pint of whole grape tomatoes in place of the larger tomatoes. Buy chicken with skin already removed to save time. I used Sun of Italy pesto.
Make It Healthier
Use red potatoes and leave the skin on. The skin of a potato is high in potassium, and the red potato has a thinner, and more palatable, skin. Omit salt. This recipe could also be made with white meat chicken, but you might need to add more water or oil to make up for the moisture difference.
How Kids Can Help
Mix ingredients in pan.
Recipe Source
adapted from

Monday, March 30, 2009

Greek-Style Quinoa Salad

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes + chilling
Yield: 10 servings

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/2 cup sliced pepperoncinis
1/2 cup Greek olives, pitted and halved
3/4 cup reduced-fat Greek or Italian salad dressing, divided

In a small saucepan, bring quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from the heat; fluff with a fork. Let stand for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, spinach, cheese, tomatoes, beans, cucumber, pepperoncinis and olives. Pour 1/2 cup dressing over quinoa mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Just before serving, drizzle remaining dressing over salad; toss to coat.

Tips and Tricks
I took a lot of liberties with this recipe because I realized at the last minute I was missing some ingredients. I omitted the spinach and pepperoncini, and used garbanzo beans in place of black beans. Try this recipe for Italian dressing.
Make It Healthier
Reduce amount of cheese. Use trans-fat free salad dressing.
How Kids Can Help
Rinse quinoa. Measure ingredients. Mix to coat.
Recipe Source
adapted from Healthy Cooking magazine

Nutrition Facts
One serving (3/4 cup) equals
8 g
Saturated Fat:
2 g
9 mg
472 mg
19 g
4 g
7 g

Diabetic Exchanges
1-1/2 fat, 1 starch, 1 lean meat.

Homemade Italian Salad Dressing

Total Prep Time: less than 5 minutes
Yield: 10 or more servings

3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp dried basil
1 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and shake to mix. Refrigerate.

Tips and Tricks
If you don't have red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar will work too. The oil may become solid in the refrigerator, so pull it out at room temperature before using.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Shake to mix. Older kids could probably make this entire recipe.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bulgur With Broccolini, Lentils And Feta

Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 cup bulgur
2 cups water
4 Tbsp lemon juice
4 oz feta cheese
8 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
4-5 cups broccolini, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups cooked lentils (canned, drained, or precooked)

Boil water and add bulgur, simmering for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.

Remove from heat and add lentils, dill, lemon juice and feta. Mix well.

In a pan, heat oil and add garlic. Saute until tender, then add broccolini and saute until tender. Serve over bulgur.

Tips and Tricks
Broccolini is a small green veggie that is a cross between regular broccoli and Chinese broccoli. I was unable to find it at my local grocery store, so I just used regular, finely chopped broccoli. Dried lentils are usually cheaper than canned, but will need to be precooked according to package directions.
Make It Healthier
Reduce oil.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients, use food chopper to chop broccolini.
Recipe Source
Writing: My Life

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Prep/Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

one pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Place eggs in a shallow bowl and cheese in a second bowl. Dip chicken into egg, then roll in cheese. Place in a baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray and season with salt and pepper.

Bake, covered, at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove foil or lid for last ten minutes of baking.

Tips and Tricks
Line your baking pan with foil for easy clean up. Cut chicken into strips to reduce baking time.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can shred cheese.

Monday, February 2, 2009

General Tso's Chicken

Prep: 2 hours, including marinating
Yield: 6 servings

1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 eggs, beaten
5 teaspoons cornstarch, for sauce
1/2 cup cornstarch, for breading
5 tablespoons rice vinegar
6 1/2 tablespoons rice wine
1/2 cup sugar (I have used honey successfully)
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 cup oil (for frying)
red pepper flakes(to taste, approx 1-2 tsp)

Chop chicken into 1 inch cubes

Mix rice vinegar, rice wine, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, 2 Tbsp Sesame oil, and red pepper flakes to taste. Add to this the cubes of chicken, cover and let marinate in refrigerator 1 hour.

Remove chicken from the marinade. Set aside.

Take the marinade and add to it the 5 tsp Cornstarch and 1/2 cup sugar. Then whisk it together.

In a large sauce pan bring the marinade (now General Tso's Sauce) to boiling over medium low heat. It should be thick when done. Then remove from heat.

Beat two eggs, and toss chicken cubes in the beaten egg, covering all sides with egg. Then toss the chicken in the 1/2 cup cornstarch to lightly cover. Shake off the excess. (I usually do the corn starch in a large ziploc bag)

Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides.

When all sides are browned, place the chicken into the sauce and heat over low for 3-5 minutes until everything is heated through. (I usually add some fresh broccoli florets when I add the chicken to the sauce...the broccoli cooks while the rest heats up.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Polenta Flowers

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Yield: 24 flowers

6-inch log refrigerated cooked polenta
olive oil
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
tomato sauce for dipping

Cut polenta into 24 slices and use cookie cutters to cut flower shapes from slices. Arrange on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Cool slightly and serve with tomato sauce.

Tips and Tricks
Rather than buying premade polenta, I bought a bag of dry polenta and followed the directions on the bag. This option takes longer, but is cheaper.
Make It Healthier
Use natural tomato sauce.
How Kids Can Help
Kids can cut the flower shapes out and sprinkle cheese.
Recipe Source
Parents magazine

Crunchy Fish Triangles

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 8-10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1/2 pound tilapia fillets, cut into 12 triangles
2 Tbsp milk
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbsp dry ranch salad dressing mix
olive oil

Mix bread crumbs with salad dressing mix. Pour milk into a separate bowl. Dip fish into milk, then into bread crumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily.

Tips and Tricks
Use any white fleshed fish. 450 always seems to hot for my oven, so I reduce the temperature and increase the cooking time. I also used Italian seasoned bread crumbs.
Make It Healthier
Use fat-free milk and trans-fat free bread crumbs.
How Kids Can Help
Mix bread crumbs and salad dressing mix. Older kids can coat fish.
Recipe Source
Parents magazine

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cheesy Drop Biscuits

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10-12 minutes
Yield: 6-8 biscuits

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Mix all dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients and mix to combine. Dough will be slightly dry.

Form into biscuits and bake at 450 on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray for 10-12 minutes or until browned.

Tips and Tricks
I use powdered buttermilk because it lasts longer. Follow the directions on the label for reconstitution. Don't make the biscuits too large, or they will take longer to bake.
Make It Healthier
Substitute one cup of whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can probably make this entire recipe. Younger kids can measure ingredients and help mix dough.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bean Soup with Ham

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2-3 hours
Yield: 8 cups

1 ham bone
2 cans beans (pinto, garbanzo, great northern or navy), rinsed and drained
8 ounce can tomato sauce
3 oz can tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
1 large handful fresh parsley, chopped, or 1 Tbsp dried parsley

Place ham bone in a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until reduced by half and meat is falling off bone. Remove from heat. When cook enough to touch, remove bone from pot and pull meat from bones. Reserve cooking liquid and discard bones and fat.

Add meat back to reserved liquid. Add beans, broth, tomato sauce, paste and salt and pepper. Stir to combine and heat over low.

In a small saucepan coated with cooking spray, saute onions, carrots and garlic until crisp tender. Add to soup.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until beans and veggies are tender.

Tips and Tricks
Using canned beans makes this soup prep faster, but you can use dried beans to save money. Follow the soaking directions on the package. You will also need to increase the water and cooking time.
Make It Healthier
Use low-sodium broth and omit additional salt.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can open cans. Measure ingredients.

Fresh Guacamole

Prep/Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 4 cups

4 Haas avocados, peeled and cubed
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 cups finely chopped Vidalia onion
1 large handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Mash with a fork to desired consistency. Serve with tortilla chips.

Tips and Tricks
Cover with saran wrap tightly over the guacamole to prevent browning. If serving after refrigeration, stir before serving.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can peel and pit the avocados. Measure ingredients and mix.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Crispy Coconut Chicken

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

2/3 cup crushed multigrain crackers
1/3 cup flaked coconut
1 jar mango chutney (9 oz)
3 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp curry powder
8 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 cup cooked brown rice

Heat oven to 375. Combine cracker crumbs and coconut and place in a small bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup chutney. In another bowl, combine remaining chutney, lime juice and curry powder. Dip chicken pieces in chutney mixture, then roll in crumb mixture.

Bake chicken on a foil lined pan for 40 minutes or until done. Cover loosely with aluminum foil for last ten minutes to prevent overbrowning.

Toss peas with reserved chutney ans cook in microwave for 2 minutes. Combine peas with rice.

Tips and Tricks
In place of drumsticks, I used about a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips. If you do this, reduce your cooking time. I also slightly reduced the amount of curry, and I used Italian bread crumbs instead of crackers.
Make It Healthier
Use trans-fat free crackers.
How Kids Can Help
Mix chutney into peas. Press buttons on microwave.
Recipe Source
Parents magazine

Nutrition Facts
one serving equals 589 calories, 14 g fat, 62 g carbs, 43 mg calcium, 5 g fiber

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Last night I was craving dessert. My husband and I decided to try making flan for the first time, YUM!

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Chill: 60 minutes
Yield: 6-12 Servings

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
6 large eggs
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
26 oz evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. You will need 6 ramekins or other specialty flan cook ware, and a large baking pan to put them in.

Pour 1 cup sugar into warm pan over medium heat. Constantly stir the sugar until it browns and becomes caramel. Quickly pour approximately 2-3 tbs of caramel into each ramekin, tilting it to swirl the caramel around the sides. Reheat caramel if it starts to harden.

In a mixer or with a whisk, blend the eggs together. Mix in the milks and then slowly mix in the 1/2 cup sugar, then the vanilla. Blend smooth after each ingredient is added.

Pour custard into caramel lined ramekins. Place ramekins in a large glass or ceramic baking dish and fill with about 1-2 inches of hot water. Bake for 45 minutes in the water bath and check with a knife just to the side of the center. If knife comes out clean, it's ready.

Remove and let cool. Let each ramekin chill in refrigerator for 1 hour. Invert each ramekin onto a small plate, the caramel sauce will flow over the custard.

Tips and tricks:
I don't have ramekins, so I used small round flat bottomed stoneware bowls. I used 4 bowls, so with the larger size the baking time increased by about 15 minutes. This is very rich, so a small serving is plenty. The flan that chilled overnight turned out better than the flan that only chilled for an hour.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hearty Vegetable Beef Stew

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

1 1/2 pounds lean beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
salt and pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced and rinsed
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 can (10oz) whole plum tomatoes, undrained
1 can (10 oz) canned whole potatoes
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup light beer
1 cup chicken broth

In a resealable bag or bowl, mix together the flour, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add beef chunks and toss to coat.

In a large Dutch oven, saute the garlic and onions in olive oil until tender. Add the vegetables except for the potatoes and cook about 5 minutes longer. Add the seasoned meat to the pot and stir to mix. Cook until meat is browned. When the mixture gets very sticky, add the beer and chicken broth.

Bring to a boil and stir to combine, add canned potatoes, then simmer until vegetables are tender.

Tips and Tricks
Fresh potatoes will become too mushy, so be sure to use canned potatoes. Leeks can be sandy, so be sure to rinse and drain them well after slicing. I bought precleaned parsnips that just had to be peeled. When stirring the vegetables, use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to break apart the tomatoes. I also used marjoram and thyme in place of the basil and oregano.
Make It Healthier
Choose lean meat. Omit salt. Use low-sodium chicken broth.
How Kids Can Help
Peel vegetables. Shake bag to coat meat. Older kids can open cans.
Recipe Source
Adapted from the Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno

Nutrition Facts
one serving equals 315 calories, 20g protein, 35g carbs, 6 g fiber, 8 g sugars, 10g fat, 314mg sodium

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken

I have not tried this recipe yet, but I'm going to put it on the menu for next week. It sounds so delicious!

Prep: 40 minutes including baking
Yield: 4 Servings

3 cups lightly packed baby spinach (about 4 oz)
1 clove garlic minced
2 tsp. olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup crumbled feta with tomato and basil in it
1 tsp. lemon pepper (I have never put this on it)
1/2 tsp. oregano or italian seasoning.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In saucepan cook spinach and garlic in olive oil until spinach is tender; set aside. Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound with mallet to 1/4-1/2" thickness. Remove plastic wrap. Spoon one quarter of the spinach mixture down center of each breast half; top with 1 T. of feta. Fold in long sides and roll up from a short end. Secure with wooden picks. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with lemon pepper and oregano. Transfer chicken to shallow baking dish. Bake 20 min. or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degree internal temp).

Suggested Sides:
Risotto with Tomato, Corn, and Basil

Monday, January 5, 2009

Quick Lunch Burritos

This recipe was invented when my husband needed something to take for lunch. I dug around in our fridge and came up with this!

Prep/Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

2 whole grain tortillas (1o inch)
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed and cooked
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream, salsa, guacamole, optional

In a microwave safe dish, combine the beans, scallions and corn. Microwave 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Stir to combine.

Spoon one half of the mixture onto each tortilla. Top with salsa, sour cream and guacamole. Roll up.

Tips and Tricks
Substitute black beans if you don't like kidney beans. Heat tortillas slightly for ease in rolling. Try this version of Light Guacamole to go with the burrito! Add shredded chicken for a meat option.
Make It Healthier
Use reduced-fat cheese and low-fat sour cream.
How Kids Can Help
Rinse beans. Shred cheese. Roll tortilla.
Recipe Source

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tuscan Beef Stew

1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can condensed beef broth
1/2 cup apple juice
2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into chunks
3 large carrots, cut as desired
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
32 oz canned cannellini beans (white kidney beans) rinsed and drained

Put all ingredients except beans in crock pot on low for 8-9 hours. Add beans during the last 10 minutes before serving.

Crockpot Turkey Stock

Don't throw that turkey carcass away! Save it for stock and make your dollars stretch a little further.

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 7-8 hours
Yield: ~4 cups chicken stock

carcass from one 10-15 pound turkey, including bones and skin
4 cups water
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1-2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
1/2-1 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh dill

Place all ingredients in crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Let cool, then strain bones and vegetables out. Place remaining liquid in a bowl and refrigerate. Every few hours, remove bowl from refrigerator and skim fat from top of liquid.

Tips and Tricks
Don't be surprised in the first hour if the stock smells like burning bones. This is normal, and the smell will soon change to that of yummy turkey. This recipe is also appropriate for chicken. The veggies don't need to be peeled and the herbs don't need to be chopped, since everything will be strained out. I usually use my stock right away, but it can be frozen for up to 3 months. If you're watching your fat intake, leave the skin out of the crockpot.
Make It Healthier
Omit skin and dark meat.
How Kids Can Help
Add ingredients to crockpot. Push buttons on crockpot.
Recipe Source

Seven Things To Make With Leftover Chicken

Check out this great list from Prevention Magazine on how to use up leftover rotisserie chicken! Your leftovers will never taste the same!

**Use it as ravioli filling--Mix shredded chicken with ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan and dried or fresh Italian spices and seal inside storebought wonton wrappers (usually found in the produce section). Boil in water until cooked through, drain and serve with sauce.

**Make Easy Tamales--Mix chicken with salsa and sandwich inside slices of storebought polenta. Microwave on high for one minute, then top with sour cream and sliced scallions.

**Make Chili--Substitute shredded chicken for ground beef in your favorite chili recipe.

**Make Chicken Soup--Heat chicken stock, frozen corn or other veggies, onions and spinach. Stir in chopped chicken and top with sour cream, croutons or shredded cheese.

**Use it in stirfry--Mix shredded chicken with soy sauce and add to stirfried veggies for an easy weeknight meal.

**Add it to your favorite salad--Turn a side dish into a main dish by adding chicken to your usual salad.

**Take it for lunch--Fill a pita with shredded chicken, hummus, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes and top with feta cheese.

Don't forget to save the chicken carcass and use it to make Crockpot Stock!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lighter Garlic Mashed Potatoes

If you normally make mashed potatoes with heavy whipping cream, try this lighter version using buttermilk.

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

2 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" pieces
3 lg cloves garlic, sliced
3/4 C low-fat (1%) buttermilk
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine potatoes and garlic in medium pot with salted water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

Warm buttermilk in small saucepan over medium-low heat.

Drain potatoes and garlic. Push through potato ricer or food mill into medium bowl or mash with potato masher.

Beat buttermilk into potatoes. Beat in butter, salt, and pepper.

Tips and Tricks
Yukon gold potatoes have a creamy and flavorful flesh, but you can use any variety of potato. For additional potassium, leave the skins on. Try using powdered buttermilk. It has to be reconstituted, but lasts longer in your pantry. Follow the directions on the label. I also heat the buttermilk in the microwave on reduced power instead of in a saucepan to save time. Rather than slicing the garlic, I crush the clove with the flat side of a chef's knife.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can use a veggie peeler to peel the potatoes. Measure buttermilk, salt and pepper.
Recipe Source
Prevention Magazine

Nutrition Facts
One serving equals:
117.3 CAL
1.7 G
1 G
4.7 MG
176.6 MG
21.6 G
1.1 G
1.4 G
3.5 G

Friday, January 2, 2009

Stuffed Shells With Artichokes

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

24 jumbo pasta shells (6 oz)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts (packed in water), drained and coarsely chopped
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 1/2 C 1% cottage cheese
2 med carrots, shredded
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 C shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare pasta per package directions (reduce cooking time by 2 to 3 minutes).

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes (with juice) and artichokes. Cover and simmer 4 minutes.

Combine remaining ingredients except mozzarella in large bowl. Fill shells with mixture and place in a baking dish. Pour sauce over top. Cover loosely with foil and bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake uncovered 10 minutes or until bubbly.

Tips and Tricks
I used more shells and filled each with slightly less filling. I also omitted the mushrooms from the sauce.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Mix filling. Older kids can fill shells.
Recipe Source
adapted from Prevention magazine.

Nutrition Facts
one serving equals:
175.3 CAL
2.7 G
1.1 G
5.5 MG
385.2 MG
24.7 G
4.7 G
2.8 G
13.6 G

Pecan-Chicken With Peach Dipping Sauce

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1/2 C pecan halves
2 slices whole wheat bread, torn into pieces
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 lb chicken breast tenders
1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1/2 C apricot or peach 100% fruit spread
2 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Put pecans in food processor and chop. Add bread and pulse to fine crumbs. Transfer to shallow dish. Put egg whites in another dish and beat lightly. Sprinkle chicken with thyme, salt, and pepper.

Dip a piece of chicken into egg whites and then roll in crumbs, pressing to adhere. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken. Drizzle chicken with oil. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until crumbs brown and chicken is no longer pink in thickest part.

Mix fruit spread and lemon juice in bowl to make sauce.

Tips and Tricks
Instead of chopping pecans in a food processor, place them in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. If you don't have or don't like pecans, try using other nuts. If you don't have thyme, you can leave it out. In place of chicken tenders, cut regular boneless, skinless breasts into pieces.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Older kids can coat chicken.
Recipe Source
Prevention magazine

Zucchini Sticks With Marinara Sauce

Prep/Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 lg egg whites
3/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt-free Italian seasoning mix
1/4 tsp salt
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch wedges
1/2 cup warm marinara sauce

Brush baking pan with 1 Tbsp oil, or use 2 smaller pans brushed with 1/2 Tbsp oil each. Beat egg whites slightly in a bowl. In another bowl, combine bread crumbs, cheese, salt and Italian seasoning.

Dip zucchini in egg whites, then coat in bread crumb mixture. Arrange on baking sheet, close together but not touching. Drizzle with remaining oil.

Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes or until zucchini is crisp and golden. Serve with marinara sauce.

Tips and Tricks
If using 2 pans, switch pan position in oven halfway though baking. For the Italian seasoning mix, try Herbal Salt Substitute.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Beat egg whites. Dip zucchini in egg/bread crumbs.
Recipe Source
Prevention magazine.