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Recipe Review: Quick Lemon Berry Trifle

28 Jun

It has been way too long since I’ve updated.   For the past couple of weeks, I have been working on a home project that is consuming my life.  The only workout I’ve been getting (other than bellydance once a week) is painting.  I have told myself several times this week that I was going to make time for the treadmill, but life happens and it gets put off until “tomorrow”.  Maybe once this big project is complete,  I will get back to my normal routine.

I haven’t been in the kitchen as much as I should have been in the past couple of weeks, but I do have a few recipes that I can’t wait to share.

The first is the Quick Lemon Berry Trifle.  I am a huge fan of trifles.  They are so easy and you can make them with just about any combination of cake, brownies, cookies, pudding, fruit, pie filling, etc.   Plus, they are just so visually appealing!  This particular trifle sounded like the perfect blend for a summer party.    I first made this recipe for friends and it seemed to be a big hit, so I made it again for my in-laws, who also gave it rave reviews.  I’m sure I will make this trifle again and again.   The leftovers are very dangerous thing to have around though- I couldn’t stay away from it!    If you are looking for something quick, easy, and light (not to mention pretty) this summer, try this trifle!

Quick Lemon Berry Trifle

16 1/2 cup Servings @ 2 pts each/ 120 cals

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups cold milk
  • 2 pkg.  (3.4 oz. each) JELL-O Lemon Flavor Instant Pudding, or any other flavor
  • 2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided
  • 4 cups  mixed fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, sliced strawberries), divided
  • 42 NILLA Wafers
Instructions:
  1. BEAT milk and pudding mixes in large bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in 1-1/2 cups COOL WHIP. Reserve 1/4 cup berries for garnish.
  2. ARRANGE 21 wafers on bottom and up side of 2-1/2-qt. bowl; top with layers of 1/3 of the pudding mixture and half each of the berries and remaining pudding mixture. Top with layers of remaining wafers, berries, pudding mixture and COOL WHIP. Garnish with reserved berries.
  3. REFRIGERATE 1 hour.

Special Extra

For extra lemon flavor, toss mixed berries with 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1 Tbsp. lemon zest before using.
Source: Kraft
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Recipe Review: Makeover Greek Spaghetti

1 Jun

Some of my favorite memories of my best friend and I revolve around Greek food.  We discovered our love of Greek food together way back in the day at a little place called The Castle.   Anytime I visit her, we make it a point to eat there, (and when she visits me, we try our best to find a suitable Greek restaurant).  Now anytime I have Greek food, or see anything even remotely “Greek”, she is the first person I think of!   Some people might say we are a little obsessed.

So it was, of course, my love of all things Greek that led my eyes immediately to this recipe on a page full of other random recipes.  You can probably imagine that I had high hopes as I was whipping this one up!

This was one of the few instances that I didn’t mind putting a little effort and work into dinner, despite having been at work for 8 hours and then the grocery store for another hour.  I mean, it’s GREEK- it had to be good!   I won’t lie, this recipe was a lot more work than most things I cook.  I prefer to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible.

Once all the ingredients were in the bowl, I had to stir… and stir…and stir.  It seemed like no matter how much I stirred, it just wasn’t thoroughly mixed.  Even when I finally thought I was done, and poured it into the baking dish, I realized there were still areas of just spaghetti and no “stuff”.    Finally, after cooking the chicken, and the spaghetti, and defrosting and draining the spinach, and mixing and mixing and mixing, it was ready to go in the oven.

While I waited the 30 minutes for it to bake, I had a wonderful summer salad.

In my salad:  lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, croutons, and Marzetti’s Light Citrus Poppyseed dressing.   This is one of my favorite salads of all time!  Plus, I think Marzetti’s salad dressings are the best.

After my salad, the spaghetti was finally ready.   It looked so appetizing:

And after all of that waiting, anticipating, manual labor……. this recipe was a big disappointment.  It was just bland and seemed to be missing something in the flavor department.    It wasn’t bad and it was definitely edible, which is a good thing since it’s going to be dinner tomorrow as well.  I had just hoped for something so much more!  Maybe with a little tweaking, this could be a fantastic recipe.

Makeover Greek Spaghetti

10 Servings @ 442 calories, 13 g fat, 3 g fiber

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (16 ounces) spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
  • 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 jar (2 ounces) diced pimentos, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt-free lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/3 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Return spaghetti to saucepan. Stir in the chicken, spinach, soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, celery, onion, green pepper, pimentos and lemon-pepper.
  2. In a small saucepan, whisk flour and milk until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in bouillon. Pour over spaghetti mixture and mix well.
  3. Transfer to a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray (dish will be full). Top with mozzarella cheese, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 10 servings.

Source:  Taste of Home

Recipe Review: Barbecue Burgers

27 May

Last week, after reading about it on another blog, I decided to sign up for a free trial of Plan To Eat.*  It’s a recipe organizer, meal planner, shopping list all in one.  So far I am loving it and have gotten my mom hooked as well.  I planned my meals for the week and generated my shopping list in a matter of minutes!  Because of this, I actually went grocery shopping with a plan and am cooking meals again!  It’s been a long time since I’ve cooked anything other than spaghetti or one of those frozen easy meals.

The first meal of the week was actually a recipe I’ve made several times and is always a hit with the husband.  Rachael Ray’s Barbecue Burgers.     My friend Liz gave me this recipe about 2 years ago, and then last year, she posted her review and the recipe over on her blog.    The recipe calls for ground chicken, but I typically use ground turkey.  Since we don’t have a grill (yet), I cook them under the broiler in our oven.   I tried it on the George Foreman once, which worked fine, but I prefer the oven method.   I think it is impossible to mess this recipe up.  It is just so easy, and they come out perfectly every time.  They are super moist and taste amazing.  So amazing that I don’t even need cheese or anything else on them- they are perfect all by themselves.

Here’s Liz’s version of the recipe:

Barbecue Burgers

4 Servings @ 5 Pts Each

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground chicken, turkey, or beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Montreal Seasoning
  • a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat broiler to 450 degrees.
  2. Place the ground meat in a bowl with the garlic, onion, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, and Montreal seasoning. Add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Combine ingredients to form 4 patties.
  3. Place on broiler pan coated with cooking spray.
  4. Broil for 10 minutes on each side.

Source : Rachael Ray’s “365: No Repeats”

More recipes to come!   I’m having my family over for dinner tomorrow night to start off the Memorial Day Weekend.   I am definitely ready for a long, relaxing weekend!  Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

* Disclaimer: Plan to Eat has never heard of me and definitely did not pay me to sign up for or review their website.  I just really like it a lot!

Scoopable Chinese Chicken Salad

8 Jul

Recipes- finally!!

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In the summertime, like most people, I find myself eating more salads.  I don’t always want to eat a hot meal when it’s so hot outside (especially in GA, where the temperature can easily be 100+).  This is a fabulous, very low-point, refreshing summer salad.  I could definitely see myself making this for a picnic in the near future.

I enjoyed this recipe quite a bit, and my husband raved about it for days. It actually almost matched an Asian Salad I had eaten and loved at TGI Fridays just a few days before.  Not to mention, it was extremely quick and easy to make.  The only real prep was cooking the chicken (though you could definitely use pre-cooked chicken and eliminated that step completely).

This is the perfect recipe for a busy, on-the-go person.  Just make it ahead of time, pack it up, and you’re all set for an easy and healthy lunch!

Scoopable Chinese Chicken Salad

5 servings @ 3 pts each

  • One 16 ounce package dry broccoli slaw mix
  • 12 ounces cooked skinless lean chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 cup canned water chestnuts, drained and sliced into thin stips
  • 1 cup canned mandarin orange segments packed in water or juice, drained and chopped (rinsed if packaged in juice)
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 3/4 cup Newman’s Own Lighten-Up! Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients together until mixed well.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Stir well before serving.

Source: Hungry Girl: 200 under 200

Devil’s Food Cream Cheese Brownies

7 Jun

I actually have several recipes that I need to update, but I thought I’d start with everyone’s favorite- dessert!

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I actually made these for our monthly game night with our friends.  We take turns hosting the first Friday of the month, where we all get together and eat, drink, and of course, play games.  This month, it was my turn to host, so I made these brownies on Thursday night to cut down on the prep time Friday after work.  Unfortunately, game night ended up being postponed until next Friday due to more than one illness (myself included).  That’s ok though- we’ll just consider these brownies the test run.  I’m sure the batch I make next week will be even better!

I first saw the brownie recipe (minus the frosting) on the Weight Watcher’s message boards.  I decided that a cream cheese frosting would make them even better- and since it only added 1 point, I thought it was definitely worth the addition!  I didn’t wait for the brownies to cool before pouring the icing on, which resulted in the icing melting into the brownies and making more of a glaze.  In my opinion, that is just as good, but if you prefer a thicker icing just wait for them to completely cool before icing.

These are super easy to make, and were a big hit with me and the hubby.  I guess the true test will be next week when I finally serve them at game night.

Devil’s Food Cream Cheese Brownies

16 servings @ 4 pts each

  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix
  • 15 oz can

Icing

  • 4 oz Cool Whip Free
  • 3/4 cup Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In large bowl, combine cake mix and pumpkin, stirring until completely blended.  Batter will be very thick.

Spray a large baking pan (13×9) with nonstick spray.  Spread batter into pan.  Bake in oven 20-25 minutes, until a knife insterted into center comes out clean.

To make icing, mix cream cheese frosting and cool whip free until completely blended.  Allow brownies to cool completely before icing.  Cut into 16 pieces.  Enjoy!

Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Red Onion Jam

18 May

Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Red Onion Jam

After my disappointing weigh in, I really wanted to just throw in the towel for a day and eat whatever I wanted.  The last thing I wanted to do was cook, and I hadn’t really planned a meal for the evening anyhow.  But, I decided to flip through the cookbooks just to see if anything would catch my eye (that I would also happen to have the necessary ingredients already on hand).  That’s when I found this recipe in a cookbook that I haven’t looked through in ages.

I must first admit that I am not a fan of onions- at all.  I will tolerate cooked onions in some recipes, but you’ll never catch me eating a raw onion.  I often omit onion from recipes, or use considerably less onion than the recipe calls for.  However, I decided to go out on a limb and try this recipe anyhow.  I had a extremely large red onion that I needed to use, and this recipe seemed like the perfect opportunity!

Despite my hatred of onions, I absolutely LOVED this recipe.  I actually piled on the full serving of onions after tasting the first bite (and would have gladly eaten more).  They were simply amazing.  It wasn’t exactly a “jam” as the title states but the onions were subtly sweet and hardly tasted like onions at all.

I also opted to use boneless center cut pork loin chops, rather than a pork tenderloin, since that is what I had on hand.  Either way, this recipe would have been perfect.  I also used 2 garlic cloves instead of 1, because we love garlic.

In the end, this turned out to be a better meal than anything I could have chosen to splurge on.  I am so glad I decided to suck it up and stay in and cook this meal.  The best part is that it was a true 30 minute meal.  From the time I preheated the oven until the meal hit the table was exactly 30 minutes.  I love it when a dinner tastes this amazing and takes less time than delivery would have!  It also doesn’t hurt when it helps me to stay on plan.

I served the pork with roasted red potatoes drizzled with olive oil and spices and had applesauce for dessert.  All in all, a very satisfying and delicious meal!

Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Red Onion Jam

4 servings @ 6 pts each

  • 1 tblsp Butter
  • 3 red onions ( or 1 1/2 lbs), thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 lb Pork Tenderloin
  • 1/2 tsp Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tblsp Chopped Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 475.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over low heat until melted.  Add the onions, sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt, and the water; bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer until the water has evaporated and the onions are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and keep warm.

Sprinkle the pork with pepper and the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt.  Spray a nonstick skillet with nonstick spray.  Add the pork and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a small roasting pan.

Meanwhile, combine the rosemary, garlic, and oil in a small bowl.  Rub the mixture over the pork.  Roast until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 160, 10-15 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before slicing into 1 inch slices.  Spoon the onion jam over the pork.

Source: Weight Watchers Make It In Minutes

Vegetable Soup

17 May

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This was definitely not my first vegetable soup, nor will it be my last.  The recipe changes everytime I make it because I use what I have on hand, rather than trying to buy a bunch of expensive out of season vegetables to re-create a specific soup.

This one was by far the best to date.  The flavors blended together perfectly.  The chayote squash was a perfect addition and added a great texture.  I added the jalapenos for a little spice, but I should have added one or two more. Without the lima beans, it would have been a Zero-Point soup, but I thought the lima beans would add protein and make the soup a little more filling.   I was nervous about adding the radishes, since I don’t usually care for them at all, but thought this might be the only way I would use them.  I’m glad I added them because they tasted amazing mixed in with everything else.   Overall, it was perfect!

My husband went back for seconds, and again for thirds (and maybe even fourths)!  I’m glad I made a giant pot because now I have plenty in the freezer for those rainy days.  It’s such a great way to get in those veggie servings and have a low point meal option.  It was a very hearty serving for only 1 point as well.  Can’t ask for much better than that!

The recipe that follows is how I made this specific pot of soup, but feel free to change it up any way you please!

Vegetable Soup

16 servings @ 1 pt each

  • 6 medium Carrots
  • 8 small Radishes
  • 2 cups Celery
  • 1 medium Vidalia Onion
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 3/4 tsp Basil
  • 1/3 tsp Oregano
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 48 oz Beef Broth
  • 24 oz Chicken Broth
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 medium head Cabbage
  • 2 medium Chayote Squash
  • 2 medium Jalapeno Peppers
  • 1 bag frozen Lima Beans

Spray large stockpot with cooking spray.  Saute onions, carrots, garlic, radishes, and celery in spices for 3-5 min.

Add broth and tomato paste. Stir.

Stir in cabbage, peppers, chayote squash and lima beans.  Bring to a boil and simmer on med-high for 15 min, stirring occasionally.