Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gingerbread Waffles or Pancakes

The scent of gingerbread makes me think of Christmas every time I smell it. I envision growing up and making homemade gingerbread cookies with my mom and I have such fond memories of holiday baking with her. Other than gingerbread cookies, I really have never done anything else related to gingerbread. This recipe was the perfect dish to try out for the holiday season.

I am a loyal fan of "breakfast for dinner" nights in our house and these were a smashing hit, even with a husband that doesn't prefer anything that is remotely gingerbread tasting. These delicious babies are healthy for you as well, so no guilt when you eat a lot of them. Feel free to make these and freeze them. They reheat very well. You can also whip up a batch and just put them in the refrigerator and heat a few up for breakfast during the work week.

Gingerbread Waffles or Pancakes
Serving size depends on how big you make the pancakes or waffles
Adapted from:

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or all purpose flour (you could do half and half also)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon lite salt
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 egg OR 2 egg whites OR 1/4 cup egg substitute (I used 2 egg whites)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar or brown sugar substitute (I used Splenda Brown Sugar blend)
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/4 cups water
Pure maple syrup OR sugar free maple flavored syrup (obviously pure maple syrup is very high in calories and has lots of sugar, so if you use this make sure to use sparingly) - I use sugar free syrup in my house

-In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon.
-In a small separate bowl, beat egg whites with vanilla and molasses until smooth. Add the water and whisk until combined.
-Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and make sure to stir until thoroughly mixed.
-Heat a waffle maker or pancake griddle and spray with nonstick cooking spray
-Add approx 1/3 cup of batter onto hot waffle maker and let cook until the light says it is ready. Complete this process with all batter.
-Spread some light butter on a waffle and drizzle with syrup

-You can make waffles with a waffle maker or you can make pancakes. I decided on waffles this time but know this would be delicious as pancakes.
-I believe you could use milk instead of water but I am not 100% sure how they would turn out.

Enjoy! :)

Green Chile-Cheese Rice Casserole

I love cooking with brown rice but I tend to get bored with the same rice recipes. I found this recipe and wanted to try it out. The original recipe looked good but I went with suggestions and added a few things to zest it up. Let me know what you think of this delicious dish.

Green Chile-Cheese Rice Casserole
Serves 4-6
Adapted from:

1 tablespoon light butter or margarine
1 small onion, chopped
4 cups cooked brown rice or white rice - prefer brown rice because of the whole grains
2 cups or 8 oz shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 10oz package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of excess water
1 1/2 cups fat free or reduced fat sour cream
3 (4 oz) cans diced green chiles
3/4 cup Fat free or reduced fat evaporated milk
pepper for seasoning purposes
1 large jalapeno - seeded and diced - optional
1 can Original Rotel, drained - optional

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 2-quart casserole dish. I sprayed it with nonstick cooking spray.
-In a large, nonstick skillet, melt butter. Add onion; cook and stir occassionally until the onions are sauteed.
-Remove the skillet from the heat source and add in the rice, 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese, spinach, sour cream, chiles, evaporated milk, black pepper, jalapenos, and rotel.
-Spoon mixture into prepared casserole dish
-Bake for 45-50 minutes or until bubbly around the edges. Once finished baking, top with remaining shredded cheese and return to oven to melt the cheese on top.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Creamy Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

I wanted to make a new soup recipe and this is what I tried. I make homemade chicken noodle soup and beef & barley soup quite frequently. I just wanted something a little different but still stay healthy and affordable. This is a great recipe to use any leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. The original recipe is for creamy chicken and wild rice soup, but I like to switch things up and I decided to try leftover turkey instead of chicken. This soup is perfect for a chilly day. It is healthy, hearty, and warms you right up.  Since there is rice in the soup, you might try to have some fresh fruit with it instead of bread or rolls. For a small family, this soup will feed you for a few meals. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Creamy Turkey & Wild Rice Soup
Serves 6 heaping portions
Adapted from:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 pound of cooked turkey - cut into bite size pieces
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
black pepper for seasoning purposes
1/2 teaspoon lite salt
1 cup wild rice mix, dry
6 cups of water
1/3 bunch fresh parsley, minced or 2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons light butter
2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups 1% milk or any milk you prefer

-In a nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and saute for about 5 minutes.
-Add celery and carrots to the skillet and cook an additional 5 minutes
-Add the turkey, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, black pepper, dry rice, and water to the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
-Once the soup is boiling, you will turn heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Make sure to stir occassionally.
-After 15 minutes before the soup is going to be done, take a small sauce pan and melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour. Cook and whisk the butter and flour mixture for two minutes. Whisk in the milk and allow the pan to come to a simmer, whisking occassionally. This will come to be a thick cream sauce.
-Add the parsley and thickened milk mixture to the pot of soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

-If you have leftover chicken, this would work in place of turkey.
-If you don't care for wild rice or don't have any, you can replace it with brown rice.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Sage, Brown Butter, and Gruyere

Do you have some extra sweet potatoes leftover from Thanksgiving? I know I do and I know exactly what I am making with them. The recipe below is a great way to use sweet potatoes as a side dish with your meal. Sweet potatoes are extremely nutritious and should be incorporated into your meals each and every week. I know we eat them quite a bit in our household. If we have any kind of potato dish, I make it with sweet potatoes instead of regular white potatoes.

Now, a lot of people like sweetened sweet potato dishes but this is  most definitely a savory type sweet potato dish. This is why it is a big hit in my house. Definitely try this one out! These will be served with some grass-fed beef ribeye steaks and fresh cut up strawberries and blackberries.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Sage, Brown Butter, and Gruyere Cheese
Serves: 4 if you only eat one half of a potato or 2 if you eat a whole potato
Adapted from:

2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried off
4 tablespoons light butter - I use 3 tablespoons and find that to be enough
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs or plain panko breadcrumbs - I use panko breadcrumbs
4 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage - I use dried sage
salt and pepper for seasoning - I omit the salt
1/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
2 teaspoons real maple syrup
2 tablespoons fat free sour cream or fat free plain greek yogurt - I use fat free sour cream
pinch of red cayenne pepper for some spice

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven for 30-45 minutes. You will know they are done when you can stick a fork all the way through them. You don't want them overcooked so just check periodically.
-Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough for you to handle them
-Cut each potato in half lengthwise and scoop out the filling. Place filling in a medium sized bowl. Mash with a potato masher or an electric mixer until smooth.
-In a small nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat, whisking constantly. When the butter is a deep golden brown color and has some dark brown specks in it, remove from heat immediately.
-In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon of melted brown butter, 1/2 the dried sage, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
-To the bowl of mashed sweet potatoes, add the remaining brown butter, the other 1/2 of dried sage, shredded cheese, maple syrup, cayenne, and yogurt or sour cream and combine well.
-Take the contents of the bowl and start filling the sweet potato skins that you scooped out of originally.
-Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of each potato half and return to oven for 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy! :)

White Beans with Garlic and Rosemary

Now that Thanksgiving is done with, I will be back to posting recipes for the every day dinner.

I am just starting to realize that you can have different kinds of beans as your protein for a meal. It definitely takes some convincing to my husband, but he is slowly wrapping his head around the idea. Beans are so good for you. They are high in fiber and loaded with protein. They are usually fat free or low fat and essential for a nutritious and balanced diet. An added bonus is that beans are very cheap to buy and meat can get pricey in the stores. Another bonus is that beans fill you up so you don't need a lot of them at each meal. I was searching for a simple bean recipe and this is what I found and tried out. It was tasty! 

White Beans with Garlic and Rosemary
Serves: 3-4
Adapted from:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced OR 1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped OR 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 15oz can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste - omitted salt and just used pepper

-In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil and heat over medium high heat.
-Saute the garlic and rosemary in the olive oil for just a few minutes, stirring frequently.
-Add the beans and heat thoroughly.
-Season with salt and pepper

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

I realize that most of you will be cooking whole turkey's on Thanksgiving. However, for smaller families, or families that wish to have turkey and ham or roast on the holiday, this is a great recipe to use. This recipe is small enough that you won't be stuck with tons of leftover turkey either. It is simply delicious and I hope you will try it out. If not on Thanksgiving, definitely another evening for supper.

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast
Serves: 6-8 people
Adapted from:

1 bone-in turkey breast or boneless turkey breast (5-7 pounds)
1 tablespoon minced garlic or 3 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt (i use Morton Lite salt)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup dry white wine

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
-Wash turkey breast and pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan.
-In a bowl, combine garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice and combine mixture thoroughly.
-Loosen the skin from the meat by gently using your fingertips. Try not to rip the skin. You will then smear half of the herb mixture between the turkey and skin. Spread evenly.
-Take the remaining amount of mixture and spread on top of the turkey breast.
-Pour 1 cup of dry white wine in the bottom of the roasting pan.
-Feel free to add additional cups of wine or water. This will be used to make your pan gravy and some of the liquid evaporates while cooking. (I use 3 cups of white wine and 2 cups water)
-Roast the turkey breast for 1 3/4 - 2 hours or until the skin is golden brown and the thermometer reads 165 degrees in the thickest and meatiest area of the turkey breast.
-You can cover the turkey breast loosely with foil if the skin is getting darker than you want.
-When turkey is done, cover it and let it rest for 15 minutes.
-Make a pan gravy with your drippings.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Healthy Apple Cider Gravy for Thanksgiving

I am baking a homemade apple bundt cake with apple cider buttercream frosting for Thanksgiving. I am going to have extra apple cider leftover. I have decided that I am going to make this gravy recipe to use with our turkey this Thanksgiving.

Healthy Apple Cider Gravy
Serves: 2 1/4 cups gravy
Adapted from:

4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth, divided
3 tablespoons white whole wheat flour OR all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups apple cider
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
ground pepper, to taste

-In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup chicken broth and flour in a small bowl until smooth and set aside.
-In a large, nonstick saucepan, add cider and cinegar and bring to a boil and then simmer for 6 to 8 minutes.
-Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups chicken broth and turn the heat to high. Return mixture to a boil and make sure to whisk often.
-Boil until the liquid is reduced by about half, which is about 8 to 12 minutes.
-Whisk the flour mixture that was set aside into the saucepan and boil for 1 to 3 minutes, whisking/stirring constantly, or until gravy mixture is thickened.
-Remove gravy from heat source and add salt and pepper to season. Stir on good time before serving.

Enjoy! :)

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake

I realized I had not put anything up on my blog about Thanksgiving day desserts. This is an extremely delicious dessert for anyone that likes cheesecake. It is a pumpkin spiced dessert that definitely would compliment any Thanksgiving day menu. I love that I can have some cheesecake and not feel so guilty about it.

Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake
Serves: 8-10
Adapted from:

16 ounces cream cheese - I use 8 oz of fat free cream cheese and 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
2 cups splenda sugar substitute
1 can pure pumpkin (15oz)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large whole eggs or eggbeater substitute
2 whole Keebler Ready Made Reduced Fat Graham Cracker Crusts
1 cup fat free or sugar free cool whip, slightly thawed
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon sugar - optional

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a large bowl, combine the splenda and cream cheese with a mixer on low speed until mixed thoroughly.
-Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and all spices until smooth and combined thoroughly.
-Add one egg at a time, making sure to blend smoothly each time.
-Pour filling into the graham cracker pie crusts.
-Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a butter knife comes out clean after inserted into the center of the pie.
-Allow pies to cool completely and then spread the whipped cream over the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Place in the refrigerator until time to serve.

You can use any kind of cream cheese you desire. I want the recipe to be a healthier, lighter version, so I used what is listed above.

Enjoy! :)

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Homemade Green Bean Casserole

Who doesn't like Green Bean Casserole on Thanksgiving? It is honestly one of my favorite side dishes. However, I really prefer homemade over the Cream of Mushroom soup kind. Yes, it takes a little longer to prepare but it is so worth it. One great thing about the recipe I am providing you is that it can be made in advance, so you save some time on turkey day.

Please try out this recipe. I think you will never go back to the Cream of Mushroom soup kind. The entire family will love that you made this from scratch as well. :)

Homemade Green Bean Casserole
Serves 8
Adapted from:

1 1/4 pounds green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half OR 19 oz bag of frozen whole green beans - thawed
2 tablespoons light butter
10 oz. button mushrooms, sliced OR baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons minced shallots OR minced yellow onion
3 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
1 cup half & half (I am using fat free half & half to make this dish healthier)
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
salt and pepper for seasoning

For the crunchy topping:
Canola oil - for frying
2-3 shallots, sliced thinly OR onion slices (shallots are the preferred ingredient)
Flour, for dredging

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take a 2 quart casserole baking dish and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
-In a large pan, add the green beans and cover with a few inches of water. Bring the green beans to a boil and then simmer on low for 4 to 6 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and rinse the beans in cold water. Set aside.
-Return the large pan to heat and add the butter and mushrooms to the pan and saute for about 5 minutes.
-Add the minced shallots or onions to the pan and cook an additional 1 minute.
-Add the flour to the pan and cook for approx 1 minute.
-Stir in half and half, the chicken broth, and the soy sauce. Bring entire contents of pan to a boil. Make sure you are stirring or whisking constantly to prevent scorching/burning.
-Once the pan is at a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes making sure to continue to stir the mixture.
-Add in the green beans and season the entire pan with salt and pepper. Pour contents of pan into the greased baking dish.
-If you are making the dish ahead of time, you will want to cover and refrigerate the baking dish.
-If you are going to make this dish right away, bake for 20 minutes or until browned and bubbling in the oven.

-To make the onion topping, add some canola oil to a small saucepan. Heat oil over medium high heat.
-While the oil is heating, dredge the sliced shallots in some seasoned flour, making sure to shake off any excess batter.
-Add the dredged shallots to the hot oil and fry until the shallots are golden brown. Should take 2-3 minutes. Remove the shallots and place on a paper towel lined plate. I double up on paper towels to get rid of any excess oil.
-Sprinkle these fried shallots over the casserole and serve immediately.

Enjoy! :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Homemade Spice Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing

I decided to bake some homemade cupcakes tonight for my coworkers, to help celebrate Thanksgiving a few days early. I didn't want to run to the store so I just found a recipe that I had everything to make it. This recipe comes from my Better Homes and Garden cookbook. I love it and use it often. Spice cake is perfect for the fall. Please don't go buy a prepackaged box of spice cake mix. It is far too easy to make yourself and so much more fun to prepare.

You can make this recipe a cake and use a 13x9 dish to bake it or you can make cupcakes.

Homemade Spice Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing
Serves 12-15 large cupcakes or 18 smaller cupcakes
Adapted from: Better Homes and Garden cookbook

2 cups all purpose flour OR 2 cups plus 4 tablespoons cake flour (I used cake flour because I prefer it with baked goods)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 eggs or eggbeater equivalent
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup unsweetened applesauce

-In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger together and set aside.
-In a large bowl, combine butter and shortening and use a hand mixer to mix until fluffy and blended well. This is approx 30 seconds or so.
-To the large bowl, add the sugar and vanilla and beat with the hand mixer until blended
-Add eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat well each time.
-In a small bowl, combine applesauce and buttermilk.
-Add dry mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to beaten mixture in the large bowl. Beat on low speed and make sure it gets blended together well.
-Prepare a cupcake pan with muffin tins or spray with nonstick cooking spray
-Bake in a 350 degree oven for 19-22 minutes or until your cupcakes are cooked completely and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If baking a cake, bake in a 13x9 baking dish for 35 to 40 minutes.
-Cool cake completely before frosting it.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing
Adapted from:

8 oz Philadelphia Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
1/2 cup pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
5 tablespoons packed brown sugar

Enjoy! :)

BBQ Chicken Pizza Soup

It was a very windy and chilly day here! You can definitely tell that our warmer days are getting more and more limited. You are going to see a ton of soup and stew recipes in the winter months because I absolutely love making them for dinner when it is so cold outside. Soup can be really healthy but you should really try to make it homemade instead of buying it in a can at the supermarket. I think this is a great soup recipe to try out if you are just starting out with soup recipes in your home. It is unique and absolutely scrumptious! :)

I serve this soup with a side of fresh fruit.

BBQ Chicken Pizza Soup
Serves 4-6 people
Adapted from:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped - I used a red onion but the original recipe calls for a sweet yellow onion
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
11 oz can Mexicorn drained - try to use the reduced sodium kind
1 - 1 1/2 pounds shredded chicken breast meat - you can buy the canned chunk chicken breast like the original recipe calls for or you can cook up chicken meat and shred it (I prefer fresh chicken over the canned stuff)
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/4 to 1/2 cup bbq sauce - try to use one with less sugar/less calories
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Lawry's garlic salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

-Heat oil into a medium pot over medium heat. When hot, saute onions in olive oil for 5 minutes or until softened.
-Stir in garlic, corn and chicken breast; mix to combine.
-Pour in chicken broth, BBQ sauce, salt, pepper, garlic salt and cilantro leaves.
-Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until ready to serve. Garnish each bowl with a fresh sprig of cilantro.
-Sprinkle cheese of your choice on top of your bowl if you desire.

Enjoy! :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Healthified Stuffing

Who doesn't love stuffing on Thanksgiving? You can get intimidated if you look up recipes for stuffing on the internet. There are endless possibilities when it comes to this side dish. I think the recipe below is a great recipe. You still get to enjoy stuffing, but with a little less guilt. This is a good side dish for any dinner but I wanted to post it since Thanksgiving is just a few short days away.

Healthified Stuffing
Serves 12
Adapted from:

15 slices white whole grain bread - I use Sara Lee White Whole Grain Bread
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
2 cups Reduced Sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

-Heat oven to 350 degrees.
-Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray
-On a large cookie sheet, place bread slices on it and bake 15 to 20 minutes, making sure to turn each slice once, until they are firm and lightly golden brown.
-Remove bread from oven and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
-In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium high heat. Add celery, onion, and carrot and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in broth, sage, salt, thyme, and pepper; heat to boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the bread cubes and mix well. Spoon into casserole dish.
-Cover casserole dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the dish and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is light golden brown.

Enjoy! :)

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Carrots

This recipe is a bit of an indulgence but it is still a vegetable side dish. That should count for something, right? I made these carrots for a work Thanksgiving Potluck. They are a simple dish to put together and they taste delicious.

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Carrots
Serves: 4-6 (recipe can be doubled)
Adapted from:

32 oz bag of baby carrots
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar or Brown Sugar Substitute
1/4 cup pure honey
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup melted light butter
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 cup water
1 tablespoon corn starch

-Spray nonstick cooking spray in a slow cooker.
-Put carrots in the slow cooker.
-In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, honey, orange juice, melted butter, and cinnamon. Mix well.
-Pour mixture over the carrots and stir together.
-Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until desired tenderness is reached
-15-20 minutes before serving the carrots, you will want to thicken the sauce
-In a small bowl, combine the water and corn starch and stir together.
-Remove carrots from the slow cooker and keep warm in microwave.
-Add the corn starch mixture to the liquid mixture in the slow cooker and stir well.
-Turn slow cooker to high and add carrots back in.
-Stir one last time before serving.

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Parmesan Butternut Squash Gratin

I have been trying really hard lately to try to use seasonal produce/fruits. I realized that I hardly ever had the different kinds of squashes and they all seem perfect for fall dishes. I promised myself I would try some recipes out that call for these delicious fall vegetables. This would be a great side dish to serve at Thanksgiving. One added bonus is that this dish is a healthified version, which never hurts on a food-filled day. Another bonus is that this dish can prepared the day before Thanksgiving and placed in the refrigerator up to 24 hours in advance and then just bake right before dinner is served.

Parmesan Butternut Squash Gratin
Serves 6
Adapted from:

1 butternut squash (2 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons light butter or margarine
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup Progresso panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated reduced fat Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or dried parsley (I only had dried parsley)

-Heat oven to 375 degrees.
-Spray a 13X9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
-Peel, halve lengthwise and seed the butternut squash; cut into 1/2 inch thick slices.
-Arrange the slices, overlapping slighty, in the bottom of the baking dish.
-In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, making sure to stir frequently. You don't want the garlic to brown too much or the butter to burn.
-In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and 1 tablespoon of the melted butter-garlic mixture.
-Brush the squash slices with remaining butter-garlic mixture. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the bread crumb mixture.
-Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.
-Bake uncovered 30-40 minutes or until squash is fork tender. Increase oven to 425 degrees and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Sprinkle parsley on top just before serving.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Oven Fried Zucchini Strips with dipping sauces

A couple of our best friends and us went to dinner at a really neat gourmet burger restaurant a few weeks ago. For an appetizer, we ordered the fried pickles and fried zucchini strips to share with everyone. I had never had fried zucchini strips before and wasn't sure I would like them. Guess what? They were phenomenal. I enjoyed them so much that I was determined to figure out a way to make them at home but make them healthy by baking them and not frying them. This recipe turned out great. If you are looking for that greasy, fried version, my recipe suggestion is not for you. This recipe is light and delicious, but nothing like the fried version. It really goes well with the two dipping sauces I used. I am making these as an appetizer to tide the family over before Thanksgiving Supper is served. I know they will love these.

Oven Fried Zucchini Strips with Marinara Sauce and Garlic Aioli Dipping Sauce
Serves 4 appetizer servings (double recipe for a larger amount)
Adapted from:

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs or whatever bread crumbs you have or prefer
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano grated cheese or grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound zucchini - cleaned, sliced into strips and patted dry
1 egg - lightly beaten

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, grated cheese and oregano in a bowl.
-In a small bowl, add the lightly beaten egg.
-Season zucchini strips with salt and pepper.
-Dip the zucchini strips in the egg and then dredge them in the bread crumb mixture.
-Place on a nonstick baking sheet in a single layer with the skin side down.
-Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

*to save on time, I used some organic marinara sauce from the supermarket.

I made a delicious Garlic Aioli dipping sauce to compliment this dish as well.

Garlic Aioli Dipping Sauce
Serves: 4
Adapted from:

4 tablespoons light mayonnaise
4 tablespoons fat free greek vanilla yogurt
2 cloves of garlic - minced
1 teaspoon black pepper

-Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and serve with zucchini strips.
-Refrigerate any remaining dip.

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Healthy Homemade Wheat Pie Crust

I know what you are can wheat pie crust taste good at all. Trust me, it is really good and most people would never even know the difference unless you tell them. Remember, I try to provide recipes that are healthier for you and your family. Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful and enjoy delicious food, but that doesn't mean it has to be loaded with unhealthy fats, calories, and junk. This crust is perfect for several different recipes. I use it to make homemade pot pie and I use it for all of our homemade fruit pies. I am using this recipe to make a sugar free apple pie for Thanksgiving because one of my guests is diabetic. I know she is going to love it.

Healthy Homemade Wheat Pie Crust
Serves 1 pie crust (double the recipe if you need a double crust)
Adapted from:

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons lite salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup skim milk

-In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir together until the dough forms a ball. It is best to mix with your hands to make sure it combines thoroughly.
-Roll out the dough ball between two pieces of wax paper. You want it about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
-Pull the top of the wax paper off and use the bottom piece to carry the dough to your pie plate.
-Make sure to spray nonstick cooking spray in your pie plate before putting the crust in it.
-Fill your pie crust with whatever pie you are making.

Enjoy! :)

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Homemade Wheat & Herb Dinner Rolls

*Warning - you will need a breadmaker for this recipe.

Who doesn't love warm, homemade dinner rolls served up with Thanksgiving supper? It is so easy to buy the kind in the bread aisle, or even worse, the kind in the refrigerated section that you have to pop open. I am not making fun of anyone that does this, but it is just not my thing. Homemade bread and rolls are so much healthier and they simply taste way better. I use mostly whole wheat flour with this recipe, which is a good way to incorporate whole grains.

Homemade Wheat & Herb Dinner Rolls
Serves: 12 - 15 rolls
Adapted from:

1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of light butter, softened
1 egg - room temperature
1 1/4 cup bread flour
2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
1 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup sugar or 1/4 cup of pure honey
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons regular active dry yeast

-Using a bread machine, place all the dough ingredients into the machine in the order listed. You typically want wet ingredients first and then the dry, with the yeast being the last thing you add.
-Select the dough cycle and press start. It will take approx 1 1/2 hours to be finished.
-Once the dough is done, grease a cookie sheet. Divide the dough into 12 - 15 even pieces and shape into a ball and place on the cookie sheet. Do this with the remainder of the dough. Make sure to keep each of the balls of dough about 2 inches apart.
-Brush the dinner rolls with some melted butter and then cover with a cloth or kitchen towel.
-Let the dough rise for 30 to 40 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown

Enjoy! :)

*These are so easy and very and your family will love these for Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chicken Breasts with a Balsamic and Garlic Sauce

This recipe is one of my very favorite new recipes! I have just started to use balsamic vinegar in a lot of recipes and I am finding that I really enjoy using it. The flavors of this chicken are just unreal. I think you will all enjoy this recipe. I imagine you could even use pork chops instead of chicken and it would still be amazing. This dish was served with some oven roasted garlic red potatoes and steamed edamame.

Chicken Breasts with a Balsamic and Garlic Sauce
Serves 4-6
Adapted from:

5 boneless skinless chicken breasts OR boneless skinless chicken thighs (I used breasts)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon light butter, softened
3 cloves of garlic, minced or 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic in oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar - Please make sure to buy quality balsamic vinegar; the cheap stuff just isn't good
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
-In a large OVEN PROOF nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. (I used a cast iron skillet)
-Season chicken breasts or chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
-Lay the chicken down in the heated skillet and cook until golden brown or approx 4-5 minutes.
-Turn the chicken over and place the skillet in the oven.
-Bake in the oven for 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.
-Remove chicken from the oven and put chicken on a plate and keep warm in the microwave.
-Return skillet to the stove over medium high heat and add a teaspoon of olive oil and minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, and then add the balsamic vinegar.
-Stir, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan, for an additional minute.
-Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
-Mix the butter and flour together. It makes a paste. Whisk the flour mixture into the pan and return to a boil.
-Simmer until the sauce gets thick - about 1 to 2 minutes
-Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Enjoy! :)

*I promise you will love this dish!

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Oven Roasted Cauliflower

I feel like cauliflower is one of those vegetables that people either love or they hate, and their is no in between. I absolutely love cauliflower and cook it quite frequently. I definitely think it needs additional spices and ingredients added to it or it can be quite bland. This is a very simple side dish that would be perfect for Thanksgiving dinner. You could even add some broccoli and do Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower. I think this is what I am doing for our Thanksgiving.

Oven Roasted Cauliflower
Serves 6-8
Adapted from:

1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds), trimmed and cut into florets
3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons grated reduced fat parmesan cheese

-Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
-In a bowl, combine cauliflower and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking dish/baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
-Make sure to keep them in a single layer so they cook evenly.
-Roast for about 25 minutes; make sure to stir at least once to prevent scorching.
-Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve

Enjoy! :)

*As always, this could be used any meal of the year, not just Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Wild Rice Pilaf

When you think of Thanksgiving dinner, you probably imagine turkey, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, etc... If you are anything like me, you probably tend to have the same kind of dishes every year for Thanksgiving. This year, since we are hosting at our house, we decided to make tons of new dishes and try to stay away from some of the standard Thanksgiving dishes, or at least spruce them up and make them slightly different and more healthy. I think this Wild Rice Pilaf dish is a great side dish idea for Thanksgiving. While it is still a starchy carb, it is something a little different and I imagine it will go great with some roasted turkey or ham. The dish also has some very good nutritional qualities.

An added bonus to this dish is that it can be cooked in a slow cooker, which means more room in the oven for your other side dishes and your turkey or ham! :)

Wild Rice Pilaf
Serves: 8 - 10 servings
Adapted from:

1 cup brown rice - uncooked
1 cup wild rice - uncooked
2 tablespoons light butter - melted
1 32-oz low sodium chicken broth
1 cup diced sweet onion
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 package dried cherries (5.5 oz) - coarsely chopped or about 1 cup
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

-In a slow-cooker, lightly grease or spray nonstick cooking spray in and around it.
-Combine the brown rice, wild rice, and melted butter in the slow-cooker and make sure all rice is coated with the butter.
-Stir in chicken broth, onion, and black pepper.
-Cover the slow-cooker and cook on HIGH for 3.5 - 4 hours or until the rice is tender.
-Stir in chopped cherries and stir together until completely mixed.
-Turn off heat, cover the slow-cooker, and let it sit for 15 minutes.
-Meanwhile, you will want to toast your pecans. You will do this in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Make sure to toast them for 4 to 5 minutes and stir often. Stir the toasted pecans into the wild rice pilaf right before serving.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cashew Beef

I think it goes without saying that we love to have chinese/asian style foods for supper quite often in our household. This is a very simple and delicious cashew beef recipe. I hope you like it. We served the beef dish with some spicy garlic green beans and a small portion of steamed jasmine rice.  Usually I use brown rice for any recipe that calls for rice, but every now and then we splurge and have jasmine rice. The only reason I am a huge fan of brown rice is because it is a whole grain and jasmine rice is not.

Cashew Beef
Serves 4 main dish servings
Adapted from:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
1 pound flank steak or boneless sirloin steak - cut into 1'' strips (we used boneless grassfed sirloin steak)
4 green onions - diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic or 2 cloves of garlic - diced finely
2/3 cup cashews (we used the lightly salted cashews)
4 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup cold water
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups of jasmine rice - steamed/cooked

-Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or canola oil to a large wok or nonstick skillet over medium heat.
-In a small bowl, combine the following ingredients and stir together until blended well: soy sauce, sesame oil, water, cornstarch, ginger, black pepper, and cayenne
-To the heated wok/pan, add the strips of beef and cook until the beef is brown and almost cooked completely. This will only take a few minutes if you sliced the beef thin enough.
-Remove beef from the wok once it is browned and place on a plate and in the microwave to stay warm.
-Add the additional tablespoon of olive oil or canola oil to the wok. Add the green onions, garlic, and cashews and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
-Add the liquid mixture to the wok and stir together with the onions, garlic, and cashews.
-Bring liquid to a boil and then turn down to low to simmer and thicken. Add the beef to the pan and stir all the ingredients together.

Enjoy! :)

-Chicken or pork could be substituted if you don't wish to use beef.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Spicy Round Steak Casserole

This is not a Thanksgiving recipe, but I wanted to share it with all of you. We had this a few days ago and it was simple and delicious. We are getting 1/2 grass-fed beef cow later in the week and we wanted to use up the last cuts of beef we had remaining from the one we got last year. This casserole is great because it has all the important components of what a meal should consist of all in one pan. A simple salad or some fresh fruit would compliment this dish. I served this casserole with some fresh pear slices on the side.

Spicy Round Steak Casserole
Serves 4
Adapted from:

1 pound beef round steak - cut in cubes
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce - use the lower sodium kind
1 teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped - we used baby bella mushrooms
1 large potato - diced into small chunks - you can peel if you wish but I leave the skin on because that is where the nutrients are
1/2 cup carrots - diced small
1 cups water
2 cups low sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil

-preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Cut the beef round steaks into bite size chunks
-In a skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat and add the chunks of round steak to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook just until all the pieces are browned.
-Once the meat is browned, place the round steak in a casserole pan. I used a 13 x 9 inch baking dish and sprayed it with nonstick cooking spray.
-In a bowl, combine the garlic, onion powder, bell peppers, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, water, and beef broth together.
-Pour the mixture over the beef in the baking dish.
-Bake in a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes. Check the dish and it might need to cook an additional 30 minutes. The dish is ready when the sauce is thickened and not soupy like and the beef is cooked thoroughly.

Enjoy! :)

*Tip: You can place everything in a crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours if you don't want to bake this dish.

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Buttery Lemon Broccolini

Broccolini is one of my new favorite vegetables. I had never had it until just a few weeks ago. For those that don't know, I am a huge fan of broccoli. I literally could eat it every single day. It's a wonder I had not had broccolini before now. If you haven't had it before, you should definitely try this recipe. This is a great side dish idea for Thanksgiving because it is healthy and very simple to make. Also, you need a few non-starchy vegetables served on this calorie-loaded day!

Buttery Lemon Broccolini
Serves 4 - can be doubled for 8 servings
Adapted from:

4 quarts water
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2 (6 ounce) packages of broccolini
1 tablespoon light butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

-Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan; add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook broccolini in batches for 5 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon. Drain and discard the water.
-Combine softened butter, lemon rind, and lemon juice with a fork until blended. Return broccolini to the saucepan over medium high heat and stir in the butter mixture. Add in the 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Toss the broccolini until coated well with all ingredients.

Enjoy! :)

-If you don't think you will like the buttery lemon broccolini, you could alter this dish and do garlic and parmesan cheese instead of the lemon. I've tried both versions and they are equally tasty.

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Streusel Crusted Sweet Potato Balls

Since Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, I will focus my recipes in the coming weeks on different dishes you can make for Thanksgiving. My attempt is to show different recipes that are a healthier version, while still tasty and exactly what you want when you think of Thanksgiving dinner. These recipes can always be used at any meal of the year, but I believe they will compliment the perfect Thanskgiving.

Streusel Crusted Sweet Potato Balls sound like so much fun to make and they sound delicious. You always have the traditional sweet potato pie served at Thanksgiving, but this recipe puts a different spin on the classic version. I think you will truly love these. They do take a little time to prep but it is so worth it. Also, this dish doesn't cost a lot to make, which is an added bonus. Tip: If you want potatoes at your Thanksgiving dinner, try to use sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, because they are so much healthier! Save your calories and sinfulness for desserts! lol

Streusel Crusted Sweet Potato Balls
Adapted from:

2 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and mashed
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of red cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons light butter melted
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows, halved
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped (using healthy fats in the pecans!)
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 tablespoon brown sugar

-First you will want to cook the sweet potatoes. You can do this by baking them at 400 degrees until they are soft or you can peel them and cut them up and boil them in water until they are fork tender. I opted for the baking option because it retains more of the nutritional benefits of the sweet potato.
-Once potatoes are cooked, mash with a fork, masher, or food processor. I used a potato masher.
-Season sweet potatoes with salt and pepper and add the melted butter and halved marshmallows. Place bowl in refrigerator to cool down.
-In a small bowl, combine the egg whites and water with a fork.
-In a medium bowl, combine the pecans, oatmeal, and brown sugar and combine well.
-Remove sweet potato mixture from the refrigerator.
-Make balls approx 1/4 to 1/3 cup size.
-Roll each ball in the egg white mixture and then into the pecan-oatmeal mixture.
-Place sweet potato balls on a nonstick baking sheet and spray with spray butter or brush some melted butter on top of each ball.
-Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until slightly brown and heated thoroughly.

Enjoy! :)

-You can go ahead and bake the sweet potatoes a day or two ahead to save on time and oven space. Just refrigerate them when they are done.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Shallots

Soup is one of the easiest meals to make in the winter time. You throw everything in one big pot and let it work magic. I love to try all kinds of new soups each fall/winter. Chicken Noodle Soup and potato soup can get so boring, and there are so many healthy soups out there. This soup is extremely healthy and tastes so good. It uses fall vegetables, so the produce should be a decent price at the supermarket. This soup is vegetarian, so you may want to serve it with some sort of protein. I served this soup with some toasted turkey, peppers, and provolone panini's on whole wheat bread. I hope you like this one as much as I do.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Shallots
Serves 6
Adapted from:

4 cups cubed and peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large shallots, peeled and chopped OR 1 onion chopped (I used shallots)
1 (1/2 inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced OR 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (I used ground ginger)
2 1/2 cups fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons (1 inch) slices fresh chives
Cracked black pepper for seasoning purposes

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Combine the first 5 ingredients in a roasting pan or baking sheet; toss well. Bake for 50 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Cool for 10 minutes
-Place half of the squash mixture and half of the broth in a blender and blend until smooth OR place in a bowl and mash with a potato masher until you get a creamy consistency. Repeat with remaining squash mixture and broth. Combine all the blended soup in a pot and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until heated thoroughly.
-Pour some into a bowl and top with chives and pepper.

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Homemade Chili Seasoning Mix

With winter approaching quickly, the time of year has come where different kinds of chili will be made in our household. Bryan loves chili and requests it weekly during the cold months. Heck, he even wants it in the summer. We are having homemade turkey and bean chili tonight. I wanted to share a simple recipe with all of you, just in case you will be having chili in your home soon.

Now, it is so easy to grab that McCormick's chili seasoning packet, but please listen to me and don't do it! The typical serving size in one of those packets is 4 servings, which equal 120 calories per packet for seasoning. This is just uncalled for. Homemade chili seasoning is simple to make and it makes enough that you can use it for several batches of chili. Also, it contains virtually no calories and tastes much better than the store bought version.

Homemade Chili Seasoning Mix
Makes approx 2/3 cup
Adapted from:

4 tablespoons McCormick chili powder
1 teaspoon McCormick garlic powder
1 teaspoon McCormick onion powder
1 teaspoon McCormick crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon McCormick red cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon McCormick ground oregano
2 teaspoons McCormick paprika
2 tablespoons McCormick ground cumin
1 teaspoon McCormick sea salt - original recipe calls for 3 teaspoons but that is not necessary
4 teaspoons McCormick black pepper

-In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir together well.
-Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

-The chili seasoning will last up to a year if you store it correctly.
-When making your chili, start with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the chili seasoning mix and then adjust according to tastes. I will use 2 tablespoons in my chili tonight.
-No need to use McCormick brand spices; use whatever brand you prefer.

See how simple this recipe is and I promise you will love it and so will your waistlines!

Enjoy! :)

Spinach Salad with Oranges, Strawberries, and Cinnamon Vinaigrette

I am not a  huge fan of salad at all, but my husband loves it and attempts to have one every day. I tried this recipe for him and he was impressed. I didn't expect him to like it at all so I thought I would share it with all of you. This is a large salad so I stored a little in several containers so Bryan could have it for a few meals. If you want to use this as a main dish, you might try adding some chopped turkey breasts or chicken breasts on top of it.

Spinach Salad with Oranges, Strawberries, and Cinnamon Vinaigrette
Serves 6
Adapted from:

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup orange juice (we use Trop50, which is half the calories and half the sugar of normal orange juice)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt

1 package of baby spinach leaves (6 ounces)
2 seedless oranges, peeled and sectioned
2 cups strawberry halves
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces

-For the vinaigrette, mix the olive oil, orange juice, sugar, cinnamon, and ginger together and whisk until blended thoroughly.
-Just before serving, toss the baby spinach with the oranges, strawberries and pecans in a large bowl. Drizzle with the cinnamon vinaigrette.
-Toss salad and serve.

-Don't pour the vinaigrette on the whole salad if you plan on having it for several meals. Store the vinaigrette separately so the salad doesn't get all wilted and soggy.

Enjoy! :)

Honey Rosemary Stuffed Pork Chops

I am a huge fan of stuffing chicken breasts or thick pork chops. You can literally throw together all kinds of fillings to go inside both kinds of meat. This is a new recipe that I tried and thought it was very tasty. I thought I would share it with all of you. This dish is quite filling, so it was served with a simple salad and some sliced oranges. I think some mashed spiced sweet potatoes might compliment this dish nicely.

Honey Rosemary Stuffed Pork Chops
Serves 4
Adapted from:

2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 1/2 cups granny smith apple - chopped
3 tablespoons local honey, divided
2 tablespoons toasted almond slices
2 teaspoons McCormick crushed rosemary, divided
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon McCormick garlic powder
4 boneless center-cut pork chops, 1-inch thick
1/4 teaspoon McCormick ground pepper
1/2 cup Chicken broth - reduced sodium

-In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil on medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes.
-Add apples to the skillet and cook for 5 more minutes or until slightly softened.
-Pour apples and onions mixture into a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of honey, the almonds, 1 teaspoon of rosemary, apple cider vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and garlic powder. Combine all ingredients until mixed thoroughly.
-Take each pork chop and cut a horizontal slit in the center of each to form a pocket. Spoon 1/4 cup of the mixture into each of the pork chops and secure with a toothpick to keep the filling from falling out during cooking process.
-Mix together the remaining teaspoon of rosemary with the remaining salt and pepper and coat all the pork chops evenly on both sides with the spices.
-In the nonstick skillet, add the additional tablespoon of oil and heat on medium high heat.
-Add pork chops and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side or until browned.
-In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey and chicken broth and blend together.
-Add the honey/broth combo to the skillet of chops. Cook an additional 5 minutes or until the pork is done.
-Remove pork chops and set aside to stay warm.
-In the skillet, cook the honey/broth mixture for an additional 3-4 minutes longer to thicken up and reduce some. You can poor this mixture on top of all the pork chops and serve.

Enjoy! :)