Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Typically I would make this recipe with a rotisserie chicken and serve it on a croissant, but this week chicken was ridiculously expensive and I could not find croissants, anywhere. So, I turned to the next best thing, canned chicken and Farmhouse Hearty White Bread by Pepperidge Farm.
Surprisingly, it was delicious and very inexpensive. 

For lunch the next day, I served the chicken salad as a full sandwich on toasted bread. Yum!

Ingredients (Serves 6)
2 (12.5 oz) cans chicken, drained well
2 celery stalks, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 tablespoon dill
1/2 cup miracle whip or mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Romaine Lettuce
Croissant, or your favorite bread

In a large bowl combine the first 8 ingredients and mix well to combine. 
Lay a leaf of romaine lettuce onto a piece of bread and spoon the mixture on top.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hungry Girl's-Stuffed Cabbage-Put to the Test

I have been on a healthy eating kick for quite sometime now. I'm down five pounds, which I'm very happy about.  This past week I decided to try something I've never made before, stuffed cabbage.  Food Network aired a Hungry Girl episode that featured Floosh's Stuffed Cabbage, which I thought would be extremely easy and delicious. It had ingredients that I like, so why not give it a try.

First of all, the recipe was fairly easy to make. Time consuming, but easy.  When it came to eating it, I was not a fan.  Anyone who knows me well, I don't like weird textures. At all!! Just by looking at the finished product, I knew I was not going to like it. It had to be one of the worst ones I've had in awhile.

Don't get me wrong, the flavors were very tasty, but the moment I started to chew it, I wanted to gag. I didn't even finish my first bite, and I threw the rest of the food away. Hubby wouldn't dare come near it.

If I were to make this recipe again I would try something different with the sauce.  The marinara sauce practically reduced down to water.  There were only a few chunks left of actual tomato, that you see in the picture.  I would also cook the ground turkey first before making the cabbage rolls.  That may help with the mushy texture that was in my mouth.

For the full recipe of Floosh's Stuffed Cabbage and to try it for yourself, please visit Hungry Girl

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Crispy Bean Burritos

The perfect indulgence I've been looking for, without ruining my healthy eating. Crispy, cheesy and spicy! Now, only if the greasy-extra cheese pizza craving would go away. 

At $1.25 per serving, you can't go wrong.

Ingredients (Serves 8)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup cooked white or brown rice
1 cup chopped, seeded tomatoes
1 teaspoon chili pepper
3/4 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
8 flour or whole wheat tortillas, burrito size
sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute garlic and onions until onions are slightly translucent. 

Reduced heat to medium-low and add the corn and tomatoes. Cook for 1-2 minutes.  

Stir in the pinto beans, rice and chili pepper. Cook for another five minutes.  Stirring occasionally.

I just love all those beautiful colors! 

Line 2 baking sheets with tin foil or spray lightly with cooking spray.

Start assembling your burritos! Spoon some of the mixture down the center of each tortilla and sprinkle the top with cheese. This is where you would want to add the sour cream if you'd like some, or keep it on the side of dipping!

Begin rolling them into burritos, folding in the sides first.  If you've ever worked a Chipotle Mexican Grill or Qdoba, you probably have some mad burrito rolling skills!

Once all the burritos have been made, place them in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the edges begin to brown and get crispy.  

Let them cool for a few minutes before devouring.  Trust me! No one likes a burnt tongue. 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Campbell's Broccoli and Pasta Bianco-Put to the Test

For our Sunday dinner this past week, I put Campbell's Broccoli and Pasta Bianco to the test. We both thought it turned out great. However, there were some parts of the dish where I tasted a lot of Cream of Mushroom Soup, which I didn't care for. Other than that, it was fantastic.
This recipe was finished within minutes of Hubby coming back inside from walking the dog. He was shocked how fast I made an alfredo sauce. I had to break it to him it wasn't your typical alfredo sauce, but it fooled him!
Next time I make this, I may try it with Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup and see how it works.  

For busy families, this recipe would be great as a week day meal. There was no fuss, it's inexpensive, and is on the table in under 45 minutes!

6 cups uncooked penne pasta
4 cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets
1 can Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Add the broccoli for the last 4 minutes of cooking time.

Drain the pasta mixture well in a colander. 

Stir the soup, milk and black pepper in a 2-quart shallow baking dish.

Stir in the pasta mixture, 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.

Top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the pasta mixture is hot and bubbling and the cheese is melted.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sweet Italian Sausage and Pepper Skillet

1 package of Sweet Italian Sausage Links
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon basil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook Sweet Italian Sausage Links according to package directions.  Cut into slices and keep warm.

In a large skillet over medium heat cook peppers for about 5 minutes, covered.  Stir in the entire can of tomatoes, sausages, basil.  Cover and cook until the tomato sauce begins to boil.  Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper if desired.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

My Almost First #Disney Experience

My best friend was finally coming to Florida! The last time I seen her, we were crying and hugging goodbye in a Noodles parking lot. So, we were very excited she was coming to Disney with her boyfriend.

The first time I was at Disney was when I was about 6 years old, so I didn't remember anything about it, which made me even more excited to spend this time with them.

Hubby and I were only able to get away for two days, leaving us time for one park, Epcot.

I was sure to take plenty of pictures of my almost first Disney experience with my best friends.

We all stayed at the All Star Sports Resort, where we were greeted with these adorable Mickey heads on our beds. A perfect welcome to Disney! 
When Hubby and I first arrived in Disney, Ashley and Andy were still at a park, so we ventured down to Downtown Disney.  We walked around the shops and walked up to Ghirardelli!! We both were so happy to see it there. He had their Root Beer Float and I had a Caramel Mocha Frappuccino . I absolutely love anything carmel made by Ghirardelli. On our way back to the buses we stopped in their gift shop and picked up some free chocolates and hot chocolate. YUM!! 

After a few cocktails in the hotel room we had
more cocktails at Planet Hollywood.
Oh and some dinner. Which wasn't as impressive as the drinks. 

Ashley and Andy had a BIG cocktail at the bar. Woah. 

The next morning we headed to Epcot where I was greeted by this adorable duck.  So cute!

And some pretty impressive flowers.

We made it to Mexico. Beautiful. 

Donald was there. He was so funny with the kids! Ashley, Andy and I had pictures taken with him.
He gave Ashley and I kisses. <3

Hubby and I. What a hunk. 

More beautiful landscaping.

Japan and France were outstanding.

Pooh Bear! He was my favorite growing up.
Still is. 

Luckily we ran into him.
Tiger and Pooh were so much fun, and had us laughing
hysterically. At least I was. Tiger kept kissing me
 and purring at me. Ashley looks terrified of Pooh. haha!!
 We couldn't take any of this seriously.
Just a bunch of grown ups, acting like kids.
Even Hubby got some love from Tiger after we were done taking pictures.
He blushed!

We ended our trip around the world at the ball.
Where we kept getting stuck in the past.  Literally.
The ride kept breaking down. 3 times to be exact. But we still had fun with it.

Lastly, we ended our mini vacation with a sunset after dinner Downtown.
It was hard to say goodbye to Ashley and Andy again, but it won't be for long!

In the end we ate too much, laughed a lot, and created amazing memories that will last a lifetime.  Spending this time with Ashley was exactly what I needed.

Thanks for everything Disney! I'll be back soon!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bean and Cheese Quesadillas

Last weekend, I decided to take a different approach to the quesadilla than I normally do. It was a bold move on my part. 

Beans are something I would never add to a meal if I wanted Hubby to eat it.  But I did it, and he LOVED it!

This recipe was so easy and inexpensive, I'm adding it to my go to meals. 

Ingredients Serves (5-10 people)
1 package of 6 or 8 inch flour tortillas 
1 (14oz) can refried beans
1/2 cup salsa or picante sauce
1 cup shredded monterrey jack cheese. 

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a bowl, combine refried beans and salsa/picante sauce.

Lay tortillas on to a baking sheet. Spread 1/8 cup on to each tortilla and sprinkle with cheese.  Place another tortilla over the cheese and press down gently.  Spray the tops with cooking spray or brush with water.  

Bake in the oven to 10-15 minutes, or until the center is hot and cheese is melted. 

Let stand 3-5 minutes before cutting into triangles.  

Serve with salsa, guacamole and sour cream for dipping. (Optional)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Apple Granola Crumble

This past week I picked up a bag of granola so Hubby and I could start adding it to our yogurts in the morning.  I never thought I would get addicted! Even Hubby mentioned how good it is (score!).  Anything I can do to get more protein (10 grams per serving!) into our diets, I'm for it.  Now, I'm finding myself wanting to put it on anything and everything! I came across this recipe on Pinterest and decided to try it.

The original recipe called for 6 hours of cooking time in the slow cooker.  Mine was done in 3-4 hours. It is a delicious and a wonderful healthy treat to snack on!

2 Granny Smith Apples
1 cup granola
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Peel, core and dice both of the apples.  Place inside of a slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients and stir. Cook for 3-4 hours.

Once the apples have softened, place the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with tin foil.  Let cool completely before enjoying.

This recipe can be stored in an air tight container up to 3 days, in the refrigerator.

Recipe adapted from VEGAN IN THE FREEZER

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

From the Archives: Transforming the Chocolate Chip Cookie

A basic chocolate chip cookie dough recipe transformed into a bar. These bars are great to make sundaes with for Friday night sleepovers, as a treat in your children's lunches, or all to yourself. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix butter, brown sugar and granulated white sugar until combined.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix together.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt.  Add to wet ingredients in batches, mixing gently after each addition.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Thoroughly grease and flour 9x13-inch baking pan.  Spread cookie dough into the pan, spreading out the surface.

Bake for 15-18 minutes until done.  Allow to cool in the pan.

Monday, May 5, 2014

How to Make Your Meat Last

Budgeting seems to be on everyone's minds these days, especially when it comes to buying groceries. Coupons are a great way to pinch those pennies on toilet paper and shampoo, but what about it when it comes to buying meat. Not many retailers have coupons we can use on meat, like ground beef.
Starting with these simple tips, we can make our meats stretch a little further and in long run end up using less and buying less.
Don't be afraid to experiment with more expensive, healthier meats, like ground turkey. I've recently switched to buying ground turkey. My family and I couldn't be happier with the change.  We can't tell the difference. Plus, I no longer have to fuss over trying to drain all the grease out of the pan. It's wonderful!

Sweet potato puree (1/4 cup per pound)- Adds extra nutrition and sweetness. Sweet potato puree will not discolor the meat, so your family will not know it is there.

Beans (1/4 cup per pound)- Mashed pinto beans will provide you with an excellent source of protein and fiber. Plus, they are similar in color and texture to the ground beef, which will help you hide the extra nutrition from your family.  Beans would be a great addition in making tacos, burritos, casseroles, meatloafs or shepherd's pie.

Quick Oats or Cooked Brown Rice (1/4 cup per pound)- Either one you choose will not affect the texture or color.  And both, will provide you with fiber.

Whole wheat bread crumbs- Begin with 1/4 to 1/2 cup per pound of ground beef, and mix in by hand when the meat is still raw.  Bread crumbs are great for making meatloafs, meatballs, and hamburgers.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

5 Tough Stains and How to Remove Them

For the next few weeks I will be posting tips, tricks, and life hacks that can be useful to everyone.  Once Hubby and I are moved into our new place, I will get back to the crafts and recipes. Until then, enjoy the helpful tips!