Saturday, February 27, 2010

Zuppa Tuscana Soup

5 stars

The first time I had this soup, my friend made it and brought some to work.. It was so yummy.  I had to wait about a year for her to make it again.  I finally asked her for the recipe because I like this soup that much.  I  hoped that I would be able to make it the same as she did. Im happy to announce that I think I pulled it off.
You will find this is super easy to make, with only about 5 ingredients. 


  • 64oz chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 16oz heavy cream
  • 5-8 small to med pototoes cubed
  • 1 med onion chopped
  • 2 bunches of kale
  • 1 1/2 packages seasoned or spicy hot Italian sausage

  1. In a large pot fill with water half full. Bring to boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt. Clean and cut your kale.  Add to boiling water. Boil for about 6-8 minutes.  Drain and set aside. 
  2. In a pan, add sausage by squeezing the it out of the skins.  Cook like you would ground beef.  Once done, drain off oil and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, add chicken broth and bring to boil. Add your cube potatoes and cook until done about 8 minutes.  Add onions and your cooked sausage, milk and heavy cream.  Cook for about 3 minutes on medium heat.  Add kale and cook for another 5 minutes. 
  4. Serve and enjoy! 


Friday, February 26, 2010

My Fried Rice

5 stars
 Fried Rice
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seads
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup matchsticks carrots chopped
  • 1 cup frozen sweet peas (or more I love these)
  • 5-6 cups cold cooked rice (this time I used 1/2 brown and 1/2 white)
  • 2 eggs scrambled
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Hoisin Sauce (or to taste.. it can be a bit spicy)
  • 2 teaspoon of ginger sauce (I used orange ginger grilling sauce it was fine)
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sesame seads, garlic and onion and saute until soft, then add carrots 2 tablespoons soy sauce and the other sauces and stir-fry for 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. Then add rice and stir thoroughly. Add more oil if needed.
  3. Finally, stir in scrambled eggs and frozen peas and 1/3 cup soy sauce, heat through and serve hot. 
Use cold rice, otherwise it will turn out very sticky.  Dont add peas in the begging or they get really wrinkled and over cooked.   Have fun with adding or substituting veggies and rice.  Asian tastes are with ginger, garlic and sesame.  You can use sesame oil instead of veggie oil.  Also add any meat you like, chicken, pork, steak or shrimp.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rice Balls

3.5 Stars

I got this recipe from the book Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. I've had this book for a few years now and have made a handful of recipes.  They have all been "okay" to "good".  The one thing that is deceptive about this cookbook is the time involved.  Her whole basis is to "hide" vegetables and fruit in dishes and desserts.  So, you need to factor in the time to cook/puree/store the ingredients needed for each recipe.

Yesterday, I spent basically the entire day doing the cook/puree/store part of the recipes.  It took me a little bit longer than average because I was taking care of my children (preschool/shopping/lunches/naps).  I would say to put at least an afternoon aside and get this done ahead of time so you don't have to prepare each puree right before you cook/bake.

Prep Time: She says 30 minutes, but it took me around 50.
Total:  She says 40, but it took me around 1 hour, 15 minutes
Serves 6 to 8, makes about 40 rice balls.  My version made about 20, so I guess my proportions were a bit off.

Rice Balls

1/2 c. short -grain brown rice (I made this the night before for our stir fry, so this was ready for lunch) or 1 c. leftover cooked rice
Cooking Spray
3 t. olive oil
1/4 lb. chicken cutlets, rinsed and dried
1 1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/2 c. sweet potato puree
1/4 c. shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
1/4 c. lowfat buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c. spinach, broccoli, or butternut squash puree (I used broccoli)
1 1/2 c. whole-wheat cracker crumbs or breadcrumbs. (I used regular breadcrumbs)

Cook the rice according to package directions.  Like I said, we had stir fry the night before so I just made more than usual and stored it overnight in the fridge.

While the rice is cooking, spray skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add 1 t. oil.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink in center. I went ahead and cut my chicken into strips before cooking to cut down on cooking time.

Cut chicken into small chunks and place them in a food processor or blender. Add the sweet potato puree, cheese, 1 t. salt, and buttermilk.  Blend until smooth.  Remove blade and mix in rice.  Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and place them on a sheet of waxed paper or aluminum foil.

In a shallow bowl, beat the egg and vegetable puree of your choice (I used broccoli) with a fork.  Put the crumbs in another bowl.  One at a time, dip the rice balls in the egg mixture, then roll them in the crumbs to make an even coating.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the remaining 2 t. of oil.  Add the rice balls and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally and spraying with cooking spray until browned and crisp all over.

Serve warm.

This recipe has the potential to be very good. Next time I'm going to use less chicken (I used 1 medium chicken breast), more cheese, and some red pepper flakes to add a bit of a "kick".  I'm also going to use some sort of dip. Maybe ranch dressing? Any ideas?

If you try this one, please let me know your thoughts or changes you would make.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Classic Stuffed Bell Peppers

5 stars

This is a long time favorite of mine. My mother made these when I was younger.  I only recently (well about 10 years ago) realized that these are actually very easy to make.  Before then, I would buy only the frozen ones. So if you are like me and think these are too hard to make for your family... keep reading!

I gave these 5 stars.. but really they deserve more than that. They have so much classic American flavor.  My entire family loves these so much.

  • 6 green bell peppers
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or mozzarella)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbs ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • water as needed  

  1. Cut the tops off the peppers, and remove the seeds. Cook peppers in boiling water for 8 minutes or steam peppers about 10 minutes; drain. Sprinkle salt inside each pepper, and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, saute beef and onions for 5 minutes, or until beef is browned. Drain off excess fat, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes, rice, 1/2 cup water and Worcestershire sauce. Cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (175 degrees C). Stuff each pepper with the beef/rice mixture, and place peppers open side up in a baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine tomato sauce, ketchup and basil. Spoon over the peppers.
  4. Bake covered for 25 to 35 minutes, until heated through. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies


Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies (Cholesterol Free)

I really was craving something sweet to eat, so started out looking for a recipe that was easy and something I had all the ingredients.  Chocolate chip cookies sounded good, then in the middle of looking for a good recipe, I started feeling guilty about them being bad for us. So I found a recipe and adjusted it with other ingredients that would be better for us. Like Ultra Grain all purpose flour.  It has 9 grams of whole grains and double the fiber.  I also opted to use egg beaters instead of real eggs. Egg beaters are about 1/2 the calories and no cholesterol.  I substituted the butter for vegetable shortening as well.  Vegetable shortening has no cholesterol and also has 50% less saturated fat than butter.  If I use this again, I will opt for the butter flavor though.. I think it would have tasted better.
I gave these 4 stars, because they did not taste exactly like chocolate chip cookies. You can taste the grains in the flour.. Which is not a bad thing, but different.  We like them, but we didn't love them, which is also a good thing LOL.  The kids love them I think. Tyler is on his 4th cookie.. I dont feel bad giving him them either. :)


1 cup vegitable shortening Crisco (butter flavored would be better)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup egg beaters
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups Ultra Grain all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp hot water
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, then stir in the vanilla.  Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour and chocolate chips.  Drop by large spoonfuls or roll balls and smash down.  I use non-stick foil.
Bake for about 10-13 minutes in preheated oven.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

German Leibniz bisquits topped with Nutella and strawberries

5 stars

I totally forgot about World Nutella day on Feb. 5th... but I still wanted to celebrate the day with this easy peazy yummy treat! Whats a few days late right?
My sister-in-law introduced this yummy combination on New Years and wow.. I could eat them all.. Even my husband was at first trying to say he was allergic to hazelnuts (which is mostly all nutella is besides the chocolate) until after I "made" him eat one, he wanted 3 more after that.. hahahhaha I love that the most as a parent and wife of a picky eater.  Having them think they will not like it, to really enjoying it and asking for more...
When I was younger, (middle school and high school age) my family and I lived in Europe. Nutella was very popular in Italy. We bought it all the time and ate it on white bread. I still do today, but not as much because I can easily eat the entire jar. :)  Sometimes in Italy, the Nutella was in fun jars and bowls for you to keep after the Nutella was all gone. My parents to this day still have a few of the bowls that it came in one year.

For this recipe you only need 3 things... well 4 things.
Nutella, Leibniz cookies, strawberries and a hungry mouth.  LOL

slicing  your strawberries is the most you will have to do.
lather your Nutella on the cookie, using as much as your heart desires.
Layer your strawberries on top and eat! Oh so yummy!

It is best to make them all at once, as many as you think is appropriate, then put everything away. If you leave everything out and make one at a time, you will easily look down and the entire jar of Nutella is gone along with all the strawberries and the cookies...


Philly Cheese Steak Dip

4 Stars

I made this dip for lunch today. I think it would be perfect for a party as an appetizer or a dish to pass at a pot luck.

I did have to alter the original recipe a bit by adding a little milk. I think next time I'll also add a bit more provolone cheese (1.5 cups).

This is best served very hot because when the cheese starts to cool down, it makes it hard to dip on the cracker.


1/2 c. chopped onions
1/2 c. green bell pepper
1/2 c. Italian dressing
1 c. shredded provolone cheese (I'm adding 1.5 cups next time)
1 -8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 lb. finely sliced roast beef, chopped
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Splash of Milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place onion, green pepper, and Italian dressing in large skillet over medium heat.

Cook and stir for 5 minutes until the onion is soft and has turned translucent.  About 5-7 minutes.

Add Provolone cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.  Stir until the cheese is melted.

Remove the skillet from heat and pour mixture into an oven safe dish.  Stir in chopped roast beef. You may have to add a little milk at this point to thin out the mixture a bit.  Only a splash, be conservative.

Bake for 25 minutes until cheese is bubbly and it is heated through.

Serve on crackers, toasted bread, or bagel chips, or Melba toast.

I used roasted garlic Melba toast and I liked the extra flavor the garlic added to the dip.



Thursday, February 4, 2010

Homemade Oreo Cookies

5 Stars

I'm calling these homemade oreo cookies because they look like them, but they taste very different. They are soft, gooey goodness.

I started looking for this recipe after reading a blog about homemade oreos. I googled and didn't find anything. Then, tonight, while looking around Bakerella, I saw this recipe for easy Valentine treats. I had the red velvet cake, but my husband wanted chocolate, so I went with that and I'm so happy I did!

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Cookie Ingredients:
1 Box Cake Mix (any flavor, I used fudgy chocolate)
2 Eggs
1/2 c. butter (room temperature)

Mix together until combined. If you have a stand mixer, use it. I only have a cheap hand mixer and this mix was almost the death of my trusty friend.

Measure out mixture into even balls. I used a tea spoon to measure and just hand rolled them or you could use an ice cream scoop.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until done. I like mine on the softer side, so I baked them for 10 minutes.

Cool completely.

Filling Ingredients:
1/2 c. butter (room temperature)
1- 8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature, I used 1/3 less fat version)
1- 1 lb. box of confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix butter, cream cheese, and vanilla together until creamy. Once again, if you have a stand mixer, use it. I used my little hand mixer that could and it was fine. Add sugar in slowly until smooth.

Take two similar size cookies. Place a small amount of icing in the middle and press together until icing is even with the sides.

Make sure you can share these with someone. They are very rich, but too good to keep only for yourself!



Monday, February 1, 2010

Easy Peasy Peacy Crunch Cake

5 stars

Man this cake is easy.. No mixing required.. What? No mixing? Was that a typo? NOPE!  NO MIXING!!
If you have not yet visited bakerella before.. do so after you read this post.  I love going to blog and seeing all the creations that are so picture perfect.. But when I found this ever so easy recipe.. I had to try it.. and it will have been the first thing I have made from here webblog.. Mostly because its all so intimidating. Her webblog is here.
Now I had to bake in my NU Wave, cause my darn oven is still not fixed.. and I keep forgetting that its broke when I buy stuff to make in it.. This really should be made in a large shallow pan... This did ok in the NU-wave, but had to cook way longer as well. 

Start with layer of peaches, then add your cake mix ontop of peaches.
Then add pads of butter...
Oh and then the yummy brown sugar.. You know right off this is going to be good with all this brown sugar on top of that butter. 

Add the nuts

Then bake... do not need to have a lid on it, but as you an see Im using the NuWave oven and was not sure about the browning part too soon.

Then serve with vanilla ice cream!! This was the perfect sweet treat! 

Easy Peasy Peacy Crunch Cake
24.5 oz jar of sliced peaches in light syrup
1 package yellow cake mix
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), cut into 16 pieces
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Layer ingredients in a 13 X 9 dish, in order starting with the peaches.
Bake for about 40 minutes.
Serve warm with ice cream...