Sunday, January 27, 2013

Italian Chicken Sausage Tortelloni Soup


1 pound of Italian chicken sausage
1 medium white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1.5 cups water
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pound package fresh cheese tortelloni
6 oz. fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried or fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground
1 cup frozen broccoli 
shredded Parmesan cheese


1.  Crumble sausage into a Dutch oven; add onion. Cook and stir over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the chicken broth, water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. 
2.  Add tortelloni; return to a boil. Cook for 7-9 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; add the spinach, herbs, and black pepper. Add frozen broccoli with 5 minutes remaining.  Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spicy Chipotle Turkey Burgers


1 pound 99% lean ground turkey
1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon Chipotle sauce (I use Cholula hot sauce)
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sea salt, ground
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1 egg white, beaten
pepper jack cheese, sliced
romaine lettuce
fresh tomato, sliced thin
fresh avocado, sliced OR smashed
additional Cholula hot sauce
4-5 whole wheat hamburger buns


1.  Heat your grill to medium-high.
2.  Mix together: ground turkey, onion, cilantro, Chipotle/Cholula, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, garlic & onion powders, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.  Add beaten egg white and mix thoroughly.  The egg helps "hold" together the lean meat.
3.  Prepare a surface or carrying container for your burger patties by coating the surface with non-stick spray.  I lined a cookie sheet with foil, sprayed it, and then laid my formed burger patties on.
4.  Form turkey mixture into patties and lightly coat with non-stick spray.
5.  Grill burgers for 6-7 minutes per side.
6.  While grilling, prepare condiments: wash and cut romaine into bun-sized portions, slice tomato thinly, along with avocado.  I chose to smash my avocado and spread it on the buns instead of slicing and placing on top of burger, which seemed to avoid the "slippage" factor when eating the burger.
7.  Toast buns on top rack of grill, or in your oven using the "broil" setting.
8.  When your burgers are cooked, top with pepper jack cheese, tomato, romaine, avocado, and maybe a sprinkle more of Cholula or Chipotle sauce :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Baked Chicken Chimichangas/Santa Fe Chicken Salad Wraps

I LOVE chimichangas, but I don't love that they're fried so I was really excited when I found a recipe for baked chimichangas. However, most of the ingredients were pretty basic. Then I found a recipe for Santa Fe Chicken Salad wraps, and thought they sounded delicious. So, I altered the chicken salad a bit and made baked chimichangas out of them! Below are the directions for both the chimichangas and the wraps.

    • 2/3 cup nonfat, plain yogurt
    • 3 tablespoons lime juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 - 2 tablespoon minced cilantro
    • 2 – 3 green onions, sliced thin
    • 2 cups shredded chicken
    • 2/3 cup black beans
    • 1/3 cup corn kernels
    • Tortillas
    • Olive Oil
    • Diced tomatoes, sour cream, and guacamole for topping (chimichangas only)

    • If you are making wraps, you will also need:
    • 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 stalk celery, diced
    • 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
    • Salad Greens or Baby Spinach and avocado slices for garnish

    • Directions for chimichangas:
    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Spoon mixture into tortillas, fold them, and place in a greased pan. Brush chimichangas with olive oil. With oven rack on second slot from the top, bake the chimichangas for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Top with diced tomatoes, sour cream, and guacomole.

    • Directions for wraps:
    • Combine all ingredients and place in tortilla. Top with mixed greens or spinach and sliced avocado.

    • I can't vouch for the wraps since I haven't actually made them, but judging from the chimichangas (which were delicious) I will definitely give them a whirl this summer!

Recipe adapted from 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mama Marsh's Sweet n' Sour Green Beans


  • 4 cups fresh green beans
  • 4 strips bacon (I used turkey bacon)
  • 1/2 c chopped onions
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T white vinegar


  1. Boil water in large stock pot.
  2. Cook green beans in boiling water 8-10 minutes.  Drain.
  3. While cooking beans, in saucepan, cook bacon and onion until bacon is crisp and onions are tender.
  4. Mix together cooked beans, bacon/onion mix, vinegar, and brown sugar.
  5. Serve.
I am seriously addicted to this green bean recipe.  Mama Marsh first made this for me while we were in Hawaii and I fell in love.  MOVE OVER GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE!  I made these for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a handful of other times just for our family.  They satisfy a million different flavor and texture cravings.  Seriously delicious and major thanks to Lynda Marsh for sharing the recipe with me!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Kool Aid Play Dough

  • 1 c flour
  • 1/4 c salt
  • 2 T Cream of Tartar
  • 1 c warm water
  • 1 T oil
  • 2 packages Kool-Aid (I choose flavor based on the colors I want)

  1. In a medium sauce pan, add all ingredients and mix together thoroughly.
  2. Cook on medium heat while stirring constantly.
  3. Your dough will begin to form and change consistency.
  4. When the dough has changed all the way through (just takes a couple minutes), remove from heat.
  5. Knead for about 30 seconds.
  6. Store in an airtight container.  Play Dough keeps a few weeks.

My helper measuring out the flour

Mix ingredients well in sauce pan (Lime flavor)

When dough changes consistency, remove from heat (Orange flavor)

Knead for about 30 seconds 

Clean up your helper and cooking station! :)
So, although this isn't technically a "food", it still qualifies for the blog because I actually have a recipe for it!  This is the best play dough recipe I have found yet.  It smells good and most importantly has a smooth texture.  I made this for years when Emma was little and now again that Owen is a toddler.  We made 4 batches in less than half an hour from start to clean up, and as you can see from the picture, Owen wasn't exactly helping things along :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Banana "Ice Cream"

This picture is looking straight into my blender!  Thick and creamy!
  • 4 bananas (the more ripe the better)
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (you could use any milk, maybe add a teaspoon of vanilla to regular milk or vanilla soy milk)
  • 4 T Chocolate syrup (optional) - you could also use other toppings like chocolate chips, nuts, etc.
  1. Slice bananas in advance and lay out on cookie sheet or cutting board and freeze solid.  Slices can be touching, but not in stacks.
  2. Blend bananas and milk in blender (or food processor) until smooth and creamy.
  3. Top with toppings and serve immediately.  Melts fast!
Ummm... this has to be one of my favorite recipes to date.  My whole family freaked out over it.  It can serve 4 smaller bowls (125 calories + topping) or split between 2 for larger servings (250 calories + topping).  It's seriously just bananas and milk.  The only downside is that you have to think ahead and freeze the banana... or wait for your bananas to ripen.  After you taste this, you will see why waiting at all is definitely a downside!  I can see why the bananas need to be sliced before being frozen as this is a bit of an initial load on the blender as it gets started mixing.  Probably need a beefier blender or use a food processor on this one. This is a recipe I found and modified off of Pinterest.  DELICIOUS!!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies


1/4 cup butter
3 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup peanut butter

  1. In large saucepan, mix sugar, margarine, and milk; bring to a full, rolling boil over med heat. (full, rolling boil = large bubbles rising to surface that can't be stirred down).
  2. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until peanut butter is melted; stir in oats.
  4. Working quickly, drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper and let cool and set-up completely.  You can expedite this process by refrigerating the cookies.

Blackened Cod Caesar Salad

Ingredients for rub:
3 tablespoons paprika (I used smoked)
1 teaspoon dried, crushed thyme leaf
1 teaspoon dried, crushed oregano
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Other ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 filets of Alaskan cod
2 heads of romaine, chopped
1 ripe avocado, cut into small chunks
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
Caesar salad dressing (I used store-bought)

1. Prepare the rub by mixing together all of the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, using a whisk.
2. Coat each fish filet with olive oil and then roll each filet in the dry rub mixture and add to a skillet or fry pan on medium heat. Cook fish evenly on each side until just before it is tender and flaky. Finish by raising temperature to high heat long enough to produce smoke - to "blacken" the fish. Remove from pan.
3. While fish is cooking, chop romaine, avocado, and tomatoes and place in a large serving bowl.
4. When fish is done, top your salad with fish, Parmesan cheese, croutons, and dressing just before serving.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Crockpot Spicy Turkey Chili

Olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 onion, chopped or sliced
1 can diced tomatoes with jalapeños
1 can each of black, kidney and chickpeas, drained and rinsed
14 oz of low-sodium non-fat chicken broth
Salt and cumin to taste
1/8 cup Chalula Sauce
1 jalapeño or Serrano pepper, chopped

1. Heat oil on medium-high. Sauté onion for about five minutos, or until transluscent. Add the turkey and brown.
2. Combine the tomatoes with juice, beans, broth, Chalula, and spices in your crockpot.
3. Simmer on low setting for 6-8 hours.
Serve with shredded colby/jack cheese and Trader Joe's whole kernel cornbread :)

This recipe comes from my super sweet friend, Melissa! She originally found the chili recipe in the Men's Health magazine.

Chicken and Quinoa Almond Salad


2 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1 1/2 cups quinoa/brown rice blend
non-fat cooking spray
1 pound skinless/boneless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1/4 cup fresh basil

1/4 cup pear vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil  

 1. Steam quinoa/brown rice combo with chicken broth according to your steamer's instructions.

 2. Heat saucepan to medium-high and coat with cooking spray. Filet chicken breasts and add to pan with salt, pepper, and basil. Cook on each side until done. Let cool and then chop into bite-sized pieces.
3. Prepare dressing: combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Gradually add olive oil, stirring with whisk to blend.
 4. Combine steamed quinoa, celery, carrots, cranberries, and red onion in a large bowl. Add dressing, toss gently to coat. Cover and chill for at least an hour. Top with toasted, slivered almonds just before serving.

Crockpot Chicken Stroganoff


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 cup chopped white or yellow onion
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. sliced mushrooms (2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
1 cup lower-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
8 oz. non-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 cups whole wheat spiral noodles  

1. Clean and cut chicken breasts into small chunks. Place chicken and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in a crockpot, stirring well.
2. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup, level. Place flour in small bowl, gradually add chicken broth, stir with a whisk until blended. Add broth mixture to crockpot slowly, stir well. Cover with lid, cook on high setting for 1 hour. Reduce to low setting and cook 5 hours. Add whole wheat noodles and cook for 1 more hour on low. Let stroganoff stand 10 minutes and then stir in Greek yogurt.

Another option is to boil the noodles separately and add with the Greek yogurt just before serving.  

From Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight

Winter Minestrone


Olive oil
2 cooked, cubed chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups (1/2-inch) diced carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups (1/2-inch) diced celery (3 stalks)
2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) diced peeled butternut squash (I buy this pre-cut at Costco)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
2-3 Tbsp thyme
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, with juice
6 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth
1 bay leaf 
Kosher salt 
Freshly ground black pepper
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, undrained
2 cups cooked small pasta (I used ditalini) 
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons pesto
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add theonions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.

Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, chicken, the bay leaf, 1 Tbsp salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans, wine, pesto, and cooked pasta and heat through. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese just before eating.

*The original recipe called for 8-10 oz spinach leaves, added at the end. I'm not a huge fan of wilted spinach in my soup, so I opted to leave it out.

Recipe adapted from 

Cranberry Blissful Bars

A white- chocolate cranberry blondies recipe that is very reminiscent of Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars.  

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
 2. Prepare the blondie layer: In a medium bowl, melt butter for one minute in the microwave; stir in brown sugar. Scrape the butter & sugar into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Use an electric mixer to beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; gradually add the dry mixture to the butter mixture. Stir in the cranberries and chopped chocolate (the batter will be thick).
3. Spread the blondie batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool completely on a wire rack.
 4. Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well-blended. Gradually add half of the melted white chocolate; beat until blended. Frost brownies. Sprinkle with cranberries. Drizzle with remaining melted white chocolate. Cut into bars- square or triangle-shaped. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Tips: *If you'd like to add an orange flavor to these bars, add 1 tablespoon grated orange zest to the frosting.

Source: (Adapted slightly from Taste of Home)

Turkey Sliders



  • 2 pounds ground turkey, 85/15 blend
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup minced green onion, (about 1 scallion)
  • 1 or 2 serrano peppers, minced, to taste
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Emeril's Southwestern Essence
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar
  • 12 mini burger buns or small soft dinner rolls, warmed in oven
  • 12 small lettuce leaves
  • 12 slices tomato
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • Mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup, optional


Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
In a large bowl, combine ground turkey with minced red onion, green onion, peppers, egg whites, Essence, cumin and Worcestershire sauce. Divide the turkey into 12 equal portions and, using your hands, shape into 12 small burgers about 3 1/2-inches wide.
Place the burgers on the grill and cook until turkey is done and a thermometer inserted into the center registers 165 degrees F, about 3 minutes per side.
Serve the burgers with cheese on the mini buns with lettuce, tomato, thinly sliced red onions and avocado, garnished with mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup to your liking.

Blue Chicken Paninis

  • 1/4 cup fig jam
  • 1 (8-ounce) ciabatta, cut lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 8 ounces sliced cooked chicken breast
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups arugula leaves (I used mixed baby greens)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 


  1. Spread jam over cut side of top half of bread. Combine cheese and butter in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Spread cheese mixture over cut side of bottom half of bread. Arrange chicken evenly over cheese mixture; sprinkle with pepper. Place top half of bread, jam side down, over chicken.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add sandwich to pan. Place a heavy cast-iron skillet on sandwich; cook 5 minutes or until both sides are browned, turning once.
  3. Place arugula in a bowl. Drizzle juice over arugula; toss gently. Remove top bread half from sandwich. Arrange arugula mixture over chicken. Replace top bread half. Cut sandwich into 4 equal portions.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Balsamic Bruchetta Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed (I use the big Costco bag)
Pinch of salt
¼ Cup balsamic vinegar
¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil
8 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
4 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and diced
8 fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled and thinly sliced into chiffonade
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat a grill pan over medium heat on the stove top. Spray with cooking spray. Combine balsamic and olive oil in a bowl. Season both sides of chicken with pinches of salt and place on grill. Brush top sides of chicken with balsamic mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes and flip chicken. Brush with additional balsamic and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until cooked through. During the last 2 minutes of grilling place 2 slices of cheese over top each chicken to melt.
2. In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, basil garlic, salt and balsamic. Toss gently to combine. Place chicken breasts on a serving plate and top with tomato mixture. Serve warm.

Recipe and photo from

Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 4 chicken breasts (about 2 pounds) 
Salt and pepper 
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup honey 
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil 
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water 
2 packets minute rice, optional 
1/2 tablespoon (or more) sesame seeds
3 scallions, chopped

Place chicken in Crock Pot and lightly season both sides with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine onion, garlic, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, oil and red pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3-4 hours, or high for 2 hours.

Remove chicken to a cutting board, leaving sauce. Shred chicken into bite-sized pieces; set aside. Prepare rice according to package instructions.

In a small bowl, dissolve 4 teaspoons cornstarch in 1/3 cup water; add to crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce. Cover and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Add cooked rice to 4 plates, top with chicken and spoon sauce over top. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds and chopped scallions.

Recipe and photo from 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Moroccan Stuffed Acorn Squash


  • 5 acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise with seeds and pulp removed
  • 1 1/2 c quinoa
  • 3 c chicken stock
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground turkey (I used chicken breakfast sausage)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t ground tumeric
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 10 oz package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 t salt
  • Optional garnish: 1 T chutney per serving (I used Major Grey's)


  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Place squash cut side down on two large cookie sheets sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake for 40 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, place quinoa and chicken stock in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes or so until all water is absorbed and quinoa is tender.
  3. Place onion and ground turkey in a large nonstick skillet and use a spoon to break up ground turkey.  Heat over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes or until the turkey is browned and cooked through and onions are tender.  Add garlic, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg and cook one additional minute, stirring frequently.  Add spinach and stir until well combined.
  4. In a large bowl, stir cooked quinoa, turkey mixture, raisins, lemon juice, and salt until well mixed.  Pile mixture evenly into cooked squash (top with chutney if desired) and ENJOY!
This recipe comes from and is one that will definitely be a repeater.  Each half of a filled squash is not only packed with nutritious ingredients, but weighs in at just about 350 calories.  So it's a perfect, healthy dinner option jam packed with exciting flavors. My foodie girlfriend, Tessa, recommended the chutney topping, which for my tastebuds was absolutely perfect! Enjoy!