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Monday, December 19, 2011

Mom's Famous Peanut Butter Balls

My mom has been making these forever and they are always a huge hit!  They are simply delicious, and the recipe makes a ton so they're great for a cookie party or for Christmas favors.

Makes about 5 dozen


1 stick butter
2 cups plain creamy peanut butter
1 box powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 large pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 stick parrafin wax


Set butter out to soften.  Mix butter with peanut butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.  Form into small balls (smaller than a golfball) and chill.  In a double-boiler, melt chocolate chips and wax.  Dip balls into chocolate mixture with a toothpick and set aside on wax paper.  Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Mmmmm......mouthwatering.  A perfect holiday treat!


1 Block white chocolate
1 Large, or 25 small red white and green striped candy canes, crushed into small pieces


Heat white chocolate in a double broiler over low heat until it is all melted.  Add crushed candy cane to the chocolate.  Make sure chocolate stays warm.  Pour mixture onto wax paper-lined cookie sheet, spreading thin with a spatula.  Place cookie sheet in freezer until the mixture has hardened.

Take out of freezer and crack into small pieces.  Remove was paper and store at room temperature.  (I like frozen chocolate, so I keep mine in a freezer bag and store in the freezer).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cauliflower and Sprouts O'Gratin with Bacon

YUM.  What a delicious side dish!  I paired this with some juicy filets and it was absolutely heavenly!!  This recipe makes a huge amount (9x13" pan casserole), but you can alter to your liking.

Serves 10 - 12 (as a side dish)


1 1/2 Lbs brussel sprouts, trimmed and quartered lengthwise through core
1 1/2 Lb head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
2 3/4 Cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 Cup chopped shallots
1 Tbsp fresh chopped sage
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 Cup pine nuts, chopped and toasted
2 Tbsp fresh chopped italian parsley
1 1/2 Cups fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 Cups fresh grated romano cheese


Preheat oven to 375.

Wash and trim sprouts and cauliflower.  Place vegetables in a buttered 9x13" dish.  Set aside.

Combine cream, shallots, and sage in a saucepan.  Boil, then reduce heat and simmer until mixture is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over med heat.  Add breadcrumbs; stir until slightly brown, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to bowl and cool.  Toss with pinenuts, parsley and bacon.

Sprinkle vegetables with salt and pepper, then pour the cream mixture evenly over veggies.  Add romano and parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.

Uncover, top with breadcrumb mixture and bake uncovered another 10 - 15 minutes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chicken Parmigiana

A quick and easy, warm and comfy dish!  Serve with angel hair pasta, spaghetti squash (shown above) or a slice of garlic bread. 

Serves 4


4 large chicken cutlets
Store bought marinara (or ingredients and recipe below)
3/4 Cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 Cup Olive oil
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 Cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 Box whole wheat angel hair pasta

For marinara:

1 28oz can tomato sauce
1 28oz can diced or stewed tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small onion, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 Cup dry red wine
2 Tsp dried oregano
2 Tsp dried parsley flakes
1 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 Bay leaves
Salt & Pepper

To make chicken:

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Brush chicken with olive oil, and coat both sides with breadcrumbs.  In a skillet, cook chicken over med-high heat about 3 minutes on each side, until breadcrumbs are just toasted.

Place chicken in a 9x13" pan.  Top with shredded mozzarella, then pour marinara sauce over, and then top with parmesan.  Place in oven and bake until cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Cook pasta, and serve on the side, topped with marinara.

To make marinara sauce:

Cook olive oil and onions in a medium sized pot over low heat until translucent.  Add garlic.  Simmer for a minute.  Add in sauce, tomatoes, basil, wine, bay leaves and seasonings.  Simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Remove bay leaves before serving.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Haricots Verts and Grape Tomato Salad with Creme Fraiche Dressing

This recipe was absolutely fantastic.  I was practically scraping the bowl of the remaining green beans!  So delicious and simple! 

Serves 4


1 Lb haricots verts, trimmed (or petite green beans)
1/4 Cup finely chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp minced shallots
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp creme fraiche (they didn't have it at Publix, so I used reduced fat sour cream)
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 Tsp salt
1 Pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tbsp toasted pine nuts (I didn't have any so I used toasted slivered almonds)


Cook beans in boiling water for 2 minutes, until crisp-tender.  Soak beans in ice cold water, drain.

Combine basil and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add beans and tomatoes; toss gently to coat.  Top with toasted nuts.  Serve cold/room temp.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sweet and Chunky Applesauce

This is a sweet recipe, and is delicious served hot or cold.  It is a versatile dish and would pair well with pork, steak, with cheese as a snack, on its own, or even hot on top of vanilla ice cream!  It was easy to prepare, and quite a tasty dish on a cool night.

Serves 4


4 Large Honeycrisp, Gala or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Apple Pie Spice

1.  Melt margarine in a pan over low-med heat.  Add chopped apples.  Add remaining ingredients.  Continue to stir on low-med heat until apples are soft, about 10-15 minutes.

2.  For a chunky version, use a potato masher and mash up the apples.  For a smoother consistency, place in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Serve warm or cold.  To make applesauce without the spices, leave out the vanilla and apple pie spice, and use half the amount of brown sugar and cinnamon.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Skirt Steak Chimichurri Cha Cha Cha!

I'm sure everyone has their own recipe for this, but incase you don't, here is a DELICIOUS, quick and SUPER EASY recipe!  This was seriously soooooo good and soooooo easy.  Enjoy!

Serves 4


1.5 Lb Angus Skirt Steak (or enough for 4 people)
1 Cup packed italian flat leaf parsley
1/2 Cup packed fresh cilantro
1/3 Cup red wine vinegar
1/2 Cup olive oil
2 Garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp crushed red pepper
2 Tsp fresh lime juice
1 Tsp lime zest


Turn on the grill to medium-high heat.  While grill heats, make the marinade by placing all ingredients (parsley through lime zest) into a blender or food processor.  Grate until it becomes a thick sauce.  Set aside.

Pat steaks dry and season with salt and pepper.  Grill steaks about 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-rare.  (Cook to your desired temp). 

Top steaks with chimichurri sauce and serve hot.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Raspberry Chipotle Marinade

Yep!  This is STORE BOUGHT!  No need for cooking!  This is a delicious marinade that I use for grilling chicken with.  Just put some chicken breasts in a freezer bag with some of this sauce, grill, and top with some more.  So delicious!!!

I bought it at Costco but they should have this or something simliar at your grocery store.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Friday Night Favorite with Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Ravioli

This is an easy, delicious, and elegant side dish!  I pair it wish filet mignon, roasted asparagus, broiled tomatoes, or different favorite side dish.  This is so easy and sooooo good!  I purchase Monterey Pasta Co brand ravioli from Costco.  (You can probably find it or a similar type at your local grocery store).  The pasta is pre-cooked, so you just have to thaw and heat up.

Serves 4 - 6


1/2 package (Coscto comes with two attached packages, use one full package), about 12-15 raviolis
1/4 Cup sun dried tomatoes
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup white wine
Fresh shaved parmesan cheese


Rinse pasta and drain.  Thaw thoroughly, about 15-20 minutes.

Heat oil and wine in a pan, add garlic.  Simmer on med heat about 5 minutes.  Add sundried tomatoes and ravioli.  Reduce heat to low-med.  Toss ravioli regularly, until thoroughly heated through, about 10 minutes.  Add green onions.  Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Indian Spiced Carrot Soup with Ginger

I have a girlfriend who's taste for cooking I completely trust.  She lived in Connecticut for a while, so I figured she's have some good soup recipes.  Sure enough, she sent me this recipe, and it was fantastic.  I'll admit, it sounded a bit odd, and I'm not usually a fan of curry.  However, this was so delicious, easy to make, and my hubby even loved it!!! 

I served this as a starter, then followed with filets, asparagus, and stuffed ravioli.  (That recipe will come next!)

Thanks Mara!!!!!  :)

Serves 5 - 7


1 Tsp coriander seeds* (or you can use ground coriander)
1/2 Tsp yellow mustard seeds*  (or you can use ground yellow mustard)
3 Tbsp peanut oil
1/2 Tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
2 Cups chopped onions
1 1/2 Lbs carrots, peeled, thinly sliced into rounds (about 4 cups)* (I purchased two bags of the crinkle-cut thin sliced carrot rounds from Publix to avoid having to peel and cut whole carrots)
1 1/2 Tsp finely grated lime peel
5 Cups low-salt chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 Tsp fresh lime juice
1 Tsp crushed red pepper
Plain yogurt for garnish* (I didn't use this - it looks pretty for guests, but I didn't want it to cool down the soup.  And if you let the yogurt sit at room temperature, it becomes runny).


Grind coriander and mustard seeds in a spice mill to fine powder. 

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium - high heat.  Add ground seeds and curry powder; stir 1 minute.  Add ginger; still 1 minute.  Add next three ingredients. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; saute until onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add 5 cups broth; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to med-low and simmer uncovered until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.  Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Return soup to pot.  Stir in lime juice; season with salt and pepper and crushed red pepper, if desired.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Roasted Asparagus

Well, it's still monsooning here in South Florida, and I'm feeling a bit lazy today.  Although I'm still making time for my 90 minutes of hot yoga!  That just means I'll get home late and won't have much time to cook.  If you're in a crunch for time today, do what I'm doing.  Swing thru Publix and grab a rotisserie chicken, some asparagus, and some lettuce and salad ingredients.

I'm eating rotisserie chicken (skin removed), asparagus and a side salad.  For the side salad, use whatever ingredients you like.  The more veggies, the better!

I'll post a picture of the asparagus later, but for now, here's a yummy and quick way to prepare it:

Serves 2


10-12 thick asparagus stalks, ends removed (I just snap about 1 1/2 - 2" of the ends off and rinse)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tsp crushed red pepper
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1/2 shallot, slivered
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
fresh parmesan cheese

Turn oven on broil.  Toss asparagus in all ingredients.  Place on a baking sheet under broiler for about 5-7 minutes, or until crisp, tender, and ends are browning.

Feel free to add parmesan if desired.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Last Minute Chicken Caesar Salad

Hey gang!  If you're still undecided as to what to make for dinner tonight, why don't you have what I'm having?  Easy chicken caesar salad.  This is a great Tuesday night dinner.  Not too exciting, not too difficult to make, not too bad for you.  It's actually one of Adam's favorite "weeknight dinners". 

If you work from home or have time to swing home, put a couple of frozen chicken breasts out to thaw.  If not, stop by the grocery store.  You won't need much, it's easy, and of course, HEALTHY!   (Well, sort's lowfat dressing, and low carb.....)

Serves 2


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bag romaine lettuce (or if you buy the bag with 3 romaine stalks, use 1 1/2 of them)
1/4 to 1/2 Cup lowfat caesar dressing (use to your liking....Adam likes his salad soggy)
1/2 Cup whole grain croutons
black pepper
sea salt
fresh shaved parmesan


Preheat oven to 350.  Season chicken with salt and pepper (and any other seasonings you may like).  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, until cooked all the way through.

Rinse and chop lettuce.  Combine in a large bowl with croutons.

Add chicken, dressing, salt, pepper, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Toss and serve!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Superb Minestrone

This was quite a bit of work, but soooooooo worth it.  This was I think the tastiest minestrone soup I've ever had!  This makes a ton, so I had one night of leftovers and then froze the rest for another cool night!

Makes about 10 cups (serves 6 - 8)


1/2 Lb (about 1 1/4 cups) dried white beans such as Great Northern, picked over and rinsed (to make ahead of time, soak in water overnight)
1/2 Tsp salt
1/4 Lb pancetta (Italian cured pork belly, available at specialty food shops) or sliced lean bacon, chopped (I, of course, used lean turkey bacon).
1/3 Cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Large carrot, cut into 1/2" dice
1 Rib of celery, cut into 1/2" dice
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 zucchini, scrubbed and cut into 1/2" dice
1/4 Lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 Lb petite red potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4" dice
4 Cups shredded green cabbage
1/2 Lb kale, rinsed, drained, stems discarded and leaves chopped
1 28oz can tomatoes, chopped course and drained well
4 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
fresh grated parmesan cheese
optional sausage, sliced and cooked with bacon
fresh warm roll to accompany


In a large bowl, let the white beans soak in enough water to cover them by 2 inches overnight, or quick-soak them.  Drain the white beans.  In a saucepan, combine them with enough water to cover them by 2 inches and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour or until tender.  Add the salt and simmer another 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from heat and let the white beans stand, uncovered.  Set aside.

In a heavy kettle, cook the pancetta (or bacon, and sausage if including sausage) in the olive oil over moderate heat, stirring until it is crisp.  Add the onion, and stir until onion is softened.  Add the carrots, the celery, and the garlic and stir for 4 minutes.  Add the zucchini, green beans and potatoes and stir for an additional 4 minutes.  Add the cabbage and kale and cook the mixture, stirring until cabbage and kale is wilted.  Add tomatoes and broth and simmer the soup covered, for at least 1 hour.

Drain the white beans, reserving the liquid.  In a food processor, puree half the beans with 1 cup of the reserved liquid.  Stir the puree and the remaining whole beans into the soup.  Simmer, and add the remaining reserved liquid, if needed, to thin.  Season soup with seasonings of choice (I used some crushed red pepper, oregano, italian seasoning, salt and pepper).

Serve soup with fresh grated parmeson on top, and a warm bun on the side.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Layered Salad

This recipe comes from my wonderful mom!  She always used to make this along with her French Onion Soup recipe (posted previously).  This is so scrumptious!  Packed with crunchy veggies, and a creamy dressing makes this healthy yet filling and comforting.  A great accompaniment to soups.

Serves 4 - 6 as a side salad


1 head of iceberg lettuce
1/2 Cup chopped celery
1/2 Cup chopped green pepper
1/4 Cup chopped green onions
1 Cup peas
1 1/2 Cup low fat mayo
1/2 Cup low fat sour cream
2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 - 6 slices bacon, crumbled
1/2 cucumber, chopped
4 oz grated cheddar cheese
1 tomatoe, chopped


Layer the first 5 ingredients respectively (up to the peas).  Mix sour cream, mayo and lemon juice and spread evenly over salad mixture. 

Top with cheese, cucumbers, bacon and tomatoes.  Cover and serve chilled.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Beer Cheese Soup. 'Nuff said.

I cannot believe I haven't posted this yet!  Wowza.  This is mouth watering.  However, I recommend making it on a cold night.  Also, this recipe makes a HUGE pot, so either serve it with friends or freeze it.  It is very rich, and I recommend serving it as a starter, preferably before a nice hot, juicy steak.

Makes 13 cups


4 1/2 Tbsp margarine (room temp)
4 1/2 Tbsp flour
3 Cups water
1 1/2 Heaping tsp chicken base (Better than Buillon)
6 Cups heavy cream
2 1/4 Cups Killian's Irish Red beer
1 1/2 Lb shredded meunster cheese
1/4 Cup light brown sugar
1 Tsp tabasco
1Tsp kosher salt
1 Tsp black pepper
1 Cup chopped chives, for garnish


In a small bowl, mix flour and margarine to make a roux.  Set aside.  In large heavy saucepan, bring water, cream, beer, and chicken base to a boil.  Stir often.  Slowly whisk in the roux and return to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

With heat on low, slowly whisk in the cheese in small amounts, melting completely before adding more.  Add the sugar, hot sauce, salt and pepper and continue stirring. 

Serve hot and garnish with chives.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cayenne Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

This was easy, fresh, and so tasty.  You can cook this chicken in a skillet, but I grilled it.  It was so delicious with a slight charring on the edges!

Serves 4


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
Sea salt and black pepper
1 Medium red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Garlic clove, minced
1 Large Vine Ripe tomato, chopped
1 Hass avocado, pitted and cut into chunks


1.  Mix cayenne, salt and pepper in a bowl, and rub all over chicken.

2.  Heat grill to high heat.  After about 10 minutes, reduce heat to medium-high and scrape grill.  Place chicken directly on grill rack and cook about 30 minutes total (depending on size of chicken), turning over once.

3.  Combine avocado, tomatoes, garlic, onion and lime juice in a bowl.  Spoon on top of chicken.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Green Green Spring Vegetables

What a fresh and healthy combination of veggies!  Crunchy and delicate.

Serves 4 - 6


1/4 Lb french green beans (haricots verts), ends removed
1/4 Lb sugar snap peas, ends removed
1/4 Lb Asparagus, ends removed, and cut into 2" pieces
1/2 Lb broccolini, ends removed (or broccoli florets)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Shallots, sliced
Sea Salt and Pepper


1.  Boil a large pot of water. 
2.  Set up a large bowl of ice water in the kitchen sink.
3.  Boil asparagus first, about 1 minute.  Add the snap peas, broccolini and haricots verts.  Boil 1 more minute.
4.  Immediately transfer veggies from boiling water to ice water.  Let completley cool, then drain.
5.  In a skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat.  Add shallots.  Cook about 5 minutes until shallots begin to brown slightly.  Add remaining vegetables and toss until heated thoroughly.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot.

Fontina and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Hi followers!  I think I published this recipe a while back, but last night I made it again with some tweaks and it was SOOOOOOO delicious, I figured I'd re-post with the little adjustments.

Serves 2


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Sea Salt and Pepper
1/2 Cup fresh baby spinach
1/4 Cup sundried tomatoes
1/2 Cup grated fresh Fontina Cheese
1 Tbsp chopped shallot
1 Garlic clove, chopped
3 Fresh basil leaves, chopped
Olive oil


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Slice the chicken breasts lengthwise to create a pocket.  Set aside. 

3.  Mix the following ingredients in a bowl:  spinach, sundried tomatoes, shallot, garlic, shredded fontina cheese, and basil.

4.  Stuff the mixture equally into each chicken breast and close with a toothpick.

5.  Drizzle chicken with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil, and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Serve hot when thoroughly cooked through.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Buccatini with Shrimp and Buffalo Ricotta

This is an oldie but a goodie!  I made this a long time ago and completely forgot about it until I found the crumpled up recipe!  It isn't exactly a healthy recipe (if you're concerned with carbs), but its fresh ingredients are so flavorful.  Especially when paired with a smooth Pinot Noir.  Yum!

Serves: 4


4 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and Pepper
1 Chopped yellow onion
3 Chopped fresh garlic cloves
1 Cup white wine
2 35oz Cans San Marzano whole tomatoes (crushed)
1 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Pkg fresh buccatini pasta
2 Cup fresh buffalo ricotta cheese


1.  Heat olive oil.  Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper; cook 3 minutes.  (Until partially cooked through).  Remove shrimp; set aside.
2.  Add onion and garlic to remaining oil, simmer 2 minutes.  Add white wine.  Then add tomatoes and crushed red pepper flakes and simmer.
3.  In a separate pan, cook pasta, al dente.  Drain and set aside.
4.  Return shrimp to tomato sauce, add basil, and simmer 5 more minutes.
5.  Spoon mixure over pasta and top with ricotta.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Carmelized Onion Dip

Right in time for football season!  Tastes like french onion dip, but you know all of the ingredients and you can say it's homemade!  Plus, as usual, I've made it "healthier".  :)


2 Tbsp unsalted butter (I use margarine)
2 Medium onions, thinly sliced
Sea salt and pepper
1 8oz bar cream cheese, at room temperature (I use 1/3 less fat)
1 Cup sour cream (I use fat free - nobody can tell the difference!)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
Pita chips, for serving

1.  Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and a dash of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until deep golden brown, 35-40 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

2.  In a medium bowl, mix together the onions, cream cheese, sour cream, chives and salt and pepper.  Serve with chips!

Tip:  The dip can be made a day or two in advance; refrigerate and keep covered.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bacon-Corn Chowder with Shrimp

This was so easy and yummy!  I "healthified" it of course.  ;)  I also added some chopped jalepenos and topped it off with some shredded lowfat cheddar cheese.  It may need more salt than it calls for, but I'll let you be the judge of that....

Serves 4 as an entree, 6 as a first course


6 Slices center-cut bacon, chopped (I used Jenni-O Lean Turkey Bacon!)
1 Cup pre-chopped onion
1/2 Cup pre-chopped celery
1 Tsp fresh thyme
1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped (*optional*)
1 Garlic clove, minced
4 Cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 Cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
3/4 Lb peeled, deveined, tails removed, medium shrimp, cut in half
1 Cup shredded cheddar
1/3 Cup half and half
1 Tsp ground black pepper
1 Tsp kosher salt

1.  Heat a large Dutch oven over med-high heat.  Add bacon to pan; saute 4 minutes or until the bacon begins to brown.  (**note, if using turkey bacon, add a bit of olive oil to substitute for the grease.  Scrape occasionally from bottom of pan).  Add onion, thyme, garlic, celery, and optional jalepeno to pan and saute for 2 minutes.  Add corn, and cook 2 mins, stirring occasionally.  Add broth; bring to a boil, and cook for 4 mins.

2.  Scoop out 2 cups of the corn mixture and place in a blender.  Remove the center piece of the blender lid (to allow steam to escape) and secure lid.  Place a clean towel over opening in the blender lid (to prevent splattering).  Blend until smooth.  Return pureed portion to the pan.  Stir in shrimp; cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are done.  Stir in half and half, salt and pepper.  Pour soup into bowls and top with desired amount of shredded cheddar (low-fat!) cheese.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Baked Salmon with Lemon Butter and Capers

Believe it or not, I just tried Salmon for the first time 2 weeks ago.  I was always terrified that it would taste fishy.  Perhaps it can, but I have yet to find out.  This was sooooo healthy, easy, and tasty!  What a juicy, meaty fish.  And no, baking it doesn't make the house stink like fish.  A good weeknight meal.  :)

Serves 2


2, 1" thick fresh salmon fillets (I only use fresh market, whole foods or mediterranean market fish)
1/4 Stick margarine
2 Tbsp capers
1 Tsp lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Garlic Powder
Minced onion


Heat oven to 350.  Melt margarine and mix with seasons, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Pour over salmon in a 9x13" glass pan.  Turn salmon over once to coat each side.  Sprinkle with capers and bake for about 15 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked in the middle (pink). 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa

I paired this with the Garlic-Lime Pork Chops and what a flavorful plate of dinner!  This is easy, healthy, fresh and delicious!

Serves 4


2 Tsp grated lime zest
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tsp sugar
1 Cup quinoa
1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Medium tomatoes, diced
4 Scallions, chopped
1/4 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped


Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 Tsp salt, and a 1/4 Tsp pepper in a large bowl.

Cook quinoa according to package.  Set aside.

Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed.  Then stir in remaining ingredients and add salt and pepper to taste.

Grilled Pork Chops with Garlic Lime Sauce

This was MOUTH WATERING!  Wow.  My husband and I made a comment after every single bite!  These were an absolute HIT.

Serves 2: (with extra sauce)


1/4 Cup fresh lime juice
1 Garlic clove, minced
1/4 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 Cup olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 1" thick boneless pork chops


Whisk together lime juice, garlic, red pepper flakes and 1/4 Tsp salt, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking well.  Whisk in cilantro.  Set aside.

Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-high heat.  Pat pork dry and season each side with salt and pepper.  Grill chops covered, turning once, about 6 minutes total.  Serve drizzled with sauce, and additional sauce for dipping.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Easy Rotisserie Chicken Salad

By purchasing a rotisserie chicken to make this chicken salad, you save lots of time, plus, you get creamy, tender, juicy chicken!

Serves 2

1 Plain rotisserie chicken
2 Tbsp lowfat mayonnaise
2 Tbsp plain fat-free greek yogurt
1 Tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tsp white vinegar
1 Tsp dijon mustard
1 Tsp honey
1/2 Tsp kosher salt
1/2 Tsp black pepper
1/4 Cup chopped celery
1/4 Cup dried craisins
3 1/2 Tbsp chopped toasted almonds
3 Cups mixed salad greens
2 Tbsp baslamic vinaigrette dressing

1.  Peel the skin off the rotisserie.  Shred the white meat portions only, place in a large bowl.
2.  In a separate bowl, mix mayo, yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper.  Whisk until thoroughly blended.
3.  Mix chicken, mayo mixture, celery, almonds and craisins.  Chill for an hour.  Drizzle vinaigrette over greens, spoon chicken salad on top of greens.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pan Seared Scallops with Bacon and Spinach

Light, easy and delicious!

3 center-cut bacon slices (feel free to use turkey bacon to be healthier!!!  you know I DID!)  ;)
1 1/2 Lbs jumbo sea scallops
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
1 Cup chopped onion
6 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
12 oz fresh baby spinach
4 lemon wedges (optional)

1.  Cook bacon in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tbsp drippings in pan; coarsely chop and set bacon aside.  Increase heat to high.
2.  Pat scallops dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle scallops evenly with salt and pepper.  Add scallops to drippings in pan; cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until done.  Transfer to a plate; keep warm.  Reduce heat to med-high.  Add onion and garlic to pan; saute 3 mins stirring frequently.  Add half of spinach, cook 1 minute stirring frequently.  Add remaining half of spinach, cook 2 mins or until wilted.  Remove from heat; stir in remaining salt and pepper.  Divide spinach mixture among 4 plates; top each with crumbled bacon and scallops.  Serve with lemon wedge to drizzle over scallops.

Fresh Watermelon Margaritas

Easy, tasty, refreshing, and low calorie!!!  I tripled the recipe and filled a giant tupperware pitcher and brought these on the boat over the weekend.  I poured them over ice -  major hit with fellow boaters!

Serves 6

3 1/2 Cups cubed, seeded watermelon
3/4 Cup tequila
2 Tbsp splenda
4 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp Triple Sec (orange flavored liqueur)

Combine all ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.  Pour into a salt or sugar-rimmed glass (optional) over ice. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Orzo Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Dressing

YUM!  This was so delicious.  I used it as a side dish with shrimp as my entree.  It is so flavorful, light and scrumptious for the summer. 
Serves 4

1 Cup uncooked orzo
1 Cup whole kernel yellow corn
12 Cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 Green onions, chopped
1 15oz Can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 Cup lowfat buttermilk
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp light sour cream
2 Tbsp lowfat mayo
1 Tsp chili powder
1 Tsp crushed or ground red pepper
1/2 Tsp kosher salt
1/4 Tsp ground black pepper
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
Avocado and Parsley optional for garnish

1.  Cook orzo according to package.  Drain well.  Place orzo, corn, onions, tomatoes and beans in a large bowl.  Toss.
2.  Combine buttermilk, cilantro and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl.  Whisk.  Drizzle over orzo, toss well. 

Serve room temperature or chilled.  I made the sauce and the orzo mixture ahead of time, then tossed them together right before serving.  Excellent!  You could make this an entree and put a nice piece of grilled fish on top of the mixture.  Squeeze some extra lime over it and voila!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rocket Arugula Salad

This is sooooo flavorful, fresh, green and healthy.  I use it often for a side dish.  There aren't many ingredients, because arugula is so peppery and flavorful on its own. 

Serves 4

1 container Roquette Arugula
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp olive oil
kosher salt
Fresh grated parmesan cheese
10 Cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 Cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Whisk together lemon juice, zest, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss lettuce into dressing.  Add tomatoes, toasted walnuts, and parmesan.  Toss thoroughly and serve.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pina Colada Sorbet

YUM!!!  Outstanding flavor, and good for you!  Perfect sweet treat for the summer. 

3 Cups cubed fresh pineapple
1 Cup coconut water
1/2 Cup sugar (I used SPLENDA!)
1 Cup light coconut milk
2/3 Cup cream of coconut

1.  Place first three ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and sugar dissolves.  Combine pureed mixture and remaining ingredients in a bowl; whisk.  Cover and refridgerate until thoroghly chilled.
2.  Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Spoon sorbet into a freezer-safe container.  Cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm.

Note:  I do not know what this recipe was talking about on step # 2!  I just poured it into a tupperware and stuck in the freezer.  Obviously, my sorbet didn't turn out like typical sorbet (soft), BUT, it still tastes the same.  You just have to let it thaw a bit before spooning into a bowl! Haha!

***Additional Note!***  My friend and colleague, Anne Schneider, made a fantastic point.  She said if you don't have an ice cream maker, to use popsicle molds and make Pina Colada Popsicles!!  Kids will love it too!  Great idea, Anne!!

Vidalia Onion Casserole

This sounded so good I had to try it.  I thought it was delicious.  I made it as a side dish with filet mignon and the Greens with Golden Raisins dish.  Hy husband, Adam, was in the mood for heavy sides, such as a potato dish, but I opted for this healthier version.  He liked it, but obviously not as much as maybe a potato-y, cheesy, gooey, FATTENING dish.  All in all, for a lighter version, it is a delicious and an easy accompaniment to steaks!

This recipe serves 6.  I altered my version for just two of us.

1 Tbsp EVOO
4 Cups chopped Vidalia Onions
1 Cup uncooked long-grain white rice
2/3 Cup 2% reduced fat milk
1/2 Cup (2 oz) shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 Tsp ground allspice
Cooking Spray
1/3 Cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 325
2.  Heat a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add oil, swirl to coat.  Add onion; saute 5 mins or until tender.  Place onion in a large bowl.
3.  Cook rice according to package instructions.  Rinse and drain.
4.  Stir rice and next 5 ingredients (milk, gruyere, salt, pepper, allspice) into onions.  Spoon onion mixture into a ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese.  Cover and bake at 325 for 40 minutes.  Uncover, turn up oven to broil and cook about 4-5 minutes until top gets browned and bubbly.  Top with parsley if desired.

Greens with Golden Raisins

This was so delicious!  My husband wasn't a HUGE fan, but that's because he's rather have eaten french fries instead of greens for a side dish!  Haha.  I thought it was so flavorful.  I used extra raisins - they were so good.

2 Tbsp canola oil (I used EVOO)
1/2 Cup golden raisins
1 Small white onion, halved and sliced thin
6 Ounces chopped fresh escarole (I used one bunch)
1 Lb fresh baby spinach (I used a Fresh Express bag)
1/2 Tsp kosher salt
1/2 Tsp Garam Masala (Indian spice found in specialty stores (I went to Whole Foods)).

1.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.  Add oil; swirl to coat.  Add raisins and onion to pan; cook for about 5 minutes until onions are slightly browned.  Add escarole and spinach (don't worry if it is overflowing the pan, it cooks down quickly).  Mix around until greens wilt, about 3 minutes.  Stir in salt and garam masala.  Serve hot.  Yum!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Grilled Corn with Roasted Jalepeno Butter

This recipe came from Cooking Light magazine.  I love corn on the cob, and this sounded so tasty!  It was so easy, and my husband and I loved it.  Although, the recipe in the magazine served 6...I followed their recipe for the jalepeno butter but just used it on 2 ears of corn.  (I like a lot of jalepenos and butter!)  Also, I shaved the corn off the cob and tossed it into the butter mix so it would spread evently.  Delish!

2 Ears of corn-on-the-cob, shucked
1 Jalepeno
1 Tsp lime rind
1 Tsp honey
3 Tbsp melted margarine or butter
Pinch of salt

1.  Broil jalepeno in oven about 5 minutes, rotating to char each side.  Immediately after broiling, place jalepeno in ziploc bag, seal and leave to steam for about 10 minutes. 

2.  Place corn on foil or grill rack and grill on medium-high for 10 minutes, turning occasionally and charring slightly.

3.  Remove jalepeno from ziploc, peel outside, remove seeds and chop.

4.  Melt butter, and mix in lime rind, honey, salt and jalepeno.

5.  Shave corn from cob, and toss in the butter mixture. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Southwest Shrimp Cobb Salad

Many of you may have seen this on the cover of Cooking Light last month.  This was OUTSTANDING!  I added some veggies and flare to my version and it was a huge hit with the hubby and I!

Serves 4

5 Slices bacon (I used turkey bacon)
1 Lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 Tsp paprika
1/4 Tsp black pepper
Cooking Spray
1/4 Tsp salt, divided
2 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tsp dijon mustard
1 (10oz) package romaine salad
2 Cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 Cup shredded carrots
1 Cup frozen whole corn (or canned corn)
1 Ripe peeled avocado, cut into about 8 wedges
1/2 Can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 fresh Jalepenos, seeded and chopped
1/4 Cup chopped red onion

1.  Cook bacon however desired.
2.  Coat pan with nonstick spray.  Add shrimp to pan; toss shrimp in paprika, salt and pepper.  Cook on med-high heat about 2 minutes on each side, or until pink all the way through.  Set aside.
3.  Mix salt, lemon juice, oil and mustard in a large bowl and whisk.  Add lettuce and toss.
4.  Layer lettuce with carrots, corn, black beans, shrimp, avocado, tomatoes, jalepenos, and onion. 


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan and Fresh Herbs

This is a delicious side dish. Fresh and light. The recipe says you can make it 4 hours ahead of time, but I found that the chickpeas and cheese absorbed some of the juice from the lemon and olive oil. I would prepare everything ahead of time (all dry ingredients) and then toss with liquids and parmesan cheese right before serving for absolute freshness.

Serves: 2Ingredients:

1 15 to 15.5 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 Tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 pressed garlic clove
1/3 Cup packed freshly grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with fresh parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Serve chilled or room temperature.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Quick and Easy Pasta Salad

This was yet again, another recipe from my mom!  This reminds me of so many poolside summer BBQ's.  It instantly makes me happy!  It is very simple, but everyone has always loved it. 

Note - I am using some "estimates" with the ingredient amounts.  Use your judgement.  ;)


1 Box rotini pasta
1 packet Good Seasons Italian dry salad dressing mix (and ingredients to make the salad dressing; olive oil, white vinegar, water)
3 Tbsp Salad Supreme seasoning
1 Can small pitted black olives, sliced in half
About 3 - 4 Cups chopped tomatoes (chopped about 1" pieces)
About 2 1/2 Cups blanched broccoli, cut into small pieces


Cook pasta according to package.  I like mine al dente.  Rinse, drain and set aside.

Mix salad dressing in jar and shake vigorously.  Set aside.

Slice olives, chop tomatoes.  Blanch broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute, until slighly cooked but still crisp and bright green.  Rise with cold water and drain.

Add in large tupperware pasta, olives, broccoli, tomatoes, salad supreme and dressing.  Shake vigorously to mix.  Chill for at least one hour, tossing regularly.  Serve chilled.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thai Chicken Salad

Yum!  I love these kinds of salads, but believe it or not I've never actually made one until I tried this!  It's so easy too!  I shredded the lettuce and added some napa cabbage for extra crunch.  :)

4 Servings

6 cups torn romaine lettuce
2 cups shredded skinless rotisserie chicken breast
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded napa cabbage (optional)
3/4 cup sliced celery
2/3 cup light coconut milk
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
2 tbsp coursely chopped, unsalted peanuts

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine coconut milk and next 5 ingredients in a small sauce pan; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and cool for 2 minutes.  Pour warm coconut milk mixture over lettuce mixture.  Sprinkle with peanuts; serve with optional lime wedges.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

New Potato Salad

This recipe came from mom.  It is a light potato salad; not too much mayo.  Not everyone likes dill, but it is subtle and the snap peas add a delighful crunch!

Serves 8


1 lb tiny new potatoes, quartered
2 cups fresh snap peas (the flat kind), sliced in half and ends trimmed off
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayo
1 Tsp dill
1 Tbsp chives


Cook potatoes in a small amount of boiling water for 8 minutes.  Add peas for 2-3 more minutes.  Drain thoroughly and cool.  Stir together sour cream, mayo, dill, chives and add a little salt.  Cover and chill.

Asparagus-New Potato Hash

Mom brought this recipe from Southern Living magazine and made it as a side dish with steaks.  It was DELICIOUS!  :)

Serves 8

1 lb small red potatoes
1 lb fresh asparagus
2 shallots, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp pepper
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 Cup crumbled fresh farmer's cheese (we used crumbled goat cheese)
Garnish:  lemon slices


1.  Bring potatoes and salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook 15 minutes or just until tender.  Drain well.  Cool 15 minutes and cut into quarters.

2.  Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus.  Cut asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces. 

3.  Saute shallots in hot oil in a large non-stick skillet 1 minute.  Add asparagus, thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Saute 2-3 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender.  Add potatoes, and saute 3 minutes or until mixture is thoroghly heated.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese.  Garnish with lemon slices.

***We put it in the fridge and served it cold like a potato salad.  It was delicious ***

Lemon Bars

Wow!  It's been a while since I've posted something - sorry!  I've been working a lot lately so unfortunately haven't had much time to cook.  My parents came to visit this weekend, so it was a nice chance for mom and I to get in the kitchen.  My mom has always loved sweet things in the morning with coffee, such as pastries, so I decided lemon bars might be nice.  I altered them to make them a little healthier (of course) with Smart Balance margarine and Splenda, and I thought they were great.  My mom said that when you bake, you're supposed to BAKE.  Meaning, load up on the butter and sugar.  Well, you know me, I like to be healthy and I rarely bake.  Suffice to say, these were delicious!!  :)

yield: Makes 24


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in large bowl. Add butter and cut in until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture into bottom of 9x13x2-inch baking dish. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Maintain oven temperature.
Beat eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flour and lemon peel in medium bowl to blend. Pour into crust. Bake until mixture is set, about 20 minutes. Cool.
Cut into 24 bars. Sift powdered sugar over top before serving.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Orzo Risotto

I picked up some fresh orzo at the Winter Park Farmer's Market a couple of weekends ago and made this side dish last night with steaks and a salad.  It was light, flavorful, creamy, and easy!  I really enjoyed it!

Serves 4


6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) butter
3/4 Cup minced shallots
2 Minced garlic cloves
2 Cups orzo (rice shaped pasta)
6 Cups boiling water
1 1/2 Tsp coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbsp grated fresh lemon zest
6 Tbsp finely chopped fresh italian parsley


Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallots and garlic.  Saute until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add orzo, saute 5 minutes.  Mix in 6 cups boiling water and salt.  Simmer uncovered until orzo is tender, liquid is absorbed, and risotto is creamy, stirring often, about 18 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Mix in thyme, lemon zest, and parsley.