Monday, April 30, 2012

Scalloped Potatoes and Onions

Another great recipe from All Recipes and a lot lower in fat and extra calories than many other scalloped potato recipes!

5 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish, layer potatoes and onion.

In a saucepan, melt the butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add broth, mayonnaise, salt and pepper; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Pour over potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika.

Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours or until tender.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Honey Glazed Ham

With my parents visiting for a weekend, it was the perfect time to make and eat a honey ham.  We received a 10 pound, all meat, no bone ham from the farm share, and it was biggest ham I have ever seen!

We decided to only cook half and save the rest.  We found a great recipe from All Recipes that I adapted with what I had in the house.  It was delicious, but the pictures are funny looking.  I had chunked pineapple when really rings would have looked nicer (although it tasted the same).

Honey Glazed Ham

1 (5 pound) fully-cooked, ham
1  cups packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon apple pie/pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place ham in a roasting pan.

In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, honey, orange juice, and apple pie spice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

Bake ham in preheated oven uncovered for 1 hour. Remove ham from oven, and brush with glaze. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, brushing ham with glaze.

Getting ready to enjoy the meal!
Stay tuned for the side dish of scalloped potatoes and dessert of lemon cake.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

General Tso's Chicken

There is the cutest, older gentleman that comes to our Weight Watchers meetings.  He spoke this week, talking about a meal he made for his wife, General Tso's Chicken, that he found on E-Tools.  He made it one day to the letter of the recipe, and his wife thought it was too spicy.  He made it again two days later (yes, two days later) without the spice, and his wife said it was missing!

I came home from the meeting and immediately printed out the recipe to make it on my own- very tasty!  The only problem is that I didn't have red wine vinegar (what the recipe originally called for), so I substituted balsamic vinegar and then added veggies to the recipe.

General Tso's Chicken

3/4 cup chicken broth, reduced-sodium  
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch  
2 Tbsp sugar  
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce  
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar  
1/2 tsp ground ginger  
2 tsp peanut oil  
2 scallions, chopped  
2 garlic cloves, minced  
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 pound uncooked boneless chicken tenderloins, cut into 2-inch pieces  
1 package, frozen broccoli
2 cups cooked brown rice, kept hot  

In a medium bowl, whisk together broth, cornstarch, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and ginger; set aside.

Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add scallions, garlic and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Add chicken; sauté until browned all over, about 5 minutes.

Add reserved sauce to pan and frozen broccoli and simmer until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Serve chicken and sauce over rice. Yields about 1 cup chicken with sauce and 1/2 cup rice per serving.  Serves 4, 8 points a serving.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Our Cooking's Gotten Better!

Yes, you heard it hear first....Austin and my cooking has gotten much better since I started the blog in January.  Here are a couple pictures that highlight some of our menu improvements:

We're made lots more fritattas, and this is the best one- lots of garlic and onion, chopped spinach, fresh tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese.

Hand-packed burgers we made for friends with Austin's "secret ingredients."  Well, not so secret anymore.

Have you tried any of the food featured on the blog with good results and adaptations?  Let us know in the comments....

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Roast Chicken

The farm share gave us our first chicken this week- yay!  I never cooked a whole chicken, so youtube videos and internet recipes helped me figure out what to do.

Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees.  Then, wash and pat the chicken dry and sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, and Italian Seasoning all over.  Cook 50-60 minutes.

We paired the chicken with Knorr Pasta sides and steamable frozen broccoli. 
Even the small chicken that we cooked left us with too much chicken, so we made many chicken meals from this one chicken we popped in the oven!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Polenta Casserole

DELICIOUS- one word to describe this meal.  I found versions of this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod and Bev Cooks over a month ago and have been waiting to use it.  Unfortunately, I never discovered all the ingredients in my pantry and fridge at the same

When I made the Asian Barley Soup, I browned two pounds of ground for the soup and another for Polenta Casserole.  I browned the garlic and onions separately due to using the beef for two recipes, but I think the beef would have tasted better if it was all cooked together.  Although, this recipe was pretty tasty all on its own and very, very easy.

Polenta Casserole


 1 tube polenta, cut into strips    
 1 pound ground beef
 1 tsp olive oil  
 1 bottle pasta sauce    
 1 Tbsp ground oregano    
 1 Tbsp ground basil    
 1/2 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes    
 1 tsp table salt    
 1 tsp black pepper    
 6 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese    

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In pan, coat with olive oil over medium-high heat.  Brown beef with onions and garlic.  Drain grease; add pasta sauce, red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper.  Stir and mix.

Spray large casserole pan with cooking spray.  Place polenta strips on bottom of casserole, layering if needed.  Add meat and pasta sauce mix, spreading evenly over polenta.  Do the same with the cheese.  Sprinkle with oregano.

Cook for 30-35 minutes.  Serves 6, 10 points a serving.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Asian Beef Barley Soup

I love our farm share, but we get SOOOO much ground beef, and I don't know what to do with it all.  So I took several different recipes and put them together for my own soup creation.  Austin said it was good to great-- but not excellent :(.  I agreed; soup was so-so, but left overs of this soups was much better.  I think the soup needs to sit and settle for a day for the best flavors.  Hope you can take this recipe and adapt it to make it delicious.

Any suggestions, comment below!!

Asian Beef Barley Soup

 1/2 Tbsp olive oil  
 3 medium uncooked onions, chopped  
 2 garlic cloves, minced  
 1 pound 85% lean ground beef  
 4 cups vegetable broth  
 4 cups water  
 1 cup uncooked barley  
 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce  
 1 package frozen mixed Asian vegetables, with baby corn  
 1 small can water chestnuts, cut in half  
 1 tsp table salt  
 1 tsp black pepper
 1/2 tsp ground turmeric  
 1/2 tsp ground ginger  
 1/2 tsp ground coriander  

Coat pot with olive oil. Brown onion, garlic, and ground beef. Drain. Add broth, water, barley and bring to boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Add 2 tbs soy sauce, frozen veggie mix, water chesnuts, and spices. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Serves 8, 6 points plus a serving.

Monday, April 16, 2012


When I did Weight Watchers a while ago-- maybe ten years ago, my mom got a cookbook called Simply the Best, and it had the best minestrone recipe.  Yummy but also had a delivers a nice, little kick.  It's become the family recipe, so I thought it was important to share with all of you.  Enjoy!

Minestrone Soup


  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 tbs parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 10 oz package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs crushed red pepper
In large, nonstick saucepan or pot, heat oil.  Add onions and garlic, cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, broth, carrots, celery, pasta, 3 cups water.  Bring to boil, stirring as needed.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

Add beans, spinach, spices.  Return to boil.  Serve, sprinkled with cheese.  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Quinoa with Roasted Asparagus, Artichoke Hearts, and Spinach

Yay for spring!  Although right now, it feels a little like summer.  Either way, I was ready for something light and fresh.  I found this recipe on Two Peas & Their Pod, and it was perfect spring/summer salad to pair with chicken cooked on the grill.

Quinoa with Roasted Asparagus, 
Artichoke Hearts, and Spinach


3 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup quinoa
1 bunch (about 14) asparagus spears
1/2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
1 jar of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle at end
Salt and pepper, to taste

Make quinoa according to the package and set aside.  While the quinoa is cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Put asparagus spears on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, a bit of lemon juice, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 10-12 minutes, or until spears are tender. Cut into one-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, asparagus, artichoke hearts, and spinach. Pour lemon juice, salt, and pepper over the salad and mix. Serve.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Slow Cooker Beef with Apples, Onions, and Carrots

We had an accidental dinner party :)  We had a huge roast that we were making and invited a couple friends here and a couple friends there.....turned into a bit of a party with an even bigger after party.  This recipe was a huge hit and SOOOO easy!

Slow Cooker Beef with Apples, Onions, and Carrots

2-3 lb shoulder roast
Italian seasoning
2-3 onions chopped
3 apples, cored and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal
1 cup red wine (I maybe put in more :)  I started drinking wine before cooking)
1-2 bay leaves


Getting the ingredients ready
Season shoulder roast with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  In slow cooker, add roast, carrots, apples, onions.  Pour wine over top of food and add bay leaf.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
The seasoned shoulder roast
All the ingredients ready to be slow cooked.
  Remove bay leaf.  Remove beef and cut on diagonal.  Remove veggies with slotted spoon.  Put rest of juice in additional bowl as au jus.  Serve beef over veggies.  I paired it with homemade mashed potatoes.

Serves 6-8

The table all set up and ready for the dinner party.
My dinner plate-- but the photo is a little blurry.....

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

BBQ Quinoa Chili

In my fridge today, I found a couple things that I didn't know what to do with:  cooked ground beef with diced tomatoes and a failed quinoa and black bean dish.  I didn't want to eat either of them on their own because, in all honesty, neither were that good.  So I dug through cookbooks and pulled different ingredients and ideas that I thought would make a great meal....the result BBQ Quinoa Chili.  It was super tasty.  The recipe below shows how I would make it next time....this attempt was trial and error, but it turned out just right!

BBQ Quinoa Chili

1 Tbsp olive oil  
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 onion, chopped
1 large can diced tomatoes  
1 pound ground beef  
1 Tbsp canned green chilies
1 Tbsp ground cumin  
1 can black beans  
1 tsp table salt  
1 tsp black pepper  
1/2 cup fat free salsa  
1/4 cup Sweet Baby Ray's Rasberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup(s) low-fat shredded Cheddar cheese  
1 cup(s) uncooked quinoa  

Cook quinoa according to package and set aside.  In large pot, coat with olive oil.  On med-high, cook garlic and onions until garlic is browned.  Brown ground beef, drain off liquid.  Add diced tomatoes, green chilies, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Once heated through, add quinoa, black beans, salsa, and BBQ sauce.  Serve in bowls, sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Serves 6, 9 points a serving.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits

HAPPY EASTER!  Nothing says Easter in the south like shrimp and grits, right?

Living it the south, it should come as a surprise that before last night, I have never had grits.  I figured it was about time to change that.  I found the following recipe while surfing the intrawebs- thanks Food Network!  Another plate-licking clean dinner.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits

3/4 cup grits (I got mine from Trader Joe's)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbs butter
1 1/4 lbs uncooked shrimp, deveined and no tails
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs parsley

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Slowly whisk in grits, 1 tsp salt, and  tsp pepper. Reduce the heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parmesan and 1 tablespoon butter. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Melt the remaining 1 tbs butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic and cayenne, and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are pink. Remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons water, the lemon juice and parsley; stir to coat the shrimp with the sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Divide the grits among shallow bowls and top with the shrimp and sauce.

Serves 4, 9 points per serving.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Strawberry Banana Muffins

When I came home last night, I saw that I had two bananas getting close to past their prime, so I decided to make something with them.  I perused Pinterest, and I found a great recipe from Sweet Peas Kitchen.  It includes two of my favorite fruits:  strawberries and bananas, and it can serve as a great breakfast in the car on the way to work or a dessert.  

Since today is Good Friday, I thought a meat free and spring recipe was in order.  I even made the cupcakes in Easter egg cupcake liners :)  Enjoy and happy spring!

Strawberry Banana Muffins

1/2 stick butter  
 3/4 cup packed brown sugar  
 2 large eggs
 1 tsp vanilla extract  
 2 large bananas  
 1 cup unsweetened frozen strawberries (or fresh)  
 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour  
 1 1/2 tsp baking powder  
 1/4 tsp baking soda  
 1 tsp ground cinnamon  
 1/2 tsp table salt  

Yummy batter!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners.

Melt butter in microwave and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, egga, vanilla, mashed banana. Add melted butter and stir to combine.

 In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt. Fold in wet, chopped strawberries, making sure they are coated with flour. Combine wet and dry ingredients.

Divide batter evenly into 12 muffine cups. Bake 20-24 minutes.

Serves 12, 6 points a muffin.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

We're getting so much ground beef from the farm share so expect to see a good number of beef recipes popping up on the blog this month.  Last night, we had Beef Stroganoff.  It was so yummy....we licked our plates clean.  It was a little more points than a typical Weight Watchers meal- but still not bad at 11 points per serving.

Beef Stroganoff

1 cup skim milk
½ cup reduced fat sour cream
2 gloves minced garlic
2 onions, chopped
1 tsp minced onion or onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley
1 cup vegetable broth (or beef broth)
1 packet onion soup mix
1 tsp cornstarch
1 cup rotini noodles (or egg noddles)
1 lb ground beef

In large pan/pot, brown ground beef with onions and garlic.  Drain off any fat/grease.  Add noodles, minced onion, garlic powder, parsley, onion soup mix, cornstarch, milk, and vegetable broth.  Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed.  Stir in sour cream thoroughly.  Serve and enjoy.

Serves 4, 11 points a serving.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole

Look at this great meal!  It's a casserole, so one would think it was simple and a no-mess dish.  Well, keep reading...

I have class on Tuesday nights, so this week Austin was gracious enough to volunteer to cook dinner while I was in class.  He asked for a recipe, so I rummaged through my recipe pins on Pinterest and found Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole.  I picked it because we had all the ingredients (or could substitute the ingredients we didn't have at home) but didn't bother to read the recipe.  That was a mistake.  When he picked me up from class, he looked so stressed, and I could understand why.  A casserole should be things thrown into a pan and put into an over.

However, look at the picture above!  All those dishes just to have all the pieces go into a casserole dish...

But the casserole does look awesome!

And Austin looks pretty please with his handiwork.  He should be- a great meal!

Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole
(adapted from

1 cup rotini
2 tsp oil
4 minced garlic cloves
12 oz broccoli
1 tbsp butter
1 shallot, minced
3 tbsp  flour
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup skim milk
12 oz cooked shredded chicken breast
4 oz shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
3 tbsp parmesan cheese
2 tbsp breadcrumbs

Cook noodles  and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook until golden. Add the broccoli and a pinch of salt, cook and cover the broccoli for about 3 minutes on medium heat until the broccoli begins to soften. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly spray a 9 x 12 casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat.  Add the shallot andcook until soft. Add flour and a pinch of salt.  Stir well, cooking for about 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
Slowly whisk in the chicken broth.  Add the milk and bring to a boil. Simmer, mixing occasionally until it thickens. Remove from heat and add sharp cheddar and 1 tablespoon of the parmesan cheese.  Mix until cheese melts.

Add the shredded chicken, noodles and broccoli to the sauce and mix well until evenly coated.  Pour into a casserole dish and top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray cooking spray on top and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes.

8 points plus per serving.  Serves 6.