Tuesday, January 14, 2020

New Book

The boys got me this cookbook for Christmas and I've tried three recipes now from it and really liked them all. Not surprising, as I generally like Taste of Home recipes.  I did end up finding an alternative recipe for one I found in there because I wanted the convenience of crescent dough!

I made both of these for game night last weekend.  I had none left....so that's always a good sign!

I don't generally like salami, but I really liked these.  Because you cook and drain it, it wasn't greasy and add that great salty bite!

Modified from What Can I Make In My....

36 slices of Genoa salami (they said 24, but I was short a bit on salami, but still would have had TONS of extra filling...so I upped this for next time)
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts
1 jar (8 oz) marinated whole mushrooms
1 jar (8 oz) roasted sweet red peppers
8 oz (2 cups) mozzarella cheese, shredded (they used cubes, I just used shredded)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400.  Press one piece of salami into the well of a 12 well muffin pan (what I would call a cupcake pan).  Loosely crumble aluminum foil to form 2 inch balls, place in cups to keep salami from sliding.  Bake for 6-8 minutes or until edges are browned.  Using tongs, remove from pans and invert on paper towels to drain.  Wipe out pan and repeat. you can reuse the foil balls.  

Drain and coarsely chop artichokes, mushrooms and peppers.  Mix in a large bowl and then add in cheese and mix.  In another small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, garlic salt and pepper.  Drizzle over veggie mixture and then toss to coat.  Using a slotted spoon, fill each cup with veggie mixture.

Makes 36 appetizers.  (Or more, I'll give you and update and see how many I actually get next time). 2 WW points per cup. Possibly less after I figure out how many this actually makes as I had a LOT of filling left and a lot of the point value comes from cheese.

I love spinach artichoke dip so this was no surprise that I liked these! 
Modified from Delish and What Can I Make In My....

1 (16 oz) pkg frozen spinach, defrosted and chopped (or just buy chopped....)
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tubes crescent dough (or more...so this was 2...and I had extra, so I'm going to buy more and see how many I get time, but at least 3)

Preheat oven to 375.  Grease 12 well muffin pan (they used the mini muffin pan, but I used the larger one). 

In a large bowl, combine everything but the dough.  Make sure to thoroughly mix so you get the cream cheese distributed.

Roll out the dough, pinching the seams.  Cut each tube of dough into 24 squares.  Put into the bottom of muffin tins and then add 1 tbsp of filling.  I did one with with 2 tbsp and that worked out okay as well and I might go all 2 tbsp, but do a little more dough...so cut each square larger.  Maybe get like 18 versus 24 per tube. 

Bake for 15 minutes until pastry is golden and cheese is melted. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Air Fryer!

When we were in Michigan, my mother-in-law had an air fryer that they hadn't used, so we pulled it out to play with.  We used frozen fries (straight from the freezer) and they cooked and were crispy. It was easy and fast.  We literally just tossed the frozen fries into the basket and turned it on.  Worked fine, would be even better with a little tweaking.

So when I got home, I took the plunge and bought one....as Adam has wanted to make "real" fries for awhile and I didn't want to go the deep frying method (I have a deep fryer and I'm fine doing that, given the situation, just not for fries for a weekday...I also did some research and almost all recipes said you had to double fry them...which again was just too much work for me.).  So this seems the way to go. 

So tonight we made fries...with my own potatoes from last summer (because everyone says Alaskan potatoes are part of the issue, but I'm not buying other potatoes when I have some at home...so for this to work, it had to work my potatoes).  And it worked!!!  We got cooked, crispy fries!  Everyone liked them.  I also think that if I work with Adam (who cut all the potatoes up), we will get better fries as they will cook more evenly if cut more evenly.  But hey, the kid did it, not complaining!  Now I just need to teach him to peel the potatoes too.....
Cutting up the potatoes
Evaluating his results

So this is all I did/used:
Air Fryer Fries
Modified from What Can I Cook in My.....

1 lb potatoes
2 tbsp oil (they used olive, I used canola)
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Peel and cut potatoes into 1/2 inch sticks.  Toss potatoes with oil, pepper and salt.  Place potatoes in a single layer in air fryer basket, cook for about 10 minutes at 400.  Then shake to redistribute and then cook for another 10 minutes.  Serve!

Meatball Risotto (Instant Pot)

I've never made risotto on the stovetop as I'm WAY too lazy.  But it is SO easy and SO good to make in the instant pot.  I wasn't sure on the corn in this recipe, but it worked.  I do plan to make/buy red pesto next time as I think it will add a nice flavor boost as this was a little one note, as is (but the kids ate it).

Meatball Risotto
Modified from blog

1 tsp oil
1 small onion, diced (they used a leek)
20 frozen meatballs (this number is whatever, but they should be 1 inch or less.  I used (as did they) frozen, straight from the freezer)
1 cup arborio rice
1 can (15.25 oz) corn, drained
2 cups beef stock
2 tbsp Parmesan
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
3 tbsp red pesto (I didn't use this as I didn't have it, but I since figured what it was and I am TOTALLY trying it next time!  Red pepper pesto sounds great!!!)
2-4 tbsp white wine or vermouth (I didn't use this...if I had some extra from another recipe I'd throw it in, but I wouldn't buy it for this recipe)

Cook onion on saute in inner pot until softened in oil.  Add still-frozen meatballs and cook for 2 minutes (just get chill off) and then add in rice, pesto and corn and stir.  Cook for two more minutes until rice is coated.

Deglaze with stock and then add in wine if using (they deglazed with this and then added stock...so whatever!).  Make sure well stirred (you don't want the pesto stuck on the bottom it says as it might burn).  Put on lid, set to high for 7 minutes (I used beef setting on mine).  Do the manual (not natural) steam release when done. 

Stir well and add stock if necessary (I didn't) and then add in Parmesan and parsley. 

Serves 4.

Crockpot Mongolian Beef

This was good, but I'm not sure I'd call it Mongolian Beef....but still I'd make it again.  I would probably add more vegetables.  Some broccoli or green beans would play nicely.

Mongolian Beef
Modified from The Recipe Critic

1 1/2 lbs flank steak
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup grated carrots
small onion, chopped (they garnished with green onions, I just tossed in some onion)
White rice, cooked

Cut flank steak into streaks.  Coat with cornstarch (they did this is a ziploc, I did this in a bowl).  Add rest of ingredients (minus rice) to crock pot.  Add in coated steak and mix.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours. 

Serve over rice. 

Krispy Treats

I found these twists on rice krispy treats and  have found them a great option for shipping overseas!

I honestly had never made the regular recipe - as I don't really like these to start with - but I did like the strawberry ones.  The chocolate ones were decent as well.  If you like rice krispy treats, these will be a winner for you (my husband likes the regular ones and LOVES the strawberry ones and even liked the chocolate. 

Now I will say...I considered making the matcha ones...did you know how much that stuff is?  Yeah...not doing that......

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Pumpkin Mini Muffins

I admit it - I love pumpkin flavored stuff!  So I needed a good low-cal option! These are SOOOO good!!  And I can have one (or even two) and feel like I got a treat and not break the calorie/point bank!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
Modified from Skinny Taste

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp salt
i can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 tbsp canola oil
2 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
baking spray

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.

Combine all the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl mix pumpkin puree, oil, egg whites and vanilla until thick (they used a mixer, I did this by hand). 

Add to flour mixture, then blend until well mixed (again I did this by hand).  Fold in chocolate chips.

Put into a mini muffin pan (24 hole).  I used a 1 tsp cookie scoop to distribute.  Cook for 12 minutes.

Makes about 66 mini muffins (its two pans plus most of a third...or I also did 2 and a small loaf pan).

Each mini muffin is 1 WW point.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Pickled Peppers

We had a lot of peppers this year and my father wanted pickled peppers, like you get with pizza (so pepperoncinis). I actually grew pepperoncinis, but we just had a large mix. This seemed to work well on all of them.  We haven't eaten the canned ones, but hopefully those work well as well.

Pickled Peppers

Modified from Blessings Overflowing

small peppers (we used pepperoncinis, jalapenos and serranos)
1 coriander seed
1 peppercorn
1/2 clove of garlic
1/2 bay leaf
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp canning salt

Poke a few holes in each pepper and place into pint canning jar.  Add coriander, peppercorn, bay leaf and garlic to jar. 

Combine water, vinegar, sugar and salt to pot and bring to a boil. So I did a couple at a time and just multiplied here.

Pour over peppers.  You can either refrigerate for 2-4 weeks and then eat or process them for 10 minutes in a water bath canner and then you can keep them in the shelf until ready to eat.

Makes 1 pint. 

Moose and Noodles

We've all been sick and just feeling dreary so soup seemed like the thing to make! This was really good and everyone liked it.  Very comforting and a nice change from chicken noodle soup. 

Modified from Love Bakes Good Cakes
2-3 lb roast (I used moose)
10 cups beef broth (so they used one can plus 6-8 cups water/broth, I used all water)
1 pkg beefy onion soup mix
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of celery (or mushroom) soup, undiluted
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg (24 oz) frozen home-style egg noodles
salt and pepper to taste (I didn't use any extra since I used all broth)

Mix the soups, broth and garlic in a large crock pot. Add roast.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Shred meat.****

Add noodles and cook for one more hour on high. 

Serves 12. [With moose, this is about 7 WW points a serving.]

****So the actual recipe had you cook the beef overnight, then shred, then cook 8 MORE hours before you add noodles for last hour. That seems like overkill to me.  The meat would be very tender....but I think it was fine about 8 hours!   You can try it that way if you want though. 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Updated Recipe

I had to make changes when I first made this b/c I couldn't find their weird cheese sauce. Campbells has since updated it (I don't think anyone could...) so here is the updated the recipe.

Salsa Chicken
Modified from Campbells

1 jar (14.5 oz) roasted garlic Alfredo sauce
1 1/2 cup white rice
2 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp fresh cilantro (or 2 tsp dried)
3/4 cup salsa
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 lb chicken breasts
1/3 cup cheddar, shredded

Heat oven to 375.  Stir cheese sauce, salsa, 1 tsp chili powder and rice in a baking dish.  Top with chicken.  Sprinkle with chili powder.  Cover the baking dish.

Bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender.  Uncover and sprinkle with cheese and cilantro (or mix it in earlier if dried).  Let stand for 10 minutes.

Serves 6. About 9 WW points per serving.

***I actually did this in my casserole crock pot so I did it for 6-8 hours on low.

BLT Pasta Salad

I made this for ourselves because we had so much lettuce and then turned around and made it for a church function as well.

BLT Pasta Salad
Modified from Real Housemoms

12 oz short pasta (they used cellentani, I used farfelle as that's what I had)
9 strips bacon
1 cup ranch dressing (I used fat-free, but Ray liked it better with the full fat stuff)
4 Roma tomatoes (seeded, diced...I didn't use these for myself as I don't like raw tomatoes_
2 cups romaine lettuce (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 tbsp chives (I used onions and I used quite a bit since I didn't use tomatoes, but when I made this for a church event and I did use tomatoes, I just added enough to cover the chives that I didn't have)

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Rinse and cool completely.  Set aside. I did this the night before.  

Cook bacon until crispy and drain.  Roughly chop the bacon.

In a large mixing bowl, mix pasta and ranch dressing.  Stir until pasta is coated.   Add the rest of ingredients and mix well.  They recommended waiting to mix if you aren't going to eat right away.  So I didn't do this and the lettuce did okay for several days in the fridge. I do think that if I was going to do it again, I would add just the lettuce at the last minute as I ate it so it would last longer, but mix the rest.

Serves 6. About 8 WW points per serving.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Microwave Pasta Cooker

So I bought this microwave pasta cooker awhile ago and finally got around to using it.  So I tried this recipe for mac and cheese.  Honestly, Kraft is better.  And the "skinny"?  So not skinny!  WW says one serving is 15 points!

What this IS good for is making single servings of plain pasta if you need a little bit to use up some sauce or the like.

And some of the other recipes might be fine.  This one isn't. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Zucchini Apples

I tried this recipe for zucchini apples and was really happy!  The "apples" were easy and then the crisp was delicious.  Super easy and a great way to use some nice zucchini!

Modified from Crowded Earth

6 large zucchini (24 cups)
2 cups lemon juice
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tsp apple pie spice (they used Chinese five spice which I didn't have nor do I really like)
1 tbsp cinnamon

Peel zucchini and remove 1/2 inch from each end.  Slice in half and scoop out the seeds.  Dice into chunks. 

Combine all the zucchini and remaining ingredients in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. 

To can, put into sterilized cars.  Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes.  [You can also freeze this, but I canned it.]

Makes about 6 quarts.

Modified from Crowded Earth

8 cups of zucchini apples (that's 2 quarts)
1/2 cup cold water
1 tbsp cornstrach
1 cup oats
1 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp butter

Place apples in a medium bot.  In a small bowl, whisk the water and cornstarch until smooth. Pour into apples.  Bring to a boil and boil for about a 1 minute or until the liquid thickens up.

Transfer to a greased 2 quart baking dish (8 by 8) - this was REALLY tight and so it over boiling over during cooking (I had a sheet pan under it as I expected it so I might use a 13 by 9 next time, which is 3 quart. 

In a medium bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, spices and butter.  Use a pastry cutter to combine until they look like crumbs.  Spread over the apple mixture. 

Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Key Lime Cheesecakes

I tried this WW dessert. It's pretty good.  Key limes, though are TINY and so it takes a lot to get the juice and zest.  To me, you'd want to make this when you could double it as a dozen then fits in the muffin pan plus you don't end up with extra cream cheese.

Modified from Weight Watchers

1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (that's about 2.5 sheets crushed)
1 tsp butter, melted
1 pinch salt
4 oz low fat cream cheese (that's the neufchatel cheese), room temperature
6 tbsp fat-free plain Greek yogurt, room temperature (I remember to take the cream cheese out, not this)
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 1/2 tsp fresh key lime juice (I went with that each key lime was about 1/2 tsp)
2 tsp key lime zest (same here...)
6 tbsp light whipped cream (I didn't use this although I had some out for others)

Preheat oven to 325.  Line muffin pan with 6 cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and salt.   Divide among the cupcake liners and press into bottom.  Bake for 5 minutes. 

While crust bakes, beat cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, egg, lime juice and zest until smooth.  Evenly pour mixture into prepared cupcake liners.  It’s about 1/4 cup in each. 

Bake until set, about 20 minutes.  Mine took a little longer.

Let cool completely.  You can garnish with whipped cream and more zest if you want. I just put them out with the whipped cream by them.

Serves 6.  Each cake is 6 WW points.