Monday, November 30, 2009

Tortellini and Sausage Soup

This is a very easy soup to make, perfect for a chilly fall evening. Enjoy!

  • 2 cans of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 lg can (or 2 regular sized cans) of diced tomatoes with oregano, basil, and garlic
  • 1 pkg of frozen cheese-filled tortellini
  • 1-2 links of Italian turkey sausage

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and poach sausage links for approximately 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large pot combine chicken broth and tomatoes (I used a food processor to dice my tomatoes a little bit further). Slice poached sausage links and add to pot. Bring soup to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package directions. Turn heat down to low to simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve with crackers.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Easy Oreo Balls

This is a new recipe for me, although I've heard about them from several friends. Tastes just like cookies n' cream ice cream. Yum! I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 package of Oreos
  • 1 8 oz. package of fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • Bark chocolate coating (white chocolate or milk chocolate, does not matter)

Place 5 Oreos in a food processor and blend until finely ground. (If you do not have a food processor, you can place Oreos in a plastic band and crush them using a rolling pin). Set aside.

Place remaining Oreos in the food processor and blend until finely ground. Transfer to large bowl.

Mix Oreo crumbs and cream cheese until well blended. Roll 42 1-inch balls out of mixture and set aside.

Line a pan with wax paper. Melt approximately 4 cubes of bark in microwave for 30 second intervals until fully melted and creamy.

Drop Oreo balls one at a time into chocolate and roll around until covered. Use a fork or two spoons to retrieve balls from chocolate and allow excess to drip off. Place on wax paper and top with Oreo crumbs that were set aside.

Repeat process with all the Oreo balls and place in refrigerator to harden. Approx. 1 hour.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Focaccia Pie

I got this dish from Better Homes and Gardens from December 2009. I had all the ingredients ready except for the focaccia bread and asked Tim to pick it up for me. When he arrived with a different type of bread I thought I could make it work... not so much. So, needless to say, I made it without the main ingredient, and it did not look as appealing as the picture. It tasted great but definitely needs to be made with the focaccia bread. I hope you enjoy!

  • 3/4 cup oil-packed dried tomato halves with italian herbs (3 oz.)
  • 12-inch round flat-top rosemary or garlic focaccia bread
  • 8 oz. bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 4 oz. pkg baby spinach (4 cups)
  • 2 oz. goat cheese or feta cheese

Heat oven to 250 degrees. Drain tomatoes, reserving oil. Place focaccia on large baking sheet and brush with 2 tsps of oil. Cut in 8 wedges. Arrange wedges in circle. Place in oven to warm.

Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet cook sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Drain sausage in a colander, reserving 2 tsps drippings in skillet. Cook spinach in drippings just until wilted. Set oven to broil. Top warmed focaccia with cheese, dried tomatoes, sausage, and spinach. Broil, 3-5 minutes or until cheese is softened and toppings are heated through. Drizzle wedges with additional oil from tomatoes.

Each serving: 548 cal: 29 fat, 64 mg chol, 1,006 sodium, 55 g carb, 2 g fiber, 22 g protein.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Maggie's Pumpkin Cookies

For the first pumpkin taste of the fall, Maggie and I made a delicious batch of homemade pumpkin cookies.. I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 tsp vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by the spoonful.

Bake 15-20 minutes. Allow cookies to cool then drizzle glaze with a fork.

To make glaze: combine confectioner's sugar, milk, 1 tbsp melted butter and teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as need to achieve drizzling consistency. Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Asian Chicken and Rice

Sorry no picture this time- I ate it too fast, haha. I love this dish. It's easy to make and the rice is delicious. I hope you enjoy!

  • 3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 can Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • frozen vegetables (optional)
  • paprika

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread rice in an 11x18-inch shallow baking dish. Top with chicken. Stir the soup, water, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and garlic powder in medium bowl. Pour the soup mixture over the chicken. Add frozen vegetables if desired. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover. Bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Herbed Shrimp Kebabs

From Cooking Light July 2008. Very easy to make and tasty!
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 tsps EVOO
  • 24 peeled and deveined shrimp (about 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • cooking spray
  • salt & pepper

Prepare grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Place first 6 ingredients in a blender or small food processor; add 2 tsps oil. Process until smooth. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for approximately 15 minutes. Thread shrimp and zucchini, alternating. Drizzle kebabs with remaining oil. Place kebabs on grill coated with cooking spray. Grill 3 minutes on each side or until done. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fish Tacos with Peach Salsa

From Cooking Light August 2006. Excellent fish taco recipe!


  • 2 cups finely chopped peeled peach (about 2 medium peaches)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsps chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced


  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 pepper
  • 1 lb tilapia (or other fish) cut into 2-inch strips
  • cooking spray
  • corn tortillas

To prepare salsa, combine first 8 ingredients in a medium bowl. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine panko, salt, & pepper in a medium bowl. Add fish to bowl, tossing to coat. Place fish in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes or until fish is done, turning once. Heat tortillas. Divide salsa and fish evenly among tortillas. Enjoy!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Lemon Pepper Shrimp

This recipe is a modified version of a recipe found in Cooking Light from March of 2009. This dish is definitely a new favorite in my book! I hope you enjoy!

  • I cup of uncooked rice (any kind)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • salt
  • stick butter
  • 1 1/2 lbs of peeled and deveined shrimp (jumbo or regular)
  • 2 tsps minced garlic
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
  • pepper

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add rice. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover tightly for 10-15 minutes or until rice has absorbed all the water. Stir in parsley and 1/4 tsp salt; cover and keep warm. While rice is cooking, melt 1 tbsp butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with 1/4 tsp salt. Add half of shrimp to pan; saute 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a medium sized bowl. Melt 1 tsp butter in pan. Add remaining shrimp to pan; saute 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to bowl. Melt 1 tbsp butter in pan. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, juice, and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done. Spoon shrimp on top of rice.

As a side dish, saute 1 lb of trimmed asparagus in 2 tbsp of olive oil 4 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Nutrition info: Calories 403, Fat 10.4 g, Protein 40.1 g, Carb 34.7 g, Fiber 1.7 g, Chol 276 mg, Iron 4.3 mg, Sodium 549 mg, Calcium 97 mg.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Amazing M&M Cookies

In lieu of a main dish this week, and in honor of my classmate's birthday, I made M&M cookies from my favorite cookie recipe that I originally found online many moons ago. I love soft cookies and would rather eat a soft cookie over any other dessert. These cookies definitely pass the test as they stay soft days after being baked. I hope you enjoy!

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups M&Ms (or chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the M&Ms. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. (I used silicone liners to prevent cookies from browning on the bottom). Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

This recipe is not exactly healthy, but it's worth the occasional indulgence!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lasagna Toss

This week, I picked this twist on a family favorite from Kraft food & family magazine. I actually had all the ingredients except the noodles in my pantry already, so it earned easy points in my book. Logistically, I didn't have a big enough pan to cook the entire recipe together. I ended up using two skillets, and then combined them back together in just a large pan. It tasted wonderful, so it was worth the pan switch-a-roo. I hope you enjoy!
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 2/3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing
  • 12 oven-ready lasagna noodles, broken into quarters**
  • 1 cup Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese

Brown meat in LARGE pan; drain if necessary. Stir in peppers, garlic, spaghetti sauce, water, and dressing; bring to boil. Add noodles; stir. Cover. Cook on medium-low heat 10-15 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with cheese; cover. Let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with steamed vegetables or a fresh spinach salad.

**If you don't have oven-ready noodles, substitute regular lasagna noodles, increasing water to 2 cups and cooking 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sausage and Pepperoni Calzones

To put a twist on a traditional homemade pizza, I made sausage and pepperoni calzones with ingredients that I already had in the fridge and freezer. This is a simple recipe that is easy to adjust depending on what meat or veggies you have a available. Tim enjoyed it, and I hope you will too!

Calzone Dough (makes 6 personal-sized calzones):
  • 1 pkg. yeast
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water
  • 4- 4 1/2 cups of flour (wheat and/or all-purpose)

Calzone filling:

  • 1/2 lb of ground Italian sausage
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • olive oil (for pan)
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper (from jar)
  • 1/2 cup chopped turkey pepperoni (or regular pepperoni)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • Jar of marinara, pasta sauce
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Dissolve sugar in water. Add yeast package and stir gently; let set for about 5 minutes until frothy. Stir in flour until well mixed. Tip dough onto floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes until elastic. Place dough in well-oiled bowl and let double (approximately one hour).

Meanwhile, coat a small skillet with olive oil. Saute chopped onions on medium heat until transparent. Add sausage and cook until brown. Add chopped red pepper and pepperoni to warm through. After dough has doubled, divide dough into 6 sections. (Note: you can just get the dough you need and freeze the remainder for another dinner). Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out sections into ovals. On one half of the oval, spoon a layer of marinara sauce staying about 1/2" from the edge of the dough. Place approximately 1/3 cup of sausage mixture on marinara sauce. Add green bell pepper and cover with mozzarella cheese. Repeat with all calzones. Fold other half of oval over filling. Press down seam firmly with a fork to ensure the seam is secure. Bake on greased pan for 15-20 minutes or until brown and crispy. Either use a knife and fork or eat calzone like a hot pocket. Be careful when eating as filling will be extremely hot!

Dessert Pizza

Tonight, I'm making a pizza themed dinner- ending with a lovely, healthy dessert. (If desserts can be considered healthy in the first place). Because I don't want to spend time making dessert after dinner, I went ahead a made it beforehand. This is a really easy recipe that even lends itself to fruit creativity. I hope you enjoy!

"Crust" aka cookie dough:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour**
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup miniature semisweet choc. chips


  • Cool Whip or other whipped topping
  • fruit of your choice (I did strawberries, kiwi, and bananas)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix sugars, butter, oil, vanilla, and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread dough either on a round pizza pan or in a 9 x 13" dish. Press down firmly. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. It may look like it's not done in the oven, but will be firm once it cools. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Once completely cooled, top crust with a good layer of cool whip. Arrange sliced fruit in design of your choice. I used an egg slicer to thinly slice the strawberries. Refrigerate until served.

**Using only whole wheat flours makes this dish healthier than a normal cookie crust at only 120 calories per serving! However, all-purpose flour works just as well.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Crab and Avocado Quesadillas

Inspired by the clear blue waters of Pensacola, Florida, I decided to combine seafood with my favorite genre of food, tex-mex, in this cooking light recipe from August (2009). It wasn't my favorite recipe thus far, but if you're a huge fan of fish tacos this might be the recipe for you!


  • 1/4 cup diced onions**
  • olive oil (for the pan)
  • 1 cup peeled and diced avocado
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • ground cumin
  • 4 medium flour tortillas
  • 4 tsp diced green chiles
  • 1/2 cup chopped crabmeat (canned is fine)
  • 4 tbsp shredded low-fat Monterey Jack cheese
  • salsa and/or sour cream
Saute onions in olive oil until translucent. In a bowl, combine cooked onions with avocado, tomatoes, cumin, salt and pepper. Lay tortillas flat and spread 1/3 cup of the avocado mixture, 1 tsp of green chiles, 2 tbsp of crab meat, and 2 tbsp of cheese on each. Fold tortillas in half and place in pan coated with nonstick spray. Cook over medium heat 3-5 minutes per side or until cheese is melted. Serve with salsa and/or sour cream. Makes 4 quesadillas.

Nutrition Info (from cooking light): 395 calories per serving; 16 g protein, 16 g carbs, 10 g fat (2.5 g sat fat), 5 g fiber.

**New cooking tip from my roommate Jackie: place the onion in the freezer for about 10 minutes before you're going to use it. It prevents the tear-jerking moments while cutting up the onion.

Sorry about the week's delay- More recipes to come!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lou's Pecan Pie

Today's dessert precedes itself with a story. A couple weeks ago, I brought a chocolate chip pound cake with chocolate icing to my rotation site (a P&O clinic where I get hands-on practice in prosthetics and orthotics). Thinking that this would surely win everyone over, I was severely mistaken when I found out my boss' boss (The Big Man) doesn't like chocolate. So, I asked him what's your favorite dessert? He replies "Pecan Pie." So...having never made a pie, yet alone a pie crust, I accepted the challenge from the Big Man to make his favorite dessert... pecan pie. He's highly intimidating and can severely affect my future in the field, so this better go well. I credit the crust to my second Mom, Mrs. Anita Owen, and the filling to my new favorite friends at Karo syrup, hehe. Enjoy!

Mrs. Anita's Pie Crust:
  • 1/2 stick Crisco
  • 1 1/3 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup water
Measure flour and salt and mix well. Add Crisco. If you don't have a pastry maker (like me), take 2 knives and cut in the shortening until the consistency is little white crumbs. (Reminds me of feta cheese). Pour water in and stir with a fork. Smush with hands into a ball and place dough on flour covered counter. Sprinkle flour on hands and rolling pin. Roll out dough to desired size; 9" pie pan. Place in pie pan and smush edges to desired texture.

Pecan Pie Filling:
  • 1 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. butter (melted)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of pecans
Stir the first five ingredients thoroughly using a spoon. Mix in pecans. Pour into pie crust. Bake on center rack of oven for 55-60 minutes. Cool for 2 hours. Enjoy!

Finished product!

Dixie decided she wanted to help!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Abbey's Homemade Pizza Dough

  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
In a large bowl dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.

Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all purpose flour until dough starts to come together. Tip dough out onto a surface floured with the remaining all-purpose flour, and knead until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover losely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 pieces for a thin cursth or leave whole to make a thick crust. (**Abbey's tip: if you're going to freeze the dough, do so now) Form into a tight ball and let rise for an additional 45 minutes, until doubled.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further, or to desired size. Place on well-oiled pan. Pre-bake for crispier crust for 8-10 minutes. Then top with toppings and bake an additional 8 minutes. Enjoy!

Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

Tonight I made mini-deep dish pizzas! Yum-O!
(Recipe from Rachael Ray's show, if you didn't get the yum-o comment)

  • 1 can of biscuits (Pillsbury) or 1 Pillsbury pizza crust dough
  • cooking spray
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. Italian sausage (or turkey sausage)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped (turkey) pepperoni
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers (jar)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Cut biscuits in half, press into cups of sprayed muffin tin, making sure they go all the way up the sides. Place in oven and bake until golden brown. About 8-10 minutes.

While the biscuits are baking, place a medium skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Add the sausage and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add in the onions and mushrooms and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the pepperoni and roasted red peppers and mix to warm through.

Take the muffin tin out of the oven and fill each pizza crust with about a tbsp of sauce, a tbsp of sausage-onion-pepper-mushroom mix and sprinkle with cheese. Place under the broiler until light brown and bubbling about 3 minutes. Enjoy!

Things I would do differently:
1. I would make my own pizza dough (see recipe above) instead of the biscuits because they rose in the oven, completely ruining the little crust shape I had created.
2. I would use turkey sausage for a healthier version.