Bowties with Ham

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This recipe is very versatile. I adapted it from a Pillsbury recipe. You could put any veggie in it, and you could omit the ham completely to make it vegetarian. As it was, I had ham in my freezer to use that my mom had sent home leftover from Christmas. Since I don't normally have ham sitting around (and never cook it), this will end up becoming a veggie-filled vegetarian pasta dish from now on!

I really want to highlight the alfredo sauce (click on link in the recipe). It's an easy way to make lower-fat alfredo!

Bowties with Ham
3 c. uncooked bowtie pasta (6 oz)
1 jar alfredo sauce ( I used lowfat homeamade sauce, click here)
1 c. frozen cut green beans
1 c. diced cooked ham
4 oz Havarti cheese, shredded

1. Heat oven to 350. Spray 2 quart casserole with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Halfway through cooking time, put the green beans in the boiling water with the pasta.

2. Meanwhile, in 3 quart saucepan, heat pasta sauce over medium heat, stirring freequently, until hot. Gently stir in cooked pasta and green beans, ham, and 1/2 c. of the cheese. Pour into the casserole.

3. Cover; bake 35 to 45 mins. or until bubbly. Top with remaining cheese.

Chunky Monkey Pancakes

Friday, January 18, 2013

These are a 'treat' pancake that I only make occasionally. They get devoured! I'm afraid if I make them too often, our other 'plainer' pancake recipes would get revolted against!

Chunky Monkey Pancakes
Amy (amylz)
All Recipes Servings: 9

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup skim milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large banana, diced
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped pecans
cooking spray

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set bowl aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the skim milk, melted butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, being careful not to over mix the batter. Gently fold in the banana, chocolate chips, and nuts. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Noah devouring his Chunky Monkey...which is sweet enough that we don't even need syrup!

Fresh Tomato Soup

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blended up....
...Or left Chunky. Both ways are wonderful!

In my quest to rely less on canned food filled with sodium and preservatives (and all kinds of weird ingredients), I have been looking for good replace- ments for some of our basics. I found a pretty good replacement for Campbell's veggie soup (click here). I wanted a good alternative to canned tomato soup as well. There are some nights that all my husband wants for supper is grilled cheese and tomato soup, and I tend to makes a wonderful, warm meal! Would it be simpler to just crack open a can? Yeah. And I'm not saying I never will do that again. But with some extra time and effort, I can make a soup that is much healthier, and enough that I can freeze some for the next time (in which case I can just pop it out of the freezer, voila!)

I left half the soup chunky, and the other half I pureed in my blender. The hubby, oldest son and I loved how it tasted chunky, while the two youngest preferred smooth. Either way, this is a really great tomato soup, and will come in handy when I have fresh tomatoes to use up from the garden this summer. I improvised and used petite diced tomatoes this time. I imagine the flavors will be that much better with fresh tomatoes...mmm, can't wait to try!

Jersey Fresh Tomato Soup (Ness413 via
  • 7 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomato (can use two 28 oz can petite diced)
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 (13.75 ounce) can vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt (can use 1/4 t. ground celery seed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Bring the tomatoes, carrots, and onion to a boil over medium-high heat in a stockpot, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, sugar, and salt.
  2. Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour, stirring until thick. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Cook and stir, whisking constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes, then stir milk mixture in to the stockpot. Season with basil, celery salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Continue to simmer the soup on low to reduce and thicken, about 1 hour.

Cheesy Quinoa Bites

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

These were simply awesome! They could be served with a variety of meals, but the cilantro flavor made me think they'd go really well with Mexican-inspired food. So we ate them with Black Bean and Chicken Wraps..what a great meal combo! These little babies are incredible with a dab of salsa on top.

Cheesy Quinoa Bites
Makes ~28 bites
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 stalks green onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Mix together quinoa, carrot, egg, green onion, garlic, cilantro, cheese, flour, salt and pepper.
3.  Distribute mixture into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top (1 heaping Tbs each).  

4. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Greek Inspired Slow Cooker Chicken

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I have made this chicken several times and it never lets me down! The flavor is out of this world--and the chicken turns out very tender. The original recipe says to use a whole chicken, but I use 3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs (thighs are particularly rich in flavor). My favorite way to eat it is with wild rice, prepared simply with a little butter and salt. We've also had it with Crash Hot Potatoes. One of my favorite things about this recipe is that there are always enough leftovers for me to use on my salads for several days of lunches. This chicken, along with red onion and feta cheese, and a little of the reserved cooking liquid as a dressing, makes a salad like no other!

Greek Inspired Slow Cooker Chicken

Total Time: 5 Hours

1 Lemon, Juiced
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Cup White Wine
1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
1 tsp Dill
1 tsp Rosemary
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Whole Chicken, Broken into it's Respective Pieces


Add all the ingredients with the exception of the chicken to the marinade.

Mix up well.

Add in the chicken and coat all the pieces completely.

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours.

Serve over noodles with sauce from the slow cooker spooned over the noodles and a little feta and olives for good measure.

Black Bean and Chicken Wraps

Sunday, January 13, 2013

This was a nice change from our typical Mexican burritos or wraps. The recipe makes a lot of bean spread, but the leftovers are great with chips and salsa (or freeze the leftover spread for the next time you make the wraps). What I really found cool is that I didn't have to add any shredded cheese (our family's downfall) and everyone still loved the wraps. (Note: I made the fajita chicken using the awesome fajita seasoning in this recipe, poured over and rubbed into three chicken breasts, cooked in the crockpot on low for a few hours.)

Black Bean and Chicken Wrap
from averyhappymama

1/2 c minced onion
1/4 c green onions
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/4 c chopped cilantro
15 oz black beans
1/2 c water
1 tbls lime juice
1 chopped chipotle chile pepper
1/4 tsp salt
 flour tortillas
3 oz fajita seasoned and cooked chicken
1 c mixed greens (I used romaine and spinach)
chopped fresh cilantro

Saute onions, coriander, and cumin in vegetable oil until tender. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Transfer to a blender, adding the black beans, water, lime juice, pepper, and salt. Process until smooth.

Spread the black bean mixture on the tortilla and top with remaining ingredients. Roll, and enjoy. Or wrap and save for work or school. I served it with a salad & strawberries.

Toilet Paper Tube Snowflakes (or flowers!)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

This is a seriously simple way to use up some toilet paper tubes and add some pretty decorations to windows and door handles during the winter! During the spring and summer you could paint them all kinds of bright colors to make flowers. Skip the glitter step if you are not fond of stray glitter all over the place. ;)

Low Fat Alfredo Sauce

Unfortunately the Hubby doesn't really like Alfredo sauce. The kids do, and I think it's insanely decadent. Here's a version that is somewhat healthier but still incredibly tasty...hubby will just have to deal with my occasional Alfredo craving!

Lowfat Alfredo Sauce
(found on babycenter and don't remember op. If you are, comment so I can give you credit!)

1 c. skim milk
1 T. butter
6 wedges laughing cow cheese
1 T. grated parmesan (I grated some from a hunk of parmesan, but I'm not opposed to using the green can)
1/2 t. garlic powder

  • In a medium-sized saucepan, combine all ingredients until everything is melted and sauce is velvety smooth, about 20 min
  • Serve immediately.
  • 81 cal, 4 gr fat, 0 fiber
  • Serves 4

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