Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blueberry Streusel Bread

I made this quick and easy streusel bread to share with my co-workers at work and it was a HUGE hit. It is so moist and has wonderful flavor from the fresh blueberries and streusel topping. I have included a variation to make muffins as well. Enjoy!

Blueberry streusel bread
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 & 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 & 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (may also use frozen)

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar. Beat in egg and sour cream, mix well. In a measuring cup, stir together milk and vanilla, set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk/vanilla. Mix just until combined. Fold in blueberries. Pour batter into a loaf pan, set aside. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon for streusel, cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle streusel over batter. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until top of loaf is lightly browned or toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool. Makes 12 slices.
*Blueberry streusel muffins: prepare batter as directed except spoon batter into 12 muffin cups to fill 2/3 full. Sprinkle each muffin cup with streusel. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 12 muffins.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

These are the creamiest most delicious mashed potatoes ever! The best part of this recipe is that you can make it up to 24 hours ahead of time, which is really convenient if you are preparing a large meal. Be ready for lots of compliments!

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
5 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut up
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese
3 tbsp. butter, divided
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a large pot of salted water, bring potatoes to a boil. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain. In a large bowl, mash potatoes. Add the sour cream, cream cheese, 2 tbsp. of the butter, salt, onion salt, and pepper. Beat until fluffy. Transfer to a greased 9x13 pan or 2 qt. casserole. Refrigerate up to 24 hours ahead of time. When ready to be prepared, dot potatoes with remaining 1 tbsp. butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until heated through. Makes 8-12 servings.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sour Cream Blueberry Pancakes & Crispy Bacon

These pancakes are SO good anytime, and are an excellent way to use up extra blueberries. They are so moist and tender and take no time at all to prepare. I put extra pancakes in stacks of 3, wrap tightly in foil and freeze. Just reheat pancakes in the microwave for 1 min 30 secs..a yummy way to have a delicious breakfast in no time at all! Also - I love how easy it is to fix the crispy bacon, just pop it in the oven while you're making the pancakes - you'll have a wonderful meal ready in no time!

Sour cream blueberry pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 & 1/2 cup milk
1 cup (8 oz) reduced-fat sour cream
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen do not thaw)

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, beat together eggs, milk, sour cream and melted butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until blended. Fold in blueberries. Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle; flip pancakes when bubbles form on top. Cook until second side is golden brown. Serve with syrup if desired.

Crispy Bacon
Bacon, any type

Line a 9x13 in. baking pan with foil. Lay strips of bacon in pan, cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover baking pan, flip bacon and bake an additional 10-20 minutes or until cooked to desired crispness. Drain on paper towels before serving.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Nita's Corn Casserole

OK, this is actually Paula Deen's corn casserole..but I got the recipe from my friend Nita so I am giving her the credit! Haha! This recipe will remind you of the corn cake from Chichi's or Don Pablo's..this is perfect to make for a mexican meal! It is also very inexpensive to make, since it uses cheap Jiffy corn muffin mix and canned corn. The recipe doubles perfectly for a 9x13 dish so this is also a great side dish for pitch-ins. This recipe uses regular sized cans of corn, approximately 15 oz. each.

Corn Casserole
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can cream style corn
1 small package (8 oz) jiffy corn muffin mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) butter or margarine, melted
1-2 tbsp. sugar, optional

In a large bowl, stir together the two cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, sugar if using, and melted butter. Pour into a greased casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
*for 9x13 pan: double all ingredients. Bake in 9x13x2in. pan 45-60 minutes or until golden brown.

Panera Low-Fat Black Bean Soup

I LOVE the low-fat black bean soup at Panera, and this tastes so much like it! I made it for lunch for my family one day and they were really impressed. A wonderful tasting soup that just happens to be vegetarian and low in fat! This recipe only makes 4 servings, so I highly recommend doubling it if you really love this soup.

Panera Black Bean Soup
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1/4 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 can (15 oz) vegetable stock
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, undrained
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 lemon, juice of
1 & 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 & 1/2 tbsp. water

In a pot, bring the first five ingredients to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add half a can of beans, salt and cumin, simmer an additional 5 minutes. Puree soup (just pour it into a magic bullet or blender and puree) and return to pot. Add the rest of the beans to the soup. Combine cornstarch with 1 and 1/2 tbsp. water and stir until dissolved. Add the cornstarch and the lemon juice (I just hold the lemon half over the pot and give it a good squeeze) and cook until thickened. Makes 4 servings.

Easy French Bread

This recipe makes the best french bread ever! It makes 2-3 good sized loafs and while it doesn't take a lot of actual time to make, you want to start this in the morning or early afternoon as the dough needs over 4 hours of rising time. You can also make the bread a day ahead of time...just plan on removing the dough from the fridge 90 minutes before you need to bake it. Basically you can do other things and occasionally you need to return to the bread for a few minutes of work. The taste is SO worth the extra time! I made this for my family with soup for lunch one day and everyone LOVED it, we ate 2 1/2 loaves in one sitting!

French Bread

2 packages dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 tsp. sugar
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast into bottom. Pour in warm water (make sure it is not too warm or it will kill the yeast - 110-115 degrees), salt and sugar. Stir lightly and let stand for 5 minutes or until yeast dissolves and starts to bubble. Stir in 2 cups flour and let rise for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, gradually stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (I use a cutting board covered in flour) and knead for 10 minutes. (to knead dough, just press into dough with your hands and continue to turn it over..very relaxing!) Then clean the large bowl, grease it with a tiny bit of solid shortening or oil (or you can spray the bowl with non-stick cooking spray if you prefer fat-free bread). Turn the dough in the bowl so that dough is greased (this prevents the top from cracking as it rises).
Cover the dough and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours and 30 mins. Punch down the dough and divide dough in half and place one half on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a 12x6 rectangle. (the measurements don't have to be perfect by the way..I divide my dough into 3 parts and make 3 smaller loaves). Starting with the 12in. side, roll up tightly, sealing edges by pinching. Repeat with remaining dough.
Grease a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves on prepared sheet. If making bread a day ahead of baking, cover loaves with foil and put into fridge at this point. Plan on removing them 90 mins. before desired baking time. If not cover loaves and let rise at room temperature, about 1 hour.
If loaves have been made ahead, pull out of fridge and let rise at room temperature 90 minutes before baking. Spray the loaves with a bit of water and using a sharp knife, make a few slits in the top of the bread. Bake loaves at 425 degrees for 25-30minutes or until loaves are lightly golden brown. Makes 2-3 loaves depending on size.

Light Classic Lasagna

This lasagna has a classic italian taste and the best part is you don't have to boil the noodles before baking it! This really cuts down on preparation time and hassle. The original recipe calls for vegetable juice in place of water, but I subsititute water and it lowers the sodium content considerably but I don't notice the difference in taste! I love to throw in some of my fresh garden herbs (parsley and basil) with the sauce. If you use low-fat cottage cheese, 2% shredded cheese and 90% lean ground beef to make this it has about the same nutrition figures per serving as Weight Watchers frozen lasagna.

Light Classic Lasagna
1 1/2 lbs. 90% lean ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cans (14-16oz each) petite or regular diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
2 envelopes (1.5 oz each) spaghetti sauce mix
3 cups water (or can use 3 cups vegetable juice instead)
fresh herbs, optional
9 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 carton (16 oz) low-fat cottage cheese
2 cups 2% or reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated reduced-fat parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, brown chopped onion and ground beef; drain. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce mixes and water (or vegetable juice if you prefer). Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. If using fresh italian herbs (such as basil or parsley), stir into sauce. Cover the bottom of a foiled and lightly greased 13x9x2in. baking pan with a thin layer of meat sauce. On top of that, layer 3 lasagna noodles, one-third of the cottage cheese, one-third of the mozzarella cheese and one-third of parmesan cheese and one-third of the remaining meat sauce. Repeat layers twice. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until heated through. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. Makes 12 servings, each serving 290 calories.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup

This is a delicious copycat recipe for Panera Bread's broccoli cheese soup. Eating a bowl of it reminds me of my Mom's broccoli casserole without the cracker topping. It is easy to make but does take some time to cook. The recipe only makes 4 bowls so you may want to double it, everyone will be scraping their bowls clean! YUMMY and much cheaper than buying the soup at Panera!

Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup
5 tbsp. butter, divided
1/2 medium chopped onion
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half and half (I used fat-free)
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 lb. fresh broccoli, washed, cut and most of stems cut off
1 cup carrots, julienned and cut into small strips
8 oz. block sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (can use 2%)
dash salt
dash pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Saute onion in 1 tbsp. butter until softened. Set aside. Melt 4 tbsp. butter in large stockpot and whisk in flour. Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring or whisking constantly. Add half and half and chicken stock, stir well. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the broccoli, carrots, and sauteed onions. Cook over low heat 20-45 minutes or until broccoli and carrots are softened. Add salt and pepper. Remove part of soup and puree in blender if desired (this gives it the exact consistency of the Panera soup but is not necessary). Return pureed soup to rest of soup in pot if pureed and add in cubes of cheese. Stir and cook on low heat until cheese is melted. Stir in nutmeg and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kashi Friendly Fiber Muffins

These muffins taste incredible and are packed with 3 grams of fiber each, hardly any fat and only 1 weight-watcher 'point' a piece! Very good for you and great tasting.

Kashi Friendly Fiber Muffins
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 + 3/4 cups kashi good friends cinna-raisin crunch cereal (or you can substitute another type of kashi cereal)
3/4 cup skim milk (can substitute soy milk)
1/4 cup honey
2 egg whites
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 medium ripe banana, mashed

Spray 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine cereal and milk and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the honey and egg whites and beat well (there will still be chunks, that's OK). Stir in applesauce and banana until combined. Stir in flour mixture just until combined (overmixing will cause muffins to be tough). Bake in muffin tins at 375 degrees 20-25 minutes or until muffin springs back lightly when touched. Makes 12 muffins, each muffin is 100 calories, 0.5g fat, 3g fiber, 1 weight-watcher point.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Chicken Delicious

Katie, another nurse I work with, gave me this recipe. It is yummy and would be perfect to take to a potluck or church dinner! When I made it I used reduced-fat soup, crescent rolls, and shredded cheddar and it was still delicious.

Chicken Delicious
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked completely and shredded (can also substitute canned chicken if you like)
1 can cream of chicken soup + 1 can full of water
2 cans crescent rolls
1/2-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cube or shred chicken if not already done, take all crescent rolls out of packages and unroll. Put a spoonfull of chicken and a little bit of shredded cheese in center of each crescent roll and roll up. Place filled crescent rolls in 9x13 pan in 2 rows. Combine condensed cream of chicken soup and 1 can full of water in small saucepan, heat until warm. Pour over crescent rolls and sprinkle top with a little shredded cheese if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden and crescents are done. Makes 6-8 servings.

Chris' Pulled Pork Rub

This is a delicious pork rub that Chris uses to put on pork before he smokes it. It is sooo yummy! We serve the finished pork with BBQ sauce (any kind) on the side for dipping. It always turns out great...enjoy!

Pulled Pork Rub
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup paprika
2 tbsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. dried mustard (ground mustard)

Mix all ingredients. Rub mixture into meat (pork - we use a boston butt pork roast) with your hands an hour before cooking it (we always cook it in the smoker but I am sure you could also bake it in the oven or grill it). Save some of the rub to put on the pork during cooking, because when turning the meat during cooking some of the rub will come off. When pork is cooked, shred with forks and serve on buns with BBQ sauce if desired.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Weight Watchers Pumpkin Muffins

These pumpkin muffins are another amazing recipe I learned in weight watchers. An extremely simple recipe that hardly anyone can believe how easy & moist they turn out! Enjoy!

WW Pumpkin muffins
1 box spice cake mix (2 layer size), any brand
1 can (15-16 oz) packed pumpkin

In a mixing bowl, hand mix both ingredients together until combined. Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees for 13-16 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean. Makes 12-24 muffins, depending on size. Store in an airtight container or in the fridge. These also freeze wonderfully!
* You can also make this in a 9x13 cake pan (bake for about 5 mins. less than cake box instructs for 9x13 size) and top with a low-fat cream cheese icing or cool whip light or fat free. YUM!

Weight Watchers Low-fat pineapple cake

I learned how to make this cake at Weight Watchers. It is so easy to make, takes very little prep time, and no one can ever tell it's low fat! No one can believe how few ingredients are in this recipe, but it turns out very moist! A super delicious treat you won't feel guilty eating. Also check out the variations to this recipe below.

WW Low-fat Pineapple Cake
1 box (2-layer size) yellow cake mix, any brand
1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple in it's own juice
1 (8oz) cool whip light or fat-free, thawed
maraschino cherries (optional)

In a mixing bowl, hand mix dry cake mix and can of crushed pineapple until blended. Pour into 9x13 pan and bake for about 5 minutes less on whatever temperature is indicated than what the cake mix box instructs for a 9x13 cake. Cool cake completely. When cool, cover top of cake with cool whip and top with a maraschino cherry for each serving if desired. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 12 servings.
* Variations: can also make this cake using 1 box chocolate cake mix and 1 can light cherry pie filling, or any other cake mix/pie filling combo you prefer, or 1 box any flavor cake mix and 1 12oz. can diet soda in place of fruits/pie fillings. It really works, trust me!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cheesy Potatoes

This is a wonderful, cheesy potato dish that goes great with any type of meat, especially BBQ chicken! The homemade flavor sets this apart from any other scalloped potatoes. The beauty of this recipe is that you can bake it at several different temperatures, so it can cook right along your meat! My recipe only makes a small amount (4 servings) but can easily be doubled or tripled to serve a larger group.

Cheesy Potatoes
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup velveeta cheese (can use 2%)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

In a saucepan on low heat, melt butter. Add the flour, salt and pepper; increase heat to medium and cook and stir until a thick paste forms. Add milk, cook and stir until mixtuyre begins to thicken. Add cheese, cook and stir until melted. Place potatoes in a 1 qt. baking dish and pour sauce over potatoes. Bake, uncovered at 300 degrees for 1 hr. 30 mins. or 325 degrees for 1 hr. 15 mins. or 350 degrees for 1 hour or until top is lightly golden brown and potatoes are tender. Makes 4 servings.

* For a larger amount, double ingredients and cook in a 2 qt. baking dish or triple ingredients and cook in a 9x13 pan.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ham and Bean Soup

This recipe is a great tasting and economical way to use up leftover ham. It is such a hearty and filling soup and goes great with cornbread.

Ham and Bean Soup
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup diced or sliced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups diced ham
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3 1/2 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or ham stock (water can be substituted)
3 (15 1/2 ounce) cans great northern beans, not drained
4 tablespoons tomato sauce
dash of pepper

Heat vegetable oil in a soup pot. Add carrots, celery and onion. Sauté for about 4 minutes, just until onion is beginning to soften. Add ham, sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic, sauté one more minute. Add 3 cups stock, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine 2 cans of beans, including juice, pepper, and the tomato sauce. Process until smooth. Add remaining stock to processor to thin mixture. Process to combine. Add mixture from processor into ham mixture. Add remaining can of beans, stir to blend, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve hot!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sweet Potato Casserole

This sweet potato casserole tastes just like the one from Boston Market, it is so good! The sweet potato part can be made ahead and just put in the fridge until you want to cook it, heat only the sweet potatoes in the oven for 15 minutes before adding the marshmallows and the crumb topping if made ahead. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Casserole

5 small or 3 large sweet potatoes
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) margarine or butter
1 tbsp. orange juice
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
dash nutmeg

For topping:
1 pkg. (10 oz. or so) marshmallows
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup softened margarine or butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Boil sliced sweet potatoes in water until tender. Drain. In a large bowl, blend the potatoes until creamy. Stir in the butter, brown sugar, orange juice, nutmeg and ground cinnamon.
Spread the sweet potato mixture into a 2 qt. or 9x13 baking pan. Sprinkle the marshmallows over the top. In a small bowl, mix the packed brown sugar, flour, oats, and softened margarine or butter until crumbs form. Sprinkle crumbs on top of marshmallows. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 5 minutes, covered and then 10 minutes uncovered or until crumb topping is done and marshmallows are golden. Serves 10-12 people.