Thursday, September 29, 2011


We've had some fairly cool weather the past couple weeks and on this particular day it was in the 50's with a steady sprinkle all day long. Now this put me in the mood for a pot of turkey chili. I have found that for me the best way to turn out some really good chili is to cook it low and slow giving it plenty of time for those flavors to mingle and come together. I cooked this on the stove top in my Dutch Oven which was a lot of fun, in fact I plan on repeating this recipe on the charcoal grill so can get a little smoke flavor incorporated in it.
2 pounds ground turkey
1 onion, diced
2 cans (15 ounces) diced tomato
1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 packet of McCormick's Slow Cooker Chili Seasoning

Place the Dutch Oven on the stove over medium heat, place the ground turkey in the Dutch oven stirring occasionally to crumble, heat till cooked through. Add onion, diced tomato, kidney beans, pinto beans, tomato paste, and Chili Seasoning then thoroughly mix. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot for 4-6 hours stirring as little as possible.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Corn and Potato Chowder!!

My Grandmother made the best potato soup and sadly it was a recipe she took with her when she died. I have tried quite a few versions that came close to her recipe, but none have really come close to her type of soup. Then I found this recipe from LaaLoosh and it has been the closest to the way I remember her soup tasting, so much so I may be done searching. The recipe is from Weight Watchers and is worth 3 points in the old point system, for those counting calories such as my self it's around 370 calories for a cup and a half. Which makes it a wonderfully healthy recipe that really filled me up and kept me satisfied with out being loaded with calories. Of course to top it off it when the wonder full Tot Approved!
I made a couple of variations from the recipe at LaaLoosh, but I'm still going to post the original recipe with notes of the changes I made.

2 cups potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large carrot, diced
1 cup leeks, chopped, white part only (I omitted this)
1 medium garlic clove, minced (Could use another clove on the next batch)
4 cups fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked barley(I omitted this and substituted with 1/2 cup of frozen corn kernels)
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp black peper
4 oz Canadian-style bacon, cutinto 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
2 oz fat-free half-and-half

In a slow cooker, combine potatoes, carrots, leek, garlic, broth, barley, bay leaf, thyme, pepper and bacon; cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
Stir in evaporated milk and half-and-half; heat through, uncovered, about 10 minutes.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mexican Chicken Casserole

My wife has been bugging me lately to go look at her Pinterest site to see what recipes she has linked to. Well I finally gave in and I found two new recipes to try, there were quite a bit more so the list of things to fix has grown.

Now we love enchiladas at our house, but they can be a little tedious to make, hello ADD. Well not to worry because this recipe doesn't have you going all OCD and rolling all the delicious filling into a tortilla, instead it all gets put in a casserole dish and everything gets to mingle together making for some really great flavor. I fixed this for a recent get together we had with another couple while our kids had a little play date. It was a hit with most every body, one of the little girls was more interested in playing then eating which is no surprise for a two year old, so I feel confident in calling this one Tot Approved.
Recipe from as seen in Cooking Light December 1998

1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 (4.5 ounce) cans chopped green chiles divided (I omitted this in fear of being to spicy for the kids and substituted with 1/4 cup of mild Pace Picante Salsa)
1 3/4 pounds skinned, boned chicken breasts
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1/4 cup (2 ounces) tub-style light cream cheese
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
12 (6 inch) corn tortillas
Cooking Spray
1/2 cup (2 ounces)shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar
1 ounce tortilla chips, crushed (about 6 chips)

Combine broth and 1 can of chiles in a large skillet; bring to a boil. Add chicken ; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until chicken is done, turning chicken once. Remove chicken from cooking liquid, reserving cooking liquid; cool chicken. Shred meat with two forks, and set aside

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 can of chiles and onion; saute 3 minutes or until soft. Add reserved cooking liquid, milk, Monterrey jack, cream cheese and enchilada sauce; stir well. Stir in shredded chicken; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place 4 tortillas in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Spoon 2 cups chicken mixture over tortillas. Repeat layers twice, ending with chicken mixtures. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and chips. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ginger Snap Cookies

A few weeks ago we celebrated both my Mother-in-laws and Father-in-laws 50th birthday, which is only a small accomplishment. We hosted the party and I was put in charge of cooking, no surprise there and it took little to convince me to do so. So we fixed simple nachos, nothing exciting there. But for dessert I made ginger snap cookies and chocolate chip cookies, which I've done before. It was the first time I've fixed ginger snaps and it's a bit of an art form in getting the dough onto to the cookie sheet, but it's pretty easy to figure out just the same.
I love ginger snaps and these cookies did not disappoint. I'm sure I'll be making these again some time soon.
I found this recipe on and was posted by Elaine.
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup white sugar for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
2 In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oil, molasses mixture. Roll dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Roll each ball in white sugar before placing 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in preheated oven, or until center is firm. Cool on wire racks.

Yields 36 cookies.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gameday Wings!

  I hope you have enjoyed the few recipes I've shared with you. Their nothing new but I'm sure I'll come up with some new one's and I'll be sure to pass them along. But in the mean time how about some grilled chicken wings? No Tailgating party is complete with out some hot wings and beer, so to satisfy your need for some great grilled wings this is the recipe for you.

  The only downside to this recipe is that it's very mild in regards to spice, I believe I will be doubling or tripling the amount of hot sauce the next time around. Also I chose not follow the recipe on cooking them on a skewer, which involves threading the skewer through the wing as if it was in flight. I instead chose to cut the wings into pieces at the joints and discarding the wing tips. It made for a little more excitement and work during the direct grilling as I was  doing a lot of shuffling during the flare ups, but if your cooking in front of your friends this can make for a great show.

6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 pounds chicken wings
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

1. In a large bowl combine 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, the garlic, salt and pepper. Add the wings and turn to coat them evenly. Cover and refrigerate for up to  4 hours.
2. In a small bowl combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, the honey, and hot sauce. ( Be sure to add more hot sauce as you like)
3. Prepare teh grill for direct and indirect cooking over medium heat.
4. Brush the cooking grates clean. Brown the wings over direct medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, turning once. then move the wings over indirect medium heat and cook until the meat is no longer pink at the bone, 15 to 20 minutes, basting with the honey mixture once or twice during the last 10 minutes of grilling time. Keep the lid closed as much as possible during grilling. Remove the wings from the grill, brush once more with the glaze, and serve.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More Gameday Favorites!

Football season is underway and it won't be long before you'll need a warm meal to fill you up and keep you warm. Well then here's a dish that I fixed earlier this year that is warm, delicious, and incredibly healthy for you. It's a Turkey Meatball Sub that's loaded with flavor and is sure to please any one who want's a hearty meal while their busy keeping up with all the games on a Sunday afternoon.

1lb lean ground turkey
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 jar of favorite Spaghetti sauce
shredded mozzarella

1. Mix all the ingredients and shape into 30 meatballs approximately 1" across.
2. Coat a large frying pan with enough olive oil to completely cover.
3. Cook the meatballs for 5-6 minutes or until cooked through and nicely browned on the outside.
4. Place spaghetti sauce in a medium pot and begin heating with medium heat. When meatballs have been cooked through place them in the pot of spaghetti sauce to keep warm.
5. Assemble subs by placing meatballs in a whole wheat hot dog bun, spoon spaghetti sauce over meatballs, and cover with shredded mozzarella.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gameday 2011

  Fall is nearly here and you with it comes the start of football season, thankfully on both accounts. But my crazy schedule has yet to slow down and I haven't had much time for some new recipes to fix on game day. So I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of the recipes I have done that would work great for a game day in your own living room or easily fixed while tailgating. The first up is Tex-Mex Nachos!
  I fixed this for the last Superbowl and it was a hit, not to mention it's incredibly easy to make more for a crowd and fairly healthy; for those that are inclined to watch their waist line.

 3/4 pound ground round
 1/4 cup green onion
 3/4 cup taco sauce
 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
 1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
 1 (8-3/4 ounce) can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, drained
 2 ounces baked tortilla chips( about 3 cups or about 42 small chips)
 3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
 1 cup chopped tomato
 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
 1/2 cup bottled salsa
 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

 Cook beef and green onions in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well; return beef mixture to pan. Stir in taco sauce, garlic powder, pepper, beans, and corn; cook until thoroughly  heated. Spoon 1 cup beef mixture over 3/4 cup chips; top with 3/4 cup lettuce, 1/4 cup tomato, 1.4 cup cheese, 2 tablespoons salsa, and 2 tablespoons sour cream. Repeat procedure with remaining ingredients. Yield: 4 servings.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Inside out burger

  A few years ago I was watching an episode of Steven Raichlen's grilling show, I don't recall which one it was, when he fixed an inside out burger and I've wanted to try it ever since. Well I finally got around to fixing it and my first attempt was a bit of a flop. The problem was that I put to much cheese into to little meat, which led to all the cheese to melt and then drain out leaving an empty cavity in it's place. I will be attempting this again at some point and will be sure to try and correct my earlier mistakes.

  The recipe is from and is for a burger by the name of Jucy Lucy or Juicy Lucy. Now I will be honest I have no idea the history of the name or the idea, but it definitely makes for a great burger.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 slices American cheese (such as Kraft®)
4 hamburger buns, split


1.Combine ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well. Form 8, thin patties from the beef. Each patty should be slightly larger than a slice of cheese.
2. Cut each slice of American cheese into 4 equal pieces; stack the pieces. Sandwich one stack of cheese between 2 ground beef patties. Tightly pinch edges together tightly seal the cheese within the meat. Repeat with the remaining cheese and patties.
3. Preheat a cast-iron or other heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Cook burgers until well browned, about 4 minutes. It is common for burgers to puff up due to steam from the melting cheese. Turn burgers and prick the top of each to allow steam to escape; cook until browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside; about 4 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake

My wife and I are both trying to lose weight and we both have a deep running sweet tooth that needs to be satisfied. But what is a person to do when most sweet desserts are the loaded with calories? Well I found this recipe from Gina's Skinny Recipes  for a Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake with 132.9 calories with 5.6 grams of fat. The recipe is incredibly easy to follow and the end result is truly a truly delicious creamy cheesecake. I'm sure I will be asked to repeat this one again very soon.
non stick cooking spray
1/2 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
1 tbsp light butter, softened
8 oz package reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
6 oz fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt 
2 large egg whites
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup strawberry jam 

Heat oven to 350°. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray.

Mix together graham cracker crumbs and butter with a fork until evenly moistened. Press evenly into bottom of prepared pan.

Gently beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth using an electric mixer. Gradually beat in fat free yogurt, egg whites, lemon juice, and flour. Do not over beat. Pour over graham cracker crust.

Stir jam until smooth. Drop by small spoonfuls over surface of filling. Using a knife, swirl jam gently through filling to create marble effect.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool to room temperature. Chill a few hours in the refrigerator.


Chicken and Summer Squash Skillet

   A few weeks ago I took my Wife and Daughter to a small farmers market that's close to our home. While there my daughter picked up a nice big round summer squash, it was very nice looking. So when it came time to make our biweekly menu, I made sure to choose a recipe that included the specially selected squash. I found this recipe from Kraft that fit the bill perfectly, I mean it was a perfect match, so it should of been at them point that I should of figured out something would go wrong. When it came time to for dinner, I began slicing the squash and it was incredibly tough. It was like it was preparing to become a gourd and just needed to be hung up to dry. I tried cooking a few pieces to see if they would soften up, but no such luck. But despite the lack of squash the recipe was great and earned a Tot approved. My picky little girl loved this dish, so I'm sure I will be repeating it next year when summer squash and zucchini is in season.
1 tbsp butter
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 tub (10 oz.)Philadelphia Italian Cheese
2 zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, then sliced
2 yellow squash, cut lengthwise in half, then sliced
2 cups cooked orzo pasta
2 tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil

Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken; cook 4 to 5 min. on each side or until done (165ºF). Transfer to plate; cover to keep warm
Place 1/4 cup cooking creme in small microwaveable bowl; set aside. Add vegetables to skillet; cook 5 min. or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Stir in remaining cooking creme; cook and stir 2 min. Add orzo; cook and stir 2 min. or until heated through.

Spoon orzo mixture onto 4 plates; top with chicken. Microwave reserved cooking creme on HIGH 15 to 20 sec. or until heated through. Spoon over chicken, top with basil.

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