EASY RASPBERRY UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE

This quick and easy recipe comes from bettycrocker.com.  It is an excellent recipe to have in your "Company is coming last minute" recipe file. Served warm with ice cream, it is always a hit for breakfast OR dinner.


The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of fresh raspberries. Well, I don't know about you, but I seldom have fresh raspberries laying around my house, but I DO have frozen raspberries, so when I make this, I use a whole 12 ounce bag of frozen red raspberries in this recipe.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar  (I use 1/3 cup)
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (I use 12 ounce frozen raspberries)
2 tablespoons sliced almonds (I leave out)
1 1/2 cups original Bisquick mix
1/2  cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla  (I use 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350°. Line the bottom of a 9" round cake pan with parchment paper and then spray the pan and parchment with cooking spray.

Mix 1/4 cup sugar (I use 1/3 cup sugar here) with 1/4 cup melted butter and pour over the parchment paper.

Next arrange the raspberries evenly over the butter-sugar mixture. Sprinkle with almonds if you are using them.

In medium mixing bowl, beat the Bisquick mix + 1/2 cup sugar + 1/2 cup milk + vegetable oil + extracts + egg, with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl.

Beat on medium speed for 4 minutes, scraping sides of bowl. Pour over berries.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick in center tests clean. Immediately place heatproof serving plate, upside down over baked cake; turn plate and pan over.

Important: leave pan over cake for several minutes so that the sweetened berry layer can drizzle over cake.

Remove pan and cool at least ten minutes before serving.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.  Store cake loosely covered.

NOTE: If you are using frozen raspberries, do NOT thaw them out, just put them in the microwave for about 15 seconds or so, so that they will be loose and workable, then proceed as if you were using fresh raspberries.

NOTE: I drizzle a light vanilla frosting glaze over the berries, but that is completely optional.  I don't have a recipe for the glaze, I just mix a little melted butter, a little powdered sugar, a little vanilla and a little milk, then whisk it together and drizzle over top.


 
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PEANUT BUTTER BROWNIES

This is, by far, the best peanut butter brownie recipe I've tried. It is quick and easy and has a FIVE STAR peanut butter-honey frosting. We can't seem to stop snacking on it!!


PEANUT BUTTER BROWNIES
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I use Jiff)
1/3 cup butter at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup mini-chocolate chips (semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 9 baking pan (personally, I do not grease, I use parchment paper instead.

By hand or mixer, cream the peanut butter and butter till smooth. Add brown sugar and white sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips.
After it's all mixed together, add it to the peanut butter mixture and mix just until well combined, don't over mix.

Spread evenly in parchment lined pan and bake for 25 minutes or until top springs back when you touch it. Don't over bake!! You might be tempted to give it an extra 5 minutes for good measure, but don't!!

Cool completely before frosting.



PEANUT BUTTER - HONEY FROSTING
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the butter and peanut butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds to soften them.  Whisk everything together until smooth.

If the frosting seems a little thicker than you want, add an extra tablespoon of milk. If it seems thinner than you want, add an extra tablespoon (or two) of powdered sugar.

 
 
Make sure you toss the mini-chocolate chips with the flour, so they don't sink in the batter.
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HOMEMADE TATER TOTS

If you are a tater tot fan, you will adore these homemade tots. If you are NOT a tater tot fan, you WILL be after you try these, they are THAT good!!

It isn't accurate enough to just say these homemade tots are better than commercial tater tots .... it is more accurate to say they are worlds above commercial tater tots, and very easy to make.


2 pounds Russet potatoes
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup vegetable oil (for frying)

Wash and peel the potatoes (leave whole) and put them in a pot of cold water on high heat.

 
As soon as it comes to a boil, turn heat down to medium high and boil for 6 minutes (they will not be cooked all the way through).

Remove the potatoes from the hot water and drain on a towel. Cool to room temperature (takes about 30 minutes) (important step).

Grate partially cooked (and cooled) potatoes with a box grater.


Mix the flour and seasoning together. Spread the grated potatoes out a little and evenly sprinkle with four-spice mixture. Gently toss with two forks. The potatoes will seem a little dry, but that OK, it's the way you want them.

Heat 1 cup of oil to 375° (I use my electric skillet) and squeeze a small handful of seasoned potatoes in your hand until you get a nice little nugget. I couldn't get them round, but that's OK.

Fry about 2 to 3 minutes per side, depending on how big or small your nuggets are (don't crowd the tots, just fry a few at a time). Turn them over when they get nice a golden.

Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with kosher salt.


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BRUSSELS SPROUTS AU GRATIN

This is a wonderful recipe for a special occasion. Roasted Brussels sprouts, cheese and bacon, what could be better?  Even people who aren't sprout lovers, enjoy this easy dish!!


2 pounds small, tender Brussels sprouts (washed and cut in half)
4 ounces of thick cut bacon chopped
1 cup chopped sweet onion (like a Vidalia)
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 ounces Gruyere cheese shredded (about 1 cup packed)

Coat the sprouts with vegetable (or olive) oil and place, face side down on baking sheet. Bake in preheated 425° oven for 20 minutes (turning over about half way through). Remove from oven and set aside.

In frying pan, brown the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels.

In bacon grease, sautee onions until tender and sweet smelling (about 3-4 minutes).

Drain all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Sprinkle in the flour and pepper and stir around. Let this gently cook for a minute or so, to cook out any raw flour taste.

Whisk in the chicken broth and milk. Stir/whisk until it's nice and thick, then stir in 1/2 of the grated cheese and stir till melted.

Add the cooked Brussels sprouts and gently toss to coat. Place in greased baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese.

Bake 25 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.



 
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TOASTED SALTINE TRICK

WHICH ONE OF THESE SALTINE CRACKERS
WOULD YOU RATHER EAT?


Me too!!!!!
 
This isn't really a recipe, but it is such a quick and easy kitchen trick, that I had to share it.
 
Recently, I noticed that my saltines tasted like..........nothing!! They were pale and flavorless (even the good quality brands), when did that happen?
 
So I set out to see if I could bring my crackers back to life in the oven. I was shocked at how quick and easy (and effective) it was to do!!
 
 
Lay some crackers on a dry cookie sheet and put them under a pre-heated broiler for about 30 seconds or so, flip them over and do the same on the other side, but watch them because once they start to turn golden, they get dark fast. You don't have to toast both sides, but there is more flavor if you do.
 
There are a million uses for these toasted crackers. They are great in a salad, they are great crushed and added to meatloaf mixture, they are great for snacking with some sharp cheddar or peanut butter, but my favorite is with tomato soup!!
 
 
I hope you'll try this fun tip, but here's a warning: once you try these, you will never be happy with a non-toasted saltine again!!
 
 



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PINEAPPLE--PUMPKIN--CARROT BARS

I have tried a LOT of snack cake recipes in the past 40+ years, but this one is, BY FAR, the best yet. It is super moist and tender from the crushed pineapple, pumpkin and grated carrots and it would be PERFECT for any potluck or party; your guests of all ages will love it. It is one of those RARE recipes that is super easy AND it gets RAVE reviews.



No need for an electric mixer, this quick and easy treat goes together in a flash with a big bowl and a spoon.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
4 eggs
1 2/3  cups white sugar
2/3  cup vegetable oil
1  (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (unseasoned)
2 cups shredded carrots  (see note below)
1  cup crushed pineapple (see note below)

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and flour a 10x15 baking pan (see note below).

Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl and set it aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs till smooth, then add the sugar, oil and pumpkin, whisking it until its very well mixed, then stir in the drained crushed pineapple and grated carrots. Stir till well combined.

Stir in the flour mixture and gently fold until its all well mixed.
Pour into prepared 10 x 15 pan and bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes (my electric oven took 30 minutes).

Remove from heat and cool before you frost.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
(1) 8 ounce pkg. cream cheese (room temperature)
6 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2  cups powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese and butter till smooth, add extract and powdered sugar and beat until right consistency.

NOTES:
This cake will turn out better if you hand grate the carrots with a box grater rather than grating them with your food processor. The food processor leaves very long strings of carrot, which don't do so well in a cake/bar. The box grater will give you a smaller/shorter grate.

Make sure the crushed pineapple is squeezed dry of all of it's extra water. I found that a 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple.....squeezed dry with my hands, gives me 1 cup of ready to use crushed pineapple which is just right for this recipe.

Not everyone has the 10 x 15 baking pan that is called for in this recipe. You can bake this cake in a 9 x 13 pan if you bake it a little longer (about 10-15 minutes longer... just test it with a toothpick to make sure its baked all the way through). The 9 x 13 pan will give you a thicker bar (almost like a cake) but it tastes the same. 

Personally, I like to line my baking pans with parchment paper and then spray the parchment paper with cooking spray. When the cake/bars are completely cool, you can just lift the whole thing out of the pan and it makes it much easier to cut up neatly.


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Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup


I know with Winter just a skip hop around the corner, a lot of you guys will be craving soup! I know I will! Nothing beats a good bowl of soup to warm your insides when it is freezing cold outside! Okay... I know Vegas doesn't get that cold, but being a Floridian most of my life, I sure do get cold easily!

Anyways, I am still fairly new to kabocha squash, but I have fallen in love with it! It is currently my favorite type of squash, but then again... the relationship is still all too new. I am sorry spaghetti squash. You were my favorite, but I have moved on to something sweeter! Don't worry... our relationship will never truly end because I need you as my pasta! :)

Roasted is my favorite way to eat kabocha squash. Lately, I have been roasting ahead of time and then freezing it for later uses. Make sure the squash is cooled completely before freezing. Also, I measure out 1 1/2 cup portions (3 Greens) and stick them in freezer Ziploc bags so it is easy to pull out what I need . When I need the squash, I defrost it in the fridge overnight. For instructions on how to roast, check out my recipe for Baked Kabocha.

When you have your kabocha squash prepared, the soup is a cinch to make! Just combine the ingredients, simmer for about 10 minutes and blend. It doesn't get any easier than that! This would definitely be a great weeknight lunch or dinner. Just serve with your favorite Lean. You could also prepare the soup and then freeze it in freezable containers.

Feel free to adjust the spices to your taste! There are so many types of variations. I chose to do a basic soup with onion powder, garlic powder and parsley. Gosh, I am boring! The natural sweetness of the squash blended with savory spices makes this soup delicious! You could also try garlic powder, curry powder and garam masala for more of an Indian flavor. Or how about ground ginger, ground cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg to enhance the sweetness of the squash. Maybe even some cardamom or roasted sage? The possibilities are endless if you have a great soup base.

Kabocha squash is an excellent substitute for butternut or pumpkin squash with lower carbs and calories than the other two. Give it a try! Enjoy this yummy soup!

Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup
Ingredients:
3 cups roasted kabocha squash (6 Greens)
2 cups chicken broth (2 Condiments)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cashew milk (1 1/2 Condiments)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (1 Condiment)
1/4 tsp onion powder (1/2 Condiment)
1/2 tsp dried parsley (1/6 Condiment)
1/8 tsp black pepper (1/4 Condiment)

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients over medium high heat.
Bring the mixture to a boil and then let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
This simmering will get the flavors blended. Let cool slightly.

Add mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.
Evenly distribute the mixture into two bowls.

2 servings with 3 Greens and 2.7 Condiments per serving

Serve this soup with your favorite Lean! I love to eat this with two Trader Joes garlic and herb chicken sausages or two Al Fresco Andouille Chicken Sausages. No healthy fats needed! I slice up the links and heat them in a skillet until they are nice and brown. Then I throw them into the soup. Another option I like is shrimp because shrimp absorbs the flavor of everything! If you choose shrimp, don't forget to add two healthy fats!

Click Here to Print

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Baked Kabocha or Crustless "Pumpkin" Pie

I am fairly new to kabocha squash but man oh man... where has it been all my life? I have absolutely fallen in love with it! It tastes quite similar to butternut squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes but with less carbs!


Kabocha squash is an Asian winter squash commonly known as Japanese pumpkins. It is slightly sweeter than butternut squash, but it has a less calories and carbs. One cup is only 40 calories and 7 grams of carbs! A great veggie for the low carb lovers or those trying to watch their waistline! Not to mention it has lots of beta carotene, iron and vitamins! The taste and texture is a combination of  both pumpkin and sweet potato. Pretty awesome marriage of flavors going on! That is why this squash makes a wonderful substitute for "pumpkin" pie and it works so well for the recipe below.


But wait... where do I find this yummy tasting veggie? I had no problems finding it at my local Trader Joes. They had tons for $2.29 each! I have also heard that they can also be found at local Asian markets (sometimes year round) and local farmers markets. Again, I am fairly new to this squash so I haven't really been searching a long time for it and I am lucky to have a Trader Joes by me.

They are usually available in late Summer to early Fall and can be stored in a cool dry place up to one month. You can extend the life of the squash by freezing it. Check out this site for Ways to Freeze Winter Squash. Try to use plain frozen kabocha squash within 3 months.


The outer layer of kabocha squash can be really tough to cut through. Microwave the squash for about a minute or two to soften it up some. Use a large sharp knife to cut the squash in half. You are really going to have to work at it to get that sucker open. It may help to cut the stem off at the top and then slice through the squash. 


Scoop out all the seeds and guts with a spoon. Guts just sound so appropriate with Halloween coming up, doesn't it?  :) 


Cut the squash into wedges. You can leave it as wedges, but I took it a step further and cut the wedges in half. Also, you can cut or peel the skin off before baking, but I chose to do it after baking since it was easier. Place the pieces on a baking sheet lined with non-stick foil. Spray non-stick cooking spray on the squash. I used coconut non-stick cooking spray, but whatever kind will do. Roast the squash for about 30 minutes and then flip the squash over and roast for another 15 minutes or until softened. Let cool.


Once cooled, cut or peel the skin away from the wedges and put the squash in a bowl. Measure out 2 cups for this recipe and store the rest. Add the 2 cups of squash to a blender. Then add all the other ingredients except the walnuts because those are for the topping.


Some people have asked me my sweetened of choice. I love these little packets of stevia that I get from Amazon. There is no bitter aftertaste! We can all appreciate that!


Once you have all your ingredients in the blender, blend until it is nice and smooth. If you need to add a little bit more unsweetened almond or cashew milk, please do so. I found 1/4 cup to be enough but some may like their pies to be a little less dense.


Spray four ramekins with non-stick cooking spray. Evenly distribute the mixture into the ramekins. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.


Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Remove the pies from the oven and add the walnuts. This is only an option of course. Seven walnut halves count as one optional snack, but I will tell you this... don't skimp on the nuts! The walnuts get toasted right on the pies and their natural flavors are enhanced. It takes the place of a traditional pie crust, except it is on top of course, and you really just won't miss it. Not to mention walnuts are the only nut with a significant source of plant-based, heart healthy omega-3 fats. If you like, make one or two pies with the nuts and leave the nuts off on the others.

  

Let the pies cool and add a little bit of fat free reddi whip and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, if desired.


A heavenly dessert just in time for the holidays! Trust me when I say your house will smell like Fall when baking these desserts! Who needs pumpkin pie when I have this healthier version? I know I don't! Enjoy!


Baked Kabocha or 
Crustless "Pumpkin" Pie

Ingredients:
2 cups roasted kabocha squash (4 Greens)
1/4 cup unsweetened cashew or almond milk (1/4 Condiment)
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (1 Condiment)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (1 Condiment)
1/2 tsp maple or vanilla extract (1/2 Condiment)
1 packet NuStevia (1 Condiment)
28 Walnut halves (4 Snacks)

Directions:
Prepare kabocha:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with non-stick foil. If the skin is too tough to cut, place kabocha in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. Cut the squash in half.

Spoon out all the seeds. You can cut or peel the skin off before baking, but I found it easier to peel after baking. Do whatever you prefer. Cut the squash into wedges. Lay the wedges on the prepared pan. Spray the wedges with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip the squash over. Spray with cooking spray. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until it is cooked.
Let cool. 

Once cooled, peel or cut off the skin with a knife. Normally I eat the skin when roasting but for this particular recipe, I like to remove the skin for a smoother richer taste.

Measure out 2 cups of cooked squash, without the skin. Use the rest of the squash for another time.

To make pies:


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 4 ramekins with non-stick cooking spray.  Add 2 cups of squash, without the skin, and the rest of the ingredients, except walnuts to the blender. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into ramekins. Bake for 15 minutes. 

Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Remove ramekins from oven and evenly distribute the walnuts on top of each ramekin. Bake for an additional 25 minutes.

Makes 4 Servings
Each Serving provides
1 Green, 1 Condiment and 1 Optional Snack


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BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES

Oh my goodness, these baked sweet potato fries are tasty AND low calorie!! Even my picky picky husband said they were good THREE TIMES during dinner. Now that is a record!!

 
 
 

Keep in mind that you are not going to get a CRISPY fry (because they are baked) but they ARE addictingly tasty and give you that "a little sweet a little salty" flavor that hits all the right
comfort notes. Crisp or not, I could easily eat a big bowl of these and not feel guilty at all....now THAT is saying something.

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon regular chili powder (see note)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (see note)
1/2  teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar

OK, a word about yams/sweet potatoes. Don't ask me which is which. I always buy the one with the deep orange flesh, so I'm calling them sweet potatoes in this post.

PRE-HEAT YOUR OVEN to 400°F.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into French fries. Soak in water for one hour (important), then drain and pat them dry.

Put the potatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with one tablespoon vegetable oil, toss around, making sure the oil coats everything.

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt and brown sugar together until very well mixed. Sprinkle HALF of this mixture over the oiled potatoes and toss well. Sprinkle the last half of the mixture over the potatoes and toss well, making sure everything is coated.

Spread the potatoes out onto a lightly sprayed cookie sheet (I don't spray my cookie sheet. Instead I line it with Reynolds non-stick foil (it works perfectly in this recipe) just make sure you spread the fries out so they don't touch each other (use two cookie sheets if necessary).





Bake in PRE-HEATED 400°F oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the potatoes over and bake another 15 minutes. Depending on how hot your oven runs, you might have to add a couple more minutes to get those crusty edges. Remove from heat.

They aren't the prettiest fries ever, but they are delicious (hubby likes to salt his after they come out of the oven, but personally, I think they don't need it).


 
 
 
Note: If you like a little more spice, you can use chipotle chili powder in place of the regular chili powder + smoked paprika.
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Jalapeno Popper Chicken Dip

With the football season, I know that it can be difficult to find delicious appetizers that will appeal to everyone! But trust me... there ARE healthier food options out there that actually taste good! I mean... yeah... I still love buffalo hot wings, a yummy bowl of chili with all the fixings, burgers, sub sandwiches, chips, etc, but I have found some pretty tasty alternatives to my favorite party foods. This is one of them! I love spicy jalapenos mixed with ooey gooey cheese and the creamy goodness of Greek yogurt and cream cheese. Adding chicken packs this dip with extra protein and makes it more filling so you can have it as a complete meal with veggies!


What makes this dish even better is that you can prep your chicken ahead of time. Prepping your chicken ahead of time makes this dish so easy to put together right before game time! No one wants to be stuck in the kitchen during game time! Come on! You can always buy a rotisseries chicken from the grocery store. Remove the skin and bones and shred it up.


If you want to prepare your own chicken, my favorite way to cook chicken breasts is in the slow cooker. The slow cooker always gets the chicken breasts really moist as long as you do not over cook it. This is how I make my shredded chicken breasts:

Quick and Easy Crock Pot Shredded Chicken

Ingredients:
3 pounds of chicken breasts or tenderloins (6 Leaner)
1 cup chicken broth (1 Condiment)
Seasonings of choice ~ subtract from your Condiments
(I like salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder)

Directions:
Season the defrosted chicken and then place them in the slow cooker.
Pour chicken broth over the chicken.
Cook 6 to 8 hours on LOW or 3 to 4 hours on High.
Drain the chicken and shred the chicken with two forks. 
All done! Now you have enough chicken for a few meals!

Makes 6 Servings
Each serving provides
1 Leaner (Condiments will vary)


Weigh out 6 ounces of chicken and then place the portions into Ziploc baggies. Usually I put a few bags in the fridge and the rest in the freezer for later. These little baggies are great when I am craving chicken or need them for a recipe.


This recipe calls for 12 ounces of cooked chicken so I used my awesome scale to do all the measuring for me. Not to mention if you try to eyeball how much chicken you think you should have, it may not be accurate. You may be cheating yourself of some much needed protein or you may be eating too much.


Now that your chicken is measured out, you can add all the other ingredients except half the cheese which is for the topping. Give it a good stir because you wouldn't want any pieces to feel left out!


Pour the mixture into a baking dish. Spread it out evenly. Then top with the remaining cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.


The entire dish makes 4 servings. I took out my portion and put it in my own personal ramekin and served it with sweet mini peppers. Those darn veggies are addictive! This dip would also make a delicious wrap because they have a thick consistency like chicken salad. Enjoy!


Jalapeno Popper Chicken Dip

Ingredients:
12 ounces cooked shredded chicken breasts or use the breast meat from a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (2 Leaner)
3/4 cup Fage low fat plain Greek yogurt (1/2 Leaner)
4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese (4 Healthy Fats)
6 slices turkey bacon cooked and crumbled (1/2 Lean)
3 ounces canned jalapenos, diced (3 Optional Snacks)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (1 Condiment)
1/2 tsp onion powder (1 Condiment)
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese (4 Condiments)
1 cup shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided (1 Lean)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine shredded chicken, yogurt and cream cheese in a medium sized bowl.
Add crumbled turkey bacon, diced jalapenos, garlic powder, onion powder, parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
Stir until combined. Pour mixture into a baking dish.
Top with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Makes 4 Servings
Each serving provides 
1 Lean, 1 1/2 Condiments, 1 Healthy Fat and 3/4 Optional Snack


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ROASTED GREEN CHILI PEPPERS

I have always used commercially roasted green chili's, but recently discovered that they are loaded with salt, so I started roasting fresh ones.

Poblano and Anaheim peppers are pretty spicy when raw, but when you roast them, they turn very mellow and delicious. They are one of those roasted veggies that you can "put in anything" and it adds just a little extra zing to any Mexican recipe. I love them in chili, tacos, rice, enchiladas, etc.

There are so many different peppers in the market these days, just make sure you look for Poblano or Anaheim (they are MUCH larger than the small spicy peppers like jalapenos).

Personally, I like Anaheim peppers because they are identical to the canned Ortega mild green chile's (in a can), but of course they taste better because they are fresh.
 

 
 
 
Poblano peppers are DARK green and shiny
 
Anaheim Peppers are lighter green
 
 
 

First, wash and dry the peppers, then put them under the broiler about 3" under the flame, on high. This not only cooks the peppers, but it chars the outer thin skin so it can be EASILY peeled off.  Turn the peppers every 2 or 3 minutes until they look blistered and dark on all sides. Total time under the broiler depends on how big the peppers are, but normally about 10 minutes total.

 
 

Peppers will have big black blisters on them (which is what you want). Immediately put them in a plastic bag (or in a bowl with tight fitting lid) and let them sit undisturbed for 15-20 minutes. This steams the outer skin and makes it easy to peel right off.

Remove from the plastic bag and you will be able to pull off the THIN wrinkled skin of the pepper, almost in one big piece. Some people like to leave little bits of charred skin on the pepper, it's your choice. 

The skin of these peppers is very thin, like this, and it will slip right off of the cooked pepper.



 
After you peel the skins off, pull out the stem and slit the pepper open. Pull out the seeds and any veins (it just takes a second. It's OK if you leave in a few seeds.

Cut the cooked and cleaned pepper into pieces.

 
 

They are ready to use in any recipe you like!! You will need to cook and dice 1-2 peppers to get the same amount of "ready to use" cooked peppers that usually comes in the Ortega can.

The cooked peppers stay good in your fridge for 3-4 days and do very well in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 
 

Some people char their peppers right on the open flame of their gas range. I have an electric oven, so I use this broiler method.

Canned Ortega green chile's have a LOT of salt in them, so this is a healthy alternative for those of us watching salt intake.
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