This recipe for green beans is fast, super simple, sweet and FULL of bacon, in other words, it is delicious!!

Double the recipe and it makes a GREAT potluck's super tasty even at room temperature (be prepared to share the recipe!!!)


2 pounds frozen green beans (thawed)
1/2 pound bacon, fried crisp, drained and crumbled
1/4 cup of butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup of soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Thaw the green beans and drain if there is any extra liquid.

Fry the bacon until it is almost crispy, drain well, then cut into pieces. Recipe calls for 1/2 pound, but I've been known to use a whole pound on occassion. 😏

Heat the butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, pepper and garlic powder. just until the sugar is well dissolved.

Place green beans in a ungreased baking dish, top with crumbled bacon, then drizzle the soy-brown sugar mixture evenly over everything.

Bake in pre-heated 350 oven (uncovered) for 40 minutes.



I make these cookies for Christmas; individually wrapped, these BIG COOKIES make nice thank you treats for teachers, the mail man, the UPS man, etc.

The flavor of this chocolate chip cookie the best I've ever found, with tons of chocolate and walnuts.  This recipe makes about 24 HUGE 5" cookies.

1/2 cup rolled oats 
2  1/4 cups flour
1  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1  teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup regular white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 eggs
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts chopped

Put the rolled oats in the food processor and process until you get a fairly fine powder. In a bowl, mix the oat "powder" with the flour + baking soda + salt + cinnamon and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the room temperature butter, sugars, vanilla and lemon juice until it is smooth and creamy. Add the eggs and mix until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients, 1 cup at a time, mixing well in between each addition. Dough is going to be very stiff, so a stand mixer works well for this.  

Add the chocolate chips and nuts and mix until well combined.  CHILL THE DOUGH FOR ABOUT 1 HOUR.

Each cookie takes a little less than 1/4 cup of cookie dough. I use my ice cream scoop to measure them out.

Roll the 1/4 cup of cookie dough in your hand and place six cookie dough balls on every large cookie sheet (at least 5" apart).  Bake in pre-heated  350 degree oven and bake for 16 to 18 minutes. My standard electric oven takes 16 minutes exactly.

Let the baked cookies sit on the hot cookie pan for about 3 minutes before you move them to a cooling rack (the cookies will fall apart if you try to take them off of the cookie sheet too soon).

Once the cookies are completely cooled, I wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then freeze them in a freezer zipper bag until I'm ready to give them away.

They are completely delicious!!!



This is, by far, the best carrot cake ever!! It is sweet, moist, flavorful and it stays fresh tasting for days. It is full of sweet carrots, raisins and pineapple and it is absolutely excellent for a crowd, it also freezes well!!!

Directions below are for a 10" layer cake OR 36 cupcakes.

I like to make cupcakes because we are "empty nesters" and I can just take a few at a time out of the freezer, rather than a whole layer cake.

Sorry about the bad photo........I was in a hurry (as always). 


4 cups grated carrots
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins
1 cup crushed pineapple (squeezed dry)
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1½ cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans

If you are making a layer cake, lightly spray two 10" baking pans with vegetable spray, and line the bottom with parchment paper, then spray again. See note about baking pans at the end of this recipe.

If you are making cupcakes, it takes 36 cupcake papers. Preheat your oven to 350.

Mix shredded carrots and brown sugar and set aside at room temperature for 1 hourAfter 1 hour, stir in the raisins and set aside. The sugar will draw a lot of liquid out of the carrots and it will all look soupy.........ignore that and DO NOT DRAIN!!!

Beat eggs until they are light colored and foamy (about a minute or so at high speed), gradually beat in the white sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla. Stir in pineapple.

In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon...mix well.  Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, making sure everything is moistened before you add more flour.

Stir in the carrot-raisin mixture as well as the nuts.

Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes if you are baking two 10” layers. Test for doneness by inserting a dry toothpick into the center of the baked cake. If it comes out clean when you take the toothpick out, the cake is done.

If you are making cupcakes, bake at 350° for 21-23 minutes. My standard electric oven takes 22 minutes.  Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting: 
(1) 8 ounce cream cheese (room temperature)
1/4 cup UNsalted butter   (room temperature)
1½ teaspoons vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Beat room temperature cream cheese and room temperature Unsalted butter  until it is sooth and creamy.  Add powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) along with the vanilla.  If the frosting seems thick, add a tablespoon or so of milk and beat again.


Note about Cake Pans: I ALWAYS bake with light colored aluminum pans. If you have dark pans (or glass pans), you have to reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees...because if you don't, the cake can burn. I've never had that problem when I cook with light colored aluminum pans.

Cali' Lasagna

I love lasagna, but not all the calories and carbs that come with it! This recipe has all the goodness of lasagna, but lightened up for a skinnier version! 

Cali'flour Foods pre-made cauliflower crusts are used in place of traditional lasagna noodles making this a low-carb, gluten-free, healthier for you recipe! The Lite Cali'flour Foods crusts are only 180 Calories, 6 g of Carbs, and 9 g of Fat for the ENTIRE crust!!! It also has 15 g of Protein! That is one heck of a crust! They are made with only a few ingredients which include fresh cauliflower, egg whites, mozzarella, and spices. That's it! No added funky stuff which is why I love them! The Lite crusts count as 1/2 a Lean and 3 Greens on the Optavia or Medifast program! Use them for pizza crusts, quiche, wraps, taco shells... the possibilities are endless!

Start off by spraying a non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Saute the onions in the skillet until tender, about 5 min. Many people think you need oil to saute them over the stove, but it really isn't necessary as long as you use a non-stick pan. Add the uncooked meat to the cooked onions.

When making the meat sauce for the lasagna, you can use Jennie-O Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage or 95 to 97% lean ground beef or turkey. I used Jennie-O Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage because I love how it already has the Italian flavors mixed in, but it does have a strong fennel taste. If you do not like fennel, use ground beef or turkey. If you use Jennie-O, skip the salt.

Add an approved marinara sauce and Italian diced tomatoes to the meat mixture and let it simmer for about 5 min. Set aside. For years I have always added a can of diced tomatoes to my marinara sauce because I love the bursts of yummy tomato flavor from the chunks of tomatoes! Make sure you get diced tomatoes that are less than 5 g of Carbs per 1/2 cup! Some brands are 10 g of Carbs per 1/2 cup! For some reason, I have the most luck with generic store brands such as Great Value or Kroger brand so check your labels!

Combine cottage cheese, egg beaters, and dried parsley in a small bowl. Why did I use cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese? Simply because I can have more per serving on my program. 12 ounces of 2% cottage cheese versus 8 ounces of part skim ricotta cheese are both 1 Lean. Pick your cheese, but in this recipe... more is better so cottage cheese wins for me!

Spinach adds more nutrients into this lasagna! At only 7 Calories a cup, it packs a healthy dose Vitamins A and C plus folate, iron and calcium. Pop a bowl of 2 cups of baby spinach in the microwave for 1 to 2 min with a microwave safe lid or plastic wrap, and you will have nice wilted cooked spinach.

Time for layering! Spoon 1/3 of the meat mixture on the bottom of a 9 inch deep dish pie plate. Place a Cali'four Foods Lite Crust on top.

Then add 1/3 more of the meat mixture, half the cottage cheese mixture, half the spinach, half the basil, half the fresh parmesan cheese, and half the mozzarella cheese.

Then repeat the layers. Add the second Cali'flour Foods Lite Crust. Followed by the rest of the meat mixture, cottage cheese mixture, spinach, basil, and cheeses.

Bake for 40 min and let set for 10 min. Dig in! This makes 4 delicious servings so share with your family friends! They will thank you for it!


2 Lite Cali'flour Foods Crusts * (1 Lean, 6 Greens)

For Meat Mixture:
1/4 cup Onions, chopped (4 Condiments)
1/2 lb Jennie-O Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage or 95 to 97% Lean Ground Beef, uncooked (1 Leaner)
1/4 tsp Salt ~ omit if using chicken sausage (1 Condiments)
1/8 tsp Black Pepper (1/4 Condiment)
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder (1/2 Condiment)
3/4 cup Rao's Marinara Sauce* (3 Greens)
1/2 cup Great Value Italian Diced Tomatoes (1 Green)

For Cottage Cheese Mixture:
12 oz 2% Cottage Cheese (1 Leaner)
3 tbsp Egg Beaters (1 Condiment)
2 tsp Dried Parsley (2/3 Condiment)

Additional Toppings:
2 cups Fresh Baby Spinach (2 Greens)
1/4 cup Fresh Basil, chopped (1/2 Condiment)
1 cup Reduced Fat Mozzarella Cheese ~ 3 to 6 g fat per oz (1 Lean)
1/4 cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese (4 Condiments)

Prepare Meat Mixture: Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Saute onions in the skillet until tender, about 5 min. Add the Italian chicken sausage (casings removed) or ground beef, salt (omit if using chicken sausage), black pepper, and garlic powder. Continue cooking until meat is brown. Drain off excess fat. Stir in marinara sauce and Italian diced tomatoes. Heat on low for 5 min. Set aside.

Prepare Cottage Cheese Mixture: In a small bowl combine cottage cheese, egg beaters, and parsley. Set aside.

Prepare Spinach: Rinse spinach to clean spinach. While leaves are wet, place spinach in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or use a microwave safe lid. No need to add additional water. Steam in the microwave for 1 to 2 min or until fully wilted. Chop and set aside.

Assemble Lasagna: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a 9 inch deep dish pie pan with cooking spray. Spread 1/3 meat mixture at the bottom of the pie dish followed by one crust. Top the crust with 1/3 more of meat mixture, half of the cottage cheese mixture, half the spinach, 2 tbsp of basil, 2 tbsp of fresh parmesan cheese, and 1/2 cup of  mozzarella cheese.

Top with the second crust. Spread 1/3 meat mixture, remaining cottage cheese mixture, remaining spinach, 2 tbsp of basil, 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese, and 1/2 cup of mozzarella.

Bake for 40 to 45 min or until warmed through. Remove from oven and let stand 10 min. Enjoy!

4 Servings with
1 Lean, 3 Greens, and 3 Condiments per serving

The recipe calculations are based on the Cali'Lite crusts and not the traditional cauliflower crusts.

* Here are some options for approved marinara sauces, but of course not limited to just these below. When choosing a sauce, it must have less than 5 g of Carbs per serving or 1/4 cup.  The lower the calories, the better:

Rao's Marinara Sauce
Hunt's Garlic and Herb Pasta Sauce
Trader Joes Traditional Pasta Sauce
Organico Bello Marinara Sauce

Prego No Sugar Added Marinara Sauce



This is a great "all around" taco sauce.  It is a LOT like the mild taco sauce at Taco Bell and it is made from ingredients that are in EVERYONE's pantry.  The only "trick" is that it's best to let it chill in the fridge overnight to develop that great taste!!

As for "degree of heat"......this one is A-OK with teens AND picky-picky husband, so it is fairly mild. If you want more heat, add extra cayenne pepper.

16 ounce tomato sauce
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (this will give you a mild heat)

Mix together in heavy saucepan and simmer gently for 15 minutes or just until it is slightly thickened.  

You can eat this right after it cools down, but it is SO MUCH TASTIER if you chill it in the fridge overnight!!!

This keeps in fridge for a week (if it lasts that long). You will find yourself using it on everything!!



Slow Cooker Pizza Casserole

Here is a low-carb pizza casserole recipe that every pizza lover will love! Plus it is made in the slow cooker! Super easy to make and a real crowd pleaser! Perfect for tailgating or any get together!

But there is a secret ingredient! Underneath all that cheese and pepperoni, there are hidden veggies!

Cauliflower! It has a neutral flavor so it is a great veggie to sneak in! If you don't want to use cauliflower, feel free to use any veggie combo you like such as assorted bell peppers, mushrooms, or tomatoes. If you leave out the cauliflower, remember to add 1 more Green per serving to complete your Lean and Green meal! Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Pizza Casserole

1 lb uncooked 95 to 97% lean ground beef ~ 12 oz cooked (2 Leans)
1 tsp garlic powder (2 Condiments)
3/4 tsp salt (3 Condiments)
1/4 tsp black pepper (1/2 Condiment)
1 tsp dried oregano leaves (1 Condiment)
1 tsp dried basil leaves (1/2 Condiment)
2 cups roughly chopped fresh cauliflower (4 Greens)
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (4 Condiments)
* 2 cups approved marinara sauce (8 Greens)
1 and 1/2 cups reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese with
2 oz turkey pepperoni slices, divided (2 Leans)

Over medium high heat, cook ground beef in a large skillet. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Drain grease. Remove from heat.

Add dried oregano, dried basil, cauliflower, parmesan cheese, marinara sauce and 1 oz of turkey pepperoni that has been cut into fourths to the ground beef until combined. Pour into a slow cooker that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

Cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours.
Top with mozzarella cheese and additional 1 ounce of turkey pepperoni. Cook for an additional 30 min on HIGH or until cheese has melted.

4 Servings with
1 Lean, 3 Greens, and 3 Condiments per serving

* Here are some options for approved marinara sauces, but of course not limited to just these below: 

Rao's Marinara Sauce
Trader Joes Traditional Pasta Sauce
Organico Bello Marinara Sauce
Prego No Sugar Added Marinara Sauce

Guidelines for choosing a tomato sauce:

Tomato Sauce (per 1/4 cup serving)

less than 50 calories
less than 5 g carbohydrates
less than 200 mg sodium
less than 3 g of fat


Sweet and Tangy Sloppy Joes

I am a big sloppy joes fanatic! They are so yummy so I was extremely excited to find this recipe at With some slight modifications, it is approved for the Medifast or Optavia plan! Check out his site for some delicious healthy recipes! 

I love the sweet and tangy flavors in this recipe! The sweetness comes from Walden Farms pancake syrup which is a great replacement for honey or maple syrup while you are trying to watch your waistline. The tang is from the yellow mustard and apple cider vinegar. If you are a fan of Carolina mustard bbq sauce, you need to try this recipe!

I started off browning the ground beef in a skillet. Then added the sauce and stirred until combined. Heated on low for 4 to 5 min or until heated thoroughly.

They are wonderful as lettuce wraps!

But not without adding cheese first! Cheese on everything! Or eat it straight from a bowl! Topped with cheese of course!

Also try it with the Cali'flour Foods Flatbreads! Use Code Sandy to save 10% off and click the link below!

Bake the flatbreads at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 min. Then use them as as taco shells! 

Divide the recipe below into 3 servings. Each serving would then provide 2/3 Lean with 2 Condiments. The flatbreads count as 1/3 Lean and 2 Greens so add 1 more Green to complete your Lean and Green meal! Enjoy!

Sweet and Tangy Sloppy Joes

8.75 oz 93% lean ground beef, cooked and drained of fat (1 and 3/4 Lean)
1/4 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese (1/4 Lean)
Or use 10 oz of lean ground beef if omitting cheese

For the Sauce:
3 tbsp reduced sugar ketchup (3 Condiments)
1 tbsp yellow mustard (1 Condiment)
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (1/8 Condiment)
1 tbsp Walden Farms pancake syrup (1/4 Condiment)
1/2 tsp chili powder (1 Condiment)
1/8 tsp salt (1/2 Condiment)

Brown ground beef in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Drain fat and measure out 8.75 oz. Return to skillet. Save the rest for another use.

Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Pour sauce over ground beef. Heat skillet over low heat. Stir until combined. Continue cooking for 4 to 5 min or until heated thoroughly stirring often.

Divide mixture in half and top each portion with 2 tbsp cheese.

Makes 2 Servings
Each serving provides
1 Lean and 3 Condiments

Want to serve these with the Cali'flour Foods flatbreads? Divide the recipe into 3 servings instead of 2 servings. Each serving will provide 2/3 Lean with 2 Condiments. The flatbreads count as 1/3 Lean and 2 Greens so add 1 more Green to complete your Lean and Green meal!


Slow Cooker Green Chile Chicken

I am loving these quick and easy slow cooker meals! This Slow Cooker Green Chile Chicken is so delicious! It uses only a few ingredients, but has a ton of flavor and is absolutely amazing! Eat this creamy chicken served with your favorite veggies, as chicken tacos, on top of cauliflower rice, or in salads! It is so versatile! Double the recipe and freeze the other half for later because it makes a great freezer meal!

I had this Green Chile Chicken two ways for the past two nights! The first night I had it with jicama shells (1 Green for 2 shells) that I picked up at Whole Foods Market in the produce section. The tortillas are made from raw jicama sliced thin. They are very mild tasting, and have a nice, crisp texture which make them a great alternative to traditional taco shells or tortillas. Plus they hold fillings perfectly!

The second night I had the chicken over cauliflower rice. Both ways were really yummy! I will definitely be adding this to my regular rotation! Enjoy the recipe! 

Slow Cooker Green Chile Chicken

2 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (4 Leaner)
2 (4 oz) cans chopped mild green chiles (2 Greens)
1 tsp garlic powder (2 Condiments)
1 tsp ground cumin (1 Condiment)
tsp chili powder (2 Condiments)
1/2 tsp salt (2 Condiments)
1/2 tsp black pepper (1 Condiment)
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese (4 Healthy Fats)
1/4 cup regular sour cream (4 Condiments)

Place the chicken in the slow cooker. Cover the chicken with green chiles, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 1/2 hours.

When done, use forks to shred the chicken and mix with the juices. Stir the cream cheese into chicken and continue cooking for 30 more min on LOW. Then stir in sour cream until combined. Serve immediately.

*Freeze this meal for later! Place the chicken, chilies, and spices in a freezer safe ziploc bag. Label and freeze up until 6 months.

Thaw bag in fridge. Empty the bag into the slow cooker. Cook on Low 4 to 5 hours. 30 min before serving, shred the chicken and add the cream cheese. Continue cooking for 30 more min. Stir in sour cream at the end. Enjoy!

4 Servings (about 1 cup) with
1 Leaner, 1/2 Green (still need 2 1/2 Greens more such as 1 1/4 cup cauliflower rice), 3 Condiments, and 1 Healthy Fat per serving


Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

Who likes Chinese takeout? I DO!!!

Here is a healthier and tastier version of Cashew Chicken that comes straight from the slow cooker! 

Start off by cutting the chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces and then browning the chicken in a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray for about 3 to 4 min. Then add the chicken to a slow cooker along with the sauce. Cook on LOW for only 2 1/2 to 3 hours. This allows the chicken to marinate and absorb the yummy sauce while cooking.

You could always place whole chicken breasts in the slow cooker (skipping the browning step) with the sauce and cook for a longer amount of time, but this results in shredded chicken. Shredded chicken would be delicious on salads or lettuce wraps!

When the chicken is done cooking, divide into 3 portions with the sauce and garnish with cashews and thinly sliced green onions. There won't be a lot of sauce, but it makes yummy marinated chicken! Just make sure you do not overcook the chicken to prevent dryness. I chose to add the cashews at the end to individual portions for two reasons. I prefer the cashews to be crunchier when adding it as a garnish. Plus, it is easier to keep count of the correct portion size (1/3 ounce is 1 Healthy Fat) of the cashews when their not already mixed into the dish.

I served this dish with 1 1/2 cups of Trader Joe's fried cauliflower rice (3 Greens) and it was a delicious combination! Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

1 1/2 lbs or 24 oz raw chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces (3 Leaner)

For Sauce:
1/4 cup lite soy sauce (4 Condiments)
2 tbsp reduced sugar ketchup (2 Condiments)
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar (1/2 Condiment)
1 packet of stevia or sweetener of choice (1 Condiment)
1 tsp minced garlic (1 Condiment)
1/4 tsp ground ginger (1/2 Condiment)

1 ounce cashews, chopped (3 Healthy Fats)
Sliced green onions ~ optional but subtract from your Greens if using

Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and season chicken with salt and pepper, if desired. Brown chicken in skillet, stirring occasionally for about 3 to 4 min. It will continue to cook in the slow cooker. Add chicken to the slow cooker.

Make the sauce. Combine soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, sweetener of choice, garlic and ginger in a small bowl. Pour the sauce over chicken. Gently toss chicken with sauce to coat. Cook on LOW for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Since the chicken is browned in the skillet first, it doesn't need a lot of time in the slow cooker. This method results in moist cubed chunks of chicken.

Garnish with 1/3 ounce of chopped cashews and sliced green onions per serving. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

3 Servings with
1 Leaner, 3 Condiments, and 1 Healthy Fat per serving

*Add 3 Greens to complete your Lean and Green meal. 1 1/2 cups of grated cauliflower or 1 1/2 cups of steamed tri -color cabbage are great options!


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