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Showing posts from 2011

Honey Ginger Chex Mix

This is my new favorite chex mix recipe. It turned out delicious...just the perfect amount of sweet and still a bit healthy.

The recipe came from the back of the Honey Nut Chex cereal box and I made a few alterations to work with the ingredients that I had and wanted to include.

In a large microwaveable bowl mix together:
6 cups Honey Nut Chex
1 cup dried banana chips
1-2 cups almonds (I used sliced almonds)

In a small microwaveable bowl, combine and heat uncovered for 1-2 minutes or until boiling:
1/4 cup Butter or Margarine (I used Smart Balance Light)
1/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup Brown sugar
1 tsp Ginger

Pour Honey mixture over cereal mixture and stir until evenly coated. Microwave uncovered for 4 minutes, stirring and scraping the sides every minute.

1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup cranberries or raisins

Microwave for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring every minute.
Spread out onto wax paper and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.
After mine cooled, I added dark chocolate c…


I baked our Halloween pumpkins and they were delicious in a few different forms. First, we ate the pumpkin for dinner with butter/Smart Balance and a little salt. Then, I pureed the remaining pumpkin and made pumpkin bread and pumpkin pancakes (using almond milk) within the following days. It was really easy to bake and mash them. 
Here are my pumpkins before baking. One was from the 99 cent store and one was from my grandma's garden in Utah.

I cut them in half, cleaned out the seeds and strings and baked them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 1 hour on a cookie sheet. I covered them in aluminum foil.  Here they are after baking.

Find more on how to bake pumpkins here

Preparing Raw Shrimp

I've made a wonderful discovery! Purchasing raw shrimp by the pound is a very cost effective and DELICIOUS way to have shrimp for dinner! The flavor is incredible compared to frozen cooked shrimp that costs usually around $5-$7/lb. At Sprouts, I have seen their easy-peal raw shrimp go as low as $3.99/lb. It is previously frozen, because we live in AZ, and our source for shrimp is not near enough to have it fresh.

So, here's how I cook raw shrimp:

First, I pull of the tail, legs and shell which is really quite easy and fast. I heat up a little olive oil in a frying pan and then throw in all the shrimp once it is all shell/tail-free. Then, I sprinkle on a little garlic salt and toss all the shrimp so each one gets a healthy dose of the olive oil. Then, on medium heat, cook it and watch the magic happen! Well, I think it's cool because what other type of meat turns PINK as it cooks! Pretty fun and I'm easily entertained. It cooks really fast, like within 5 minutes. Stir d…

Fried Veggies and Chicken

Heat a few Tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet to medium-high heat. Add chopped raw chicken (I chopped mine using kitchen scissors, so easy and fast), garlic salt and Italian seasonings to taste and cook through. Add diced potatoes and carrots and stir frequently to cook evenly and allow the chicken and potatoes to brown. It is done once potatoes are soft. Serve hot.

Nutritious and Tasty!

Healthy Peach Crisp

Another healthy treat to satisfy that darn sweet tooth. :)
I got this recipe from HERE. Check out her blog while over there... lots of great whole grain ideas. 

My alterations to the recipe:
I used sliced almonds instead of macadamia nuts. I did not add cardamom (I don't exactly know what that is yet) I used whole wheat flour I used smart balance instead of butter

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

I am so excited that I found this recipe HERE! There is nothing unhealthy about these cookies. They remind me more of a breakfast or nutrition bar.

I followed the recipe pretty closely other than these slight adjustments: I added about 1/8 cup whole wheat flour to thicken the dough and used Agave Nectar instead of Molasses. I did half the batch with walnuts and raisins and the other half with walnuts and dried cranberries.
Before baking: 

After baking:

New Orlean's Style Rice and Beans

I discovered Zatarain's boxed rice and beans mixes because I had a coupon for them once. We really like the deep flavor of the mix. So, I made the rice following the instructions on the box and then 5 minutes before it was done, I added diced grilled chicken that I had prepared previously. An easy meal, served with fresh bell pepper and a garden salad. Perfect!

Chicken Pasta Salad

This was a throw-together meal in an effort to combine some leftovers with the dinner plan. It turned out great!

Rotini pasta (WackyMac is my favorite)
1 can chicken meat
fresh broccoli
seasoned and cooked diced potatoes (mine were leftovers)
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise (I use the olive oil type)
1-2 Tablespoons Italian salad dressing
Italian seasonings
Garlic Salt

I boiled the pasta, added the fresh broccoli just to steam a bit, drained it all and then added the olive oil. I let it sit there to cool a bit before adding all the other ingredients. I mixed it all together well and served it with humice and pita bread.

Prepared Frozen Chicken

I have been enjoying getting super deals on some foods and preparing them for the future. The only wish I have now is that I had a bigger freezer!  Last week, I got boneless, skinless chicken breasts for 98 cents/lb. Awesome deal. So, I purchased about 14 pounds, washed it, seasoned it with garlic salt and olive oil and grilled it. Then, I spent a good hour cutting it up into small diced pieces. Then, I put it in labeled quart-sized freezer bags, made them as flat as I could, and now they are ready in my freezer for any meal. 

Blueberry Muffin Mix

Today I made some Blueberry muffins from a Krusteez box mix. I was excited after looking through all the boxed mixes to finally find one without milk ingredients, and the reason is because it is the Fat Free blueberry muffin mix. And it only calls for water.

They are not incredible muffins, but I think they are tasty and moist.
I sprinkled some rolled oats on the top of several of the muffins just to try it out and they look nice and have just that little bit extra nutrition to them.

Simple Dinner

Here's what we enjoyed for dinner a few nights ago.

Tuna Subs with lettuce and tomato. Multi-grain original Pringles Yummy cherries
The wheat sub/hoogie rolls are from the Fry's bakery and we really like them.

Cinnamon Banana Pancakes

Do you ever like to have breakfast for dinner like we do? 

These pancakes were made with purchased pancake mix, the regular ol' white flour kind (substituting water for milk).  So, I wanted to fancy them up and I added sliced ripe banana and a bunch of cinnamon, mixed well and cooked them on the preheated skillet.  I was pretty excited because this is the first time EVER that all of my pancakes from one batch turned out perfectly browned. None were under or over cooked! Woohoo! And on top of that achievement, they were absolutely delicious with lots of banana bites and cinnamon goodness.

Using Aluminum Foil - BBQ

I experimented with using aluminum foil on the bbq to cook fish and chicken wings this past week. The flavor and grilled effect were not lost with the meat being on one large sheet of aluminum foil. The benefits were that the  delicate fish didn't fall down into the bbq through the cracks and that the the chicken wings were able to cook sitting in the bbq sauce and onions. Another plus is that it saves a mess on the bbq. Both meals were a success and I will be barbequeing with aluminum foil often in the future. 
I didn't get a photo of the delicious tilapia and catfish. Here are the chicken wings. 

Fresh chicken wings with Sweet Baby Rays bbq sauce and chopped onion.

10 Grain Pancakes

We like pancakes around here. And we finally found a pancake mix that is both healthy and dairy free. It is available at several stores, but I purchase it at Sprouts. These pancakes are not too heavy like some whole wheat pancakes tend to be. They are fluffy and full of flavor.
Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Pancake and Waffle Mix

Hope you try it and enjoy it just as much as we do.

Ham 'n' Yams

My husband was a fan of this meal. We both are lovers of ham, but since it is kind of pricey most times of the year, I just purchased a slice of ham steak at Fresh and Easy for about $4 and used that for this recipe.

Chopped Ham Chopped Yams Honey Glaze
Place all ingredients into an oven safe dish and bake until yams are soft, approx. 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Grilled Pork Chops

What a tasty meal this ended up being. 

First, I rubbed the raw boneless pork chops with a mixture of garlic powder, salt and pepper and then grilled them with some sliced onions for about 7-8 minutes on each side. Side note: I sprayed the grill with olive oil spray to help them not stick and it worked great.

Served with white rice and steamed esparagus (with some of the same seasoning mixture and chopped onion).

Fruit Salad

Wash and chop up all your favorite in-season fruits and enjoy a fresh feel-good side to any meal.

This salad has strawberries, blueberries, green grapes, kiwi and blackberries. YUM! And so beautiful too.

Most of these fruits were purchased at Superstition Ranch Farmers Market on Main street in between Higley and Greenfield Rd. They often have great deals and great produce at the right times of year.


If you are looking for popcorn that tastes like movie theater popcorn but has zero dairy in it, make your own! It is so delicious and much cheaper than microwave popcorn.
We use a Back to Basics Stovetop Popcorn Popper to make this perfectly crunchy popcorn.

Put in the popper:
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp salt

Heat stove burner to medium high heat and stir constantly until popping slows to no pops for 3 seconds.

Dump HOT popcorn out of popper into a large bowl and devour!

TIP: If you are wanting a sweet kettle popcorn, substitute the 1 tsp salt with about 1/4 cup white sugar. That's a big hit at our house.

Crockpot Enchiladas

I got the idea for this meal from the Rival Crockpot recipe book that came with my crockpot. I love using my crockpot, especially on days that I know I will be short on time around dinner time.
The original recipe was smothered in cheese, so there are some things that are different with the overall results and display, obviously. One major difference is that the recipe tells us to place the aluminum foil strips under the layers in order to pull out the "Mile-high Enchilada". But without cheese holding it all together, it does not come out like that anyway, so don't worry about the aluminum foil I have in my photos.

Layer the following ingredients in your crockpot:

6-8 corn tortillas
Cooked and shredded chicken
prepared salsa (I used Herdez mild)
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans (optional)
Sprinkled Garlic Salt and a pinch of Chili Pepper

Before cooking:
And after cooking 6 hours on LOW.

These are delicious!

Chicken Broth

I got my ideas for making chicken broth from here.

I am excited to have this broth waiting in the freezer for my next soup.

Here's how it's done.

Place in a medium to large pot:
leftover roasted whole chicken bones
carrots and/or celery
onion pieces
Seasonings (thyme, bay leaf, whole peppercorns, etc)
Water (cover all ingredients and 1-2 inches above)

Boil for about 1 hour and then drain the broth out into containers and use for all sorts of recipes!

Roasted Whole Chicken

I felt very proud of myself when I made a delicious, juicy roasted chicken for dinner and then used every bit of that chicken by making chicken broth to be stored in my freezer for later use.

It was even more tasty than it was beautiful.

Here's how I like to roast a whole chicken.
First, check the weight of the chicken. Bake time is 20 minutes per pound, plus 15 minutes. Also, when deciding when to start prep on the chicken, add 15 minutes for preparation and 15 minutes after the chicken is fully cooked to let it sit to allow the juices to redistribute for more moist meat.

- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
- Remove any chicken parts that may be inside the chicken (neck, liver, gizzards, other mysterious things)
- Rinse the chicken in cold water, inside and outside
- Pat dry with a paper towel
- Place chicken legs pointing up into roasting pan with rack
- Brush the outside of the chicken with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Place large sections of onion and 1 tablespoon minced garlic…

Pollo Asado

My husband has a new favorite meal, pollo asado. Luckily for me, I have a favorite store, Sprouts, that sells marinated chicken "pollo asado" style and it is very decently priced. I get enough for the 2 of us (about 1.5 lbs) for about $5 and it is worth it.

Sometimes I like making everything from scratch, and sometimes I don't. This is a great meal for one of those "don't" days.

Pollo Asado Tacos

Grilled Pollo Asado chicken, then sliced
Refried beans with garlic and chili powder
Cooked brown rice
Fresh lettuce and tomatoes

All on a moist warmed corn tortilla.

Serve with some chips and salsa.

Quick Salsa

It was unusual when I discovered that we had absolutely no salsa in our house and we were having Mexican food, so I hurried and threw some ingredients into the food processor and was so happy with the results. All of these measurements are approximate since I didn't measure anything when I made it.
It is wonderful not to chop anything up, just throw it in and let those blades do the hard work!

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender:

1 large can stewed tomatoes
1/4 of a small onion
Cilantro to taste
Garlic salt
Minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Blend until desired texture and taste with a chip and decide if it is your desired spiciness. We don't like spicy, so this is not a spicy salsa. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

Split Pea Soup

This delicious soup takes about 30 minutes preparation time and 1 hour of cook time.

Here's what you will need:
1 package bacon, chopped
1 lb bag split peas (2-3 cups)
4-5 raw diced potatoes
1 can chicken broth
1 T chicken bouillon
1 diced white onion
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 T minced garlic
2 bay leaves
3-4 cups water

In large pot, cook chopped bacon until brown. Drain bacon and return to pot. Add chopped onion and potato and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add 3 cups water, bouillon, broth, rosemary, garlic, bay leaves and split peas. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour, or until peas are cooked, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed.

Banana Freeze

This simple idea came from Our Best Bites.
1 Ingredient Ice Cream!

You can find their description and recipe here.
I made it the other day and we love it. The only thing that I will change next time I make it is, I will freeze the banana pieces the same day that I make it, so they have less freezer taste.

Try it!

Carrot Cake Muffins

I am calling these muffins, not cupcakes, because they really taste healthy. Let's forget that they have 2 cups of sugar in them and call them healthy muffins. Sounds good for breakfast now. :)

I adapted a carrot cake recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cook book to make these. The occasion to make such a treat was the harvesting of my carrots in the garden.

First, get out 4 eggs and set them on the counter so they are closer to room temperature by the time you use them.
Then, wash and finely grate your carrots until you have about 3-4 cups. I used a food processor for that step.

In a large bowl, combine:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 pinch of ginger (optional)
1 pinch of nutmeg (optional)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, beat the 4 eggs. Then add:
3-4 cups carrots
3/4 cup cooking oil

Mix together and then add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until completely moistened.
Pour batter into muffin pan (using either muffin cu…

Clam Digging

I didn't have to dig up any clams or really do much at all for this delicious dinner, thanks to Sprouts, my very favorite farmers market.
In their deli section, they sell stuffed clams all ready to be baked. And to my utter astonishment... They have NO MILK ingredients! So, they became our dinner and were much enjoyed. (At Sprouts they range from 45 cents-$2 each, depending on sales)

Bake the prepared stuffed clams at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Serve hot with rice and a vegetable.

Italian sausage and asparagus

This is a great addition to pasta or wild rice.
Just fry it up in a little olive oil with seasonings of your choice. I choose garlic salt (of course) and Italian seasonings.

My opinion on asparagus: I chop it into small pieces and discard several inches from the bottom ends because they are more tough. I like asparagus cooked for only a few minutes so it is just barely softened, a few minutes before it starts turning brownish green.

Easy Garlic Bread

Sometimes that pasta dish just needs an Italian friend at the dinner table.
Broiling french bread to make garlic bread is a great addition to any Italian meal.

What you need:
1 loaf French bread (white or wheat)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Italian seasonings
Garlic salt

Slice the french bread at a slight slant creating 1 1/2 inch thick slices. Place the slices of bread flat on a cookie sheet. In a small dish, mix together olive oil and seasonings. Use a small kitchen brush to generously brush on oil/seasoning mixture on each slice.
Broil on HIGH for 1-3 minutes until browned and slightly sizzling. Watch it carefully since broiling browns fast.

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

Marinating chicken makes it more moist and deeply flavorful. Start marinating 30-45 minutes before you barbeque.

In a shallow dish (I used a Pyrex baking dish), mix the following:
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
pinapple juice from 1 can of pineapple tidbits
2 cloves garlic (I used 2 tablespoons of minced garlic)

Add your chicken thighs or tenderloins. If using chicken breasts, cut into smaller (thin) pieces.
After marinating, grill until completely cooked (medium heat).

I served my chicken with white sticky rice and sauted onion, orange bell pepper, celery and pineapple tidbits.

Ritz Cinnamon Tasties

The simple combination of Betty Crocker's Cream Cheese Frosting, Ritz Brown Sugar Cinnamon Crackers and my taste buds is a delightful one. Try it for a simple tasty treat!

By the way, ironically the Cream Cheese flavor of this frosting has no millk ingredients! Hooray for fake!

Ham, Bean and Barley Soup

I love soup, especially on a cold day. This soup is inexpensive and rewarding. And a great way to put a ham bone to good use as well, which gives the soup a rich, wonderful flavor.

I like to cook my soup in the crock pot (slow cooker), but it is also possible to make this soup in a large pot on the stove, but it will require soaking the beans overnight prior to cooking.

Here's how I make my delicious soup:

Add to crock pot:
1 ham bone with some meat still on it.
2 cups bean/barley mix (I get mine in the bulk section of Sprouts "7 Bean and Barley soup mix")
Approx 8 cups of water
1 bay leaf
2-4 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 diced white onion
Garlic salt, pepper, salt, other seasonings of choice to your taste preference.

Cook on low for about 7 hours or high for about 4 hours. Soup is done once beans are soft. Once done, remove the meat off the bone (it will just fall off) and remove the bone piece(s) and the bay leaf. Serve hot with rolls or biscuits.