Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Moving day

I have decided to venture out on my own.  Please visit me at my new location at www.definitelyleopard.com

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ro*tel Chicken Tostitos Casserole

I let my husband cook this one, seeing how this is his specialty. We used to call it Chicken Doritos Casserole, but there aren't actually any Doritos in it so I'm changing the name to Ro*tel Chicken Tostitos Casserole.  Since I took a break from cooking, I did the dishes.  Dish washing kills my hands, so today I tried something new.  I coated my hands in my favorite hand lotion (Bliss hand cream) and covered them with my leopard dish washing gloves.  The heat from the water really helps your hands to soak in the lotion.  My hands felt so soft afterwards.         

As for the food....


3 chicken breasts                                                     
2 cans of ro*tel
4 cans Cream of Chicken
16 oz Cheddar Cheese, grated
1/2 cup of milk
1 bag of Tostios tortilla chips

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
Cook chicken on medium high for 45 minutes.  Let cool for 15 minutes and shred.
While chicken is cooking, heat all remaining ingredients on medium for 15 minutes.
Add chicken to sauce and stir.
Layer chips, chicken mixture, cheese and then repeat.
Cook for 20 minutes on 325 degrees.  Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Top with crushed tortilla chips if desired.

Servings: 12
Calories: 444
Fat: 25.6g
Fiber: 0.4g

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Today's  leopard find: Leopard Lolita Martini Glass from Amazon

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chocolate Chip Lava Cake

I've been so busy cooking lately and trying to get my blog going that Easter has snuck up on me. I always go overboard on holidays. Tomorrow will be the day! Until then, I got out my favorite Easter decoration...my Heavenly Toes Easter plate from when the girls were 2 1/2 years old. Their little feet were painted like chickens. If you have kids, these plates are a must. I have something for every holiday. Brings a smile to my face every time I get them out, sometimes there are a few tears.

Unfortunately, I've never met a dessert I didn't like. I'm not sure what to call this one, but this was the best I could come up with...Chocolate chip lava cake. If you like warm gooey chocolate chip cookies this will be perfect. If not, I'm assuming that just cooking it a little longer would fix that problem.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
16 oz. Bakers semi-sweet chocolate squares, coarsely chopped (plus one extra square for shavings if desired)
6 tbsp of Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray ramekins or small oven-safe bowls with cooking spray.
2. Mix butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each. Mix in the vanilla.
3. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
3. Divide dough into 12 sections.  Place one section in the bottom of each prepared ramekin.  Place a Tbsp of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the very center of each.  Top with another section of cookie dough and press to seal sides.
4. Cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on size of bowls.

(skipping calories on this one)

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Today's  Leopard find...Awesome Leopard High Chair from Poshtots.  Now I need a new baby....

Saturday, March 10, 2012

White Cheddar Chicken Pasta

I asked the girls to give me a list of ingredients that they would want in their dinner that they wouldn't say "ewww gross!", "what is that green thing???", "is that cheese in there???".  They gave me their list...chicken and pasta.  :l  So this was my attempt to appease them but sneak in a few other ingredients.  I was hoping that since the cheese is white, my queso loving/cheese hater wouldn't even notice.  She didn't notice the cheese but I think there was smoke coming out of their ears when they ate it.  I swear there must be some kind of chemical reaction between Dijon mustard and wine that ups the spiciness level.  Johnny didn't even use his Red Devil sauce on this one!  It was really, really good though.  I would just suggest adjusting the Dijon amount for kids.  Taylor still practically inhaled the entire plate, she just needed about 2 glasses of milk to wash it down.  I used my new leopard knife to trim the chicken and the rest of the wine for later.  I tried to find a helpful chart that explained the different types of knives and what to use them for, mainly because I had no idea what I was supposed to do with a mini leopard ax...  I didn't find a great one. Cutco had the best one I could find.  I did learn that you aren't supposed to put knives in the dishwasher because it dulls the blades.  (probably helps to sharpen them occasionally too :) )

White Cheddar Chicken Pasta

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts,  cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp dry mustard
1 T thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 T olive oil

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Mix together mustard, thyme, salt and pepper and sprinkle over chicken.
Add chicken and brown until cooked through.
Remove to a plate and cover with foil.

14.5oz rotini pasta (I used Barilla Plus)

Heat water to boiling in a large stock pot for pasta, add salt and pasta. Cook 10 minutes and drain.


2 T butter
2 T flour
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1 T Dijon mustard (use less if you want it less spicy)
8 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups milk
Crushed red pepper flakes (about 1 tsp)
Parmesan cheese (optional)

While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add flour and whisk.
Add wine, garlic and mustard.  Mix until combined.
Reduce heat to low and slowly add milk, stirring to combine.
Cook about 5-7 minutes more until mixture begins to thicken.
Add cheese and stir to melt.
Add chicken and pasta to sauce and mix.
Top with crushed red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese.

Servings: 7
Calories: 520
Fat: 20
Fiber: 5

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Today's Leopard find:  Leopard Headphones from Barnes and Noble (thanks Cynthia!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cranberry-Orange Muffins

I think I have become addicted to muffins.  At least the 60 minutes I spend on the elliptical every day cancels out the muffin, so it's like it never happened. I was so excited to see that these were only 299 calories when I calculated it on SparkRecipes.   I found the leopard baking cups at Michaels.  They had pink and brown ones.  (of course I had to have both)

Cranberry-Orange Muffins

1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/3 cup fresh orange juice

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon fresh orange zest (the zest of one whole orange)
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2) Line a muffin pan with baking cups
3) Zest one whole orange (about 1 Tablespoon) and set aside
4 )Squeeze the juice from that one orange (about 1/3 cup).
5) Put the orange juice (if needed, add some prepared orange juice to the fresh juice to make 1/3 cup) and the cranberries in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Simmer about 5 minutes, stirring as needed.  Turn off heat and set aside.
6)  In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger - set aside.
7)  In large bowl, cream the butter, orange zest and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
8)  Scrape side of the bowl, then mix in the eggs (one at a time), vanilla, orange extract, and oil.
9)  Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk.  Fold in the cranberries.  Do not over mix.
10)  Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan.
11)Bake muffins about 20 minutes (test with a toothpick, there should be moist crumbs, but not wet).  Cool muffins on a wire cooling rack.

Servings: 12
Calories: 299
Fat: 19g
Fiber: 1.0g

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Today's Leopard find: leopard decals for your Kitchen Aid mixer from Kitchen Couture

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Blueberry Muffin Cake

I had trouble coming up with a blog today because I had another #epic fail last night.  Very frustrating.  This time was Paula Dean's Mexican Chicken Casserole.  Who would have thought Paula Dean could do something wrong (because I'm sure it wasn't me).  This one however wasn't as bad as the inedible Crock pot Orange Chicken.  So since dinner was a huge failure, I moved on to something I thought would be easy...the popular pinterest pin of unclogging the sink with the vinegar & baking soda mix.  Well apparently that must do better when done regularly, because mine turned into a gigantic mess.  I hope the black gunk and white paste are having fun together in my pipes now, because I'm pretty sure it's there for good.  Phase 3...a few weeks ago I tried the "remove scratches from your dishes with Barkeepers Friend" pin.  I couldn't tell a difference at all so I googled it to see if I did it wrong and discovered that you aren't supposed to use that on dishes because it breaks down the enamel.  So my new learning is to research before I try some of these wonderful ideas.  Since I didn't feel like starting a round 4, y'all get an old (but good) recipe that I had luckily saved a picture of on Facebook.

½ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 tsp. lemon zest
3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar (1 Tbs is for the topping)
1 egg (room temperature)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups blueberries
½ cup buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and all of the sugar (except for 1 tablespoon to save for topping) until fluffy.
2. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended.
3. Toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of the flour and set aside.
4. Whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.
5. Slowly add the flour mixture to the batter, alternating with the buttermilk.
6. Fold in the blueberries.
7. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray.
8. Pour batter into pan and sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar.
9. Bake for 35-45 minutes. (until a toothpick comes out clean).  Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Servings: 8
Calories: 344
Fat: 14g
Fiber: 2g

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Today's Leopard find:  Who doesn't need a leopard wine purse???  $29.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chicken Ranch Lasagna

In Texas, 3 things are a staple...iced tea, salsa and ranch.  So why not put ranch in lasagna?? But I have to admit that when I heard chicken ranch lasagna this Texas girl was a little skeptical.  I decided to try it anyway because Megan eats ranch on almost anything.  I'm so glad I did! It was delicious. Taylor doesn't like cheese but she loves queso, so I tried calling it queso ranch lasagna so that she would eat it, but no luck.

2 (12 oz) cans evaporated milk
1 (1 oz) pkg. Hidden Valley dry Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix (not the dip blend)
3 C. cubed, cooked, chicken
1/8 tsp pepper
1 (16oz) lasagna noodles, cooked (I used 6 noodles)
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

Combine evaporated milk and Ranch dressing and pepper in a 3 quart heavy saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently until dry ingredients are dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Sauce will thicken slightly.  Layer half of lasagna noodles, chicken, sauce, and cheese in well-greased 9×13 pan. Repeat layers again. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

This sauce may curdle on you when heating it, it's OK. Mine did not, because I kept it at a low heat after I let it come to just a boil, and stirred, stirred, stirred. You may not need the full 25 minutes, so when you can tell it's starting to thicken, it's OK to add to the dish. It may curdle after it's baked, but again, it's OK.

Servings: 8
Calories: 466
Fat: 21g
Fiber: 1g

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Today's Leopard find...Leopard Dustpan Set from Cookware.com

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Apple Pie Muffins

Dry Ingredients:
We are started a new system in my house today. It's my mission to get my girls to pick-up after themselves, not leave piles of things ALL over the house, grow up to be self-sufficient and be able to function in the real world like a normal human being.  I figure it takes 21 days to make a habit so in 21 days I hope to be able to report complete success on the first part.  I think I've already taken care of the last two. First up is "Clutter Jail".  I am soooo excited about this.  Them...not so much.  Anyway, on to the cute little muffin..We used to love Betty Crocker's Apple Streusel muffins.  Unfortunately, we haven't been able to find them in years.  These were just as good, but with lots of real apples.  They were delicious!  Of course they look even better in the cute little leopard cupcake liners.  I found these at Bella Cupcake Couture. They have many different ones to choose from, too many unfortunately.

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
3 cups diced apples, about 3 apples (I used Macintosh)


1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
4 T melted butter

Preheat oven to 375
Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl, mix wet ingredients and apples in small bowl
Add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix well
Mix topping ingredients in small bowl
Grease muffin pan or use liners
Fill each muffin cup and sprinkle topping mix over batter
Bake 25 minutes

Servings: 12
Calories: 319
Fat: 15g
Fiber: 2g

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Today's Leopard find:
Leopard Rain Boots from The Pyramid Collection

Monday, March 5, 2012

Asian Flank Steak

  Asian steak sounded a little odd to me at first.  It took me years to love Asian food.  I'm not sure what my aversion to it was, but now I love it.  This was a nice twist on an ordinary steak.  I found a great website called Charcoal Bob that lets you enter the type and thickness of meat you are grilling and will tell you the desired time to cook. Unfortunately it didn't work for ours because we have an Infrared Cooker but if you have a charcoal or gas grill this would be a really helpful website.

1/2 cup Sherry
1/4 cup Honey
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
2 Tablespoons Ground Ginger
2 Tablespoons (3-5 cloves) Minced Garlic
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 Flat Iron Steaks
1/2 cup Soy Sauce

Whisk all ingredients (except steak of course) in a bowl.
Place the steaks and marinade in a Ziploc bag and chill in the refrigerator for 3-6 hours.
Grill steaks on high heat for 4 minutes on each side for medium rare steaks.
Allow steaks to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Servings: 8
Calories: 273
Fat: 12g
Fiber: 0.3

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lemon Velvet Cream Pie

This is by far the prettiest pie I've ever made! (out of the 3 total ones I've made :) It was really good! Megan has already asked for me to make another one. She practically inhaled the first piece she had. To do the whip cream I used the Pampered Chef Easy Accent Decorator which I've had for years and never actually used. I'm sure I bought it with good intentions, but now that I've used it I'm sure I'm going to be trying to put whip cream on everything.

1 frozen 9" pie crust (because I was too lazy to make my own) - I think I might like it even better with a graham cracker pie crust. I'm going to try that next time.
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
6 egg yolks
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 pint of whipping cream - 1/4 cup for pie filling (add 1/8-1/
4 cup of sugar to remaining part for topping)
Lemon (optional for garnish)

Bake pie crust as directed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a small bowl soften gelatin in water for 5 minutes then heat in microwave for 14 seconds; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk.
With an electric mixer, beat on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
Mix in gelatin, whipping cream and salt on low speed.
Add lemon juice and beat on low speed for 30 seconds.
Pour into prepared crust (pie will be really full).
Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until center of pie looks set when gently shaken.
Cool on wire rack 1 hour.
Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Top with whipped cream just before serving.

10 servings
398 calories
23g fat

Today's Leopard find: a reusable Leopard snack bag from Amazon for $10.00.

Crock Pot Brisket Tacos

My learning's from this cooking adventure:
1) What a bunch of cilantro is (thank you Produce Converter!) They also have a cool app. You never know when you might be out on the town and the question comes up "how many tablespoons are in a parsnip?" Now you won't be caught off guard.
2) Garbage disposals like lemons but apparently aren't fond of limes
3) Don't make this one before a big date because I'm going to smell like cilantro and garlic for days

4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
1 head garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Juice of 4 limes
1/2 cup cider vinegar
5 dry bay leaves
5 pound beef brisket
6 cups beef stock

Place the first 8 ingredients in a food processor if you have one. If not, stir together in crock pot.
Place the brisket on top and pour beef stock over top of meat.
Place bay leaves on top.

Cook on HIGH for 4 hours. Then change setting to WARM and let sit for 6 to 8 hours. (Mine is awesome and actually changes the setting for you. It's a Wolfgang Puck brand from JCPenney)

Remove meat from slow cooker and place on rimmed baking sheet. Use two forks to pull the meat apart. Discard the fat. Place shredded beef in large bowl and spoon liquid over the top a few scoops at a time. You want the meat to hold the liquid but not swim in it.

Serve with fresh tortillas, Mexican cheese and any other desired toppings.

Servings:15 (will make about 30 tacos) - note: by the time we got all the fat off of our 5 lb brisket, there was only about 2lbs of meat left. We got about 15 tacos out of this.
Calories (without toppings and tortillas): 371
Fat: 19g
Fiber: 0.1g

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Today's Leopard find... Leopard Print Monogram Memo Cube from Tippie Toads


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas with Chile Sauce

Notice my new Ralph Lauren Safari Leopard plates?? They have them at Dillard's. You can also find them at Replacements, Ltd. I love the Replacements website because they have everything. Luckily, I haven't needed it yet but it's nice to know it's there if I ever break something. You can buy individuals plate on there if you wanted to do an assorted set. I want an entire set, the only problem is I only like the salad plate and I haven't quite gotten Johnny on the smaller portion habit and the girls have to have nothing touching on their plate. So for now, I'm the only one that gets to use the magnificent leopard plates.

1 medium onion, chopped in food processor
1 jalapenos, seeded and chopped in food processor
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons sugar
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 large beefsteak tomato, seeded and chopped in food processor
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups Kraft 4 Cheese Mexican (2%)
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
12 6" corn tortillas
cooking spray
salt and ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine the onion, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt and oil in a large saucepan with lid.
Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often - about 8 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar.
Stir in the tomato sauce, water and chopped tomato.
Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened - about 5 minutes.
Mix the chicken into the sauce.
Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until chicken is cooked through - about 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside to cool.
Season sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add in 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup cheese and the cilantro.
Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap.
Microwave on high 50 seconds.
Spread the tortillas on a clean work surface and spoon 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each.
Tightly roll each tortilla and lay seam-side down in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.

Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven for about 7 minutes, or until the tortillas start to brown slightly.

Reduce heat to 400.
Remove enchiladas and pour sauce evenly on top.
Top with the remaining cheese.
Cover dish with foil and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes, until cheese browns.
Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Servings - 6
Calories - 362
Fat - 10
Fiber - 6g

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chicken Lasagna Roll-ups

Found my new food processor (Penelope) waiting on my porch when I got home! What perfect timing. I only had a small one and was having trouble with a lot of my recipes. This one was perfect!!! A 9 cup Cuisinart from JCPenney. Although I've made this recipe without it before too. Now to the food...this is another winner! Everyone loves it. So happy when that happens. Nothing green in it probably helped. But they actually ate the one piece of broccoli I served with it! Baby steps here...

3 cups cooked chicken
1 cup reduced fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
1/4 cup grated reduced fat Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fat free milk
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
8 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1 jar Prego spaghetti sauce

In medium bowl, combine chicken, cheeses, milk, and pepper (I prefer to place this in the food processor to get a less chunky filling)
Spread 1/2 cup mixture over each lasagna noodle and roll
In a 13 by 9-inch baking dish, spread 1 cup spaghetti sauce
Arrange lasagna rolls, seam-side down in sauce in baking dish
Top with remaining spaghetti sauce and cover with foil.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

8 servings - 276 calories
5.6g fat
1.0g fiber

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chocolate Brownie Pudding

I’m not sure what I would compare this dessert to but it was soooo good! Taylor wanted to make sure that there was going to be enough left for her to have leftovers the next night. The plan was to have vanilla ice cream on it but the girls insisted on theirs having their favorite…mint chocolate chip. Both were good. Would probably also be good with nuts sprinkled on it.

2 sticks unsalted butter
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Kahlua
Optional - Vanilla ice cream (or desired flavor)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Lightly butter a 9×9 baking dish.
Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.
Sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.
Beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. After 10 minutes, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla, Kahlua, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture.
Mix very slowly until just combined.
Slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again until combined.
Pour the mixture into the baking dish and place it in a larger baking pan.
Add warm water to the pan until it comes halfway up the side of the dish.
Bake for 1 hour.
It will look like it’s under-baked but it isn't!
Remove from the water and place in the fridge to cool.
Serve alone or with ice cream.

8 servings
482 calories (without ice cream)
27g fat
3g fiber

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu

This was the easiest chicken cordon bleu I've ever made! Actually, it's the only chicken cordon bleu I've ever made... I was curious where this originated from and in my research came across a whole history of meats page. It even has squirrel! Surprisingly, I haven't seen any squirrel recipes on Pinterest. I actually worked with a guy who ate squirrel. I was sure he was kidding until we gave him a Squirrel Cookbook and saw his face light up when he saw all the new recipes that he couldn't wait to try. I made sure to never eat what he brought to pot luck lunches. Anyway, if the squirrel talk hasn't totally scared you off, this is a really easy recipe that everyone loved.

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut each in half to make two smaller pieces)
12 slices deli ham
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
6 slices of Swiss cheese

Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs and melted butter. Set aside.

Lay the cut chicken breasts in a single layer in the 9X13-inch dish. Layer each chicken breast with two slices of ham and top with Swiss cheese. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the chicken.

Bake the chicken for 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through completely, the cheese is bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden.

6 servings
396 calories
15.5g fat
0.8g fiber

Apple Walnut Breakfast Cake

One of my favorite memories of the 5 months we lived on Long Island was taking the girls to the Lewin Farms apple orchard. We could have gone to The Hampton's, but no....we chose the apple orchards. Wish we had one here now that we actually eat them regularly. I found a great site with tips for apples to help you know when they are in season, what to use them for and how to store them.

6 Macintosh apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples. Mix with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients with the dry ones, then add eggs one at a time.

Pour half of batter into pan. Spread half of the apples on top. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 hour and 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

12 servings
331 calories (with walnuts- 291 without)
16.2g fat
1.8g fiber

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Roasted Parmesan Green Beans and Mushrooms

I’m not a mushroom fan so you’ll have to take my husbands word for it that the mushrooms were good. The green beans were awesome and super easy to make. Of course the girls weren’t impressed because there was “green stuff on their plate”. But I’d still make this again and make them eat their obligatory ONE green bean.

8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 lb fresh green beans
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 T finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Wash mushrooms and let dry.
While mushrooms are drying, trim ends off of green beans.
Put cut beans and mushrooms into a Ziploc bag.
Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour into bag.

Shake bag so all the beans and mushrooms are lightly coated with the mixture.
Arrange on large baking sheet.
Spread out well so beans and mushrooms are not crowded.
Roast 20 minutes or until beans are tender, mushrooms are cooked, and all liquid on the pan has evaporated.
Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper, then sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan.

6 servings
53 calories
4g fat
1.4g fiber

Chicken Bacon Pasta - 468 calories

I don’t quite understand the new popularity with bacon and definitely don’t think I’ll be trying the new Jack in the Box bacon shake but Megan and Taylor are definitely bacon fans. They even tried the chicken fried bacon at the Texas State Fair. I think the one bite of that took years off of my life.
Bacon with chicken and pasta I can handle though! Everyone loved this one. Taylor even had thirds! This one will definitely get a repeat.

4 oz bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (do half if you want it less spicy)
1 tsp garlic powder
12 oz penne pasta
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup fat free cream cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 grilled chicken breast, sliced

Preheat grill and prepare chicken.

Boil water for pasta.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 12 minutes.

Cook chicken on grill while pasta is cooking.

Place cream and cream cheese in a small saucepan. Heat over low until cream cheese is melted, and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Add the Parmesan cheese, eggs, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and pepper and whisk until blended.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Immediately add the white sauce and toss to coat. Stir in the bacon. Top with grilled chicken.

6 servings
468 calories
17g fat
4g fiber

Crescent Roll Sandwiches

I always need something quick and easy to make for weekend lunches. This was perfect. Although I had to make them 3 different ways to please everyone... Nice that it's an easy option to adjust the fillings to please everyone though. I'm giving you my version because of course that one was the best.

1 can Pillsbury reduced fat crescent rolls
8 slices deli ham
4 slices Swiss cheese
Spinach leaves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Separate crescent rolls into 4 rectangles. Lightly dust with flour.
Place desired amount of spinach, 1 slice of cheese and 2 slices of ham on each rectangle.
Roll up each rectangle keeping ham tucked in as much as possible so that it doesn't dry out.
Place on baking sheet. Make sure that there is plenty of space between each one to allow all sides to cook properly.
Cook for 13 minutes.

4 servings
397 calories
21.9g fat
0.7 g fiber


The food of the Greek and Roman gods.
Something very pleasing to taste or smell.

So I wore my tiara while eating this one since my toga was at the cleaners. Made it seem much fancier that way.

1 1/2 c. fat free whipped topping
1 vanilla pudding cup
1 cup pineapple
1 cup mandarin oranges
1 apple
1 banana
1 cup strawberries
2 Tbs coconut

Combine whipped topping and pudding in medium bowl until blended. Add fruit and sprinkle with coconut if desired.

6 Servings
0.9g fat
2.2g fiber

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Grilled Chicken Piccata

Grilled Chicken Piccata with Penne Pasta (or Rotini is your husband also does the grocery shopping and has no idea what penne is). It still tasted great though. For the next trip I found this little handy pasta guide from the National Pasta Association. Who knew that pasta needed its own National Association??

3Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups dried penne pasta
2 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup fat free half and half
2 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Combine first 6 ingredients and mix well. Place chicken in a Ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
When ready, grill until done. Allow chicken to cool for a few minutes and then slice into strips to serve over pasta.

While chicken is grilling, cook pasta according to directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain pasta.
In same sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in garlic and lemon juice. Pour in half and half and whisk until hot. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Add the Parmesan cheese and basil and heat until cheese is melted. Check the consistency of the sauce and add some of the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce if necessary. Toss in pasta.

Serve with grilled chicken on top.

6 servings
505 calories
5.4g fat
2.9g fiber

Pink Leopard Dishwashing Gloves

Gloveables Rubber Gloves

It took me awhile to realize just how much of a necessity dishwashing gloves are for your hands. Of course if I have to wear those ugly things they better be cute, girly and leopard. Thank goodness Amazon has everything!! Now everything is right with the world again and all for only $12.99!

Mexican Chicken Casserole

Taylor has informed me that she "won't eat anything with a casserole in it" so this one didn't make the cut for making everyone happy, but it was really good! Her share just left more for the rest of us. I really do need to buy stock in corn dogs until I find stuff she likes.

1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth $
2 (4.5-ounce) cans chopped green chiles, divided
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 Monterey 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 cheese
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 350°.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 can of chiles and onion; sauté 3 minutes or until soft. Add reserved cooking liquid, milk, Monterey 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 mixture. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and chips. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Cooking Light

8 servings
369 calories
11.4g fat
3g fiber

French Toast Bake

Nothing starts a day off better than French Toast, right?? Unless maybe it was French Toast in France. Maybe one day...for now this will have to do. Isn't it pretty? I was quite impressed! The kids not so much (nuts and "weird bread" were the problems with this recipe) so I thought y'all might appreciate it more.

1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) butter, melted
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 loaf brioche or challah bread (French toast can also be sliced 1 1/2 inches thick)
8 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup 2% milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
Syrup and powdered sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl combine brown sugar and melted butter and pour on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
Combine milk, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl and pour evenly over bread slices.
Dip each slice of bread into egg mixture.
Arrange slices of bread in the baking dish overlapping if necessary.
Sprinkle chopped pecans over bread slices.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. If top starts browning too quickly place foil loosely over the top of the casserole for the last 10 minutes or so. You want it to cook long enough to make sure the bottom part is cooked but don't dry it out completely.

12 servings
341 calories (without syrup or powdered sugar)
13.6g fat
1.6g fiber

Friday, February 24, 2012

Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

Quite possibly the worst picture I've ever taken, but it was all gone before I could take another one. This was actually a meal that everyone liked! I think a celebration is in order!! Taylor doesn't like cheese (except for queso) but this one even passed the cheese test.

16 oz. dry spaghetti, cooked
1 lb. Velveeta Light (2%) Cheese (cut in cubes)
12 oz of shredded, cooked chicken breast (or 1 can of chicken)
1 can 98% Campbell's fat free cream of mushroom soup
1 can 98% Campbell's fat free cream of chicken soup
10 oz. can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilies
1/2 cup water
salt & pepper to taste

To shred chicken:
Place chicken in pot, add just enough water to cover the chicken.
Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat to low, making sure that it still maintains a boil and cook until done, about 25 minutes.
Remove chicken from pot, let cool and shred.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and stir to mix well. Cook on LOW for 2-3 hours. Stir again just before serving.

8 servings - 276 calories (Recipe calculator)
8.5g fat
1.4g fiber

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Only 2 complaints on this one...It was hard to not go back for seconds on this one and it would have been even better with a margarita! Other than that this was awesome!!! Notice how the black beans make it look like a leopard?? :) Megan thinks it looks more like bugs though.

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (or 2 cups of shredded chicken breast)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can diced green chili peppers, drained
  • 1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
  • 8 (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 4 ounce sour cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix chicken with cumin and coriander. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the cilantro, black beans, and green chili peppers.
  3. Spread half of the enchilada sauce over the bottom of an 11x7 inch baking dish. Place 4 tortillas over the sauce, overlapping if necessary. Spoon half of the chicken mixture over the tortillas, and sprinkle with half of the cheese and all of the sour cream. Spoon the remaining enchilada sauce over the cheese, and make another layer of tortillas. Layer the remaining chicken mixture over the tortillas. Cover dish with a lid or aluminum foil.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove the cover, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Continue cooking, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

8 servings - 497 calories
17.8g fat - 8.7g fiber

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Baked Apple Wedges - 175 calories

This is our new favorite "dessert" and fits into into my mandated cooking healthy rules that my husband has given me. Thanks Martha Stewart!

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
4 McIntosh apples
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar over a baking sheet.
Combine oats, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and spices in the work bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth.
Add half the almonds and process until finely chopped.
Add remaining almonds; process until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a shallow bowl.
Peel apples and cut into quarters. Cut out cores.
Dip apples into egg mixture, letting excess drip off. Coat well with the oatmeal-nut mixture and transfer to prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until soft.

4 servings - 175 calories (sparkrecipes.com recipe calculator)
4.3g fat - 3.8g fiber

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Today's Leopard find: iPhone, iPad Cases and Kindle e-Book Reader Skins from Squidoo

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Grilled Pineapple & fancy, make your life easier slicer

Ever since I tasted the grilled pineapple at the local Brazilian steakhouse I crave it almost everyday. I am determined to figure out how to do it. If I'm going to be cutting all of those pineapples trying to perfect this, I had to have a super fancy pineapple slicer. Luckily I found one at JCPenney for only $10! It didn't come with directions, only a couple of drawings on the box which didn't make a lot of sense. Thanks to my husband, who can figure out anything, "we" figured out that you cut off the top, place the round part of the slicer on top of the pineapple and simply push down while turning the handle. So easy and so quick! It made perfect spiral pineapple slices. The first attempt wasn't the perfect Brazilian steakhouse recipe but it was a pretty good start.

Grilled Pineapple

1 pineapple
1 can of coconut milk
1/2 sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Heat grill to medium

Slice pineapple
Mix cinnamon and sugar together
Brush pineapple with coconut milk
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture

Place on grill for about 2 minutes on each side.

8 servings - Only 92 calories