Wednesday, November 5, 2008


It's been awhile. I know, I know, I'm a bad Blogger. What's even worse is I'm coming back and blogging about a yummy, fun treat... and since it's all in good fun, there's no need for nutritional information, right?

I get the regular emails from Food Network and I happened to be bored at work one day so I checked out the Halloween special. This recipe caught my eye. I didn't want to hand out candy to the neighborhood hellions, but the neighbor kids are sweet. They deserved something. How perfect!

I set off to make these creepy crawlies only to find that pull and peel black licorice is almost impossible to find. I had to cut regular licorice. I must confess that the only spiders that had legs were the ones that went to the neighbor boys... the ones that stayed home were legless. We don't like black licorice anyway, so that worked well!

The caramel was delicious, but it spread WAY too much. I let it cool longer than the recipe said, in hopes that it would solidify a bit, but no such luck. Eh well. A yummy, gooey, creepy crawly mess!

Pecan-Caramel Spiders
Source: Food Network
Serves 30


1 1/2 cups toasted pecans
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, in pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 ounces thin black licorice strands, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
Chocolate curls or jimmies, optional


-Line 2 baking sheets with waxed paper and lightly spray with nonstick spray.
-Mound 30 small clusters of pecans (3 or 4 pecans each) spaced a couple inches apart on the pan.
-Warm the cream over low heat and keep warm while you cook the sugar.
-Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a deep pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
-Stop stirring, raise heat to medium-high, and simmer until the sugar reaches the hard crack stage, (305 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes).
-Whisk the butter and salt into the sugar mixture.
-Gradually pour in the cream and vanilla (be careful, the mixture will bubble up).
-Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar reaches soft ball stage (240 degrees F on the thermometer, about 5 minutes more).
-Immediately remove from the heat and cool for a minute.
-Ladle a couple tablespoons of warm caramel over some of the nut clusters, to make the spider bodies.
-Quickly press 6 pieces of licorice into the warm caramel to make the legs.
-Repeat with the remaining caramel and licorice. If caramel hardens, warm over very low heat. ) Let spiders cool 15 minutes.
-Melt the chocolate using either a microwave or double broiler.
-Spoon about 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate on top of each spider.
-Sprinkle with jimmies or chocolate curls, if desired. Let cool until firm.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Spice is Nice

We love spicy foods. Love them. This recipe appeared in my inbox and was immediately saved. We don't keep snapper in the house, but tilapia was a very nice substitution. Yet another fast, easy meal that's a keeper! The fish was nice and flaky with a nice twist to our normal broiled tilapia.

Baked Tilapia with Chipotle Butter
Source: Cooking Light
Serves 4


1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 (6-ounce) tilapia
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely minced


-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Combine first 4 ingredients and sprinkle evenly over fish.
-Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
-Bake 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
-While fish bakes, combine butter and chile.
-Spread butter mixture evenly over baked fish.


Calories 175.9
Total Fat 4.5 g
Cholesterol 90.3 mg
Sodium 251.3 mg
Potassium 333.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate .5 g
Fiber .1 g
Protein 31.6 g

If he wags his tail...

...they must be good!

In my quest to make Jackson his own dog treats, I came across a new recipe for rather simple dog biscuits. I love coming across recipes with everyday ingredients, especially since I make a lot of these treats late at night and they're not pre-planned very well. This made a LOT Of treats, but froze relatively well. The only thing about them is that they have a tendency to grow a bit of mold (ick!), even when in an air-tight container, so they're best stored in the fridge.

Everyday Biscuits
Makes 100 1" square treats

2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons dry parsley
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons honey
1 egg
5-6 cups whole wheat flour

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand 10 minutes.
-Insert the beater for the mixer and stir in parsley, garlic, broth, honey, and egg.
-Gradually mix in flour. After approximately 2 cups, switch from the beater to a dough hook. Continue adding flower until you have formed a stiff dough.
-Shape the dough into a ball, and roll to 1/4-inch thick.
-Cut dough into desired shapes for biscuits.
-Transfer to ungreased baking sheets, spacing them about 1/4 inch apart.
-Bake for 30 minutes.
=Remove from oven and turn over.
-Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on both sides.
-Let cool completely before storing.


How many ways can you make stuffed shells??

I'm on version three now, and while this is probably my least favorite, it's still a decent meal. Perfect for Fridays during Lent or another night when you want a meatless meal. The sauce is quite thin, which I didn't care for, but the actual shell itself is pretty good. Next time I make these I need to adjust the sauce to make it thicker! I did freeze half of these and they did very well. I'm starting to love these cook once, eat twice meals!!

Tuna Filled Shells
Source: Allrecipes
Serves 6 (2 shells each)


12 Jumbo Pasta Shells
5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 celery rib, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 slices white bread, crumbled (I used 1/4 c bread crumbs)
1 (12 ounce) can light water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
1/2 cup reduced-fat ranch salad dressing
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


-Cook shells as directed on the box.
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Meanwhile, combine the flour, milk, dill and salt until smooth.
-Boil flour mixture and stir constantly for 2 minutes or until thickened.
-Pour 1-1/4 cups of sauce into a 2 quart baking dish and set aside.
-Sautee celery and onion in a skillet until tender.
-Add bread, tuna, salad dressing and cheese. Mix well.
-Fill cooked shells with tuna mixture and place open side up in a baking dish.
-Drizzle remaining sauce on top.
-Cover and bake until bubbly, approx. 25-30 minutes.


Calories 299.7
Total Fat 10.5 g
Cholesterol 31.2 mg
Sodium 529.6 mg
Potassium 333.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 27.9 g
Fiber 1.5 g
Protein 22.8 g

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

Yummmmm. When a lot of people think of this recipe, they think of Giada's version. I decided to do a slight twist and bake them to eliminate the EVOO. The result? A nice, yummy pork chop! This meal is perfect for the nights when you need something quick and easy.

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops
Source: Food Network (see link above), with customization
Servings: 4

1 lb. Pork Chops
1/4 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Egg (I used Egg Beaters)

-Mix parmesan cheese and bread crumbs in a bowl. Pour onto a plate for easy coating.
-Whisk egg if needed, dip each of the 4 chops into egg.
-Coat each chop with the bread/cheese mixture, place in baking dish.
-Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through.


Calories 292.1
Total Fat 15.6 g
Cholesterol 71 mg
Sodium 338.2 mg
Potassium 557.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5.4 g
Fiber .3 g
Protein 30.5 g

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cheesy Goodness

Who knew that something so easy could be so good? This is the perfect quick meal and the leftovers reheat well. It is originally a Weight Watchers recipe, but the possibilities of modifications are endless. I have heard of people adding broccoli, taking out the chicken all together, etc. We have just made the original recipe, maybe some day I'll get a little more adventurous and creative! I apologize for the poor picture, next time I make these I need to remember to get a good one!

Cheesy Chicken Cups
Source: Weight Watchers
Servings: 10

1 can buttermilk biscuits (10 biscuits)
1 cooked chicken breast cut into small pieces
1 can Healthy Request cream of chicken soup
3/4 C. fat free shredded cheddar cheese
1 t. dried parsley flakes
1/2 t. black pepper

-Place each biscuit into a muffin pan.
-Press the biscuits into the holes (and up the sides) to form cups.
-In a bowl, combine chicken, soup, cheese, parsley, and pepper. Mix well.
-Spoon evenly into cups.
-Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes.


Calories 121.3
Total Fat 4.1 g
Cholesterol 22.5 mg
Sodium 440.7 mg
Potassium 8.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 12.1 g
Fiber .2 g
Protein 8.9 g

Clone of a Cinnabon

I needed another use for my stand mixer besides dog treats and the typical meatloaf and potatoes. I came across a recommendation for this recipe and needless to say we were not disappointed! I've made these twice now, and where it says butter, you really do need to use butter. I ran out the second time I made these and they weren't nearly as good. They're a far cry from a healthy breakfast, but a delicious treat every once and awhile!

These have been adapted to not use a bread machine. Please click on the link below for the version using a bread machine. Also, I have frozen these individually and when ready, thawed them in the fridge and baked them the next morning. They are delicious, but not quite as good as fresh ones! I typically will make the dough on a Saturday afternoon, refrigerate the individual rolls and bake on Sunday morning.

Clone of a Cinnabon
Source: Allrecipes
12 Servings

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

-Dissolve yeast in warm milk, let sit for 10 minutes.
-Slowly add in eggs, margarine, salt, and sugar. Mix well.
-Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, and when the dough gets to be somewhat thick, switch to the dough hook to finish mixing and kneading.
-Let dough knead for approximately 5 minutes or until a firm ball is formed.
-Remove bowl and cover; let dough rise in a warm area for approximately 1 hour.
-After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
-In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
-Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle.
-Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture.
-Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls.
-Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. (At this point you may refrigerate.)
-Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. If rolls have been refrigerated, this may take longer.
-Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
-Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
-While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt.
-Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.


Calories 499.6
Total Fat 15.6 g
Cholesterol 25.1 mg
Sodium 362.7 mg
Potassium 218.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 81.5 g
Fiber 2.2 g
Protein 9.5 g