Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Black Bean Lasagna

This is one of our favorite meatless night dinners.

12 lasagna noodles(fresh or store bought*)
3 cups of your favorite tomato spaghetti sauce(homemade or jarred , which ever you please)
1/2 cup water
2 cans black beans , drained and rinsed(about 3 cups prepared if going from dried)
2 cups cottage cheese
1 egg
1 TB dried parsley
1 TB dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste(any other seasonings you prefer too!)
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese(or more if you like!)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1/4 cup shredded asiago

*If you are using store bought dried noodles you do NOT need to boil them first and you dont need special "no boil" noodles either just dip them in hot water immediately before layering, you CAN boil them first if you like, just omit the 1/2 cup water from the sauce.

Using fresh noodles I just layer them as is with out cooking or dipping.

Combine your sauce , water and beans and simmer for 15 minutes or so.

Place cottage cheese, egg, and seasonings in a food processor and process until it is well combined.

In a 9 x 13 pan pour about 1 cup tomato/bean mixture.

If you are using dry pasta, dip noodles in hot water.

Layer 4 noodles over lapping on top of the tomato mix.

Spread on 1/2 the cottage cheese mixture, 1/3 the bean and sauce mixture and 1/3 the mozzarella cheese.

Repeat layer with 4 more noodles(dipped in hot water) remaining cottage cheese, 1/3 the sauce and 1/3 the mozz.
Top with last 4 noodles, remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella and sprinkle on the parmesan and asiago

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes, uncover and bake 15 minutes more.

Check often , you can add more water around the edges if they are looking dry during the cooking process.

The leftovers freezes INCREDIBLY well! After cooking,cool completely(I overnight it in the fridge) slice into portions and place in a ziplock freezer bag.
Defrost and reheat for a quick meal!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Apple Carrot Waffles

Delicious and nutritious breakfast. Make a double batch and freeze them , then pop them in the toaster in the morning! Super fast breakfast for those busy morning!

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 TB baking powder
1/4 cup raw sugar(you can add more or less sugar to your preference)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
pinch of salt

2 TB vegetable or canola oil
2 eggs
2 cups milk(sub 1 cup plain greek yogurt plus 1 cup milk for a protein boost!)
2 tsps vanilla

1/2 cup shredded apple(1 small-medium)
1 cup shredded carrot(1 medium)

In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients

In a separate bowl whisk eggs, then add the liquid ingredients and whisk together.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid.

Stir until just combined.

Fold in apples and carrots.

Proceed with your waffle maker's directions!

Serve immediately or cool completely and wrap (I usually wrap them in pairs) then pop them in the freezer.

Stick them in the toaster and heat them the same way you would an Eggo!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

White Cheddar and Spinach Chicken Burgers

I was at Costco the other day and I came across some premade Sabatino's Flame Broiled Aged White Cheddar and Spinach chicken patties that sounded just delicious. I decided to jot down the basic ingredients and go at a copycat recipe myself!

* I guess there has been some recent confusion so I wanted to clear it up that the ground chicken should be RAW, (like making a hamburger or turkey burger) pre-cooking it would prevent it from sticking together and it would get very dry when cooking it again.

1 1/4 lb ground chicken breast(pre ground or grind your own if you can)
2 oz fresh baby spinach(or frozen, thawed and drained)
1/2 small onion(It was mentioned that these burgers include caramelized onions, my family does not really care for them but if you enjoy them follow the directions HERE)
1 small clove garlic
2 stalks green onion
1 TB fresh parsley leaves

3 oz shredded aged white cheddar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt to taste
1/4-1/2 cup bread crumbs

Wilt your baby spinach by pouring boiling water over it while in a colander in the sink(or thaw and drain your frozen spinach)
DRAIN WELL, squeeze if you need too.

In a food processor place onion, green onion, garlic, parsley and wilted spinach.
Pulse until it is fairly fine but you don't want puree.

Combine with chicken and remaining ingredients adding enough bread crumbs to make it stick together but not to your hands.

Form into patties and place on a well sprayed sheet of foil on a baking sheet.

Cover loosely with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Remove from fridge and broil  for 7-9  minutes on each side, until the meat reaches 165.

Serve on a bun (link for tasty ones), Top as you wish and enjoy!

Per Patty LINK

Also fantastic with  swiss in place of the white cheddar!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Baked Banana Bread French Toast Casserole w/ Pecan Topping

I decided to go on a breakfast for dinner adventure! I wanted a pop in the oven  casserole type dish because it was Tae Kwon Do night so this is what I came up with! Whipped it up early AM and baked it in the evening.... Also a great overnight casserole to make in the evening for a delicious breakfast!

 2 loaves banana bread (You want around 18  slices)
3 ripe bananas
5 large eggs
1 cup half and half(use fat free to slim it down, or use all milk, wont be as creamy but still works)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 TB white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
Slice banana bread into 1/2 inch slices. Layer 1 loaf on the bottom,

Slice bananas and place over the bottom layer.

Overlap remaining slices over the bananas.

In a bowl gently beat together remaining ingredients.

Pour evenly over the layers making sure to get it down into the gaps.

Cover with foil and refrigerate at least 6 hours.

Pecan Topping:(optional but MIGHTY tasty!)
6 TB butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 TB REAL maple syrup (use honey if you dont have real syrup)
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Combine all in a small bowl.

Preheat oven to 350

Pull the casserole from the fridge,
Spread topping over the bread slices.
Cover loosely with foil

Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake 20 more until puffy and browned.
Top with more bananas and serve with maple syrup.

I made this for 9 servings 2 slices banana bread each
Per Serving(9)-using fat free milk
Using Regular 1/2 &1/2
With Pecans LINK
W/O Pecans  LINK
Using FF 1/2 & 1/2
With Pecans  LINK
W/O Pecans LINK
Using all Fat free milk:
With Pecans  LINK
W/O Pecans LINK

Monday, January 10, 2011


My own version of Slumgullion also called Goulash. There are SO many different variations I decided to strike out on my own.

12 oz dried macaroni(or fresh if you have the means;)
1.5 cups tomato sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup(homemade is BEST)
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 can diced tomatoes, drained(about 1.5 cup peeled/chopped/seeded fresh)
1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion , chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small bell pepper, chopped(what ever color you like!)
3 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Cook macaroni to al dente.

In a large bowl combine tomato sauce , mushroom soup, diced tomatoes oregano, salt and pepper.

In a large pan cook hamburger with onion, garlic, bell peppers and celery until the hamburger is no longer pink. Drain meat well.

Gently mix hamburger mixture and cooked pasta into the tomato sauce mixture. Mix GENTLY

Pour all into a lightly greased 9 x 13 casserole dish cover with foil(can be made to this point and refrigerated, remove from fridge 1 hour prior to baking )

Preheat oven to 350  and bake 30 minutes until bubbly, remove foil, top with parm cheese and bake 5 minutes more.

Nutrition Link  (Barilla Pasta and Canned Soup) 8 servings

With fresh lite wheat pasta and homemade condensed soup LINK

Valentine's Day All Courses Lavender Dinner

I made this for my husband last year and it was a big hit! I decided to share it well before Valentine's Day this year in case anyone would like to attempt it. There are a few things that need to be started 2-3 weeks prior(lavender sugar and lavender vinegar)

Make sure you use good culinary grade lavender or homegrown. Stuff you find in the flower shop is often treated.
You can use all one type of lavender or mix it up!

Lavender Steak:
2 nice steaks of your choice
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprkia
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lavender buds(preferably Melissa for its peppery bite)

2 tsp olive oil

1 TB butter
2 TB quality BBQ sauce
1 tsp lavender buds

Mix Rub ingredients and rub into steaks well.
In a cast iron skillet heat oil over medium high heat.
Add Steaks and cook 5-7 minutes per side(for medium)

Combine butter, sauce and lavender. Spread over the top of the steaks, cover and let rest for 5 minutes.

Lavender Roasted Red Potatoes:

1/2 lb red potatoes
1 tsp lavender buds(melissa is excellent for this dish as well)

1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lavender buds
2 tsp olive oil

Boil potatoes with 1 tsp lavender until barely fork tender, about 12-15 minutes
Drain and quarter the potatoes.
Mix remaining ingredients.
Oil a baking sheet wit 1 tsp of the oil
Toss seasonings  and remaining olive oil with potatoes and  bake in 400 degree oven until tender, about 20 minutes.

Lavender Vinegar Glazed Baby Carrots:
I found this recipe and LOVED it as is...I just cut it down to serve 2 and omitted the mint

1/2 lb baby carrots
1 TB butter
1/2 TB brown sugar
1/4 cup lavender vinegar(this needs to be made 2-3 weeks ahead of time, LINK)
2 TB vegetable or chicken stock
1 tsp dijon mustard

Melt butter in a large frying pan, add carrots and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle sugar and cook for 1 minute until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the lavender vinegar and stock, bring to a boil and stir in mustard. Cover the pan and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until the liquid has thickened.
Serve warm or chilled

Lavender Mojitos:
Per Drink:
5-6 mint leaves
2 oz lavender syrup*
1.5 oz captain morgan's lime bite rum(or white rum)
2 TB lime juice(about 1 small lime)
club soda
In a pint glass mash mint leaves with lavender syrup, add ice, add rum and lime juice, top with club soda and garnish with a lime.
* Lavender Syrup
1 cup fine granulated sugar
1/4 cup dried lavender (I use English for its mildly citrus flavor)
2 ounces rose water(optional)
Bring 1 cup water to a boil and add all ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Let cool and strain through a sieve. Syrup will keep in the refrigerator, tightly covered in a glass jar, about 2 weeks.

Lemon Lavender Sorbet:
I KNOW I had a photo of this somewhere. I will add it if/when I find it...

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup lavender sugar(make 2-3 weeks ahead)**
2 cups water
1 1/5 cups fresh lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
Combine sugars and water in a sauce pan, heat to boiling over medium- high  heat , reduce heat to low and simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
Cool completely.
 When cool combine with lemon juice and zest and proceed with your ice cream makers directions.
Freeze in air tight container for at least 2 hours, remove 15 minute before you want to eat it.
Top with lavender buds and zest
No ice cream maker?? Follow instructions HERE

**Lavender Sugar-
Combine 2 cups white sugar with 1/4 cup dried lavender buds in a jar. Cap tightly. Leave for at LEAST 2 weeks, shake daily or ever other day.( Jean Davis or English for the sweet fruity taste)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Copycat Baker's Breakfast Cookies

Delicious replica of the famous Baker's Breakfast Cookies.  Healthy on the go breakfast!!
All the variations have now been tested!!!
I have also started adding 1/4 cup ground flax to the mix for an extra nutritional boost!

This is the "basic" Oatmeal Raisin:

3/4 cup apple juice concentrate*
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/2 cup rolled oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour(preferably Eagle Mills w/ Ultragrain or you can use all whole wheat)
1 TB baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 TB prune puree(baby food aisle or make your own and freeze in ice cube trays)
3 TB canola oil
5 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chopped raisins
2-3 TB water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line
with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together the brown sugar,oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder,
salt and cinnamon.

In another bowl combine concentrate, molasses, prune puree, canola oil, egg whites and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid and raisins.

Mix until well blended.  Dough will be QUITE stiff!  You may need to use your hands and knead it like bread dough.(kitchenaids do a fantastic job of mixing the stiff dough!)
 For all recipes add in the water AS NEEDED, some recipes will need some water, others wont.

Scoop cookies by about 1/4 cup and roll into golf ball sized balls.  Place cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets

 Flatten to 1/2" with wet hands. These cookies do not
flatten very much while baking.

In the preheated oven, bake 8 minutes for chewy cookies 10 to 12 minutes for
dry cookies. Cookies will not get crisp.
( IMO 8-9 minutes is plenty. They are much better slightly UNDER baked.)

Remove from cookie sheets to cool on
wire racks.

All recipes make approx 24 cookies--nutrition link per cookie.

For Fruit and Nut: add in 1/4 cup chopped walnuts and 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots

For Peanut Butter: Omit raisins and cinnamon  , decrease prune puree to 4 TB, add in 3/4 cup peanut butter(preferably something natural/no sugars added, and chunky), water as needed

Nutrition LINK per cookie

For Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk : follow instructions for peanut butter, adding in 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Nutrition LINK per cookie

For Peanut Butter and Jelly: Follow instructions for Peanut Butter omitting 1 egg white and reduce apple juice concentrate to 1/2 cup , add in 1/4 cup jelly, jam or preserves of your choice(I used triple berry)

For Chocolate Chunk:  Omit raisins and cinnamon, add in 1 cup chocolate chips Nutrition LINK

For Chocolate Chunk Raisin:  omit cinnamon,add in 3/4 cup chocolate chips
Nutrition link

For Double Chocolate Chunk: Omit raisins and cinnamon , decrease all purpose flour by 1/4 cup add in 1/2 cup dutch cocoa powder and 1 cup chocolate chips
Per Cookie(LINK)

For Banana Walnut: Omit Raisins, omit 2 egg whites, decrease prune puree to 3 TB, decrease apple juice concentrate to 1/2 cup , add 1/2 cup banana puree,  1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For Morning Glory: Add 1/2 cup chopped dried apples, 1/4 cup coconut, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp cloves, Per Cookie LINK

For Mocha Cappuccino: Omit cinnamon, 2 TB prune puree and 1 egg white, add 2 TB dulce de leche** and 4-6 TB ground Esspresso(depending on your strength preference)
Nutrition(minus espresso, no #'s available, but I dont think it adds much if anything calorie wise) LINK

For Caramel Apple: Reduce prune puree to 3 TB, add 1/4 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup chopped dried apples, 1/3 cup chopped caramel candies(Kraft now makes caramel bits that are PERFECT, or you can use butterscotch chips), 2 TB dulce de leche **, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves and 1/2 tsp ginger

Per Cookie LINK

My own variations:

Blueberries and Cream:
Omit raisins, reduce prune puree to 3 TB and omit 1 egg white, add in 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1 1/2 cups dried blueberries

Chocolate Caramel Chunk:
This is tested but I did not get a picture. My camera was in the shop.
follow directions for double chocolate chunk, substituting Kraft Caramel Bits for the chocolate chips

Lemon Delight:
omit cinnamon and vanilla, , reduce egg whites to 2, reduce prune puree to 4 TB ,add in 1/4 cup lemon juice(fresh squeezed with pulp is best) 2 tsp lemon zest and 1 tsp lemon extract
Dough will be sticky

Lemon Chip Delight: follow directions for Lemon Delight adding in 1 to 1 1/2 cups white chips(depending on how "chipy" you want it LOL)

Pumpkin Pie: Omit prune puree, cinnamon and 2 egg whites. Add in 1/2 cup pumpkin puree and 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice. (with or without raisins per your preference)

Make them Vegan by omitting the egg whites and adding 1/4 cup banana puree

*Homemade Apple Juice Concentrate...boil down 2 1/4 cups apple juice(fresh squeezed or store bought) until it is 3/4 cup allow to cool.

** To make Dulce De Leche: pour 1 can sweetened condensed milk into a small sauce pan, heat over medium low , stirring CONSTANTLY until it is browned and thick enough to not fall off the spoon when held upside down.