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Who am I? Wife. Mother of 2. "Newbie" to fitness. Personal Trainer-in-training. Lover of health. Fitness. Religion. Family. Gluten and refined sugar intolerant. Welcome to my journey. Learn with me.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

I am not a big soup fan but I like soups that are chock full of ingredients. Hearty and thick and less liquidy. I am a big fan of taco soup and this recipe was a good change up from our normal. It wasn't drastically different but it had a good flaovr to it and it is a really easy way to use up leftoever turkey if you have some in a few weeks!

This recipe and picture are from Sweet Treats and More and can be found at this site here: http://www.sweettreatsmore.com/2010/11/i-hope-you-all-had-great-thanksgiving.html

Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup
From Sweet Treats and More, Adapted from 
Printer Friendly Version
2 c. chicken broth
1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
1/4 c. sour cream
1 (16oz) can diced tomato
1 (4 oz) can diced green chili
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken tenders (2 breasts OR abt 2 cups shredded turkey)
4  corn tortillas

Place everything but the tortillas in the crock pot, stir together, and cook on high for about 3 hours (or low for 6-8 hours). (I ALWAYS aim low!)

Shred corn tortillas into small squares and stir into soup 5-10 minutes before serving.  Garnish with cheese, avocado, and additional sour cream if desired.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fresh Strawberry and Lemon Mousse Trifle

I understand that strawberries are out of season. I understand I am probably being really cruel to post about this now that the season is over. But, in all fairness, I did make this when the season had ended anyways. Strawberries are not impossible to find quite yet so run out and get yourself some today so that you can make this dessert! Trust me, you WANT to make this dessert.

I am not a big fan of angel food cake. It just doesn't do it for me. So strawberry shortcake is a dessert that I can take or leave. But this? This dessert takes the concept of strawberry shortcake to a whole new level of awesome deliciousness that just cannot be ignored. This is one of my new favorite desserts. Seriously. The amount of lemon flavoring is just perfect and the danish dessert makes the shortcake the perfect amount of moist.

And trifles are gorgeous. This turned out so pretty that I felt like a professional chef. It broke my heart to scoop it out of the trifle dish and ruin the appearance but my woes were quickly forgotten when I took my first bite.

And in case you are wondering about my picture.... I forgot to mix the lemon zest into the mousse before putting it in the trifle dish. So instead I just sprinkled it on top.

This recipe is courtesy of Real Mom Kitchen and can be found at this site here: http://realmomkitchen.com/6475/fresh-strawberry-and-lemon-mousse-trifle/

Fresh Strawberry and Lemon Mousse Trifle
From Real Mom Kitchen

·         1 (4 3/4 oz) pkg. Strawberry Danish dessert (found by the gelatin)**
·         2 1/2 cup cold water
·         1 lb. fresh strawberries, sliced
·         1 1/2 cups whipping cream
·         1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
·         1 (3.4 oz) instant lemon pudding
·         zest of 1 lemon
·         1 (14 oz) angel food cake, cut into about 1 inch cubes
·         extra strawberries for garnish (optional)

1.      In a large microwave safe bowl, whisk together the danish dessert and cold water.  Cover the bowl with a piece of waxed paper and microwave for 6 minutes, stirring every two minutes.

2.      Remove from the microwave and allow danish dessert to cool for 1 hour.

3.      In a large bowl, whip the whipping cream and milk until soft peaks form.  Add the dry pudding to the cream mixture and  beat until stiff peaks form.  Then fold in the lemon zest.

4.      Once the danish dessert has cooled for the 1 hour fold in the fresh strawberry slices.  It will look like a strawberry sauce.

5.      In a trifle bowl or large glass bowl, layer 1/2 of the cake cubes followed with 1/2 of the strawberry sauce and the 1/2 of the lemon mousse.  Repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients.  You can pipe on the last layer of lemon mousse to make it decorative.  Chill for at least 3-4 hours before serving. Serves 10-12.

** Strawberry Pie Glaze may be substituted.  The danish dessert does have a more gelatin-like consistency after refrigeration, but strawberry pie glaze will work just as good.

This recipe is a Real Mom Kitchen original!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mediterranean Feta Egg Scramble

I love all kinds of breakfast foods and I am always excited to find a new and delicious breakfast recipe that is easy to throw together. This meal absolutely didn't disappoint. The feta cheese adds a savory saltiness to the eggs that is so good. The first time we made this meal I didn't have the roasted red peppers and they were still very good. But trust me, they are even better with the peppers. And you don't have to roast them yourself. You can purchase a jar of them next to all of the other peppers in your local grocery store.

Also, the first time we had this we wrapped the egg mix in warm flour tortillas and it was delicious. The second time I made this I put it on an open faced piece of Double Fiber & Honey toast and it was fabulous. I am sure wrapping it in crepes would be delicious as well.

This wonderful recipe and picture are courtesy of Our Best Bites and can be found at this site here: http://www.ourbestbites.com/2010/07/quick-fix-mediterranean-feta-egg-scramble-wraps-optional/

Mediterranean Feta Egg Scramble {Breakfast Wraps Optional}
Recipe by Our Best Bites

Printer Friendly Version

6 eggs
1/4 c. light sour cream
1/4 tsp. kosher salt (I just used regular)
A few cracks of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dry basil
1/2 tsp. dry oregano
3/4 c. crumbled feta cheese, plus more for topping (optional)
2 Tbsp. diced roasted red peppers
2 Tbsp. minced green onions
Crepes or warm flour tortillas (optional)

Preheat a skillet over medium heat.

Whisk the eggs, sour cream, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and garlic powder together. Gently add in the crumbled feta cheese. When the skillet is hot, add 1 tsp. butter and then add the eggs and allow them to begin to set up and then scrape the bottom of the pan to allow the liquid parts to cook. Stir in the roasted red peppers and green onions. Cook eggs until the desired doneness is reached. Serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle with a little extra feta cheese and wrap the scrambled eggs in a crepes or warm flour tortillas.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Roasted Vegetable & Ham Pizza Roll

OH.MY.YUMMMM!!!!!!! I love love love love love this meal. We have already had this meal again since I originally made it even though it is definitely more labor intensive. But it is divine and well worth every effort. Roasted broccoli is one of my favorite things in the world and pairing it with roasted red peppers is inspirational. I wish I had step-by-step pictures for you of this one because the description can be a bit confusing but bear with me, I will explain as best as I can and if you have questions you can feel free to ask!

Oh, and don't think you have to do broccoli and red peppers. You can do whatever veggies you want on the inside of this thing. And if you want to make it meatless just add an additonal veggie and get rid of the ham.

The original inspiration for this recipe came from Mindika Moments but it has been largely adapted. If you would like to see the original post you can find it at this site here: http://www.mindikamoments.com/2009/10/ive-been-experimenting.html

Roasted vegetable & Ham pizza ROLL
Largely Adapted from Mindika Moments Veggie Bread Roll

1 recipe for pizza dough (Jay's Signature Pizza Crust is the best)
4 oz. cream cheese (I used fat free), at room temperature
¼ C. sour cream (I used fat free)
1 t. dry ranch dressing mix powder
1 head of broccoli, trimmed to small pieces with stems mostly cut off
1 red pepper, cut into small slices
1 lb. deli honey ham slices
¼ - ½ C. grated Parmesan
 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

¼ tsp. EACH salt & pepper
1 egg white

Sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Make up pizza dough to the first rising. Towards the end of your dough rising, prepare your veggies and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes. You want them to start turning dark but not to burn.
3. When pizza dough is finished rising, roll out according to recipe directions. (Mine says to deflate, roll into a tight ball, let it sit for a minute and THEN roll it out.) Spray counter with nonstick cooking spray and roll dough out to approximately 16” wide by 17” long. (This will make it the same size as a cookie sheet length wise but make it longer than the cookie sheet on the top and bottom.) Transfer to a baking sheet. The dough SHOULD hang over the sides a bit on the top and bottom. (You may need someone to help you with the transfer.)
4. Cover the dough lightly with a large cloth and let it rise for 15-20 minutes.
5. Turn up the oven to 425 degrees. (Or whatever temperature your pizza dough is supposed to bake at.)
5. While dough is rising, mix together cream cheese, sour cream and dry ranch mix in a small bowl. When the dough has finished rising, spread cream cheese mixture evenly through the middle leaving about 3 – 4 inches on each side. Top with ham slices and the roasted veggies.
6. Make small cuts in each side of the dough about 1 ½ - 2 inches wide all along the width of the pan. (This is really easy to do with normal scissors, just make sure they are clean.) Criss-cross the strips of dough over the ham and veggies, being careful not to tear your strips. It is almost like you are "braiding" the dough over the inside ingredients.
7. Beat 1 egg white in a small bowl just slightly. Brush egg white over the top of your braided pizza roll. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and parmesan cheese.
8. Bake roll in oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the crust and parmesan cheese are golden brown.
9. Serve dipped in additional ranch dressing, if you desire. (I didn’t, my husband did. J)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chicken and Vegetable Dumpling Soup

I will use the term "soup" very lightly in this recipe because this delicious and hearty meal turns out much closer to a stew. It is thick and packed with various vegetables and flavor. I have never had chicken and vegetable dumpling soup before now but it sure was delicious.

My biggest complaint about this particular recipe is the sodium content. It turned out WAY too salty for my tastes. I would strongly recommend only using low sodium based chicken broth or cutting out some of the added salt altogether. I will definitely do so next time.

And don't be freaked out by the long ingredient list. These are basic ingredients, nothing weird or hard to find, and it comes together surprisingly quick. Plus, it makes a LOT. I think it could easily serve more than 6.

This lovely soup that is perfect for fall and the picture are courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe and can be found at this site here: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2010/02/chicken-and-vegetable-dumpling-soup.html

From My Kitchen Café
*Serves 6

Chicken and Broth:
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
2-3 chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large carrots (6-7 baby carrots), chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme or sage
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

In a large pot, boil the chicken broth, water and chicken breasts until the chicken is cooked through and tender (about 15 minutes). Remove the chicken from the pot, reserving the broth in the pot, and shred the chicken with two forks. Set the chicken aside and keep the broth warm on the stove.

While the chicken is boiling, in a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the celery, carrots and onions. Saute for about 6-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the vegetables to the hot broth in the pot after the chicken has been removed. Add salt, thyme and pepper to the vegetable/broth mixture and stir to combine. Heat the soup to a simmer.

In a small bowl, blend ½ cup cold water and 1/4 cup flour with a wire whisk until smooth. Whisking vigorously, slowly add the flour mixture into the hot vegetables and broth and whisk until well combined. Add ½ cup frozen peas and the reserved chicken and cook, stirring gently for one minute.

For the dumplings, in a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, milk and oil. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined (don't overmix, it is ok if there are a few dry spots of flour here and there).

Heat the soup to boiling and drop teaspoonful amounts (the dumplings should be fairly small, they'll expand while cooking) of dumpling dough into the boiling soup, covering the entire surface of the soup (don't make more than one layer of dumplings). Reduce the heat to simmering, cover and let the dumplings cook for 15 minutes. Do not lift the lid of the pot while the dumplings cook.

When the dumplings have cooked fully, remove the lid and gently stir the dumplings to break them apart. Serve.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos Verde

Slow Cooker meals are really a must in this day and age of rush and go. This dish was really easy to put together. I was a little disappointed though because there was so much beautiful and delicious looking sauce in the crockpot and you only utilize it in a very small portion. And then the chicken ended up tasting far less flavorful than I was expecting. It was good, but not amazing. If you are looking for a solid slow cooker recipe than this is a good one but I wouldn't use it to plan on "wow-ing" guests.

The picture and recipe are courtesy of Real Mom Kitchen and can be found at this site here: http://realmomkitchen.com/6924/slow-cooker-chicken-tacos-verde/

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos Verde
From Real Mom Kitchen

  • 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar of salsa verde
  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • shredded cheese
  • guacamole
  • pico de gallo or fresh salsa
  • tortilla shells
  1. Place chicken in the bowl of a slow cooker. Top chicken with the diced green chiles, cumin, onion and garlic. The pour the salsa over the chicken.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Remove chicken from pot and shred.  Mix in enough of the juice leftover in the slow cooker to make the meat moist.
  4. Spoon chicken into tortillas and top with shredded cheese, guacamole and pico de gallo.
Recipe adapted from No Fuss Fabulous

Monday, October 17, 2011

Jay's Signature Pizza Crust

I posted a while ago about Breadsticks and pizza dough recipe that I got from Our Best Bites that was pretty good. I have to say though, this recipe is much better. It is very tasty and bakes up beautifully. And my favorite part is that it doesn't taste so yeasty. It is so easy to make and makes 1 GIANT pizza crust. If you are interested in only 1 good sized pizza I would cut this recipe in half.

The picture is of a Roasted Vegetable & Ham Pizza Roll I made with this crust recipe. I will post about that recipe in a few days. :-)

The recipe is courtesy of Allrecipes.com and can be found at this site here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/jays-signature-pizza-crust/detail.aspx

From Allrecipes.com

·         2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
·         1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
·         1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         2 tablespoons olive oil (I usually use half oil, half applesauce)
·         3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1.      In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.
2.      Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
3.      Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Use for your favorite pizza recipe.
4.      Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone, you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.
5.      Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


If you want one of the easiest side dishes in the entire world, especially good to pair with soup, this is it. All you need is some of these:

Source: here
One of these:

Source: here
And one of these:

Source: here

All you do is roll out the biscuits as thin as you can get them. Place on the griddle and heat for 30 seconds on each side. They really go fast so watch carefully. The biscuits will fluff as they cook so don't worry about rolling them really thin. You can top them with cheese, honey butter, or just serve on the side of soup. It really is that easy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Grilled Corn on the Cob

I need to hurry and get this recipe in while we still have a few days in the 70s. Grilled corn on the cob is one of my favorite things in the world. It tastes so much different than boiled corn on the cob that it is worth the additional effort. And it really is so very easy.

All you have to do is:

1) Husk your corn and remove all the little strings.
2) Place corn in the sink and let soak under water for at least 30 minutes.
3) Season as desired. You can rub it down with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper or get really fancy and use parsley and parmesan. Just use whatever sounds good.
4) Wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil or double wrap in normal foil.
5) Place on the top rack of a preheated barbecue grill. This is great because you can still cook your meats and everything on the bottom rack of the grill while your corn sits happily on top, cooking away!
6) Cook for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.
7) Carefully unwrap as the corn will be hot and you don't want a face full of steam!

Picture is courtesy of this site here: http://s3.hubimg.com/u/2242926_f520.jpg

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ricotta Gnocchi

Pronunciations sounds like: NYAH-key
Official pronunciation: nókee
Plural Noun
Definition: Italian dumplings: in Italian cooking, dumplings made of potato, semolina, or flour, usually boiled and served with soup or a sauce.
Source: http://www.bing.com/Dictionary/search?q=define+gnocchi&qpvt=define%3a+gnocchi&FORM=DTPDIA

I have never had gnocchi before I made this dish and, honestly, I didn't even look up what it was exactly. But it sounded really good and the picture looked tasty so I thought, "Let's try it!"

I really enjoyed this dish. It is definitely different and you may be surprised by the texture. My husband was a bit turned off by the fact that the dumplings are really soft and he felt like he was eating raw dough... I thought of them as really fat noodles and it didn't bother me. The taste was really great - rich and flavorful. We will be repeating this recipe again. 

The recipe below is my adapted recipe. If you want to view the original recipe you may do so at this site here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/ricotta-gnocchi/detail.aspx. The picture is located here: http://wynolapizzaexpress.com/Recipes/ricotta_gnocchi.jpg

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

  • 1 (8 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½  teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (I used half oil, half applesauce)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 dash crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 – ½ shredded mozzarella cheese

  1. Stir together the ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan Cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl until evenly combined. Mix in 1 cup of flour. Add additional flour if needed to form a soft dough. (Dough should be just a little sticky.)
  2. Divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces, and roll into 1/2-inch-thick ropes on a floured surface. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces, and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. Heat olive oil (and applesauce if you use it) in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, and cook until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in diced tomatoes and red pepper flakes; bring to a low boil over medium-high heat, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in basil and balsamic vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. (I didn’t add any extra pepper.)
  4. While sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Drop the gnocchi in the pot, being careful to not splash the hot water on yourself. Once you have all the gnocchi in, stir gently one time. Boil the gnocchi until they float to the surface, 1 to 2 minutes, then drain.
  5. To assemble the dish, stir the mozzarella cheese into the sauce and allow the heat of the sauce to soften, but try to not melt the cheese. Place gnocchi into a serving bowl, and spoon sauce over the top. We also like to stir the gnocchi with the sauce in a large bowl to get a more even sauce distribution.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuscan Chicken Simmer

Okay, take a minute to look at this recipe. Six ingredients, three directions... are there any questions? Is it good? OHHHHH YES!!!! And this is coming from the girl that doesn't like tomatoes.... This recipe was so easy and delicious. We especially loved the sauce. We will be repeating this in our house!

I made a few minor changes to our dish. After cooking the tomatoes I took a fork and popped each of them. I then flattened them out and stirred them around. This gave the sauce a distinct red tint and tomato flavor while the tomato skins became more like sun-dried tomatoes. My mom made this dish as well and absolutely loved how the tomatoes popped when she put a bite into her mouth. Whatever your preference may be you can't really go wrong.

I also cooked the chicken as indicated but then I cut it into bit sized pieces for better distribution.

The recipe and picture are courtesy of Kraft Recipes and can be found at this site here: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/tuscan-chicken-simmer-111677.aspx

From Kraft Recipes

4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup pesto
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
1 cup KRAFT Finely Shredded Italian Five Cheese Blend

HEAT large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cover. Cook 5 to 7 min. on each side or until done (165ºF). Remove chicken from skillet; cover to keep warm.

ADD cream cheese, water, pesto and tomatoes to skillet. Cook, uncovered, on medium heat 2 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

RETURN chicken to skillet. Cook and stir 1 min. or until chicken is coated and heated through. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Serve over pasta or with pasta on the side.