Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls

The past few days I've been craving chocolate chip cookies but I wanted to try a healthier recipe. I found a recipe online from Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious (a cookbook that I would LOVE someday.) Anyway, I made a few changes to the original and TA-DA:
Warm, tasty, healthy-ish chocolate chip cookies. We call them cookie balls at our house because they are more dome-shaped than a traditional cookie. The secret ingredient...wait for it...
chickpeas! I'm not even kidding. They actually have a very delicious flavor in these cookies. And keep in mind they are cookies so they still have butter and sugar, but they're not just empty calories because they actually have some nutrition in them. Good deal!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained
1 c. brown sugar
1 stick butter
2 egg whites*
1 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt (optional)
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. oats
2 c. chocolate chips**
*You could use 1 whole egg, or 4 T. liquid egg whites
**Use 2 c. of whatever you want: nuts, dried fruit, m&m's, PB chips, (you get the idea...)
In a large mixing bowl, mash chickpeas.
Add brown sugar, butter, egg whites, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Continue mashing.
Add flour and oats and mix.
Fold in chocolate chips until well distributed.
Scoop cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet with a cookie scoop and bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes. Watch carefully (it's better to undercook these cookies than to overbake.)
These cookies really hit the spot! And with higher protein and fiber than regular cookies (thanks to the chickpeas and whole wheat flour) I don't feel quite as guilty eating them or giving them to my kids. I might try adding some cocoa next time for Double Chocolate Cookie Balls. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Potato Boats

If you never had potato boats as a kid, you've been deprived! This recipe makes a fun meal that even adults will enjoy. There are several variations of this recipe and many different ingredients you could add, but I kept it pretty basic this time.

Potato Boats
6-8 all beef hot dogs
5-6 medium potatoes (baked)
2 T. butter
scant 3/4 c. milk
1-2 c. grated cheese
salt & pepper

If you don't have baked potatoes already, here is a quick way to "bake" them: scrub them and place them in a plastic grocery bag. Fold over the top and microwave for 5-10 minutes. Check for doneness with a fork and cook more as needed.

Cut cooked potatoes in large chunks and put in bowl. Add butter and milk and mash until sufficiently smashed (at this point you could add minced garlic, rosemary, green onions, crumbled bacon...whatever you want to make them original!) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Warm hot dogs in a skillet just until heated through.
Place warm hot dogs on a cookie sheet and split lengthwise.
Scoop some mashed potatoes on each hot dog.
Then top with grated cheese.Heat under a low broiler until cheese is melty.
These are the hot dogs that I've been buying lately. They are SO good. Oscar Mayer makes an incredible beef hot dog. If you're not a fan of this brand, shop around til you find one you like.
Anyway, I hope this recipe takes you back to when you were a kid. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

PB Banana Goodness

My whole little family loves peanut butter but it gets a little boring to eat the same thing everyday. So if you're tired with the plain old PB&J, try mixing it up and add some different ingredients to your sandwich. Here are some that I tried:
Peanut Banana Avodaco:
Whole wheat bread, peanut butter, sliced banana, mashed avocado.
(Inspired by H.E.A.B.)

I found this peanut butter at Target and I gotta tell you, it's DELICIOUS!!! I used it for...
Cinnamon Banana:
Toasted whole wheat bread, cinnamon raisin swirl peanut butter, sliced banana. Yum!

And finally, my lunch today was an idea I got from my Rachael Ray cookbook:
Extreme PB Sandwich
Toasted whole wheat bread, crunchy peanut butter, sliced banana, 2 slices turkey bacon, drizzle honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Now, if you're thinking, "Ew, gross!" I understand because I thought that, too...at first! But just try it. The salty bacon and peanut butter mixed with sweetness is surprisingly delightful. I am definitely going to experiment more with my favorite legume and I hope you will, too. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Super Salad

During the summer I often eat salad for lunch. Salads are a nice cool meal in the hot summer and they are packed full of veggies. Honestly, I don't always eat them because they sound good, I eat them so I don't feel guilty the rest of the day... :) I know, I'm weird but oh well. But if you're a salad person (or even if you're not) you can make a darn tasty salad with a variety of ingredients. Here are some typical salads that I eat:Garden Salad: spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, avocados, and grated romano cheese (topped with dressing of choice.)

Mushroom Salad: spinach, tomatoes, portobello steak, shaved parmesan cheese, grapeseed oil, salt.

Herb Salad: spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, avocados, mozzarella cheese, cilantro (topped with dressing of choice.)

Dilly Salmon Salad: spinach, tomatoes, celery, grapes, dried minced onion, canned salmon mixed with dried dill, tamari (or soy sauce) and a little oil.

I do love a good salad (when I'm in the mood for one.) And even if you don't think you like traditional salad, try mixing it up a little and use ingredients that YOU like. You might surprise yourself at what you come up with. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shredded Beef Tacos

My mom will laugh when she sees this post because I always complained when she made tacos when I was young. Sorry for giving you a hard time, mom! :) These tacos are made from my leftover shredded roast beef and they are quick, easy and pretty tasty.

Shredded Beef Tacos
2-3 c. leftover shredded roast beef
1-2 t. cornstarch
1/2 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. dried minced onion
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. dry cilantro
1/4 t. cumin
6 taco shells
shredded cheese
sliced avocado
chopped tomatoes

Heat roast beef in a skillet over medium heat. Add cornstarch and stir until thickened. Add coriander, onion, garlic, cilantro and cumin. Mix and heat thoroughly. Meanwhile heat taco shells according to package. To serve, place some meat in taco shell and top with cheese, avocado and tomatoes.

You could top your tacos with anything you want. Sour cream, guacamole, salsa, whatever sounds good to you. Enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Juicy Shredded Beef

Roast beef is one of my favorite comfort foods. It reminds me of coming home from church on Sundays to the smell of yummy food. This recipe is so simple and so good. I enjoyed this shredded roast beef on a nice crusty roll with butter and horseradish.
Juicy Shredded Beef
1 beef roast (about 4 lbs.)
1 can beef broth (condensed)
1 can french onion soup (condensed)

Place the roast in the crockpot and cover with both cans of soup. No need to add any water. Cover, and cook on low for about 6-8 hours. This is the soup I used: When roast is done, remove from juices and shred with two forks: Then return shredded meat to crockpot and mix with the hot juices: I served mine as sandwiches and used the juice as au jus. You could also serve the meat as the main course with mashed potatoes and veggies. I highly recommend this super easy roast beef recipe. In fact, I think we'll have it for dinner tonight. Enjoy!

Friday, August 13, 2010


I've never been a big fan of store-bought hummus. I've tried different flavors and brands and they just don't taste right to me. So I made my own a few days ago and I loved it! It's much cheaper and you can make any flavor you like.
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. tahini (I used roasted and salted)
garlic powder
1/4 c. water

In a food processor, combine all ingredients and process until smooth. Add more water if needed. Store in the fridge.

Hummus is great as a dip or in place of mayo in things like deviled eggs or on sandwiches. Experiment and enjoy!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Banana Pancakes

I keep leaving my bananas on the counter until they are over-ripe...oops! But lucky for me there are lots of recipes that use said bananas. So instead of making my banana bread again, this time it was banana pancakes. I enjoyed them with peanut butter and cinnamon. So tasty.
Banana Pancakes
4 mashed bananas (very ripe)
2 T. oil
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. milk
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 c. whole wheat flour

Combine banana, oil, sugar and egg. Mix well. Stir in buttermilk, milk, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mixture will get a little foamy. Lastly, stir in flour and mix until smooth. (Add more milk if needed.) For large pancakes, pour 1/3 c. batter into a hot, well-greased pan and let cook a few minutes:
Then flip and brown on the other side.
For me, they were a little difficult to flip so I would recommend greasing the pan between pancakes. They were so delicious and we ate them for dinner the first day and breakfast the next day. Enjoy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pork: 2 Ways

Pork has got to be my favorite meat! This first recipe is so simple and it's perfect for a Sunday dinner or when you have company. The slow cooker does all the work and you end up with a complete meal. Yum!
Basic Pork Roast
1 pork roast, or boneless ribs (I use around 3-5 lb.)
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
3 c. baby carrots
salt & pepper
garlic powder
Place pork roast in a slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and garlic powder. Top with onions and carrots. Cover and cook on LOW for about 6 hours.
Now, if you don't eat the yummy roast in one night, save your leftovers to make Sweet BBQ Pork Sandwiches the next night.
Sweet BBQ Pork Sandwiches
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1/2 onion, finely minced
1 T. butter
3 T. molasses
3 T. brown sugar
2 T. prepared Dijon mustard
1 T. liquid smoke
1 T. worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. pepper
1/8 t. chipotle chile powder (if you want some heat)
leftover pork roast and veggies
4-6 slices bread
8-12 slices cheese

To make chunky bbq sauce, melt butter in a saucepan and add minced onion. Cook over medium heat until onion is translucent and tender.
Then add tomatoes, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, liquid smoke, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, pepper and chipotle powder. Mix well and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.Meanwhile, chop leftover pork roast, onion, and carrots. Heat over medium heat in a large skillet.
Once browned, add about half of the warm bbq sauce and mix together.
Melt 2 slices of cheese on each slice of bread.
Top each cheesy bread with bbq pork and dig in!
Save the rest of the bbq sauce in the fridge. It's very tasty on other meats as well. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Homemade "Spaghetti-O's"

Is it weird that I like those stupid canned pasta products? Maybe they just remind me of when I was a kid, I don't know. I'm always tempted to buy them because they are such a convenient lunch for kids, but then I look at the ingredient list...yikes! So I made my own and it couldn't be easier. I know, they're not "O's" but they still taste really good and I'm not afraid of the ingredients! :)
I'm sure any small pasta would work, but I used this:
Homemade "Spaghetti-O's"
1 c. dry acini di pepe
1-2 c. shredded cheese
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
3 oz. (1/2 can) tomato paste
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced carrots
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Combine hot pasta and cheese in a bowl and stir until cheese melts:
Add tomato sauce, paste, and carrots and stir until well combined:
And ta-da! You've got yourself some homemade, kid-friendly pasta.
Next time, I may try using whole wheat shell pasta if I can find it. I may also try different veggies. Experiment and have fun with it. Enjoy!