Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Healthy Macaroni & Cheese

This was very good.  I didn't use low-fat cheese, so it wasn't quite as healthy as it could have been, but we got our veggies with our cheese, at least. I think I made it exactly as the recipe, but didn't use the bread crumbs.

Give this No-Bake Macaroni & Cheese a try!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Crochet Scarf

I had the urge to do something with yarn, which is common for me in the winter. I searched the internet for simple crochet patterns and found this Scalloped Cowl on the Lion Brand Yarn website. It was fairly simple and I like the way it turned out. I don't like long scarves under my coat because the tails hang down and make me look fat. I think this cowl will keep me warm and eliminate the bulk of a long scarf.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spinach-Black Bean Lasagna

Ok, this was kind of a weird dish, but I really liked it. Hubby said it was "OK," which is kind of high praise for him for vegetarian stuff.  There are a few mistakes in the recipe, so I'll tell you about those.

This is a recipe from, called Spinach-Black Bean Lasagna.  First of all, a big jar of pasta sauce is about 1 lb 13 oz., not 2 lbs. 13 oz. I do think the pasta was a little dry, so a small can of tomato sauce might be good to add.

Secondly, the instructions are a little bit off. In the paragraph about the layers, the last layer says "bean mixture" twice. I just did a third layer just like the first two, and ended with the spinach layer.  It might be better to end with the bean layer, but it didn't seem to make much difference. One of those "bean mixtures" should be "spinach mixture."

I think the pepper-jack cheese is critical. The finished product isn't too spicy, but it has a little zing. You should give this one a try. I hope you like it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cream of Mushroom Potato Soup

Another recipe invention.  Really not feeling well, and wanted some cream soup. I had this entire package of mushrooms that I need to use, or they were going to spoil.  I thought I'd make cream of mushroom soup, but I decided to make it a bit more hearty and add potatoes.  Also had some swiss cheese for a while, so I thought that would be a nice addition.  Here's what I did:

Cube two large potatoes (or three smaller ones) and boil them until tender (about 10 minutes.)

Chop up 16 oz of mushrooms and saute in 3 Tbsp of butter, along with 1/2 onion chopped very fine.  After the onion and mushrooms are tender, add 2 cloves of garlic finely minced, and saute for another minute.

In a separate soup pan make a white sauce:

Melt 3 Tbsp butter, add 3Tbsp. flour and cook for a minute.
Add 6 cups of skim milk, salt and pepper, and cook until bubbly.

Add 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 cup of shredded swiss cheese. I added about a cup of vegetable stock, to make it a little thinner.

When all is melted and thickened, stir in the potatoes and mushroom/onion mixture.  Add 1/2 cup of chopped parsley.

This one was a big hit!  Hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Black Bean Soup

Made a delicious black bean soup last night so I thought I'd share it with you. Here's the changes I made to the recipe:

I didn't use 10 slices of bacon. I started out with a couple tablespooons of oil in the pan.

I used vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth, and I used about a cup more than called for.

I used a can of fire-roasted tomatoes. I really like these and use them a lot.
I added a 4-oz can of chopped green chilis and about two tablespoons of sugar.
I also added about a tablespoon of real bacon pieces (used in salad) and about a tsp. of liquid smoke.
I didn't use the cilantro. I like cilantro, but didn't have any.  And, I don't think I'd use the whole bunch like the recipe says! That seems like a lot.
I forgot the lime juice. I don't think it made much difference.
I used the cheddar cheese for garnish, but not the sour cream or onions.

This was a great alternative to regular chili, and you should try it!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Four Cheese Baked Penne

I tried a new pasta recipe tonight, and it was a success.  Creamy and delicious, and low fat too!  Here's the recipe from Food Network. The only thing I did differently was use rotini instead of penne, and I didn't put in the rosemary, because it's not one of my favorite spices.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Eve Recipes

We always have a few friends and family over for New Year's Eve, and I like to make a selection of appetizers.  Here's some of the recipes I used this year:

Monster Mash, a Paula Deen recipe from Food Network:

Shore is Good Seafood Dip, also from Paula Deen:

A recipe from an appetizer cookbook for Roasted Red Pepper Dip:

This one is so easy, and tasty! You just stir together 16 oz. of sour cream, one envelope of onion soup mix, and a jar of roasted red peppers, chopped.

Roasted Garlic Hummus, also from the cookbook:

For this one you have to roast an entire head of garlic in the oven. Here's how. Then mix:

2 Tbsp. roasted garlic
1 can chick-peas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/4 c. fresh parsley
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp curry powder
a few drops of sesame oil
dash hot pepper sauce

I mixed this in a food processor, and drizzled in some olive oil, until it was the creamy consistency I wanted.

I also made an Easy Italian No-Bake Snack Mix, that I didn't take a picture of.

Mix 3 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning in a large zipper bag.  Add:

4 cups small pretzels
1 can (12 oz.) cocktail peanuts
7 oz. cheese crackers (cheeze-its)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated.

Throw it all in the bag and mix it up.

Hope you can try some of these recipes.  I was really happy with all of them!