Thursday, September 30, 2010

Go make this NOW.

Best meal I've made in a while. Hands down.

Lamb Tagine (from Cooking Light)


1 (1-lb.) boneless leg of lamb roast, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 t. salt, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground red pepper
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 T. honey
1 T. tomato paste
1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, low sodium beef broth


1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle lamb evenly with 1/2 t. salt. Add lamb to pan; saute 4 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove from pan. Add remaining 1/4 t. salt, cumin, and next 3 ingredients (through garlic); saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in honey and tomato paste; cook 30 seconds; stirring frequently. Return lamb to pan. Add apricots and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until lamb is tender, stirring occasionally.

Yield: 3-4 servings

Calories: 395
Fat: 17.8 g.
Protein: 28.3 g.

*I served this over garlic and olive oil whole wheat cous cous and with a side of broccolini. Oh, and don't be scared to cook with lamb...this was my first time and it was easy as cooking w/chicken!

I made this meal for my parents last night at their home and for dessert we had:

Pumpkin Whole Wheat Bread Pudding (another...GO MAKE THIS NOW!). This is a healthy bread pudding and super duper YUMMY.


1.5 C skim milk
3/4 C canned pureed sweet potato (pumpkin would also work)
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
5 slices 100% whole wheat Nature’s Pride bread, toasted and cubed


Preheat oven to 350.

1) Whisk all ingredients except the bread together in a large bowl.

2) Toast the 5 slices of bread. This will make it hold it’s shape when it bakes.

3) Cut the toasted bread into cubes and add into a deep pan. Pour the sweet potato liquid mixture evenly on top of the bread.

4) Pop the pan into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Your kitchen will shortly smell amazing.

Perfect ending to a perfect dinner! :) Sorry for no pictures, we were at the parents house without the camera...oops.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Brown Sugar Muffins

Stupid easy to make and delicious...especially with a dab of apple butter!


1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk (I used skim)
1 t. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1/3 t. salt
1 large apple, chopped (recipe didn't call for this, but I added it and was perfect!)


1. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare 16 muffin tins (I sprayed them w/cooking spray to make sure they didn't stick).
2. Combine all ingredients and mix. Divide among the prepared muffin tins and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center come out clean.

Cider-Glazed Chicken w/Browned Butter-Pecan Rice

Weather is starting to get a little cooler, pumpkin smells are around, jean and sweatshirt wearing has arrived, halloween/fall decorations are out, apple cider is being made, and warm, home-cooked meals are smelling up homes.

I tried this recipe last week and it was a hit. From Cooking Light...enjoy!


1 (3.5 ounce) bag boil-in-bag brown rice (such as Uncle Ben's)...I used my rice cooker (couldn't live w/out that thing!)
2 T. butter, divided
1 lb. chicken breast cutlets (about 4 cutlets)
3/4 t. salt, divided
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. refrigerated apple cider
1 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. chopped pecans
2 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Cook rice according to package directions in a small saucepan, omiting salt and fat, drain.
2. While rice cooks, melt 1 t. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 t. salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan. Add cider and mustard to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2-3 minutes or until syrupy. Add chicken to pan, turning to coat. Remove from heat; set aside.
3. Melt remaining 5 t. butter in saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for 2 minutes or until browned and fragrant. Lower heat to medium; add pecans, and cook for 1 minute or until toasted, stirring frequently (careful not to burn). Add rice and the remaining 1/2 t. salt; toss well to coat. Serve rice w/chicken. Sprinkle w/parsley.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cutlet and about 1/2 cup rice)

Calories: 333
Fat: 13 g.
Protein: 29.1 g.
Carb: 24.2 g.
Fiber: 1.9 g.
Chol: 81 mg.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ham Sandwiches and Baked Barbeque Onion Rings

What was for dinner at the Hoffman's Tuesday night? Ham Sandwiches "grilled" on the stove, baked barbeque onion rings (amazing.) and sliced apple. I came across this recipe for the onion rings and just had to give them a try. But, pair them with what? I thought...hamburgers, nah...hotdogs, nah...ooooh, grilled ham sandwiches on delicious bread we had! They turned out fabulous. I lightly buttered the bread on one side, then put low-fat mayo, mustard, ham, and cheese (on Daniel's). I placed them on the burner on medium, then let them get warm and toasted. They were perfect! Along with this were the onion rings. They seriously tasted like fried onion rings...but...they're baked...woohoo! They were so so so so good...we couldn't get over that they were not fried! Give them a try:


1 cup barbecue sauce (your preference- I used Sweet Baby Rays)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups panko bread crumbs
2 medium to large sweet onions, sliced into 1/2-inch rings

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place two baking sheets in the oven and let those preheat too.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, eggs and flour.
3. Place bread crumbs in a separate bowl.
4. Using tongs (or your fingers) dip onion slice in the barbecue sauce mixture, shake the excess off and then dunk on all sides into the bread crumbs. Lay on a cool baking sheet. Repeat until all onion slices have been dunked.
5. Remove hot baking sheets from the oven and spray lightly with cooking spray. Move coated onions to hot baking sheets. Spray the coated onions lightly with cooking spray.
6. Bake for about 6 minutes, or until golden, then use tongs to turn each onion ring over. Spray the other side of the onions with cooking spray and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Watch closely to make sure they crumbs are not browning too quickly or burning.
7. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
Serves. 4 to 6

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Crab Chowder

Simple. Delicious. Quick meal! :) Enjoy!

Crab Chowder

Servings: 6 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes


• 1 lb jumbo lump crabmeat
• 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
• 1/4 cup(s) celery, chopped
• 1/4 cup(s) butter, with salt
• 4 tbsp flour
• 1 cup(s) chicken broth, low sodium
• 1 quart(s) fat-free half n half
• 1/2 cup(s) sherry wine
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp pepper
• 1 tbsp old bay seasoning

1. Saute onion and celery in butter in a large saucepan until soft (about 8 - 10 min.). Add flour. Stir until smooth. Cook 1 minute.

2. Add broth and cook until thick and bubbly (about 1 minute). Add remaining ingredients. Add more Old Bay and sherry to taste. Cook until heated through (try to avoid boiling).

Suggested Side: Bread and salad complete this rich and filling soup.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Spinach and Bacon Quiche....yummm

The hubs and I make some sort of egg dish about once a week. Eggs are cheap, easy, filling and pretty healthy. I wanted to make a dish that I could just pop in the oven when I got home from training and thought of this. I found a recipe from Paula Deen that got a 5 star rating, so couldn't resist. Here is the actual recipe, but as always-I've adapted it. Below is the Laura version:

Cook Time:45 min Level: Easy Yield: 8 servings

4 large eggs and 4 egg whites, beaten
1 1/2 cups fat-free half and half
Salt and pepper
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach, packed
5 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust, fitted to a 9-inch glass pie plate

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a blender or mixer. Layer the spinach, bacon, and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust, then pour the egg mixture on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set. (I made this all ahead of time, then put it in the fridge, and popped it in the oven when I got home from work...worked like a charm).

***Don't put the pie pan on a cookie pan...this REALLY slows down the baking time. I made this mistake, and instead of what was supposed to take 45 mins., took over an hour. The mixture will not spill over, so no worries there.

Enjoy, this dish is delish...light but filling. I served it with biscuits and green beans. Yum-O!

P.S.-So sorry for lacking in my picture taking of meals...I can't find the cord for my camera. I have been using Daniel's camera, but it was not around me tonight....will try to be better of the picture taking!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I was the co-hostess of a women's group that I'm in and needed to bring a few nibbles. Hmm...what to bring? I had a craving for cupcakes....then decided I'd make Carrot Cake Cupcakes. Carrot Cake is my absolute favorite cake...well that and Cookie Cake are high in my rankings. :) This recipe from Barefoot Contessa turned out great. I realize that Carrot Cake is more popular in the Spring, but I felt that the cinnamon and orange from the carrots were perfect for the start to fall. Enjoy. :)

2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil (I used half veg. oil and the other half applesauce)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 extra-large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups grated carrots (less than 1 pound)
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts (I left these out, as I don't like nuts in my sweets)

For the frosting:
3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature (The "pounds" confused me, but I just used one package of low-fat cream cheese)
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used one stick of butter for this, although I think it calls for 2 sticks, but one was just fine!)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar (I used about 2 cups...but start with one, then test to see if you'd like more if you want it more sweet)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.

Line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop the batter into 22 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for a further 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.

When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and serve.

Ritzy Cracker Chicken

Here's yet another adult and kid friendly, easy supper. Melts in your mouth...enjoy!

4 chicken breast halves (or I just used the chicken fingers to make it easier)
1 cup fat-free ranch dressing
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 sleeve ritz crackers, crushed

1. Marinate chicken in ranch for at least 3-4 hours.
2. Remove chicken from dressing and shake in ziplock bag with crushed crackers and Parmesan cheese.
3. Place coated chicken in baking dish coated with cooking spray.
4. Cook at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Broil to brown on top if desired.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Daniel and I have been racking up the mileage on our car lately. Thank goodness for Daniel's company car!!!!! A friend of mine got married in Cape Cod on August 28th. We have both never been up in that area, so once we got the save the date, we put it on our calendar right away. Originally, we wanted to go somewhere special for our 1st Anniversary, however; because of the house we vacation was in sight. We decided to make our wedding trip a vacation and stay a few extra days to celebrate our anniversary....although a little late. We are so glad we did this! It was such an enjoyable, relaxing and fun vacation. We stayed in Chatham, Cape Cod. Chatham is such a quaint, cute little town full of charm. The weather was the low 80's and a nice breeze from the ocean. Cape Cod was really what Daniel and I had both imagined. We had a few of the area's famous lobster rolls, clam chowder, fresh and boy do I mean fresh fish...and various other delicious foods.

Since we had our car with us, we went for a couple day trips. One day we went to Providence Town, or otherwise known as "P-Town." This is a very artsy, again picture-perfect, quaint town. It is very similar to Key West...if ya get what I mean. It's the Key West of the north. Very awesome though and we had a great time. We both had the bug the whole time to buy a piece of original artwork...however, everything was WAY above our budget. Oh well, next time!

Another day, we took a boat over from Hyannis to Nantucket. Another wonderful day we had! We rented bikes and peddled all over the island. We biked all over the town...went to the ocean...had an amazing lunch by the water and then biked to a brewery/winery. It was a full day and we were tired on the boat ride back to Cape Cod. So worth it though. We hoped to see some whales while on the boat, but no such luck. If we had one more day we would have gone on a whale watching trip, but time did not allow.

If you've never been in this neck of the woods, I highly recommend it. It's very family friendly, peaceful and an overall fabulous low-key vacation spot. We had a great time celebrating our 1 year anniversary! :) Cheers to year 2!