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Chili Con Carne


Chili is the perfect winter meal.  I love it and could eat it anytime of the year but Bernie won’t touch it when it is warm outside.  Luckily for me, we are well into chili weather.  I usually do a spicy chili, my mom’s recipe, but I wanted to try something different.  The original recipe calls for cornbread to be cooked on top of the chili in the oven but I was a little worried about it turning out soggy being on top of the chili.  So, I made sweet cornbread separately to be served with the chili.  This is a really yummy sweet chili.

Chili Con Carne, from Nigella Lawson

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried or crushed chili flakes
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 red peppers, seeded and finely diced
3 pounds 92% fat or less ground beef
7 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cocoa
3 1/2 cups canned red kidney beans


Heat the oil in a very large pan and add the onion and garlic, cook until softened.  Add the chili, coriander, cumin and stir well.

Add the peppers then break up the ground beef into the pan and, using a fork, keep turning it to separate it as the meat browns. Add the crushed tomatoes, ketchup, tomato puree, and water stirring to make a rich red sauce. When the chili starts to boil sprinkle over the cocoa and stir it in.   Add beans and cook for 1.5 hours. (or you could put it in the crock pot on low for several hours)

Yields about 20 servings

Nutrition per serving: 163.1 calories, 5.8g fat, 1.4g saturated fat, 19.5mg cholesterol, 381 mg sodium, 18.1g carbohydrates, 5.3g fiber, 1.9g sugar, 11.5g protein.


Apricot Oat bars


These oatmeal bars are addicting.  I was not really sure about using apricot flavors, but the end product was delicious – of course anything with 2 sticks of butter is yummy right?  I do not see why you would not substitute with your favorite preserves and dried fruit flavors – so far though I have only tried apricot.

Apricot Oat Bars, from Giada De Laurentiis


Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 (13-ounce) jar apricot jam or preserves (about 1 1/4 cups)
8 dried apricots, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1/3 cup)
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 packed cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 egg whites, at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray 9X13 metal baking dish with cooking spray.  Line dish with parchment paper and spray again (on paper).  Set aside

In a small bowl, combine apricot preserves and dried apricots.  Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.  Once combined stir in oats and nuts.  Mix in the butter, egg and vanilla, stirring until incorporated.

Using a fork or clean fingers, lightly press half of the crust mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Using a spatula, spread the filling over the crust leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge of the pan. Cover the filling with the remaining crust mixture and gently press to flatten. Bake until light golden, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 1 hour. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Yields 24 servings

Nutrition per serving: 227.8 calories, 11.6g fat, 5.2g saturated fats, 20.7mg cholesterol, 86.7mg sodium, 37.4g carbohydrate, 2.4g fiber, 23.6g sugar, 2.6g protein

Mustard and Herb Marinated Chicken


This chicken is extremely easy and very flavorful.  Chicken is the protein we eat most in our household, so I know I am always looking for new, and easy, chicken recipes to add to our rotation!

Mustard and Herd Marinated Chicken, from This Woman Cooks

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 dash salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine first 8 ingredients in large gallon bag.  Add chicken.  Massage chicken and be sure to coat evenly.  Let marinate in refrigerator  at least 2 hours, or overnight.

When ready, grill until chicken is cooked through.  It’s that easy!

Pumpkin-White Chocolate Blondies


Let me warn you, making these was a really bad idea.  These were so good I could not leave them alone.  Thank goodness my parents were kind enough to let me bring some over so I didn’t gobble up the whole bunch in one day.  My parents and Bernie described these blondies as pumpkin coffee cake, I think it taste like pumpkin pie goodness.  They are super moist and you get a little sweetness from the white chocolate bits.  Bring on the pumpkin for fall!!

Pumpkin-White Chocolate Blondies, from Cate’s World Kitchen


2 cups all-purpose flour whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 package (12 ounces) white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Grease 9X13 pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree. Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in white chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares!

And look at this little boy who has been growing like a weed the last month!!

Pork Chops with Caribbean Rub and Mango Salsa


This recipe is really easy to put together.  It is an interesting mix of spicy and sweet.  My mango wasn’t great, so I will be anxious to see how the salsa tastes when I actually have a good one!

Pork Chops with Caribbean Rub and Mango Salsa, from Cooking Light magazine- October 2011


1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 (6-ounce) boneless pork chops
Cooking spray
1/2 cup diced peeled mango
1/2 cup diced tomato
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil


Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl (coriander through red pepper).  Rub mixture on pork chops.

Heat pan over medium heat and coat with non-stick cooking spray.  Add pork to pan and cook until no longer pink.

While pork is cooking, mix last 5 ingredients for the salsa.  Once pork is cooked, remove from heat and top with 1/4 cup of salsa!

Yields 4 servings

Nutrition per serving (using bone-in pork): 192 calories, 7g fat, 1.6g saturated fat, 76 mg cholesterol, 363mg sodium, 6.3g carbohydrates, 1.4g fiber, 24.9g protein



Now that I am a new mommy I am always looking for quick things to eat…or things I can eat one handed while I am taking care of the baby.  Granola is one of those hearty breakfasts or snacks you can make ahead and is really easy to eat.  I like to mix it with yogurt for breakfast in the morning.  While it is not really low in calories, it is very filling, low in saturated fats and a good source of fiber.  Use your favorite dried fruit and nuts to mix in and make it your own!

Granola, from Baking Bites

3 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups puffed rice cereal
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
3/4 cup plain unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts
up to 1 cup dried fruit


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the oats, puffed rice cereal and spices, set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, applesauce, honey, and vanilla. Once combined, pour the applesauce mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Stir in chopped nuts. Spread mixture onto prepare baking sheets in an even layer.

Bake for 30 minutes then carefully turn the granola. Bake an additional 15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Let cool then break up granola as desired. Mix in dried fruit and enjoy!

Yield approx. 12 servings

Nutrition per 1/2 cup:  256.3 calories, 4.9g fat, 0.9g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 134.9mg sodium, 70.5g carbohydrates, 5.9g fiber, 33.6g sugar, 4.4g protein

Apple Bread


Gotta love quick breads – no waiting for a rise, no kneading, and still tastes delicious.  This was a nice change of pace.  I have made banana bread and pumpkin bread, but never bread with apples.  This bread smells like fall, my kitchen smelled just wonderful as it was baking.  I made just a couple of adjustments by using whole wheat pastry flour in place of all-purpose and also decreasing the sugar just a little.  I used one granny smith and two golden delicious apples, but you can use whatever apples you like best – I feel like these two bake pretty well.

Apple Bread, slightly adapted from Southern Pink Lemonade

3 apples cored and diced
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 9X5 loaf pan.

In a small bowl mix together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl beat together the applesauce, sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.  Mix until well combined, then slowly add in flour mixture.  Once combined, fold in apples and pour into loaf pan.

Bake in preheated oven for approximately 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in loaf comes out clean (I ended up baking my loaf about 60 minutes before done).  Let loaf cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove and let finish cooling on wire rack.

I sliced about 12 slices.

Nutrition per 1/12 of recipe: 175.5 calories, 7.3g fat, 0.7g saturated fat, 30.8mg cholesterol, 181.5mg sodium, 27.2g carbohydrates, 2.3g fiber, 17g sugar, 2.2g protein