Thursday, January 23, 2014

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Here is a very simple, time saving and more healthy version of Beef Stroganoff. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff
1 1/2 pounds beef for stew, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 (8-ounce) packages sliced mushrooms (about 3 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
1 (8-ounce) container low-fat sour cream
2 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles (about 4 ounces uncooked)


  1. Place first eight ingredients (though garlic) in a 3-quart electric slow cooker; stir well.
  2. Place flour in a small bowl; gradually add broth, stirring with a whisk until blended. Add broth mixture to slow cooker; stir well. 
  3. Cover with slow cooker with lid; cook on high-heat setting 1 hour. Reduce to low-heat setting, and cook 7 to 8 hours or until steak is tender. 
  4. Turn slow cooker off; remove lid. Let Stroganoff stand 10 minutes. Stir in sour cream.
  5.  Serve Stroganoff over cooked noodles.
  • I used pre-cut stew for beef that I bought right at the meat save even more time.
  • I also used Parsley from Gourmet Garden . The tubed parsley was easier and caused less waste, since I did not have the need for a whole bunch of parsley this week. Here is a link to their Parsley.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Chili

Nothing like some hot and spicy soup to warm you up on a cold say. With most of the country facing bitter cold temperatures, I decided to make some Chicken Soup in the slow cooker. This recipe is very easy and full of flavor.

Mexican Chicken Chili
Serves Six

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cooked and cubed
1 medium onion, diced
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups frozen corn
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can low sodium chicken broth
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
2 Tablespoons chili powder (reduce by half for a more mild chili)
1 Tablespoon ground cumin  (reduce by half for a more mild chili)

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.

  • For a more hearty meal serve chili over rice (I personally like it over Cilantro Lime Rice)
  • Garnish the chili with edible toppings like sliced avacado, sour cream or chopped cilantro for added flavor

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken and Chickpea Tagine

This is a great slow cooker meal!!! I like this because the taste and texture is spot on in this recipe. I got this recipe  from Cooking Light Magazine. I did make one change. The original recipe was for 8 chicken thighs, I ended up using 6 chicken thighs...that is what fit in my slow cooker. Enjoy!

Chicken and Chickpea Tagine


1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil 
6 (5-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups chopped onion 
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh garlic
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
2/3 cup chopped dried apricots 
2 (15-ounce) cans organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup cilantro leaves

  1.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle meat side of chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Add chicken to pan, meat side down; cook 5 minutes or until well browned. Remove from pan (do not brown other side).
  2. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Add cumin and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, stock, honey, and cinnamon, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; bring to a simmer. 
  3. Pour mixture into a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Stir in apricots and chickpeas. Arrange chicken, browned side up, on top of chickpea mixture. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours. Discard cinnamon stick. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Snowball Cookies

When I bake cookies with children, this is one of my favorite cookie recipes. It does not have a ton of ingredients. The recipe is easy enough for older children to work on almost independently. Younger children can help and even handle the dough, since there are no eggs in this cookie recipe if they eat some dough there are no worries! Of course the most important reason I like this cookie recipe is that the cookies taste great!

Snowball Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen cookies


1 ½ cups butter, softened
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups mini chocolate chips or mini M&M’s
Additional powdered sugar for dusting

  1.     Preheat oven 375 degrees F. 
  2.   Mix the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt in a mixer until creamy. 
  3.  Gradually beat in flour
  4. Stir in Chocolate Chips or M&M's
  5.  Shape into 1 to 1 ¼ inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet. 
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes until cookies are lightly browned. 
  7. After you remove cookies from oven sift powdered sugar over hot cookies. Allow cookies to cool slightly on cookie sheets, then remove cookies and allow them to cool completely on wire racks.  
    8.      Once cooled, sift additional powdered sugar on cookies.
Note: If you do not have a sifter you can use a colander to “sift” the powdered sugar.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake

Although pumpkin cheesecake is a nice holiday treat I like regular cheesecake as well. This combines both!
The flavors of a traditional cheesecake topped with a pumpkin cheesecake.  Enjoy!

3 (8oz) packages of cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1 (8oz) can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 graham cracker crust, prepared. (I used a recipe off the graham cracker crumbs box)

  1. Press graham cracker crust onto the bottom and up 3/4 of the sides of a 9 inch springform pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  3. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Fold in sour cream. Remove 1 1/4 cups of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
  4. Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and fold gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
  5. Bake in preheated oven in a water bath for one hour, center will still jiggle. Turn oven off and open door and allow cheesecake to sit in oven for an additional hour. Refrigerate and cool completely before serving.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sweet Potato Casserole

This sweet potato casserole is a big hit when I serve it for Thanksgiving. The consistency of the potatoes is great...not too runny and not too dense....perfectly light and creamy! The topping is sweet but not overly sweet. This is a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

6 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk (I use fat free)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans

  1. Wash sweet potatoes and pierce with a fork. Roast sweet potatoes in a 350 degree for about an hour to an hour and a half...until a fork can be easily inserted in the potato. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool so, they are easier to handle.
  2. Remove skin from sweet potatoes and cut the sweet potatoes into chunks.
  3. With a mixer on medium high speed mix together sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, sea salt, butter, milk and vanilla.
  4. Spread potato mixture into a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. I used a 12x4x9 oval 2 1/2 quart Corning oval dish.
  5. With a pastry blender, mix together brown sugar, flour, butter and chopped pecans until crumbly.
  6. Sprinkle topping evenly across sweet potato mixture.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-45 minutes until temperature reaches 165 degrees F and topping is golden brown.
  • To save time sweet potatoes can be boiled to soften them but....roasting does taste better.
  • I roast the potatoes the day before and store them in the refrigerator until I am ready to make the casserole.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Brine for a Super Moist Thanksgiving Turkey!

cooked turkey photo: Turkey Cooked turkeycooked.jpg
A brine is a great way to ensure that your Thanksgiving bird will be delicious and moist. This is a simple process....but it does take up some space in the fridge so be prepared! A turkey marinated in a brine solution will also cook a little faster. I suggest not stuffing the bird  because, in my case the bird was done before the stuffing. I also found that there were less drippings from the bird that was soaked in a brine solution. With all that said this had to be one of the most moist turkeys I had ever eaten! I will never roast a turkey again without putting it in a brine solution first.

Turkey Brine

1/2 gallon vegetable broth
1/2 gallon apple juice
1 cup sea salt
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried savory
1 gallon ice water

  1. In a large stock pot combine the broth, juice, salt, rosemary, sage, thyme and savory.
  2. Bring to a boil and stir frequently, until salt is dissolved.
  3. Turn off heat and cool to room temperature.
  4. When brine is cooled place the brine in a food storage container large enough to fit the turkey and brine so that the turkey will be completely submerged in the brine.  Add the cold ice water.
  5. Remove the innards and rinse and dry turkey.
  6. Submerge the turkey breast side down in brine, make sure cavity is filled with brine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Remove turkey from brine, rinse and pat dry. Discard excess brine.
  8. Cook turkey as desired.
  • If you have not checked it out... the Butterball website is a great source of information. There are guides on how to find the right turkey, buy the right size, thawing times, cooking times, etc.