Saturday, January 31, 2009


I'm sure most of you have either had this, or made it at one time or another. But for those of you who aren't as fortunate (haha) you simply must give this a try sometime! It's super easy to make and goes over REALLY well at any function. I like it because, not only does it taste good, but it serves 32 or more. So it's a good economical choice when you are feeding a crowd. And you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry, right now.

I like to do the top half nuts (chopped pecans) and half plain, to please everyone. The icing tastes like a thin fudge, it's so yummy with a tall glass of cold milk! Definitely not on WW, but a nice treat once in a while.


In a mixing bowl, combine the following, and set aside:

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder

In a saucepan over med-high heat, combine the following and bring to a boil:

2 sticks butter or margarine
1 c. water
2 Tblsp. cocoa, heaping

While hot, add to flour mixture above. Cream will with mixer. Pour into greased and floured jelly roll pan (or cookie sheet with tall sides). Bake 20 min at 350. Frost while still warm.


1 stick butter or margarine
6 Tblsp. milk
2 Tblsp. cocoa

Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add all at once:

1 box powdered sugar (4 cups)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped nuts

Stir until well combined. Pour over warm cake and spread evenly to edges.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I borrowed this recipe from my daughter in law, Monica. She makes a killer chicken enchilada! I changed it just a tad, because I felt more comfortable doing the thickening of the sauce a bit differently. But it still turned out fantasmagoric! haha Super easy and quick too! I should have served chopped lettuce and roma tomatoes with these though, but I was in a hurry and we were starving! Next time! These were easily "lightened" up with light sour cream, FF chicken broth, and low fat Cheddar cheese. Not positive on the points value, but as near as I could figure, they seemed to be around 6 pts per enchilada. If you're not dieting, by all means, feel free to use the full fat versions of those ingredients though.


12 boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, cut into chunks
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 or 3 Tblsp butter
1 (6 oz) can chopped green chilies w/ juice
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
1 pkg large whole wheat tortillas (my pkg had 8 in it)
1 (8 oz) pkg shredded cheddar - Mexican blend

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray. Place chicken chunks in small skillet, heated to med-high. Sprinkle chicken liberally with Cumin and cook until done. Set aside. In separate skillet, heated to med-high, place butter, onion and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. Add chopped green chilies w/ juice. Stir until chilies are heated through. Add flour and stir to combine - will be very thick and pasty. Add chicken broth and whisk to combine. Stir in sour cream and simmer until slightly thickened. Add chicken to sauce and simmer for a few minutes. In the meantime, in a separate skillet, heated to med. Add just a drizzle of oil. Heat each tortilla in the oil for a few seconds on each side, just enough to soften them for rolling. Remove from heat and keep warm on a pizza pan covered with paper towels.
To assemble: Use a slotted spoon to scoop up the chicken and veggies. Place 1 spoonful on the center of each tortilla, top with a small handful of shredded cheese. fold up each end of the tortilla and hold in place while you roll in each side of the tortilla. Place seam side down in baking pan. After all your tortillas are filled, pour the remaining sauce over the top. Heat in the oven for 15 minutes, or until bubbly. Top with remaining cheese and stick back in oven for an additional 5 - 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Yield: 8 enchiladas


This is the best "unfried" chicken you will ever have. The coating also works well on skinless, boneless chicken tenders to make into chicken fingers for the kids. You could serve that with honey mustard dipping sauce (I'll add a yummy recipe for that at the end of the chicken recipe). This particular chicken went really well with steamed white rice and the roasted veggies that we had for dinner tonight. My daughter Sarah cooked dinner tonight and surprised us with this meal. It was delicious! The black specks on the chicken is fresh ground black pepper. I sprinkled it on just before I dug in. Mmm!


1/4 cup Fat free mayo
1 t. dijon mustard
2 t. grated lemon zest
1/2 t salt
4 drops hot pepper sauce (more or less to taste)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 c. cornflakes, crushed

* Preheat oven to 375. Spray a large baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
*whisk together mayo, mustard, lemon zest, salt and hot pepper sauce in a bowl. add chicken, toss to coat.
*Place cornflake crumbs in a large zip-close plastic bag. add chicken, one piece at a time and toss to coat.
*place chicken in the baking pan, drizzle lightly w/ olive oil.
*Bake until golden brown and cooked through - about 30 minutes.

Number of Servings: 4

WW points value: 3 pts

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 dash paprika
  • 2 tablespoon orange juice (more or less as needed)

Combine all ingredients except orange juice; stir well. Thin to pouring consistency for dressing or dipping consistency for dips with orange juice. Cover and chill for 2 or 3 hours.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I'm so excited to introduce my daughter-in-law, Monica, to you all! She is a tremendous cook. For months now, I have rolled around the idea of adding her as a guest blogger on my site. She is so busy though, the timing is never right to just sit and work on it together. But tonight, she surprised me and started her own blog! Tonight was her first post, so be patient as she builds her recipe files. You won't be disappointed in any of them, I can assure you! She is an amazing & creative writer too. I know you will enjoy her wittiness as much as I do. Be sure to hop over and take a look and tell her I sent you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Don't you just love it when someone else does the cooking? I got to enjoy that wonderful treat tonight! My daughter, Hannah made dinner tonight. She chose this wonderful Shrimp Scampi dish and did a wonderful job on it. She has never made it before, but this one will be making an appearance on our table again! *NOTE* If you like a lot of sauce - just double the liquid in this (cooking wine, lemon juice and butter) not the veggies and herbs. She doubled both, but we all agreed, it was too much to double the latter. Very very tasty! The next time we have this, I'd like to try the WW skinny version of alfredo with it.

Shrimp Scampi

1 1/2 tsp olive oil
2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1 1/2 tbsp shallot(s), finely chopped
1/4 cup white cooking wine, divided (sold next to the vinegar)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
2 tsp parsley, fresh, minced
1 tsp thyme, fresh, minced
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 pound(s) shrimp, jumbo-size, shelled and deveined*

* Warm a large skillet over a medium-low heat; add oil and heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add shallots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the white cooking wine and 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice; stir, scraping bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are translucent, about 5 more minutes; allow to cool.

* In a small bowl, combine shallots, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper with softened butter; refrigerate until butter hardens (can be made 1 day ahead).

* Preheat oven to 475̊F.

* Using a medium-sized oven-proof casserole dish or skillet, arrange shrimp in a ring, tails up and touching one another for support; place bits of chilled herbed butter around shrimp. Pour remaining cooking wine and lemon juice in bottom of dish. (Or cook in four individual oven-proof dishes.)

* Roast in oven until shrimp turns pink and butter starts to sizzle, about 4 to 5 minutes. Yields about 3 jumbo shrimp per serving.


* Perfect for company, this dish looks great and is easy to prepare—especially when assembled in 4 individual oven-proof dishes. Make the butter ahead of time and have your shrimp already cleaned and on ice. When company arrives, just assemble the ingredients in a baking dish (or dishes) and pop in the oven.

*You can leaves the tails on if you prefer.

WW points value: 5 pts

* We couldn't afford the pricey jumbo shrimp for this dish tonight, but instead chose the "large" shrimp which happened to be on sale for half price - WOOHOO! It was just as good and appeared to be about the same size of shrimp that Red Lobster uses for their Shrimp Scampi.

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

THANK YOU to my friend Nikki for this one. She gave it to me a LONG time ago. The original recipe calls for full fat peanut butter and real sugar, but I've been meaning to try them, using Splenda. I tried it tonight and they are delish! I also used reduced fat peanut butter in these, and you can't tell the difference! If losing weight is no concern of yours, then I've included the regular recipe at the end of this post.

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup Splenda (bulk)
1 cup reduced fat peanut butter
1 egg

Combine ingredients in bowl, beat with mixer until combined. Using a cookie scoop, form dough into balls and place on baking stone. Flatten with fork. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.
Makes about 16 cookies

WW points value: 2 pts

*For those that aren't doing WW and would like the regular recipe:
1 cup white sugar

1 cup peanut butter
1 egg

Mixing directions: Same as above.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Have you ever heard of the Diet soda cake? It's any flavor cake you like, mixed with 1 can of diet soda. This is the white cake, mixed with diet 7 - up. No eggs, no oil. So the fat content is very low. The next time I make the white version, I'm going to try using diet cherry 7-up. When I first heard about it, I wondered how the cake would bake up with only diet soda as the binder, but it bakes up beautifully and is SO moist. The chocolate version is good too. I make that one with diet coke and top it with fresh raspberries and light cool whip. The possibilities are endless. Use your imagination. This cake is good for those that have an allergy to eggs too. I have to say though that the original version of the diet soda cake is just that - cake mix and diet soda. The addition of the SF jello and the berries was something I did for us.

1 pkg White Cake Mix
1 (12 oz) can Diet Lemon Lime soda
1 small box, sugar free strawberry jello
Fresh Strawberries (sliced)
Cool Whip - Sugar Free (or light cool whip)


Mix together cake mix and lemon lime soda.

Coat 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Pour cake mix into pan.
Bake at 350* for 20 - 30 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Using a meat fork, poke holes all over in the cake.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the sugar free jello with 2 cups boiling water. Stir to combine until jello is completely dissolved. Slowly pour over the top of the cake, letting the jello sink into the holes in the cake.
Refrigerate until jello is set. Or if you want a "speedy set" put it in the freezer for 30 - 45 min.
Top with whipped cream and strawberries.
Makes about 15 servings.

Number of Servings: 15

Calories: 159
WW points value: 3 pts

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Chicken stock is used in so many dishes and you can have it handy for all of your cooking needs. This is a delicious and simply elegant stock and you will be surprised how easy it is to make. No more buying store bought.

There are 2 ways to go about making your stock.

One is to cook down the carcass from last night's roast chicken dinner.

The other is to make your stock from start to finish, using a whole chicken, fresh veggies and herbs. The second way will yield a lot more stock, and you can freeze it for future uses. There is no comparison to homemade stock!

Things You'll Need

Take your chicken and put it in a large pot and fill with cold water.
Make sure that you use a large enough pot so that everything has more then enough room to fit. There are a lot of large items going into the pot including the chicken. Add all of your ingredients the turnips, carrots, the 3 springs of thyme, 2 rosemary stems. 2 onions and the celery, to the pot. Cook over medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the chicken and set aside. Drain the stock over a large bowl. Be careful not to burn yourself with the broth. Now you can:
  • Shred the chicken and enjoy for supper with some rice, vegetables or potatoes.
  • You can use ice cube trays to freeze the stock and then put in ziploc freezer storage bags
  • Or other plastic storage food containers
  • Use stock in your favorite soups, stews and rice dishes.


Have you ever made something for no good reason, and you weren't sure why you did it? I seldom boil the carcass down from our Sunday roast chicken, but this past Sunday, I did. When the family started smelling the aroma late Wednesday night, they all asked what I was making. I just kind of shrugged and said, "I don't know, I figured I'd boil this down for some good stock, and then make a pot of chicken & noodle soup out of it." They all just kind of said, "Oh" and left it at that. haha Anyway, I finished the soup up, let it cool down, put it in the fridge and went to bed. I suppose I intended to warm it up the next day for my hubby and I for dinner, with a nice hot loaf of crusty bread. But, I forgot about it, until a phone call from my hubby reminded me that our deacon's wife had had foot surgery today, I realized then, WHY I made the soup last night! It was for her and her hubby! I put that ALREADY MADE pot of yummy soup on to simmer and whipped up another caramel apple galette (I had made one Sunday for our family). Then hubby and I headed over to deliver the meal to a very happy and grateful couple! I love it when the Lord works in your heart to do something, and you don't understand why at the time, until later. I'm so glad I listened!
This soup has tremendous flavor - if you've never made homemade chicken & noodle soup, you really should give it a whirl! There's nothing like it!


Good stock is like the foundation of a house - it lays the groundwork for a delicious soup, stew or pan sauce. Trouble is, many packaged versions are drowning in sodium (often 1,000 mg per cup!) The answer to this dilemna - make your own!

Start by making your stock - you can either do it this way, or you can make a whole roast chicken for dinner one night, and boil the carcass and leftover skin the next day to produce your stock. When you are done eating, just wrap up the bones, and the carcass to cook down the next day. Save any leftover chicken to put into the soup. This is a creative way to use leftovers.

1 Tblsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups water
3 - 4 cups chicken stock
1 cup sliced carrots
3 cups shredded, cooked chicken
salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 bag of egg noodles

Heat oil in a large dutch oven over med-high heat. Add chopped onion, celery and garlic. Saute 5 minutes, or until onions are tender. Stir in flour, basil, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Add water and broth and stir with whisk to combine. Add bay leaf and carrots. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add noodles, cook 10 minutes or until noodles are done. Stir in cooked chicken. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, or until thoroughly heated.

Mmm! I think this Caramel Apple Galette turned out better than the one I made Sunday! It smelled so good as we drove it over in the car! It felt awfully nice and warm sitting on my lap too! It's soooo cold here in snowy Northern MI right now!


Here's a yummy little Saturday morning treat to lure even the worst sleepy head out of bed! And with a points value of only 1 each - what's not to love?! They are super quick & easy to make and so good! If you're doing WW and are craving a big fat cinnamon roll - then QUICK make these and it will take care of that craving! These make a nice treat for company too. Serve them up with a hot mug of coffee or a tall cold glass of milk.


1 (8 oz) pkg refrigerated reduced fat crescent rolls
4 tsp bottled cinnamon sugar
cooking spray
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp 1% milk

Preheat oven to 375. Unroll crescent roll dough onto work surface. Separate the 2 hunks of dough. Leave 4 of the crescent rolls hooked together, and with a mini pie dough roller, press the perforations together. Sprinkle each portion of dough with 2 tsp of the cinnamon sugar. Starting at the wide side, roll up 1 portion of dough, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets. Pinch seams to seal. Cut roll into 10 slices. Place rolls, cut side down on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Repeat process with remaining dough and cinnamon-sugar. Bake at 375 for 10 - 12 minutes or until golden. Whisk together powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Drizzle over warm rolls with a small whisk.
Yield: 20 swirls
Serving sz: 1 swirl
Points value: 1 pt
Cal: 55
Fat: 1 g

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Oooh! Here's one to add to your WW Flex points! I have always wanted to make a Galette, and finally made one for Sunday dinner today. I loved the taste and texture of this. I made it on my Pampered Chef cookie sheet and I can't imagine making it on anything other than a stone now. It was simple, quick and so yummy! Only 5 pts per serving too!


The galette is a free form French tart. Golden colored turbinado sugar is coarse raw sugar. It makes the pastry glisten and adds crunch and a slight molasses flavor to the dessert. You can substitute 2 tsp granulated sugar, if you do not have the turbinado sugar.

Cooking spray
1 refrigerated pie dough such as Pillsbury
4 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4" slices (4 cups)
Use the apples of your choice. I used Gala and it turned out delicious!
1/2 cup Splenda (bulk)
1 Tblsp flour
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 Tblsp turbinado sugar
1/3 cup fat free caramel topping

Preheat oven to 425. If you have a papmered chef stone, spray it with cooking spray and set aside. If you do not have a stone, then line a baking sheet with parchment paper, coat the paper with cooking spray. Roll dough into a 13" circle on prepared parchment paper. In a separate bowl, combine the apples and next 6 ingredients; toss well. Place apple mixture in center of dough, leaving a 3 inch border (apples will be piled high on dough). Fold edges of dough toward center, pressing slightly to seal (dough will only partially cover apple mixture).

Combine water and egg white; brush over edges and top of dough, sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes or until golden brown and apples are done. Filling may leak slightly during cooking (mine did not, but I think it might have been because I used Splenda in place of the sugar that was called for in the original recipe).

Remove from oven, drizzle with warm caramel sauce and serve warm with fat free whipped topping. You can tell my stone was still hot, the caramel sauce bubbled right up when I drizzled it on!

Yield: 8 servings.
Points value: 5 (I replaced the sugar with Splenda, so it may be less, like 4 or so)
Calories: 233
Fat: 7 g
Carb: 40 g

TABLESCAPES - Snow and Ice

Today we woke up to our little town being covered in ice! We had to cancel morning services, because nobody could drive safely on the roads. So I decided to decorate our Sunday dinner table with the weather in mind - snow and ice. It's a simple table, but blue is my favorite color, so this is one of my favorite tablescapes. I've had this linen set forever, it seems. But it has held up so well over the years. I have a red set just like it, and the same thing holds true about it. If you ever find a "satin stripe" linen set, you should invest in it, they keep REALLY well. I've had both sets for probably 20 years now. We use linens every Sunday, so they get a LOT of use, but you would never know it with these. I do take pretty good care of them. I never wash them with any other laundry - only by themselves. I also keep them hung on individual hangers in the linen closet, with the napkins, pressed and hanging over the tops of the tablecloths.

I love the icy garland that my daughter found on clearance a couple years ago. And I found the white ceramic snowflakes on clearance, after the Winter season was over. The silver pillar candle holders, I bought brand new at a garage sale this past Summer. I think she only charged me $2 for them. Normally when I do this table, I'll sprinkle fake snow around the centerpiece too, but just didn't do that today for some reason. I had it, just didn't do it.

The china was passed down to me, when hubby's mother passed away back in 1985. It's very special to me, and goes so well with the Winter theme.
I'm always on the lookout for table decorations - but I never buy anything very expensive. I stick to the clearance racks, after season sell-outs, garage sales, etc... You can find some really pretty or cute things if you just keep your eyes open specifically for that sort of thing.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Here's another yummy recipe from the WW files. Total points for this one: 7 (Chicken - 5; Polenta - 2) This had the most delicious flavor. Will definitely be making this one again. It called for skinless thighs, but all I had were bone in breasts (got them on clearance!) so that's what I used. To keep the points in tact, make sure you skin your chicken. I usually cook my chicken with the skin on, but then pull it off before I eat. I've never been a chicken skin lover - BLECH! Well, unless it's crispy fried chicken - that's a different story! LOL But then that's why we're having to eat light now! haha You simply MUST give this a try - you won't be sorry! This simple dish packs a ton of flavor! And be sure to try it w/ the polenta - it's new and different and goes REALLY well with the mushroom sauce!


Serve over creamy polenta or rice. Trim the woody stems from the shitake mushrooms before slicing the caps.

1 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
garlic powder
Lawry's seasoned salt
6 chicken pieces, skinned - breasts or thighs work well
1 1/2 cups sliced onion (1 med onion)
1 (6 oz) pkg baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 (3.2 oz) pkg fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 Tblsp all purpose flour
2 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup white cooking wine or fat free, low sodium chicken broth
1 Tblsp chopped fresh parsley (or rosemary if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in a large ovenproof dutch oven over med-high heat. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Lawry's seasoned salt. Add chicken to preheated pan. Cook 5 minutes on each side or until nicely browned. Remove from pan; set aside. Add onion and mushrooms to the pan, and saute 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Add flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in 1/8 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, chicken broth, cooking wine, and parsley (or rosemary). Bring to a full boil, scraping pan as it deglazes. Return chicken to pan full of sauce. Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Place pan over med-high heat; cook 5 or 6 min or until mushroom sauce is slightly thick, stirring occasionally. (I actually skipped this last step of heating the sauce after the chicken was done, and we still loved the taste of the sauce!)
Serving size: 2 thighs and 1 cup of sauce
points: 5
Cal: 258
fat: 7 g
pro: 32 g
carb: 15 g
fiber: 1.8 g


A favorite in Northern Italy, this quick side dish takes the place of mashed potatoes, rice or noodles at the dinner table. I have to admit, hubby and I both commented how nice it was to try something different. We both enjoyed it, especially with the mushroom sauce drizzled over it! Soft polenta is best served immediately while it's still creamy. But leftover polenta can be chilled in a pan until firm and then cut into squares and pan-seared for a side dish at another meal.

1 1/2 cups low fat milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 (14 oz) can fat free, low sodium chicken broth
1 cup instant dry polenta
1/4 cup preshredded Parmesan, romano, asiago cheese blend (or just parmesan works too)
1 Tblsp butter

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a med saucepan. Reduce heat to low and slowly add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk, to prevent lumps. Cook 3 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add parmesan cheese blend and butter, stirring until cheese melts. Serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings (1/2 cup).
WW Points value: 2