6 new recipes ~ a long time coming

six new recipes.  i've been trying to get them posted for a long time now but, life happens and, what can i do besides all i can do?  there's not enough hours in the day.

but listen, these recipes are all really yummy and i've been obsessed with finding slow cooker recipes as well as meals that i can freeze.  unfortunately, i will not be the one to cook the frozen meals, i'm giving them away so i won't be able to report back about how well they worked out but, i'll try to get feedback from the recipient and post about the results in the future but i can attest to how delicious each meal was on the day it was prepared.  only a select number of recipes made the cut (i've had a few slow-cooker flops the last few weeks) so please, give them a try and tell me what you think.

don't expect much from the posts themselves, my goal was to simply get the recipes up so i could refer back to them in the future, i'm already planning on making the white chicken chili again this week for my hunk's birthday dinner.  he's also requested "better than sex" cake which really is ..............

maybe soon i'll have a chance to post something fitness related.  we'll see.

without further ado, the list (all recipes are posted below this post if you just scroll down. surprise!):

homemade spaghetti sauce (with meat) ~ awesome stuff
chicken adobo soup
white bean chicken chili
baked penne with sun-dried tomatoes and chicken
baked ziti
sweet potato chili

happy cooking!

sweet potato chili ~ slow cooker

this recipe comes from a wonderful blog, "can you stay for dinner" which is full of beautiful photography, wonderful recipes and the blog author has an incredible story about weight loss and weight maintenance that she chooses to share with the world.  i'm grateful for folks like her.

real quick, i made a couple minor changes from the original recipe such as browning the meat and cooking the onions before throwing everything into the pot.  i'm sure either way, the chili won't disappoint, i just like to cook the meat a little before to knock the flavor up a few levels.

sweet potato chili ~ slow cooker
(1) 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
(1) 14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
(1) 15 oz can kidney beans (reduced sodium), drained and rinsed
(1) 15 oz can black beans (reduced sodium), drained and rinsed
1 lb ground beef (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil

heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  cook beef until just beginning to brown.  add onions and cook until beef is no longer pink. 

throw everything into the slow-cooker,


 and cook on low for 8 hours.

super-duper nutritious!
yields approx. 8 servings

Nutrition Facts
sweet potato chili
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat7.3g
      Saturated Fat2.3g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber12.5g
Vitamin A 415%Vitamin C 50%
Calcium    13%Iron 21%

baked ziti

okay, so not the most beautiful photo but don't let it fool you, it tastes a lot better than it looks.

baked ziti
recipe adapted from annie's eats
3 cups lowfat cottage cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan, divided
1 lb ziti
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs sweet italian sausage (i used chicken sausage)
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
(1) 28 oz can no-salt-added tomato sauce
(1) 14.5 oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, divided
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp cornstarch
1 cup half and half
8 oz mozzarella cheese
salt & pepper

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  whisk cottage cheese, eggs and 1 cup of parmesan together in a medium bowl; set aside.  

bring a large pot of water to a boil.  cook pasta al-dente, in a large pot according to package directions.  drain pasta and set aside, leaving the pot to be used for white sauce.

heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  cook sausage until nearly browned.  add the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onion is softened and the sausage is completely browned.

stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and oregano.   simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.  off the heat, stir in 1/2 cup of the basil and the sugar then season with salt and pepper. 

in a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and the half and half together. 

transfer the mixture to the now-empty stockpot over medium heat.  bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes.  remove the pot from the heat and add the cottage cheese mixture, 1 1/2 cups of the tomato/sausage mixture and 3/4 cup of mozzarella.  stir to combine.  add the pasta and toss to coat thoroughly with the sauce.  transfer the pasta to a large baking dish and spread the remaining tomato/sausage mixture evenly over the top.  sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese over the top.  

cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes (until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown).   cool for 10 minutes or so and then sprinkle with the remaining basil prior to serving.

this made enough for a 9x13" baking dish as well as a smaller (two serving) reusable dish that i put in the freezer for later.

yields 10 servings

Nutrition Facts
baked ziti
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat16.9g
      Saturated Fat7.8g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber3.6g
Vitamin A 20%Vitamin C 29%
Calcium    42%Iron 13%


baked penne with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes

baked penne with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes
recipe adapted from martha stewart
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
scant 1/2 cup flour
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups milk (i used 2%), heated in the microwave until warm
2 tsp red pepper flakes
10 oz white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1/2 cup oil packed italian herb sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
8 oz provolone, shredded
1 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
13 oz whole wheat penne pasta

preheat oven to 400 degree. 

poach chicken breasts seasoned with salt, pepper and seasoning.  

remove chicken from water (save water) and set aside.  using the same water used to poach the chicken (plus more if necessary), bring water to a boil and cook pasta al dente according to package directions.  drain and set aside.

heat milk in microwave and have ready.  in a large nonstick skillet, heat oil and butter over medium high heat.  saute red pepper until softened, about 5 minutes.  add garlic and cook an additional minute stirring constantly.  turn heat down to medium and slowly whisk flour into the pan. 

slowly add milk, whisking constantly.  add red pepper flakes and continue stirring occasionally until sauce is thickened.

while sauce is thickening, slice chicken into bite sized pieces.

once sauce is thickened, add mushrooms, tomatoes to the pan and mix in. let cook for a few minutes and then add the provolone and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.  stir until cheese is melted.  add the chicken and the pasta to the pan and mix everything together.

spread the mixture into a lightly sprayed large casserole dish (or two smaller dishes; freezing one for later).  top with remaining parmesan cheese and bake for 30 minutes until cheese is bubbly and browning.

i put aside a serving or two (for someone else) for the freezer in a disposable container.

bon a petite!

yields approx. 10 servings (probably a little more)
Nutrition Facts
baked penne with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat19.6g
      Saturated Fat9.1g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber4.6g
Vitamin A 11%Vitamin C 23%
Calcium    28%Iron 10%

white bean chicken chili ~ slow cooker

another successful and delicious recipe from mels kitchen cafe.  my friend melissa made this for me when i went for lunch recently and it was so good, i made it for dinner the next night.  the whole family loved it. 

white bean chicken chili ~ slow cooker
recipe adapted from mels kitchen cafe and annie's eats
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3.5 cups great northern beans (cooked or from the can)
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
(2) 4oz cans chopped green chilies
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

place chicken breasts in bottom of slow cooker.  add the onion, garlic, beans, chilies and all of the spices (do not add the sour cream or whipping cream yet).  pour chicken broth over top and stir mixture to incorporate dry spices. cook on low for 7 hours.  remove the chicken the last 30 minutes of cooking to shred and then put it back in the soup.  stir in the sour cream and whipping cream until smooth.  continue to cook for the remaining 30 minutes.

this recipe yields about 6 servings.  i will double it next time (husband was bummed there wasn't enough for left overs).

Nutrition Facts
white bean chicken chili
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat8.1g
      Saturated Fat4.8g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber8g
Vitamin A 10%Vitamin C 17%
Calcium    15%Iron 14%

chicken adobo soup ~ slow cooker

this is seriously good stuff.  

chicken adobo soup ~ slow cooker
recipe adapted from a full measure of happiness
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 yellow onion, diced
(1) 14-oz can reduced sodium red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dry lentils
(1) 14-oz can corn (salt free), drained and rinsed
(1) 14-oz can diced tomatoes (salt free)
3 cups low sodium chicken broth + 2 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
2 bay leaf
1 tsp red pepper flakes
black pepper to taste

combine everything in the slow cooker and turn on low for 8 hours.  remove chicken 30 minutes prior to serving and shred it.  remove bay leaves and return chicken to the soup.

yields approx. 8 servings

Nutrition Facts
chicken adobo soup
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat1.7g
      Saturated Fat0g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber5.9g
Vitamin A 5%Vitamin C 7%
Calcium    7%Iron 11%

homemade spaghetti sauce (with meat)

this year at rendezvous i volunteered to prepare most of the meals for the group so we would have something to eat besides hamburgers and hotdogs every night.  not that there's anything wrong with hamburgers and hotdogs, it's just, well, spaghetti is better.

my idea was to make things in advance that i could freeze and re-heat later while camping.  this sauce worked perfectly and it was very good.  several people said so, i tell the truth.  

now, the only problem is i didn't take a photo of the final (re-heated) sauce atop the (whole wheat) spaghetti noodles so, you'll have to click over to mels sight to see what it looks like.

homemade spaghetti sauce
recipe via melskitchencafe
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onion, chopped and divided
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
2 lbs hamburger (at least 90% lean -i used laura's lean 92/8)
5 cloves garlic, minced
(1) 12oz can tomato paste
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 tsp dried oregano
3 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
(2) 14oz cans italian-style diced tomatoes
(2) 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 carton fresh mushrooms
1 1/2 cups beef stock or beef broth
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

directions (verbatim):
"heat olive oil over medium high heat.  add 1/2 of the onions and saute until translucent and slightly browned.  add garlic and stir constantly for 1 minute. 

add beef and cook until no red is showing.  drain beef slightly.  blend up the remaining onions and red pepper in a blender or food processor until mostly smooth. 

add mixture to the garlic, onions and beef and stir to combine, cooking for another minutes.  

add tomato paste and spices and cook for 1 minutes, stirring until combined. 

add tomatoes, beef broth and sugar (and mushrooms, if using).  

stir until combined and add the bay leaves.  bring to a boil and then reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  fifteen minutes before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar.

note: the sauce will seem watery at first but will reduce to perfection after simmering for an hour.  i've let it simmer on the stovetop for up to three hours before with no problems."

this makes a lot of spaghetti sauce.  at least a double batch for my family (one to eat and one to freeze for later).

Nutrition Facts
homemade spaghetti sauce
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat8.4g
      Saturated Fat3g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber1.6g
Vitamin A 13%Vitamin C 49%
Calcium    2%Iron 6%
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