Showing posts with label quick and easy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quick and easy. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lemon Graham Squares

I spend every Tuesday evening meeting with the youth group in our church.  It keeps me really busy but has turned into the highlight of my week.  I know teenagers sometimes get a bad wrap, but our kids are awesome!  So driven, so bright and energetic, and so kind to each other.  No Mean Girls in this crowd.  Their great vibes are so infectious, I always leave feeling younger and fortunate to be around such great young people.
 Regardless of what we might be doing that night, (service project, building skills, working towards goals), food is almost always involved, and I am always happy to provide it.  It gives me a chance to experiment with delicious looking treats without actually having to have them in the house.  I found these lemon graham squares on and instantly fell in love.  How can you not love a tart lemon filling between two layers of cookie crumbs?  I made them once for our church group, and then a new batch the very next day to hoard at home.  Yeah, so much for getting them out of the house!

Lemon Graham Squares
Found at
The Friday Friends


1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (exactly one plastic packed stack of graham crackers)
3/4  cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash salt
1/2 cup melted butter


In a bowl, combine the milk and lemon juice, mix well, set aside. In another bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in butter until crumbly.

Press half of the crumb mixture into a greased 9-inch square baking dish.  Pour lemon mixture over crust; sprinkle with remaining crumbs.   Bake at  375F for  20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Cut into bars.

Shared with Taste and Tell Thursdays

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Southwestern Chicken Barley Chili

I'm sitting here thinking of something witty, or charming, or at best, slightly interesting to say.  But it's late, and as my eyes glaze over while I'm staring helplessly at the screen, I suddenly discover that in the picture above you can see my reflection.  In the spoon.  Of me taking said picture.  Ha!
Okay, rather than try to be cute, here goes.  Make this chili!  The flavors in it are so rich and warm and addicting, you will not want to stop eating this.  My son and I happily gobbled this up for lunch two days after eating it for dinner, and that boy hates being fed leftovers.  It's also filling, belly warming, comfort food, without being creamy or too heavy.  Just the thing for those cold snow covered days!

Southwestern Chicken Barley Chili
Ever so slightly adapted from


1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup medium barley (not quick cooking)
4 cups water
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
dash cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into bite-size pieces (I used chopped rotisserie chicken)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
garlic salt, to taste, I put that stuff in everything, it's a sickness, I can't help it
chopped cilantro (optional)
shredded cheddar (optional)
tortilla chips (optional)
avocado (optional)


In a large pot (about 6-quarts), combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, barley, water, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano and cayenne (if using). Stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and add the chicken. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer the chili for 40 minutes, until the barley is tender and chewy and the chicken is no longer pink. Stir occasionally, while it simmers to prevent sticking and to make sure it stays at a steady simmer. After 40 minutes, add the beans and corn. Stir to combine and simmer for five more minutes.  Add garlic salt to desired taste.  Serve the chili with optional garnishes, if desired.

The chili will thicken considerably upon cooling. Add chicken broth or water as needed to achieve a desirable consistency (especially if reheating the leftovers).

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Lately I've been craving summer and all that it entails.  Just the thought of getting a tiny burn on my cheeks and nose puts me in a good mood.  One huge summer activity in our family is getting the boat on the lake and spending the day skiing, swimming, or sometimes even just docking the boat and enjoying the beautiful day under a tree.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the day are the epic picnics that my mom packs.  This woman's ability to pack an amazing spread will go down in history.  Always so much food, always an abundance of paper and plastic ware and everything is always delicious!  

One item that I continuously request now are my mom's chicken salad sandwiches.  I didn't know how much I liked chicken salad until the day I tried hers.  What baffled me was how simple they were to make.  No secret ingredients, no complicated technique.  Just good fresh ingredients, light mayo and seasoned salt, that's it!  And it's amazing every time!

As a quick side note, I don't actually measure my ingredients when making stuff like this.  These are estimates.  But don't sweat it, do everything to your own personal taste, I don't think it's possible to screw this up.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches


3 cups chopped cooked chicken (I use rotisserie)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped green or red onion
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup chopped apple (only do this if you plan to serve it immediately.  If not either omit, or add right before serving, otherwise it will make salad watery)
1/2-1 cup light mayo (add or subtract according to how creamy you'd like it.)
1 tablespoon Seasoned Salt (add or subtract to taste, I like mine fairly strong)
Pepper to taste


In a large bowl combine all ingredients except mayo, seasoned salt, and pepper.  In a small bowl, mix mayo, seasoned salt, and pepper and add to salad.  Toss to coat.  Serve either on a bed of lettuce, sandwich bread, or croissants that have been split lengthwise. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tortellini Chicken Soup


Like, cut you to the bone, punch you in the face cold.

I've actually caught myself having quick pep-talks with myself before stepping outside.  The other day my son told me that I can be brave before walking out of the grocery store.

Apparently the fear was all over my face.

Cold must be my kryptonite.

 But cold weather isn't all bad.  It gives full permission to wear oversized hoodies and sweatpants.  It's great weather to snuggle up to someone you love with a hot cup of tea and bowl of popcorn.  And let us not forget about comfort food, namely soups.

Soups really are healing aren't they.  They warm from the inside out.  And even though I'm more partial to thick chowder-style soups, when you have a broth this flavorful, it's hard to resist.  That with big pillowy tortellini to fill your belly makes for a great mood enhancer during these frigid cold days.

Tortellini Chicken Soup
By Favorite Family Dinners


Nonstick Cooking Spray
12 ounces skinless, boneles chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup slived leek or chopped onion
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, slightly crushed (optional, but it does add great flavor)
1 9-ounce package refrigerated tortellini or ravioli of your preference
1/2 cup fresh baby spinach leaves or shredded fresh spinach


1.  Lightly coat an unheated large saucepan with cooking spray.  Heat over medium high heat.  Add chicken; cook and stir for 3 minutes.  Carefully add broth, leek, ginger, and if desired, saffron.

2.  Bring to boiling.  Add tortellini or ravioli.  Return to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, uncovered, for 5 to 9 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Top individual servings with spinach.

Serves 4

Per Serving: 222 cal, 3 g fat, 21 carb, 3 g fiber, 29 g prot

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Southwestern Red Beans and Rice

I've had a tougher time re-adjusting to real life than I expected.  For two weeks life came to a complete standstill.  No school, no church, no real routine, just surviving.  To be completely honest it was kind of nice.  We read a lot of books, caught up on our favorite shows and enjoyed some much needed quiet time that wasn't filled with darkness.

But now school has started, life has commenced, and I'm having a hard time remembering what exactly I was doing before Sandy hit.  I'm ashamed to admit that it made me a bit lazy.  Most of our dinners were something I could quickly throw into the oven or the microwave.  No real preparation.
But now that life is back at full force, I'm grateful for recipes like this.  Warm, homemade bowls full of flavorful food, that won't weigh you down, or wear you out.  Rice and beans doesn't sound like the most exciting dinner, but believe me when I say that we all scarfed this down as if it was our last meal.  Add beef or chicken if you need a bit more protein, but I doubt you'll miss it if you don't.

Southwestern Red Beans and Rice
Adapted from Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast


8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 cup brown or white rice, prepared according to directions
1 16 oz can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with zesty mild green chiles (Rotel)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
4 flour tortillas, or tortilla chips
1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro


1.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; coat pan with cooking spray.  Add mushrooms to pan; cook 6 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.  Stir in rice and next 4 ingredients.  Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

2.  While rice mixutre cooks, warm tortillas accordingly to package directions.  Sprinkle rice mixture iwth cheese and cilantro.  Serve immediately with tortillas.

Serves 4

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Chicken Provolone

I find weeknight meals to be a bit tricky sometimes.  After a long busy day, I rarely want to spend an hour plus in the kitchen.  However, I also don't want to always be turning to boxed pizzas or takeout whenever I've had a long day.  I just want a delicious, home cooked meal that I can whip up in twenty minutes or less, with little cleanup afterwards.  Is that asking too much?
The good news is, thanks to amazing bloggers such as yourselves, AND an endless variety of cookbooks and magazines, there are a ton of ideas out there.  This I found from an old Taste of Home magazine that I'd managed to hold on to.  Seasoned chicken breast, baked with basil, ham and provolone makes for a gooey and flavorful main dish.  Throw in some rice and a side of seasonal fruit and dinner is served in no time.  Now, back to homework, dishes, reading to the kids, cleaning the house, bathtime...
Chicken Provolone
Taste of Home, Healthy Cooking July 2008


4 skinless boneless chicken halves 4 oz each
1/4 teaspoon pepper
cooking spray
8 fresh basil leaves
4 thin slices prosciutto or deli ham
4 slices Provolone cheese


1.  Sprinkle chicken with pepper.  In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook chicken over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.

2.  Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet: top with basil, prosciutto and cheese.  Broil 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Club Pasta

 Not near as embarrassing as a wardrobe malfunction, it seems as though I have suffered a pasta malfunction.  You see my friends, what you see before you started as bowtie pasta, but clearly it did not turn out that way.  Does anyone know if dried pasta actually expires?  Is there a date when your pasta will fall to pieces in your boiling pan?  I don't remember buying bowties in 2001, but maybe I did.

Fortunately tastes was not compromised and this still ended up being a delicious dinner.  I posted this recipe For-E-VER (name that movie) ago, and now I'm re-posting it because it's so simple and delicious.  All the great flavors of a club sandwich tossed together in a warm pasta?  You can't beat that with a stick.

Club Pasta


1 tablespoon of oil
4-5 slices of center cut bacon, chopped, cooked and drained
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups of cooked and chopped chicken or turkey breast
8-10 roma or compari tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup shredded parmesan, mozzarella, or provolone
1 12 oz box bowtie pasta, cooked according to directions
1/4 cup chopped parsley


In a large skillet heat oil and add garlic.  Cook for 1-2 minutes and add chopped tomatoes.  Cook for another four to five minutes until tomato skins are softened.  Add pasta, chicken and bacon.  Cook in pan for five-eight minutes until all ingredients are heated through and well combined.  Add cheese and parsley and stir until cheese melts.  Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chicken Tostadas with Avacado Dressing

For some reason, October always ends up being one of the busiest months of the year for me. And in all honesty, I can't even tell you what it is that constantly has me running all over town! I've just been happy if I get a minute to read a few chapters from my book, or a chance to check in on my blog buddies. So I might be scarce for a while, but hopefully not for long.

I made these delicious and colorful tostadas back in September. And while it's not exactly "fall food" it might be a light and fresh lunch or dinner for a day when you're in the mood for it. This was quick to assemble, and very tasty. Definitely don't leave out the avocado dressing, it was my favorite part!

Chicken Tostadas with Avocado Dressing
Cooking Light August 2011


2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (start with less and add gradually, I didn't think it needed this much)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 ripe peeled avocado
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
4 (6-inch) flour tortillas
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalape?o pepper, minced
2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled queso fresco


1. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3/4 teaspoon oil to pan. Cook 1 tortilla 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Repeat procedure with 2 1/4 teaspoons oil and remaining tortillas.

3. Add remaining oil to pan. Add garlic and jalape?o; sauté 1 1/2 minutes. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes. Place 1 tortilla on each of 4 plates; top each tortilla with 1/2 cup chicken mixture, 1/4 cup lettuce, 2 tablespoons tomato, and 1 tablespoon cheese. Top each serving with 3 tablespoons dressing

Friday, October 14, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Happy Friday everyone! How has your week been? Is it just me, or does October always feel uncharacteristically busy? Maybe it's the upcoming holidays, or maybe I'm finally just getting my stuff done instead of reading a book for a change, ha! Either way, it's flying by.

Pinterest came to the rescue with this dish after realizing that it was 5'oclock and I had absolutely no idea what we were going to eat that night. It was honestly one of the best pasta dishes I've ever had, the flavors were delicious, and it was so easy to make. My husband and I had to fight over who got the leftovers :) And of course, any dish that my kids will eat is an instant winner in our house. Make this pasta, I promise you won't regret it.

Check out the recipe here
, Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour is an adorable blog. Enjoy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Zucchini Pasta Pancake

One of the things I miss most about having a yard of my own is my garden. How can you beat all of those homegrown summer veggies? And while the season for that is ending, I've still been hearing people ask what to do with the zucchini that continues to fill their kitchens to the brim.

To be honest, this recipe started out as something cheap and convenient. I had most of what I needed, and I really wasn't expecting much more than to be fed quickly. I was very pleasantly surprised with the outcome, these were delicious! And it wasn't just me and my husband that thought so. Our kids gobbled them down faster than we could flip more up for them. They were just delicious slathered in marinara and Parmesan. I highly recommend these veggie packed flap jacks.

Zucchini Pasta Pancake
Adapted from Cooking Light July 2011


3 cups shredded zucchini
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 (8-ounce) package angel hair pasta, broken into 3-inch pieces, I used Orzo
1/2 cup lower-sodium marinara sauce
1 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon butter


1. Place zucchini in a colander, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss well. Drain for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. Press zucchini between paper towels until barely moist.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

3. Bring marinara to a simmer in a small saucepan; keep warm.

4. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, flour, and the next 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Add zucchini and pasta to bowl; toss well.

5. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini mixture to pan, pressing down. The recipe originally says to cook it all as one big pancake, but it worked better for us to do smaller ones one at a time. Cook for 5 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned. Carefully turn pancake over; cook 5 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned. I loved them extra crispy. Cut into 8 wedges. Serve with marinara.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Just in this last year, I have discovered my love for the flavors of Buffalo Chicken. And it's a good thing too, it seems to be everywhere these days! In the form of sandwiches, pastas, casseroles, and of course, you can't beat the old fashioned wing.

I found this idea on Pinterest, in need of using up the last bit of KC Masterpiece Buffalo Marinade I received as a part of the Foodbuzz Program. It's so easy, and so tasty! The chicken comes out tender, spicy and slightly sweet, which is the perfect thing to pair with pungent blue cheese and crisp lettuce. Wrapped in a tortilla and you have a finger licking lunch on your hands. It will definitely warm your belly on these cooler fall days.

Buffalo Chicken Wraps


4-5 flour or whole wheat tortillas
5-6 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
1 1/2 cup Buffalo Chicken Marinade or preferred hot sauce
Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola crumbles
Blue Cheese or Ranch dressing
chopped lettuce and tomato (optional)


In a crockpot, combine chicken thighs and Buffalo Sauce. Cook on high for 3-5 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and falls apart easily. Shred chicken with sauce.

Assemble wrap with chicken, Blue Cheese, dressing, lettuce and tomato. Wrap tightly and fasten with toothpicks if desired. Enjoy! Napkins recommended!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Berries and Chocolate

Growing up with my parents meant learning how to say thank you. You say thank you when someone passes you the broccoli at the table, you send a thank you card when given a gift, and when someone goes out of their way to really do something nice, you say thank you in style, like this platter of berries and chocolate.

My mom really wanted to say thank you to a local dental office after they went above and beyond to beautify her smile. We put our heads together and decided on a platter of fruit and chocolate. Costco had a gorgeous selection of Rainier cherries, strawberries and blackberries, so we went with those. We then set to work making Funfetti cakeballs, raspberry cheesecake bites, and Ghiradhelli brownie bites (from the boxed mix).

It turned out to be a really fun platter to deliver, and it was definitely a crowd pleaser. You could do something like this for a shower, a party, or a fun way to surprise a loved one. And of course, it's a wonderful way to say thank you!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema

If you ever go to Mission Beach in San Diego, there is a little Restaurant on the boardwalk called Roberto's. There you will find some of the freshest and best fish tacos you've ever sunk your teeth into. It's a highlight when we vacation there, and I definitely get my fill! Since then, it's been really hard to find a fish taco that I've liked as much as those, but these are definitely close! They're also quite a bit lighter.

What I like most about these tacos, besides the fact that they're crazy delicious, is how easy they are to make. The ingredients are all very accessible, most you will already have in your fridge or pantry, and if you don't want to fire up the grill, then you can roast the fish in the oven. I like to eat these while imagining that I'm sitting on the beach!

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema
From Cooking Light December 2006

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 pounds red snapper fillets
Cooking spray
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cabbage (or use a bagged coleslaw mix)


Preheat oven to 425°.

To prepare crema, combine the first 8 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

To prepare tacos, combine cumin and next 5 ingredients (through garlic powder) in a small bowl; sprinkle spice mixture evenly over both sides of fish (don't be shy with it, get it good and coated). Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Place fish in a bowl; break into pieces with a fork. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish evenly among tortillas; top each with 1/4 cup cabbage and 1 tablespoon crema.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cuban Sandwich Quesadillas

I'm packing my bags.

Getting ready to go.

To see my sweet fam.

In Id-A-Ho!

I won't be around.

For a month or two.

But rest assured.

I'll be thinking of you!

So have a great summer.

Keep making great food.

Soak up that sunshine.

And I'll see you soon!

These quesadillas are made with a pork cooked in the crockpot. They are so easy and quick to make, and the pork is AMAZING. A great weeknight family pleaser for sure.

Cuban Sandwich Quesadillas
By Skinnytaste (LOVE HER!)


1 oz slow cooked Pernil

1 slice reduced fat swiss (I used Sargento)
1 oz ham (I uses Hillshire Farm 97% fat free)
1 slice kosher pickle
6 inch low carb whole wheat tortilla (La Tortilla Factory)


Heat a non-stick pan over low heat. Spray with cooking spray and place tortilla on pan (I used my panini press). On half of the tortilla, place a piece of cheese, pork, ham, pickle and mustard. When cheese is melted, fold the quesadilla in half and flip to heat other side. Remove from heat and cut into 3 pieces.

See you in a few months!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Corn and Black Bean Salad

I feel like after blogging for over three years, you're allowed throw in a repeat every now and again, especially if it's as good as this salad.

This is probably more of a dip then a salad, but really it can go either way. While it's probably served best as an appetizer or party food, I'd be perfectly happy eating a big bowl of this stuff for lunch, just throw in some whole grain tortilla chips and you've got one flavorful and nutrient packed lunch. This would also make a great addition to your taco salad, nachos, burritos or tacos. Gosh, I already want to make this again!

Corn and Black Bean Salad


2 cans black beans-drained and rinsed
2 can corn-drained
1 red onion chopped
2 avocados chopped (I omitted avocados this time around, but it is good)
1 red pepper chopped
1 yellow or orange pepper chopped
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes halved
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

2 TB lime juice (fresh if possible)
2-3 tsp chili powder
1-2 tsp salt (kosher salt if you have it)
1-2 TB olive oil


When chopping veggies, try to make them as uniform in size as possible.

Combine all of the veggies, including cilantro, in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine lime juice, chili powder and salt. Then, whisk in olive oil to desired consistency, there won't be a lot of dressing, but it will be STRONG. Add dressing to salad and toss well. Serve with tortilla chips, those Scoops chips are great with this salad.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Simple Yogurt Parfaits

I worry a lot about what I feed my kids. Living in a world where exercise is limited for kids, and junk food is widely available, I like to do as much as possible to keep them healthy and active. One of my hardest times is when my daughter comes home from school absolutely starving. I'm always on the lookout for healthy snacks that won't fill her up too much before dinner.

This particular snack was a total hit, and super easy. Just any flavor of yogurt, layered with any type of fruit and granola. And since my daughter is quite fancy, the pretty cup didn't hurt either. It's such a simple idea that I'm almost embarrassed to post it, but if you're in the same boat as me, you're up for any snack ideas. So I'll ask you guys...

What kinds of healthy snacks and meals do you feed your kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews? Any tips to get them to eat healthier foods?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Asian Glazed Chicken Thighs

I should have listened to that little voice that kept telling me to stay home today.

Like when I was kept up most of the night by my neighbor's car alarm.

Or when I woke up to no electricity.

Or when I had to pry my kids out of their bed with a crowbar, bribes of a million dollars, and threats of never seeing the light of day again.

Maybe after those things I should know better then to take my freshly numbed and drilled son to Burger King, where he will inevitably chew his lips to bits, cry for days when his tomato falls out of his burger, and bite a chunk out of his friend's shoulder.

After said day I should have just expected that my totally innocent looking toilet was planning to completely flood the bathroom.

Thank goodness for reruns of Glee and lemon bars.

And thank goodness for recipes like this to save you after rough days. You can still end your day triumphantly with flavorful aromatic chicken thighs. Just marinate, bake, baste and enjoy.

Now let's all take a deep breath.

Asian Glazed Chicken Thighs
Cooking Light March 2011


1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons chile paste (such sambal oelek)
10 garlic cloves, minced
12 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned (we used boneless)
Cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Combine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, chile paste, and garlic, stirring until honey dissolves. Pour vinegar mixture into a zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally. Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade.

2. Preheat oven to 425°.

3. Place reserved marinade in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes or until syrupy, stirring occasionally. Place chicken on a rack coated with cooking spray, and place rack in a roasting pan. Baste chicken with reserved marinade; sprinkle evenly with salt. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes; baste. Bake an additional 10 minutes; baste. Discard remaining marinade. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until done. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Per Serving: 306 cal, 15g fat, 27 prot, 12g carb

What do you do to recover from a tough day?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Favorite Pasta Salad

People always say that summertime is a good time to lose weight. Since it's hot out, your appetite lessens, and everyone would rather munch on fruit and veggies instead of rich soups and casseroles.

And it makes sense, but somehow summer still ends up being the toughest season for me to maintain my weight. And the reason is that I'm such a sucker for those delicious potluck and barbecue foods. Potato salad, pasta salad, apple pie, lemon bars, cheeseburgers and hotdogs grilled over charcoal, the list goes on. Give me a plate of that goodness, combined with awesome friends and a warm summer night, and life truly doesn't get better. I'm already looking forward to it, I just might have to replace the extra potato salad with a juicy slice of watermelon instead.

This pasta is one of my summer faves. It's so easy to make, keeps for several days and is delicious either cold or room temp, making it a very convenient picnic item. You have most likely had a version of pasta salad similar to this, but I had to post this anyway because it's just so dang good.

Pasta Salad


2 packets Italian Dressing, prepared according to directions, I used the less oil option (using the stuff from the packet vs. the bottle really does make a difference, it's worth the extra step!)
1 lb tricolor pasta
8 oz salami, diced
8 oz provolone or pepperjack cheese, diced (I used provolone for this, but next time I will use pepperjack, I like a good kick)
8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green pepper
2 cans olives, sliced


1. Cook pasta according to directions, drain and cool.

2. Combine all ingredients and toss well. Keep chilled, it tastes best after it has a few hours to sit and blend flavors.

When is it hardest for you to eat healthy. Any tips on maintaining during those times?
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