Friday, September 30, 2011

Mexican Mac and Cheese

Recipe Adapted From:
Better Homes & Gardens Magazine
March 2011


12 oz. dried mostaccioli or rigatoni pasta (3 cups)
1 lb. bulk pork sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1 16-oz. jar green medium-hot salsa
2 8-oz. pkg. shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 cups)
Tomato wedges, sliced jalapeño peppers, and chopped fresh cilantro
Salsa (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 3-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in large skillet cook sausage and onion until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain fat, Return sausage and onion to skillet. Stir in green salsa.

3. Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes. Top with tomato, jalapeño, and cilantro. If desired, serve with additional salsa. Makes 12 servings.

Notes & Tips:
This was so yummy! Very easy to make. I found rigatoni at the store so that was exciting! You could def. use any kind of noodle that you have. I topped this with tomatoes, cilantro and some mild peppers. The only issue I have with this recipe is that it says it serves 12.... ummm not in this house! More like 6.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories 378
Total Fat (g)22
Carbohydrate (g)25,
Total Sugar (g)4,
Fiber (g)1,
Protein (g)19,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lemon Chicken with Cucumber Salsa

Recipe Adapted From:
The Pampered Chef Casual Cooking Cookbook


Chicken and Marinade
1 broiler-fryer chicken (4 pounds), cut into quarters
2 lemons
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cucumber Salsa
1/2 medium unpeeled cucumber, seeded and coarsley chopped (1 cup)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped red onion
1/3 cup pitted ripe olives, sliced
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1. For chicken and marinade, rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Trim any excess fat from chicken. Zest lemons to measure 1 tablespoon zest. Juice lemons to measure 1/2 cup juice. Place zest and juice in Mixing Bowl. Press garlic into batter bowl. Add oil, oregano, paprika, salt and black pepper; whisk. Remove 2 tablespoons of the marinade and reserve for the salsa.
2. Add chicken to marinade in mixing bowl; turn to coat. Cover; marinate in refrigerator 2-4 hours, turning chicken occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, for salsa, coarsely chop cucumber and onion. Slice olives; dice bell pepper. Place vegetables in small bowl; add reserved 2 tablespoons marinade and mix gently. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Prepare grill for indirect cooking over medium coals. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Place chicken, skin side up, on grid of grill. Grill, covered, 45-50 minutes or until chicken registers 180°F in thickest part of thigh portion and juices run clear. Serve salsa with chicken.

Notes & Tips:
I didn't have any fryer chickens so I just used 3 large chicken breasts. It worked out better because it only took 25-30 to cook through. Also, I didn't any paprika so I subbed in cayenne pepper. Which I loved, the spice was very nice. I served this with couscous.

Nutrition Facts:
Serves 4. Calories 470, Total Fat 27 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 150 mg, Carbohydrate 7 g, Protein 50 g, Sodium 520 mg, Fiber 2 g

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Meatloaf

Recipe taken from:
Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook


1 cup Whole Milk
6 slices White Bread
2 pounds Ground Beef
1 cup (heaping) Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
3/4 teaspoons Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/3 cup Minced Flat-leaf Parsley
4 whole Eggs Beaten
10 slices Thin/regular Bacon
1-1/2 cup Ketchup
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
Tabasco To Taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour milk over the bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.

Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, seasoned salt, salt, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.

With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a broiler pan, which will allow the fat to drain. (Line the bottom of the pan with foil to avoid a big mess!)

Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf.

Make the sauce: add ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and hot sauce in a mixing bowl. Stir together. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the bacon. Spread with a spoon.

Bake for 45 minutes, then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes. Slice and serve with remaining sauce.

Serve with mashed potatoes. Yummy!

Notes & Tips:
Please don't be like me... please use a broiler pan. I don't own one so I "make-shifted" with a cookie pan and my metal cooling racks. The spaces in the cooling rack were WAY too big and my meatloaf fell down and cooked with a metal cooling rack inside. BUT other than all that the meatloaf was incredible! Who wraps bacon over meatloaf?!?! Man it's good.

Nutrition Facts:
No thanks!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce

Recipe Adapted From:
Healthy Cooking, Aug-Sept. 2011


1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup fresh or frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, halved
1/3 cup ruby port wine
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
3/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 bone-in pork loin chops (7 ounces each)
2 teaspoons olive oil


In a small saucepan, saute shallot in oil until tender. Stir in the cherries, wine, vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the coriander, mustard, salt and pepper; rub over chops. In a large skillet, cook chops in oil over medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160°. Serve with sauce. Yield: 2 servings.

Notes & Tips:
This was really good. It tastes like a special occasion recipe, but it was really easy. My chops took a little longer to cook, but I bought really thick cuts. Also, I did not have any port wine, so I just used cooking sherry. This was the perfect recipe to use some of the bing cherries I froze earlier this summer.

Nutrition Facts:
1 pork chop with 1/3 cup sauce equals 356 calories, 16 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 86 mg cholesterol, 509 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 32 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 1-1/2 fat, 1 fruit.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chicken and Tortilla Soup

Recipe Adapted From:
Better Homes & Gardens May 2011


6 cups water
1 3 1/2-lb. whole roasting chicken, cut in 8 pieces
1 large yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped (1/2 cup)
1 stalk celery, chopped (1/2 cup)
8 sprigs cilantro
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground ancho chile pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Corn oil
8 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 32-oz. box reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut in 1/4-inch slices
2 cups sugar snap peas, sliced diagonally
2 small zucchini, cut in 1/4-inch slices (2 cups)
1 cup chopped fresh or canned tomato
1/2 a jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
Cilantro leaves

1. In a 6-quart Dutch oven combine water, chicken, onion, 1/2 cup chopped carrot, the celery, 8 cilantro sprigs, the cumin, chili powder, ancho chile pepper, oregano, and bay leaves. Bring to a boiling, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is very tender, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1/2 inch of corn oil in a large heavy saucepan to 375 degrees F. Add tortilla strips, about one-fourth at a time, and cook until crispy and light golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from saucepan with a slotted spoon. Drain strips on paper towels. Season with salt.

3. Using tongs, remove chicken from liquid; cool chicken. Strain remaining liquid, and discard solids. Return to Dutch oven along with chicken broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

4. Remove meat from bones and discard bones. Tear chicken in 1-inch pieces. Add to broth along with the 2 sliced carrots. Simmer for 3 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas, zucchini, tomato, and jalapeño. Simmer 3 minutes or until tender. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.

5. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, and cilantro. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Notes & Tips:
This soup took a pretty long time to make. The recipe said a little over an hour but it's more like 1 1/2 hours. The timing at the end is off... it takes way more than 3 minutes to cook zucchini. Our favorite part of this was the "chips" SO easy and so yummy. I will def. make the tortilla strips more often. I thought the zucchini and peas were a little odd in a "Mexican" soup, but it actually tasted pretty good.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories 375
Total Fat (g)14
Saturated Fat (g)2,
Monounsaturated Fat (g)4,
Polyunsaturated Fat (g)7,
Cholesterol (mg)89,
Sodium (mg)618,
Carbohydrate (g)29,
Total Sugar (g)6,
Fiber (g)6,
Protein (g)34,
Vitamin C (DV%)43,
Calcium (DV%)11,
Iron (DV%)14,
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Butterscotch Chocolate Cake

Recipe Adapted From:
Taste of Home Cookbook 2010


1 package (18-1/4 ounces) chocolate cake mix
1 jar (17 ounces) butterscotch ice cream topping
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 Butterfinger candy bars (2.1 ounces each), coarsely crushed

Prepare and bake cake according to package directions, using a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, poke 12 holes in warm cake. Pour butterscotch topping over cake; cool completely.
Spread with whipped topping; sprinkle with candy. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Notes & Tips:
I didn't have a box of chocolate cake mix, so I made my own. I used a yellow cake mix plus 1/4 cup cocoa powder. This cake was a huge hit!

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia

Recipe Adapted From:
Healthy Cooking Magazine:
August-September 2011


6 tilapia fillets (6oz. each)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning (such as, Old Bay)


Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, and salt. Mix well.
Broil 3-4 from the heat for 10-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Notes & Tips:
I thought this tasted great! I served this with a salad. I will say I think it could use a little more seasoning.

Nutrition Facts:
Serves 6
Calories: 225 | Total Fat: 12.8g | Cholesterol: 63mg

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tomato Bisque

Recipe Adapted From:

2 pounds tomatoes
2 cubes beef bouillon, crumbled
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart milk


1. Run the tomatoes through a food mill to remove the seeds and skins, and place in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the bouillon, sugar, salt, bay leaf, basil and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. (If you're going to can this mixture, process it now.)
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour all at once to form a roux, cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk, a little at a time, cooking and stirring constantly until thickened. Stir into tomato mixture and heat through.

Notes & Tips:

I don't have a food mill, so I just used a blender. I didn't worry about the seeds or the peel, because I used a mix of canned tomatoes and fresh. I used 3 good sized fresh tomatoes and 1 regular sized can of diced tomatoes with celery and onion. I blended them all together until smooth. If you'd like a super creamy smooth bisque, you can de-seed and peel the tomatoes before you blend them. The color of the soup after I added the milk seemed light, but the flavor was wonderful. I used a mixture of whole milk and 1/2 and 1/2, since I had a little 1/2 and 1/2 left over from earlier this week. (Oh and by the way, so you don't have to look it up 1 quart eqals 4 cus) I served this with grilled cheese sandwiches.
Also, the orginal recipe mentioned that you can stop after simmering the tomato mixture and can base, which sounded like a good idea if you were making a mega batch of this.

Nutrition Facts:
Serves 4
Calories: 420 | Total Fat: 28.5g | Cholesterol: 81mg

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Corn and Bean Fritters with Tomatoes

Recipe Adapted From:
Better Homes & Gardens, August 2011


4 ears fresh sweet corn or 2 cups frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1 lb. grape or cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 15.5-oz. can butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 6-oz. pkg. Southern-style corn bread mix
1 egg
1 tsp. ground ancho chili or chili powder
Olive oil
Fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley or cilantro leaves (optional)


1. If using fresh corn, cut kernels from cobs; set aside.

2. Meanwhile, coarsely chop, halve, and/or slice tomatoes. In small saucepan combine tomatoes, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup water. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. For fritter batter, in large bowl, mash beans with a fork. Add corn, corn bread mix, egg, ground chili, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water; stir to combine.

3. Heat a large griddle or 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil. Drop four 1/2-cup scoops of batter on griddle at a time. Cook 4 minutes per side. Serve fritters with warm tomatoes and parsley and/or cilantro. Makes 4 servings.

Notes & Tips:
These were really good! They would make an excellent side dish or you could eat them as a meatless dinner (which is what we did). The tomato reduction was the best part, I wish I had doubled or tripled this part of the recipe. I served this with the leftover pineapple coleslaw from the other night.

Nutrition facts:

Calories 384
Total Fat (g)11
Saturated Fat (g)2,
Sodium (mg)1574,
Carbohydrate (g)65,
Total Sugar (g)11,
Fiber (g)10,
Protein (g)14,

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Recipe Adapted From:
101 Cookbooks

■ 2 cups all purpose flour
■ 1 cup cocoa, sifted
■ 1/2 teaspoon salt
■ 2 teaspoon baking soda
■ 1 teaspoon allspice
■ 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
■ 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
■ 1/4 cup melted butter
■ 3/4 cup vegetable oil
■ 3 eggs
■ 1 teaspoon vanilla
■ 1/2 cup buttermilk
■ 2 cups zucchini, washed and dried, ends and stems removed, cut in half lengthwise and seeded, and grated
■ 1 cup dark chocolate chips (you can also use semi-sweet if you prefer)

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 20 muffin cups with muffin liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2.In a large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, allspice and cinnamon; set aside.
3.In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, butter and oil. Beat in eggs, one at a time until combined. Stir in vanilla, buttermilk, zucchini and chocolate chips. Gently stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
4.Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and muffin tops are springy to the touch, 20 to 24 minutes; rotating halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Notes & Tips:
If you use 1/4 cup scoop to measure out batter, you will end up with more than 20 muffins...oh darn! This is a great way to use up some of that surplus zucchini you have from the summer crops.

Nutrition Facts:
Just be happy you're adding a vegetable into a treat!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chicken and Vegetable Spaghetti

Recipe Adapted From:
Better Homes & Gardens Magazine, August 2011


2 cups frozen, peeled pearl onions
12 oz. dried spaghetti
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
8 oz. broccolini, trimmed, or broccoli, cut in pieces
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
Crushed red pepper (optional)
1- 1/4 cups yellow or red cherry tomatoes (8 oz.)
1 cup chicken broth

1. In large pot of water, cook onions for 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon; set aside. In same water cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup cooking water. Drain pasta; set aside.

2. While pasta cooks, in 12-inch skillet cook chicken in hot oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broccolini and onions. Sprinkle parsley, salt, and red pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, reserved water, and spaghetti. Cover; simmer about 5 minutes or until broth is slightly reduced and vegetables are tender. Makes 4 servings.

Notes & Tips:
I had to change this recipe a little bit to fit the Porter Household tastes...mainly my pregnancy food aversions, haha. #1, I did not use any of the pearl onions, I substituted mushrooms. And #2, If someone could please tell me where in Kansas I can find "broccolini" I'd LOVE to I just used plain old American broccoli. We did use red cherry tomatoes because again, we don't get that fancy food here, only red tomatoes for us.

Nutrition facts:

Calories 453
Total Fat (g)6
Saturated Fat (g)1,
Sodium (mg)318,
Carbohydrate (g)71,
Total Sugar (g)5,
Fiber (g)5,
Protein (g)27,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pineapple Coleslaw

Recipe Adapted From:

5 cups cabbage, shredded
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple, drained and cut into small pieces (drain all juice from pineapple. DO NOT used crushed.)
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
salt and pepper


1. Mix cabbage and pineapple.
2. Mix cream, mayo, sugar, spices and vinegar.
3. Add cream dressing to cabbage and pineapple.
4. Salt and pepper to taste.
5. Store covered in refrigerator 1-2 hours before serving.

Notes & Tips:

I think this tasted great! I used it on top of my pork burgers (see recipe below). I did add celery seed, maybe about a teaspoon, and instead of regular black pepper, I used white pepper, which I think has a slightly tangier taste to it.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories 205.7
Total Fat 11.6 g
Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 13.2 mg
Sodium 223.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
Sugars 16.5 g
Protein 1.6 g

Quick and Easy Pork Burgers

Recipe Taken From:

1 lb ground pork (or ground beef if you like)
5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon Season-All salt (or other favorite seasoning, like Lawry's)
0.25 (1 1/4 ounce) package dry onion soup mix (optional)


1. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.
2. Let the mix refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Then press the mixture into patties (I make 4 of them).
4. You have many choices on how to cook these!
5. You could also cook them on the outdoor grill for 5-10 minutes each, or until they are cooked throughly. (you could also do this on a stove top or indoor grill)
8. Serve on a bun, or by itself.

Notes & Tips:
I didn't have any basil today, so I used McCormick's Carribean Seasoning. Also, I didn't have any of the onion soup mix, so I subbed in a little bit of ranch dip mix. I felt like before the burgers were cooked they are super super wet. I would probably cut back on the W-Sauce next time. I served this topped with homemade pineapple slaw.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories 325.0
Total Fat 24.1 g
Saturated Fat 8.9 g
Cholesterol 81.7 mg
Sodium 272.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 6.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Sugars 2.9 g
Protein 19.5 g