Monday, May 28, 2012

Skinny Summer Dessert: "Deconstructed" Chocolate Strawberry Pie

So, I mentioned that I'm on a summer torture diet plan.  It's really not that bad.  I eat pretty clean already...I've just cut out the snacks (and I'm a snacking girl).  My husband is also eating better, and my parents are both on Weight Watchers right now.  All of these circumstances combined, makes for a grumpy bunch (just kidding!) - the circumstances definitely make "food get-togethers" challenging.
We must have a dessert.  Hence, this tasty treat made it's way into our lives ... to stay!  Everyone was smiling after tasting this sweet treat!
Best dishes and yummy dreams!


Skinny Chocolate Strawberry "Pie"
Serves 6

2 boxes of sugar-free, fat-free chocolate pudding
skim milk (according to package instructions)
reduced fat graham crackers, or pie crust (crumbled)
15-20 sliced strawberries
fat-free Cool Whip

1.  Prepare the pudding using skim milk according to package directions.  Allow to set in the refrigerator.
2.  Get 6 glasses and crumble one graham cracker in the bottom of each glass. 
3.  Place one cup of pudding on the crackers.
4.  Top the pudding with 1/2 c. - 1 c. sliced strawberries
5.  Add Cool Whip and enjoy!

Thanks for reading! xo

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Black Bean Burgers

We've never even eaten veggie burgers.  Trust me, I was pretty much prepared for "dinner failure."  Although we adore black beans, I wasn't so sure about making them into a "burger." 
First, I watched my little munchkin eat the burger ... good sign.  Then, I held my breath while my mister tried one.  He liked them too ... what?!  They were GOOD!  I have so many variations of this recipe in my head now.  I love it!  The best part was that I used the black beans that I made in the slow cooker. (Once a month, I cook black beans in my slow cooker while I'm at work, one bag makes enough to separate them into four freezer bags and we use one bag per week in a recipe.  Perfect!  They taste great because I cook them in stock and garlic, no yucky canned goods or added salt!)  My husband is right... I'm totally becoming a "hippie"  ha ha.  I'm okay with that.

Black Bean Burgers
Recipe: Laura on

2 c. cooked black beans
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed
1 egg
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. sriracha
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 - 1 c. bread crumbs

If baking in the oven, set the oven to 375 degrees.
If grilling, turn the grill on medium-low.

1.  Mash the black beans with a fork.
2.  Place the peppers, onions, and garlic cloves in the food processor to mince the vegetables.
3.  Before adding the veggie mixture to the beans, place the veggie mixture in between sheets of paper towel to soak up the excess moisture.
4.  Combine the egg, chili powder, cumin, sriracha, and salt in a separate small bowl.
5.  Pour the egg mixture into the bowl of black beans and veggies.  Mix well.
6.  Add 1/2 c. bread crumbs.  If the mixture is too sticky, add up to another 1/2 c.  The mixture should be sticky enough to form burgers that don't fall apart, but it shouldn't be overly wet either. 
7.  Place them into the oven on a lined pan for 10 minutes per side, or grill on oiled aluminum foil for 15-20 minutes. 

Top with spinach, onion, hummus, and cheddar or pepper jack cheeses!  

Thanks for reading! xo

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Citrus Berry White Sangria

This probably isn't the "proper" way to make sangria, but we love love love it!  This is our staple summer "happy hour" drink.  Not too sweet, not too tart, perfectly light and lovely!  What's your summer drink? Cheers, friends!
Best dishes and yummy dreams!


Citrus Berry White Sangria

3 lemon slices
3 lime slices
5 sliced strawberries
1 c. raspberries
1/2 c. blackberries 

1 and 1/2 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc
3 c. Diet Sierra Mist 
1/2 - 1 c. Triple Sec 

1.  Place the fruit into a glass container that has a lid.
2.  Pour in the wine, soda, and liquor.  Mix well, chill and serve!

Thanks for reading! 
Until next time... xo

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fab Friday Finds #11: Cravings

Cravings... no I'm not preggers, just on a little "summer eating plan"  ... ha.  Which means that my dreams each night include all of the lovely food I'm not allowing myself to eat.  Sigh...
My finds this week include yummy things that I'm craving and pinning for my "cheat" moments in my little torture plan... I mean "summer eating plan" ;)
Best dishes and yummy dreams!


Recipe and photo courtesy of Jo Cooks
We love jalapenos ... what a great idea, and there's nothing better than buttered, grilled corn!

Recipe and photo courtesy of Sunday Baker

Recipe and photo courtesy of E is for Eat
I adore anything chicken parm.  I love that she breaded and baked the chicken ... my speciality!  You know I love good bread too and the bread in this pic looks amazing!

Recipe and photo courtesy of Words of Deliciousness
I think this one will be my next Slow Cooker Sunday recipe, minus the butter and with the awesome homemade ranch seasoning I pinned a few weeks ago! 

Recipe and photo courtesy of Once a Mom Always a Cook
I'd drink this any time of the day. 

I shared this with Finding Joy in My Kitchen!  
Thanks for reading! xo

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

I was so excited about this recipe that I made it on Mother's Day... yes, I made it.  The plan was for my husband to make dinner on Mother's Day, then I decided that there was really nothing I'd like more than a few peaceful minutes in the kitchen to whip up this yummy dish.  We loved it!  It's definitely a keeper!  It's the best recipe I've ever found for any chicken leftovers and I enjoyed these taquitos more than many fried versions I've tasted.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the kitchen, my whole family adored this dish ... which always makes my heart happy... and I got to play with the new camera my sweet mister bought for me!  
What a perfect Mother's Day.  This poem sums up my feelings for my precious little girl ... I know my mommy friends can totally relate!  Hope your day was just as beautiful.
Best dishes and yummy dreams!


Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Recipe by:  Our Best Bites
Makes about 15 taquitos

1/3 c. reduced-fat cream cheese
1/4 c. salsa verde (tomatillo and jalapeno salsa)
1 tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 tbsp. sliced green onions
2 c. shredded, cooked chicken
1/2 c to 1 c. shredded pepper jack cheese

15 corn tortillas (my pictures show flour, but I prefer the corn)
olive oil spray
kosher salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 and spray a pan with olive oil, or nonstick spray.  
2.  Microwave the cream cheese for 30 seconds to soften.
3.  In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder.
4.  Add the fresh herbs, green onions, chicken, and cheese.
5.  Heat the tortillas to make them easier to work with and then place about 2-3 tbsp. of the mixture on the tortilla.
6.  Roll the tortilla as tightly as possible and place it on the baking sheet.
7.  Once all of the taquitos are prepared and on the sheet, spray them with olive oil or nonstick spray and sprinkle with kosher salt.

8.  Bake for 15 minutes and serve with salsa or guacamole. 

Thanks for reading! xo

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Strawberry Cheesecake Shortcake Sandwiches

One irresistible bite of summer.  
These adorable sandwiches were my attempt at a creative summer dessert.  We loved them - to the very last bite!  The cookies are actually shortbread not "shortcake," but the dessert reminded me of strawberry shortcake ... just a little more irresistible!  Let's face it, cheesecake makes everything better!  I cut a few calories by leaving the cookie "top" off of mine... that counts, right? 
Best dishes and yummy dreams!


Strawberry Cheesecake Shortcake Sandwiches
Cheesecake recipe adapted from:
Shortbread recipe:

1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 c. flour, sifted
1 tsp. cornstarch, sifted

8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar

sliced strawberries
whipped cream

Preparing the Cookies:
1.  Grease a shallow (11X7) baking dish and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2.  Mix the softened butter (1 c.) with the 1/2 c. sugar.  
3.  Slowly add in the sifted flour and cornstarch.
4.  Mix with your hands (the mixture should be a little crumbly).  
5.  Spread and evenly push the mixture down into the greased baking dish.  The layer should be relatively thin. 
6.  Bake for 30 minutes, remove, and use a cookie cutter to form the cookies (do NOT remove them from the pan).
7.  Allow the pan to cool, and remove the cookies after making the cheesecake filling.

Preparing the Cheesecake:
1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in a bowl with a mixer.
2.  Add the brown sugar and powdered sugar, blend well.
3.  Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to thicken. 

Assembling the Cookies:
1.  Take one of the cookies out of the pan and spread a thick layer of cheesecake filling on the cookie.
2.  Top with sliced strawberries and another cookie.
3.  Optional:  Top with whipped cream!

Thanks for reading! xo

Monday, May 7, 2012

Crazy Cooking Challenge: Pizza Grilled Cheese

Two of my favorite things in one:  pizza (which I could eat everyday) and grilled cheese - yum!  When I discovered this Pizza Grilled Cheese at Forkful of Comfort, I wondered why I hadn't thought of it before - genius!  There are endless possibilities ... different meats, different veggies, a mix of cheeses!  We adored this and I hope that you will too!
Check out some of the other awesome grilled cheese finds in this month's Mom's Crazy Cooking Challenge!
Best dishes and yummy dreams!

Pizza Grilled Cheese
Recipe adapted from:  Forkful of Comfort

slices of bread (I used Ecce Panis, Country White)
melted, unsalted butter
slices of mozzarella, or your choice of cheeses
sliced pepperoni, or prosciutto 
spinach, any other diced veggies
dried oregano
pizza, or pasta sauce for dipping

1.  Spread the slices of bread with the melted butter (on one side).
2.  Place one slice of bread buttered-side down in a heated pan.  
3.  Add the cheese, meat, oregano, and veggies.
4.  Top with another slice of bread (buttered side facing up).
5.  Toast one side, then flip the sandwich and toast the other side until the cheese is melted.
6.  Heat the pasta sauce and serve with the sandwich for dipping.

Thanks for reading! xo

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fab Friday Finds #10: Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Friday and Happy Cinco de Mayo weekend!
Did you know that Cinco de Mayo isn't a even major holiday in Mexico?  It's actually celebrated on a larger scale here in the United States ... sounds good to me!  I love a reason to eat/drink anything Mexican/American-inspired!  Salud!


Recipe and photo courtesy of:  Real Mom Kitchen
What an adorably yummy twist on chips and salsa! 

Recipe and photo courtesy of:  Simply Recipes
I'm SO ready to make this.  I've been looking for a perfect recipe (since I have a slight aversion to cilantro and most include cilantro).  This one uses parsley and oregano.  Can't wait!

Recipe and photo courtesy of:  Tiny Urban Kitchen
The chimichurri would be absolutely perfect on these tacos!

Recipe and photo courtesy of:  Simply So Good
This is my favorite "Mexican" treat.  I'll probably never actually make it ... but it sure is yummy to look at! 

Recipe and photo courtesy of:  How Sweet Eats
Cheers, friends!  

Thanks for reading! xoxo