BBQ Nachos

– johanna | August 27th, 2008

Filed under: RECIPES - Appetizer, RECIPES - Snacks

As a born and bred Southern Gal turned California chic, I occasionally get the hanker’n for some good ol’ southern barbecue. This summer I returned to my roots when I went to visit my family in South Florida. Before my arrival, my brother asked me what I wanted for dinner that night. I immediately requested, BBQ. Upon arriving in Florida, my brother stopped off for take out at a local BBQ restaurant. One of his must haves was their BBQ Nachos. At the mention of BBQ Nachos, I was quite intrigued. They were just like nachos only they had BBQ sauce on them. This is my own version based on what I remember.

Tortilla chips
Shredded chicken
BBQ Sauce
red onion
green onions
Pico de Gallo

Place a layer of chips in an oven proof dish. Sprinkle with cheese and any combination of toppings. Add another layer of chips and cheese. Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted. Add additional toppings and serve.

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Pesto Potato Salad

– johanna | August 25th, 2008

Filed under: RECIPES - Appetizer, RECIPES - Sides, RECIPES - Soup / Salad

This is another recipe from Ellie Krieger of the Foodnetwork.

1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
1 yellow pepper, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 red pepper, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup Basil Pesto, recipe follows
Salt and pepper
Put the potatoes in a large steamer basket over boiling water and steam for 20 minutes, or until they are cooked though, but the skins remain intact. Set them aside until they are cool enough to handle. Quarter the potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Add the peppers and the pesto and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and chill.

Basil Pesto:
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic
3 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over a medium heat, until fragrant and golden brown, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. In a food processor, process the pine nuts and the garlic until minced. Add the basil, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice and process until finely minced. With processor on, slowly pour the oil down the food chute. Process until well blended. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Note: This recipe leaves you with extra pesto. I like to freeze leftovers in an ice cube tray.

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Pineapple Rings

– johanna | August 25th, 2008

Filed under: RECIPES - Treats

Ellie Krieger is one of my favorite chefs. I love her no-nonsense style to creating healthy meals. You can find more of her recipes on or her books “The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life and Small Changes”, “Big Results: A 12-Week Action Plan to a Better Life.”

1 (3 to 4 pound) pineapple
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rum
1 pint light vanilla ice cream

Cut the top and bottom off of the pineapple, peel and cut it crosswise into 8 rings, about 1/2-inch each. Use a spoon or apple corer to carve out the center core of each ring.
Spray a large grill pan with cooking spray and heat over a medium flame. Grill the pineapple, in 2 or 3 batches, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until it is nicely brown and grill marks have appeared. (You can also grill this on an outdoor grill sprayed with cooking spray before being heated.)
While the last batch of pineapple cooks, heat the butter, sugar and rum in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat.
Place a pineapple ring on each plate, scoop 1/4 cup of ice cream into the center of the ring, and drizzle about 2 teaspoons of sauce on top.

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Omelet Bar

– johanna | August 25th, 2008

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Main Dish

omelet Bar

While I was vacationing this summer in Florida, most mornings we had an Omelet for breakfast. I have made two omelets in my life time. I tried making an omelet in my stainless steel skillet once, but it turned into scrambled eggs. The first time I successfully made an omelet, was when I received a set of non-stick pans. The second time was while I was in Florida visiting my family at the request of my sister. We typically eat breakfast for dinner on Sunday. This past Sunday, I decided to have an omelet bar. The kids were a little hesitant at first. They are two and four. But after a little coercing, they gobbled it up.

A small non-stick skillet
A spatula
A ladle

1 tsp or more butter per omelet
Vegetables, diced (green peppers, green onions, garlic, red onions, jalapenos. mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, potatoes, tomatoes, herbs)
Cooked meats, diced (bacon, sausage, ham)
Eggs, about two to three egg whites or 1 egg plus two egg whites per person

Place the meats and vegetables in different bowls. Heat the skillet on medium heat. In a bowl, whisk the eggs until completely combined. Melt some butter in the skillet. Add the desired herbs, vegetables and/or meats. Cook for a few minutes to soften.

Making Omelets


Pour 1 ladle of egg mixture in the pan. As the egg cooks, lift the sides up while tilting the pan to allow the mixture to accumulate underneath. Once the egg starts to set and thicken, flip the omelet over. Sprinkle with cheese. Cook for a couple of minutes until set. Flip one side over and remove from heat.

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Snow Cones

– johanna | August 17th, 2008

Filed under: RECIPES - Beverage

We pulled out our slurpee/snowcone maker, dusted it off and made a refreshing treat with this recipe I found online, but I apologize I have no clue where I got. It was a site that had all these great cool summer kid treats. Once I locate it, I will update this post. Until then, enjoy her version of an easy snow cone.

1 Envelope KOOL-AID, Unsweetened, any flavor
1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup cold water
8 Cups finely crushed ice

Place soft drink mix and sugar in small bowl. Add cold water; stir to dissolve. For each serving, pour about 1 tablespoon soft drink mixture over 1 cup ice.

Use 3/4 cup KOOL-AID Sugar-Sweetened Soft Drink Mix, any flavor; omit sugar.

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Sausage Bread

– johanna | August 17th, 2008

Filed under: BUDGET MEALS, RECIPES - Appetizer, RECIPES - Breads, RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Snacks

This recipes comes from an issue of the Southern Living magazine. It is one of my family’s favorite to go breakfast meals. These can be made up in advance and frozen.

1 (1 lb) package ground pork sausage, hot or mild
1 (11-oz) can refrigerated French bread dough
1 1/2 cups shredded pizza cheese blend

Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove from pan; drain well, pressing between paper towels.
Unroll dough into a rectangle shape on a lightly greased baking sheet; sprinkle evenly with sausage and cheese. Beginning with one long side, roll up, jelly-roll fashion. Turn, seam side down, on baking sheet, and pinch end to secure filling inside. Cut 3 (1/4-inch deep) slits across top of dough with a sharp knife.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

You can buy the dough or make the dough. I have even used homemade pizza dough and it turned out fine.
I have also substituted shredded mozzarella with a cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend instead of the pizza cheese.
I gave this recipe to a friend of mine who tried adding scrambled eggs. She said it worked great and held well in the freezer.

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Heavenly Snack Bars

– johanna | August 10th, 2008

Filed under: RECIPES - Snacks

This is a recipe submitted by Sharon Chupp to the Family Circle Magazine.

2 cups crisp rice cereal
2 cups peanut butter flavored corn and oat cereal
2 cups marshmallows
2 cups chopped pecans
1 1/2 pounds white chocolate, chopped

Coat a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine rice cereal, peanut butter cereal, marshmallows and pecans. Place chopped chocolate in a medium sized bowl. Microwave on high for about 3 minutes, stirring halfway through. Stir until smooth. Pour melted chocolate over cereal mixture and stir until coated. Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm. Cut into 24 squares.

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Nutty Popcorn Balls

– johanna | August 10th, 2008

Filed under: RECIPES - Snacks

Nutty popcorn bars is a great new take on protein bars. This recipe came from the June 2007 Heath Magazine, created by David Gaus an Executive pastry chef in Washington DC. Beware! I can never only eat one.  They are so tasty.

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
12 cups popcorn (without salt or fat)
Cooking spray
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
5 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Place oats and peanuts on a baking sheet; bake for 12 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and cool completely.
Place popped corn in a very large heatproof bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Set aside a 15 X 10 X 1-inch jelly roll pan sprayed with cooking spray.
In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar and honey. Heat over medium heat stirring until mixture comes to a boil. Let mixture boil for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt and vanilla.
Pour hot syrup over popped corn and mix until well coated. Stir in raisins, oats and peanuts. Spread evenly onto prepared pan. Allow to cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Turn out onto a large cutting board; cut 24 equal squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

In a pinch I have used salted peanuts and packaged low sodium low fat popcorn.
I have also thrown in some almonds and cashews with the peanuts to make one cup.
Golden Raisin or Cranberries are a nice addition as well.

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Peanut Butter Granola Balls

– johanna | August 10th, 2008

Filed under: RECIPES - Snacks

This recipe comes from Everyday Foods magazine. It is easy enough for little kids to make.

1/3 cup Honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp butter
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup dried fruit, such as raisins, cherries, or cranberries

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the honey, peanut butter and butter. Stir until loosened and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cereal, oats and dried fruit.
Drop the mixture by the tablespoon into mini paper cupcake or candy liners. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. To store refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Natural peanut butter is a better choice because it does not contain all the extra oils, sugar and salt as the commercial brands.
Try different types of cereal such as Special K or chopped wheat squares.

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Apple Pancakes

– johanna | August 5th, 2008

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast

I think I found this recipe on Amazingly to me, the pancakes taste like I am eating apple pie. Try them with Buttermilk Syrup or with flavored yogurt and fruit.

2 eggs, room temperature
1 2/3 cups milk, room temperature
8 oz plain yogurt, room temperature
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, milk, yogurt and oil until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir into the milk mixture until smooth. Fold in chopped apple.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each cake. Cook until bubbles form in the cakes and the bottoms are golden brown. Flip and cook the other side. Serve warm with syrup or jam.

Substitute some of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour and wheat germ.
The recipe calls for diced apples however

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