Friday, April 27, 2012

Another Year Down...

Well, time marches on, eh?  I turned 30 today (well, I guess yesterday, technically, since I'm a couple hours past midnight).  Yeow!  And let me tell you, probably once a week I think, rather wistfully, of how easy things were in you could see your friends every day if you wanted to.  Don't get me wrong...I wouldn't go back in time or anything, even if I could.  I like where I'm at in my life.  However, it's amazing how difficult it gets to coordinate work and home and friends once you're out in the real world.  And it just keeps getting more difficult as people get married, have kids, move away, change jobs...and around and around we go!  I say this every year, but this year I'm really going to make a better effort MAKE time to see my friends!  I think I made some improvements this year, but still...there's got to be a way to figure it out.  I'll keep working on it.  Meanwhile, if anybody figures out the magic formula, please let me know :)  lol.  Have a good one!

Baked Honey Oatmeal w/ Raspberries & Pistachios...

First off, can I just say that I don't get peoples' obsession with pistachios?  I mean, yeah they taste good, but seriously.  It's the same problem I have with chicken wings.  It's a lot of work for not a whole lot of payoff.  That said, they are quite good in this recipe, so I guess I'll consider dealing with the shells again to have this recipe again (or perhaps I'll try another nut in there altogether).  I've been obsessed with trying to find a go-to oatmeal recipe for the freezer rotation, and I do believe this might be it.  I gave in to temptation and ate one while they were still warm and ohmigosh...soooooooo good.  I'll definitely be making them again.  The original recipe is on Munchin with Munchkin.  I used 2% milk and just went with generic honey, but otherwise I pretty much followed the recipe exactly.  Here goes:

Baked Honey Oatmeal with Raspberries & Pistachios
6 servings, 223 calories each


1 c. rolled oats
2 T. honey
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. applesauce
1/2 c. raspberries
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. pistachios


Mix all ingredients together.  Spoon into greased muffin tin.  Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool for 10-15 minutes before carefully removing from tin.  Try not to eat them all right away :)

Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes...

It seems like cauliflower is popping up in the lieu of potatoes all over the place these days.  I'll admit, I was resistant to the idea at first.  However, when I saw the picture of this one, I thought it was worth a shot.  I had a little piece of one and it was really potato pancakes only with a creamier texture inside.  The original recipe is at A Good Appetite and her pictures do way more justice than mine do.  One of these days, I'm going to figure out how to be a better food photographer.  Until then though, at least they're good enough to tell if things have gone horribly awry mid-recipe :)  lol. 

Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes
8 servings, 123 calories each


1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
2 eggs
1/2 c. shredded cheddar
1/2 c. panko
1/2 tsp. cayenne (more or less, to taste)
Salt, to taste
Olive oil


Cook florets in boiling water until tender (about 10 minutes).  Drain and mash while still warm.  Stir in cheese, panko, eggs, and seasonings.  Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium high.  Spoon cauliflower mixture into patties in skillet, and cook till golden brown on each side. 

I'm serving mine with sausage rolls for a total of 457 calories :)

Sausage Rolls...

I stumbled across this recipe on, another one of my favorite idea sites.  The original recipe is at Serious Eats.  It's really easy and only has four ingredients (what?!?  I know!).  Oh, and I forgot to take an ingredient was the end of the day, afterall.  lol :)  I really wanted to try one, but maintained a bit of willpower and waited.  They sure smelled delicious though!

Sausage Rolls
6 servings (2 rolls per serving), 334 calories per serving


1 lb. puff pastry, thawed
1 lb. pork sausage (casings removed, if necessary)
1/4 c. dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten


Divide sausage into 12 equal balls, and shape into 4" links.  Set aside.  Cut puff pastry into 12 equal pieces, approx. 4"x5".  Spread each piece of puff pastry with mustard.  Roll a piece of sausage into each piece of puff pastry, sealing with a line of egg wash.  Brush each roll with egg wash.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until pastry puffs and browns nicely. 

I'm serving mine with cheesy cauliflower pancakes (recipe to follow) for a total of 457 calories each serving :)

Broccoli, Cheese & Mushroom Flipsides...

This was another Pinterest find.  The original recipe is at lisa is cooking and also has a recipe for homemade crust as well.  Me being me, I went ahead and used a store-bought Pillsbury crust :)  One thing about the original, in no way do I see that you would ever need anywhere NEAR as much broccoli as they called for.  I could've made 25 or 30 of them with the pound of broccoli they called for!  That said, I scaled down the amount of broccoli in the recipe...and that still might even be a little too much. 

Broccoli, Cheese & Mushroom Flipsides
10 servings, 345 calories each


1/2 pound broccoli florets, chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 pkg. Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts
2 c. shredded cheddar
1 egg + 2 T. water, beaten
Seasoning, to taste


Combine broccoli, mushrooms, cheese (save a little cheese to put on top later) & seasonings in large bowl.  Roll out pie crusts and cut 10 circles approx 6" in diameter (I just used a cereal bowl to estimate the size).  Brush the whole top side of the first circle with a light coating of egg wash.  Spoon broccoli mixture into the center of the circle.  Fold dough over and crimp edges with a fork to seal.  Place on greased cookie sheet or parchment paper.  Repeat with the next 9 flipsides.  Brush each flipside with egg wash.  Use a knife to cut three slits in each, and the sprinkle with additional cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-25 minutes until golden brown.

I'm serving mine with Parmesan Hashbrown Cups for a total of 446 calories.  Since both parts of this meal are pretty portable, I went ahead and just packaged them in ziploc baggies this time (yay for saving freezer space!).  Enjoy!

Chicken Pillows...

Weird name, huh?  I thought so too.  But the picture looked good, and there were rave reviews on Pinterest (oh, I love thee), so I figured let's give it a try!  I found the original recipe at Chef in Training.  The original also has a recipe for a sauce to put on top, but since that doesn't lend well to reheating (things got soggy), I went ahead and skipped that.  If you're eating them right out of the oven though, definitely check out the link, because it sounds tasty :)  One thing I learned in the midst of this recipe...crescent rolls will hold WAY more filling than you would expect.  If you let them warm up just a tiny bit, they'll stretch like crazy, and you can fill them right up.  Initially, I didn't see how I could possibly fit all that filling into 8 crescents, but it was no problem at all.  Here's the recipe:

Chicken Pillows
8 servings, 335 calories each

**I forgot to put eggs in the picture**


1 can crescent rolls
8 oz. package cream cheese
2-3 c. shredded chicken, cooked
1/4 c. butter
1 egg
Crushed crackers for breading (whatever you have...Club, Ritz, Saltines, etc.)


Soften butter and cream cheese.  Stir together until creamy.  Add chicken (and seasonings, if desired) and stir. 

Get two bowls prepared, the first with the egg and 2 T. water beaten togther, and the second with the crushed crackers in it.  Roll out crescents on a cookie sheet.  Stretch out the first crescent, put a large spoonful of filling in the center, and then fold the crescent in around it so the filling is fully enclosed.  Dip the top of the packet in the egg and then in the crackers and place in cookie sheet.  Repeat with the next 7 crescents.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

I'm serving mine with Potatoes ala Boulangere for a total of 452 calories per serving.  

Ham and Potatoes...

Ah yes...another recipe that's not really a recipe.  We used to have this all the time when I was growing up.  One time, many years ago, I made it for a roommate of mine.  When I told her what I was making, she said, "ham and potatoes isn't a's just two ingredients???"  To which I say...there's more than two ingredients...and even if there wasn't, what's your point?  A few things to note:  1)  I normally buy the frozen potatoes o'brien from Ore-Ida because it already has peppers and onions in it (and yes, I'm that lazy sometimes), but I just got a bag of hashbrowns this time instead.  2)  It didn't occur to me that swapping to a whole bag of potatoes and adding the onion and pepper to that would impact the number of portions (I was placing my grocery order at 2am...I may not have been quite all there), so it's actually 6 servings instead of the 4 called out in the menu plan.  3) I have some spatial planning issues, so I ALSO didn't realize when I dumped it in the hot frying pan that the pan wasn't nearly large enough for all that, so I then had to pull half out and do it in batches because I don't have a big enough frying advice: make certain you have a big enough pan to begin with, because it's a major pain in the butt to be pulling half-cooked food out and moving it from place to place to get it finished.  And without further ado:

Ham and Potatoes
6 servings, 356 calories each


- 1 bag hashbrowns
- 1 pkg. ham steak
- 1 onion
- 1 green pepper
- 1/2 c. shredded cheddar
- Olive oil
- Seasonings, to taste


Dice onion and pepper and add to potatoes.  Coat bottom of pan with olive oil, and put potato mixture into pan over med/med-high heat until tender.  Stir in seasonings.  Cube ham and add to potato mixture.  Continue to heat until desired level of browning is reached (mine steamed a little bit thanks to my spatial meltdown, so it didn't turn out quite as brown as I'd like, but it still tastes delicious, and I got some good color on the ham).  Sprinkle with shredded cheddar and enjoy :)

Originally I was going to add a crescent roll, but the portion was pretty good already, so I decided against it.  So each serving will be approximately 356 calories.

Pasta Alfredo...

Okay, so this Pasta Alfredo is actually sort of my thing.  It was the first thing (and one of the very few things) I ever really made without a recipe...a creation of what was in the house a few years back when I didn't feel like going to the grocery store.  Honestly, it's barely a recipe, and probably barely counts as actual cooking, but oh well.  lol :)  It's easy, tasty, and reheats well...and that's the main thing.  It was a staple for the first few months I was doing these freezer meals, but I hadn't made it in quite a while.  I like it because it's really easy to swap in and out ingredients based on what you have.  I've made it before and added ham, or bacon, or mushrooms...whatever you like.  For today, just peas...because I love peas, and I don't need much of an excuse to add them to my dinner :)  Here we go:

Pasta Alfredo
6 servings, 405 calories each


- 2 sm. packages tortellini (I used Buitoni chicken & prosciutto this time, but I've used all sorts of different kinds...both fresh and dry)

- 1 jar alfredo sauce
- 1 c. frozen peas
- 1 T. olive oil
- Seasonings, to taste


Prepare pasta according to package directions (Add 1 T. of olive oil to water to keep from sticking).  Drain pasta and return to pot.  On low heat, add alfredo sauce, seasonings, and peas.  Leave over heat until heated through.  And that's it!

I'm serving mine with a crescent roll for a total of 505 calories per serving.  It's a little bit higher calories than I normally do for these (actually this whole month is a little higher than normal...but hey, you only live once, right?), but it's worth it :)  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

May Menu Plan...

Well, I just finished pulling together my meal plan for May, and ordering my groceries from Peapod to be delivered on Monday. great is grocery shopping in your pajamas on your couch at 2am??  I swear the novelty will never wear off.  Anyway, below is the plan for always, items with an asterisk I've never made before, and calories counts are estimated based on info pulled from :)

- Ham & Potatoes (330 calories) + Crescent Roll (100 calories) – 430 calories total - 4 servings
- Pasta Alfredo (405 calories) + Crescent Roll (100 calories) - 505 calories total - 6 servings
- Chicken Pillow (335 calories)* + Potatoes ala Boulangere (117 calories) – 452 calories total - 8 servings
- Broccoli, Cheese & Mushroom Flipsides (345 calories)* – Hashbrown Cups (101 calories) – 446 calories total – 10 servings
- Sausage Rolls (334 calories)* + Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes (123 calories)* – 457 calories total – 6 servings
- Baked Honey Oatmeal with Raspberries and Pistachios – 223 calories total – 6 servings

Cooking should be occurring next Thursday or Friday, so recipes and pics coming then :)  Good night all!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April Recipe Update...

Well, I'm about halfway through my meals, and it's time for my update on new recipes :)  Here goes:

- Farmers Market Pasta

This was delicious, and I'll definitely be making it again.  I think I'll go ahead and not be lazy about using the food processor next time...I think it'll lend a little better to reheating to have a more consistent sauce throughout.  It was awesome anyway, but I think it'll be slightly better this way from frozen.  (If I'm making it fresh though for a dinner with friends or something though, I think I'll skip the food processor again...I really did like it that way...just in terms of the reheat I think it'll be a tiny bit more successful the other way). 

- 3 Envelope Roast Beef

Holy cow...this was a hit.  My mom's already made it now too.  Super ridiculously easy, and VERY delicious.  I'm totally trying it as sliders with the chipotle mayo next time :)

- Risotto with Peas & Parmesan

This was my biggest concern when I made it, but it actually did reheat well.  Yes, the texture is slightly different (a little less creamy), but it's pretty darn close, and it was really tasty.  I'm considering adding mushrooms next time too. 

- Chicken and Broccoli Pie

This one was a winner too.  I think I'll shred the chicken next time instead of cubing it, so I can make sure to have chicken in every bite, but it was delicious, and it reheated great.

- Apple Pie Oatmeal

I'm having sort of  a texture issue with this.  It tastes good, but it's so one texture that it's annoying me.  I think if I make it again, I'll add some craisins and/or chopped nuts to make it a little more interesting.

And that's all for today :)  May's menu plan soon-ish!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Individual Pineapple Upside Down Cakes...

Just as a reminder, parties and holidays are calorie-free zones.  Therefore, calories will not be tallied for this recipe.  So tonight I'm baking for a work crop/party for tomorrow night (er...technically today, I guess).  I kind of forgot that I was supposed to be making something till this afternoon about half an hour before I was supposed to go to work.  Soooooo, I zoomed through my bookmarked recipes, and found one that I had ALMOST all the ingredients for (important, since my grocery budget for the month is pretty much already tapped out).  I found the original recipe at Big Mama's Home Kitchen.  I made a double batch, so according to the original recipe, I could've gotten 6 jumbo muffins or 16 regular muffins.  I ACTUALLY got 21 regular muffins, in which case, I wouldn't have needed to do a double batch.  Whoops!  This may have had something to do with the size of my pineapple pieces...I should've probably cut them down a little smaller, but I really like pineapple, and my normal complaint with pineapple upside down cake is that there's not enough pineapple, so I just went with it.  Anyway, here's the recipe:

Individual Pineapple Upside Down Cakes
8-10 regular-sized muffins

- 2 eggs
- 2/3 c. white sugar
- 4 T. pineapple juice (I just used the juice in the can of pineapple chunks)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 stick butter
- 2/3 c. brown sugar
- 1 can pineapple chunks
- 1 small jar maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.  Arrange a maraschino cherry in the center of each muffin tin, and pineapple chunks around it.  In a mixing bowl add eggs, white sugar, and pinepple juice.  Beat for 2 minutes.  Add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Beat for an additional 2 minutes.  In a small sauce pan, melt butter and add brown sugar.  Stir on low heat for about a minute.  Spoon warm brown sugar mixture over the fruit in each muffin cup.  Spoon cake batter into each muffin cup (theoretically no more than 3/4 full, but I definitely filled mine more than that.  If you overfill, just make sure to put a cookie sheet under your tin, so if it runs over, it doesn't create a disaster in your oven).  Bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool 3-5 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges of each cup, and then flip into a baking sheet (it'd probably be better to flip them on a cooling rack, but I don't have one, so it'll have to do on a baking sheet).