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Tuscan Pasta

Tuscan PastaThis easy-to-prepare, flavor intense, low-fat dish from Weight Watcher’s “Simply The Best” cookbook makes losing weight a delicious experience!

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (19 ounces) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-1/2 ounces) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1/4 pound (4 ounces) Canadian-style bacon, cut into strips
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups hot cooked farfalle

1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring as needed, until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the beans, tomatoes, bacon, wine, basil, oregano and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

3. Place the pasta in a large serving bowl. Top with the sauce; toss to coat. Makes 4 servings.

Per Serving: 404 Calories, 6 g Total Fat, 1 g Saturated Fat, 14 mg Cholesterol, 1,020 mg Sodium, 65 g Total Carbohydrate, 10 g Dietary Fiber, 21 g Protein, 78 mg Calcium.

Serving Provides: 2 Breads, 1 Fruit/Vegetable, 3 Protein/Milks, 1 Fat.

Points Per Serving: 7.


Easy Cheesy Broccoli


A super easy way to enhance the flavor of ordinary cooked broccoli!

1 (10-3/4 ounces) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/4 cup milk
4 cups frozen broccoli florets

1. Stir the soup and milk in a 2-quart microwavable casserole; add the broccoli. Cover the dish with plastic wrap.

2. Microwave on High for 8 minutes or until the broccoli is crisp-tender, stirring once halfway through cooking time. Makes 6 servings.



Hearty Slow Cooker Chili

DSCN2107-1It’s that time of year when chilly temperatures have me thinking chili. I especially like how easy and convenient this recipe is. I just put it all together in the morning and when dinner time rolls around my family enjoys a delicious hot meal in minutes!

1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (10-3/4 ounces) can condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped onion
2 (15 ounces each) cans red kidney beans*, rinsed and drained
1 (14-1/2 ounces) can diced tomatoes

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef, stirring often to separate the meat, until well browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a 3-1/2-quart slow cooker.

2. Add the remaining ingredients to the meat in the slow cooker; stir. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours. Makes 6 servings.

* If your family (like mine) doesn’t like kidney beans just substitute 2 cans pinto beans in place of the kidney beans.

** Serve with hot cornbread muffins for an even heartier meal!



Upside Down Caramel Latte Bake

upside-caramel-latte-bakeDSCN1984This rich, decadent, make-ahead dessert from Betty Crocker will wow your family and guests alike!

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans
10 slices (1/2-inch thick) French Bread

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
10 slices (1/2-inch thick) French bread

6 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13×9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup butter, the maple syrup and espresso. Cook 4 to 6 minutes over medium heat until sugars dissolve and mixture is smooth; pour into baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans. Top with 10 slices French bread, cutting slices in half if necessary to fit in baking dish in single layer.

3. Drizzle 1/4 cup melted butter over bread in pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup pecans; top with 10 slices French bread.

4. In a large bowl, beat custard ingredients with wire whisk; slowly pour mixture over French bread. Press down on bread with spatula so all of the bread absorbs egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours.

5. Uncover; bake 35 to 40 minutes until puffed and lightly browned. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

6. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat whipped topping ingredients with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Serve each piece upside down with a dollop of whipped cream. Makes 8 servings.



Herbed Chicken & Vegetables

Herbed Chicken & VegetablesPut this recipe together in the morning and you’ll have a delicious dinner on the table in a matter of minutes!

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 medium head cabbage, cut into eights
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 cup chicken broth

1. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, brown the chicken on both sides in the oil and butter; remove to a plate and set aside.

2. Drain accumulated fat in skillet, reserving 2 tablespoons; add the onion, celery and green pepper. Sauté vegetables until slightly golden in color; transfer to the slow-cooker.

3. Arrange the cabbage over the vegetables; top with the chicken breasts.

4. Combine the garlic, rosemary, thyme, basil, bay leaves and chicken broth in a small bowl; pour over the chicken. Cover the slow cooker and cook on Low for 6 to 7 hours. Makes 6 servings. Each serving contains 36 grams of protein and approximately 4 net grams of carbohydrates.


Pizza Dip

Pizza DipI have been playing around with finding some low-carb recipes to meet the dieting needs of some of my family members. This one just sort of “came together” and turned out to be really good.

1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon basil
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup pizza sauce
2 ounces pepperoni, chopped

1. In a small bowl, mix together the softened cream cheese, oregano, parsley and basil; blend well.

2. Spread mixture in bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the Mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese.

3. Spread with the pizza sauce. Top with the pepperoni and the remaining cheeses. Cover and microwave on High for 5 minutes; serve hot. Makes about 8 servings each containing less than 2 net carbs.



Mushroom-Barley Soup

Mushroom-Barley SoupThere’s nothing quite like a comforting bowl of soup especially during the cool weather season. Whether you’re counting calories or not, this delicious recipe from Weight Watcher’s “Simply the Best” cookbook is sure to “hit the spot”.

3/4 cup pearl barley
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 onions, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1-1/2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 carrots, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste (no salt added)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Minced parsley

1. In a large saucepan, stir the barley and 4 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the barley is partially cooked, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the onions and celery; cook, stirring as needed, until softened, 6-8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring as needed, until the mushrooms begin to soften and release their liquid, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the broth, carrots, tomato paste and barley with it’s liquid; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, stirring as needed, until the barley and carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. Add the salt and pepper; serve, garnished with the parsley. Makes 6 servings.

Per Serving: 182 Calories, 3 grams Total Fat, 0 grams Saturated Fat, 0 mg. Cholesterol, 264 mg. Sodium, 32 grams Total Carbohydrate, 7 grams Dietary Fiber, 9 grams Protein, 42 mg. Calcium.

Serving Provides: 1 Bread, 3 Fruit/Vegetables, 1 Fat.

Points Per Serving: 2



Creamy Hash Brown Potatoes

creamy-hash-brown-potatoesIncredibly easy-to-make, this delicious hash brown recipe will definitely become a family favorite. I know it is at my house!

1 (32 ounces) package frozen Southern-style hash brown potatoes
1 (10-3/4 ounces) can condensed cream of potato soup, undiluted
1 (8 ounces) package shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
1 (8 ounces) container sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (8 ounces) container spreadable onion and chive cream cheese

1. Place potatoes in a lightly greased 3-quart slow cooker. In a medium bowl, combine the soup, cheese, sour cream,salt and pepper; pour over the potatoes and stir together.

2. Cover and cook on Low for 3-1/2 to 4 hours or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the cream cheese. Makes 10 to 12 servings.