Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

This is pretty easy and OH SO GOOD, I SWEAR. It is definitely a family favorite. So good it'll make you wanna slap somebody. Serves 4.

4 chicken breasts (or any chicken part you like, really)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
2 tbsp minced onion (fresh or dried)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp thyme
1/4 cup red or white wine (any brand, your choice!)

Combine the jalapeno pepper, minced onion, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme and wine in a ziploc bag. Slosh it around some to make sure everything gets mixed. Add your chicken and seal, making sure all the air is let out. Slosh the chicken around the mixture, making sure all the chicken is coated in the spices. Put on a dish and stick it in the fridge overnight to marinate.

After marinating, spray a broiling pan with nonstick spray and put it under a preheated broiler. Let broil about 25 minutes, turning chicken pieces halfway through.

Done! Easy and just delicious. 4 points a serving too! PERFECT!

Eat up!

Served here with Caribbean Rice and Collard Greens

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spicy Slow Cooker Pineapple Pork Roast

I whipped this up before we left for an appointment and when we got back we had a hot, tasty, home-cooked meal. The pineapple sure made a yummy gravy! Serves 4.

1 2 pound pork loin
1 can crushed pineapple
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less, as you wish)
2 tbsp flour dissolved in 1/2 cup water

Mix up the black pepper, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder, and rub over the pork loin. Spray a pan with nonstick spray and proceed to brown the pork loin on all sides.

While the pork loin is browning, mix up the pineapple, minced garlic and red pepper flakes in the crockpot. Once the pork is done browning, put it into the crockpot and spoon some of the pineapple over it. Set on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours.

Once done, take out the pork loin and add the dissolved flour to the juices in the crockpot. Mix well and cover for about 5 minutes to thicken and set. Spoon over the roast.

About 4 points a serving. Enjoy, it's yummmmmy!

Served with Steamed Brussel Sprouts and Baked Potato with Sour Cream

Chicken Marsala

This is a great dish. I love the addition of the lemon juice, and it plays up the taste of the wine really well. I like serving this with brown rice and some veggies on the side. You ought to try this. Serves 4.

4 chicken breasts, cut lengthwise
2 4-oz cans mushrooms (or however many you want!)
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika, plus 1 tsp for sprinkling
3 tbsp flour
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup marsala wine (or white wine)
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 tbsp parsley

Spray a pot with nonstick spray. Toss in the onion, garlic and mushrooms, saute for a couple minutes till onions and mushrooms are tender. Add your chicken. I like to cut chicken breasts lengthwise, so that it is thinner and cooks faster. Stir and saute till no pink is left. Put everything in an ovenproof dish.

Mix the lemon juice, wine, flour, paprika and black pepper in a bowl.  Mix up the parmesan cheese, paprika and parsley in another bowl. Pour over the chicken and pop in the oven for about 20 minutes. and sprinkle over the top of the chicken. Bake for about 20 minutes.


About 5 points a serving. Eat up!

Here served with Brown Rice and Collard Greens

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Easy, Yummy Crockpot Chili

We are getting to have cooler fall weather now and chili sure does fit the bill for filling comfort food. But it doesn't mean it has to be fattening either. Plus it is budget friendly, and that is always a good thing. Serves 6.

1 pound  97/3 ground beef (or 93/7, or even ground turkey!)
3 15 oz cans beans, your choice
2 cans diced tomatoes (or about 6-8 fresh, chopped)
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 bunch cilantro
1 packet chili seasoning
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or red pepper flakes, you can use more or less)

Brown your ground beef (or turkey!). Add your onions and garlic to the pan and saute with the meat till onions a bit translucent. Pour the meat, onions and garlic into the crockpot, along with the beans, chili seasoning, cilantro and pepper. Give it a good stir and set on high for 4 hours, 6-8 hours on low.

If you would want to use dry beans, soak them overnight before hand and then make sure to boil them in a pot for at least 10 minutes before putting in your crockpot. Dry beans have a toxin called Phytohaemagglutinin that a crockpot's temperature cannot kill, so you definitely have to boil them first to get rid of it. It makes people sick, so you ought to be careful. But using canned beans definitely makes it easier, and bypasses the risks. Just an FYI.

About 8 points a serving. Good stuff!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This Mama's Chicken Noodle Soup

This soup is absolutely from scratch. Well, except for the noodles. But it is total comfort food. Great served with crackers or biscuits and awesome to serve on chilly days. It just warms you up and makes you feel better. Serves 4.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, cut in half
1 tsp garlic
2 teaspoons peppercorns
2 stalks celery, broken up, plus 2 chopped
1 bay leaf
1 carrot, chopped finely
2 tsp parsley
8 oz wide egg noodles
salt and pepper to taste

Get your pot and fill it halfway with water. Put it on the stove, set on high heat and toss in your chicken breasts. No need to thaw! I just toss it in along with the onion, garlic, peppercorns, broken up celery and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and set on medium. Let simmer covered for about 1 hour (or even more). Add some water if it has gone too low.

Take the chicken breasts out and set aside. Get a strainer and put it over another pot, pour the broth through. I like to get a fork and just press on the onion and celery to get the juices out. Throw out what was strained, you just need the broth. Now put that on the stove on medium heat along with the chopped celery, carrot, noodles and parsley. Chop up the chicken breasts (or shred them with a fork). They should be well cooked and very tender now.

Add your chopped or shredded chicken into the pot and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, till noodles are done and carrots are tender. Salt and pepper to taste. If you want it a little bit thicker, add 1 tbsp flour to 1/2 cup water and mix into the soup. Let stand for a few minutes to thicken before serving.

5 points a serving. Now curl up and enjoy your soup.

I chose to thicken it a bit!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tasty Fried Green Beans

Green Beans are just so awesome made this way. Even my second daughter Pecan would eat this, and she absolutely hates green beans. I like it with a little spice to it, but if you don't want it that way, you don't have to! Serves 4.

5 cups green beans, chopped
6 slices turkey bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less, depends on your taste)
1 1/2 cups water

Get a pot and spray it with nonstick spray. Heat and add your turkey bacon, onion, garlic and saute for a couple minutes till onion is translucent and bacon is a little toasted. Add your red pepper flakes and water. Mix, and bring to a boil. Put heat on medium and let it simmer covered for about 10-15 minutes.

After that, add your green beans and mix well, making sure all the beans are coated. Cover and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes on medium heat. During last 5 minutes of cooking, take the cover off, set heat on high and burn off the excess liquid, leaving just a little in the bottom of the pot. Give it a last stir, and bring to the table.

1 point a serving. AWESOME! Totally great served with your favorite meats or stews!

Salmon Patties

This is one of my favorite dinners. I like it with a bit of heat, and a little toasted. It's nice and a bit creamy when you bite into it though. Another plus: very budget friendly. Serves 4.

3 5 oz cans boneless flaked salmon, drained
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (plain or seasoned, your choice)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Fat Free Miracle Whip, but use what you wish!)
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you are so inclined)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375F.

Dump the bread crumbs, parsley, cayenne pepper, black pepper, paprika and garlic powder into a mixing bowl. Use a fork or a whisk to mix it up. Add then the mayonnaise and egg and mix thoroughly. Lastly, add the salmon and mix well, making sure everything is well incorporated.

I like to line a cookie sheet with some aluminum foil and then spray it with nonstick spray, but you don't have to. It just makes cleanup easier and makes your sheet last longer.

Now make patties with your salmon mixture. Form it into a ball and smoosh it down, smoothing out the edges, and set on the cookie sheet. Will make about 10-11 patties. Stick it in the oven for about 25 minutes.

About 3 points per 2 patties. My kids love this too! And so does my husband! So, it's a win-win!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Creole Chicken

This is a savory, mildly spicy dish. But you can make it as spicy (or not!) as you want it to be! It is easy to prepare, and only takes about 20 minutes. Serve with some rice made your way. Serves 4.

3 chicken breasts, cut up in bite sized pieces
1 can mushrooms, drained (or about 4 fresh, sliced thinly)
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes with juice (or about 4 fresh, diced)
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or however much you want!)
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt (or just plain old salt!)
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp basil
3 tbsp flour dissolved in 1/2 cup water

Spray a pot with nonstick spray and throw in your chicken. Saute till it isn't pink anymore. Add the mushrooms, celery, onion, garlic and all the seasonings. Mix well to make sure that everything is coated with the seasonings and let simmer for a couple minutes till onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, mix well and let it simmer on medium for about 15 minutes.

About 4 points a serving.

So easy, isn't it? Make it for dinner tonight!

Served with Hoppin' John and steamed Brussel Sprouts

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pizza Pasta

I was supposed to make Pizza for dinner, but for some reason the dough didn't work out too well. I should have just made the dough from scratch and not out of a box! Well anyway, I had to make dinner quick, and I had a bunch of stuff I chopped for Pizza toppings. So I made pasta instead! And what do you know, it was a hit, the family ate it all up and wanted more! It's a keeper! Serves 6.

6 sausages, chopped small (your choice)
1 bell pepper, chopped (your choice color)
4 fresh mushrooms, sliced thin (add more if you wish)
2 8-oz cans tomato sauce
2 tbsp parsley
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 16-oz box rotini pasta

Preheat oven to 375F.

Prepare pasta according to box directions.

While pasta is boiling, spray a pot with nonstick spray. Saute the sausages, bell pepper and mushrooms all together for about 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, black pepper, red pepper flakes and sugar. Mix well and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Drain your rotini noodles and add them into the pot with the sauce. Mix it up real well. Pour into a casserole dish sprayed with nonstick spray and top with the mozzarella cheese. Pop into the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Only 8 points a serving! It's really tasty! Your kids will love it, I am sure!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Peach Molasses Pie

I bought another box of organic peaches at Costco, so of course I will need to use them up before they get all moldy. So since I had some leftover dough wrapped in cling wrap in the fridge, I decided to make a pie. Nothing like good old-fashioned Molasses to liven up flavors. And, boy, is it good. This is my daughter Peanut's favorite pie. Serves 8.

4 peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
6 tbsp flour
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
1 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 350F.

Make a pie shell, like this.

Get your sliced peaches, and add your flour, sugar, cinnamon and molasses. Mix that up real well.

Spoon into your pie shell. If there is any excess liquid, do not include. Just enough to keep it moist.

Cover the top with another freshly rolled crust. I cut the holes for decoration and for steam to escape. Pinch edges to seal together. Brush top with oil to keep everything nice and flaky as it bakes.

Bake for about 45-60 minutes, checking to see if crust is done. Take it out of the oven when it is!

8 points a slice! Makes a great dessert!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sweet Potato Pie

Ahh, Sweet Potato Pie. So homey and yummy. Sweet Potatoes are also very nutritious. This is a real Southern pie right here. This is my husband's favorite pie. Serves 8.

4 sweet potatoes
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
dash of nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 350F.

Make your pie shell, like this.

Boil some water in a pot and throw in your sweet potatoes. You'd want to boil it till it's easy to stick a fork in, about 30 minutes. Now drain it,cool and peel it. The skin should come right off without much effort. Mash it real well.

Now mix up your sugar, milk, nutmeg and vanilla. Add the mashed sweet potatoes, and mix it up some more.

Pour into your pie crust and pop it into the oven. Bake for about 40-50 minutes till set. If you stick a fork i the middle and it comes out clean, then it's set.

Try it! 9 points a slice. Mmm mmm!

Old Fashioned Egg Custard Pie

This is the old Southern standby. So nice and sweet and comforting. Very simple to make too. Serves 8.

4 eggs, beaten
2 cups evaporated milk
1/2 cup water
1.5 cup sugar
dash of cinnamon
1 tbsp butter
1 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 375F.

Make your pie shell, like so.

Nuke butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds to melt. Mix the butter, eggs, milk, water, sugar and cinnamon all together well, and pour into the pie shell.

Bake for about 30 minutes till filling is set. Dust with a little bit of cinnamon on top if you wish. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Have a slice! It's only 7 points per!

Hoppin' John

Funny name for a dish. And no, it's not named after a guy named John who hopped all over the place. It's actually a corruption of the Creole term for black-eyed peas, "pois pigeons". It's real good, and also served on New Year's Day traditionally, because it is thought to bring good luck. But eat it anytime, y'all! Serves 4.

1 cup long grained rice (white or brown, your choice)
3 cups water
1 can black eyed peas, drained
1/2 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 turkey bacon slices, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp black pepper
red pepper flakes, to taste

Spray a pot with nonstick spray and throw in your turkey bacon, saute for a couple minutes. Add your onions and celery, saute for another couple minutes then add your water, bay leaf, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes covered on low-medium heat. Add now your black-eyed peas and rice, stir well and simmer another 20 minutes or so, till rice is cooked. Add more water if rice is still hard. Give it another good stir and DONE!

4 points a serving!

Serve with your favorite dish! Yowza!

Hoppin' John served with Southern Oven Fried Chicken and Fried Cabbage

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Busy, busy

I still couldn't sleep and it is almost 5:30 A.M. Sigh. I look over and I see my sleeping husband and baby next to me. My other 2 kids are in their room sleeping too. So quiet and peaceful.

I just don't get a lot of alone time nowadays, so sometimes I stay up late so I could hear myself think and savor the solitude. Maybe it is a bad habit, because I usually feel tired the next day, but I can't help it. From morning till night I have the baby firmly nestled in my arms (except when I cook or clean, then she will be with her dad) and my other two girls are usually around me as well. I love being with them, don't get me wrong, but alone-mama time is something I need too.

I like to read and just listen to myself think at times like this. Believe me, with 3 little kids, it can be difficult to talk to another adult in the same room, much less hear yourself think. Kids are really loud and I expect them to be loud. That goes on all day.

So I really like the quietness during my alone time. I don't really get to go out on my own alone, so this should do for now. I will admit I am sometimes guilty of not looking after myself as much as I should. I do a lot of caring for others all the time, but I forget myself. My husband sometimes would remind me that I matter too, and I would feel a little embarrassed, like I shouldn't ever be taking a break, but he is right. I won't be able to take care of others and run our household if I don't take care of my needs too. Of course he does all he can for me, and I am forever grateful to him for being such a great family man.

Oh, mommies and their ever present guilt. We really should be kinder to ourselves and not beat ourselves up if we do acknowledge that we also have needs. We are just human.

But I just love my babies so much I would do anything for them. Just looking at them smile makes me so happy. I want the world for them and try to provide them with whatever best I can manage. I never did understand that feeling till they came into my life. The way I think of them first before everything else, including myself. I am not being some sort of martyr or Mrs. Perfect Mama, but it just comes from the heart. Hubby and I are just so, so glad we have them.

One day they will move out, live on their own, get married. Isn't it our goal as parents, to raise our kids to become well-adjusted, independent adults? Yes, it is. But I will look back and miss their childhood. Just want them to grow up with that freedom of thought, and the reassurance that we are here for them no matter what, and they are very loved.

It is supposed to be my alone time and I STILL think of my kids! Sigh. Loving thoughts though.

Peanut showing off how tall she stacked her blocks
Pecan's look of wonder at seeing a camel for the first time
Acorn and her dada grinning at each other
Walking around wearing a napping Acorn

Slow Cooked Mushroom Smothered Chicken

This is a great meal to make when you are in a hurry and you want to come home to a tasty, low fat, home cooked meal. We love mushrooms and if you do too, try this! Serves 4.

3 chicken breasts, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 4-oz cans mushroom, undrained
1/2 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 cup water with 3 tbsp flour or cornstarch

Pour your soup and undrained mushrooms into the crock pot. Add the onion, celery and garlic, stir. Toss in the chicken, top with black pepper and parsley. Set crock pot on low for about 7 hours, on high for 4. Pour dissolved flour into pot, stir, and let stand 5-10 minutes to thicken. Give it a good last stir and call everyone to the table.

About 5 points a serving! And it tastes great, I swear!

You can eat it as a stew or serve it with some side dishes, like so.

Served with brown rice and mixed veggies.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Peach Cherry Pie

This is a pretty pie. Total eye candy. Oh, and tastes great too! And that is pretty awesome! Serves 8.

Make the pie crust with

2 cups flour
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar

This will make make 2 pie crusts, one each for top and bottom. Directions are here.

Finished Pie Shell with overlapping edges

Now the filling. You will need

1.5 pounds cherries, pitted
2 peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
4 tbsp flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp nutmeg

Toss them all together in a mixing bowl, and place in pie shell, like so.

Now isn't that pretty?
Now you can choose to lay a full layer crust on top of the pie or do a lattice top. I chose to do a lattice top.

Brush top with some oil to keep things moist, and pop into a preheated 350F oven for 40-45 minutes. And.......

There you go, awesome Peach Cherry Pie! About 8 points a slice!

Now doesn't that just look fab? Get it!