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  • cooksalliance 5:07 pm on October 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Appetizers, Diet Food, , Healthy Foods, Kid Friendly, , Low Calorie Dip, , Low Fat Dip, Party Foods,   

    Fat Free Ranch Dip 

    1 pkg Dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix
    1-17.6 oz. Container FAGE 0% Fat Greek Yogurt

    Stir both ingredients together and chill well before serving with crudites’s(carrots, celery, pepper strips and other raw vegetables

    I made baked chicken last night and wanted a sauce or something to dip the chicken into. Thinking about my diet and how to stay on track I made this with some FAGE GREEK YOGURT! Man o Man was this good and it came out thick and rich tasting. If you have not tried FAGE Yogurt you gotta try this dip mix made with FAGE GREEK YOGURT!! I thought yuck plain yogurt how can that be good well I am in love and I plan on making more, maybe adding some sun dried tomatoes and cubes of English cucumbers added for texture. If you like ranch dip your gonna love the 0% fat part and the taste is even better!

     
  • cooksalliance 6:13 pm on October 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , Weight Loss   

    Beef Minestrone Rice Cooker Soup 

    Whoa is me, I have to eat low fat! So I have been counting my cholesterol, and fat grams in all my foods for the past 2 weeks. I found myself getting hungry in between meals. My niece has been helping me stay on track and is dieting herself with WW. (weight watchers). She loves to make weight watchers soup and eat that. I start drooling thinking about the soup so I had to get my rice cooker out and start making it. I weigh in tomorrow morning. My niece weighed in and is down 5 pounds, Rats!!! I know I have a hard time staying honest if I get hungry…so I decided to make some low calorie and low fat soup.

    minestrone soup

    I want to thank Day by Day Nutrition for the Photo. Please go take a look at their soup which is much more involved but a beautiful soup for those that love soup making! http://www.daybydaynutrition.com/category/nutrition/page/3/

    Thanks again Day by Day!

    Beef Minestrone Soup

    2 12 oz. cans Beef Chunks
    2 cans Mixed Vegetables
    1 can Green Beans
    1 15oz can Diced Tomatoes
    1 onion, chopped
    32 oz Pkg. low sodium beef Broth
    2 Tablespoons Dry Granulated Beef Bouillon

    Place all ingredients in your rice cooker and set to white rice. It cooks pretty fast so if you like a more deep flavor be sure to let the rice cooker cool down and then set for a second time.

    163 Calories, 20 grams protein, 4grams carbs, 2 grams fiber, 48mgs cholesterol, 163 grams sodium

    Happy News I am down 10 pounds and the soup was very good. My husband says it needs more starch like rice or potatoes. I told him we need to keep it thin so we can lose some weight. He sighed but agree we need to get our weight under control.

     
  • cooksalliance 8:47 pm on June 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , sharing, Teaching,   

    Teaching Others to Cook 

    I so enjoy cooking and I had always thought my family did not like to cook. Well I am here to say I was wrong. My adult son has had some extra time on his hands lately and started asking me how I fixed dinner. I started out teaching him to run each appliance and how to clean them up. We started with the rice cooker and he has learned to make rice, soup and reheat canned items with great success. The rice cooker in my opinion is the perfect sauce pan, it heats the food and then it keeps it hot for however long you program it for.It also boils or steams vegetables with ease freeing up the stove top and keeping the kitchen cool. He has gone with me to the Saturday Crew Food Feeds and enjoyed setting up the rice cooker for the meal. Success!

    Next we moved on to the oven and stove. He understood the stove top but not the saute` or fry in a pan. So I started him out with some easy dishes that only required browning the meat and adding an easy bottled gravy or sauce mix. Now he makes spaghetti and pasta dishes, gravy steaks and is doing well sautéing onions and garlic for more involved things like homemade chicken broth, soups and stews. Success again.

    He is getting quite good and now is learning how to manage the slow cooker and he adjusts my recipes to suit his tastes. He made a Turkey Breast in the slow cooker tonight and we so enjoyed it.

    This week I am going to start him on make my pizza dough. He has tried it once himself but not by himself. I love to make it on Sunday and I store it in the fridge all week till time to make the pizza. He has some baking skills to his credit by making boxed cakes but now wants to try his hand at scratch recipes.

    I had always tried to convince my daughter to cook with me with no luck. Who knew my son was the cook of my kids??

    I love the picture above because that is how I always saw my Craig in the kitchen. For fathers day he grilled steaks for the third time and they came out fabulous! His dad and I were so amazed. You can teach and old dog new tricks!!

     
  • cooksalliance 4:46 pm on May 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Upside Down Planters 

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/20/garden/20tomato.html?no_interstitial

     
  • cooksalliance 5:28 am on May 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , organized   

    Menu Monday or Tasty Tuesday 

    I love to feature helpful web sites especially if they help me a lot. I love going to visit The Organized junkie. If you have not been to the site you should go right away. The site has Menu making Mondays and I call them Tasty Tuesdays if I am a little late getting the menu done. Here is the link and go take a look. It’s wonderful to start new and healthy habits and I have learned to make menu’s in order to save money.

    http://orgjunkie.com/

     
  • cooksalliance 3:18 pm on May 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Check out my Slide Show! 

     
  • cooksalliance 1:43 pm on May 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Creamy Macaroni and Cheese from Real Mom’s Kitchen 

    I have been working on recipes for macaroni and cheese. I like the homemade kind but they often came out dry after being baked. My family would cry, we want the box kind. I found one that is too easy for words over at Real Mom Kitchen

    http://realmomkitchen.com/150/deluxe-macaroni-and-cheese/

    Her method is cheating but I gotta say you can taste the cheese in this one. Many of the other “homemade” recipes we tasted, the cheese got lost and the sauce was dry after being baked. I made this recipe yesterday and to my surprise my family devoured this! This recipe did not even last 24 hours. If you don’t mind using cream of mushroom soup and you love bake mac and cheese you should try this.

    Here is what I did.

    Cream of Mushroom Macaroni and Cheese
    1 (12 oz) package of macaroni pasta cooked and well drained, according to the package
    2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
    6 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, or any other cheddar
    1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    Combine soup and 6 cups of cheese in a saucepan. Heat this mixture until smooth and cheese is melted. In a 9×13 sprayed dish, layer half of cooked macaroni, the half of cheese sauce. Repeat the macaroni and sauce layers and end with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees until bubbly (at least 25 min).Serves 8.

     
  • cooksalliance 12:51 pm on April 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Homemade Vanilla Pudding 

    I was reading a post on a blog of a friend of mine over at http://thirtyaweek.wordpress.com/ . She made some homemade chocolate pudding that had me drooling. However I am allergic to chocolate in a big way so I told her I would endeavor to make some awesome vanilla pudding from scratch. Well today I jumped on board and made some. I found the pudding to be a little bit sweet for my liking so next time I will cut the sugar by 1/3 to 1/2 and see if it comes out better. All in all the recipe was very well written and you can find it here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Homemade-Vanilla-Pudding/Detail.aspx

    Here are the pictures and the recipe. I hope you will try this and take a quick look at Tina’s 30 bucks a week chocolate pudding. http://thirtyaweek.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/chocolate-pudding/

    Homemade Vanilla Pudding

    2 cups of Milk
    1/2 cup white sugar (you can reduce this for less sweetness)
    3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
    1/4 Teaspoon Salt
    1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (reduce to 3/4 tsp)
    1 Tablespoon butter

    In a sauce pan over medium heat, heat the milk and butter till small bubbles form on edge of pan.

    In a bowl combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Pour into hot milk while stirring to dissolve the mixture. Continue to cook and stir until mixture thickens enough to coat the back if a metal spoon.

    Do not let the mixture boil, but remove it from the heat quickly. Stir in vanilla and pour into serving dishes. Chill before eating but do taste the spoon, I guarantee you will love it.

    Thanks Tina for a wonderful idea for keeping the cost down on such warming comfort foods.

     
  • cooksalliance 3:44 pm on March 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Ground Beef, Ground Sausage, Italian, , Pasta   

    Lasagna-No Boil Method 

    I made this for the Saturday crew at hubbies work and there was one piece left which we took home and fought over. This was wonderful and the layers were just perfect!

    Lasagna No Boil Method

    ~Perfect layers with no slippage or soggy pasta~

    2 lbs. Mild Italian Sausage or lean ground beef
    2 14.5 oz cans Italian Style diced tomatoes
    1 8 oz. can Tomato Paste
    1 8 oz. can water
    1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped fine
    1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
    1 Package. McCormick’s Thick and Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix*
    *I’m working on a clone of this minus some salt. Use half if salt is an issue

    In a large skillet brown sausage with onions till the onion is translucent and the meat is no longer pink. Add garlic and sauté just a minute or two longer. Finish adding in the remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes then remove from the heat to cool. You do not want the sauce to reduce since you need the extra liquid to cook the no boil noodles.

    Next combine the following:

    Filling:

    2-16 oz. tubs 4% milk fat-Cottage Cheese (use ricotta if you prefer)
    *Be sure to use 4% milk fat cottage cheese or the filling will turn out soggy.
    3 Large Eggs, beaten slightly
    1 Cup grated Parmesan, Romano and Asiago Cheese Blend
    1 1/2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
    1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley

    Blend well and set aside while you prep your lasagna pans. I used 2 big foil pans since I had to feed a lot of people but I advice using only 1 large lasagna pan or a deep 13×9 inch pan. Next spray the pan with cooking spray.

    To assemble:

    2-9 oz. Package of Barilla No Boil Lasagna Noodles
    2 to 4 Cups Mozzarella cheese (we like a lot of cheese)

    First : Add 1 cup sauce in pan and spread all over the bottom.
    Lay down 4 of the no boil lasagna noodles like the diagram below.
    Spread 1/2 of the cottage cheese blend over the dry noodles being careful to fully cover the noodles.
    Layer 1 1/2 Cups grated mozzarella cheese over cottage cheese blend.
    Add 1/3 of the meat sauce over the top of the mozzarella cheese.
    Lay down 4 no boil lasagna noodles in opposite direction like diagram below.
    Repeat other 1/2 of the cottage cheese blend.
    Followed by mozzarella cheese
    Then add remaining tomato sauce
    Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and a dash of dry Parmesan cheese blend.
    Seal pan with foil
    Bake at 350*F for 1 1/2-2 hours or an internal temperature of 160*F

    It’s suggested by The Barilla Co. to chill this over night before baking. I did this and the layers were perfect when I served them. You may also freeze this just prior to the baking step. Thaw for 24 hours and then bake as instructed above being sure to seal the pan with foil to prevent cheese from burning!

    Lasagna Layering Diagram

    This is the first time I used the no boil lasagna noodles and my layers came out perfect with no soggy noodles and the layers did not slip while I served this.

     
  • cooksalliance 6:49 pm on March 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Gardening, Herbs   

    Easy Edible Garden 

    Easy Edible Gardening by Sunset Magazine

    Erin over at $5 Dollar dinners http://www.5dollardinners.com/ has been getting her yard ready for gardening this year. Todays garden pictures are so inspiring not to mention cute! (her boys are in the pics too). I now have no excuse not to try to produce a garden this year.

    I bought this book last week and I want a garden in the worst way, but alas I don’t have room for a full garden or even square foot gardening. So when I found instructions for growing herbs and vegetables in pots I decided I had to start learning how. http://www.sunset.com/garden/fruits-veggies/how-to-grow-veggies-in-pots-00400000012149/

    The book has all the tips necessary to grow the most successful garden just from pots, wash pans even grow the herbs on your fence!! I am so excited and you might want to buy it on amazon just for all the good tips.

    http://www.amazon.com/Edible-Garden-Sunset-Editors-Books/dp/0376031700

     
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