Archive for September, 2009

Turkey Veggie Soup

Since a cold front has moved in everywhere else besides South Florida I thought I would post a soup recipe to help those of you battle the first cold weather.  I know when the weather changes the first thing I want is a nice hot bowl of soup.  This recipe my mom passed along to me and it has quite a kick to it.  My husband likes the extra spice but I prefer the milder version.  Whatever you prefer it’s easy to control by either opting for the Regular or Mild Rotel diced tomatoes.  The girls like this soup so more than often I make it with the Mild Rotel tomatoes.  You choose what is best for you and your family.  Stay warm and enjoy the soup! 

Spicy Turkey Vegetable Soup

  • 1 lb ground turkey (you can also use ground chicken)
  • 1 cup medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jar chunky tomato sauce (I used Ragu Chunky Vegetable)
  • 1 – 10oz can of low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 can Rotel diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies (regular or mild)
  • 1 ½ cups frozen mixed vegetables (mix of peas, carrots, corn or vegetables of choice)
  • 1 cup frozen diced potatoes

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat cook the first 3 ingredients until turkey is done and no longer pink.  Add the jar of tomato sauce and next 6 ingredients (through to pepper).  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, simmer stirring often, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Stir in Rotel tomatoes, mixed vegetables and potatoes return to boil.  Cover and simmer 10 more minutes.

Great when served with homemade cornbread muffins!


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Healthy Chicken Pastry Bites

These Chicken Pastry Bites are actually packed with quite a delicious filling and the best part is that my girls don’t know that carrots, apple, chicken and onion make up the interior.  All they know is they are yummy.  The reason why I’m saying “yummy” is because that’s Laine’s new word, when she likes what she is eating she says “yummy mommy”.  Not only are these great for kids little hands but they are great for appetizers or even a snack as your husband watches football.  Take it from me, my husband has eaten several of these while watch football on the weekends. So enjoy and hopefully you find these “yummy”.

Healthy Chicken Pastry Bites

  • 2 ¼ cups Chicken Breast, minced (I used rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 tart apple, grated
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 3 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp white wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme leaves
  • ½ Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • ½ Tbsp Honey Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Puff Pastry, Thawed ( I used DuFour Pastry Kitchens puff pastry – at Whole Foods)
  • 1 egg white

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place chicken breast in the food processor to mince.  If you would like you can also use the food processor to grate the carrots, apple and onion.  In a large mixing bowl, mix the chicken, carrot, apple, onion. Parmesan cheese, egg, garlic and flour until well combined.

Lay puff pastry out onto a lightly floured work surface and slightly press out.  You won’t need press out that much if you are using the DuFour Pastry dough.  Then cut the pastry dough into four equal rectangles (down the center and across).  Then divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and spoon evenly down the center of the pastry rectangle.


Fold one edge of the pastry over the filling, stretching it slightly as you go and tuck it under the chicken mixture slightly.  Fold the other pastry edge over the top to form a seam and press down gently to seal.  Turn the roll over so seam is face down.  Repeat with the remaining rolls. 

Once you have completed the 4 rolls cut into 4 to 5 little bites.  You should have around 20 to 25 bites when completed.  Make a small slit on the top of each bite to prevent them from bursting.  Arrange the bites onto your prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.


Uncover the bites and brush the tops with egg white then bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.  Serve with your favorite sauce.

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Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkins….You see all over this time of the year.  They are stacked neatly (at first) by the door of your local grocery store. And eventually they may appear on doorsteps or in windows, hollowed out and carved into likenesses both silly and serious. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  Growing up in the south I loved when the leaves started to change and the crisp air started to roll in.  Living in South Florida we don’t get those changes, but I still love Fall and everything that comes with it.  This weekend I decided to make the girls Pumpkin Pancakes for breakfast.  I love pumpkin for several reasons, it’s packed with nutrients and it’s delicious.  Two things that are very important when it comes to feeding your kids and family.  These pancakes are really easy to whip up on a weekend morning for the whole family and hopefully your family will love them as much as mine do. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pancakes

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 6 to 7 Tbsp Pumpkin Puree (you can use canned pumpkin)
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 egg

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg and ground cloves. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together milk, pumpkin puree, melted butter and egg.  Fold mixture into dry ingredients.

Spray a skillet with non-stick spray.  Heat skillet to a medium heat; pour in ¼ cup batter for each pancake (or size you prefer).  Cook pancakes about 3 minutes per side.

Makes about 8 to 10 Pancakes.

*If you have pancakes left over you can place in an air-tight container and place in the refrigerator or you can place in the freezer.  When ready to eat just reheat the pancakes in a microwave.

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tollhouse pie

In July, my full-time employer hosted our 1st Annual Baking Challenge.  I entered my Tollhouse Pie with Oreo Crust and took home the 2nd place finishing.  This isn’t the healthiest of recipes, but you have to treat yourself every now and then….right?  This takes a long time to bake but in the end it is so worth it!!  Enjoy!

For Crust:

  • 2 cups crumbled oreo cookies
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 tbls. Butter Melted

For Filling:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup bread flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ¼ sticks butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 ¼ cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Process Oreo Cookies in a food processor until they reach a crumb texture.  Combine crumbs, walnuts, and butter.  Mix well with a fork, press into a 12” pie plate.  Refrigerate until hardened, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine brown sugar, granulated sugar and bread flour.  Mix on low speed until blended.  Add eggs one at a time mixing well.  When mixture is smooth, add and mix in melted butter.  Add and mix nuts, chocolate chips and white chocolate chips into the batter.  Spoon into pie crust.

Bake 1 hour 50 minutes. 

NOTE: A 12” pie plate is hard to find so if you only have 11” pie pan you will have crust and filling left over.  Do not over fill pie crust.  You can always do individual servings with the remaining batter and crust.  Bake time will also need to be reduced to 1 hour 40 minutes.

Great when served with ice cream!

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I love cinnamon rolls and I’m not sure there is a person out there doesn’t love the smell of fresh baked cinnamon roll.  So when I decided to start eating healthy and insuring my twin girls were eating healthy I tried to think about how I could make a “healthy” cinnamon roll.  The traditional cinnamon roll is yeast based and uses white flour.  My thought was why not doing a whole grain version?  So this recipe is whole grain and what’s even more different is the dough comes from a biscuit recipe.   Which means no more waiting 1-2 hours for the dough to rise.  This is one of many reasons why this recipe is so easy and delicious.  You will feel good giving this healthier version to your kids also.  I know my girls loved them when I gave them a bite this morning!

If you are not about being healthy and don’t prefer the taste of whole grain, simply substitute the Honey Whole Wheat biscuit recipe for a Buttermilk biscuit recipe. 

Let’s get started on how to make these melt in your mouth Cinnamon Rolls.

 Cinnamon Rolls

Dough (adapted from the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Cookbook):

  • 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat flour
  • ½ cups unbleached bread flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 3 Tbsp Honey

Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.  With a fork, two knives, a pastry cutter or a food processor, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and honey in a small bowl or large measuring cup.  Add, all at once, to the flour mixture, and blend lightly and quickly with a fork until the mixture is evenly moistened.  Let the dough sit for about 5- 10 minutes to allow the whole grains to absorb all the liquid.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and using a bench knife or dough scraper, fold the dough over on itself three or four times until it comes together.

Pat the dough out (or roll very lightly with a rolling pin) into a square shape and about ½ inch thick. 


  • 1 cup pack light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chopped and toasted pecans
  • Pinch of salt

Combine the brown sugar, egg white, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl, stirring until smooth.

Lightly grease an 8×8 square pan, an 8-inch round pan or a pan of similar size.

To shape the buns: Spread the filling over the rolled out dough, leaving a 1 inch margin along one long edge.  If the filling seems too sticky to spread easily, wet your fingers and smear it over the dough as best as you can.  Once you have spread the filling evenly sprinkle the toasted pecans over filling.

Starting with the filling-covered long edge, roll the dough into a log, turning it so the seam is flat against the work surface.  Using a serrated knife gently cut into 9 to 12 pieces (depending on how big you like your rolls).

Place buns in the prepared pan and bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Or until they are golden.  Let the buns cool about 10 minutes before drizzling icing.


  • 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 or 3 Tbsp milk, enough to make a spreadable icing

Combine the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and enough milk to make a smooth icing.  If you the icing is too smooth you can always add more sugar.  Drizzle icing over the slightly warmed rolls in the traditional cross pattern.

Serve immediately. 

You can cover and store these cinnamon rolls at room temperature.  Buns will keep well, covered, for several days.  Just heat them up in the microwave before eating. 

You can always freeze a few and defrost them in the microwave for a quick breakfast.

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I like chicken salad and I especially like my mom’s, but it is loaded with mayonnaise….which I don’t like!  I’ve tried several recipes in the past and finally came up with my own healthy version.  I find it super yummy!  What’s even better it’s got veggies in it, and no mayonnaise!  I’ve made this chicken salad the past two weeks and I still can’t get enough of it.  I make it on the weekend so I can have it for the week to make sandwiches or even by itself with a couple pita chips.  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water, or maybe it’s because it’s lunch time and I’m hungry.  I like to think it’s just that good and I can’t get enough of it.  Too bad I finished up the last of the batch last night!  I guess I’ll have to make some more soon.  Here’s the recipe and I hope you find it as delicious as my house does.

Chicken Salad with Peas and Herb Mustard Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup tightly packed fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup tightly packed fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup green onion
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • ½ Tbsp Honey Mustard
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 ½ cups chopped cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
  • ¾ cups finely chopped celery
  • ¾ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3  cup shredded low-fat mozzarella

For the Herb Mustard Vinaigrette:

Combine first 11 ingredients (through garlic), in a food processor; process until smooth. Set aside.

For Chicken Salad:

Combine herb mixture with chicken, celery, peas, and cheese in a large bowl, tossing well.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Enjoy!

Store in an air tight container and place in the refrigerator.

KID CONVERTIBLE NOTE:  To make this chicken salad appealing to kids, wrap it up in whole wheat wrap instead of placing in between bread.  Or put out a bowl with some pita chips so they can dip into the salad like they would salsa.  If your child has a nut allergy, simple strike the almonds from the ingredients list.  You can always do half the salad with almonds and half without too.

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In most classic pesto recipes they call for pine nuts, cheese and oil lots of oil.  Not this one!  I reduced the oil and cheese, but still kept the flavor.  I’ve used the combination of spinach and basil with a little cheese and oil for a healthy alternative to your traditional pesto.  The pesto alone accounts for a full serving of vegetables.  Then you add in the tomatoes and yellow bell pepper and you are loading you and your child with “hidden” vegetables.  This is an easy recipe and great for a side or as a main dish. 


Spinach Pesto Chicken Pasta

  • ½ lb whole wheat pasta of choice
  • 2 cups tightly-packed baby spinach (about 3 oz)
  • 1 cup tightly-packed fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup unsalted toasted almond slivers
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken), cubed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced small
  • 1 ½ cups cooked white beans ( or 1 15 oz can low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed)
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

 Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain pasta and rinse with cold water to stop it from cooking further.  Set aside.

Put spinach, basil, garlic, cheese in a food processor and pulse to form a chunky paste.  With food processor running (on but not pulsing), add olive oil through the food chute in a slow drizzle until thick, smooth pesto forms.  Combine pesto with cooked pasta in a large bowl.

Put almonds in processor and pulse about 10 times, until finely chopped.  Stir almonds into pasta.

Add cubed chicken, tomatoes, yellow pepper and beans to the pasta.  Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!!


KID CONVERTIBLE NOTE:  To make this pasta appealing to kids, select pasta that’s cut into letters or fun shapes and isn’t too difficult to eat.  If your child has a nut allergy, simple strike the almonds from the ingredients list.  You can always do half the pasta with almonds and half without too.  And one more note, if you child isn’t a pesto lover you can always substitute the pesto for homemade pureed tomato sauce.  Stay tune and I’ll post my easy tomato sauce recipe that can be ready in 5 minutes.

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