Category Archives: Uncategorized

Baby Back Ribs, Crockpot Style

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These ribs are fall-off the bone good! Our son absolutely loves them and is always asking me to make them. A big hit, all around and super easy!

Serves 4 to 6 depending on appetites in your household….

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper (optional)
  • 3 to 3 1/2 lb rack of pork baby back ribs, cut into 4-rib pieces
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp lite soy sauce
  1. Coat crock pot with cooking spray. Combine the first 5 to 6 dry ingredients. Rub onto meaty side of ribs.
  2. Place ribs in crock-pot and cook on low 7 to 8 hours or on high 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until ribs are tender.
  3. Discard cooking liquid.
  4. Combine ketchup, sugar, worcestershire and soy sauce. Mix well and that is your BBQ sauce.
  5. Coat ribs with sauce and return to pot. Cook on high 30 minutes for them to glaze.

Serve with mashed potatoes or sides of your choice and of course a big salad. Enjoy!

This recipe is from the Crock-Pot Best Loved Slow Cooker Recipes cook book. Some great recipes in there. I added the garlic powder. Are you surprised?!!!

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Zucchini and Eggplant Roll-Ups

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Zucchini and Eggplant Roll-Ups

I found a recipe for this in the Giant Healthy Ideas Magazine (DE version). The picture drew me in and then I had to change it up a little. The recipe was actually for just zucchini but I have been craving eggplant and thought it would be a yummy combination. In all honesty, I would do this again with just eggplant, it melts in your mouth. I simplified the recipe because time was a factor for me. With it being summer and working from home with 2 kids here, it gets tricky trying to get it all done in a day. I started this dinner at 6:00 and we were eating by 7:00. It is really simple. I served it with a spring mix salad and homemade dijon vinegarette dressing. Enjoy!!!

If time is on your side, have the kids help with this. It is alot of fun for them to stuff and roll the veggies!

Ingredients

  • 2 large zucchini, ends cut off
  • 1 medium eggplant, skin peeled and ends cut off
  • 1 Jar of Sauce, tomato basil is good (that’s right, I didn’t make the sauce this time!)
  • Cooking spray (canola or olive oil)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz bag of shredded Italian cheeses (Giant brand is good) or part skim/low moisture mozzarella
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp.(dried) each of: oregano, basil, salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. parsley (dried is fine)
  • 1 lb of pasta – I did rigatoni but whatever you have will work!

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Use a 9×13 baking/casserole dish and empty contents of sauce covering the entire bottom. Set aside.
  • Slice the zucchini and eggplant long ways keeping slices thin so easy for rolling.
  • Use large cookies sheets and spray with cooking spray.
  • Lay veggie slices on tray – may need 3 trays depending on how big your veggies are.
  • Drizzle a little bit of EVOO on each slice. Then sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano (just sprinkle, measurements above are for the filling).
  • Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Eggplant for 10, Zucchini for 15. Watch the eggplant so that they don’t brown. You just want them soft for rolling. Zucchini takes longer and not as flexible with rolling.
  • While veggies are baking, prep the filling.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the ricotta cheese and 1/2 the bag of cheese, lightly scrambled egg, and the dried spices. Mix until blended.
  • When veggies are done and cooled a bit begin filling and rolling.
  • Use a teaspoon to scoop out the mixture and spread on one side of the veggie. Roll them up from skinnier end. Place in the saucey pan, showing rolls as pictured above.
  • When finished, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and some parsley for color.
  • Bake about 25-30 minutes at 375. Serve with angel hair or rigatoni pasta.

American Chop Suey (Pasta with Meat Sauce)

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I grew up on this very quick meal! My kids love it and actually asked for seconds last night.

Ingredients:

  • 3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • About 1 1/4 lbs. lean ground beef (I used 85% lean but feel free to try turkey)
  • 1 large 28 oz can of tomato sauce – unseasoned
  • 1 small 6 oz can tomato paste
  • Couple shakes of garlic powder
  • 3-4 shakes of dried oregano
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 3-4 handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
  • Freshly grated romano cheese

In a medium size pot, add the oil and warm up. Add the garlic and onion until onion starts to become translucent. Add the entire pack of meat and stir occassionally until the meat is cooked, until no longer pink. Now add the can of tomato sauce, tomato paste and the remaining seasonings. Taste the sauce to make sure seasoned to your liking. Then add the chopped spinach. It will wilt almost instantly.You can basically let this simmer for a while or serve once heated through. Serve on top of elbow macaroni or any of your liking. Use a pound of pasta. Cook pasta according to directions, el dente. Pour sauce on pasta and top with freshly grated romano cheese.

Chicken Cutlets with Cubanelle Peppers

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All I can say is yummy! I think these came out extraordinarily good tonight. And I am so glad I have my blog so it’s all documented for the next time I make them! Yay!

Now this recipe will take more time to make but well worth the effort. I made a double batch of chicken since I will not be here tomorrow night for dinner. I make every effort to have an easy meal for my family to warm up on the night’s I am out working. This will be great for them tomorrow night! So it’s a great meal for leftovers. You can even take the chicken, warm in the oven and slice over a nice salad. Soooo good! Chicken came out moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Just how you want it!

Ingredients For Chicken (preheat oven to 275)

  • About 2.5 lbs thin sliced chicken breast cutlets (you can buy them this way and it will save you time) Make sure it’s the cutlets, don’t get the strips
  • Canola Oil
  • Italian Seasoned Bread crumbs and Panko Bread Crumbs – use equal amounts
  • Freshly grated Romano Cheese – I probably used about 1/4 cup
  • 1 Tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs & about a Tablespoon of milk
  • flour

Get out 3 plates or bowls that you can roll the chicken in. One bowl for the bread crumb mixture which will contain both bread crumb flavors, cheese, garlic powder, salt & pepper (toss well). The 2nd bowl will be the 2 eggs and milk scrambled, 3rd bowl will be flour. In a large saute’ pan, coat the bottom with canola oil so the entire bottom is coated. Warm up the oil. Meanwhile take the chicken out of the package (no need to tenderize) and dip into the flour – coat both sides and shake off extra. Then dunk the chicken into the egg mixture, coating well on each side. Then dunk again in the bread crumb mixture. Again, coat each side, well. Now that your oil is warmed up, place the chicken in the pan – don’t overcrowd the pan. Let cook about 3-4 minutes and turn. Just keep a good eye so that it doesn’t burn. You have to stand over these guys. Cook another 2-3 minutes until golden brown on the other side. They don’t have to cook real long on the stove top because they are really thin cutlets. You want the crust of them to be golden on each side. Once they are done, place them on a cookie sheet (spray a little cooking spray to prevent sticking). You will most likely have 2 batches. My finding is having fresh oil for each batch. Place in the oven for about 10 – 12 minutes (all at the same time) at 275.

Cubanelle Peppers

  • 3-4 large cubanelle peppers, long sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 TBSP canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saute’ pan, coat the bottom with canola oil (no more than 2 TBSP, can use less). Once the oil is warmed up, add the peppers and onions. Sprinkle in the remaining seasonings. Cook until both peppers and onions are soft but peppers should have a bit of a crunch, stirring often.

I served this meal with mashed potatoes and peas. I haven’t turned the kids on to the cubanelle peppers yet. They are not spicey. They are delicious! I put them right on the chicken and eat them together. Dunk it all in the mashed potatoes and you have a winner!

Enjoy!!!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps!!!

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Was so excited after making this!

  1. A. It was a huge hit with the family! No leftovers, what so ever!
  2. B. Super Easy and took all of about 15/20 minutes tops!

Give your family a meal with some Asian flare! This is another healthy and super fast meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP Canola Oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 package of lean ground chicken breast (I bought a 16oz. pack and it was gone – fed 2 adults & 2 children)
  • 1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped (leave kind of chunky – gives nice crunch to the meal) – find in ethnic foods isle with Asian foods
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 TBSP Lite Soy Sauce (low sodium)
  • 2 TBSP Stir Fry Sauce (find by Asian foods – same for Soy Sauce)
  • 2 big handfuls of baby spinach (chopped)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 head of Iceburg lettuce or Romaine (Iceburg works better but will get more nutrients from Romaine – your choice – but that’s why I added spinach…)

In a medium to large saute’ pan, add the oil and let warm up. Then add the onions and peppers. Cook until onions are translucent. Add the meat and cook and stir until pink is gone – about 8 minutes or so. Then add the water chestnuts through the spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for about 2 minutes and then set aside so the sauce thickens a bit – about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, if using iceburg lettuce, smack the core of the lettuce on the counter and the leaves will all kind of loosen – may have to cut the core out too. Carefully take one shell of lettuce at a time off. Rinse under cold water and dry really well. Scoop the meat mixture into the center of lettuce shell and then fold up and enjoy. They can get kind of messy but the kids will love them! Very yummy!

Serve with brown rice, a salad and vegetable of your choice!

* Sorry no pic on this one. Will post a pic, the next time I make them!

My Homemade Sauce

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Now I don’t have time to make this from scratch, scratch if you know what I am saying. That is with real tomatoes grown in my garden, etc. A.) I wish I had the garden and B.) wish I had the time but this is my quick “homemade” version. I have been making this since my early 20’s and it always comes out a little different. I tend to change it up a bit based on what I have in the house. But here is my latest version. I make a lot of it, portion it and then freeze it. Love having some extra sauce in the freezer.

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely (you can go less if you don’t care for garlic)
  • 1 medium whole sweet onion, peeled and chopped finely
  • 2 large cans (28 oz ) of Tomato Puree
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) of Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste (12 oz.), sometimes will add another small can for thicker consistency
  • 4 leaves of fresh basil (or 2 tsp. dried basil)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Couple shakes of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 or 1/3 cup red wine (merlot works great)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Get out a large pot. Drizzle the olive oil on the bottom of the pot. Once it gets hot, add the garlic and onion. Keep a very close eye on it and stir often – you don’t want to scorch the garlic because that means starting over. Once the onion is translucent and soft (should be about 5-7 minutes), add all of the canned tomatoes from puree to paste. Mix it all together allowing the paste to blend with the sauce. Now add the basil and remaining seasonings. I recommend tasting the sauce a few times in order to get the flavor you are looking for. This may mean adding more salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc. The wine really gives it a nice flavor too. And don’t worry, the alcohol will be cooked off way before the kids get into it. I like to let the sauce cook and simmer for a few hours. Leave it on medium low and occassionally give it a stir. For the best flavor, I let if cook for at least a 2-3 hours, refrigerate in the pot overnight and then reheat the next day. All the flavors get absorbed and it’s just always better the next day!

*Tips: I sometimes like to add cut-up pepperoni to my sauce. It gives the sauce such a great flavor. You can even go the turkey pepperoni route too for that healthier sauce. I will take a stick of pepperoni, slice into nice cuts about 1/4 inch thick and throw it in there. A nice little flavorful surprise with your pasta.

Serve with your favorite pasta!

Quick Note

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So I do have some recipes to post and have been limited on time. I hope to get a few posted today. I did make some meals that I wasn’t happy with so I am waiting to get them improved before posting to you. I tried crock pot spare ribs last night and they were ok, but not something that would WOW anyone – kind of dry in my opinion. So I am going to try again with baby back ribs. Giant was totally out of the baby back ribs when I went to the store. I also made pork chops that weren’t all that great – so working on getting that to posting quality. I will be posting my baked shells recipe and my meatballs. And I can’t forget my sauce but I do have to say, I never really measure that out, it’s kind of a little of this and a little of that.

This week I am also making chicken lettuce wraps. I have made these in the past and the kids really enjoy them. They are really yummy and healthy! And I was also hoping to make chicken cutlets that are breaded and cooked in canola oil – not the healthiest but I do my best to conserve on the oil. These always go over big with the kids. I make this with cubanelle peppers (Italian frying peppers), oh so yummy with the chicken.  I am also going to look into posting more soup recipes. This is the best time of year for soup and having some variations that the kids will eat always go over well!

Thanks for following and happy cooking!

Christi