Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oreo Truffles

Not a new recipe by any means. I cannot even attribute it to one person. The recipe is everywhere. So I thought I would join the bandwagon.

I think I had these the first time at school. One of the teachers brought them for a potluck. Except theirs were much prettier than mine. And I was in love.

Unfortunately I found out how very easy they were to make, so for a while, I made them. Often. I think my oldest had them at his birthday celebration even.

But then I hadn't made them for a couple of years. Probably in the best interest of my hips and waist.

Then last week, a parent made some for our parent/teacher conference night (food in the lounge). I ate part of one (after looking up the calories) and loved every little morsel.

Then this past week, it was Child 3's turn to cook with me in the kitchen. She got out her cookbook and told me she wanted to make Yum Balls. I glanced at the picture and the recipe and realized it was just another word for Oreo Balls or Oreo Truffles.

At some point (as I watch my calories), I want to yell, "Get thee behind me, Satan!"

Not at Child 3. Just the constant food temptation.

But since Child 3 was so very excited, I decided we would do it. We would make those Yum Balls/Oreo Truffles.

And we did.

And I calculated the calories.

Worse than I thought.

I have eaten one tiny one.

But the rest of the family has enjoyed them.

So just in case you have missed the recipe (and somehow made it through my long monologue), here is the recipe.

1 block (8 oz) cream cheese...I used light. Softened. Don't forget that part. Trust me.
1 package Oreos (or other chocolate sandwich cookies, but we are partial to Oreos. And no, I am getting NO kickbacks for that, though that would be nice)
1 package Almond Bark

Crush ALL the Oreos in a food processor or in a ziplock bag (with a lot of pounding). I would have been tempted to throw them in the blender. However, this was a "kid" project, so I gave her a mallett and the plastic bag of Oreos to crush away.

Add cream cheese to mixture and mix. You could use a food processor to do that or just stir by hand with a sturdy spoon. We did the spoon method.

Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into a ball. We used a cookie scoop to get the right amount of mixture. Then we rolled away. We then put the balls on a piece of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. We rolled about 30 balls in all.

Put in the fridge for about an hour to chill.

Melt almond bark on stove or microwave (though I think it hardens/thickens too quickly that way). I melted mine in a double boiler.

Dip balls into the chocolate, coating all over.

Let the balls cool on the parchment paper.


(We did refrigerate the leftovers.)

More soon,

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bubble Up Pizza

One night a friend of mine on Facebook mentioned "Bubble Up Pizza". I had just made Bubble Up Enchiladas and really liked them. So when I saw a recipe for the pizza on Pinterest, I was further inspired to make some. Especially since our eating out has slowed down recently. And I started counting calories.

The recipe sounded very familiar to the Pizza Snowballs I make, just in one pan. And with the sauce IN it rather than in a bowl for dipping.

And easy. Did I mention easy?

I followed the recipe (link above), but did make some changes to suit our family. Here is my version.

1 can Grands biscuits (I used the reduced fat Golden Wheat just to cut down on calories), quartered

15 oz. pizza sauce (I used the Contadina Squeeze...it is my favorite)

shredded cheese (I shredded a small block of 2% sharp cheddar and a small block of mozzarella)

Italian seasoning

pepperoni (I made half with mini pepperonis and half with turkey pepperoni)

shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350.

In a bowl, place quartered biscuits, pizza sauce, about 3/4 of the shredded cheese, and pepperoni (or any other pizza ingredients you might want to include). I did NOT include the pepperoni at this point because I was making half and half with the two types of pepperoni.

Spoon (I just kind of dumped) the mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan.

That is the point I added the pepperoni, kind of pressing it down into the mixture.

Then I sprinkled it with Italian seasoning. Just because I like that flavoring...

Bake for 25 minutes.

Take out and top with remaining cheese. I also added some shredded Parmesan to the top just because I really love Parmesan...and using my rotary shredder. :)

Return to oven for 5-10 more minutes, until cheese is melted.

Then enjoy!

It did remind me of the pizza snowballs which we love. (I also like that I can "personalize" the ingredients in those more.) But this was a nice quick meal when I don't have time to make snowballs. :) And it works to fix my pizza cravings since we used to eat pizza on average once a week...

More soon.

Menu and Stuff

I did make a couple new things this week. But the thing is, I won't post the recipe unless I just really like them. And honestly, I didn't. They weren't horrible, but they didn't make my heart go aflutter either. So, nothing new to report. For now anyway.

Instead, I think I am going to plan out the week's menu. And hope that next week fares better in the food department. (I will say that I still like the chicken salad from my last post and have eaten it several times this week, so the week wasn't a total bust.)

Saturday: Breakfast- pumpkin muffins, dinner- Bubble Up Pizza (new recipe)
Sunday: Fall Pork Tenderloin, fingerling potatoes, rolls, and black eye peas. By the way, I looked up the calories for the pork tenderloin and the fingerling potatoes...one of the lower calorie meals I make! That might help since Child 3 and I are making Oreo Truffles for dessert.
Monday: Breakfast for dinner (pancakes, bacon, fruit)
Tuesday: Tacos, salsa, chips, refried beans (Child 4's meal choice for the week)
Wednesday: On Your Own night
Thursday: Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken (new recipe), wild rice, buttered rosemary rolls, veggies and Ranch dip
Friday: Lasagna Rolls (new recipe), garlic bread, salad
Saturday: Eat out (I am guessing)

Well, I have most of the week planned anyway.

And maybe I will have some good recipes to share...

So what is for dinner at your house this next week?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chicken Salad

Not long ago, hubby and I had a date at our new local museum (Crystal Bridges). While there, we decided to have lunch because...well, it was lunchtime. There is a neat restaurant in the museum named "Eleven". I am not sure why it has that name. But that is beside the point (as so many of my points are:).

I am still watching my calories since I am recording them in "My Fitness Pal" daily. I knew I was having my "calories don't count" day for V-day when we ate our Chicago deep dish pizza. So that meant I had to be good.

I browsed the menu, unsure of what to do. Most of it looked good but high calorie.

One thing stuck out to me though. Chicken salad. I quickly looked it up on My Fitness Pal and found it to be fairly low calorie.

The funny thing is I didn't eat chicken salad as a child. I didn't eat it as a young adult. I basically didn't eat it until I was about age...40. About a week ago to be exact.

And I loved it.

I wondered, "Why haven't I eaten this before?"

Then of course, my next thought was, "How can I make it at home?"

I always need quick lunches for my school week.

I did a little search on Pinterest and found a couple of recipes. This recipe was my favorite. It reminded me most of what I had at the museum.

And it really is fairly low cal (or can be).

2 cans (12.5 oz) chicken (You can use 3 cups of shredded cooked chicken but if you don't mind the taste of canned chicken, it is MUCH faster and easier :)

3/4 cup light mayonnaise (I really like the one with olive oil)

1 cup red grapes (the original recipe said to cut the grapes in half...I quartered them instead so they wouldn't be too big)

1 stalk celery diced

1 green onion diced

salt and pepper to taste

a spoonful of nuts. I have been using half a tablespoon of slivered almonds which were made for salad

The original recipe calls for a half a cup of diced apples, but I omitted that part.

Mix all ingredients together. Top with the nuts (almonds, pecans, or cashews)

Keep leftovers refrigerated.

The first time I tried this recipe out, I put it on some "flat bread", a new product for me. I wasn't crazy about it.

Today I put it on top of a leaf of lettuce and just ate it with a fork.

I liked that much better! (And it was much lower calorie-wise)

More soon,

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Menu for the Week. I Think.

Sorry I didn't post much last week. Life was a little busy with parent/teacher conferences and Valentine's Day, so I didn't try out a lot of new recipes. I don't know that I will this week either but I should have a recipe or two to share along the way.

Here is my proposed menu for the week. This really holds me accountable and helps me to have a plan...

Saturday (last night): dinner with extended family
Sunday: On Your Own (we ate out for lunch). I did make chicken salad for myself. I will probably share that recipe in a day or two.
Monday: Skillet Pork Chops with white rice, carrots/Ranch, and bread
Tuesday: probably fast food. I don't like doing that often but one of our kiddos has her last volleyball game and we are having an end of the season gathering at a local fast food joint.
Wednesday: On Your Own night
Thursday: Almond Chicken casserole (new recipe, pushed back from last week due to scheduling conflicts)
Friday: Popcorn and shakes (Hubby and the two girls will be at a Daddy/Daughter dance, so it will just be me and the boys)
Saturday: Crockpot tostadas, salsa, chips

I am also going to try a few new things. A gluten free meal (for a friend), some "light" Ranch (a version of it), and a new dessert. I will let you know how it goes.

So what is for dinner at your house?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Creamy White Chili

I have to admit, I am really self-conscious about food photos now after someone wrote something hurtful about one of my pictures that showed up on Pinterest. (The food was good but it really wasn't a good picture of it) I am just not a professional food photographer. I really am not. My kitchen doesn't have the greatest lighting for taking food photos. And honestly I don't have the time to try to stage it better. So I guess I either can go no pictures or just poorly taken pics.

Like this one.

This pic does NOT do this meal justice.

Last year my mom kept talking about this white chili recipe.

I was even going to make it once but then never did.

Then we went to my parents' house for the Super Bowl, and my mom made this creamy white chili she had talked about.

I calculated the calories and quickly figured out that with all of the other food there, I could only have a very small serving. More like a fourth of a serving.

And it was delicious.

Better than I ever imagined.

I may or may not have licked the bowl afterward.

By the way, the whole "chili" thing in the name really threw me because that is what I had in mind (chili beans), but honestly this is more like a creamy chicken soup with a little pizzazz.

Nothing like chili.

Anyway, tonight I decided I would make it and enjoy every bite. I had eaten very light all day, saving up the calories.

And I did. Enjoy every bite that is.

I had to use a lot of self-control not to finish up the little bit that was left.

I WILL be making this again.


Oh, and my family was skeptical when I told them the name (the whole "chili" thing I think) but they enjoyed it too.

So this is the recipe my mom gave to me. I am not totally positive where she got it. :)

Oh, don't let the list of ingredients intimidate you. It really isn't as complex as it looks. More like "a little of this, a little of that..."

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (as usual, I used tenderloins, and mine was just cut into small pieces. No "cubes" for me :)

1 medium onion chopped (I never know what a "medium onion" is...I used a white onion and cut it in half then chopped that half. That was plenty for us)

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp canola oil (I just used my blend I always use)

2 cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained

2 cans chopped green chilies (I only used one...these are the little 4 oz cans)

1 can chicken broth (I do use the 99% fat free)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cumin (except I was out of cumin...it is now on my Grocery IQ app to get)

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup sour cream (we used light)

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

In a large saucepan, saute the chicken, garlic powder, and chopped onion in the canola oil until the chicken is no longer pink.

Add the beans, broth, chilies, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer on the stove, uncovered for 30 minutes.

If you would rather make this with a crockpot, put the ingredients in the crockpot on high for an hour, then reduce heat to low for several hours. I am guessing you would go ahead and saute first. I didn't make this one in the crockpot this time, so I am not totally sure.

Remove from heat. Add sour cream and heavy whipping cream.



We just ate ours with French baguette on the side.

I really can't explain it but it has this taste.

I really think it is the heavy whipping cream that I like.

Maybe I should go finish off the leftovers...


Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Weekly Menu (Yet Again)

Here is a proposed menu. Always subject to change due to the fact I have parent/teacher conferences AND the weather is a bit uncertain right now. :)

Saturday: Date out with hubby :)
Sunday: Creamy White Chili (recipe to come), French Bread
Monday: Mostaccioli, garlic bread, carrots/Ranch, peanut butter and chocolate fudge for dessert
Tuesday: Chicago Pizza (flown from Giordanos)...Happy V-Day to me. :)
Wednesday: On Your Own Night
Thursday: French Dip (crockpot) and chips
Friday: Cheesy Almond Chicken casserole (new recipe)

What is for dinner at your house this week?


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cowboy Stew

We finally made it through the rotation of kids (one a week helps me plan a meal to cook with me during that week). So this week we rotated back to child 1. When I asked him earlier this week what we should make, he said (without hesitation), "Cowboy stew".

I think my exact words were "Are you sure about that???"

In our school district, for several years now, the first graders have had a rodeo unit (I believe it started as an economic unit because of the annual rodeo our town hosts). As part of that unit, the kids make "cowboy stew" to try.

So I went to the first grade teachers and asked for the recipe.

Oh joy.

There is no set recipe. You just kind of throw beans, hot dogs, brown sugar, and barbecue sauce in a crockpot or a pot on the stove and cook.

Sounds easy enough but I actually do much better with an actual recipe. I may not follow it to a T but I at least know where we are headed.

I sure didn't with this one.

So we just made it up as we went along.

We ended up adding a can each of great northern beans, chili beans, kidney beans, and black eye peas in a large pot on the stove. We then added a bottle of Sweet Ray's barbecue sauce. And we decided to use Little Smokies (cut in thirds) instead of hot dogs.

I could NOT bring myself to add the brown sugar because I had already calculated the calories for this recipe without it and the calories were UNREAL. Barbecue sauce is FULL of calories.

Anyway, once it was boiling (set on high), I turned the stovetop down to a low/warm. We let it cook about two hours, stirring constantly.

I will be honest, it wasn't my favorite. I mean, it was like "pork and beans".

But it wasn't terrible either.

And it was very filing (which was good since I didn't eat much after seeing the calories for this thing).

And for a cold night, it was warm in the tummy.

Child 1 thinks it would have been that much better with brown sugar. :)

But it was fun anyway.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012


For a while, I was finding recipes on Pinterest like crazy. I still do, but not as rapid as I once did...probably because I already "pinned" so many. Anyway, about the same time I "pinned" the braided spaghetti bread, I found another picture to "pin" for a calzone that looked very similar to the braided spaghetti bread.

Ironically, the first time we ate the braided spaghetti bread, one of the first comments my dear hubby made was "Wouldn't a calzone made like this be good?"

It was fate.

Or something like that.

Anyway, I knew that it had to appear on the menu.

And tonight it did.

I went to the calzone website (seen above) to get an idea but in the end, I kind of followed the braided spaghetti bread recipe. Just in a calzone sort of way. Actually, I made two calzones tonight.

I haven't found many pizza crusts I just love, so I used my now favorite Rhodes white bread loaf (frozen section) instead. Or in this case, I used two. The handy thing is that three come to a package.

I put the loaves out this morning in a bread pan that was lightly coated with cooking spray. I covered it with clear wrap. And by the time I got home this afternoon, they had grown (risen) and were twice the size as they were when I left them. :)

I rolled the dough out on some parchment paper. Then I let it sit for a few.

I did learn today that cutting the sides (like with the spaghetti bread recipe) is MUCH easier to do before adding the toppings.

I just cut "strips" (like fringe) about every inch or so. The slits were maybe two inches deep.

I just made sure to leave a nice midsection for toppings.

Next, I spread pizza sauce on that midsection. My new favorite is Contadina Squeezables. It is awesome for dipping; I love the flavor. So I used it.

Oh yeah, not getting ANY kickbacks from Rhodes or Contadina. I just really like both products.

Next the toppings.

I made one a "meat" calzone with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and Italian sausage (browned). Then I threw on some Mozzarella and Cheddar. (I just used an 8 oz. block and cut it it into cubes; then I spread the cheese out among the midsection of one of the bread loaves.

The other calzone I made was more of a cheese. I had one half cheese, one half cheese and turkey pepperoni.

Oh, and I sprinkled Italian seasoning on both.

I then crisscrossed the strips, stretching them over to the other side. It looks a lot like a mummy when finished.

I took an egg white and brushed it over the "mummy". I then sprinkled garlic powder, parsley, and Parmesan cheese (shredded) over the top.

Then baked at for about 30 minutes at 350.

We had extra sauce on the table for dipping if needed.

I personally could have eaten the whole thing by myself.

But due to this whole watching my calories thing I didn't.

I will just say I am looking forward to having some more for lunch tomorrow.

The only changes I would make would be to add feta to the "cheese/pepperoni" version. And I would make just a pepperoni one for the boys. Apparently hubby isn't a big fan of Canadian bacon, and the Italian sausage was "just okay" according to him.

Other than that, I wouldn't change a thing.



Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Menu. Again.

Here is the menu for the week. We have been a little off schedule recently (with menu and shopping). I am ready to get back on track. Maybe next week. :)

Saturday (yesterday): Date night with the hubs. Kids were on their own. We enjoyed sushi at home by candlelight.

Sunday: Super Bowl Supper (at my parents). I will be sharing a recipe soon for some amazing white chili that my mom made. I didn't eat much of it tonight due to calories, but I will be making it soon (and saving as many calories as I can for it :)

Monday: Eggs and Cheese, Toast, maybe bacon if I ever go buy some.

Tuesday: Calzones (new recipe)

Wednesday: On Your Own night

Thursday: Cowboy Stew (new recipe)- Child 1's choice

Friday: Popcorn and Shakes

I haven't thought beyond that. It is kind of an odd week with some school stuff going on.

I would like to think next week will be more "routine" but it won't. It will be conference week...


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Minus the granola. :)

Recently I started counting calories in hopes I might lose a little weight. I have had a difficult time finding foods for breakfast that won't use up too many of my "allotted" calories. I was shocked to find out that even my favorite store bought granola bars contained more calories than I really care to give up before the day even starts. :) I much prefer to save those calories for my dinner. But at the same time, I need something to eat in the morning to get my day going right.

Enter Pinterest.

Someone recently "pinned" a recipe for homemade granola bars on Pinterest (which was adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe).

And right away, I was intrigued.

However, don't let the name fool you. The granola bars have NO granola in them. Why? Granola is high calorie. So the recipe poster made these a bit leaner. And honestly, that was fine with me. :)

Oh, did I mention that this is a "no bake" recipe? That sealed the deal for me. :)

By the way, I followed the recipe fairly closely other than using a different type of chocolate chip, a different baking dish, and the fact I somehow got 12 "bars" out of this rather than the 10 mentioned in the recipe...of course, that only lowered the calorie count for me. The only problem is I want to eat more than one. :)

1/4 cup butter (I used Blue Bonnet Light)
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats (not rolled oats)
1 cup crispy rice cereal (I just used Rice Krispies)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp mini chocolate chips (I didn't use mini chocolate chips, but I did use Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips...have I mentioned how much I love dark chocolate?) By the way, if I weren't watching my calories, I would use more chips than that.

Stir oats and rice cereal together. Set aside.

Melt butter, honey, brown sugar in a pan on the stove over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce heat and cook for 2 minutes. The original recipe didn't say anything about stirring, but I stirred the whole time. I really think it would have burned if I hadn't. After 2 minutes, add in the vanilla and stir thoroughly.

Pour over the dry ingredients and stir well until all is moistened.

Pour into a lightly greased jellyroll pan (12 x 8 x 1). Press into a thickness of about 3/4 inch.

Okay, I don't have a jellyroll pan. I just used a glass baking dish about the right size. I did spray it and I placed parchment paper on the bottom. I also didn't measure the thickness of it. I just pressed it down until I couldn't any more. I probably should have pressed more but it turned out okay.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and press down into the mixture.

Cool at room temperature on the counter for 2 hours before cutting the bars.

Store at room temperature.