Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chicken Bacon Pear Paninis

Three things.  1 - I hate mayo (& miracle whip, for that matter).  2 - I LOOOOOVE paninis.  3 - My family loooooove paninis too!  So, if you're wanting a sandwich that's not your typical turkey with mayo (bleh) on wheat, try paninis! I Note: You don't have to have a grill pan, any pan you'd make a grilled cheese in will do.

Chicken Bacon Pear Paninis (serves 4, 1 serving = 2 mini paninis)

1/2 lb bacon, cooked & crumbled
8 mini ciabatta rolls, cut lengthwise
8 slices Swiss cheese, cut in half
8 slices, med-thick cut, smoked chicken breast
2 Bartlett pears, thinly sliced

Cook bacon to desired crispness; drain on paper towel, and then "crumble" (if crisp) or cut into little pieces.  Set aside.  On the bottom half of a roll, place 1/2 slice cheese, 1-2 pear slices, slice of chicken and then other half of cheese slice.  Top with other half of the roll.  Spray frying or grill pan with cooking spray and turn heat to MED-HIGH.  Once hot place sandwiches onto prepared pan.  After a few minutes, press down to help cook faster and to create those wonderful grill lines we all love!  Turn over and repeat on other side.

Tip: If you have a lid for your pan, that actually helps it cook a little faster and it spreads the heat evenly.  If you are satisfied with the crispness of the bread, but your cheese is thick and hasn't melted to your liking, just zap in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds and voila!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Geneva Bender - one of my dad's cousins (I think) - from Middlebury, IN just also happens to be the creator of these melt-in-your-mouth little gems.  My mother got the recipe from her when I was little, and our family has loved them ever since.  Well, now I'm all growed up and this summer seems like the perfect time to start baking them for my own kidlets.

Geneva Bender's Rhubarb Dream Bars:

2 C flour
¾ C pwd sugar
1 C butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease 10”x15” pan; set aside. Mix and press crust ingredients into pan and bake 10 min.

4 eggs
2 C sugar
½ C flour
½ tsp salt
4 C diced rhubarb

Mix everything except the rhubarb, until well blended. Fold in rhubarb and spread over baked crust. Return to oven and bake an additional 30-35 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting. Store in airtight container.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Chicken Enchiladas for a Crowd

This makes 60 enchiladas, and most people eat 2-3.  So, I'd say you can easily feed an army of 20-30 here!

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp lemon juice
grill seasoning
1 can (16 oz) fat-free Refried Beans
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies
1/2 C fat-free sour cream
2 cans (16 oz ea) enchilada sauce
60 small corn or flour tortillas*
4 C shredded cheese, divided (I prefer Colby Jack)

Preheat oven to 350.  In skillet or grill pan, cook chicken in lemon juice and seasonings.  Remove from pan and shred. (I love to shred mine in the food processor or blender.)  Place shredded chicken in mixing bowl.  Add beans, soup, tomatoes, and sour cream; mix well.  In bottom of large baking pans spread thin layer of enchilada sauce; set pans aside.  Heat 20 tortillas at a time in microwave about 1 minute.  Scoop 1 tbsp cream mixture onto each tortilla shell and roll up.  Place seam-side down on baking sheet.  Repeat until all tortillas are filled and on the baking sheet.  Spread remaining sauce evenly over enchiladas and top with cheese.  Bake 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

*I use corn tortillas as they are 2 WW points per enchilada, vs. 5 WW points for flour.

Spinach Smoothie: Morning Glory

If you like Orange Julius, chances are you'll LOVE this!  I know, I know -- it's GREEN.  Get over it.  It doesn't TASTE or SMELL green.  And I'm pretty particular about things that smell funny or if I can taste veggies in my drink.  But, once I tried a spinach smoothie (done right), I was hooked.  Also, I have to stay away from dairy or I end up coughing all day - so this is a great dairy-free smoothie, although if you wanted add a little yogurt, it would taste great too!

1-2 C fresh Spinach, uncooked
2 medium bananas*
2 clementines, peeled & divided
4 oz Orange Juice
2 oz Pomegranate Juice (or grape or blueberry juice)
handful of ice, if desired

Place in blender and blend until desired consistency.  This makes one GIANT smoothie, or 2 - 12 oz smoothies. I drank the first half for breakfast, and then went and gulped the rest of it down right away.  The entire thing is only 3 Weight Watchers points.

*I like to peel bananas, cut them in half and place them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer the night before.  I usually have about a weeks worth of bananas for smoothies in there.  They make the drink so much creamier that way.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Better Than "Who-Ha" Cake

If you've ever eaten chocolate "Better Than Sex Cake", then you know what I'm talking about when I say "Yum!" is an understatement.  Well, change out the chocolate cake for a yellow cake and some pumpkin, and use a crushed Butterfinger bar instead of a Heath bar, and you've got yourself what I call, Better than Who-Ha Cake!  (My daughter HATES the "s" word {s-e-x}.)

1 Yellow or White Cake Mix
1 small can solid pack pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 C)
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 jar Mrs. Richardson's Butterscotch Caramel Sauce
1 container Cool Whip, Thawed
Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, optional
1 Butterfinger bar, crushed

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Mix dry cake mix with pumpkin until smooth; batter will be sticky.  Spread into prepared 9x13 pan.  Bake 25-30 minutes,or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.  While still warm, poke holes all over tops of cake.  (I use the handle of a wooden spoon.)  Pour entire can of sweetened condensed milk and butterscotch caramel sauce over top; spread evenly.   Let cool completely.  Spread Cool Whip over cooled cake.  Drizzle chocolate syrup over cake in one direction and lightly drag knife through in cross-direction (see picture) for lovely design.  Sprinkle with crushed candy bar.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. *Note* Don't worry about trying to "cut" the cake.  Just scoop it out with serving spoon.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Butterscotch Pumpkin Spice No-Bakes

2 C Sugar
3/4 C Butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2/3 C Milk
1 (3.4 oz) Box Instant Butterscotch Pudding Mix
1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 1/2 C Quick Oats
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

In heavy saucepan mix together sugar, butter & milk over MED heat.  Bring to boil; boil for 2 min.  Turn off heat and whisk in pudding mix and pumpkin pie spice until smooth.  Stir in oats & vanilla.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Drop by tsp onto waxed paper.  Let cool completely.  Makes approximately 55 cookies. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hershey "Kissed" Pumpkin Cookies

These delightful little cookies are so... nom, nom, nom.  Seriously, so good and best of all, so simple!  Depending on the size of cookie, this recipe yields 2-3 dozen.

1 spice cake mix*
1 C solid pack pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
24-36 unwrapped Hershey's Kisses (Or Hugs)**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly spray with cooking spray.  In mixing bowl combine cake mix & pumpkin; mix until well blended.  Batter will be sticky.  Using 2 spoons, drop by spoonful onto pan.  Bake 14-16 minutes.  Lightly press Kiss into center of cookie and let sit on pan a minute or so before transferring to cooling rack.  Let Kisses set before transferring to airtight container.  

*If you don't have a spice cake mix, you can use a white or yellow mix and just add 1 tsp pumpkin pie spices.

**I use Chocolate Caramel Kisses for these cookies.

TIP:  For "sticky" cookie batter, use the back of a spoon dipped in flour to "shape" cookie dough before baking.  See picture below.