Saturday, June 30, 2012

Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pin It So these cookies are grain free, oil free, egg free and white sugar free.   I was leery of trying them and thinking they might not satisfy my sweet tooth.  I was pleasantly surprised.  You would never guess that these are healthy by looking at them.  I also had several friends and family members try them without telling them they were healthy and tricked all of them.

Check out Six Sisters' Link Party.  There are so many good ideas there!

Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Original recipe from Texanerin
1 can chickpeas, drained (also called garbanzo beans)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a food processor.  Pulse until well blended and smooth.  Stop several times to scrape down the sides so you don't have chunks of chickpeas in your cookies.
3. Stir in chocolate chips.  Dough will be sticky.
4. Scoop tablespoons of dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
5. Bake 12-15 minutes or until they are no longer glossy looking and slightly brown.

**Be careful when removing from cookie sheet, they can be fragile

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Avocado Tuna Salad

Pin It There have been a lot of commercials on the radio about fresh avocados lately and one commercial suggests putting avocado with your tuna salad.  For some reason I always hear that one when I am starving so today I decided to try it out.  The verdict: delicious!  I don't know why I never thought of this before.  This was also a perfect lunch due to the record breaking heat wave we are having right now.  I made a sandwich today, but this would be just as delicious with crackers.   Enjoy!

Avocado Tuna Salad
1 can tuna, drained
1/2 ripe avocado, diced
3 Tbso Miracle Whip (or to taste)
3 Tbsp chopped walnuts, optional

1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
2. If making a sandwich like mine, toast your bread and spread a light coating of Miracle Whip on each piece.  Top with tuna salad.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Salmon with Mango Salsa

Pin It This is the perfect summer dinner!  It is light, healthy and refreshing.  The salsa pairs perfectly with any type of seafood so cook your favorite kind.  I grilled my salmon because it was nice outside, but f you don't have a grill you can always cook inside on the stove.

I'm participating in Weekend Potluck  and Strut Your Stuff Link Party again.  Click the links to check out all of the awesome posts!

Salmon with Mango Salsa
1 mango, diced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder**optional
salt and pepper

4 salmon fillets
1 lime, juiced
ground corriander
ancho chile powder, or to taste
salt and pepper

To make the salsa
1. Cut up all fruits and veggies.
2. Place in a bowl and toss with lime juice and cilantro.
3. Season with salt and pepper and chile powder.
4. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
5. Spoon over salmon for a delicious summer meal.

1. Preheat your grill and coat grates with non stick cooking spray.
2. Lay salmon in a dish and squeeze lime juice on top.  Sprinkle fish with spices on both sides.  Don't let salmon marinate for more than 15 minutes or it will get mushy.
3. Cook salmon over medium high heat for about 3 minutes on each side.  Fish will turn opaque and flaky when done.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Oreo Poke Cake (Dirt Cake)

Pin It My husband LOVES dirt cups.  He really is a little kid at heart.  However, I was in charge of dessert for my family and didn't have the time or supplies to make real dirt cups.  This has all of the components of dirt cups, but in a prettier, more grown-up presentation.  Because this cake is served cold it is great for these super hot summer days!

Oreo Poke Cake
inspired by The Country Cook
1 chocolate cake mix (and ingredients to make cake)
1 box Oreo pudding
2 cups milk
1 cup chocolate syrup (like Hershey's)
1 container Cool Whip
1 cup crushed Oreo cookies

1. Bake cake according to box directions.
2. When cake has about 5 minutes left, mix pudding and milk in a bowl.  Allow to sit so it starts to thicken.
3. When cake comes out of the oven, take the handle of a wooden spoon and poke holes about 1 inch apart over the whole cake.
4. Pour chocolate syrup over the cake, pushing it down into the holes.  Pour pudding on next and spread over the top, pushing into the holes.
5. Cover cake and place in the fridge to cool for at least an hour.
6. Take cake out and cover with Cool Whip.  Sprinkle with crushed Oreos just before serving.  If you put the Oreos on too soon they will get soggy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Copycat Cheesecake Factory Bang Bang Chicken and Shrimp

Pin It Whenever I go to The Cheesecake Factory I ALWAYS get bang Bang Chicken and Shrimp.  It is a Thai inspired dish with flavors of coconut, curry, peanuts and chiles.  It has veggies and rice covered in this amazing curry sauce.  You also get a massive portion so I have leftovers for at least 2 lunches.  I made this for my friends on "wine and dine" night and I have to say that this is pretty darn close to the real thing.  This recipe is a bit more complicated than my normal cooking, but it is definitely worth it!

Check out Weekend Potluck to see lots of awesome recipes!

Bang Bang Chicken and Shrimp
Adapted from
Curry Sauce:
olive oil
1 small white onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp red curry paste (to taste)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
3 cups lite coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup zucchini, julienned
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup caulifour, chopped into small florets
2 chicken breasts
1 lb shrimp, peeled
green onions
toasted coconut
chopped peanuts

1. Drizzle olive oil in a large skillet.  Add onion, garlic and ginger.  Saute until starting to brown.
2. Add chicken broth, cumin, paprika, curry, red pepper, salt and pepper.  Stir well.  Simmer for 5 mintues.
3. Add coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Let simmer for 20 minutes until sauce begins to thicken.
4. Meanwhile, cook chicken and shrimp in a separate skillet.  Cut chicken into bite sized pieces.  Set aside when done.
**Make peanut sauce.  Directions below.
5. When sauce is starting to thicken add veggies.  Simmer for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
6. Add chicken and shrimp to sauce a few minutes before serving.
7.  Serve over rice.  Drizzle with peanut sauce and top with chopped green onions,toasted coconut and chopped peanuts.

Peanut Sauce
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp water
4 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp lime juice

1. In a small sauce pan combine all ingredients.  Whisk to combine.  Heat until mixture begins to bubble.
2. Cover pan and remove from heat until ready to serve.
3. Drizzle on top of meal before serving.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pulled Pork Quesadillas

Pin It The pulled pork that I made yesterday made way too much for Albert and I to eat in a meal.  I love leftovers, but eating the exact same thing for 3 days in a row can get  very boring.  I made these quesadillas out of some of the leftovers and they were an amazing lunch.

Pulled Pork Quesadillas
I didn't include measurements because you can make these as big as you want
Pulled pork
flour tortillas
gruyere cheese (or cheese of your choice)

1. Heat up leftover pork.
2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
3. Lay out a tortilla and spread pork and cheese on one half.  Fold the other half on top and place in the skillet.
4. Cook 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown and cheese is melted.

Notes- I heat up my porkl first because I found that I don't cook the quesadilla long enough to heat the pork all the way through without the tortilla getting to brown.
I chose gruyere cheese because it melts very nicely and has a mild flavor that pairs well with the BBQ pork flavor.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

3 Ingredient Pulled Pork

Pin It Happy Father's Day!  This would be a great meal to enjoy with a crowd.  I love pulled pork and I love the leftovers for the rest of the week too.  I usually use a seasoning packet that you mix with kethcup, vinegar and brown sugar and it is always quite tasty, but I hate all of the extra salt and preservatives in those packets.  I was trying to find a homemade version of the seasoning online, but I couldn't find one that seemed normal enough.  Then I saw that you could use root beer to make tender roasts.  With the success of the Dr. Pepper tacos I decided to give root beer a try.  The verdict: success!  3 ingredients and 2 minutes of prep time equal one amazing meal!

I'm participating in a link party at  Click to check out all of the awesome posts!

3 Ingredient Pulled Pork
1 bottle BBQ sauce, any variety (I used Sticky Pig)
1 can root beer
1 4-5lb pork butt

1. Place pork in a lined slow cooker.  Pour BBQ sauce and soda over the roast.
2. Cook on low 6-8 hours or until pork falls apart when pulled with a fork.
3. Remove pork from crock pot and shred.  Return pork to liquid before serving.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Pin It I consider myself a pretty good cook and I'm not afraid to experiment with recipes.  But when it comes to chocolate chip cookies I just can't do it.  My are always rock hard.  I've tried many recipes and always get the same result.  I was really nervous when my picky husband requested white chocolate macadamia nut cookies because I figures they would be rock hard as well.  Well my streak of rock cookies has ended!!!  These turned out crispy on the edges and chewy in the middle.  They remind me of the fundraiser cookies that kids are always selling for sports teams, just way cheaper :)  Enjoy!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
Source:The Girl Who Ate Everything
Makes 2-3 dozen cookies
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1 cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients and set aside (flour, baking powder, salt).
3. In a mixing bowl mix butter and sugar until well combined.  Add eggs one at a time mixing after each egg.  Add vanilla and mix.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix well.
5. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
6. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes on cookie sheet before moving to a cooling rack.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rocky Road Brownies

Pin It Bring your napkins when you make these brownies!  They are ooey, gooey and so delicious.  These would be great for a BBQ or work potluck.  I cheated and used a box brownie mix, but the toppings make these gems look like they took you all day.

I'm participating in Weekend Potluck again this week.  Check out all of the great links!

Rocky Road Brownies
1 box brownie mix (and all ingredients needed to prepare them)
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1 bag mini marshmallows

1 stick butter, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbsp milk (to get a smooth consistency)

1. Make brownies according the package.  Stir in almonds before baking.
2. When brownies have about 5 minutes left of baking, sprinkle entire bag of marshmallows on top of brownies and place in the oven for the remainder of the baking time.
3. Allow brownies to cool slightly.
4. Meanwhile, make frosting.  Beat butter until smooth.  Mix in powdered sugar, cocoa and vanilla.  Add milk to make the frosting smooth. 
5. Pour frosting over the marshmallow.  Allow to cool completely to avoid very messy brownies with melted frosting.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Curry in a Hurry

Pin It I love Thai food, but I don't make it at home very often.  I saw a recipe for soup that uses Ramen noodles and that inspired me to make some curry with Ramen noodles as the base.  It was delicious and fast.  This would make a great lunch or fast dinner.  This is one of those versatile recipes that you can use any veggies or meat that you want. 

Curry in a Hurry
2 cups chopped veggies (I used red and green peppers, onions, carrots)
1 can lite coconut milk
2 Tbsp red curry paste (or to taste)
1 package Ramen noodles (any flavor)
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled

1. In a small pot, boil the Ramen noodles until cooked.  Don't use the seasoning packet.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute veggies in a little olive oil until tender.  Add the shrimp to the pan and cook until pink.
3. Add coconut milk to skillet and stir in curry paste.  Allow sauce to come to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
4. Add cooked noodles to the skillet and toss with sauce.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chunky Monkey Cookies

Pin It I'm always looking for healthy desserts because I have a sweet tooth.  I found these cookies on Pinterest and was a little leery about them being too "healthy" to satisfy my sweets craving.  I made a small batch just to try them out and I was pleasantly surprised.  I did add some agave syrup for a little sweetness and some chocolate chips, which makes them not quite as healthy, but still better than a regular cookie.  These cookies are sweet, moist and chocolatey.  Definitely a winner!

Chunky Monkey Cookies
* makes 12 large cookies
Adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp agave syrup (or sugar)
1 cup oats
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mash bananas in a bowl.  Add peanut butter, cocoa, vanilla and agave.  Stir to combine.
3. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
4. Allow batter to rest for about 20 minutes to soften the oats.
5. Spoon heaping tablespoons of batter on a parchment lined baking sheet.
6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are golden when you lift them up.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Pin It I love cooking for other people.  Mostly because then I don't have to eat an entire batch of something by myself, but I also like to share delicious treats.  I was more than happy to provide breakfast for Albert's coworkers again this week.  I decided on muffins.  Albert doesn't like fruit or anything out of the ordinary so I decided that cinnamon and sugar was pretty safe.  I was right.  These were a crowd pleaser and make your house smell awesome!

Snickerdoodle Muffins
* adapted from
1 1/2 cups allpurpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/8 cup oil
1/8 cup unsweetened applesauce

4 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Generously spray muffin pans with cooking spray.
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices in a bowl.
3. Make a well in the middle and add wet ingredients to the middle.  Stir with a fork until just combined.  Batter will be lumpy.
4. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
5.  Allow muffins to cool for about 5 minutes on a wire rack.  Meanwhile melt the butter in a small bowl.  Combine the sugar and spices in another bowl.
6. Dip the warm muffin tops in the butter and then in the sugar mixture.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Southwest Chipotle Salmon Salad

Pin It It's summer and that means cool lunches.  This is a healthy lunch that packs a ton of veggies.  I made this with salmon because I had a lone salmon fillet in my freezer, but feel free to substitute chicken or shrimp.  I enjoyed this on top of a bed of lettuce for a fancy salad, but you could easily eat it as a complete light meal.  Enjoy!

Southwest Chipotle Salmon Salad
**serves 2 for a light lunch
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 Tbsp ground chipotle (or to taste, can be spicy!)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground corriander
juice of 1/2 a lime

1 salmon fillet, grilled and diced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 avocado, diced
1 cup southwest blend frozen veggies (corn, black beans, onions and peppers)
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/3 cup queso fresco, crumbled

Lettuce of your choice, chopped (optional)

1. Mix all dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
2. In a medium sized bowl combine tomatoes, avocado, veggies, pepper.  Stir in salmon and cilantro.  Squeeze lime juice on top.
3. Pour dressing over veggie mixture and stir gently.  Crumble cheese on top.
4. Serve over lettuce or alone.  Sprinkle with extra cilantro and cheese if needed.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Crock Pot Lava Cake

Pin It I made this for a family dessert and it was divine.  Everyone raved about the fudge sauce on the bottom.  It was amazing with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.  It only takes about 5 minutes to prep and then you turn on your crock pot and forget it.  It's an impressive dessert that looks complicated, but it is super simple.  Who wouldn't love moist chocolate cake with a thick fudge sauce?

Crock Pot Lava Cake
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups water

1. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cocoa.  Add milk, vanilla and oil.  Stir to combine.
2. Pour batter into a lined and greased crock pot.  I  used my round 3 quart slow cooker.  If you don't have liners grease your pot very well. 
3. Place sugar, cocoa and water in a microwave safe dish.  Microwave for 2 minutes or until just boiling.
4. Pour liquid on top of batter.  Cover and cook for 3-4 hours on high or until a toothpick comes out clean. (It took exactly 3 hours for me).
5. Scoop out making sure to get all of the fudge from the bottom.  Serve with ice cream.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Southwest Dr. Pepper Beef Quinoa Salad

Pin It I had some leftover Dr. Pepper beef and wasn't really in the mood for tacos again.  I bought quinoa for the first time and decided to make a summer lunch salad.  I was a little worried that the quinoa would take forever to cook and would be too grainy and healthy tasting, however, I was pleasantly surprised.  It worked perfect in this salad!  I also had some leftover queso fresco so that got thrown in too.  It's amazing what you can make out of leftovers! 

I'm also participating in some awesome blog sharing events. Check out all of the links at Six Sisters' Stuff and Life as a Lofthouse! All bloggers can share some of their favorite posts. There are some amazing ideas on both of these sites!

Southwest Dr. Pepper Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 cup Dr. Pepper beef, with juices
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup southwest blend frozen veggies, thawed (mixture of black beans, corn, onions and peppers)
1/2 red pepper, diced
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.  Allow to cool before mixing with other ingredients.
2. While quinoa is cooking chop your veggies and add to a bowl with beef and lime juice.
3. When quinoa cools stir in with veggies and top with crumbled cheese.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Crock Pot Dr. Pepper Tacos

Pin It Another crock pot gem.  We just got back from a trip to Mexico and had lots of delicious, authentic mexican food.  Now these are in no way authentic, but they are at least a step up from regular ground beef tacos (which I also love).  Don't be fooled by the title, these puppies are SPICY!  Slow cooked beef in a savory, spicy sauce.  These tacos are great with my Mexican beans.

Crock Pot Dr. Pepper Tacos
adapted from The Pioneer Woman
2 lbs beef stew meat or a 2-3 lb roast
1 can Dr. Pepper soda
1/2 white onion, sliced
2 whole chipotles in adobo (adjust amount depending on how spicy you want your meat)
garlic, salt, pepper

1. Season beef liberally with garlic, salt and pepper.  Put meat in a lined crock pot. 
2. Add onions and chipotles.  Pour soda over the top.  Cover and cook 7-8 hours on low or 4-5 on high.  You will know it is done with the meat can be shredded easily.
3. Shred meat and return to juices.  Serve as tacos or burritos with your choice of toppings.

My favorite toppings:
shredded cabbage
peach salsa
queso fresco (mexican crumbly cheese)
sour cream

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mexican Beans

Pin It Now I'm not claiming that these are authentic by any means, but they are delcious and we have them with all of our Mexican inspired meals.  In about 10 minutes you can have a flavorful side dish that is more exciting than canned refried beans or plain black beans.

Mexican Beans
3 strips bacon, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
1 30 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup salsa - any variety
1/2 can beer - any variety
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp taco seasoning

1. In a sauce pan brown bacon.  Remove bacon from pan and cook onions in bacon drippings until browned and translucent.
2. Add beans, salsa, beer and seasonings.  Return bacon to pan.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until sauce begins to thicken.
3. Using a potato masher, lightly mash beans (I only press down about 3 times) just to break up some of the beans and give the sauce a thicker texture***this step completely optional.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread

Pin It I once again had over ripe bananas on my counter and this time Albert actually came to the rescue with a use for them.  He had to go into work early and told his coworkers that I would make them breakfast.  He specifically requested banana nut bread because he knew a few of the guys really liked it.  Luckily he wasn't home when I actually made this loaf because I made a healthy version.  The real test was if the guys noticed anything was amiss and I'm happy to report that I got several rave reviews from the men  and no mention of it tasting healthy.

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour**
1/2 cup whole wheat flour **note-you can up the amount of wheat flour, just make sure you have 2 cups of flour total
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup egg substitute (or 2 eggs)
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp skim milk
1/2 cup pecans

pecans and brown sugar for topping (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl beat sugar, applesauce and oil.  Add egg substitute and mix to combine.  Add mashed bananas and vanilla and mix until well combined.
3. Add flour mixture, alternating with milk, starting and ending with dry mixture.  Mix until just combined.  Stir in pecans.
4. Pour ino a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan.  Sprinkle brown sugar an pecans on top, pressing down gently.
5. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean. 
6.  Allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then let cool on a wire rack completely before cutting and serving.

**Hint- If you plan on having this for breakfast, make the loaf right before you go to bed and let it cool overnight.  You will have a delicious treat waiting for you in the morning :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Pin It When I was in college our favorite restaurant to go to was Cheddar's.  I know that Cheddar's is a national chain, but we don't have any in St. Louis so it was a real treat to go down in Springfield.  My absolute favorite thing on their menu was the Buffalo Chicken Wrap.  I don't think I ever had anything else my whole 4 years down there.  It was lettuce, cheese, chicken, pickles and dressing all wrapped in a tortilla.  What made it even better was that you always had leftovers so you didn't have to cook for a day.  This salad was inspired by those awesome wraps.  Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Salad
** I didn't use measurement because this can be made for one or a crowd.
Iceberg Lettuce, chopped
Shredded carrots
Dill pickle slices
Shredded colby jack cheese
Chicken tenders or chicken nuggets/bites, cooked
Hot sauce of your choice
Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing

1. Arrange lettuce in bowl.  Top with carrots, pickles and cheese.
2. Toss chicken pieces with hot sauce.  Lay on top of salad mixture.
3. Drizzle with dressing of your choice.

**This is most delicious when the chicken is still warm so it melts the cheese a bit.