Monday, August 30, 2010

Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomato, and Cheese

This Cooking Light pasta is easy to assemble and feeds a crowd. It's one of Corey's favorites!

Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomato, and Cheese

Recipe Notes

I like to double the tomato paste to add a small boost of flavor....we like it very tomato-y in our house!

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 8)

413 calories - 11.8 g. fat - 24.1 g. protein - 53 g. carbohydrate - 4.5 g. fiber


  • 16 oz. uncooked ziti
  • 1 lb. hot Italian sausage links
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • Two, 14.5-oz. cans petite diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 c. grated fresh Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta and set aside.

3. Remove sausage casings and cook sausage, onion, and garlic in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble.

4. Add tomato paste, salt, pepper, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.

5. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Combined cooked pasta, sausage and tomato mixture, and basil. Place 1/2 pasta mixture in a 4-qt casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with half of the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Creamed Corn with Bacon & Leeks

Corey loved this Cooking Light recipe. His only request was that I add more bacon next time (which kind of defeats the point of Cooking Light, right?)


Recipe Notes

I used Steam Fresh frozen corn, which I cooked in the microwave, instead of cutting the kernels myself off of corn cobs. Saved me time and money!

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 6)

151 calories - 4.6 g. fat - 7 g. protein - 23.1 g. carbohydrates - 2.4 g. fiber


  • 6 ears corn (or one package frozen corn to make ~3 cups)
  • 2 c. 1% milk (I used skim
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 c. chopped leeks


1. Cut kernels from ears of corn to make 3 cups (or cook frozen corn).

2. Place half corn kernels, milk, sugar, corn starch, salt, and black pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth.

3. Cook bacon in a large cast-iron skillet until crisp. Remove to a paper towel and crumble.

4. Reserve 1 tsp. bacon drippings in skillet. Add leeks and cook until tender (2-4 minutes).

5. Add pureed corn mixture and corn kernels to skillet. Bring to a boil.

6. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly.

7. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon just before serving.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Marinated Chicken Kebabs

These chicken kebabs are delicious on the grill. Serve over rice with a salad for an easy weeknight meal.

Recipe Notes
For the Greek yogurt, I like fat free Fage. You can get the value size at Costco for a very good price. If you use bamboo skewers like we did, you will need to soak them before use so that they do not catch on fire!

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (approximately 1 per person), cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
  • Fat free Greek yogurt
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Chopped fresh dill
  • Coarse salt and pepper


1. Combine all ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag. Mix well and refrigerate at least one hour or up to overnight.

2. Thread chicken on skewers and grill to desired degree of doneness.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Camarones Enchilados

This recipe for shrimp tacos is courtesy of a recent Real Simple Magazine. These are tasty and don't take much time!


Recipe Notes
Serve with flour tortillas, either queso fresco or feta cheese (which has a similar texture to queso fresco), lime wedges, cilantro, and avocado slices.

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro (plus more for serving, as noted above)
  • 1/2 c. dry red wine
  • 1 tbsp. capers
  • 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes in juice, drained
  • 1-1/4 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice


1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or saucepan. Add onion and bell pepper and saute until soft, 3-5 minutes.

2. Add garlic, paprika, crushed red pepper, and salt/pepper to taste. Cook 1-2 minutes more.

3. Add cilantro, wine, capers, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes. Liquid will be slightly thickened.

4. Add shrimp and lime juice. Cook until shrimp are pink and opaque throughout (3-5 minutes).

5. Serve with tortillas and toppings noted above.

Mrs. Forman's Low Fat Caramel Brownies

Many thanks to Emily Forman, Mary Forman, and their mom. I have been making this recipe for more than 10 years now, and it is still consistently one of my favorites. I have never met anyone who didn't love these brownies!


Recipe Notes

Caramels are frustrating....they only come in 14 oz. packages these days, and each of the caramels is individually wrapped. Arriving at 9 oz. of caramels is not an exact science....just guesstimate and do the best that you can!


  • 9 oz. caramels, unwrapped
  • 14 oz. can fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 box devil's food cake mix
  • 1 stick margarine, melted
  • 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Coat a 9x13 clear glass baking pan with Pam.

3. In the top of a double boiler, melt caramels with 1/3 c. sweetened condensed milk. Keep warm and set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, melted margarine, and remaining sweetened condensed milk. Beat at a high speed until very well combined.

5. Spread 1/2 dough into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake 6 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over partially-baked dough. Spread caramel mixture over chocolate chips and crumble remaining dough evenly over the top.

7. Return to the oven and bake fpr 15 minutes, or until sides pull away from the pan. Do NOT overcook.

8. Cool in pan or on wire rack and cut into squares.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

I am in charge of pick-up desserts for approximately 100 guests for a party a bunch of friends are throwing for our dear friends Gardner and Janna, who just got married in Hawaii last month. As a result, I needed to call on some of my old stand-by dessert recipes, and the easier the better (considering I've got two additional little people commanding a good bit of my attention these days). WARNING: NONE of the baked goods recipes that you will see on this site in the next week or so are good for you. Healthy baked goods are just no fun and generally, in my experience, not worth it. Enjoy this recipe - it is the easiest dessert I have in my card file!


Recipe Notes
Wait until the cookies have cooled completely in the tins before removing them. Otherwise, the cookie will separate out from the peanut butter cup and you will have a donut shaped cookie with no peanut butter cup in the middle!

  • Store-bought, premade chocolate chip cookie dough (such as Nestle Toll House)
  • Reese's peanut butter cups - miniature size


1. Spoon cookie dough into 12-cup muffin tin sprayed with Pam. Heat oven according to package directions (likely approximately 375 degrees) and bake according to package directions (likely approximately 10 minutes).

2. Unwrap miniature peanut butter cups.

3. Remove baked cookie cups from the oven and gently press one peanut butter cup into the center of each cookie cup.

4. Allow cookies to cool completely before removing to a storage tin or platter.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Something's Got to Give

I made the Pork Cutlet recipe for Corey this week that I posted last year. This is a good, easy recipe that has few ingredients and can be put together quickly. With infant twins in the house, these are important attributes. Throw in some simple roasted potatoes and salad from a few leftover ingredients in the fridge, and we had dinner!

I also bought some of the Steam Fresh Lightly Sauced vegetables available in the grocer's freezer (broccoli with cheese sauce). These are ready in the microwave in just five minutes, no preparation required. Corey informed me that these were his favorite part of dinner that night.

Of course, the one part of the meal that I DIDN'T make was the one part he liked the best. Oh well. We've got two little critters in the house that need CONSTANT attention, especially at dinner time during the "witching hour". Something's got to give, but at least we're not eating frozen TV dinners yet!