Thursday, September 18, 2014

Taco Salad from Leftover Taco Filling

Have you ever wondered what to do with your leftover Taco Meat filling? Here's a great idea! 
Easy Taco Salad from leftover taco meat. It only has 5 ingredients; lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, kidney beans, Nacho cheese Doritos.  Then add your favorite dressing; mine is Catalina. 
 I got this recipe from a friend of mine long ago. She was a very health conscious person and whenever a recipe called for ground beef, she would use ground turkey. That was the first time I'd ever tried ground turkey. It is great for this recipe because it is leaner, less fat to remove, and you can't tell the difference too much in taste. 

So here is my recipe:
1 pound ground turkey fried up and drained, then mix with 1 taco seasoning packet, a little water, 
add in 1 small can green chili salsa or regular mild salsa. Simmer till reduced. 

Put together salad made up of.....
1 small head of iceberg or romaine lettuce chopped into bite size pieces
1 can of drained kidney beans
1-2 small cut up tomatoes
3/4 to 1 cup cheddar cheese grated
1 1/2 cups Doritos Nacho Cheese variety crushed into bite size pieces
black olives (optional)

Kraft Catalina Dressing (pour over just before serving to taste, about 1/2 cup) It is just as good with the reduced calorie variety of dressing. 

kidney beans drained....

cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, I ran out of olives....OOPS! 

Taco meat.....leave this separated till right before mixing up the dressing or it wilts the lettuce.....

Easy ingredients for a yummy taco salad....

I've used both varieties....I can barely tell the go for the Low Cal! 

Yummy and pretty healthy too! Sometimes I add olives to it for more color, sometimes a diced avocado if I have one. Yummy! 

Perfect with a side of cornbread muffins! Yum! 
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Einstein Bagels has PUMPKIN SHMEAR!

Okay this is the best stuff since sliced bread. I am NOT KIDDING YOU!

This Pumpkin Cream Cheese is to DIE FOR! And it is reduced FAT! Get it at Einsteins Bagels.

I got a pumpkin bagel and tried it out with the pumpkin cream cheese. It was pretty great.  So I taste tested a few more. I also bought one of my favs the Cinnamon-Sugar bagel. YUMMY! It's the best!

It tastes cinnamony kind of like a pumpkin pie. The pumpkin bagel seems like it is made from whole wheat flour. It is probably much healthier than other bagels too.  

When I ran out of bagels I had some frozen plain ones from the supermarket and John and I loved those as well with this pumpkin cream cheese. The guy at Einsteins Bagels said it always sells out really FAST! So go and get yours NOW! It is such a great Fall treat!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fresh Peach Pie with Peach Jello Glaze

Fresh Peach Pie with Jello Glaze 
My daughter had a gazillion peaches on her tree so we picked a bunch and took them home. Our peach tree harvest, of course, had nothing but about 12 peaches again. What is fair in that? I hate my peach tree even though it is beautiful 90% of the year.
We only got a few peaches this year.....wah.......
Fresh Peach Pie with Peach Jello Glaze
I found this recipe that I liked and tried. It is from Taste of Home. I have a magazine subscription to Taste of Home and it is fun to see the pictures of yummy food each month.
Fresh Peach Pie with whipped Cream and Buttery Crust
But this peach pie was mouth watering. I loved it! And I'm on a diet. Bad Pattie.
The glaze is so similar to Strawberry Pie Glaze I've made a few times. My recipe for Strawberry Pie is here.  Once you have made a pie shell and baked it (I used Paula Deen's pie crust recipe but it is loaded with butter as you can imagine. I like Crisco (butter flavored) better I think for pie crust. It comes out lighter and not so heavy.
These little "Peaches" are sure a treat for me to play with! We had a Family Reunion last weekend and it was fun to play at the park with all the relatives. 
Pie Crust bake for about 10 minutes on 425.
Then cool the shell and start making your glaze. It is 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 2 Tablespoons of Cornstarch. Boil for 2 minutes. Then take off heat and add 1 small box of peach jello. Whisk it for a minute until dissolved. Then chill for 10 minutes.
Easy Jello Glaze on Fresh Peach Pie 
While it is chilling peel your peaches and slice them up. I did about 10 or 12 peaches. Some were bruised so I only used half of some. And some were small to medium. If you were using larger fruits you could get by with less. Use about 4 cups to make a yummy tall pie.
This pie was soooo SCRUMPTIOUS! Fresh Peaches are now in season so TRY IT! 
Lay them over the cooled pie crust and then pour the glaze over the top. Chill for 1/2 hour. Then serve with whipped cream. This pie is truly divine. I ate 2 pieces. And that wiped out all the good work I did today dieting after dental surgery. Oh well. It was worth it. Yum.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Turkey BLT Paninis using a George Foreman Grill

Turkey BLT Panini with Provolone and Avocado. It has just the right amount of crunch and fresh veggies. It's my kind of sandwich. 
I was looking at Panini makers the other day since I'm on a Panini sandwich kick. I looked on Amazon and saw a few on a great sale. I also saw some George Forman Grills for sale in the Panini category....hmmm......
"The Mean, Lean, Grilling Machine"  from George Foreman. Let's try making Paninis!  Fingers Crossed!!

It looks similar to a panini maker, doesn't it? Yes it does. Why buy one then? I'll just see how it works on my grilled sandwiches.
So I tried first to just make a grilled cheese panini sandwich. It worked great! Yummy! I just buttered the bread and slapped some cheese inside and laid it in the grill for 3 minutes or so. Both sides get done at the same time! 

So I decided to try it with a Turkey BLT with Avocado .....or Monte Cristo Sandwich it is sometimes called.

I just LOVE this California Sourdough Bread I get from Smith's Market. It is only $3.49 a bag and is really delicious for any kind of sandwiches or even just for buttered toast. I had some on hand so I used it for my Turkey BLT with Avocado. 
I used turkey, bacon, avocado, provolone and tomato and just buttered the sourdough bread with butter on the outside. So EASY PEASY! 
Ingredients for a Turkey BLT Panini 
2 Pieces of Sourdough Bread, buttered on outside only
2 pieces of deli turkey
1 slice of provolone
1/2 avocado sliced thinly
slices of tomato
2 slices of cooked bacon
salt and pepper

Put sandwich together and place on the grill and close it. Wait 3 minutes and check for golden stripes and melty cheese. You may have to go another few minutes. Mine had a light on top, but I wasn't sure if it was going to go off or not so I didn't trust it. :D I know, I didn't have faith in George after all......snicker......

But the grill DOES NOT DISAPPOINT!  Yummy Turkey BLT Panini with Avocado and Provolone cheese. 
Hamilton Beach 25450 Gourmet Panini Press
This Hamilton Beach 25450 model Panini Press was only $29.00. I looked at Target and Walmart for Paninis too.  But I decided that I really don't need one after all! I'll just use the George Foreman Grill. It's been sittin' around NOT getting a workout for WAY too long anyways! Happy Panini making! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cauliflower Cheese Soup like Zupas

Cauliflower Cheese Soup like Zupas is one of my favorite lunchtime cravings.
We have a sandwich shop that I love in our town in Utah. It is called Zupas. I love that you can choose between like 12 different sandwiches and 12 different salads and 12 different soups EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!
Cauliflower Cheese creamy and yummy! This recipe will get you hooked! I have gone there about 6 times this month (I've lunched with lots of friends since I'm a teacher off for the summer!) and have never gotten the same salad or soup or sandwich combination yet. And they always give you a little chocolate covered strawberry with every meal.
 Zupas is a delightful place! One of my favorite soups there (I have 3 favorites) is the Wisconsin Cauliflower Cheese soup. It is rich and creamy and the color of clam chowder. I like to add some crunchy tortilla strips or homemade buttery croutons to the top. Yum! 
Cut up and then Boil or steam the cauliflower florets in a pan.
So I decided to mess around with some Cauliflower and some online recipes and doctor them up how I like them. I wanted a rich soup, but not as cheesy as some recipes out there. So here is mine. It is similar to my potato cheese, only with the potatoes switched out with cauliflower. And a little richer than my Clam Chowder. 
I'll start by chopping up my medium head of cauliflower and boiling it in some water. I will save 1/2 cup of the hot water to soak the bullion cube in. Drain Cauliflower, then Dump it in a blender and add some of the Half & Half to cool it down. 
Then start chopping up your onion while the cauliflower is cooling down in the blender with the half & half.  
 Once your onions are chopped put them in a pan with the 2 Tablespoons of butter and saute for about 10 minutes till onions are clear and soft. 
Saute for about 10 minutes and then add flour to make a roux for your Cauliflower Cheese Soup.
Then add the flour and a little of the milk and make a roux with the onions and butter. Cook the flour for a minute before adding the milk.You don't want to taste flour. 
Once your roux looks like this and onions are clear and soft dump this mixture into the blender too, and blend the cauliflower and onion mixture with the rest of the milk and half & half till creamy. Then put the mixture back into a pan.
 Add the bullion cube that was sitting in the half cup of cauliflower water. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on low till cheese is melted.Add the spices and let simmer for a few are almost done! You can add some milk if you want a thinner soup. Add more spices if you like. Sometimes I like to add a dash or two of lemon pepper to my soups. 
Now I start making some fun homemade croutons for the top of the soup. 
Butter a piece of bread, and cut up into squares, then toast in the oven for less than a minute on broil at 400 degrees. If you want add some garlic salt, but this soup is rather rich so I think I like it better just with toasted, buttered croutons. 
This is a delicious soup for any time of year. It reminds me of potato cheese soup from Marie Callendars too. It is just a slightly different taste. Go try it this week! 

  • Cauliflower Cheese Soup
  •      1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped, boiled and pureed
  •      1/2 cup chopped sweet vidalia onion chopped,sauteed, pureed 
  •      2 Tablespoons real butter
  •      1/4 Cup flour for a roux
  •      1  Cup half and half 
  •      1  Cup milk
  •      1 small can of chicken broth
  •      1 chicken bullion cube soaked in 1/2 cup hot water
  •      1/2 cups cheddar cheese shredded 
  •      1/2  cup Monterrey Jack cheese shredded
  •      1/2 teaspoon Johnnys or Lawry's seasoning salt or to taste
  •      dash of lemon pepper
  • Cauliflower Cheese Soup like Zupas. 
Everything should be done in about a half hour. It is THAT easy! And it is yummy. For a variation use potatoes and make potato cheese soup.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

5 EASY 4th of July Desserts

Tomorrow is the 4th of July holiday! It is one of my favorite summer holidays. You get to have a BBQ and eat lots of fun foods, and then watch fireworks too! And we all get to be patriotic and put out our flags and think about how lucky we are to be Americans! We just got done watching LONE SURVIVOR last night on REDBOX. Nothing makes you prouder to be American than watching an intense war pic like this one. I'm proud of the Navy SEALS today! They are simply the best. 

And these cupcakes are the best tasting things you can make. But I had a few more ideas too.
1. 4th of July Cupcakes are an easy favorite for your 4th of July BBQ dessert table. They are healthier than some other desserts with fresh fruit on them, and you can easily top them each with a little flag pick or sprinkles for more pizzaz. 
For the cupcake icing Use 1 cup cool whip, 1 cup marshmallow Creme, and 1/2 block of cream cheese mixed together in your mixer. Yummy! It also makes a great Marshmallow Whip FRUIT DIP! 
I make my icing with cool whip, cream cheese and marshmallow whip. It is to die for!  
Aren't these so cute with the little flags? The Patriotic table runner and placemats I got from Kohls. I love red white and blue decorations! 

 2. Another dessert that is perfectly in season right now is PIE! I just made a lemon meringue pie last night and it is almost gone already! Yummy. I used only 2 lemons. HERE is the Lemon Pie recipe I used.
Peaches and Strawberries are in season now. So what about doing a fresh peach pie or fresh strawberry pie. I use the "glaze" recipe from a small box of jello. The flavors come in peach and strawberry so it makes it so easy.

The recipe for the jello "glaze" is HERE.

Strawberry Glaze Ingredients and Directions
1 cup of water
Mix with 3/4 cup sugar and
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 small 3 oz. box Strawberry Jello
Mix first 3 ingredients and put it in a saucepan on the stove till it is smooth and when it is bubbling....boil  for about 2 minutes. Then take it off the heat. Whisk in the jello for a minute till it is dissolved and then put it in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool.
Here I am adding the glaze. It's just made from a box of Jello! So you could do peach, raspberry, or strawberry! I should try blackberry too! That might be good! 
You could add a little American flag to the top of this Strawberry Pie too! 

OR 3. you could make Lemon Bars. They go great with any BBQ spread. Kids love them too. And people don't take the time to make them much anymore even though they are SO super easy! 

Food Network had a pretty good recipe for Lemon Bars. This is before I added the sprinkling of powdered sugar to the top. I would just place them in red, white and blue patriotic cupcake papers on a red pie plate for the dessert table! 

 4. Then there is my all time favorite stand by treat, the Chocolate Bundt Cake like Nothing Bundt Cakes. It is cheap, easy, and yummy. And you can top it with many decorations for the season. Flags with red and blue sprinkles would be great.
I just use a zip lock bag with the cream cheese icing, snip a little hole in the corner edge, and fill it and spread it in long lines around the cake. 

Just like this. It doesn't have to be perfect. People will still love it! I always do! Now I just have to go look at the craft store for some blue sprinkles. That would be cute wouldn't it? With the little flags?

This was a very cute way to decorate the bundt cake for 4th of July. I might do this instead. I love fresh fruit better than sprinkles anyway. This is from Style Horse.
4th of July fruit pizza! 1 package of sugar cookie dough for crust. 8oz cream cheese + 1 cup powdered sugar for frosting. Decorate with fruit!
5. Lastly you could do a fruit pizza. I saw this one on Pinterest. This one is made from a sugar cookie dough recipe or refrigerator roll sugar cookie dough from the market. Spread out on a pizza pan and bake. Then spread with lemon yogurt and fruits or cool whip and a block of cream cheese, then fruit. You could also do cookies topped the same way. Either way it is yummy. The yogurt topping has less calories of course and it is fresh tasting. Cut the strawberries in thirds and add fresh blueberries.

Have a GREAT 4th of JULY PEOPLE! 

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