Posts Tagged ‘free recipes’

11-Minute Tomato Soup

It is fall and for me this means one thing: my evening meals center around soups, casseroles and my Crockpot. I absolutely adore fall and cannot be more pleased to have it knocking on my front door every morning with a crisp, leaf-scented hello kiss. Tonight’s culinary adventure? Tomato Soup 🙂

11-Minute Tomato Soup

  • 1 lg can whole tomatoes + liquid
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. margarine
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 c. fat-free half & half
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • pinch Mrs. Dash Hot N Spicy (or Sriracha- my personal fave!!)
  • asiago, parmesan, mozzarella or romano cheese for topping
  1. In large cooking pot, saute garlic and onions in butter over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  2. Add can of tomatoes to your favorite blender. Once onion mixture is cooked, add to blender with basil. Blend until smooth.
  3. Return contents of blender to pot & heat over medium. Mix half & half with cornstarch to make a slurry; slowly pour into pot, stirring to combine.
  4. Heat to desired temperature, top with cheese (if desired) & serve with grilled cheese sammiches!!! 😉

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Today was a sort of rough day at work. The classroom has been the site of a recent plague for the past two weeks. We have eight children, ranging in age from 2 to 5, and for the past two weeks we have averaged four per day out with ear infections, whooping cough, intestinal tract issues, stomach flus and run-of-the-mill-ick. Today, even though some should probably still be at home, all eight were present and accounted for. I, for one, had become incredibly spoiled by our 1-on-1 ratio, and now that we’re back to 2-on-1’s I realized that I got lazy. I love all the kiddos and I love having them all there, but I can’t help but think how much more they would benefit from a proper ratio.

That being said, I came home and for once I wasn’t hungry. I just wanted a cigarette and an hour or two with some of my favorite literary friends. So now here it is, nigh on 5 o’clock, and I’m just now getting in my “afternoon snack.” What’s worse is that I broke down at lunch and ate a chicken tender dinner from the little grocette across the street from my school. Then, I get home and realize that, yet again, I didn’t stop at the grocery store to pick up any soy milk. I have not a single lactose-alternative in the house, and none of us actually want me to have milk products. So, against my better judgement, I decided I wanted cherries in my GM today. With only orange juice, I was worried about the outcome of this one. But to my surprise, it was actually rather tasty 🙂

Cherry Green Monster “Surprise”

  • 1 c. frozen cherries
  • 1 c. Trop-50 orange juice
  • 1 c. fresh baby spinach
  • 1 Tbs. chia seeds

Place all ingredients in your magic bullet, in this order. Blend about 15 seconds or until smooth. Tangy but a little sweet, and a glorious garnet color. The “surprise?” It’s yummy! 

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So I’ve decided to try and jump-start my weight loss again. From May to August I lost nearly 35 pounds, but I’ve been stalled at the same weight since the first week of August. And I’m definitely not where I want to be. So to try and get myself back on track, I’m doing another round of my Green Monster 14-Day Challenge. The rules are simple: drink one Green Monster smoothie, once per day, whenever I decide to do so. My previous challenge brought me 14 days of Green Monster breakfasts, but I’m not quite back up to speed with my early morning routine since school started back. I’ve been struggling with afternoon and late night eating since I started working again, so today I’ve made my first GM my afternoon snack. I’ll include recipes with each entry. Wish me luck!!

Mango Strawberry Green Monster

  • 1/2 c. frozen sliced mango
  • 5 frozen strawberries (about 1/2 to 3/4c)
  • 1 cup raw baby spinach
  • 1 Tbs. flax seed
  • 1.5c. Trop-50 orange juice

I actually really like this smoothie combo. Normally, I tend to go for soy or almond milk in my GMs because the orange juice, well, makes it taste a little too “green” for me. But the combination of mango & strawberry made this smoothie a little slice of the tropics. Part of me wanted to throw in a little splash of peach schnapps and vodka and just skip the spinach all together (after the week/weekend I’ve had), but that wouldn’t fulfill my challenge requirements. Lol.

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Well, looky there! Another recipe 🙂 I adapted this one from Debi Cooks and I absolutely loved it, as did everyone else who tried it. The stew itself is good, but if you add the toppings, it really does taste like a cheeseburger.

Cheeseburger Soup (serves 4 hearty portions)

Soup/Stew Base:

  • 1 lb. hamburger, lean
  • 1/2 lg. sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 5 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, Jane’s Crazy Salt or Mrs. Dash to taste (a good pinch of each)
  • 1 c. skim milk


  • ketchup
  • yellow mustard
  • sweet pickle relish
  • shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • saltine crackers or Ritz crackers (for a buttery flavor)
  1. Add hamburger, onion, carrots & potatoes to stock pot over medium high heat. Salt lightly to draw moisture from veggies. Cook, stirring frequently, until hamburger is done & vegetables are almost tender (about 7 minutes). Drain mixture and return to pot.
  2. Add 5 cups chicken stock, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until vegetables are done, about 20 minutes. **Soup can be held here on stovetop until everyone is ready to eat. Be sure to give yourself 5 minutes to finish it off… Keep an eye on stock level and add more stock as needed if you have to simmer it awhile.**
  3. Five minutes before serving, stir in 1 c. milk and allow to heat through.
  4. Spoon stew into bowl and top with cheddar cheese, yellow mustard, ketchup, relish and crushed crackers.
Some of my friends prefer to add diced tomatoes, diced onion, French’s french fried onions, bleu cheese (in lieu of cheddar), or A-1 to theirs. However you like your burger, that’s how you’ll like this stew. Feel free to play around with it as much as you like. You can add Montreal Steak seasoning to the soup, Mrs. Dash, cayenne pepper, anything you would prefer. This is just a basic starter recipe.
Give this stew a shot next time it’s too cold to grill and you have a mean hankering for a cheeseburger. After all, who needs McDonalds anyway? 😉

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Seafood Pot Pie

We all have to admit it. Some nights we want real stick-to-your-ribs food, but our pants warn us that we really, really shouldn’t. Here is where Seafood Pot Pie comes in. It’s a traditional dish normally made with heavy cream, real butter, flaky butter pie crust and lots and lots of rich seafood. I remember growing up watching my grandmother knead little pieces of butter into her crust and my fingers itching to do the same. As I have grown, I have realized that I will simply never be a pastry chef (my internal body temperature is just way too high and I melt every little morsel of butter in the dough) but I can make a mean semi-homemade meal. I count that an accomplishment 🙂

This lightened twist on a Irish/Southern classic is sure to become a staple in your home. And, if you can believe it, the leftovers are even more delicious than the first night!


8oz. to 1 lb. crab/lobster/shrimp (or imitation crab) *I used 8oz. but that’s mostly b/c it’s what I had in the freezer*
2 Tbs. margarine
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup flour
2 cups of chicken stock
1 c. fat-free half & half
½ c. skim milk
1/4 cup sherry
Up to 1 Tbs. cornstarch for thickening, if necessary
1cup frozen peas
½ tsp. thyme
1 tsp. Old Bay
1 pkg. refrigerated pie crust (that’s 2 indiv. crusts), or homemade crust to make 9×12″ pie 

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Sauté the carrots, celery, and onions in margarine until they are soft but still slightly firm. Next, add the flour to the sautéed vegetables and cook for about 3 minutes.

Continue by adding the sherry, chicken stock, and cream and stir until smooth. Simmer for about 5 minutes (if using fresh, raw seafood, place in mixture now). Add the seasonings, peas and simmer for 1 minute longer (if using imitation crab, add now instead of earlier). If the mixture needs thickening, add cornstarch now. If using cornstarch, simmer and add’l minute.

Prepare the 9″ x 12″ baking dish by placing one pie dough round in the bottom, making sure to stretch it as high on the sides as you can. Add the mixture into the baking dish and cover with the other pie dough round. Seal the edges and bake for 30 minutes. The crust should be golden brown when done.

**note: I had no problems with the cornstarch clumping, but if you find that you do, you can make a slurry by mixing your cornstarch in a few Tbs. of chicken stock before adding it to the mixture**

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Ok, so it’s not your tpical banana pudding recipe, but it is low in calories, and incredibly easy for little munchers to make 🙂 You can add your favorite mix-ins but just remember to calculate the calories you are adding if you are on Weight Watchers or any other calorie-watching program.

Banana Pudding In A Bag

  • 1/2 small banana, cut into pieces
  • 3 Tbs. unsweetened applesauce (without cinnamon)
  • 1 Tbs. lowfat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 Tbs. graham cracker pieces or granola

Place all ingredients into a sandwich-sized zip top plastic bag. Squish until all ingredients are incorporated. You can eat it straight out of the bag for minimal clean-up 🙂 Makes 1 serving.

130 calories, 2 g. fat, 2 g. protein, 29 g. carbohydrates, 2 g. fiber.

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Irish Soda Bread

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, I tried my hand at coming up with a traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe. Normally, the bread is a slightly sweet tender loaf with raisins and caraway seeds. The friends who were going to help me eat the loaf don’t like raisins & I’m not a huge fan of caraway so I made some substitutions. Keeping it marginally traditional, I took a kids’ tradition of drinking currant juice and translated that into including the fruit in my bread! It turned out really well & I am so excited that I actually measured when I was trying to come up with this one. Normally I skip that step and then kick myself when I can’t exactly duplicate it the next time 🙂 So without further adieu…

Heather’s Irish Soda Bread

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups raisins or currants (works out to one box of Sunmaid Raisins or Currants)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    2. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk and sour cream. Stir wet ingredients into dry and fold until all flour has been incorporated (about 30 strokes).

    3. Pour mixture into greased 9″ cake pan or cast iron skillet. It will be the consistency of a thick cookie dough, and will be slightly sticky. Press down with the back of a greased spatula & score an “x” in the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.

    4. Bake at 350 degrees for 65-75 minutes. Remove from oven and turn loaf out onto wire rack to cool. For a traditional rustic look, dust lightly with flour before cutting.

    Yields about 8 large servings or 16 breakfast portions.

    The leftover bread is great as french toast or bread pudding as well! Feel free to make it your own; just remember who turned you onto it! 🙂

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