Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pumpkin Muffins

One 15-oz. can pure pumpkin
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries or raisins - chopped (optional)
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine both types of flour, Splenda, Splenda brown sugar, baking powder, spices, salt, and pumpkin pie spice (in other words, all dry ingredients except for the dried cranberries, raisins or nuts). In a medium bowl, mix together pumpkin, egg, applesauce, milk, and vanilla extract (all the wet ingredients). Add this mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir until just blended. Slowly sprinkle chopped dried cranberries or raisins and/or nuts into the batter, making sure they don't all stick together, and mix to distribute them. Spoon batter into a large loaf pan (about 9" X 5") sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the top of the loaf is firm to the touch. (Bread may be moist inside. This doesn't mean it's undercooked.) Allow to cool, and then cut into 8 slices. Or evenly distribute the batter among 8 cups of a muffin pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Cook 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool and Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chicken Tortilla Soup - Crock Pot

A soup my family loves and is a great way to have dinner ready to go after a long day at work.

1 bag frozen onions and tri-colored peppers
1 (15 ounce) can chili beans
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 small bag frozen whole kernel corn
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning - low sodium
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)
sliced avocado (optional)
crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Place bag of frozen onions and peppers, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 7 hours (If you will be cooking for longer than 7 hours, make sure chicken breasts are frozen when you put them in the crock pot so they won't over cook).

Once chicken is cooked remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Shred chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, . Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, sliced avocado and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

Butternut/Acorn Squash Soup

This is one of my all-time favorite soups.

1 butternut squash, halved and seeded
1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 tsp. olive oil
1/3 cup chopped sweet onion
1 quart chicken broth
1 TBSP. Splenda Brown Sugar
1/2 cup fat-free half and half
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the squash halves cut side down in a baking dish. Bake 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Scoop the pulp from the skins. Discard skins.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the onion until tender.
In a blender or food processor, blend the squash pulp, onion, broth, brown sugar, half and half, pepper, and nutmeg until smooth. This may be done in several batches.
Transfer the soup to a pot over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Garnish with a bit of sour cream or roasted pumpkin seeds if desired.

Creamy Pea Soup

I know what you're thinking - Pea Soup???? I thought the same thing, until my friend Mandy prepared it for us for dinner one night. Very yummy and loaded with protein and other good stuff.

1 large frozen bag of baby sweet peas
1 1/2 - 2 cans low sodium chicken broth - just enough broth to cover
1 1/2tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground Thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
3 TBSP. Low-fat sour cream

Cook peas with curry powder and salt and pepper in chicken broth until fairly tender. Using a stick blender, blend in pot until smooth. (can transer to a regular blender if you don't have a stick blender and blend to smooth). Once smooth, stir in sour cream and serve. Can be topped with bacon crumbles, favorite shredded cheese, or a small dollop of sour cream.

Beef Barley Soup - Crock Pot

With the weather turning cooler, I like to have at least one meal a week as a "soup" meal. Easy on the budget and a great way to get in some extra veggies. Look for several new soup recipes.

1 pound lean stew beef, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
2 packages favorite frozen soup veggies (peas, carrots, onions, peppers, etc.)
3/4 cup barley
1 bay leaf
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes
1 can V-8
6 cups beef broth - low sodium
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine (optional - but yummy)

In crock pot, combine stew beef with frozen veggies, barley, bay leaf, spices and beef broth and wine. Cook beef and barley soup on LOW in crock pot for 6 to 8 hours.