Jul 28, 2012


This has quickly become a family favorite. I can’t even begin to tell you just how great this recipe really is. First off its super easy to make because you are simple dropping everything in the crock pot and letting it do all of the work. Second this recipe is do die for! The flavor of the meat along with the sauce it produces is something special. I had a feeling it would be good, but I had no idea it would be this GOOD. 

I was a rock star with my family that night. I don’t think I have ever gotten that many compliments. I ended up serving the roast on toasted white bread then I served the au jus on the side for dipping the sandwich in. My husband said it was the best French dip sandwich he had ever had in his life. I know this recipe has been passed around a few times so I don’t really know who the original poster is, but I do know who I got it from and that is “A perfectly lovely ordinary day.”  If you don’t make this recipe you are truly missing out.

This story does have a heartbreaking end though…. That night after dinner my husband and I were already dreaming of the leftovers for lunch when all of the sudden a 5lb. block of mozzarella cheese hit the covered container containing our delectable dinner and shot it across the kitchen and it broke up and splattered all over the place. I don’t know what made me want to cry more the loss of the fantastic roast, the money that was wasted, the fact that my lunch for the next day the eat was scarfing down as fast as her mouth would move, or the fact that it was going to take me an hour to clean up the mess. *SIGH* I guess we will just HAVE to make it again ;-)

Ingredients:
  • Chuck Roast (I used a 4 pound roast any size will work)
  • Hidden Valley ranch dressing
  • McCormick Au Jus mix
  • 1 stick of butter (I used margarine)
  • 5 pepperoncini peppers

Directions:
  1. Add Chuck Roast to the crock pot
  2. Sprinkle Hidden Valley ranch dressing on top of the roast
  3. Sprinkle McCormick Au Jus mix on top of the ranch
  4. Put a stick of butter on top of the au jus
  5. Put about 5 pepperoncini peppers on top. (Find in the pickle section of the store)
  6. Do NOT add water.
  7. Cook in crock pot on low for about 8 hours. (Mine was done in 6 on low)

Take Note: You can discard the pepperoncini peppers when the roast is done if you would like. My husband ate them on his sandwich and loved them.

*The pepperoncini peppers really do send this dish over the top so don’t skip them*


I forgot to add the peppers before I took the picture
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Jul 25, 2012



Is it just me or is that a cute name? That's what initially caught my eyes. Scooter made me think of the Muppets. This is a really good recipe that is easy to make and quick. It also freezes nicely which is always a bonus. I was a little intimated by the quirkiness of the recipe with the cream cheese and french fried onions. I thought it was strange yet it intrigued me.

We all really enjoyed it and enjoyed the left overs even more. What I thought was weird "the french fried onions" I ended up enjoying the best about this recipe. I found this recipe on Salad in a Jar. Paula has a great site check it out!!


Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large can spaghetti sauce (26.5 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped green peppers (I usually omit or substitute red peppers)
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • French Fried Onions (small can)

Directions:
  1. Cook spaghetti according to directions on the package. Cook to al dente, drain and set aside.
  2. Brown ground beef. Drain excess grease. Add spaghetti sauce to skillet and heat.
  3. Combine onions, peppers and butter in small glass bowl. Cover and microwave 4 minutes on HIGH until soft.
  4. Add cream cheese and milk to vegetables and stir well. (If cream cheese is not soft, nuke it for 20-30 seconds to make it easy to spread.)
  5. Using a 10 x 6 dish, assemble in the following order:
  6. Thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish. Spaghetti Cream cheese/vegetable mixture, Spaghetti sauce, Parmesan Cheese (amount subject to your own taste)
  7. French Fried Onions on top (added during last 5 minutes of cooking)
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Top with French Fried onion and continue baking 5 more minutes. This is the secret ingredient–don’t let them burn.)




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Jul 18, 2012


When I started my quest for how to use up some extra watermelon I was looking for a watermelon sorbet. I don’t have an ice cream machine anymore so I had to take what I could get when it came to recipes. I never found a recipe that was exactly what I was looking for so I decided to improvise and come up with something I thought would work well. 

A watermelon granita was perfect. I learned a trick from my Nana that if you don’t want something to freeze completely that adding one ounce of vodka would do the trick. Sure enough it worked perfect. The vodka had no flavor so it did not change the granita flavor, nor did you taste any alcohol in it what so ever.

We all loved this recipe! Its low in calorie and it’s fantastic!! It could not be any easier to make and it’s a great way to use up extra fruit!!

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups of seeded watermelon chunks
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup of light corn syrup
  • 1 ounce of vodka (any vodka will work) (this is a VERY important ingredients don’t skip you won’t taste it) I used Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka
Directions:
  1. Puree watermelon chunks in a blender and strain if necessary. 
  2. In a large saucepan bring to a boil the watermelon puree, sugar, and corn syrup. 
  3. Once the sugar has melted turn off the burner then allows the watermelon puree to cool down to room temperature. 
  4. Mix in the vodka. The vodka is important to this recipe because although you cannot taste the vodka what it does is it prevents the puree from freezing into a solid block. Instead it will not free 100% which is what you are looking for. This will help you get a nice Granita. With most Granita recipes you are required to do a lot of scraping throughout the freezing process this will prevent you having to do the entire extra work. It works perfect!
  5. Once the vodka is stirred transfer the mixture to a Ziploc bag and freeze for 18-24 hours. 
  6. Occasionally while the Granita is freezing just massage/knead the ingredients in the bag. This will help you accomplish the granite without a lot of work.
Number of Servings: 8
Nutritional Information:
  • 94 calories per serving
  • 20 carbs 
  • 0 grams of fat 
  • 0 protein
  • 4 sugar
*Nutritional information found on www.myfitnesspal.com this information will vary based on the products you use.*




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Jul 17, 2012


This recipe was outside of my comfort zone because I do not typically like chicken salad. I think it’s the dominate roll the chicken takes in the recipes that I don’t particularly care for. I just happened to have all the ingredients and some extra rotisserie chicken that I didn’t want to waste so I thought I would give it a try. I am the only one in our house that isn’t a chicken salad fan so I figured it would get eaten regardless of my opinion of chicken salad.

I found this recipe interesting because it’s a little different than your typical chicken salad. I loved the surprising sweetness with the dried cherries and I loved the occasional crunch from the almonds.  This recipe takes an old boring recipe and gives it a nice make over.

I really enjoyed this recipe! The only thing I would change next time would be severing it on plain white or wheat sandwich bread instead of a roll. The roll overwhelmed the chicken salad. When I used the leftovers on toasted sandwich bread it was fantastic!

Ingredients:
  • 1 pounds of rotisserie chicken
  • ½-3/4 cup mayonnaise (I used light and ¾ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon Spicy Brown Mustard
  • 1/3 cup roasted, salted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup small-dice celery (from 1 stalk)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • *4 to 6 Kaiser rolls or sandwich-sized slices of focaccia or ciabatta bread (optional)
  • *Bibb, Boston, or iceberg lettuce (optional)

Instructions:
  1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. 
  2. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, almonds, cherries, celery, shallot, and thyme and season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Stir to evenly combine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 1 hour.
  4. If serving as sandwiches divide the chicken salad among the bread/rolls and top with lettuce.


Number of Servings: 6  (*Calorie Count Does not include roll or any toppings*)
Nutritional Information:
  • 192 calories per serving
  • 9 carbs 
  • 11 grams of fat 
  • 17 protein
  • 0 sugar
*Nutritional information found on www.myfitnesspal.com this information will vary based on the products you use.*



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Jul 14, 2012

My husband and I love Mexican hot chocolate, but it can be on the high side of the calorie scale. With a little creative thinking we can up with a lower calorie version that is just as good as the one we were making for three times the amount of calories.

If you have never had Mexican hot chocolate you are in for a treat. It has a nice spicy cinnamon flavor mixed in decedent chocolate. Here is our guiltless lower calorie version of Mexican hot chocolate. Might I add that if you are watching what you are eating and drinking (calorie wise) this is a great fix if you are craving something sweet. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp. Nestle Abuelitas Syrup 
  • 1 pouch of No Sugar or Sugar Free Hot Cocoa
  • 8 ounces of hot water
Directions:
  1. Use a coffee pot, stove top, microwave, or like I did a Kuerig to heat up 8 ounces of hot water. 
  2. To the hot water add 1 pouch of no sugar hot cocoa mix. 
  3. Stir until it’s completely blended together, then add 1 tbsp. of Abuelitas Syrup, and then mix well.
*optional: top with ground cinnamon or whipped topping

Number of Servings: 1
Nutritional Information:
  • 100 calories per serving
  • 22 carbs 
  • 0 grams of fat 
  • 3 protein
  • 20 sugar
*Nutritional information found on www.myfitnesspal.com this information will vary based on the products you use.*

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Jul 11, 2012




Mysterious...


Beautiful...


Summer Loving!


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Jul 10, 2012


This dish is simple and inexpensive, but it wasn’t really my favorite. Although it was good it did not have the flavor I was looking for. It’s worth trying that’s for sure because it is good and it is easy.  Another great thing is that it’s low in calories for dinner if you add nice salad to the mix don’t make the mistake I did and add eggrolls. The calories were a bit too high!!


Ingredients:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 diced bell pepper
  • 2 packages (3 ounces each) Beef Ramen noodles, crumbled
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (I used corn, carrots, broccoli)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ¾ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 1-2 tbsp. soy sauce (I used 2 start with 1)
  • Salt as desired

Directions
  1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until no longer pink add diced onion and bell pepper cook until tender; drain.
  2. Add the contents of one Ramen noodle flavoring packet; stir until dissolved. Remove beef and keep warm.
  3. In the same skillet, combine the water, vegetables, ginger, garlic powder, onion powder,  bouillon cube , noodles and contents of remaining flavoring packet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally. Return beef to the pan add soy sauce and sesame oil; cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.  Add salt if desired
Original Recipe Source


Number of Servings: 6 (8 ounces each)
Nutritional Information:
  • 303 calories per serving
  • 27 carbs 
  • 12 grams of fat 
  • 19 protein
  • 4 sugar
*Nutritional information found on www.myfitnesspal.com this information will vary based on the products you use.*

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Jul 6, 2012


I have been on a quest to make a dessert that I can freeze for dessert emergencies that are decedent, but are as low in calories as I can possibly get them. The requirement was it had to have cream cheese or Neufchatel in it because right now cream cheese and Neufchatel bricks are in sale at my grocery store for .50 each. That’s such a sweet deal that I celebrated by making mini personal sized cheesecakes.

Like I said before I wanted to get the calorie count down as low as possible because I am watching my calories like a hawk watches mice. Instead of using cream cheese I chose to use Neufchatel because that would automatically cut the calories down by 720 calories right off the top. That’s a huge savings!

I took a recipe for cheesecake that I already loved and then turned it into mini cheesecakes that would allow me to better control the calories. By controlling the calories, and the size, I can better control me!


Ingredients:
  • 3 Packages of Neufchatel, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) container of dairy sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Toll House cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 28 Oreo cookies halves (14 cookies total) (removing the cream center)
  • 28 cupcake tins/liners
Directions:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Beat cream cheese and sugar until blended.
  3. Add sour cream and vanilla and beat until blended
  4. Beat in cocoa and flour
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, but beat just until well blended
  6. Remove Oreo filling with a butter knife and add one half of an Oreo to each cupcake tin you should have a total of 28 cupcake tins.
  7. Fill each tin with one large spoon full of cheesecake filling until you have filled all 28 then go back and top off each tin with any extra filling.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 3000 degrees be sure to watch them carefully.
  9. Remove from oven to wire rack
  10. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours
  11. Store covered in refrigerator or in the freezer. They freeze nicely

Number of Servings: 28
Nutritional Information:
  • 134 calories per serving
  • 12 carbs 
  • 7 grams of fat 
  • 3 protein
  • 11 sugar
*Nutritional information found on www.myfitnesspal.com this information will vary based on the products you use.*

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Jul 3, 2012


I did a lot of growing on up a ranch outside of Houston. Many of my favorite memories from the ranch revolve around the dinner table. We always had fresh vegetables on the table that my Dad grew. He always grew a lot of peas. We would have black-eyed peas, purple hulls, and field peas. To this day I love peas just as much as I did when I was a kid.

Today I don’t have the luxury of home grown and I don’t always have time to go to the farmers market so the next best thing is getting my peas out of a can. I must admit they are not anywhere near as good as homegrown, but you have to take what you can get. When I make pea’s  I always have to “dress them up” to make them feel more like home and more like the comfort food I love. Here is my way of dressing up a can of black eyed peas.

Ingredients:
  • 1 can of black eyed peas (I prefer Bush’s)
  • 1 tbsp. of bacon drippings
  • ¼ diced onion
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder

Directions:
  1. In a sauce pan add bacon drippings and onion sauté until onion is tender.
  2. While your onion is sautéing open the can of black eyed peas (do not drain) and remove ½ the peas and smash them on a plate using a fork. They should look like a thick paste when you are done. Once your onion is tender add the smashed peas along with the remainder of the peas in the can.
  3. To the peas add onion powder, and garlic powder.
  4. Cook for about 10 minutes just long enough to give the spices enough time to mingle with one another and enough time to heat your peas all the way through.
Number of Servings: 4
Nutritional Information:
  • 81 calories per serving
  • 15 carbs 
  • 1 grams of fat 
  • 5 protein
  • 0 sugar
*Nutritional information found on www.myfitnesspal.com this information will vary based on the products you use.*



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