Maple Bourbon Little Smokies

This is one of those recipes that is a no brainer with no science or hard work to make it a success. Normally for Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and for Super Bowl Sunday we will have this little bundles of sausage heaven.
 
They are super easy to throw in a pot and let the heat do all the work. Normally I put them in a crock pot but that’s up to you. I like to keep them warm so that everyone can snack on them all night long. These also make a nice little side dish or a main course.
 
The flavor is incredible and they are kind of cute too!
 
 
Ingredients:
  • 2- Packages Hillshire Farms Little Smokies
  • 1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 3 tbsp. Jim Beam Maple Bourbon

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a crock pot or on the stove top on low and heat. 
  2. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. 
  3. Serve when heated through. 

*The alcohol from the bourbon will evaporate so you don’t have to worry about a heavy bourbon flavor.*

Tasty Vegetarian Taco Salad

 
  
 
I have been looking for more ways to incorporate meatless meals into our menu. We are certainly carnivores but sadly I know we need to cut back on our meat consumption. I was looking around a great blog called the Garden Grazer and I must admit I found some recipe that are delicious looking and meatless too.

  
 
One in particular caught my eye which was a vegetarian taco salad with a chipotle cream sauce that dresses the taco salad. I knew this was a must try for me.
 
This recipe turned our fantastic! Even the doubters in my house were scarfing it down! I thought it was awesome and to tell you the truth there really isn’t much to the whole thing and you can truly do what makes you happy when it comes to the taco salad.  

  
 
Ingredients: 
  • Spanish rice (or brown rice if desired)
  • 1 can whole corn (drained)
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 can green chilies
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Black olives

Ingredient for Creamy Chipotle Sauce:

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons of adobo sauce (more or less depending on the heat
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • ½ tbsp. cumin
Directions: 
  1. Make up Creamy Chipotle Sauce by simple putting everything in a blender and blending. 
  2. Make your favorite Spanish rice (Check out our favorite) or simply use cooked brown rice and set aside. 
  3. Heat beans, and corn and slice up veggies and set aside.  
  4. To plate your taco salad spread out a scoop of Spanish rice over your plate, then top the rice with beans, and corn. 
  5. Next, top the corn with cheese, green chilies, lettuce, tomato, and black olives. You can be generous with the veggies because they are low in calorie. 
  6. Then top the entire salad with the creamy chipotle sauce. Start with a small amount then add more as desired.

Original Recipe Source

Soft Garlic Breadsticks

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-1/8 cups water (70 to 80 degrees F)
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon minced fresh basil (optional)
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine, melted 

DIRECTIONS

  1. In bread machine pan, place the first nine ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer.
  2. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing
  3. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed).
  4. When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  5. Divide into 20 portions.
  6. Shape each into a ball; roll each into a 9-in. rope.
  7. Place on greased baking sheets.
  8. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Remove to wire racks. Brush warm

Easy Beef and Broccoli (Crock pot or Stove top)

This recipe is super easy. I forgot to put it in the crock pot so I decided to make in on the stovetop. It turned out fantastic! I thought it was better than any takeout I have had.
I love how easy it is and the flavor is wonderful. I found this recipe on someone’s Facebook post but it didn’t link to any place so I can’t give anyone credit. 
I actually made a few changes but I think they were good changes. I added a bit more liquid to make up the sauce because I wanted to make sure there was plenty for the rice.  My entire family loved this recipe. No doubt this will be made again soon.
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 pound boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips (Slice partly frozen for the thinnest slices)
  • 1 cup beef broth (reduced salt is best because of the soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cooled sauce from the crock pot after being cooked
  • 12 oz. Fresh broccoli florets 
  • Hot cooked rice

Stove Top Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine broth, soy sauce, brown sugar/honey, oil, and garlic. Place beef in a large pot and pour sauce over beef. 
  2. Stir all together and then bring to a boil
  3. Once your pot begins to boil turn down the heat until your pot is simmer between medium to medium low
  4. Cook until meat is tender about 1 hour)
  5. Once your meat is tender add broccoli then cook until broccoli is tender
  6. If your sauce is not thickening, try bringing your sauce to a boil and add corn starch to a bit of the sauce then combine all to the mixture. Boil until your desired consistency is reached
  7. Serve over hot cooked rice.
Crock Pot Directions:
  1. Place beef in a crock pot.
  2. In a small bowl, combine broth, soy sauce, brown sugar/honey, oil, and garlic. Pour over beef. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  3. In a cup, stir cornstarch and sauce form the crock pot until smooth. Add to crock pot. Stir well to combine. (If your sauce is not thickening, try bringing your sauce to a boil on the stovetop with the corn starch mixture. Boil until your desired consistency is reached).
  4. Add broccoli to the crock pot. Stir to combine.
  5. Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes on high (the sauce has to boil for it to thicken).
  6. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Beef Asian Meatballs

I have made these meatballs before …the recipe was called Tangy Asian Meatballs. I got a ton of emails asking me if I have ever made them with ground beef, it seems many people don’t care for ground pork. Other than it being inexpensive I have to agree with them. I am not a fan of pork for the most part. Bacon is pretty much it for me.
I decided to reinvent this recipe using ground beef in place of pork and I made this recipe on the stove top in place of the crock pot. Sometime I forget to put them in the crock pot.
The recipe actually turned out fantastic much better than the original recipe. I like the beef in place of the pork by far. It had a much better flavor, and I really liked making it on the stove top because it was quick … super quick! Best of all it was not as greasy because I used the ground beef this time.
I highly recommend giving this recipe a try… quick… easy and inexpensive! If you want to try the crock pot or pork version you can find the Tangy Asian Meatball recipe here.
Ingredients:
  • 1  pound  ground beef
  • 1/3  cup bread crumbs (use any flavor)
  • 3  scallions, white and light-green parts, chopped
  • 1  large egg
  • 1  tablespoon  soy sauce
  • 1  tsp.  ginger powder
  • 2  cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2  cup  barbecue sauce
  • 1/4  cup  jarred Chinese plum sauce 
  • 2  tablespoons  hoisin sauce
Preparation:
  1. Combine ground beef, bread crumbs, scallions, egg, soy sauce, ginger and garlic in a large bowl; mix gently but thoroughly with your fingers. 
  2. Roll into 1-inch balls.  Add meatballs to a large pot placed on medium.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, plum sauce and hoisin sauce; pour over meatballs. Gently stir to coat.
  4. Once the meatballs are in the pot covered in sauce do not stir again for 30 minutes this will prevent the meatballs from breaking. After 30 minutes turn the meatballs. 
  5.  Cover and cook on medium until meatballs are cooked through around another 15 minutes. 

Berry Blasted Chicken Salad (Low Calorie Options)

 
Kevin and I were in the mood for a light meal after a very hot day last week. I racked my brain for something I thought we would both like and was light and healthy at the same time. I decided to recreate a salad I recently had when we were out for lunch one day. I could have just gone and bought one, but I didn’t want to leave the house to do so. I made a few changes to the cheese and salad dressing to bring the calorie count down, and the salad turned out great! We both really enjoyed it. 
 
Serving: 1
Calories: 259
Carbs: 19
Fat: 8
Protein: 13
 
Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • ¼ cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 oz. canned chicken 98% fat free
  • 2 cups organic greens
  • 2Tbs wish bone light raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing
  • ½ oz. mozzarella part skim milk cheese
  • 1Tbs natural raw sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Place your greens on a plate then layer on top, chicken, cheese, fruit, sliced almonds, then your dressing. 
  2. I personally like to put everything in a large bowl and mix everything up. This helps to spread the dressing throughout the salad. 
  3. Originally I didn’t think this would be enough dressing, but after a good tossing it was perfect! 

Calories Calculated on www.myfitnesspal.com

Southern Fried Chicken Batter

 
I found this recipe by looking online for the ultimate fried chicken breading. I think I have found the holy grail of fried chicken breading/batter. This recipe reminds me of KFC, but probably better than anything KFC can make.
I love the fact that I know what is going in the recipe and how it is cooked. I have now used it several times, and just love it. Honestly, it’s the best recipe ever!!
I have had so many questions about this recipe that I thought I would address as many as I can think of. If you have any other questions please let me know:
What kind of oil do you use for frying?

 I use vegetable oil normally Crisco.

How many pieces of chicken does this recipe make? 

My best answer would be it’s going to vary. It will depend on the size of the pieces and if you are using boneless or bone in. It’s also going to vary on what pieces you are using. I can normally get 6-8 pieces that are about 6-8 ounces each. I use boneless skinless chicken breast but you can use anything. I have used both but prefer boneless.

How long do you cook the chicken?

Again this will vary. I use a meat thermometer and wait for it to reach 165 degrees I never take a chance and go by just looks alone. You can have a beautiful golden crust that was fried too quickly and have a raw center. You don’t want that. I don’t trust chicken that much so I wait for the temp to be just right!

What temperature do you cook the oil?

I heat the oil to 365 degrees. You will want to watch your oil and change the heat levels up and down during the process and try to maintain 365 degrees. I recommend a thermometer that will attach to the side of your pan so that you can see the temperature at all times.

How do you get the chicken juicy?

I prefer to cook the chicken with a lid on it this seems to help retain the moisture.

Can I marinate the chicken ahead of time?

Yes, I highly recommend it. It’s fantastic marinated in pickle brine or butter milk for 2-12 hours. 
Ingredients:
  • 2 beaten egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 4 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
Directions:
  1. Beat the egg and milk together in a bowl.
  2. Combine the flour with the garlic salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and paprika in a big plastic bag.
  3. Put the chicken in the bag, seal it and shake to coat it.
  4. Dip the flour-coated chicken in the egg mixture and again in the flour mixture.
  5. Heat the oil in a skillet to 365 degrees F. Brown the chicken on all sides in the hot oil.
  6. Turn the heat down to medium low and give the chicken another half an hour or until it is cooked through.
  7. Drain it on paper towels and serve.

Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes Bites (134 calories each)

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.*

Fresh Watermelon Granita (94 Calories)

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.*

Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot Recipe

 
My original plan was to take this beautiful chicken out of the crockpot and post a picture of the chicken on a platter. Thank goodness I took a picture before I pulled the chicken out because as soon as I attempted to take it out the entire chicken fell to pieces.
 
It was so tender that I ended up taking it out piece by piece.  Yep it looked like a mess, but boy was it tender. The flavor was incredible and it was so super easy. I simply put the chicken in the crockpot, rubbed it down with spices, and 7 hours later it was done.
 
The chicken doesn’t require any type of liquid because it will make its own. I have a feeling it was done long before the 7 hours, but I just didn’t bother to check. I love the ease of this recipe all you have to do is put it in the crockpot then forget about it!

Don’t ask me why but I never thought of roasting a chicken in the crockpot, but after this yummy creation I don’t think I would waste the energy by sticking it in the oven and heating up the entire house! Crockpot Roasted Chicken Perfection!

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large roasting chicken   
  • 1 cup chopped onion
Directions:
  • In a small bowl, combine the spices. 
  • Remove any giblets from chicken and clean chicken.
  • Rub spice mixture onto the chicken.
  • Place chopped onion in bottom of crock pot.
  • Add chicken. No liquid is needed, the chicken will make it’s own juices.
  • Cook on low 4-8 hours.