Month: February 2013

Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad

For some reason when I was at the grocery store a cucumber told me to buy him and make pasta salad, crazy, I know but I think it was the cold weather/stay-inside-all-day-go crazies that made me want a summer-inspired pasta salad.  For me pasta salad […]

Cheesy Whole Wheat Breadsticks

Cheesy Whole Wheat Breadsticks

Where did this week go?  Between kids (plural, yes!) keeping me up in the middle in of the night and wanting to stay in my pj’s all day, let’s just say I did not get everything checked off my to-do list. However, I did have […]

Macaroni & Cheese!

Macaroni & Cheese!


Yum!  I would have to say mac and cheese is definitely at the top of the list for comfort foods, eh?  But like any favorite I like to put my own twist on the dish or as my husband would ask, “WHY?”  Hahaha, well, honey I just want you to live a healthy life most of the time Winking smile.  So we start off with 100% whole wheat macaroni noodles. 


For the cheese sauce, start with a basic roux: butter, flour and milk.


Bring mixture to a rolling boil.


Meanwhile, steam broccoli in steamer for about 10 to 12 minutes. You don’t have to add broccoli in this dish but the broccoli does amp up the nutritional value! By the way my husband was so excited to see broccoli (not really).


Add 3/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese.  Now when it comes to extra sharp cheese go to the specialty cheese case and find a good one, this is the secret to any good mac and cheese!


Watch the cheese melt into cheese heaven . . . ahhhhh, yum!



In another pot cook the macaroni. 



Add broccoli to cooked macaroni and very soon comes the cheese sauce, dun, dah, dahhh!

broc and macaroni



This is a great dish to separate into small bowl for the proper potion size.



With the last 1/4 cup of cheese, sprinkle on top.



I like to add a little whole bread crumbs on top as well!


Macaroni & Cheese


1 tbsp butter

1 1/2 tbsp flour

1 cup skim milk

1 cup extra sharp cheese, divided

1 1/2 cups whole wheat macaroni

1 1/2 cups broccoli, steamed

1/3 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a sauce pan, melt butter.  Add flour and combine with butter until it becomes a thick consistency.  Whisk in milk until thickens.  Add 3/4 cup of cheese to the mixture.  Stir until completely melted.  Meanwhile cook macaroni in water.  Once macaroni is cooked add broccoli and cheese sauce.  Divide mixture into ramekins or small glass bowls.  Sprinkle remaining cheese and top with bread crumbs.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.


Now that is a meal!  I love, love the individual servings, now did I finish a bit more off my kids plate . . .uhh . . .yes!


Valentine Mini Pizzas!

Valentine Mini Pizzas!

  Nothing too fancy about these pizza but they are cute!  They are super simple to make using the frozen dough below.  Using these dough rolls is  the perfect portion size!  I am a huge bread/crust fan for pizza and I always clean up my […]

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad

In celebration of heart health month I wanted to feature this awesome salad loaded with good-for-your-heart foods! Again, another yummy recipe you gotta try!  I am in love with this salad! As I opened my frig, I saw a hug container of spinach and strawberries […]

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Nothing says Valentine’s like red velvet cupcakes.  But at our house they didn’t make it to Valentine’s day because my kids ate them in about a day!  So that is why I made them a bit healthier . . .



I like to think of myself like a healthier version of the innovative Sandra Lee, eh?  Or maybe not, haha!

Here is what we started off with . . . a box of red velvet cake mix (on sale!) and a can of navy beans, no-salt-added.


Dump the entire contents of the can in a blender and puree water and beans together.  Yes, a vitamix would have worked better but if you are like me and don’t have one yet (feel sorry for me, jk) . . .any blender will do.


Little miss Reese wanted to help . . . cupcakes?!  Yaaaaaayyyyyy!  Doncha love her shirt?



In the mixer blend together cupcake mix, eggs and pureed beans


Wow, pretty red!



Bake cupcakes according to package directions in muffin tins.



Now for the icing, instead of using an entire stick of butter, I substituted this for four tablespoons of coconut oil.  Blend the coconut oil until it becomes a bit fluffy.


Add the frosting powder (that came in the package) to the coconut oil.


We didn’t let the cupcakes cool much . . .therefore icing was a bit runny.  Note to self:  Be more patient! They may not be decorated beautifully but they are darn tasty!



Let them cool completely , otherwise the paper sticks to the cupcake and you have to eat the cake off the paper.



Now you may ask, who cares it is a cupcake, “Why not just make them as is?”  I totally agree with you but in our house when my kids devour sweets, I don’t feel as bad when they have a couple.  Plus what they don’t know will not hurt them.  Just by substituting beans for the oil, we saved about 80 calories per cupcake and 7 grams of fat plus we added 1.5 grams of fiber per cupcake!  As for the icing, there wasn’t a big difference in calories but coconut oil is a healthier fat our bodies will break down easier.


Red Velvet Cupcakes


1 can navy beans, undrained

1 box red velvet cake mix

2 eggs


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Dump contents of can into a blend (water included) and blend well.  In a mixer add bean mixture, cake mix and eggs.  Bake according to package directions.




Easy Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Easy Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yes, I am at it again . . . making another soup but this recipe is totally worth a try, SERIOUSLY! Quick, simple, (good-for you) and DELICOUS! I even ate it for breakfast! I know I have posted this technique a couple of times (back […]