Sunday, December 1, 2013

Nothing says holiday like Beaver Pond Farm Cheese Spread

When we got married, my future (and now current) sister-in-law solicited recipes from everyone on our invitation list and put together a cookbook for everyone who attended the wedding. I'm not sure anyone still has theirs, but I still have mine. And BY FAR, this recipe is one I use over and over again. We make the Beaver Pond Cheese Dip for every holiday -- we took it to Thanksgiving this year. It's become a family favorite for all.

Beaver Pond Farm Cheese Spread
1 pound extra sharp cheddar cheese or vermont cheddar
3/4 c. mayonnaise
3/4 c. Aunt Marie's Blue Cheese Dressing
Red pepper flakes
6 dashes hot red pepper sauce
1/2 c. parsley

Grate the cheese, mix with other ingredients and refrigerate, preferably overnight.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chicken with Balsamic Fig Sauce

A friend at work suggested this recipe. She is a much more adventurous cook than I -- but I believe I should probably take her advice more often. This was universally loved (and I'll continue to make it as long as the kids eat it).

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup finely chopped dried figs (such as Mission)


Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm.
Reduce heat to medium; add butter to pan. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth, vinegar, soy sauce, and figs. Simmer until sauce is reduced to 1 cup (about 3 minutes). Add 1 tablespoon thyme and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cut chicken breast halves lengthwise on the diagonal into slices. Serve sauce over chicken.

Roasted Cauliflower

I need to add this to the blog, because I've looked it up and cooked it several times. Almost everyone eats it here, so it's a good go-to veggie. I got it from SimplyRecipes -- a really good go to recipe blog.

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

1 head of cauliflower
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced
Lemon juice from half a lemon
Olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese

1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish. Toss in the garlic. Sprinkle lemon juice over cauliflower and drizzle each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If the oven hasn't reached 400°F yet, set aside until it has.

2 Place casserole in the hot oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown. Test with a fork for desired doneness. Fork tines should be able to easily pierce the cauliflower. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

My sister Gretchen, who has worked full time for years now is a crock pot fan -- and told me about I found this recipe there and the biggest, pickiest kid (i.e., the husband) not only told me that it was really good, but he went back for seconds during dinner! Mission accomplished.

Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup
Servings: 6 • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups + cheese • Old Points: 5 pts • Points+: 7 pts
Calories: 260.9 • Fat: 6.6 g • Protein: 25.4 g • Carb: 29.9 g • Fiber: 6.7 g • Sugar: 4.1 g
Sodium: 572 mg (without salt)


2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups low sodium fat-free chicken broth
8 oz can tomato sauce
1-2 tsp chipotle chili in adobo sauce (or more to taste)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (plus more for garnish)
 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 8 oz skinless chicken breasts (16 oz total)
1/4 cup chopped scallions, for topping
3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
fat free sour cream (optional)


Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the chicken broth, tomato sauce and chipotle adobo sauce and bring to a boil. Add cilantro and remove from heat. Pour into crock pot.

To the crockpot, add drained beans, diced tomatoes, corn, cumin, oregano and stir. Add the chicken breasts; cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.

Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Add chicken back into the soup, adjust salt and cumin to taste. Serve in bowls and top with fat free sour cream, cheese, scallions and cilantro. You can also top with avocado or crushed tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Corn, avocado, and tomato salad with honey lime dressing

We went to the lake last weekend and stayed with my gourmet sister-in-law. She made a huge fajita spread for dinner that included my new favorite summer salad. I've already made it once for a potluck since we've been home and its on the plan for this week.

Corn, avocado, and tomato salad
3 ears of grilled corn
1 ripe avocado
1 pint cherry tomatoes sliced in halves

Honey lime dressing
4 T. Lime juice
2 T. Honey
2 T. Olive oil
1/4 t. Cumin
1/2 t. Salt

Cut the kernels from the corn, combine with cherry tomatoes and cubed avocado. Toss with honey lime dressing.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

There goes a sit down dinner....

I'm seriously considering going back to work full time. I've been working, but only part time, and with tuition coming down the pike and pressure on my husband who has carried the load for so very long, I thought I'd step up and get a job. Here's the thing.... if I go back to work, I will get home too late to cook, AND if I put the husband in charge we'll eat McDonald's, Spaghetti O's, and pizza all the time. So I sat down today and drew up this list... I love lists....

Here's my plan for 5 days worth of meals -- cook ahead on the weekend, and prep as much as possible so that when I get home, it's ready to go:

Marinated pre-prepared meat
                Rotisserie Chicken
 Crock pot
                Pork Barbeque
                Corn Chowder
                Southwestern Chicken
                Chicken and rice
                Mac and Cheese
                Chicken Tetrazzini
                King Ranch Casserole (Party Food)
                French Farmhouse Chicken (Party Food)
Dad cooks
Make ahead meal
                Sloppy Joes
                Lasagna with a twist
                Baked Ziti
                Kelly’s Keilbasa
                Chicken Pot Pie
                Sesame Noodles with Chicken
                Fried Chicken    

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

This recipe is from Pinterest -- my friend Mindy pinned it and I thought it looked good. And it was! The kids were calling it Chipolte chicken. That's a ringing endorsement if I ever heard one.

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken
Servings: 8 servings Size: 1 cup Old Points: 3 pts Points+: 4 pts
Calories: 190 • Fat: 1.5 g • Fiber: 5.6 g • Carbs: 23.1 g • Protein: 21 g


  • 24 oz (1 1/2) lbs chicken breast
  • 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • salt to taste

Combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the crock pot. Season chicken breast with salt and lay on top.  

Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Adjust salt and seasoning to taste. Serve over rice or tortillas and your favorite toppings.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Southwestern Corn Chowder

It mystifies me what my family likes and doesn't like. This one has all the ingredients they love -- corn, potatoes, creamy soup. It was met with not a great deal of enthusiasm. I, on the other hand, enjoyed this soup. Crock pot, somewhat low fat, soup... what's not to love? I'm going to keep serving it and see what happens.

  • 4 c. fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, peeled (optional) and diced
  • 2 4 oz cans of shopped green chilies
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 (2-3 oz) chorizo sausage links, skinned and diced
  • 4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 c fat free half and half
  • 4 tbsp flour
  1. place all ingredients (except for the last two) in slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours, until potatoes are tender
  2. about 15-30 minutes before serving, mix the half and half and flour together until smooth and add to the mixture to thicken
  3. adjust seasonings to taste and serve