Recipes

Healthy Banana Muffin Recipe

by Katie on April 10, 2014

I’m always on the lookout for new healthy recipes to add into our family’s meal plan.  So, when my sister came across a recipe for healthy banana muffins, I knew I had to try it.  A few tweaks later, and this recipe has definitely become a keeper for our family.  While the muffins are not super sweet, they are a perfect combination of flavors and are hearty enough to keep me going throughout the morning.

Banana Muffins

4 mashed bananas
1 cup skim milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 cups oats
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix bananas, milk, eggs, baking powder, oats, vanilla, blueberries, and cinnamon in a large bowl in until combined.  Pour batter into muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until well set.  Serve warm.

There are a few things to note with this recipe.  First off, our oven bakes really fast, so if your muffins do not look set after 15 minutes, I’d suggest leaving them in for a little while longer.  Also, if you’re not a fan of blueberries, you can skip them and add 3 tablespoons of almonds or walnuts (I prefer walnuts with this recipe).  And lastly, I don’t always measure my cinnamon for this recipe although I typically use about a teaspoon – I’m more of a sprinkle and go kind of girl when it comes to cooking and baking!

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Turkey Chili Recipe

by Katie on April 2, 2014

Since winter was so cold this year, chili has made its way into our menu rotation quite frequently over the past several months.  However, my old chili recipe wasn’t exactly diet friendly, so I tweaked it a bit to come up with a recipe that everyone except our oldest son loves (he has a dislike of anything that has beans in it….he also hates peanut butter….I have no explanations!).

This recipe is super easy and is quick to make if you’re pressed for time:

Turkey Chili

1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb. ground turkey, browned
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
¼ tsp. cinnamon
3 cans beans (I usually use a mix of pinto and black beans)
2 cans diced tomatoes
chicken broth (amount depends on how hearty you prefer your chili)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook onions in olive oil over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.  Add browned ground turkey, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and cinnamon.  Stir until combined.

Add beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.  Simmer on medium heat for 20-30 minutes.  Serve with low fat cheese.

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Some of my favorite recipes tend to be the ones that I make up as I go along.  A few weeks ago, I was feeling totally uninspired when it came time to make dinner.  I had chicken and fresh zucchini in the fridge which I used to put together one of our newest favorite meals - inside-out chicken, black bean, and zucchini enchiladas.  It’s incredibly easy to make, and it’s a hearty meal especially on chilly days.

Inside-Out Chicken, Black Bean, & Zucchini Enchiladas

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
5 medium-size zucchini, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can  green enchilada sauce
2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Colby jack cheese

Warm olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes or until softened.  Add the zucchini, cumin, and chili powder, and cook until the zucchini is tender (about 6-8 minutes).

Add black beans, enchilada sauce, and chicken.  Cook until warmed through.  Top with cilantro and cheese.

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French Apple Pie Recipe

by Katie on November 27, 2013

Apple pie is one of those mandatory desserts on Thanksgiving for our family.  Of course, according to my mom, I cheat a little by using store bought crust.  I’m surprisingly okay with that!  Here’s the recipe I use for our apple pie:

French Apple Pie

refrigerated pie crust
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. nutmeg
7 cups thinly sliced apples
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup firm stick butter, cut into chunks

Lie pie crust with refrigerated pie crust and crimp edges to form a decorative pattern (or decide to not even try if you have no talent in decorative pie edges….like me!).  Mix sugar, nutmeg, and apples and toss gently.  Spoon into pie crust.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, and butter until crumbly (I use a whisk for this, but a pastry cutter or two knives will work as well).  Sprinkle on top of the apples.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.  Bake for an additional 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees or until the apples are tender.  As a side note, I often tent the pie with aluminum foil after the first ten minutes to prevent excessive browning.

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Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe

by Katie on November 27, 2013

Although I’m not always a huge fan of stuffing, I love our family’s recipe.  I make the stuffing the day before Thanksgiving, and combine the wet and dry ingredients on Thanksgiving morning.  You can prepare the stuffing in its entirety on Thanksgiving, but I prefer to accomplish the bulk of the work the day before.

The one change I made this year was to use whole grain bread instead of my usual white bread.  Also, the recipe listed below is for one batch.  Since we have 15 people coming for Thanksgiving, I made 1-1/2 batches instead.

Thanksgiving Stuffing

12 cups bread cubes
1 cup butter
3/4 cup minced onion
1-1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sage (I typically use just 2 teaspoons)
1 lb. sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup butter
chicken broth

Tear slightly stale bread into small cube-size pieces (I usually purchase the bread the weekend before Thanksgiving, and let it sit out on the counter until I make the stuffing).  Let bread pieces sit uncovered throughout the day, stirring occasionally to rotate.

Melt 1 cup of butter in large pan over low heat.  Add minced onion, chopped celery, salt, pepper, and sage.  Saute on low until just slightly crisp.

In a separate pan, melt 1/2 cup butter.  Add sliced mushrooms and saute until tender.  Add mushrooms to the onion and celery mixture, and stir until combined.

At this point, I let this mixture cool, cover it with foil, and place it in the refrigerator.  Before the end of the evening, I cover the breadcrumbs with plastic wrap as well.

On Thanksgiving morning, reheat the vegetable mixture on low heat.  When warm, gradually add to the breadcrumbs, stirring lightly after each addition.  Once combined, gradually add chicken broth until the mixture is slightly moist.

At this point, the stuffing can either be loosely stuffed into a turkey, or placed in a greased casserole dish, and baked at 350 degrees until warmed through and slightly crisp on top.  This amount of stuffing is adequate for approximately a 12-pound turkey.

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My New Favorite Chicken Salad Recipe

by Katie on October 1, 2013

So I have a confession to make…I have a slight addiction to salads.  Whether it’s lettuce, chicken, taco, or otherwise, one of my favorite meals is a fresh salad.  I tweaked a chicken salad recipe that has become one of my new favorite lunches.

Chicken Salad Recipe

2 large cans of chicken (I use the 13-oz. cans from Sam’s Club)
3/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
3 green onions, chopped

Drain chicken and flake apart with a fork.  Add sour cream, lemon juice, and green onions.  Stir to combine.  Serve over romaine lettuce.

I typically add one or more of the following to the salad – tomatoes, avocados, or red grapes.

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Vegetable Egg Casserole Recipe

by Katie on September 16, 2013

Since I’ve always been a cereal and milk girl for breakfast, the transition to an egg-based breakfast was not an easy one for me.  However, I’ve adapted several recipes that I now really enjoy each morning.  One of these recipes is the Vegetable Egg Casserole.  It’s a meal that can be personalized to your own preferences and is easy to make ahead of time for the upcoming week.

Vegetable Egg Casserole

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
2 yellow squash, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
12 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 pepper, chopped
1 cup low fat shredded cheese
18 eggs
1/4 cup skim or 1% milk

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and cook for 1 minute.  Add zucchini, squash, tomato, mushrooms, and pepper.  Saute until tender crisp.  Spoon mixture into the bottom of an 11×17-inch baking dish.  Top with shredded cheese.  Scramble eggs and milk together.  Pour over cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set.

You can also scale back on the proportions to make a smaller version of this casserole.  It works well for our family since several of our children like to eat it for breakfast as well.

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All of you who commented on my Beano giveaway post had great ideas about what recipe I created for the Beano “Be Natural” Virtual Cook-Off, but no one quite hit the nail on the head.  My recipe (as you can tell from the title of the post) is for vegetarian lasagna.  Since cooking is one of my life’s passions, I really enjoyed creating the recipe and the resulting dish.

It was a rather involved dish to prepare, but it was worth every minute!  Even my kiddos who don’t love vegetables enjoyed this lasagna.  I’m including the step-by-step instructions below as well as the complete recipe at the end of the post.

Boil lasagna noodles according to package directions.  Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic.  Saute for 1 minute.  Add the cauliflower and saute for an additional minute.

Add the pepper, zucchini, squash, and mushrooms.  Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender.

Add the chopped tomatoes, parsley, basil, and red pepper flakes.

Stir until combined and heated through.

In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, salt, and pepper.

Pour a thin layer of vegetable sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.

Top with 5 lasagna noodles.

Cover the noodles with the ricotta cheese mixture.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Layer half of the remaining vegetable mixture on top of the cheese.  Repeat layers.

Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe

10 lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup cauliflower, finely chopped
1 sweet pepper, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
2 yellow squash, chopped
12 oz. white mushrooms, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, torn into pieces
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 cups mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese

Boil lasagna noodles according to package directions.  Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic.  Saute for 1 minute.  Add the cauliflower and saute for an additional minute.  Add the pepper, zucchini, squash, and mushrooms.  Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender.  Add the chopped tomatoes, parsley, basil, and red pepper flakes.  Stir until combined and heated through.

In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, salt, and pepper.  Pour a thin layer of vegetable sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Top with 5 lasagna noodles.  Cover the noodles with the ricotta cheese mixture.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Layer half of the remaining vegetable mixture on top of the cheese.  Repeat layers.  Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Disclaimer: I am participating in a sponsored campaign for Beano.  I received Promotional items and Beano products in exchange for my participation.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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Kraft recently released a new product – Kraft Recipe Makers.  I decided to try one of these meals last week on a very hectic day for our family.  Since I had chicken, tortillas, and cheese on hand, I made the Verde Chicken Enchiladas (as a side note, I used flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas like the recipe calls for).

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure how much our family was going to enjoy this meal, and the kids were positive that they were going to hate it based solely on the color of the verde sauce!  However, I have a rule that the kids have to try at least one bite of the meals I fix to see whether or not they like it.  And the verdict…..everyone loved it.  We actually liked it better than the typical enchilada casserole that I usually make.

This recipe will definitely make it into our monthly meal rotation, and I’m looking forward to trying more varieties of the Kraft Recipe Makers.  If you’re a Meijer shopper, you might like to know that the Kraft Recipe Makers are on sale this week for $2.50 each.

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Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Recipe

by Katie on July 11, 2013

I love making homemade pizza, and I wanted to try a new variety of toppings.  I found a recipe online for Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza.  The concept sounded great, but I didn’t love some of the ingredient choices.  So, with some tweaking, I came up with a recipe that is by far my new favorite pizza.


Pizza Crust Recipe

1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 cup hot water (approximately 110 degrees)
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3-4 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in hot water.  Stir in the sugar, salt, and vegetable oil.  Add flour until dough becomes thick and difficult to stir. Dump mixture onto floured counter and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and easy to handle. Roll out according to the size of the pan you’re using (I typically use  a round pizza pan) on a lightly oiled pan.

Pizza Recipe

1/2 jar spaghetti or pizza sauce (I use Hunt’s spaghetti sauce)
1 lb. chopped, cooked chicken
4 slices bacon, fully cooked and crumbled (I use turkey bacon)
1-1/2 cups Colby Jack cheese
3 Tbsp. Ranch dressing
1 Tbsp. water

Spread spaghetti sauce onto crust.

Top with chicken, bacon, and cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Combine ranch dressing and water.  Drizzle over the pizza.  Enjoy!

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