Tag Archives: Onion

ThreeBeanSalad@NancyCreative.com

Three Bean Salad

ThreeBeanSalad@NancyCreative.com It’s hard to believe summer is almost here! Some days have already been hot and humid–too warm to cook or bake. So that’s when I start thinking of recipes to make like Three Bean Salad. It doesn’t require any cooking at all and is super-easy to make. It’s a great summer side dish for lunch or dinner and perfect for picnics. I decided to try sweetening my version with honey instead of white sugar and that worked out well. You need to make this salad at least 4 hours before you serve it, to give the salad time to marinate…and this is one of those recipes that tastes better the longer it marinates. So making it the night before you serve it works out great, too.

THREE BEAN SALAD by NancyC Makes about 8 servings

  • 1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can green beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped (chop both the green stems and the white onion tip)–or you can substitute 1 medium chopped red onion
  • 1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • Optional: 1 to 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 to 4 Tablespoons honey, depending on how sweet you want it (or substitute 1/2 cup white sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In large bowl, add drained and rinsed beans, then add the chopped green onions and bell pepper; toss all ingredients together with a large spoon. In another bowl or a jar with a tight-fitting lid, add the vinegar, oil, honey, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; whisk together or, if using a jar with lid, shake ingredients together well. Pour this dressing mixture over the bean salad mixture, tossing gently to coat everything well. Chill in your refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight before serving (the taste gets better the longer it marinates). Stir and toss mixture several times as it is marinating. Toss mixture once more right before serving.

Salads like this are great for summer! I really like making no-bake recipes when it’s warm outside. What easy warm-weather recipes do you like to make? Linked to Fiesta Friday, Inspire Me Monday.

ncIrishStew2nm

Irish Stew

ncIrishStew2nm With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I thought it would be the perfect time to make some Irish Stew. I don’t make stew very often, but I love a bowl of good, thick, chunky stew, and that’s exactly what this is! You might be wondering where those chunks of stew meat are–well, I improvised a little and used ground beef instead, since that’s what I had on hand. But you can use either–ground beef or chunks of beef. There are plenty of other chunky ingredients in this recipe too–onions, potatoes, and carrots. And it’s seasoned with a little dried thyme and basil. Comfort food in a bowl–that’s what this is!

IRISH STEW by NancyC, adapted from Midwest Living Makes 6 servings

  • 1 pound boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 3/4″ pieces, or 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 medium onions, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 medium potatoes (1 1/2 lbs.), peeled and cut into bite-size chunks (about 4 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cups sliced carrots (about 6 medium, sliced 1/2″ thick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, plus a little more for garnish if desired
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine beef, beef broth, onions, and pepper. bring to boiling, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Skim off the fat. Add the potatoes, carrots, thyme, and basil. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes more or until vegetables are tender. Stir the cold water and flour together, blending well. Stir this mixture into the stew and cook and stir until stew is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with additional dried thyme, if desired, and serve.

If St. Patrick’s Day will be chilly where you live, this would be the perfect thing to make to warm everyone up! Are you planning on making any special Irish dishes that day?

Linked to Sunday Showcase, Inspire Me Monday.

ncTexasCaviarnm

Texas Caviar

ncTexasCaviarnm

The Super Bowl is just about here and if you’re planning on watching the game, you’re probably deciding on what kind of snacks you want to make. If you’re still looking for ideas, this Texas Caviar is a great recipe to try! Some people also call this Cowboy Caviar. I’ve seen lots of variations on this dip and decided to come up with my own version. Most recipes you’ll see have black beans, black-eyed peas or pinto beans, corn, tomatoes, bell pepper, and onion. I like adding chopped green chiles and avocado to mine. And olives–don’t forget the olives! It’s actually quite a healthy mix of veggies and beans. I used canned diced tomatoes, but you can dice up some fresh ones, and you can use fresh or frozen corn instead of canned. And it tastes great! Serve it with those scoop-style chips and enjoy every bite!

TEXAS CAVIAR by NancyC

Makes 6-8 servings

  • 1 small red onion (or 1/2 large), finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained (or use an equivalent amount of fresh tomatoes)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained (or use a 10-ounce bag of frozen corn, thawed)
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives (I used sliced Kalamata olives)
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles (or use fresh)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 2/3 cup Italian salad dressing (regular or light)
  • 1 large avocado, cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Mix all ingredients, except for the Italian salad dressing, cilantro, and avocado in a large bowl, blending so all ingredients are distributed evenly.

Add the Italian dressing; toss well so all ingredients are coated with dressing.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. Then toss with chopped fresh cilantro and avocado.

Put mixture into a large serving bowl or several smaller bowls and serve with tortilla chips.

When it comes to watching the Super Bowl, I have to admit I actually enjoy the commercials the most! I like going to sports games, but watching them on TV just doesn’t hold my interest. What do you like best–the game or the commercials?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

ncBiscBowls4nm

Scrambled Egg Biscuit Bowls

ncBiscBowls4nm

If you’re looking for a hearty breakfast idea, maybe even for Father’s Day, here’s a recipe I made with the Perfect Bacon Bowl. I received two complimentary bowls to try out and I read about them beforehand in this Good BaconBowlHousekeeping review.

It sounded like these bowls had worked well with bacon, so I thought I’d try doing something different with them: making biscuit bowls and filling them with a scrambled egg filling. It’s really easy because you use those large refrigerated buttermilk biscuits that come in a can. There are 8 biscuits to a can–and since I just had two bacon bowls I used a large muffin tin (with 6 muffin cups) to make the rest of the bowls. You just have to separate the biscuit dough and roll each one out until they’re about 1/4″ thick, then form them around the bacon bowls or muffin tins. The photos below show how the biscuits look before and after baking…

BiscCups3

While the muffin tins works fine for this, the bacon bowls did make a nicer-looking biscuit bowl. Plus you can also use them to make those yummy bacon bowls. They have a rim where the grease from the bacon can drain, which is nice too.

While the bowls are baking, you can mix your scrambled egg filling–then just scoop the filling into the slightly-cooled bowls and serve. It’s a fun way to have biscuits and eggs! You can also use bread dough to make mini bread bowls in a similar way–and fill them with soup or salad. Have fun experimenting!

SCRAMBLED EGG BISCUIT BOWLS by NancyC

Serves 8 (you’ll need 8 bacon bowls or two 6-cup jumbo muffin pans–or some of both!)

Biscuit Bowls:

  • 1 (16.3 oz.) can refrigerated biscuits (the big biscuits that come 8 to a can)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Spray Perfect Bacon Bowls (or bottoms of jumbo muffin cups) with cooking spray. Separate the refrigerated biscuit dough into 8 biscuits.

Using a rolling pin, roll the biscuit dough out until it is about 1/4″ thick (the biscuits are easier to roll out if you lightly sprinkle them with a little flour). Place dough by hand over the Perfect Bacon Bowl and spread dough down so that the edges cover the rim (or place dough by hand over and around the bottoms and sides of the jumbo muffin cups).

Bake for 11 to 14 minutes; halfway through baking time (around 6 or 7 minutes), remove Bacon Bowl or jumbo muffin tins from oven and lightly pat dough down to eliminate any bubbles that may have formed; return to oven and finish baking for another 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then remove biscuits from cups. Fill with scrambled egg filling.

Scrambled Egg Filling: (or use your favorite scrambled egg recipe, using 12 eggs)

  • 12 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons milk (or if you want them a little creamier, use sour cream)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (2.5 oz.) package real bacon pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon butter for frying
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 1 1/2  to 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • additional shredded cheddar cheese or bacon pieces for garnish, if desired

In large mixing bowl, whisk eggs with milk and salt. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Stir in bacon pieces, stirring until evenly distributed in mixture.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Melt butter in pan. After butter is melted, add chopped onion and green pepper, cooking several minutes until slightly tender. Add egg mixture. Let egg mixture set for a few minutes, then start scrambling, tilting skillet so runny parts will cook. When eggs are cooked and scrambled, stir in cheddar cheese, stirring until cheese is melted; add salt and pepper to taste if desired.

Spoon scrambled eggs into baked biscuit cups and garnish with additional shredded cheese or bacon pieces on top, if desired (you can pop into microwave for 10-20 seconds to reheat biscuit cups if they have cooled off too much). Serve immediately.

These Scrambled Egg Biscuit Bowls make a great dish for breakfast or brunch! Are you making a special breakfast for Father’s Day?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

ncTnCrnbrdSal2nm

Tennessee Cornbread Salad

ncTnCrnbrdSal2nm

This Tennessee Cornbread Salad is a new favorite recipe of mine! I had heard of cornbread salad before, but never really thought about making it–after all, cornbread in a salad? I wasn’t sure what to think about that! Then Krusteaz sent me some of their mixes to try, one of which was Southern Cornbread. And they had a recipe on their site called Tennessee Cornbread Salad. It looked pretty good, so I decided to try it out. You don’t have to use a cornbread mix in this recipe–you can use your favorite homemade cornbread, too! I made a few changes to the recipe, using a little more crumbled cornbread, adding 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, and substituting turkey bacon for regular bacon. I thought this salad was so good! It really surpassed my expectations.

I was a little skeptical about the dressing–a mix of mayonnaise and sweet pickle juice–but it actually tastes great! I did make a little change to the dressing, substituting a small amount of plain Greek yogurt for the mayo. I also thought corn would be great in this, but didn’t have any to use at the time I was making the salad, so I listed it as an optional ingredient. ncTnCrnbrdSal1nm

I usually make cornbread from scratch, but a mix is convenient–especially when you’re making a recipe like this where you need to make the cornbread to use as an ingredient! It saves a little time, and this Krusteaz Southern Cornbread mix bakes up really nice and tastes like homemade. If you’re on the fence about making cornbread salad, I recommend trying this recipe out! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

TENNESSEE CORNBREAD SALAD adapted from Krusteaz

Makes 12 servings Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I used 3/4 cup light mayonnaise and 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle juice

Salad:

  • 4 cups crumbled, baked cornbread (I used Krusteaz Natural Southern Cornbread & Muffin Mix, 11.5 oz.)
  • 12 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled (I used turkey bacon)
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pickles
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Optional: 1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • Optional: some finely chopped celery and crumbled cornbread for garnish

For Dressing: Whisk together mayonnaise, yogurt, and pickle juice; set aside. For Salad: In large clear bowl, place half of the crumbled cornbread (2 cups). In separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients and spoon half of the mixture over the cornbread. Spread half of the dressing over the vegetables. Repeat layers. Instead of spreading the top layer of dressing over all the veggies, I heaped it in the center, as you can see in the photo. Then I added a little finely chopped celery and crumbled cornbread for a garnish. Chill 2-3 hours before serving. ncTnCnbrd3nm

I’m not sure why this is called TENNESSEE Cornbread Salad other than that it must be a popular way to make it in Tennessee. Are any of you from Tennessee and have you made cornbread salad this way before?

Some other recipes you can make with Krusteaz mixes include Easter Egg Shortbread Cookies, Lemon Raspberry Tart, and Cinnamon Rolls–great treats for Easter weekend!

Linked to Inspire Me Monday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Full Plate Thursday, Favorite Things Thursday.
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Sweet Italian Sausage and Pepper Pizza

ncSausgPepprPizza1nm

Last week I made a “New Tra-Dish” Recipe with Ragù® Old World Style® Traditional Pasta Sauce, called Fiesta Chili Mac. This week, I’m sharing my second “New Tra-Dish” tradish_logo_300x300Recipe–Sweet Italian Sausage and Pepper Pizza! I put my own spin on a Ragù recipe called Sausage & Peppers by making it into a pizza–two pizzas, in fact! In addition to the yummy sweet Italian sausage, bell peppers, and Ragù® Old World Style® Traditional Pasta Sauce, I added some chopped onion, Mozzarella Cheese, and used Italian bread shells for the crusts to keep the recipe quick and easy.

You’ll end up with two thick and gooey pizzas, oozing with lots of sauce and cheese. Because they’re so saucy and cheesy, they can be a little on the messy side when eating…so be sure to serve with lots of napkins!:)

ncSausPepprPizza2nm

SWEET ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND PEPPER PIZZA by NancyCreative, adapted from Ragù Sausage & Peppers

Makes 2 (12″) pizzas, 6-8 servings each

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (19-ounce) package sweet Italian Sausage
  • 2 bell peppers-1 red, 1 green (or use 2 green or 2 red), chopped
  • 1 small to medium-size onion, chopped
  • 1 jar (1 lb. 8 oz.) Ragù® Old World Style® Traditional Pasta Sauce
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
  • 2 (14-ounce) packages 12-inch Italian bread shells

Heat olive oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat (if oil is splattering too much, turn heat down a little lower) and cook sausage, turning occasionally, about 5 to 7 minutes; remove sausage from pan, let cool slightly and cut into thin slices (about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick)–it’s easier to cut the sausage into slices after it has cooked a little. Sausage slices will still be pink in center, so return to skillet and cook a few minutes more, until sausage is fully cooked. Remove sausage slices from skillet and drain on paper towel.

With oil still in skillet, add chopped bell peppers and onion into it and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in pasta sauce and cook another 3 to 5 minutes, until everything is heated through.

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Place Italian bread shells on pizza pans, pizza stones, or 1 very large baking sheet and top each with half of the pasta sauce/veggie mixture, spreading evenly over surfaces (keep sauce about 1″ from the edges of the bread shells so it won’t drip off while it’s baking). Top the sauce evenly with 1 1/2 cups of Mozzarella cheese on each pizza. Then arrange half of the sausage slices evenly over the cheese on each pizza, pressing slices slightly into the cheese and sauce toppings.

Bake pizzas at 375˚F for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool a few minutes, then cut with a pizza cutter and serve.

Note: the package directions on the Italian bread shells say to bake at 450˚F, but I baked these pizzas at a lower temp, 375˚F, so my sausage slices wouldn’t get too overly cooked.

SausPepprPizza

Your pizzas will look like the one on the left going into the oven, and the one on the right coming out of the oven…all nice and cheesy!

I love the slices of Sweet Italian Sausage in this pizza–it tastes so good with the rich, tomato flavor of the sauce and all that mozzarella cheese! It’s not surprising that the sauce has such a great tomato flavor–each jar of Ragù® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce is made with 11 juicy tomatoes making it its richest, thickest recipe!

You can find other great quick and easy recipes at Ragù and also at Facebook.com/RaguSauce. And visit http://www.RaguSweeps.com to enter the Ragù Better and Better Sweepstakes for a chance to win great Authentic Italian themed prizes and a grand prize trip to Venice for a family of four! No Purchase Necessary. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years and older. ends 5/6/14). To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, alternate method of entry, and prize descriptions, visit http://www.RaguSweeps.com. Void where prohibited.

This post was sponsored by Ragù and Yummly, but the opinions expressed are mine.

Fiesta Chili Mac

ncFiestaChilMacPie3nm

One of the things I enjoy most about cooking and baking is taking a recipe and “making it my own.” And that’s exactly what I was asked to do with a few recipes from Ragù! It was fun creating this tradish_logo_300x300“New Tra-Dish” Fiesta Chili Mac using Ragù® Old World Style® Traditional Pasta Sauce. Each jar of this pasta sauce is made with 11 juicy tomatoes, making it Ragù’s richest, thickest recipe.

I decided to put my own spin on Ragù’s Family Favorite Chili Mac–which you’ll find it on their site, along with other great tasting, quick and easy recipes. I decided to do a Fiesta-flavored version of it, adding in some onion and green bell pepper to the ground beef when it was almost done cooking. Then I mixed some cheddar cheese in with the meat mixture, pasta sauce, and macaroni to make it nice and cheesy. And of course you need Fiesta toppings, so I used a little more cheese, sour cream, green onion, and tomato to top this dish. I also used chopped fresh cilantro as a garnish, which is optional. Chopped or sliced black olives would be another great topping, also optional.

This turned out to be a very yummy and filling dish! It’s very cheesy, with lots of rich tomato taste from the Ragù pasta sauce. I really liked the addition of the extra veggies and toppings, too. If you like these Fiesta flavors, then I’m sure you and your family will really enjoy this!

FIESTA CHILI MAC by NancyCreative, adapted from Ragù’s Family Favorite Chili Mac

Makes 6 to 8 servings in a 9″ deep dish microwave-safe pie plate (or you can use an 8×8″ or 9×9″ square microwave-safe baking dish)

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jar (1 lb. 8 oz.) Ragù® Old World Style® Traditional Pasta Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, plus a dollop for the top
  • 2 green onion stems, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped tomato
  • Optional: 2 to 3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, 2 Tablespoons chopped or sliced black olives

Grease or spray a 9″ deep dish microwave-safe pie plate (or similar-sized microwave-safe baking dish, like a square 8×8″ or 9×9″ dish); set aside. Note: It helps if you have all your veggies chopped before you begin cooking! You can cook your macaroni beforehand too, or  cook it while your ground beef is cooking.

Cook ground beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until almost done. Add chopped onion and green bell pepper and cook a few minutes longer until they are slightly tender and ground beef is done.

Stir in pasta sauce and chili powder. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover skillet, and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in cooked macaroni , blending ingredients well, then add in 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese, blending cheese evenly into the mixture.

Spoon this mixture into your greased 9″ deep dish pie plate (or similar-size baking dish), mounding up mixture toward the center (if you use an 8×8″ or 9×9″ baking dish, the mixture will be more level). Sprinkle another 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese evenly over the mixture (leave the other 1/2 cup cheese for the garnish). It will look like this in a pie plate–quite a hefty mound!

FiestChMcPienm

Microwave on HIGH for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the cheese on top is thoroughly melted.

Remove from microwave and top center area of pie with the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/3 cup sour cream, chopped green onion, chopped cilantro (optional), chopped tomato, and chopped or sliced olives (optional). Add an extra dollop of sour cream in the center, then serve. Note: You’ll want to add your toppings quickly so you can serve this dish while it’s nice and hot!

ncFiestaChilMacPie4nm

ncFiestaChilMacPie5nm

When serving, if you’ve used a pie plate, you can cut “slices” as if you were cutting a pie, but as you can see, the “slices” probably won’t hold their shape on your plates–since it tastes so good though, I don’t think anyone will mind!:) If you make this in a square baking dish, you can cut into squares and serve or just spoon out with a large serving spoon.

You can find more quick and easy recipe ideas from Ragù at Facebook.com/RaguSauce. And visit http://www.RaguSweeps.com to enter the Ragù Better and Better Sweepstakes for a chance to win great Authentic Italian themed prizes and a grand prize trip to Venice for a family of four! No Purchase Necessary. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years and older. ends 5/6/14). To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, alternate method of entry, and prize descriptions, visit http://www.RaguSweeps.com. Void where prohibited.

This post was sponsored by Ragù and Yummly, but the opinions expressed are mine.

Linked to Foodie Friday.

Easy Pantry Minestrone from Weight Watchers What To Cook Now-and a Giveaway!

ncWWMinestrone2nm

51NVSI2WbxLLike so many people I know, I’m trying to eat a little healthier during this new year. So when I heard about the new cookbook, Weight Watchers What To Cook Now, I was definitely interested in reviewing it! Not only did I receive a review copy, the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, is also providing a giveaway copy! I’ll tell you a little about the book and share a recipe from it with you, and then be sure to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment–see the end of this post for details on how to win!

This cookbook has more than 300 new recipes and lots of color photos. There’s a wonderful variety of great-sounding recipes to choose from–meals and desserts that your whole family can enjoy. And they look easy to prepare, too. All recipes include nutritional information and the Weight Watcher PointsPlus® values so those of you in Weight Watchers can easily keep track of your points. Even if you’re not in Weight Watches, though, I’m sure these recipes would appeal to any of you who are wanting to eat lighter and healthier.

The book starts out with tips and helpful information on good nutrition, the well-stocked pantry, must-have kitchen tools, food safety, and choosing and preparing fresh fruits and veggies. Then you’ll find recipes organized in the following chapters: Breakfasts and Brunches; Lunches; Appetizers and Snacks; Main Dishes–Beef, Pork, and Lamb; Main Dishes–Poultry; Main Dishes–Seafood; Main Dishes-Vegetarian; 20-Minute Main Dishes; Side Dishes; and Sweets. So there’s lots to choose from! Here are some recipes I’d like to try…

  • Coconut-Almond French Toast with Tropical Fruit
  • Asian Burgers with Honey-Lime Slaw
  • Spinach and Endive Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette
  • Italian Beef and Mushroom Meat Loaf
  • Brown Sugar-Dijon Glazed Ham with Sweet Potatoes
  • Maple-Glazed Grilled Chicken
  • Pan-seared Tuna with Citrus-Avocado Salsa
  • Warm Mozzarella and Tomato Flatbreads
  • Gingery Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry
  • Garlicky Spinach and Fontina Pizza
  • Chocolate Brownie Ice-Cream Sandwiches

For this post, I decided to try the Easy Pantry Minestrone from the Vegetarian section, since I had been wanting to make minestrone this winter. It’s a good, healthy soup with lots of veggies (carrots, onion, celery, zucchini), red beans, and chickpeas. Dried basil also flavors the soup, and you serve it with a teaspoon-size dollop of pre-made refrigerated pesto which also adds nicely to the flavor!

EASY PANTRY MINESTRONE from Weight Watchers What To Cook Now

Makes 6 servings

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 7 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup whole wheat macaroni or other small pasta (uncooked)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons refrigerated basil pesto

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds.

Add broth, kidney beans, chickpeas, macaroni, and basil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and zucchini and simmer until pasta and vegetables are very tender, 10 minutes longer. Ladle into bowls and top each with 1 teaspoon pesto.

PER SERVING (1 bowl): 307 Cal, 6 g Total Fat, Og Trans Fat, 1 mg Chol, 876 mg Sod, 53 g Carb, 10 g Fib, 14 g Prot, 120 mg Calc.

PointsPlus value: 8

ncWWMinestrone1nm

I really like the dollop of pesto–it gives the soup an extra little zing of flavor when you stir it in!

 

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! Congratulations to commentor #8, Aline, for winning the book!

Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win a copy of Weight Watchers What To Cook Now, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Wednesday, January 22, at 10 p.m. (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Thursday evening, January 23. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post–it would be great to hear what your favorite healthy dish is!

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

Note: If your comment doesn’t show up right away, it just means I need to click on it to approve it before it’s visible–I do this because of spam comments that sometimes come through!

Lentil Soup with Bacon

ncLentilBaconSp1nm

It was such a cold, cold, cold, cold day, and I just had to make some soup! Lentil soup sounded good and I already had lentils. I found a soup recipe at MarthaStewart.com that not only had lentils, but bacon, too–and that sounded really good!

I used turkey bacon in this, and I used a larger amount. And I added extra onions because I love onions. Since I like my soups thicker, I also added less water–I guess you could even call it a stew because it’s thick and chunky! If you prefer to keep this vegetarian, just omit the bacon–it’s still a very good basic lentil soup recipe! I like the little punch of flavor that the red wine vinegar gives this soup, which is added at the end of cooking, along with some salt and pepper. This soup is just what you need to help you warm up on a super cold winter day like today!

LENTIL SOUP WITH BACON by NancyCreative, adapted from MarthaStewart.com

Makes 4 servings

  • 6 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used turkey bacon)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4″ half-moons
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth (3 1/2 cups) or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water (if you want a thinner soup, use 2 cups of water)
  • 1 Tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a Dutch oven or other 5-quart pot with lid, cook bacon over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes (turkey bacon may need less time). Pour off all but 1 Tablespoon of the fat (if you use turkey bacon like I did, you won’t have much fat, so just add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to your cooking pot).

Add onion and carrots; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cooking about 30 seconds, then stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute.

Add lentils, thyme, broth, and water. Bring to a boil; lower heat and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.

Stir in vinegar, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.

Thick, chunky soups are a favorite cold-weather meal of mine! What do you like to eat when it’s really cold outside?

Sourdough-Sage Dressing

ncSrdoughSgdress2nm

I’ve just recently discovered how much I like making recipes with fresh sage! After making some White Cheddar and Sage Biscuits, I was wanting to try something else with fresh sage. While I was looking through recipes, I also found out, conveniently, that my friend Denise had a big patch of sage growing in her garden and she was willing to share it! She said her plant is very hearty and stays alive through the winter. So, here’s what I came up with…Sourdough-Sage Dressing…because I thought sourdough bread would be a great combination with  sage, onion, and celery.  There’s also fresh parsley in this–I have parsley growing in a pot and it’s great to always have it on hand! This dressing is very buttery and savory…so if you like that type of thing, you really must try this!

I also learned something new when I was deciding what to name this recipe. I wasn’t sure if I should call it dressing or stuffing, because I didn’t know what the difference was. Well, I found the answer at eHow.com–dressing and stuffing differ in these ways:

Preparation: The key difference between dressing and stuffing is the method of preparation. Dressing can be prepared separately from the bird on the stove top, either from scratch or a store-bought mix. Stuffing, however, is made by stuffing the mixture into the cavity of the bird and cooking them in the oven together. 

Time: Another difference between stuffing and dressing is in the time needed to prepare it. Stuffing inside the bird must be cooked as long as the bird needs to cook, and also increases the cooking time of the bird. Dressing can be made quickly on the stove top or in the oven; either way it will take less time than stuffing.

Flavor: Stuffing made inside the bird can pick up flavors from the bird and impart flavors to the bird. This may be desirable or undesirable depending on the method of preparing the bird. The flavor of dressing depends solely on its ingredients.

So this recipe is definitely dressing. Consider yourself informed on the dressing/stuffing question!:)

SOURDOUGH-SAGE DRESSING by NancyCreative

Makes a 9 x 13″ pan, about 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 loaf sourdough bread (my loaf was 1 lb. 4 oz. and I did not use the end slices), with slices cut into 1″ pieces (or you can cut them smaller if you want)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 4 to 5 Tablespoons fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped (or use 4 teaspoons dried parsley)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth (this dressing can be a little on the dry side in some places, so if you like your dressing more moist, add an extra 1/4 to 1/3 cup chicken broth).

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Spread out pieces of bread onto a large baking sheet and let dry out at least 6 hours or overnight.

In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat, then add olive oil and stir to blend well. Saute onion and celery in this mixture until tender.

In large bowl, mix together bread pieces, onion-celery mixture, sage, parsley, salt, and pepper (and garlic powder, if using), tossing to coat all the bread pieces. Spoon this mixture into a 9 x 13″ pan and pour chicken broth evenly over entire mixture. Cover with foil and bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes, uncovering the last 10 minutes of baking time. Serve immediately.

ncSrdoughSgDress1nm

This would be a great Thanksgiving side dish, if you’re still looking for ideas! Are you making dressing or stuffing for your Thanksgiving meal?