Thursday, February 25, 2016

Cauliflower Bechamel with Tri-Color Penne

This is a great change of pace from a heavy cream sauce for pasta.  I have been seriously watching my cholesterol intake for the past few months, and today I found out that my LDL level is down 26 points!  You don't need to take medication if you eat well!  There are so many pasta options now - choose your weapon~!
4 cups chopped cauliflower (1 medium)
1-1/2 cups Skim Plus 100% Fat Free Milk
2 Tbsp. Smart Balance Buttery Spread
1 lb. pasta of your choice (I used Barilla Tri-color Penne)
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine, chicken or veggie broth
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste.


In a large saucepan combine cauliflower and milk.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered 8-10 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender.  Add cauliflower mixture to blender, add Smart Balance and blend until smooth.  Set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking,  heat oil in a large saucepan.  Add onion and garlic.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly tender.  Stir in wine or stock.  Stir in cauliflower puree.

Drain pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid.  Add pasta to saucepan.  Add nutmeg, lemon zest, Parmesan, parsley and salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Add pasta cooking liquid if pasta seems too dry.  Serve warm with additional grated cheese.

~Adapted from ShopRite Culinary Kitchen 

Friday, February 12, 2016

CrockPot Chicken 'n' Dumplings

Warm up during this cold snap with a steamy bowl of old-fashioned Chicken "n" Dumplings.  It really doesn't get any easier to make this tasty comfort food.  


1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
3-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 can Pillsbury Crescent Roll Sheet
Chopped fresh parsley
Additional freshly ground black pepper


Spray 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.  In slow cooker, mix both soups, broth and onion and carrots.  Arrange chicken in slow cooker.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dot with butter.

Cover, cook on LOW setting for 5-1/2 hours.  Uncover, shred chicken using two forks and return chicken to slow cooker.

On work surface, unroll crescent roll dough.  Cut into 1" x 3" strips.  Place strips in stew, pressing gently with back of spoon to submerge into liquid.  Cover and cook on HIGH an additional 30 minutes or until dumpling are cooked through.  Sprinkle with addition pepper.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Barley-Lime Fiesta Salad

When the weather is cold, a big pot of soup simmering on the stove warms the heart.  Adding some whole grain barley to the pot will improve your health along with the flavor of any soup or stew you are cooking.

Barley is a good source of fiber, Vitamin B1, magnesium and niacin.  Barley also makes a great salad!  It's a great grain with a chewy pasta-like consistency that works well in this Mexican-style barley salad.  


1 cup pearl barley
1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 green pepper, minced
1/2 red pepper, minced
1 small can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes and green chilis
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped fine
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. sugar (or to taste)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 tsp. lime zest
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley)
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. Cholula Hot Sauce (or to taste)
Salt and Pepper


Rinse barley in cold water.  Add to saucepan with 2 cups water and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until barley is tender, about 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and chill.

In a large bowl combine cooked barley, black beans, green and red peppers, corn, celery, red onion, carrot, Ro-tel tomatoes (undrained), 1 Tbsp. canola oil, salt, pepper and cumin.  Mix to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the water, sugar, 2 Tbsp. canola oil, lime juice, hot sauce, cilantro, lime zest and red wine vinegar.  Pour dressing over barley mixture and toss to combine.  Refrigerate until chilled.
This salad just gets better the longer it sits.  Go perfect with any Mexican meal or great to bring to a party!

Artisan Cast Iron Dutch Oven Bread

This recipe is a typical one with two rising periods.  Most of this time it's the yeast working and not you! 2 cups water 1...