Andes 3-minute Chocolate Mint Mug Cake

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ANDES 3-minute Chocolate Mint Mug Cake

This Chocolate Mint Mug Cake is one of the easiest things to make and soooo YUMMY!!  How can you beat 4 ingredients, 3 minutes and no dirty pans to clean?

All you hard core bakers may poo poo using the microwave BUT when it is 9pm and you need a quick decadent snack – well there you have it.

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You just melt the Andes Mints in the microwave, then add the other ingredients and mix until smooth.  Microwave for 1-2 minutes and you have CAKE!

The hardest part may be unwrapping the Andes candy and then deciding what to top it with.  Try chocolate sauce, frosting, crushed peppermints, Heath bar pieces and more!

chocolate-drizzle

Keep in mind the only sugar is from the candy so it is not overly sweet.  I think the chocolate sauce is needed for sure – in my opinion.  Though powdered sugar is a nice, less sweet option.

NOTES: Your microwave may be trial and error – I have undermixed it and over cooked it making it taste like burned flour… but once you get the microwave and mixing down, it is super easy.  I may try adding chocolate chips next time!

This would also make a lovely gift.  Get a beautiful mug and fill it with the Andes Candies along with the dry ingredients in a bag along with instructions.  All they need to do is add milk and VOILA!

What are your favorite MUG recipes?

20 Gluten Free Slow Cooker Meals from Costco for $150 – recipes, shopping list and more!

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Affiliate-Disclosure Slow Cooker Freezer Pack Costco Plan - 20 Meals for $150 in Less Than 2 Hours | 5DollarDinners.com

Gluten Free Slow Cooker Meals

Back to School and all the after school activities will be here before you know it.  I know in my family it is tough getting dinner on the table while shuttling kids to and fro.

Erin from $5DollarDinners.com has come up with some super simple Slow Cooker Freezer Meals to help you put everything together in a snap.  They are all Gluten-FREE as well.  What are your favorite quick weeknight meals?

The plan includes 20 meals (double of 10 different recipes) that should cost about $150 at Costco (prices may vary by region – and I am sure you can do something similar at BJ’s), take under 2 hours to prepare and she even shows you in a step by step video.

  • Slow Cooker Chicken with Apples & Rosemary
  • Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Apples & Sweet Potatoes
  • Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chicken Curry
  • Slow Cooker Italian Chicken
  • Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken & Potatoes
  • Slow Cooker Sausage, Peppers, Onions
  • Slow Cooker Italian Stew Roast
  • Slow Cooker Beef Stew
  • Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • Slow Cooker Chicken & Sausage Stew

You can choose to get the recipes and shopping list printable (package 2) for only $1.49 OR get the inclusinve Package 1 that includes

  • Printable Assembly Instructions – step by step guide to pulling all these meals together and into the freezer
  • Printable Assembly Cards – so you don’t forget any ingredients in each bag
  • Printable Labels – you can print these out onto Avery #6874 label paper and stick them to your plastic baggies or containers.
  • Exclusive Access to the 3 Instructional Assembly Videos
  • Recipe List & Grocery List included as well!

Click here to view more details

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Honey and Ginger Glazed Salmon

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Honey and Ginger Glazed Salmon

We are all trying to eat healthier – RIGHT?!?!  I know that fish should be part of that, but my family is highly fish phobic and I am a fearful fish cook.  If fish is fishy or slimy in any way, even if it is OK to eat, I get creeped out and will not touch it.  That is what makes this one so great – easy peasy and cooks perfect every time.

This Salmon recipe is perfect for a simple weeknight dinner but is elegant enough for entertaining on the weekend.

It is also a delicious way to incorporate fish into your diet in a healthy way.  Fish is a healthy source of protein and provides you with large amounts of B-12, iron and essential omega 3 fatty acids.  Fresh, wild-caught Salmon provides the highest amount of these important dietary nutrients.

The sweet and tangy mixture of flavor in this recipe appeals even to the little food critics at your table, they wont be asking for fish sticks after they give this dish a try. Serve with wild rice and a green salad for a filling and delicious meal.

ENJOY

bon-appetit

You could also try it with the Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Honey Yogurt Sauce or the Zucchini & Summer Squash Ribbons with Onion and Parmesan.

 

Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Honey Yogurt Sauce

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Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Honey Yogurt Sauce

These sweet potato fries are so delicious and nutritious. Sweet and Salty with a nice crisp on the outside, they are also nice and filling.

Did I happen to tell you that you can achieve all that by baking and not frying them? Yep you can.

In addition to the NO FRYING, sweet potatoes are already pretty healthy loaded with vitamin A, and beta-carotene.  They are also said to be a stress-reducing food.

Instead of ketchup, try this healthy dipping sauce for a little kick.  Greek yogurt makes a terrific substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream and I use it whenever I can to save on some calories and fat.  It also gives the sauce some zip making it totally craveable.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

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Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

This Creamy Sweet Potato Soup is so rich and delicious it is hard to believe that it’s healthy.  Low in fat and calories, and full of flavor.

Sweet potatoes provide you with loads of fiber, beta carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C.  Perfect to warm you from the inside out when the temperatures start to drop.

You may even be able to get the kids to eat this one!

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It cannot be easier to prepare.  Bake the sweet potatoes, remove the skins and combine with broth in a food processor.

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Wisk up a roux, add puree and other ingredients and simmer… VOILA

Be sure to check out some more healthy recipes

Easy Chicken Parmesan Burgers

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ChickenParmBurgers Chicken Parmesan Burgers

New Years Resolution time and it is possible to cut back on fat and calories without losing wonderful flavor. One way to do this is by replacing red meat with chicken or turkey. This delicious “burger” recipe will keep you from feeling like your missing something. Plus it is a SUPER EASY change of pace for mid week meals with ingredients most of us have on hand.

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This is a great meal to have the kids help since all you do is throw everything in a big bowl  and mix with your hands – do not forget to wash them first – LOL!  Feel free to adjust seasonings to your liking and you can also add in some parmesan cheese but I doubt you will even miss it.

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Divide into 6-8 portions and form flattened patties.  Then use a little olive oil to brown them in a pan – make sure they are cooked through.

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Melt a thin slice of swiss (or your cheese of choice), then top with a splash of sauce…

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Served alongside a light dinner salad you will have a complete and filling meal for you and your family. Using your own homemade pasta sauce or breadcrumbs can also help cut down on sodium. Try it on a whole wheat bun or even over a pile of whole wheat pasta. These also freeze wonderfully, pull from freezer allow to thaw, and reheat in pan or in microwave.

Check out other recent RECIPES and follow along our #FITNESSFRIDAY to stay in shape in the New year.

Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Pepper

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Chicken Philly Stuffed Peppers

Let’s continue to try to healthify (my new word of the day) recipes for a BETTER YOU.   One way to cut carbs, fat and calories is to load up on the veggies, and choose chicken over red meat.

Skipping the bread and cooking your chicken Philly cheesesteak in a pepper bowl makes this pretty dish even healthier.  This is also a fantastic dish to pre-make and freeze for a quick and healthy dinner during the week.

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Use your favorite color of bell pepper to make it visually appealing, remember you eat with your eyes first.  Dice up the onion and ONE of the peppers.  The other 4 peppers you will cut the tops off and core out creating the “bowls”.

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Put the pepper “bowls” in a pot covered with water to boil for 5 minutes.  If you are not going to eat the pepper bowls then shame on you (just kidding…) you can skip this step

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Time to get your hands dirty.  Mix everything else other than the cheese slices in a bowl with your hands until combined.  My kids actually love doing this part – just catch them to wash their hands first – LOL!

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Stuff the peppers and bake for 40 minutes… then top with the sliced cheese and melt it all over… yummy

Remember you can make these ahead and FREEZE them.  Simply make according to directions- instead of cooking in oven place them in a freezer bag and pop them in your freezer. Remove when ready, and cook an additional 10-15 minutes.

Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese

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Roasted Veggie Macaroni and Cheese

Whether you are looking to eat healthier, add a little zip to your meals, or both… then this dish is one you have to try.  Rich, creamy macaroni and cheese with no butter, no cream, and you don’t lose any flavor. Sound to good to be true? It’s not, I promise.

We are always looking to add more veggies to our diets and roasting the vegetables gives so much flavor.  Plus, an added bonus is that cleanup is a cinch- make everything in one pot and you can toss the aluminum foil keeping your roasting pan clean.

Less calories and dishes? I’m in!

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First you are going chop chop chop and dice up all the vegetables – onion, bell pepper, carrots, zucchini, squash and broccoli (your’re chopping broccoli – for all you old SNL fans).  If you do not like these, or if any are not available you can substitute in any vegetables as long as you keep a similar dice size so they will all cook evenly.  I have replaced the yellow squash with butternut squash and it added a delicious sweetness to the dish.  I am thinking about trying asparagus sometime as well.

I was the kid who sat for hours NOT eating my veggies at dinner, but this small dice wrapped in all the cheesy goodness makes these yummy.

Put these along with 2 cloves of garlic in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet and roast at 400°F for 20 minutes.

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While the vegetables are roasting boil 2 cups of your favorite macaroni noodles, drain and set aside.  Use whole wheat pasta to add more nutritional value.  It is going to look like it is not enough, but it is… really!  Personally I prefer Cavatappi because I think it holds on to the cheese sauce well, but regular old elbow macaroni will do as well.  You can just use a deep oval casserole dish right on the stove top so you can use it again to complete the dish.

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Now get your whisk ready.  Heat the olive oil and once it is hot, whisk in the flour for 1 minute.  Then add the milk and continue to whisk until it thickens.  You will then remove it from the heat to stir in the cheese, chili powder and mustard powder.  Salt & pepper to taste.

We have used Monterey jack cheese for this, but feel free to experiment with different combinations of cheeses you like as long as they melt well.

unbaked-veggiemacCombine the vegetables and macaroni with the sauce and mix well.  Be sure to crush the roasted garlic before mixing it in.

Throw it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until the top is golden brown.  If you want to be a little decadent, sprinkle some more cheese on top.

That is it – EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY… and hopefully it will get the veggies into your family.  Use it as a side dish or you could chop up some chicken in it for a main course!

Since we are about saving money, saving time and saving my mind I am hoping to have more SIMPLE, EASY, HEALTHIER recipes for you in the future.

Zucchini and Summer Squash Ribbons with Onion and Parmesan

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Zucchini & Summer Squash Ribbons with Onion and Parmesan

Let me begin by saying I HATE yellow (summer) squash.  HATE HATE HATE it!

I grew up having those overcooked, mushy discs with all those seeds – ICKKKK! There were hours and hours spent at the dinner table negotiating whether I really had to eat it or not.  So this is a big deal that I am not only eating it, but LOVING it in this recipe.

Zuccini was similar, though my mom started breading it and frying it which made it edible.  Frying makes everything better… right?  Of course we also had Zucchini Bread which I definitely count as a serving of vegetables.  But I also started appreciating it more in Chicken Provencal Stoup.

Since my family is all getting into the #FitnessFriday craze we decided to create HEALTHY dishes only at our summer family reunion weekend.  Though I was skeptical, my sister-in-law brought this recipe and said I would not only eat, but I would LOVE summer squash and she was right!

It feels just like you are eating pasta!

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You can use just summer squash, but I also used zucchini which is in season and has loads of nutritional value.  I am sure it would taste great with just zucchini if that is all you have.  So get to your local farmer’s market because you might even get your kids eating this.

slice-zucchiniGet your favorite vegetable peeler and shave into long ribbons – including the skin.  I suppose you could also use a mandolin if you have one.  The best part is you discard those icky seeds and the core.

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Cook the squash, onion & garlic in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until onion is tender.  Next time I may actually throw the onions in first and cook them down a bit.  With everything in the pan, my onions did not cook as long as I would have liked and had too much crunch in my final dish.  Just like pasta you can choose to make the ribbons al dente (no mushiness in sight – lol!) or let them cook a little longer.  I may try caramelized onions next time – that sweetness with the cheese will be delish.

Take it off the heat and toss with the salt, red pepper and black pepper.  I used the smaller amount of red pepper and my family thought it was too much (WIMPS).  When my sister-in-law made it we did not have the red pepper and it was wonderful – so if your family likes a kick use it… if not, use it sparingly.  Then of course comes the CHEESE.  I added in a bit more and it melted nicely with the natural juices created from cooking the squash.

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We treated it like pasta and had it with pineapple – habanero chicken and cantaloupe.  What a great way to cut out those BAD CARBS we all love so much.  If you do not think you are ready for all veggies, add in a little bit of precooked whole grain fettuccine so you still get more veggies and less carbs.  You can slowly transition to all veggies.

Zucchini & Summer Squash Ribbons with Onion and Parmesan

Recipe from Judy Lockhart, Cooking Light JUNE 2005squash-thumb

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 medium zucchini and/or yellow squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion (or try caramelized onions)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (use sparilgly depending on how much kick you want)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved fresh Parmesan cheese (or more… yummy cheese!)

PREPARATION

1.  Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin slicer, shave squash into ribbons – 5 cups worth. Discard the seeds and core of squash.

2.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add squash, onion, and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until onion is tender, gently stirring occasionally.  Cook longer for softer ribbons, shorter time for al dente.

3.  Remove from heat. Add salt, red pepper, and black pepper, and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with cheese.

Let me know what you think! What are your favorite squash recipes?

easy. homemade Cookbook $0.99

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Easy-HomemadeIf you follow my blog at all, you know I am no Julia Childs in the kitchen. As I strive to make cooking and eating dinner at home a priority this year, I am very excited about this new eBook from Mandi (you may know her from Life Your Way).

easy.homemade: Homemade Pantry Staples for the Busy Modern Family – $0.99

Easy Homemade features recipes for more than 60 homemade kitchen staples as well as kitchen tips, information about choosing various ingredients and more.  As a self-proclaimed kitchen dunce, she found that making things from scratch — even the things we typically buy without even considering that we could make them at home — is actually pretty easy.

You’ll also receive a set of printable recipe cards, the Nook and Kindle files to load to those devices and access to all of the recipes from the book on PlantoEat.com.

We go through ketchup so fast in my house I am seriously considering trying the ketchup recipe and freezing a bunch!

For a limited time you can get easy.homemade: Homemade Pantry Staples for the Busy Modern Family for $0.99 before it goes up to the $3.99 price.