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Top 15 Recipes on Alida's Kitchen | alidaskitchen.com

Top 15 Recipes of 2015

Top 15 Recipes of 2015: A collection of the 15 most popular recipes of 2015 featured on Alida’s Kitchen!

Top 15 Recipes on Alida's Kitchen | alidaskitchen.com

Today’s post is the one I look most forward to all year long ~ collection of reader favorites! While the overall most popular recipe this year (and ever) remains Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Bites (posted in 2014), this compilation consists of the 15 most popular recipes that were posted in 2015. I see many household favorites on this list. In fact, we just had #14 for dinner last night!

And now…presenting the top 15 of 2015!

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Top 14 Recipes of 2014 on Alida's Kitchen | alidaskitchen.com

Top 14 Recipes of 2014 on Alida’s Kitchen!

Top 14 Recipes of 2014: A collection of the 14 most popular recipes of 2014 featured on Alida’s Kitchen!

Top 14 Recipes of 2014 on Alida's Kitchen | alidaskitchen.com

Today I am sharing my favorite post of the year…reader favorites!  I have gone back to calculate the 14 most popular recipes on Alida’s Kitchen from 2014 according to YOU! I learn so much about readers based on reviewing your favorite recipes. As you will notice, what I have learned is that Alida’s Kitchen readers enjoy easy, family friendly recipes with a healthy twist…which is exactly my mission for the blog.  So for that, and for another incredible year, I thank you!!!  I have exciting plans for 2015 and am so grateful for the opportunity to share the recipes we love with you!

And now…presenting the Top 14 Recipes of 2014:

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Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites | alidaskitchen.com #recipes #SundaySupper #tailgating #glutenfree

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites #SundaySupper

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites are healthy, spicy little mini muffins made with quinoa, cheese, vegetables, and shredded chicken soaked in a lighter, seasoned buffalo sauce. {gluten free}

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites | alidaskitchen.com #recipes #SundaySupper #tailgating #glutenfree

With tailgating season upon us, bring on the tasty munchies!  While I am not necessarily a game watching fan, I am definitely a fun food fan! I especially love coming up with bite-sized finger foods that are a bit healthier yet super tasty (like these Jalapeno Popper Quinoa Bites)  With this in mind, I wanted to come up with a fun recipe combining another tailgating favorite, buffalo chicken.  As always, it was a natural transition to come up with Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites.

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Jalapeno Popper Quinoa Bites - Alida's Kitchen #recipes #SundaySupper #ChooseDreams

Jalapeno Popper Quinoa Bites #WeekdaySupper #ChooseDreams

Jalapeno Popper Quinoa Bites are healthy, cheesy bite-sized mini mac and cheese muffins made with quinoa, inspired by the popular jalapeno popper.  {gluten free}

Jalapeno Popper Quinoa Bites - Alida's Kitchen #recipes #WeekdaySupper #ChooseDreams

My family loves quinoa, especially in the form of  quinoa bites.  They are  always helping me come up with new recipes ideas for them, such as Adam’s latest suggestion is quinoa bites with chocolate chips. While a dessert recipe is definitely in the works, today I am excited to share one our latest favorites – Jalapeno Popper Quinoa Bites.  This recipe combines two of my most popular recipes (Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Bites and Jalapeno Popper Pasta) into tasty, cheesy, bite-sized quinoa mac and cheese muffins with a jalapeno popper twist.  They are also gluten free….

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Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies | the BEST chocolate chip cookies I've ever had! #SundaySupper

Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies #SundaySupper

 Chewy, chocolaty and delicious, these Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies are the best chocolate chip cookies ever!

Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies | the BEST chocolate chip cookies I've ever had! #SundaySupper

I have tried many different chocolate chip cookie recipes  in my day.  There was a fantastic recipe I used to make when I was a kid,  and then my grandma’s recipe, plus many others in between.  There were pros and cons to each recipe, but in the end they were chocolate chip cookies and therefore delicious, right?  Then one day we had our real estate agent, and dear friend, over for a visit.  She generously brought us an oven mitt, a bag of chocolate chips and a recipe.  The recipe was for these Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies, which ended up being the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had in my life!  

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Buffalo Chicken Lasagna Cups | alidaskitchen.com

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna Cups #SundaySupper

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna Cups | alidaskitchen.com #SundaySupper

After making the Spinach Lasagna Cups recipe for last Sunday, I had another tasty idea pop into my head that I had to make right away – Buffalo Chicken Lasagna Cups.  I don’t typically like to share similar recipes back-to-back, but these were so good, they simply could not wait.

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna Cups are made with layers of cheese, veggies, spicy, buffalo-sauce soaked shredded chicken and more cheese.  In other words, they combine some of the most delicious game day foods (or any day foods, duh!)  into a  wonderful, bite-sized lasagna. The concept is the same as the Spinach Lasagna Cups, with lasagna-style layering, using wonton wrappers in place of noodles.   They are quick and easy to make, and bake up in a snap!…

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Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | alidaskitchen.com

Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are filled with corn, black beans, Greek yogurt, tomatoes with chiles and more! Kick off the New Year in a healthy way with these nutritional powerhouses!

Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potato | alidaskitchen.com

After spending most of December in a butter and sugar coma, I always look forward to January. The start of the new year always inspires me to focus back on healthier recipes, including lots of fruits and vegetables. Ever since the summer, I have wanted to make a Corn and Black Bean Salad. What I had in mind was a healthy vegetable-rich salad taking advantage of the bounty of summer garden produce. I never got around to making it, so just slotted it for next summer. Then it occurred to me – why wait until summer when I have the garden essentials I need already in my pantry with Del Monte® vegetables and tomatoes!…

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Roasted Red Pepper Pasta | alidaskitchen.com

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta #WeekdaySupper

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta | alidaskitchen.com

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta is a creamy pasta dish made lighter by using Greek yogurt.  This is a delicious way to eat your veggies plus it’s quick and easy for a weeknight!  {can be gluten free depending on pasta choice}

After making Broccoli Pea Pesto Pasta, I was inspired to create more creamy vegetable-based pasta sauces with Greek yogurt.  Since we had some roasted red peppers in the pantry, and the rest of the ingredients on hand, Roasted Red Pepper Pasta was first on the list.  The smokey sweetness of the roasted red peppers combined with cheese, garlic and made creamy with Greek yogurt is so tasty.  The fact that it takes 15 minutes or less to make is even better!…

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Over 75 Avocado Recipes - Alida's Kitchen

75+ Avocado Recipes #LoveAvocado

avocado disclosure

Over 75 Avocado Recipes by the best food bloggers from across the web!

Find these recipes and more pinned to my Avocado board on Pinterest!

Over 75 Avocado Recipes - Alida's Kitchen

In the months leading up to the holidays, there have been dessert recipes popping up all over the place.  While I’m never one to complain about a good dessert, after a while I start craving healthy recipes.  Lately it has been all about the avocado.  My kids love avocados plain, and I’ve been whipping them into smoothies, as pasta sauce, in place of mayo in sandwiches and salads, even using avocados in place of butter in baking!  Since over 75% of fat in an avocado is unsaturated, it’s a great substitute for foods that are  high in saturated fat.

While I frequently make delicious avocado recipes at home, it seems very few have made it on the blog.  That will change soon, as I get these recipes ready to share with you.  In the meantime I gathered over 75 wonderful avocado recipes from my favorite blogger friends.  Enjoy!  …

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Over 30 Perfect Party Dips and Desserts | alidaskitchen.com

30+ Perfect Party Dips and Desserts #HolidayHelper

NRFA Disclosure

Over 30 recipes for Perfect Party Dips and Desserts made using cream cheese, yogurt or sour cream that are easy to make and great for a crowd.  For all of these recipes and more, be sure to visit my Perfect Party Dips and Dessert board on Pinterest!

Over 30 Perfect Party Dips and Desserts | alidaskitchen.com

Lately I have been receiving many requests for party menu ideas, as people begin planning their Holiday festivities.  I thought it would be fun to share some recipes from my favorite bloggers.  I gathered the most amazing appetizer and dessert recipes ~ think savory dips and spreads, as well as dessert dips and simple cheesecakes.   They are all easy to make, many require no cooking or baking, which is all very welcome when it comes to planning a party!

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Pudding-Filled Cookie Cups from Alida's Kitchen

Pudding Cookie Cups

Pudding Cookie Cups

Pudding Cookie Cups are chocolate chip cookie dough baked in a mini muffin tin and topped with your favorite JELL-O pudding.  These fun treats are easy to make and can be decorated for any holiday or occasion.

With all the decorations, the costumes, the pumpkins and the spooky edibles, Halloween is by far my favorite holiday.  With Halloween only two weeks away, I wanted to share some fun treat ideas that are easy to make and great for kids.  These could be for a Halloween party or simply to treat all those neighbor kids paying your house a visit….

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jalapeno popper pasta

Jalapeno Popper Pasta

Jalapeno Popper Pasta is a cheesy, spicy dish where comfort food meets an appetizer favorite.  This grown-up mac ‘n cheese dish is filled with tasty jalapeno peppers, topped with garlic breadcrumbs and  is made a little lighter too!

While Mike and I were pretty sure we would enjoy Jalapeno Popper Pasta, because I mean really…between the cheese and garlic breadcrumbs and a nice kick from the jalapenos…it’s a safe assumption, right?  Well, this is how it typically goes down when I want to photograph our dinner for the blog.  I load up a plate for photos and head over to my photo spot.  I tell Mike to go ahead and start without me, but he always says he wants to wait.  (He might sneak a bite or two).  Photos take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on various factors, and then we eat!  These photos didn’t take long, maybe 5 minutes.  I went to the table, and Mike had already finished.  He just smiled and went to load up for seconds.  It’s that good!

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden full of jalapenos, this Jalapeno Popper Pasta is a delicious, new and different way to use them up.


Jalapeno Popper Pasta
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces pasta (rotini, gemelli, or any other similar shape will work)
For the Garlic Breadcrumbs:
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • pinch salt
For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 jalapeno peppers, minced (to yield approx ¼ cup)
  • 6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. COOK PASTA: Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. MAKE BREADCRUMBS: Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium, nonstick skillet and add breadcrumbs and (1 clove) minced garlic. Stir frequently until breadcrumbs begin to brown and garlic is fragrant. Add a pinch of salt, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. MAKE SAUCE: In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook for 3 minutes, or until onion and peppers are softened. Add garlic during the last minute, cooking until fragrant.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add cream cheese to onion mixture. Stir until melted. Add milk, stirring until incorporated. Add cheese and chili powder and stir until melted and smooth.
  5. PUT IT TOGETHER: Remove sauce from heat. Add cooked pasta to sauce and toss until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. SERVE: Divide on serving plates and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of garlic breadcrumbs. Top with jalapeño rings for garnish (optional).
Notes
Adapted from Rachael Ray

 
It’s my favorite time of month again…the Eating with the Alphabet Challenge hosted by Brenda from Meal Planning Magic!  This month we were to showcase a recipe using a fruit, vegetable or grain that begin with the letters I or J.  I obviously went with J for jalapeño.

The past few months, I have been able to knock out several recipes from my bucket list with this challenge, and each of these recipes have become household staples.  Gotta love a 3 year old who can’t get enough of roasted chickpeas (we go through 1 can every 1 to 2 days!)

vegetarian spinach ravioli lasagna

Easy Ravioli Lasagna

Easy Ravioli Lasagna - takes 10 minutes to prepare using only 5 ingredients.  This is so good!
I am excited to share this recipe with you. Easy Ravioli Lasagna has become one of our favorite weeknight dinners!  It has the delicious flavor of lasagna yet is made with only 5 main ingredients and takes 10 minutes to prepare ~ perfect these days when I find myself juggling a newborn and a busy 3 year old at dinnertime.  This lasagna can also be made ahead (like before leaving for work or, in my case, before the kids wake up) so it’s ready to just pop in the oven at dinner.

Easy Baked Ravoli Lasagna

From the original recipe, I increased the sauce, added some red pepper flakes, and actually reduced the cheese (surprising for a cheese-lover like myself, but it was way too much and took away from the overall dish).  This Easy Ravioli Lasagna is made with spinach, but I think sautéed mushrooms and garlic would also be delicious.  We have made this several times, and it’s always a crowd-pleaser.  Speaking of crowds, this recipe can easily be doubled to fit a 13″x9″ lasagna pan and you’ll have enough to serve a crowd or have lots of leftovers for lunches.  It reheats beautifully!

Easy Ravioli Lasagna
 
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups pasta sauce (I use Muir Glen Tomato Basil)
  • 20-ounce package cheese ravioli (refrigerated or frozen)
  • 10 ounces frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) shredded part-skim mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Pour ½ cup pasta sauce over bottom of dish.
  3. Layer bottom of dish with half of the ravioli.
  4. Cover ravioli with ½ cup sauce and top with spinach and half of mozzarella (1/2 cup).
  5. Repeat with remaining ravioli, sauce and mozzarella. Sprinkle top with Parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes, if using.
  6. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until bubbling and starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then serve.

Slightly adapted from All You, March 2009

vegetarian spinach ravioli lasagna

Baked Balsamic Chicken | alidaskitchen.com

Baked Balsamic Chicken

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Baked Balsamic Chicken is wholesome, easy and delicious!  This dish can be customized to use whatever herbs you like (or have on hand) and is perfectly paired with Minute® Multi-Grain Medley! Thank you Minute® Rice for sponsoring this post.
 This Baked Balsamic Chicken recipe has been a family favorite for years. The recipe was created when Greta was first born over 3 years ago and has been a regular feature on the dinner rotation ever since. The marinade takes minutes to prepare and then is poured in a zip-top bag with the chicken.  Let that sit in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake.  Then you just pour the chicken and marinade in a baking dish and bake.  Simple!

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars...made on the lighter side!  from Alida's Kitchen

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars combine pumpkin and cheesecake into a beautiful layered bar that are as delicious as they are simple to make.  First you make a graham cracker crust.  While that cools completely, you make the cheesecake filling, reserving a portion to add in some pumpkin.  Pour the plain cheesecake layer over the crust.  Dollop the pumpkin layer over the cheesecake layer and try for a swirl effect, if you desire, by running a knife through the batter.  I was liking the simple layered look, so left it as is.  Either way, they taste like a decadent cheesecake with a pumpkin twist.

With the holidays coming up, these Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are a light alternative to those heavier desserts (or in addition to…I don’t judge!!)  You would never guess it, but they are made on the lighter side, coming in around 115 calories per bar.

If you’re looking for other lighter dessert options, this Crustless Pumpkin Pie is my favorite pie of all time!

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
 
Yields: 16 bars
Ingredients
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (approx 9 sheets)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light butter, melted (regular butter would work too)
  • Cooking spray
  • 11 ounces light cream cheese (Neufchatel, ⅓ less fat)
  • ⅓ cup light sour cream
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9" square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. CRUST: In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and sugar; add butter and stir until moistened. Press mixture into prepared baking pan. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until set. Move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. FILLING: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, flour and vanilla until smooth. Add egg, and beat on low until just combined.
  4. Pour ¾ cup batter into a small bowl. Add pumpkin, brown sugar and cinnamon, stirring until well blended.
  5. Pour plain batter over cooled crust. Drop dollops of pumpkin batter over the plain batter. Cut through batter with knife to swirl.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours to overnight.

 

Source:  Taste of Home

Be sure to check out all the other bloggers who are participating this week in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop. And if you’re a blogger and want to join in on the fun, check out this post for the form to fill out to start baking along with us.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake from Alida's Kitchen

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

This easy Pumpkin Bundt Cake recipe takes less than 10 minutes to make using simple pantry ingredients! Pumpkin Bundt Cake | alidaskitchen.com

Pumpkin Bundt Cake is a simple and delicious pumpkin pound cake, with warm spices and pumpkin-y goodness throughout.  What attracted me to this recipe, aside from a slight pumpkin obsession, is that the ingredients are simple pantry items that I have on hand at all times.  What made me fall in love with the recipe, aside from it being delicious, was how easy it was to make. The batter took me less than 10 minutes to whip together.  Then bake for about an hour, let it cool, and voila!  You have an elegant and versatile dessert that will happily feed a crowd or, in our case, treat a small family for a week. 🙂

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Not only will this Pumpkin Bundt Cake be excellent served alongside your holiday cookie platter, but it would also be a tasty alternative at Thanksgiving dinner or even served at a brunch.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake
 
Yields: 24 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 2½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • powdered sugar, for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 10-inch bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and add vanilla with the last egg.
  4. To the egg mixture, alternate adding flour mixture and pumpkin, beating well on medium-low after each addition.
  5. Pour into prepared bundt pan. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a tootpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. Let cool completely and then dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Slightly adapted from Taste of Home

Pumpkin Bundt Cake | alidaskitchen.com

easy vegetarian spinach manicotti with no boil noodles

Easy Meatless Manicotti


I don’t know about you, but I am very excited for Fall.  It is my favorite time of year for cooking and baking, plus I love the cooler temperatures.  Even though the season has not technically changed, Labor Day is kind of an unofficial kick off to the Fall season.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself.  I have already made a pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, chili and cornbread, beef stew, and a few other Fall-inspired goodies to be posted soon.  (Ok, confession…I may have done some of this before Labor Day).

In any case, this Easy Meatless Manicotti is one of my favorite dishes and is a perfect comfort food for the cooler temperatures.  There are a couple time-saving steps in this recipe to help make it “easy.”   First, no boiling of the noodles is required.  Not having to boil the noodles is not only a time-saver, but filling firm shells is a whole lot easier than flimsy cooked shells.  This recipe also uses a jarred pasta sauce, though if you want to make your own, go for it!  The filling is very flexible – I’ve used cottage cheese or ricotta, and either works fine.  I have used frozen broccoli in place of the spinach; I have added onions, shredded zucchini, whatever extra vegetables that needs to be used up.  Leftovers heat up beautifully, which make for great lunches or quick dinners.  Easy Meatless Manicotti is healthy and delicious and a regular in our dinner rotation.

easy vegetarian spinach manicotti with no cook noodles

Easy Meatless Manicotti
 
Yields: 7 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided
  • ¼ cup (1 ounce) grated parmesan cheese
  • 16 ounces nonfat cottage cheese
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 1½ teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning (or dried oregano)
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Cooking Spray
  • 3 cups marinara sauce (or 24-28 ounce jar pasta sauce)
  • 1 package (14 noodles) manicotti noodles - uncooked
  • ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 1½ cups mozzarella, Parmesan, and cottage cheese, along with the spinach, garlic, Italian herb seasoning, red pepper and salt/pepper to taste.
  3. Spray 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Pour ½ of the sauce in the baking dish.
  4. Fill the manicotti noodles* with filling mixture until full, about 3 tablespoons.
  5. Pour the remaining sauce over the noodles, making sure the noodles are covered.
  6. Slowly pour ½ cup water around the perimeter of baking dish. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese on top. Cover with nonstick foil (or spray foil with cooking spray) and bake for 1 hour. Let sit uncovered for 10 minutes and serve.
Notes
Filling tips: Put filling in a ziploc bag, cut off a corner and fill shells OR I have found an iced tea spoon is the perfect size for spooning the filling in the shells.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 shells

 

Adapted from Cooking Light

Black Bean Brownies

Black Bean Brownies


Black Bean Brownies

Black beans and brownies…sounds crazy right?  Well, as many have discovered, using black beans in place of flour is a clever way to make brownies a bit healthier (and gluten free) without sacrificing a delicious chocolaty, rich-tasting dessert.  Black Bean Brownies have been on my list of things to make for years, and had I realized how easy they are to make, they would have been made a long time ago!  Essentially you just throw everything in a food processor (or blender), process for a minute, pour in pan and bake.

Then comes the true test…how are they?  Amazing!  Mike and I were both excited to try them and very pleasantly surprised how good they are (or were…the brownies are long gone!)  They have a deep chocolate flavor, a not quite cakey and not quite fudgy texture, and were some of the best brownies I’ve had in a long time!

Black Bean Brownies
 
Yields: 16 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • Cooking spray (or additional oil)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray (or brush with oil) and set aside.
  2. Put black beans in a food processor and process until smooth.
  3. Add eggs, oil, cocoa, baking powder, vanilla and brown sugar, and process until completely blended. (Note: You may need to stop and scrape down the sides a couple times during this step).
  4. Add ¼ cup chocolate chips and pulse 5 times.
  5. Pour mixture in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top with remaining chocolate chips.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Put on a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

Source:  Whole Living

healthy skinny pumpkin pie without crust

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Crustless Pumpkin Pie is a delicious, pumpkin pie made a little healthier without the crust. This is always a favorite dessert and is a lighter, healthier alternative to a traditional pie.   A must-make for the holidays!

Usually by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, I have made at least 6 pumpkin pies…and enjoyed them immensely, of course. Now, before you think I’m some crust-making machine, I must confess to you that my pumpkin pies are made without crust. This Crustless Pumpkin Pie is a recipe that I found years ago, and frankly it is pure genius. By eliminating the extra step of making crust and the excess fat and calories that come with the crust, you are left with a simple, delicious and “skinny” pumpkin pie!

This pie is so good and very easy to make.  In fact, this is so easy to make, the first time I made it I put everything (minus the topping) in a blender.  It turned out great!  These days, I don’t have a blender, and I’m a little more cautious when baking.

Made with pumpkin and skim milk, you are left with a healthier alternative to your traditional pumpkin pie.  It is no wonder that once pumpkin season hits, I have this pie in the fridge all the time.  I have tweaked the recipe over the years to what it is today, and Mike and I are in pie-heaven all fall/winter long.

healthy skinny pumpkin pie without crust

Crustless Pumpkin Pie
 
Yields: 8 servings
Ingredients
Brown Sugar Topping
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon light butter, softened (I use Smart Balance light, from a tub)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pie
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated skim milk
  • 2 eggs (or 3 egg whites)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Prepare Brown Sugar Topping: mix oats, brown sugar, oats and cinnamon until combined. (I have found that, while messy, using my fingers to mix the topping works best). Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs and sugar until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and spices. Add to pumpkin mixture and gently fold until incorporated.
  5. Pour pumpkin mixture into prepared pie plate. Sprinkle Brown Sugar Topping over the top. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, and then move to refrigerator for at least 4 hours to overnight.

Adapted from Betty Crocker

Tortellini Soup with Chunky Tomatoes and Spinach - made in less than 30 minutes!

Tortellini Soup with Chunky Tomatoes and Spinach

(Photos updated 2/23/2012)

As the weather turns cooler, we find ourselves gravitating toward soups, chili, baked pasta, all of those warm comfort foods. I have had a vision for this tortellini soup for quite a while, but simply have not had an opportunity to execute it. Until now…

Filled with healthy vegetables and hearty tortellini, Tortellini Soup with Chunky Tomatoes and Spinach is the perfect comfort food for a crisp fall day, or any day for that matter.  And guess what?  It can be made in under 30 minutes!  Had I realized that, this soup would have been made long ago.

I put a range of 4 to 6 cups for the broth, so you can adjust to your preference. I like my soup on the chunkier side, so 4 cups of broth yielded the perfect consistency for me. I also used frozen spinach, which worked really well.   I recommend using both low sodium broth and tomatoes, so you can control the sodium by adding salt to taste.

As a great weeknight dinner, or a quick any time meal, we are looking forward to enjoying this soup all fall/winter long, and I hope you will too!

Tortellini Soup with Chunky Tomatoes and Spinach
 
Yields: 3 to 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 to 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) low sodium diced tomatoes, including juices
  • 9-10 ounces tortellini (fresh or frozen), any variety
  • 1½ teaspoons Italian herb seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 10 ounces fresh or frozen spinach, chopped (if frozen, thaw and squeeze out excess moisture)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion for 5-7 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic, and saute for 1 minute.
  2. Add broth and tomatoes. Turn heat to high, cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Add tortellini and cook according to package instructions.
  4. Within the last minute of cooking the tortellini, stir in Italian herb seasoning, crushed red pepper and spinach. Taste, and add salt and pepper seasoning, as desired.
  5. Serve immediately, garnishing each bowl with Parmesan cheese.

 

Adapted from Food Network