BLT Penne Pasta Toss

I came across a new food blog last week, Culinary in the Desert. There are quite a few recipes on there that I am going to have to try. Trying to think of what to make for dinner last night, I realized that we had everything that this recipe needed. Problem solved. And I always look for a reason to use some laughing cow cheese. This made for a great sauce. I hope you enjoy it!

BLT Penne Pasta Toss

8 ounces dry whole wheat penne pasta
4 ounces Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese Wedges, cut into cubes (use cream cheese, if desired)
1 cup milk
1 ounce fresh grated Parmesan cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

In a large pot of boiling salted water, add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add Laughing Cow cheese, milk and Parmesan - heat over medium-high, whisking constantly, cheese melts and the mixture is well-blended, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in bacon, spinach, tomatoes, Italian seasoning and nutmeg - reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until thoroughly heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove sauce from heat, add drained pasta and toss well to coat. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper, if desired.


2 servings. Each serving =481.5 calories, 14.6 g Fat, 43.7 mg Cholesterol, 993.8 mg Sodium, 58 g Carbohydrates, 27.7 g Protein


Beef Burgandy

This recipe comes from Michelle’s blog, Sugar & Spice. Last Weekend, I was looking for a new Crockpot recipe and came across this one. The beef turned out super moist and really tender. However, I realized I am not a big fan of pearl onions. I much preferred the sliced onion in here. Cancy said he liked it though so I have a feeling we’ll be making this again. It has sort of a retro feel to it, like 1950’s housewife & I appreciate that.

Beef Burgundy


1 (10-ounce) package fresh pearl onions
1 (2-pound) top round steak, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups sliced onion (1 large)
1 garlic clove, minced
Cooking spray
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups less-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup Burgundy or other dry red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (8-ounce) package mushrooms
3 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles (about 4 cups uncooked pasta)
Thyme leaves (optional)


1. Drop pearl onions in boiling water; cook 1 minute. Drain onions; peel.


2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak; sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Place steak in a 3-quart electric slow cooker. Add sliced onion and garlic to pan; coat with cooking spray, and sauté over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Sprinkle flour over onion-garlic mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add broth, wine, and tomato paste, stirring constantly. Cook 1 minute or until thick. Add pearl onions, dried thyme, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and mushrooms.

 3. Pour wine mixture over steak in cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 6 to 7 hours. Discard bay leaf. Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.

4  servings. (Nutritional info does not include noodles or potatoes) Each serving = 327 calories, 7.1 g Fat, 97 mg Cholesterol, 358.3 mg Sodium, 17.7 g Carbohydrates, 42.9 Protein 

Doggie Biscotti

I wanted to make some treats for our four legged child. I knew Rachel Ray had some great dog treats on her site, so I went here to check them out. She calls this one, Peanut-Carob Isabooscotti. Her original recipe is here. Below is the recipe as I made it…Doggie Biscotti.

Doggie Biscotti

2 Cups whole wheat flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

2 pinches of cinnamon

1 Cup chunky peanut butter

1 Cup milk

1 Cup carob chips 

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Place the peanut butter in a medium bowl and microwave at high power to soften, 5 to 10 seconds. Whisk in the milk, and then stir the mixture into the dry ingredients.

Shape the dough into a long, flattened log and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes; remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice the log crosswise on an angle into 1-inch-thick pieces. Set the slices on their sides (they should look like biscotti) and bake until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes more. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Melt the carob in a microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.  Pour into a small Ziploc bag and twist like a pastry bag. Snip a small piece of the corner and drizzle over biscotti. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Cookie Dough & Candy

So first of all, let’s not kid ourselves… There will be no nutrition facts for this one. You don’t mess with cookies AND little mini chocolates and expect them to be healthy. My trainer would kick my but if eat more than 1 of these so they are going to work. Well most are going to work and I’ll keep a few here for Cancy.

This recipe comes from Pioneer Woman. I love, love, love her site. I adore Ree’s style of writing. She has the best love story, some great pictures, and oh yeah, her recipes. Everything she makes looks delicious. Maybe not the healthiest, but sooooo yummy. Here is the link to her original recipe. While you’re there, make sure you check out the rest of her site and make extra sure that you check out her other recipes.

Cookie Dough and Candy

Refrigerator cookie dough (I used peanut butter cookie & chocolate chip cookie dough)

Miniature chocolate candies: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Rolos, Hershey’s Kisses


Slice the cookie dough into 1 ¼ inch slices.

Next, lay the slices on their side and cut them into quarters.

Place each quarter into a greased mini-muffin tin

Peel the wrapper from of as many pieces of candy as cookies you’re going to make.

Bake the cookie dough at 350 degrees for just a few minutes - 6 to 8 at the most. You’ll want to take them out just when they start to turn golden.

As soon as you pull the warm cookies from the oven, you’ll want to begin lightly pressing one piece of candy into each cookie.

Slow-Cooked Carnitas Tacos

Polly made this recently and it looked soooo good. Her original recipe is here. I was looking for something to make in the Slow Cooker this weekend and this sounded perfect. I made a few changes to the original. I hope you enjoy it.

Slow-Cooked Carnitas Tacos

2 lbs. of boneless country-style pork ribs cut into 1 ½ inch cubes

3 Tbsp Carne Guisada seasoning

1/2 large onion, cut into 4 pieces

1 jalapeno, diced

1 avocado, halved, pitted, sliced

fresh cilantro sprigs

1 small package of queso fresco cheese, crumbled

whole wheat tortillas


Toss pork into a Ziploc bag and add seasoning. Shake bag until meat is completely covered & add to slow cooker. Place onion pieces on top of pork. Cover slow cooker and cook pork on low setting until meat is very tender and falling apart, about 6 hours. When you have about an hour of cooking left, add diced jalapeno & stir.


The pork should shred easily with a spoon while still in the slow cooker. Heat tortillas. Sprinkle crumbled cheese in tortilla, place shredded meat on top. Top with avocado & cilantro.



Beef Rice-Noodle Soup

I found this soup on Rachel Ray’s site after I found her dog treat recipes. I’ve been craving some Pho from the Vietnamese place down the road. With Cancy not feeling too well, we didn’t feel like going anywhere. So… Why not try making something similar, at home. Here’s my attempt at Vietnamese Pho ala Rachel Ray. You can find her original recipe here.

Beef Rice-Noodle Soup

 5 oz rice noodles

1 C bean sprouts

1 pound Deli Roast Beef

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 jalapeno, seeded & thinly sliced

2 green onions

2 cans of low sodium beef broth

1/3 C cilantro leaves, torn into small pieces

Lime wedges

Add the rice noodles to a medium saucepan filled with water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. Divide the cooked rice noodles, bean sprouts and roast beef strips among 4 soup bowls.

Heat the oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add the jalapeño and green onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the beef broth and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered for 10 minutes. Divide among the bowls. Garnish with the cilantro leaves and lime wedges.

4 servings. Each serving = 310 calories, 8.5 g Fat,49  mg Cholesterol, 1999 mg Sodium, 21.7 g Carbohydrates, 35.3 Protein 

Cream Cheese Chicken

I saw this recipe at It’s been in my Google Reader for awhile and I wanted to use of some chicken breasts that we had in the freezer. The chicken turned out really good but I think I’ll use a little more wine next time to keep the sauce from getting too thick. The recipe listed below is as I made it. You find the original here.

cream cheese chicken

Cream Cheese Chicken

2 chicken breasts, trimmed and kept whole
1 can chicken broth, separated
4-8 cloves garlic
red pepper flakes
4 oz fat free cream cheese
1 Tbsp flour
¼ C white wine

Heat 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil

Brown chicken for about 5 minutes

Add red pepper flakes and minced garlic

After 1-2 min, add white wine to deglaze the pan and then add ¾ can chicken broth

Bring to a boil then simmer (covered) 20-25 min or until chicken is cooked

Remove chicken and place in a covered dish; keep warm

Mix flour with remaining broth and add to pan; mix

Add cream cheese, mix until thick and bubbly

Place chicken on a plate & pour sauce over chicken.

2 servings. Each serving = 241.6 calories, 8 g Fat, 51.2 mg Cholesterol, 770 mg Sodium, 8 g Carbohydrates, 28.9 Protein