Monday, February 24, 2014

Penne Beef Bake


  • 1 package (12 ounces) whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 2 medium zucchini, finely chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) meatless spaghetti sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups reduced-fat Alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


  • Cook penne according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook the beef, zucchini, pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, Alfredo sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and garlic powder. Drain penne; stir into meat mixture. 
  • Transfer to a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, 3-5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 8 servings.

Chicken Fajitas


  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 4 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each) 
  • Fajita seasoning to taste
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, julienned
  • 1 small sweet red or green pepper, julienned
  • 2 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 8 fat-free tortillas (6 inches), warmed
  • Salsa and sour cream, optional


  • In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first eight ingredients; if desired, add liquid smoke. Add chicken; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. 
  • Drain chicken, discarding marinade. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, rub on grill rack to coat lightly. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat 4-6 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 165°. 
  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and red pepper; cook and stir 5-7 minutes or until tender. Stir in soy sauce and lime juice. 
  • Cut chicken into thin slices; add to vegetables. Serve with tortillas, salsa and sour cream.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bananas Foster...or just Foster because bananas are yucky...and Foster is delicious

1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup of heavy cream
3 bananas peeled, halved, and cut lengthwise (optional)
1/4 cup dark rum
Ice cream, optional

In a large skillet, melt butter. Using a wooden spoon, add brown sugar and stir together. Add the cream and let it get all bubbly.

Forget yourself and spoon some hot bubbly caramel right into your mouth.

Cuss.  Then do it again.  It's worth it.

Add the rum.  Light match, then holding the match with your kitchen tongs, chuck the match into the pan while screaming.  This scares the fire out.  Repeat as many times as needed until rum catches on fire.  At this point you do the happy dance as it not only well-deserved but helps fan your blistered tongue.

When the fire dies out, carefully fish out all your matches. They are covered in delicious caramel sauce so contemplate saving them for eating later...

Serve sauce over ice cream.  If you choose salted caramel truffle, you will literally create a piece of heaven assuming you didn't transfer any of the nasty bananas into your bowl.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Zuppa Toscana

This is a much requested recipe on the site given its name! Someone who used to work at the Olive Garden sent in the original recipe and I've adapted it to serve just 6-8. Try it since it is really yummy!
It is a very good soup and hits the spot on cold winter days. I've included this and a few other Olive Garden-inspired recipes on the site for all of our visitors that enjoy eating at the restaurant chain. In my opinion, making these recipes at home makes them even better than the ones you eat at the restaurant! :)
Makes: 6-8 servings


  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 large diced white onion
  • 4 Tbsp bacon pieces
  • 2 tsp garlic puree
  • 10 cups water
  • 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
  • ¼ of a bunch of kale
  1. Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
  2. In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
  3. Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
  4. Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
  5. Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
  6. Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve. Delicious!