• Oatmeal Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

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    These cookies were really good, although I thought the toffee kind of got lost in the cookie, so maybe add more toffee bits than the original recipe calls for.  This recipe is adapted from the oatmeal toffee cookies found in the December 2008 issue of Cooking Light.

    Ingredients:

    • 3.4  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
    • 1  c.  old-fashioned rolled oats
    • 1/2  tsp.  baking soda
    • 1/4  tsp.  salt
    • 3/4  c.  packed brown sugar
    • 1/4  c.  butter, softened
    • 1  tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1  large egg
    • 1/3  c. (or more) almond toffee bits
    • 1 c. chocolate chips
    • Cooking spray

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add vanilla and egg; beat well. Add flour mixture; beat just until combined. Stir in toffee bits and chocolate chips.
    3. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

    Oatmeal Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies:

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  • Chicken Tamale Casserole

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    This recipe comes from the November 2008 issue of Cooking Light.  After seeing the recipe in the magazine, I wasted little time putting it on the weekly menu.  We love tamales, so why not a tamale casserole, without having the work of making tamales!!  Win win for sure, and the casserole didn’t disappoint.  You could easily use leftover chicken or turkey…great way to use all the leftover Thanksgiving turkey too!

    Update: the leftovers are excellent!!!
    Ingredients:

    • 1 c.  (4 ounces) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
    • 1/3  c.  fat-free milk
    • 1/4  c.  egg substitute
    • 1  tsp.  ground cumin
    • 1/8  tsp.  ground red pepper
    • 1  (14 3/4-oz.) can cream-style corn
    • 1  (8.5-oz.) box corn muffin mix (such as Martha White)–I bought a 6 oz. Martha White package and it turned out fine
    • 1  (4-oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained
    • Cooking spray
    • 1  (10-oz.) can red enchilada sauce
    • 2  c.  shredded cooked chicken breast
    • 1/2  c.  sour cream
    • Chopped cilantro for garnish

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400°.
    2. Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
    3. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.

    Chicken Tamale Casserole:

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  • Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast with Watermelon-Jalapeno Salsa

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    This recipe comes from the August 2007 issue of Cooking Light. It was delicious. The chicken tasted great, and the marinade would be great for a fajita marinade. The Watermelon-Jalapeno salsa was also delicious and the kiddos even ate it!  Excellent summer dish!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 TBSP chopped fresh oregano
    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 1 tsp. chili powder
    • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    • Cooking spray
    • 2 c. (1/2-inch) cubed seeded watermelon
    • 1 c. (1/2-inch) cubed peeled ripe mango
    • 1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
    • 1/2 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
    • 2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • 1/2 tsp. sugar
    • 1/4 tsp. salt

    Directions:

    1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator up to 4 hours, turning bag occasionally.Prepare grill.
    2. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 5 minutes on each side or until done. Combine watermelon and remaining ingredients. Serve watermelon mixture with chicken.

    Marinated Chicken Breasts with Watermelon-Jalapeno Salsa:

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  • Kung Pao Chicken

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    This recipe comes from the December 2005 issue of Cooking Light. I’m not sure what makes it Kung Pao…it was good, but not craveable.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 TBSP canola oil, divided
    • 4 c. broccoli florets
    • 1 TBSP ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World), divided
    • 2 TBSP water
    • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
    • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch strips
    • 1/2 c. fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    • 2 TBSP hoisin sauce
    • 2 TBSP rice wine vinegar
    • 2 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
    • 1 tsp. cornstarch
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 TBSP coarsely chopped salted peanuts

    Directions:

    1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and 2 teaspoons ginger to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add water. Cover; cook 2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Remove broccoli from pan; keep warm.
    2. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan; add remaining 1 teaspoon ginger, crushed red pepper, and chicken. Cook 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, stirring frequently.
    3. Combine broth and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Return broccoli mixture to pan; toss to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts.

    Kung Pao Chicken:

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  • Slow-Cooked Chile Con Carne

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    This week’s crock pot recipe comes from the April 2007 issue of Cooking Light. It was really good, and not spicy, which was good for the kids, but we added some chipotle to our bowls to give the chile a bit more punch. I also made it thicker by making a cornstarch slury, because I like my chile a little thicker than this recipe turns out. -s really enjoyed it, and it’s one of those dishes that doesn’t taste like it was made from a crockpot.

    Our oldest has been asking for chili mac, so I mixed some of this chile with some pasta. He liked it, but he definitely loves that chile mac, so we’ll be having the chili mac next week.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 1/2 c. chopped onion
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 lb. sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 2 1/2 cups diced grape tomatoes
    • 1 TBSP chili powder
    • 2 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
    • 1/2 c. cooking liquid + 1 tsp. cornstarch
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3 chipotles with adobo sauce, minced.

    Directions:

    1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and beef to pan; cook 5 minutes or until beef is browned, stirring occasionally. Combine beef mixture, tomato, and next 6 ingredients (through broth) in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or until beef is tender. Uncover; cook 30 minutes or until slightly thickened. If you’d like it thicker, remove about 1/2 c. of liquid and put in a bowl; then mix in 1 tsp. of cornstarch; dissolve the cornstarch; add back to crock, and bring to a boil. Stir in salt, if desired.
    2. Top with chipotle, sour cream or whatever you like.

    Slow-Cooked Chile Con Carne:

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  • Chicken Chipotle Taco Salad

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    This recipe comes from the August 2006 issue of Cooking Light. Great salad for a warm summer day…flavorful, light and refreshing, yet filling and delicious!

    Ingredients:

    Dressing:

    • 1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
    • 2/3 c. light sour cream
    • 1 TBSP minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
    • 1 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1 tsp. chili powder
    • 4 TBSP fresh lime juice
    • 1/4 tsp. salt

    Salad:

    • 4 c. chopped lettuce or mixed greens
    • 2 c. chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
    • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1/2 c. diced peeled avocado
    • 1/3 c. thinly vertically sliced red onion
    • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, rinsed and drained

    Directions:

    1. To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well.
    2. To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

    Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad:

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  • Beef Stroganoff

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    It’s time for the weekly crock pot recipe, and this week we had beef stroganoff. I really enjoy beef stroganoff, while -s is not so much of a fan. He said “this is good, but something I can eat only once every 2 years.” So there you have it. The original recipe calls for cooking 7 to 8 hours, but mine was done at 5 1/2 hours when I checked it, so I’d cook it for 5 to 6 hours. The only other thing I would change from this recipe is to decrease the salt, so the version below calls for less salt (a lot will depend on how salty your broth is). This recipe comes from the October 2004 issue of Cooking Light.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 (1-pound) top round steak (1 inch thick), trimmed
    • 1 c. chopped onion
    • 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
    • 2 TBSP Dijon mustard
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp dried dill
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms (about 2 cups)
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1 c. beef broth
    • 1 (8-ounce) container low-fat sour cream
    • 2 c. hot cooked medium egg noodles (about 4 ounces uncooked)
    • Garnish with fresh dill

    Directions:

    1. Cut steak diagonally across grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place steak and next 8 ingredients (though garlic) in a 3-quart electric slow cooker; stir well.
    2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a small bowl; gradually add broth, stirring with a whisk until blended. Add broth mixture to slow cooker; stir well. Cover with lid; cook on high-heat setting 1 hour. Reduce to low-heat setting, and cook 3 to 4 hours or until steak is tender. Turn slow cooker off; remove lid. Let stroganoff stand 10 minutes. Stir in sour cream. Serve stroganoff over noodles and garnish with dill.

    Beef Stroganoff:

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  • Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce, Asparagus, and Peas

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    I love asparagus, but unfortunately I’m the only one in our house that with this love. So, with -s out of town, I tried a new yummy recipe from Cooking Light’s August 2007 issue. I was going to add chicken, but I was too lazy. Chicken would be a most delicious addition. I was just going to saute a boneless breast, so next time I’ll try that. You can also substitute green beans for the asparagus. Here’s my version of this recipe:

    Ingredients:

    • 1 box of whole grain penne
    • 1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces (you can substitute green beans)
    • 1 c. frozen peas, thawed
    • 2 TBSP butter
    • 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, but into bit sized pieces
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 c. chicken broth
    • 2 tsp. cornstarch
    • 2/3 c. heavy cream
    • juice of 2-3 lemons
    • 1/4 c. capers, drained and rinsed
    • salt as necessary
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper

    Directions:

    1. Cook Pasta according to package in salted water. Add asparagus during the last minute of cooking and add the thawed peas in the last 15 seconds. Drain and set aside.
    2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. If using chicken, add chicken, and saute until cooked through; next add garlic to pan and saute 1 minute. Combine broth and cornstarch in a small bowl; stir until well blended. Add broth mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in cream, juice, capers, salt and pepper. Add pasta mixture to broth mixture; toss gently to coat.

    Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce, Asparagus, and Peas:

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  • White Bean and Chicken Rajas Soup

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    Cooking Light sends me a dinner recipe everyday, and a few months ago the dinner recipe of the day was White Bean and Rajas soup, originally published in the December 2003 issue. I bookmarked the recipe, and tonight I used that recipe as a base to create my own version. It was really good, and -s said it was excellent. This soup is perfect on a cold winter day, and it’s super easy to prepare. You can always make this vegetarian by leaving the chicken out (the original Cooking Light recipe is vegetarian).

    Ingredients:

    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 TBSP, ground cumin
    • 1 lb. chicken breast, but into bite sized pieces
    • 2 onions, chopped
    • 2 poblano chile peppers, seeded and chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
    • 4 c. chicken broth
    • 1 c. frozen corn
    • 2 (15-ounce) cans navy beans, rinsed and drained
    • Juice from 2 limes
    • 1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
    • Toppings: grated cheese, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, chipotle Tobasco

    Directions:

    1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, then add chicken and cumin.
    2. Once chicken is nearly cooked through, add onion, chile, and red bell pepper; sauté 5 minutes.
    3. Add broth and corn; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the beans, juice, and cumin. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.
    4. Top with grated cheese, sour cream, avocado, cilantro and/or chipotle Tobasco.

    White Bean and Chicken Rajas Soup:

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  • Spciy Soba Noodles with Chicken or Tofu in Peanut Sauce

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    Ever since I made this dish back in 2002, it’s become when of our favorites. There’s so much flavor and it’s so easy to prepare. Not exactly kid friendly, be definitely mom and dad friendly! I usually make this recipe with chicken. You can either cook the chicken according to the recipe or use pre-cooked chicken. Tonight I tried fried tofu, and it was delicious. If you don’t like soba noodles, try whole wheat pasta, or regular pasta. My recipe is adapted from the recipe in the July 2002 issue of Cooking Light.

    Ingredients:

    • 2/3 c. chicken broth + 2 c. broth if cooking chicken
    • 2/3 c. peanut butter
    • 4 TBSP. ginger, minced
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 TBSP. soy sauce
    • 4 TBSP. honey
    • 1 TBSP. plus 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
    • 1 c. of carrot matchsticks (you can buy a bag of them at the grocery store)
    • 1 c. sugar snap peas
    • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast OR extra firm tofu
    • 16 oz. soba noodles or pasta of your choice
    • 1/2 c. sliced green onions
    • 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
    • 6 tablespoons chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

    Directions:

    1. Sauce: Combine broth, peanut butter, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, honey, and red pepper in a bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth.
    2. Chicken: Place chicken in a large saucepan; add 2 cups broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove from heat; let stand 20 minutes. Drain; cut chicken into 2-inch pieces. You can also use pre-cooked chicken.
    3. Tofu: I used extra firm cubed tofu and dredged the cubes in an equal parts flour and cornstarch mixture, then pan fried. You don’t have to fry the tofu, but that’s the only way -s will eat tofu.
    4. Boil soba noodles according to directions on the package.
    5. Combine carrots, sugar snap peas, peanut sauce, chicken, and noodles in a large bowl; toss to coat. Sprinkle with green onions, cilantro, and peanuts.

    Spicy Soba Noodles with Chicken or Tofu in Peanut Sauce:

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