Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Slow Cooker Berry Bread Pudding

I took a chance during Hurricane Sandy to make a slow cooker meal on Monday!  Luckily I never lost power and I was able to make this slow cooker berry bread pudding.  I really liked this bread pudding but it was a little bit watery when I made it.  Next time I will probably use a little less milk and see how it turns out.   This is such a simple recipe and perfect when you don't want to bake something.  I have eaten this berry bread pudding for dessert and even breakfast already.  It's delicious!  Happy Halloween everyone! 

Slow Cooker Berry Bread Pudding

1 package of Hawaiian Sweet Rolls (I used King’s brand, 12 count.)
2 ½ - 3 cups vanilla soy milk (You may use regular milk.)
4 eggs
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ - 3 cups berries (I used diced strawberries and blueberries.)


Tear sweet rolls into bite size cubes; I tore each sweet roll into 4 pieces.

Spray slow cooker with non stick cooking spray.  Place half the cube rolls into the bottom of the slow cooker.   Top with half the berries.

In a large bowl, whisk together butter, soymilk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.

Pour half the mixture over the bread cubes and berries.  Press bread down to ensure the mixture is being absorbed by the bread.

Layer with remaining bread cubes and berries.  Pour remaining mixture on top.  Press bread down gently.  (Optional – sprinkle some additional sugar on top.)

Cover and cook on low for 3-4  hours.  Turn on high for the last 30 minutes and leave the lid cracked up to let the steam escape.

It will be done when a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.   

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

Luckily Hurricane Sandy didn't really affect me too much, I didn't lose any power and I was out of work for the last two days.  It gave me time to cook!  These chicken enchiladas are super easy to make.  I used shredded rotisserie chicken that I already had and my favorite enchilada sauce from Trader Joe's.  Instead of corn tortillas, I decided to use whole wheat tortillas.  This entire meal probably took me less than 45 minutes to put together (including prep work and cooking time).  These chicken enchilada are quick enough for a weeknight dinner.  Enjoy!

Chicken Enchiladas

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 ½ cups enchilada sauce (I used Trader Joe’s)
1 ounce cream cheese
½ cup pinto beans
½ cup diced peppers
½ cup diced onions
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend.)
4 whole-wheat tortillas (You may use corn tortillas.)
Optional Toppings
sliced green onions
sour cream or plain greek yogurt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pan, over medium heat, add butter and onions.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until onions are softened.  

Next, add peppers.  Cook for about 5 minutes until onions and peppers are golden.

Add in chicken and pinto beans.

Stir in ½ cup enchilada sauce and cream cheese.

Add in ½ cup shredded cheese.  Stir to combine.

Warm tortillas according to package directions.

In an 8x8 inch baking dish, pour ½ cup enchilada sauce to cover bottom of dish.

Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture into each tortilla and top with some shredded cheese.  Roll tortilla tightly and place in baking dish.  Repeat.

Top the rolled tortillas with ½ cup enchilada sauce.  Sprinkle about ½ cup shredded cheese on top of the enchilada sauce.

Bake for about 20 minutes.   Serve with your favorite toppings if desired. 

Serves 4.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Avocado Caprese Pesto Salad

So far I've been lucky and I still have power during Hurricane Sandy.  It is definitely rainy and windy outside.  Also my office is closed today and tomorrow, so I haven't been to work since last Thursday!  Woohoo for a 5 day weekend!  I'm crossing my fingers so that my power stays on.  If you don't have power, maybe you can try this no cook avocado caprese salad recipe.  This avocado caprese pesto salad is fresh and flavorful.  It is a combination of some of my favorites - pesto sauce, caprese salad, and avocados.   I love how quick and easy this salad comes together too.  Feel free to make your own pesto sauce, I just made it more easy for me since my favorite store-bought pesto sauce is from Costco.   In case you didn't know, you can freeze pesto sauce.  I always portion out the large container of the pesto sauce to freeze in individual freezer bags.  Overall, this is a really healthy salad, you can even substitute the fresh mozzarella for low-fat or skim mozzarella. 

Avocado Caprese Pesto Salad

1 tablespoon pesto sauce (I used Kirkland’s brand from Costco.)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
spring salad mix (enough to serve 2)
1 tomato, sliced into wedges
1 avocado, diced
½ cup fresh mozzarella, diced (I used 2 or 3 slices.)


In a small bowl, whisk together pesto with extra virgin olive oil to make a pesto dressing.

In a large bowl, combine salad mix, tomato, avocado and mozzarella. 

Drizzle in pesto dressing.

Mix together salad and pesto dressing.

Serves 2.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hearty Chili

Everyone is gearing up for Hurricane Sandy around here.  The local schools are closed, some until Tuesday and my office is closed tomorrow!  So what could be better on cold rainy day than a bowl of warm, hearty chili?  This hearty chili is satisfying with chunks of ground beef, vegetables and red kidney beans.  You can quickly put this chili together within an hour for an easy weeknight dinner.  This would also be a perfect game day chili to share with family and friends.  Serve with shredded cheese, green onions, and/or sour cream.  Top with some tortilla chips or corn chips for extra crunch.  Enjoy!

Hearty Chili 

2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or olive oil)
1 ½ cup red onion, diced (½ large red onion)
1 cup diced peppers
1 pound ground beef
15 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies
28 ounce crushed tomatoes
15 ounce can red kidney beans
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder


In a large heavy pan or dutch oven, over medium heat, add in oil and onions.  Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add in peppers and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Next, add in ground beef.  Season with salt, pepper, and cumin.  Cook for about 5 minutes until beef is lightly browned.

Stir in diced tomatoes, beans and crushed tomatoes.

Stir in chili powder.

Cover and cook on low for at least 30 minutes.

Serves 6 to 8.

Top with shredded cheese, sliced green onions, and/or sour cream.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Roasted Parmesan Broccoli

I love all roasted vegetables and this roasted parmesan broccoli is scrumptious!  It makes a great side dish and I served it with turkey sausages from the Palisades farmers market.  The turkey sausages are made with dried cranberries and they are made by Stachowski Brand Charcuterie. There is the same guy selling the sausages at the farmers market and he gives out samples of his sausages!  How cool is that?

Roasted Parmesan Broccoli

1 cup broccoli florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground pepper
parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (I used a convention toaster oven.)

Place broccoli florets on a foil covered baking sheet.

Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 15 minutes. 

Top roasted broccoli with parmesan cheese.

Bake additional 5 minutes.

Serves 2.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Peppermint Patty Brownies

These are brownies with York Peppermint Patties in them and they are so mintlicious!  Yes, I did just make up a word,  mint + delicious = mintlicious.  I've previously made Thin Mint Brownies and they were a hit too.  I made these peppermint patty brownies over the weekend for a BBQ and an afternoon of watching Michigan football.  In case you were wondering, Michigan won!   It was a big win for Michigan because they had lost to Michigan State since 2007!  How crazy is that?  These Peppermint Patty Brownies made the win extra special!  Enjoy!

Peppermint Patty Brownies

1 box brownie mix (I used Market Pantry 19.8 ounces fudge brownie mix.)
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
¼ cup water
12 peppermint patties, unwrapped
½ cup mini chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix brownie mix, oil, eggs and water to make a brownie batter.

Pour half the batter into the baking dish.

Top evenly with peppermint patties.

Pour remaining batter over the peppermint patties.  Use a spatula to spread batter evenly.

Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.

Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Makes 12 large brownies. (Hint:  Cut with a plastic knife.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I am loving this homemade broccoli cheese soup!  It is so much better than the canned soups and its super easy to make.  Not only does this broccoli cheese soup taste better than canned, its healthier.  You can control the amount of sodium and use low-fat milk.  This soup is warm, creamy and delicious.  It also reminds me of Panera's broccoli cheese soup too.  You could also serve this soup in a bread bowl.  Enjoy!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

4 tablespoons butter
½ yellow onion, diced
1 ½ to 2 cups broccoli florets
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups shredded cheese (cheddar and/or jack)


In a saucepan, over medium heat, add butter and onions.

Cook onions for about 5 minutes until soft.

Stir in flour and cook for about 1 minute.

Next, add in milk.

Add in broccoli, nutmeg, black pepper and salt.

Cover and cook for about 20 minutes until broccoli is tender.

Stir in cheese until melted.

You may serve as is or puree soup in a blender and/or food processor.  You may also use an immersion blender.

Top with extra shredded cheese if desired.