Monday, October 28, 2013

Buffalo Cauliflower and Buffalo Chicken Bites

So I hate Buffalo Wings. For a long time I thought it was the sauce. And then I had Buffalo Chicken Dip. It wasn't the sauce. It was the wing. I don't see the point. Put the sauce on a normal piece of chicken and fine. But it is too much work and too much calories for that little bit of payday.

So lo and behold I found this recipe on Pinterest from my friend Nikki. It can be attributed back to Persnickety Plates.  I told D I was making this.  Then I thought that we probably should have some meat, so I picked up some chicken breasts to make into bites.  I actually made most of both recipes.

Make the Cauliflower first, so that you don't cross-contaminate with the chicken.

The outcome...we devoured everything, but I liked the cauliflower better.  It melted in my mouth.  D liked it. Since chicken is his favorite food, I didn't bother to ask him if he liked it better.  We definitely would have again.

Buffalo Cauliflower and Buffalo Chicken Bites

Photo by ALB

Serves: 2-4 as an appetizer (or 2 if you're eating it for dinner as a meal)

1 head of cauliflower
(1 lb of skinned, boneless chicken breast if you are doing chicken bites, too)

For the batter:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup water
dash of Frank's Wing Sauce (or Frank's Original Hot Sauce)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
(Make again if you are making Buffalo Chicken Bites)

For the buffalo sauce  (if you are making the Buffalo Chicken as well, double this part.)
1/4 cup Frank's Wing Sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons salted butter, melted (this was originally 3 but I lowered it)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with non-stick spray, and set aside.

Wash your head of cauliflower and cut into pieces.

In a medium bowl, mix together the batter ingredients. It will be fairly thick.

Dip each piece of cauliflower into the batter until fully and evenly coated. Place onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the batter just hardens.

Prep the chicken the exact same way (you only need to cook for 8 minutes)

In a small bowl, mix together the buffalo sauce ingredients.

Once the cauliflower are done, remove from the oven and brush with the buffalo sauce. Again, fully and evenly coat each piece.  (D and I dipped the cauliflower).

Put back into the oven and bake for 7 more minutes, until the sauce has mostly dried and the cauliflower is crispy. (We poured the remaining sauce all over the chicken and stuck it back in, about 5 minutes).

Remove from the oven, let cool, then enjoy!

Nutritional Information from My Fitness Pal
Servings 2
Buffalo Cauliflower
Calories: 249; Carbs: 38; Fat: 9; Protein: 9; Sodium: 1156; Fiber: 10

Buffalo Chicken Bites
Calories: 416; Carbs: 22; Fat: 11; Protein: 55; Sodium: 1444; Fiber: 3

Friday, October 25, 2013

Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

So I mentioned the other day (either here or on Facebook or outloud) that I am partial to Creamy Mac and Cheese versus Mac and Cheese Casserole (the kind with egg).  Don't get me wrong, I'll eat my weight with either.

Anyway, Homesick Texan posted a new recipe. I read it. It was the Creamy version.  And it has bacon. I must have it!

D said ok, but we both agreed to no cotija because it is a pain in neck to find, and it is too much  for the amount we will use before it goes bad. Plus since it was labeled as optional, well that was fine too.

D made this.  It was thick and creamy.  Unfortunately, I seemed to bite down on a big piece of garlic in my first bite so that's all I tasted.  When I said it was overpowering garlic, D looked at me like I had 4 heads.  He said the chipotle was awesome. I asked what chipotle?  I still liked it, but I need to have it again.  The texture was excellent.

So now we have to have again, so I can verify it was as good as he said.  The horror!!!!

Update: D made this with 2 cloves of garlic.  It was very good.  We had with the cotija cheese because we actually have a bag of it.  You should make this.

Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

Photo by ALB

(Adapted from the NY Times)

2 cups of dry elbow pasta
2 cups of milk
1 cup of cottage cheese
1 chipotle chile in adobo
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
Pinch of cumin
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 cups of shredded cheese, a mix of cheddar and Monterey Jack
1/4 cup of crumbled cotija cheese (optional, but delicious!) - didn't use
4 pieces of cooked bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon of butter

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch square or round baking pan with the butter. Add the dry pasta.

In a blender, mix together the milk, cottage cheese, chipotle chile, mustard powder, garlic, cumin, salt and black pepper until it’s smooth. Pour mixture over dry pasta and stir until sauce is evenly distributed.

Stir in two cups of the shredded cheese, cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the foil and stir the macaroni and cheese a couple of times. Top with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese and chopped bacon and cook for another 25 minutes uncovered or until brown and bubbling.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with cotija and serve.

Nutritional Information (from My Fitness Pal)
Servings: 4
Calories: 617; Carbs:54; Fat: 26; Protein: 40; Sodium: 1759; Fiber: 3

Kroger - Elbow Macaroni Noodles, 2 c (dry): 800
Friendly Farms (Aldi's) - 2% Reduced Fat Milk, 2 cup: 240
Kroger - Small Curd Cottage Cheese, 1 cup: 220
Embasa - Chipotle Peppers In Adobe Sauce, 2 tbsp (31g) with sauce: 15
Spices - Mustard seed, yellow, 1 tsp: 15
Generic - Fresh Garlic Clove, 1 Clove: 4 Spices - Cumin, 0.13 tsp: 1
Kroger - Shredded 2% 4 Cheese Mexican Blend, 3 cup: 960
Butter - Salted - Butter-salted, 1 tbsp: 102
Spices - Morton's Iodized Salt, 1 tsp: 0
Spices - Pepper, black, 1 tsp: 5
Kroger - Fully Cooked Bacon - Kroger, 4 Slices: 107

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

So when Cooking Light arrived at our house this week, the cover was of this gorgeous soup.  I instantly had to have it.  Then I saw it was Sweet Potato and went boo.  Sweet Potato Soup? Still, Sweet Potato Soup?  It sounded kind of intriguing.  I mentioned it to D and he said ok.  I think he was kind of intrigued too.

I'm not sure how hard it was but it was ready by the time I got home from work. We both liked it but decided it would be good as a first course, like if you were having Thanksgiving and were tired of the Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows... you could serve this.  D said he would be interested in replacing the cumin with thyme.

We only got 4 servings (2 Cups each).  We didn't have a side.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

Photo by ALB

Yield: Serves 6 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups soup)

2 pounds sweet potatoes, halved lengthwise (about 2 large)
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional)

1. Place potatoes, cut sides down, in an 11 x 7-inch microwave-safe baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly; discard potato skins.

2. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 1 minute or until translucent. Stir in cumin and red pepper. Add stock to pan; bring to a boil. Place half of sweet potato and half of stock mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters); blend until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining sweet potato and stock mixture. Stir in salt. Divide soup evenly among 6 bowls; sprinkle cooked bacon and Parmesan cheese evenly over top. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 233; Fat: 6.2g; Saturated fat: 2.1g; Monounsaturated fat: 2.9g; Polyunsaturated fat: 0.6g; Protein: 10.7g; Carbohydrate: 33.9g; Fiber: 5.1g; Cholesterol: 12mg; Iron: 1.4mg; Sodium: 530mg; Calcium: 123mg

Cooking Light NOVEMBER 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

(Crockpot) Buffalo Chicken Pasta

So I found this recipe on Pinterest. It links over to

D and I talked about making it and decided ok.  Except we forgot to prep it/talk about it the night before. So looking at the recipe while at work, it didn't really seem that it needed to go into the crockpot, so we adapted it. I offered to help make it but D told me to go run.  So I did.

I'll put the original directions in with mine in paretheses.  I would have again.  D said he would make it in 2 separate containers next time (so again, not in a crockpot) so he could have blue cheese.  I did notice he put hot sauce on top of his portion of the cooked product.

The Nutritional Information may be a little off.  Frank's Wing Sauce is 0 calories for 1 TBSP.  But I figured it isn't that off, because you're having between 1.5 and 2 TBSP depending on your serving size.

(Crockpot) Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Photo by ALB

Preparation time is 15 min
Makes 4-6 servings (5 1-1/2C Servings)

1 pound · Chicken breasts, bite-sized pieces (used boneless, skinless thighs)
Salt and Pepper
1 can · Cream of chicken soup (used Campbell's Healthy Request)
1/2 C Hot sauce, like for buffalo wings (Used Frank's Wing Sauce)
1 1/2C Shredded mozzarella cheese (Used Kroger Italian Blend Shredded Cheese)
1/2 C Crumbled blue cheese (Used Kroger Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese)
3 cup Uncooked penne pasta  (Used Kroger Brand)
1 1/2 cup Sour cream (Used Kroger Brand Reduced Fat)

1.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and put in crockpot. (or season and saute in a pan with some cooking spray.  Cook penne and drain).

2. Add soup and hot sauce. Stir.  (Mix all ingredients and put in a casserole pan).

3. Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours.  (Bake at 350 for 25 minutes)

4.  Stir in cheeses and sour cream. Turn off crockpot. (Take out of oven and rest for 5 minutes)

5. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain. Add to crockpot.  (No number 5 with oven directions).

6. Stir well and serve!

Nutritional Information (from My Fitness Pal)
Servings : 4
Calories: 653; Carbs: 54; Fat: 33; Protein:46; Sodium: 1734; Fiber: 3

Servings : 6
Calories: 435; Carbs: 36; Fat: 22; Protein: 31; Sodium: 1156; Fiber: 2

Kroger - Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, 16 oz: 440
Campbell's - Healthy Request - Cream of Chicken Soup - Condensed, 1 container (1 3/10 cup (120ml) ea.): 150
Frank's - Red Hot Wings Buffalo Wing Sauce, 8 tbsp: 0
Kroger - Penne Rigate, 3 cup (56g) dry: 800
Kroger - Sour Cream - Low Fat, 24 TBS: 540
Kroger - Italian Blend Shredded Cheese, 1.5 cup: 540
Kroger - Authentic Mexican Blend All Natural Cheese, 1/2 cup: 140

16 Smart Points (my additions/subtractions at 5 servings)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Spinach and Tortellini Salad

So this is a recipe that is great for after a run, to make right after a grocery store trip, etc.  Quick and easy.
I found it from someone on Pinterest and it came from Our Healthy Ever After.

D made this while I was walking the dogs.  I came back and it was ready.  I'm sure we could have made it more healthy (less tortellini, less oil).  But we both had the calories to spend.

Will have again.

Spinach and Tortellini Salad

Photo by ALB
1 bag spinach, washed
1 bag cheese tortellini, cooked  (Used 20 Oz of Buitoni Spinach and Cheese Tortellini)
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup each red, yellow and orange bell peppers, sliced (We used 1/2 C red, and 1/2C Green)
Optional ingredients: peas, bacon, cheese, cucumbers (we used cucumber)

Dressing (whisk all ingredients together):
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbs minced shallots
2 tbs honey
2 tbs dijon mustard

Mix all of these ingredients together, then add the dressing and toss to coat.

Nutritional Information (from My Fitness Pal)
Servings: 4; Calories: 592; Carbs: 75; Fat: 24; Protein: 20; Sodium: 1376; Fiber: 5

Total Calories from Ingredients
Kroger Fresh Selections - Baby Spinach 10 oz Bag, 1 container (9.6 cups (85g) ea.):  70
Buitoni - Mixed Cheese Tortellini 106 g, 1 container (20 oz): 1,600
Onion Red - Veggie - Fresh, 0.25 red onion (medium/.75 cup): 10
Vegetable - Red Bell Pepper (Raw), 0.5 medium:  16
Bell Pepper, Green - 1/2 Raw Medium, 1/2 medium (119.0g):  15
Cucumber - Peeled, raw, 0.5 medium : 12
Kroger - *Pure Olive Oil, 4 Tbsp:  480
Generic - Shallots, 1/12 Cup:  7
Honey, 2 tbsp:  128
Kroger Dijon Mustard - Kroger, 6 tsp (5g):  30

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños

This recipe was in the latest issue of CL.  I told D they would be good for lunch.  He said ok.

He made him.  He doesn't like deveining jalapenos so he left in the ribs. He said that deveing was the longest part.  He also said that next time, I should do that part, because I'm better at it.  So I will.   After starting to cry on the 2nd pepper, I went and got sour cream to dip them in.  Then they were really good (notice I didn't stop eating them despite the tears).  Yes we'll have them again.  We each had 5 servings since we had the for lunch.

Next time, we'll sprinkle toasted bread crumbs on top.

Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños

Photo by ALB

The rich and creamy combination of bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar nicely contrasts the muted spice of grilled jalapeño peppers. This appetizer recipe is a healthy, fresh alternative to the popular breaded and fried version.

Yield: 14 servings (serving size: 2 pepper halves)
Hands-on:30 Minutes
Total:40 Minutes

2 center-cut bacon slices
4 ounces cream cheese, softened (about 1/2 cup) (used 1/3 fat)
4 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened (about 1/2 cup) (used 1/3 fat)
1 ounce extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup minced green onions
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 small garlic clove, minced
14 jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped seeded tomato
Add toasted bread crumbs

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon. Combine crumbled bacon, cheeses, and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a bowl, stirring well to combine. Divide cheese mixture evenly to fill the pepper halves. Place peppers, cheese sides up, on grill rack or grill grate coated with cooking spray. Cover and grill peppers 8 minutes or until bottoms of peppers are charred and cheese mixture is lightly browned. Place peppers on a serving platter. Sprinkle with cilantro and tomato.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 56; Fat: 4.1g; Saturated fat: 2.2g; Monounsaturated fat: 1.1g; Polyunsaturated fat: 0.2g; Protein: 2.9g; Carbohydrate: 2.1g; Fiber: 0.5g; Cholesterol: 13mg; Iron: 0.2mg; Sodium: 157mg

Cooking Light OCTOBER 2013

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili

So my friend Jen posted this recipe on Facebook last week.  I decided I must have it.  She got it from

So D looked at the recipe.  He decided to double the recipe.  Except for some parts.  So this is the recipe he made (adapted from It was really good. You should make it.

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili

Photo by ALB

Makes 13 Cups

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 small onion, diced
8 jalapeno peppers diced, seeds removed (leave some seeds for extra heat)
6 cloves garlic, minced
salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 teaspoons chile powder
2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
2 (10 oz) can dice tomatoes with green chiles
3 cups chicken broth
2 (14 oz) can cannelloni or navy beans, drained
1 (14 oz) can corn, drained
16 ounces cream cheese
3/4 pound bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled, divided

In a large saucepan (deep enough for soup) heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion, jalepeno, and garlic until tender.

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then add to the saucepan adding another tablespoon of olive oil as well. Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Toss chicken and seasonings together and lightly brown chicken on all sides.

Stir in can of diced tomatoes, chicken broth, corn, and cannelloni beans and increase heat to bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in cream cheese and stir until completely melted. Stir in 1/2 of the crumbled bacon. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper as needed. **Add more chicken broth if too thick.

Serve and garnish with cheddar cheese and the rest of the crumbled bacon.

Nutritional Information (from
Calories: 323; Carbs: 22; Fat:18; Protein:24; Sodium:855; Fiber: 6

Used for NI
Kroger - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 tbsp.
Onions - Raw, 2 small
Generic - Jalapeño Pepper-raw, 8 qty
Garlic - Garlic (1 Clove, Raw) Net Carbs, 6 clove (3g)
Kroger - Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, 32 oz (112g)
Spices - Chili powder, 4 tsp
Spices - Cumin, 2 tsp
Spice Islands - Leaf Oregano, 2 tsp
Mccormick - Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, 0.25 tsp
Rotel - Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, 2 container (312.5 g (1/2 cup) ea.)
(Aldi) Fit & Active - Chicken Broth All Natural No Msg, 3 cup
Bush's - Cannelloni Beans, 2 container (1 4/5 cups ea.)
Kroger Whole Kernel - Canned Sweet Golden Corn (15.25oz Can)
Aldi - Fit & Active - Light Cream Cheese, 16 oz
Aldi's Appleton Farms - Premium Sliced Bacon, 14 Pan Fried Slices

Friday, October 4, 2013

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

I forgot to blog this one.  D made it in September some time.  It was really good.  And for 2 cups was a hearty meal.  Would have again.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

14 Servings
Prep: 10 min. Cook: 40 min.

2 quarts chicken broth
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (used Aldi flour)
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 cup dry white wine or additional chicken broth
3 cups cooked wild rice
2 cups cubed cooked chicken

In a large saucepan, combine the first nine ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

In Dutch oven, melt butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in broth mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in soup and wine. Add rice and chicken; heat through. Yield: 14 servings (3-1/2 quarts).

Nutrition Facts
1 serving (1 cup): 154 calories, 6 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 27 mg cholesterol, 807 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 10 g protein.

Taste of Home 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Provençale Chicken Supper

So I'm not sure how I found this recipe except my brother and I have been talking about crockpots for a few weeks.  Anyway, I suggested this to D and he said ok.

He prepped everything the night before, and I turned it on before going to work.  It was very liquidy for us, so D made rice. It was rather simple.  I suggested to D that he would need worked fine for me.  Maybe add some more oregano or herbs de Provence would be my advice.

Would have again.

Provençale Chicken Supper

Use bone-in chicken breasts for this French-country dish.

Photo by ALB

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 1 cup bean mixture)

4 (6-ounce) chicken breast halves, skinned (used 8 bone-in thighs)
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained
Basil sprigs (optional)
Place the chicken in an electric slow cooker; sprinkle with basil, salt, and black pepper. Add the bell pepper, beans, and tomatoes. Cover with lid; cook on low-heat setting for 8 hours.

This recipe has been retested for Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight, 2012

Nutritional Information
Calories: 281; Fat: 2.2g; Saturated fat: 0.6g; Monounsaturated fat: 0.5g; Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5g; Protein: 44.9g; Carbohydrate: 18.1g; Fiber: 4.7g; Cholesterol: 99mg; Iron: 3.2mg; Sodium: 495mg; Calcium: 86mg

Cooking Light SEPTEMBER 1999