Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bountiful Baskets

I know I've told many people how awesome Bountiful Baskets is but I thought I'd make a post about it.  It's a volunteer program with pick-up locations nationwide.  You can get fresh fruit & vegetables for a great price.  I've noticed that since we started using them, we have started eating a lot more fruits & vegetables.  I've even started using things I've never tasted before, like egg plant & figs.  We also LOVE the 9-grain bread that Bountiful Baskets offers.

Ok, so here's how it works.  You go to the wesite & sign up.  Then on Mondays you can order your basket along with the location that you want to pick it up at.  The following Saturday, you go to the pickup location you chose, during the specified time & pick up your basket.  The only thing they ask is that you volunteer to help once every 6 months.  Volunteering consists of helping to unload the food from the truck & separate it into separate baskets.  It takes about an hour, prior to the pickup time.

So, if you want to place an order, you have to purchase a basic basket for $15 (you can upgrade it to an organic basket for an additional $10).  Then there are other "add-ons" that you can order.  I always pickup 1 order of 5 loaves of 9-grain bread for $10.  They also offer add-ons like granola, fruit lovers pack, veggie lovers pack, mexican pack, oriental pack, honey whole wheat bread, banana bread ... Every week is different.

Now when you place your order, you won't know exactly what you're going to get in that weeks basket but it's always good stuff.  My family thinks it's kind of fun to see what we end up with each week.

This week I bought 1 basket, a pack of 9-grain bread, & a fruit lovers pack.  This is what I got.

5 loaves of delicious 9-grain bread.

Fruit Lovers pack

A Basic Basket

All together

So, for $35 I got 5 loaves of bread, 1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 celery, 5 vine ripened tomatoes, 6 sweet potatoes, 2 avacados, 1 garlic, 1 cello pack mushrooms, 10 bananas, 14 apples, 1 orange, 2 bags of grapes, 10 pears & 4 plumes.

I haven't figured out exactly how much this would have cost me at the grocery store but figuring that the bread alone would have cost about $20, I think I saved quite a bit.

If you want to know more about Bountiful Baskets, you can check out their website or leave me a comment & I'll be happy to respond to you.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Soup

This is supposed to be a "copycat" recipe of the Chicken Enchilada soup from Chili's restaurant.  I have never eaten their soup so I can't tell you how it compares but this recipe is really good.  I have brought it to a few family functions & have received many compliments on it.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

  • 1/4c Canola oil
  • 1 1/2c chicken broth
  • 1 12c diced yellow onion
  • 1t ground cumin
  • 1t chili powder
  • 1t garlic powder
  • 1/4t cayenne pepper
  • 1c Masa Harina flour (this is a tortilla flour.  You can find it on the Hispanic isle in the grocery store).
  • 6 1/2c water
  • 1c canner crushed tomatoes
  • 4oz Velveeta
  • 1 1/2lbs cooked chicken, shredded

  • Shredded Cheddar
  • Tortilla chips
  • Pico de Gallo

Put oil into a large pan.  Add onions, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder & cayenne pepper.  Saute until the onions are soft & clear.  About 5mins.  Put the onion mixture into a crockpot.

In a large bowl, combine the Masa Harina with 2c of the water.  Stir until all the lumps have dissolved.  Add to the sauteed onions & mix together.  

Add the remaining water & the chicken broth to the pot.  Add the tomatoes & the shredded chicken.  

 I usually let this sit all day & cook but at least let it cook until heated. 

When ready to serve, add the Velveeta.

Dish into individual bowls & garnish with cheddar & Pico do Gallo.  You can either scoop the soup using the chips or crunch them up into the soup.

**This soup freezes well**

Broccoli Cheese soup

There's nothing I like better on a cold day than a warm bowl of soup and I love to sit & warm up with this recipe, straight from my mom's kitchen.

  • 1lg broccoli bunch, cut into small pieces
  • 1lg onion, chopped
  • 1T butter

  • 2c chicken broth (I use Swanson's)
  • 1/2c Milk
  • 1c Evaporated Milk
  • 1T Worcestershire sauce
  • 4T flour
  • Crisp bacon (use as many or as few as you like)

  • 1c diced Velveeta
Saute the broccoli & onion in the butter.  Set aside

In a large pot, mix the chicken broth, milk, evaporated milk, Worcestershire sauce & bacon.  Cook, stirring often.  Thicken with 4T flour. (I usually ladle some of the soup into a separate bowl with the flour so that I can mix them together & avoid clumps).

Add the sauteed broccoli & onions.

Stir in the Velveeta.  Cook on low until the Velveeta has melted.  Serve.

Recipe from the kitchen of Sharon Lender

Lasagna Cupcakes

Perfectly portioned for kids & oh so yummy.  This recipe only makes 6 cupcakes so adjust it according to your family's needs.

Lasagna Cupcakes

  • 1 c marinara sauce
  • 3/4lb ground beef
  • 12 wonton wrappers.
  • 8oz shredded mozzarella
  • 3oz Parmesan cheese
  • 4oz Ricotta cheese
  • basil for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375'.  Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Brown beef & season with salt & pepper.  Drain.

Cut wonton wrappers into a circle shape using a biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass.  You can cut several at a time.  

Start layering your lasagna cupcakes.  Begin with a wonton wrapper & press into the bottom of 6 muffin tins.  Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese, Ricotta cheese & mozzarella cheese.  Top with a little meat & marinara sauce.  Use around 1-2t of each ingredient, depending on your personal preference.

Repeat layers, ending with the marinara sauce.  Top with Parmesan & mozzarella.  

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are brown.  Remove from the oven & let cool for 5 minutes.  To remove, use a knife to loosen the edges & then pop each cupcake out.

Garnish with basil & serve.

Cinnamon Roll Pulls

Well, I won't go as far as to call this healthy but it doesn't have any PHO or HFCS.  The hardest part was to find a bread loaf that didn't have either of those ingredients.  Macey's has a "scratch" bakery so you can find bread without PHO or HFCS if you look for it.  If you can't find any, you can always make the bread yourself. Krusteaz bread mix is okay to eat.   Just throw it into your bread machine & let it make your dough.  Then just form an oval loaf & toss it on the oven.  

The whole family loved this but I think next time I'll try it with regular bread instead of the sour dough that the recipe called for.  Either way, I think you'll really like this recipe.

Cinnamon Roll Pulls

  • 1 unsliced round loaf sourdough bread
  • 1/2c butter, softened
  • 1/4c powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350'

To make Vanilla Honey Butter:  Whip butter & 1/4c powdered sugar together until smooth; stir in honey & vanilla.  Set aside.

Cut the bread lengthwise into 1/2" slices, without cutting through the bottom crust.  Spread the Vanilla Honey Butter between the slices.  Rotate the bread 90' & slice the bread again into 1/2" pieces, without cutting through the bottom crust.  Spread more Vanilla Honey butter between the new cuts.  This doesn't need to be perfect - just make sure there is a lot of vanilla butter between all the cuts.

Combine Sugar & Cinnamon.  Generously sprinkle between all the cuts.

Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350' for 25-30 mins or until bread is warm.  Unwrap cinnamon bread & place on a serving platter.  

Combine powdered sugar & milk - adding milk until you get the consistency desired.  Drizzle icing over bread & serve immediately.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

It is so rare & wonderful to sit down for dinner & not have any of my 3 kids cry over dinner.  My 1yr old ate 3 large helpings of this lasagna, my 3yr old ate most of his helping & my 6yr old, who is extremely picky, loved it! 

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Preheat oven to 375'.

Spray the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Ladle 1/2 the marinara sauce onto the bottom of the dish.  Top with a layer of the spaghetti squash.  Spread evenly.  Next, Spread an even layer of cottage cheese.  Sprinkle 4t of Parmesan cheese an 3oz mozzarella over the cottage cheese.  Add the remaining sauce, Parmesan cheese & mozzarella cheese.  

Cover with foil & bake for about 30 mins or until cheese is melted & the edges are bubbly.  Uncover, and cook about 5 more minutes.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

I absolutely LOVE spaghetti squash.  By roasting it with nothing more than a little salt & pepper you get this sweet, buttery flavor that goes great in so many dishes or can be eaten right out of the skin.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Servings: 6   Size: 1c   Old Points: 0 pts    Points+: 1 pts
Calories: 41.9   Fat: 0.4g   Protein: 1.0g   Carb: 10.0g   Fiber: 2.2g
Sugar: 3.9g   Sodium: 27.9mg

  • 1 large, ripe spaghetti squash
  • salt & pepper

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds & fibers with a spoon.  Place on baking sheet, cut side up, & sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Bake at 350' for about an hour or until skin gives a little and the inside is tender.  Remove from the oven & allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Using a fork, scrape out the inside a little at a time; it will separate into spaghetti like strands.  

Place in a serving dish & serve hot.

Quick & Easy Marinara Sauce

I went searching for a Marinara recipe that I could use to replace the store bought stuff.  I figured that any decent recipe would have to simmer all day & ultimately take up a lot of time to make.  I was found this recipe on (one of my favorite sites).  It is fast & simple to make, very healthy and delicious.  Since the first time I made it, I've refused to go back to any store bought pasta sauce.  From scratch tastes so much better & the fact that it is so quick to make is a big plus.

Quick Marinara Sauce

Servings: 6   Serving Size: 1/2c   Old Points: 1pt   Points+: 1pt
Calories: 51.5   Fat: 0.8   Fiber: 1.1   Protein: 0.1g

  • 1t olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed & chopped
  • 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1t oregano
  • 2T fresh basil, chopped
  • salt & pepper, to taste
In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute until golden, being careful not to burn.

Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano & bay leaf.  Stir and reduce heat to low.  Cover and let simmer about 15 - 20 minutes.  remove from heat & add fresh basil.  (don't add the basil til the very end or it'll become bitter).