Turkey Club Casserole

Another great leftover turkey recipe. It’s like a turkey blt with pasta. I really liked the diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano seasoning.

Turkey BLT CasseroleTurkey Club Casserole from Pinterest
1 box whole wheat pasta ( I used penne)
1 (7 oz.) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano seasoning
1 c. diced turkey (or chicken if you don’t have turkey)
1/2 c. diced bacon
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans cheddar cheese
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper

Cook pasta and drain. Add all other ingredients and stir. Place in a 13 x 9 baking dish and cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Tater Tot Muffins

I work seven days a week so it is always a present surprise to get two un-requested days off from my part-time job. When I didn’t request it, the welcomed days off allow me to cook up a few new recipes. I loved this recipe so much that I had to put the leftover immediately in the fridge to prevent me from eating too many.

Tater Tot Omelet CupsTater Tot Omelet Cups from Pinterest
36 Tater Tots
8 eggs
1/4 c. milk
Your choice of breakfast meat
Cheddar cheese

Thaw tater tots in the microwave. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray and place three in tots per cup. Smash down with a fork or glass bottom. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with breakfast meat. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Pour eggs over each cup. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes and run a knife around the edge of each cup.

Notes:

  • I lined each of muffin cup with a silicone muffin cup. My muffins popped right out and no messy clean-up.
  • I used mini-tots. If you do that, make sure you put four in the bottom of each muffin cup.
  • I used pre-cooked bacon and Carl Budding ham in my muffins. But you could easily use diced peppers, sausage, spinich, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, basil, zucchini, etc.
  • I used skim milk and regular eggs. Again, you can make it healthier using egg substitute or egg whites.
  • I used 2% cheese but you could probably use fat-free cheese and not have any weird melting issues.
  • I halved the recipe and only made six cups.

The Quest Continues

100_1059If you have been following my blog for awhile, you know I’m on a mission to share 101 crescent roll recipes with you. This one comes from a popular Pinterst photo. The recipe comes from a Navy wife’s blog. Two of my uncles served in the Navy and I dated a Naval Academy alum (even visited the college in Annapolis for homecoming once) so you have to respect that. I wouldn’t say this isn’t something you couldn’t have come up with on your own but it was quite taste and a fun  way to make it.

Bacon, egg, & cheese ringBacon, Egg, & Cheese Ring
1 can of crescent rolls
5 eggs
1 c. cheese
8 slices of bacon, cooked

Scramble and cook eggs. Layout the crescent rolls in an eight sided star shape (make the wide sides lay on top of each other in the center). Top with 1/3 c. of cheese and cooked bacon. Top with scrambles eggs and remaining cheese. Pull the skinny tips up and seal together. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-17 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used reduced fat crescent rolls.
  • I used three eggs and the equivalent of two egg whites with from substitute. I also added milk because I like my eggs fluffy.
  • I used probably the equivalent of 3-4 slices of crumbled reduced sodium bacon. I thought it was plenty. You could easily use turkey bacon. If you substitute the precooked bacon, you might want to use all eight slices. If you prefer ham or sausage, you can also easily substitute.
  • I decided to smear a thin layer of nacho cheese on the bottom instead of cheddar cheese. I topped with about 1/3 c. of fat free cheese. As long as you cover it, the cheese will melt fine.
  • I cooked for 15 minutes on an air bake pan and it turned out perfect. The original recipe suggests foil or parchment paper on your cookie sheet.

Weight Watchers Breakfast Quiche

This recipe came as a recommendation from my friend Theresa. It’s a Weight Watchers breakfast recipe. I’ve made a lot of egg recipe over the years and many times, they start to taste the same. This one is a little different mixing evaporated milk, egg substitute, Swiss cheese, and turkey bacon. But nutmeg is the secret ingredient that gives this recipe its flavor.

If you are trying to watch what you eat, Phyllo Dough is one of the best crusts you can use. I like to buy Wonton Wrappers since they work pretty much the same. In case you aren’t sure where they are located in the grocery store (I didn’t know and had to ask when I first started using it), they are by the fresh fruit and veggies in the refrigerated case.

Breakfast QuicheWeight Watchers Breakfast Quiche
2 sheets of phyllo dough
3 eggs
1/4 c. egg substitute
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 T. flour
1/2 oz. Swiss Cheese (3 T. )
3 oz. turkey bacon, cooked (about 1/3 c.)
1 c. evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 inch pie plate with nonstick spray. Line dish with dough. Spray with cooking spray. Whisk together all ingredients except cheese and bacon. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon on dough. Pour egg mixture over. Bake on baking sheet for 30-35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into eight wedges. Each piece is 3 Weight Watchers Points.

Notes:

  • I used Wonton Wrappers instead of phyllo dough. I layered it in the bottom of the pie dish. Just be sure to cover as much as possible it you don’t want a crunchy crust.
  • I also tried to make it in a muffin. Crust is definitely crispier. But you get to eat two pieces for 3 WW Points and it only takes 12 minutes to cook. A messy muffin tin is also a minus to doing this.
  • I used fat free cheddar and low sodium bacon when baking one time. I tasted just fine.

Crack Potatoes

Thanks to Dan Quayle, does anyone else have a fear of misspelling potato/potatoes every time they write it? Maybe it’s just me since I was in elementary school when that infamous news story broke. I also spent way more time watching news at as a kid than most children. I remember how exciting it was to go to journalism school and find a bunch of other media geeks.

This is another one of my Pinterest recipe finds. Although these potatoes are quite tasty, I don’t know that they are as addictive as the author named them. I think my mother’s recipe for cheesy hashbrown potatoes are better. But it was nice to try something a little different.

Crack PotatoesCrack Potatoes
2 (16 oz.) containers of sour cream 
2 c. cheddar cheese
2 (3 oz. bags) of bacon bits
2 packages of powder ranch dressing mix
1 large (30 oz.) bag of hash browns, shredded

Combine the first four ingredients. Add hash browns. Pour into a 13 x 9 pan and bake for 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees.

Notes:

  • I used one light and one fat free sour cream containers.
  • I used half 2% cheddar cheese and half fat free cheese.
  • I bake three slices of low sodium bacon for this recipe. That’s less than the recipe calls for.
  • I halved the recipe and baked it in my bubble and brown casserole dish. It still took 60 minutes to cook.

Crock Pot Chicken Casserole

In the last month, I have become a more active user of Pinterest. Part of the reason I because I am helping a great animal shelter called Wayside Waifs try to win the ASPCA/Rachael Ray 100K Challenge.

Wayside Waifs is Kansas City’s largest no-kill animal shelter. Each year, they find loving homes for near 6,500 abused, neglected, and abandoned animals in our community. Through the ASPCA/Rachael Ray Challenge, they are trying to increase their pet adoptions by the greatest percentage over last year. Since they run entirely on donations, their goal is to win the $100,000 grand prize so they can continue providing shelter for Kansas City’s most vulnerable animals.

One way I am helping achieve their social media goals designed to increase adoptions is by helping them with Pinterest. (I’m amazed I haven’t adopted one of these adorable little furry friends – they are so cute!) Spending a lot of time Pinning for them has increased my personal interest in Pinterest. With all the Pins of yummy food, I may never have to buy another recipe book/magazine again. This particular recipe came from a personal three hour binge pinning. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It kind of reminded me of Hamburger Casserole expect with chicken.

Crock Pot Chicken CasseroleCrock Pot Chicken Casserole
1 (32 oz.) bag of tater tots
1 package (2 cups) cheddar cheese
3 oz. of cooked bacon or bacon bits
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, diced and raw

Spray your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray. Pour in half a bag of tater tots. Layer with a 1/3 of cheese and bacon. Cover with diced pieces of chicken. Top with a 1/3 of cheese and bacon. Top with remaining tater tots. Finally top with remaining cheese and bacon. Bake on low for 4 – 4 1/2 hours (up to 6 hours if you have an older slow cooker.)

Bacon-Cheddar Pinwheels

One of my favorite recipes is for Canyon Chicken. This appetizer recipe reminded me of it. Super easy and very tasty.

Bacon-Cheese PinwheelsBacon-Cheddar Pinwheels by Pillsbury
1 can of Pillsbury refrigerated seamless crescent rolls
2 T. ranch dressing
1/4 c. crisp bacon
1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 c. green onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread out crescent rolls and brush with ranch dressing. Mix onions, cheese, and bacon together. Spread over crescent. Cut into four rectangles and roll length wise. Slice each into four pieces. Place on cookie sheet standing up. Bake for 12-17 minutes.

Nutrition Info: (16 servings, facts per serving) 80 calories (50 calories from fat), 6 g. fat (2 g. saturated fat,  1 g. trans. fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 180 mg. sodium, 6 g. carbs, 0 g. fiber, 1 g. sugar, and 2 g. protein.

Notes:

  • I used fat free ranch and reduced fat cheese.
  • I think you could easily substitute parsley for green onions.
  • You could also use pre-cooked bacon or veggie bacon to save some fat/calories.
  • Reduced fat crescent rolls are another great way to reduce fat and calories.

Share Breakfast

Last week, I saw Taye Diggs on Good Morning America saying to tweet something to provide breakfast for kids in need. I usually watch The Today Show these days so I had to go online to figure out what exactly he was talking about. Kellogg’s will provide up to $250,000 (or 1.25 million school breakfast) for every share, pin, tweet, or YouTube related video watched. The promotion doesn’t end until April 15, 2013 so I hope you will help. Be sure to use the hashtag #sharebreakfast on Twitter to be sure your efforts are counted.

Why is this so important? Because children are hungry and it impacts their learning. I know because I saw it with my own eyes when I was an AmeriCorps Member. At the end of my college days, I was hired as an AmeriCorps Member for the Comprehensive School Health Initiative/Nebraska Reads program in Lincoln, NE. I mentored and tutored children ages K-6 and helped coordinate an afterschool/summer program for at risk youth. Every day, I worked with smart kids who struggled to focus on their classwork because they were hungry. The easy solution seems like getting your kids to school early to partake in the school breakfast program. Well, that only works if mom, dad, or whoever their caretaker is gets them to school early enough to eat. For one of my girls, just getting to school when the bell rang at 9AM was a chore. In fact, one day her mother didn’t bring her or her siblings to school until 1:30PM. Yes, you read that correctly. Mom said she overslept in the note to the teachers. And I can tell you, that little girl also missed lunch that day. When I asked if she had anything in her house she could fix herself, this 8 year old informed me “no”.

I wish I could tell you this was a rarity but I know lots of kids in the same boat. It’s part of the reason we provided our kids enrolled in the afterschool program with a healthy snack.  That’s why programs exist today like Harvester’s BackSnack Program. This program helps ensure kids have food (they can prepare) on the weekends when they can’t be at school for breakfast and lunch. It’s also one of the things I worry about kids on days when schools have to close for bad weather.

I came up with a solution for my little girl when I was in AmeriCorps. I started packing granola bars in my backpack for her to eat every day. I wish I could say it was my idea but a fellow AmeriCorps member suggested it. And my super smart little girl was less irritated and was better able to concentrate. We also worked on a goal all year – for her to make it to school every morning for breakfast for one entire month. I’m happy to report, she accomplished the goal a few weeks before the end of our time working together. (Something I hope she was able to carry one after I was gone.) The reward she picked for achieving her goal was ice cream during out time working together – 10:30AM. Now, I’m not a parent but I also know kids shouldn’t eat ice cream for breakfast. My compromise was Strawberry Frozen Yogurt.

I still think about that little girl and all the others I worked with. Her little sister would be a senior in high school this year. My hope is that she and her older sister are in college somewhere now. And I hope I made a positive impact in her life…something she will want to do for others in her future.

Biscuit cupScrambled Egg Biscuit Cups by Betty Crocker
2 c. Bisquick
1/3 c. cheddar cheese
3/4 c. milk
8 eggs
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 T. butter, softened
1/2 c. Parmesan and mozzarella cheese pasta sauce (from 1-lb jar)
3 T. bacon bites
1 tsp. chives

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, mix Biquick, cheese, and 1/2 c. milk until soft dough ball forms. Knead a couple of times and then shape into a 10 in. log. Cut into 12 pieces and place one in each cup. Press up along the muffin tin sides. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and use the back of a wooden spoon to press air puffs down. Meanwhile, mix eggs, remaining milk, and pepper in another bowl. Melt butter in a skillet. Cook your eggs in the skillet until firm. Fold in pasta sauce and bacon. Remove biscuits from muffin cups and spoon in egg mixture. Sprinkle with chives and bacon bits. Makes 12 servings.

 Nutrition Information (Per Serving): 180 calories (80 from fat), 9g. fat (3.5 saturated fat, 1 g. trans fat), 150 mg cholesterol, 420 mg. sodium, 15 g. carbs, 0 g. fiber, 2 g. sugar, and 8 g. protein.

Notes:

  • I used nonstick cooking spray instead of butter.
  • I also used fat free cheese and pre-cooked bacon. It’s a great way to cut fat grams.
  • I used egg whites substitute for half the eggs. It’s an easy way to cut calories and cholesterol.
  • My Bisquick wasn’t think enough to form a soft ball. I used the last of my box so I didn’t have extra to add to the mix. I went ahead and spooned in balls. It kind of worked but the biscuits were half as tall and stuck to the pan. As a result, I had too much egg mixture. Maybe decrease by one or two eggs (adjust milk accordingly).

Baked Eggs

I saw a picture of this recipe on a Pinterest Valentine’s board. The person had made it in heart shaped pan. Ironically, I happen to have a heart shaped muffin tin. If you don’t, it won’t look like a cupid with an arrow but it will still taste the same. One of the things I liked is that you can make one or six muffin cups since each is made individually.

Baked EggBaked Eggs on Pinterest
Spreadable butter
Six eggs

Six slices of bread
Six pieces of bacon, mostly cooked

Use a round cookie cutter and cut out patterns in each slice of bread. Disgaurd the crust. Slice each circle in half. Cover one side with butter. Fill the muffin cup, buttered side down, with both pieces. Bake bacon to lightly cooked state. Pat off grease and put sideway into cup. Break open an egg over bacon bread cup. Salt and pepper your egg. Repeat for all six muffins. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Notes:

  • I didn’t have a round cookie cutter so I traced an upside down custard cup. It worked just fine.
  • I opted to use the pre-cooked bacon. It worked but got a little crisp. Note to people who don’t like crisp bacon.

Breakfast Potato Bites

Some people dream of winning the lottery. I dream of winning the Pillsbury Bake-off, something most of my friends have never even heard of. Top prize is $1 million paid out in $50K increments for 20 years. Wouldn’t that be perfect? I could work, get out of student loan debt, and maybe even fulfill another dream to start my own foundation. That said, my co-worker Theresa has told me that giving away money is harder than you think. When the need is greater than the amount of money that you have, it’s hard to tell people who wrote wonderful proposals “no”.

If you have been following my blog, then you know that this blog is a labor of love. I love cooking and I’m a pretty good storyteller. Viola! I share my recipes because over the years people have asked 1) What are you eating? 2) Can I get the recipe? or 3) call me saying “Help! I need to make “x” for an upcoming occasion. Any suggestions?” I started this blog to help my friends/family (as well as strangers) with some of my favorite recipes, to organize my recipes in a easily searchable way, and to make myself start trying recipes that I saved for years because I thought “that looks good” or “I’d eat that”. I don’t always love the new recipes but I put them out there for others who might. Consider my blog a long-winded recipe review.

And sometimes I mess up really bad. A few weeks ago I found a picture on my friend Melissa’s pinterest page I wanted to make. I clicked to original recipe and printed it out. It was for baked seasoned red roasted potatoes with chicken, cheese, scallions, and bacon on the top. Sounds good, right? Well, I decided to change it up a little and use melted Gouda cheese and omit the chicken. I would be like my own version of Blanc Burgers cheesy fries. Let’s just say, sometimes it is easier to pay a professional chef to enjoy a favorite dish.

As I read through the recipe, I noticed it cooked at 475 degrees. That’s high! I hate cooking recipes higher than 400 degrees because the second I open my oven door, the smoke detector closest to the kitchen goes off. As I looked at the recipe even closer, it said to cook the diced potatoes for 45-60 minutes, stirring even 15-20 minutes. Wow, that seemed way to long at that high a heat. I cooked for 15 minutes and they were a little toasty. The hallway smoke detector went off. I turned them and returned to the oven for another 10 minutes thinking – they would be done then. When I opened the oven this time, they were complete charred. Now all three of the smoke detectors in my one bedroom apartment were going off. One even saying “Carbon Monoxide detected, please exit immediately.” Really, it wasn’t that bad. Yes, the potatoes were burned but nothing was on fire. But I opened my front door and threw the pan outside. Eventually, all the smoke detectors stopped.

I later noticed that I had frozen diced red roasted potatoes in my freezer. Upon reading the directions, I learned you bake the frozen kind for 20-30 minutes at 450 degrees. So I’m pretty sure the person who posted that recipe meant to write 375 degrees or 45-60 minutes. I guess no blogger is perfect.

I know this recipe is different then the one I was just talking about but it turned out perfectly. Plus, it is a Pillsbury recipe. Quick, easy, and delicious. Consider making this recipe for breakfast. They turned out very puffy.

Bacon-Egg Breakfast BitesBacon-Egg Breakfast Bites by Pillsbury
24 tater-tots
12 slices of pre-cooked bacon, cut in half
1 pkg. round crescent rolls, each slice cut into thirds
5 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk eggs, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Spray 24 mini-muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray. Wrap a tater-tot with bacon. Place on piece on portion of crescent roll and tighten around tot. Place standing up in mini-muffin cup. Complete remaining 23 bites. Pour approximately 1 T. of egg around crescent roll to fill each mini-muffin cup. Bake 13-20 minutes until golden brown/egg cooked.

Nutrition: (12 servings – 2 bites each) 180 calories (100 calories from fat), 11 g. fat (3.5 g. saturated fat, 1.5 g. trans fat, 95 mg. cholesterol, 440 mg sodium, 12 g. carbs, 0 g. fiber, 2 g. sugar, and 7 g. protein.

Notes:

  • I cooked for 13 minutes and they were perfect.
  • I would suggest maybe 4 eggs. I had a little extra at the end. Better yet, use an egg substitute to make it healthier.
  • I used both mini and regular tater-tots. Both worked but you can cut some calories with the smaller tot.
  • If you don’t want to use bacon, I’m sure you could substitute turkey or ham.