Saturday, July 31, 2010

Classic Lemon Bars

Lemons always remind me of summertime. I was craving something citrus-y so, I decided to make some lemon bars. This recipe was in my HUGE stack of recipes to try. I have loved lemon bars for a long time. My dad is a huge lemon fan, and so am I. My dad and I share a lot of the same tastes. We love spicy foods, cheesecake, and lemon -- anything lemon. But, before this recipe, the only lemon bars I had ever made came from a box mix. Boo! I know! So, coming across this recipe was kind of like a "duh" moment for me. How did I never think to do them from scratch?? Boy, I have been missing out all these years! A box mix cannot even compare to the deliciousness to a made-from-scratch, sweet and tangy lemon bar. That's all I'm gonna need to try these for your self! Enjoy!

For the crust:
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup confectioner's sugar, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
For the filling:
  • 4 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice - took me 9 lemons 
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. 
2. Grease a 9x13-inch pan with vegetable oil, and line with foil, leaving a 2-inch over hang on all sides. Grease the foil with oil.
3. To make the crust: pulse the butter, flour, both sugars, and the salt in a food processor until the dough comes together, about 1 minute. Press evenly into the bottom and about ½ inch up the sides of the prepared pan, making sure there are no cracks. Bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes. 
4. Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk the whole eggs and yolks, sugar, and flour in a bowl until smooth. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Remove the crust from the oven, and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees. Pour the filling over the warm crust, and return it to the oven. Bake until the filling is just set, about 30 to 35 minutes.
5. Let the bars cool in the pan on a rack, then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Lift out of the pan using the foil, and slice. Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.

Recipe source: Food Network Magazine March 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Old-Fashioned Meat Loaf (A.K.A. Basic Meat Loaf)

Meat loaf has got to be on my top ten list of comfort foods that I love. It always hits the spot. Although most of the people in my family love leftover meat loaf sandwiches, I have never been one for them. I don't think you can get better than yummy meat loaf right out of the oven with that sweet, ketchup-y (yeah, I made that up!) sauce on top. Normally, I like a tomato gravy on it, but this was put together at the last minute for dinner the other night. That's why the picture isn't the best, it was at night, and I knew there weren't going to be any leftovers. =) Paula Deen never lets me down. Probably because she's a southern gal like me. This is such an easy recipe that you have to try it...if you already haven't. The mashed potatoes that you see in the picture were actually made using the Double-Decker Shepherd's Pie. They are some of my favorite mashed potatoes EVER, and they are super simple. I'm all about simple and easy on a weeknight. I hope y'all make's super YUMMY! Enjoy!


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped onion - I used a regular yellow onion.
  • ½ chopped bell pepper - I used green.
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 8 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • ½ cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoons prepared mustard
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Mix all meatloaf ingredients well and place in a baking dish. Shape into a loaf. (I just used a well greased loaf pan, but, just a warning, A LOT of grease comes out of the meatloaf so don't be alarmed.)
3. Mix ingredients for topping, and spread on top of loaf. 
4. Bake for 1 hour or until done.

Makes 4 servings.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pina Colada Cupcakes - HG Style

Yes, I know...I've done pina colada cupcakes before. Those were a flop...remember? I have a thing for piña coladas...I can't tell you how many virgin ones I drank when I was pregnant., I've been on this Hungry Girl kick, and cupcakes are definitely my weakness. Fortunately for me, she has tons of recipes for cupcakes...any kind you can think of. So, when I came across these in one of her cookbooks, I knew I had to try because I was so disappointed with the other ones I tried. Verdict: YUM-O!! No joke! And you're not gonna believe how to make them. Putting them together, I was thinking, there is no way these are gonna be good. Proved me wrong. I ate 2 of them with out the frosting. Only thing is, they aren't that good the next day. Amazing when you make them, not so much the next day... I really hope you try these. They are totally easy to make, and A LOT healthier than a regular cupcake. the nutritional info won't believe it. Enjoy!!

For Cupcakes:
  • 2 cups moist-style yellow cake mix (about ½ of an 18.25-ounce box)
  • 1½ eight-ounce cans crushed pineapple in juice (NOT drained)
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract
For Frosting:
  • 4 ounces canned crushed pineapple in juice (drained)
  • 1 Jell-O Sugar Free Vanilla Pudding Snack
  • 1½ tablespoons fat-free cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 no-calorie sweetener packet - I used Splenda.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all frosting ingredients and mix until well blended. Refrigerate until cupcakes are ready to be frosted.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix with undrained pineapple. Add coconut extract and mix until thoroughly blended.
4. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with baking cups and/or spray with nonstick spray. Evenly distribute cake mixture among cups.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. 
6. Allow cupcakes to cool completely, then evenly distribute frosting over the tops. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Makes 12 servings. 

PER SERVING (1 frosted cupcake): 115 calories, 1.75g fat, 171mg sodium, 23g carbs, <0.5g fiber, 13.5g sugars, 1g protein


        • An average 8-ounce piña colada packs in about 350 calories and over 10 grams of fat. Quadruple that if you down one of those ginormous restaurant versions. Have one of these cupcakes instead.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cannoli-Stuffed French Toast Nuggets

Yeah, I'm in a little bit of a cannoli mood, huh? Probably because I have enough ricotta cheese in fridge to be in that kinda mood. Lol! I'm trying to get rid of it before it goes bad. So, I made these yesterday morning. They were actually pretty yummy. Don't be scared by the hot dog bun. It is really light and fluffy. I love them! This is another Hungry Girl recipe. This may not seem like a lot, but it actually filled me up. Enjoy!


  • ¼ cup fat-free liquid egg substitute - I used Egg Beaters. 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided in ½
  • 3 tablespoons fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 no-calorie sweetener packet - I used Splenda.
  • 1 light hot dog bun (about 80 calories)
  • 2 teaspoons light whipped butter or light buttery spread
  • ½ teaspoon powdered sugar
  • Optional: sugar-free pancake syrup, for dipping
1. Mix egg substitute, cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. In a separate small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, chocolate chips, remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, and sweetener, and mix well.
3. Split hot dog bun open lengthwise, without fully separating the two halves. Spoon ricotta mixture onto the bottom half of the bun. Gently press the top half down over the filling. Carefully slice into four "nuggets."
4. Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add butter and allow to coat the bottom of the skillet. Meanwhile, coat each nugget on all sides with the egg mixture. (You won't need to use all of the egg mixture.)
5. Once butter has melted, place nuggets in the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, flipping nuggets until golden brown on all sides.
6. Plate your nuggets, sprinkle with powdered sugar and, if you like, serve with syrup for dipping!

Makes 1 serving.

PER SERVING (entire recipe): 228 calories, 6.5g fat, 395mg sodium, 31g carbs, 3g fiber, 10.5g sugars, 12.5g protein


-If you can't find fat-free ricotta, go for low-fat or light -- then your nuggets would have 237 calories and 8.5 grams of fat.
-Can't find 80-calorie buns? No worries! Get the lowest-calorie ones you can find, and adjust the nutritionals for this recipe accordingly.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Holy Moly Cannoli Cones

Right now I am obsessed with Hungry Girl. Don't know who she is??? You should! Go check her out! I have known about her for a few years, and have been subscribing to her e-mails for just as long. But lately, I have been obsessed with the recipes,and have even declared myself to be on a Hungry Girl diet. I'm trying, but most of the time, I don't have the time nor energy to cook up stuff like that for dinner so I just eat whatever the hubby eats...usually grilled chicken & veggies. Anyways, I have been trying mostly her desserts and breakfasts. She has some amazing cookbooks with awesome recipes, tips, tricks, guides to eating out, and even her shopping lists. Seriously, you should so check her out! These cannoli cones are one of the ones that I have recently tried. If you like ricotta cheese, you will LOVE this. So easy and super cute! I would suggest though, letting the filling set up in the fridge for a few minutes because, as you can see in the pics, it starts to melt & drip quickly....especially in hot southern summer weather. I will try to get more of these wonderful HG recipes up. What I love about them is that you can think of virtually any comfort food, junk food, anything that's not good for you, and she has a recipe that's a healthier, lower calorie, less fatty version. My favorite cookbook of hers has to be 200 Under 200. Yep, that's right. TWO HUNDRED recipes, ALL with 200 calories or less. No joke. I could talk about HG all day, so I'm just gonna get to the recipe. 

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup Cool Whip free, thawed
  • 2½ tablespoons Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar-free fat-free vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided - I only had regular chocolate chips.
  • 6 sugar cones (like the kind by Keebler)
1. Place all ingredients except chocolate chips and sugar cones in a medium bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer set to high speed, mix until fully combined and fluffy. Fold in half of the chocolate chips. 
2. Transfer mixture to a large plastic bag, squeezing it down toward one bottom corner of the bag. Snip that corner off with scissors, so that you have a makeshift piping bag. 
3. Gently squeeze the ricotta mixture into the cones, evenly distributing it among them.
4. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips even on top of the filling in each cone.
5. Eat and enjoy!

Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING (1 cone): 134 calories, 1.75g fat, 184mg sodium, 21g carbs, 0g fiber, 10.5g sugars, 6g protein

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Oatmeal Bars

So, I haven't realized until a couple days ago how ridiculously long it's been since I've last posted. Sorry for such a long delay. I have been super busy, and have recently been dealing with not only my little man being sick, but me as well. Lil man's 1st birthday party went VERY well. Hopefully I can get some pics posted on the next post. For now, I will post just one. This is lil man all Spongbob'd up. He was such a cutie! 

Our 4th of July was great (despite both me and my son being sick). He finally got to see fireworks. Last 4th he was only a month and a half old. So, that was nice. Then I realized, as much of a little shutterbug that I am, I took not one picture Sunday. It's most likely due to my being under the weather, but I was a little disappointed in myself. =( Anyways, let me get to the recipe.

I'm the type of person that rips recipes out of magazines when I see one I like and add it to my stack of recipes to try. Lately my stack has been getting out of hand. So, I looked through the stack to see if I had one recipe that I could make without having to go to the store to get anything. The recipe for these bars just happened to be the only one that I could make. So, I did. They turned out really yummy. Hubby loved em. It kinda tastes like a breakfast bar or a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie but in a bar (which is basically what it is I suppose). They stay really well for a couple of days. I kept mine in a little plastic tub. Hope you enjoy!

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup milk - I used whole milk. 
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips
1. Heat oven to 375°. Coat a 8x8x2" baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. 
2. In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter on medium-high speed until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and beat in milk, then flour mixture. Stir in oats and 1 cup of the chocolate chips. 
3. Spread batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Microwave remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips for 30 seconds; stir until smooth and drizzle over bars. Cut into squares. 
Makes 16 squares. 

It's as easy as that, and they are totally yummy. Just make sure you have an ice cold glass of milk to go with them. =)