Tuesday, March 23, 2010

25. "Bubble Up" Buffalo Chicken Casserole

This is a recipe that you will probably see me tweak and update a few times in the future...

So last week after making Bubble Up Pizza Casserole I started wondering what else would make a good "bubble up" dish? Bubble up refers to the use of refrigerated biscuits as they seem to bubble up in the casserole dish. I make a dip that is so unsuitable to this blog called Buffalo Chicken Dip. It is so freaking good! I make it for special occasions and Thanksgiving and people fight over it. I cant make it on any given day being that it is chock full of calories and fat, but I have found several ways to get that flavor without needing an extra few hours at the gym! This is just one of them!

Just a note for WW users: Please always double check your own points values!

"Bubble Up" Buffalo Chicken Casserole - 8 points per serving
Serves 6
Special Equipment: 9x13 inch baking dish

16 oz small low fat refrigerated biscuits. quartered. (I use grands)
1 pound(s) Chicken breast, skinless, boneless, raw
1 cup(s) hot pepper sauce
10 oz Campbell's 98% Fat-Free Cream Of Celery Soup
8 oz fat-free cream cheese, room temperature.
1/2 cup(s) fat-free ranch salad dressing
1 cup(s) celery chopped
1 cup(s) carrot(s) diced small
1 cup(s) canned mushrooms
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 3/4 cup(s) shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Boil and shred your chicken breast (you can do this ahead of time, to save time and effort).

3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and add shredded chicken, garlic, celery, and carrots and mushrooms over medium heat.

4. Saute until heated through, and then add cream of mushroom, hot sauce, ranch, cream cheese, and 3/4 cup of cheddar. Stir thoroughly until cream cheese is blended through.

5. Let mixture simmer over medium heat until carrots and celery are tender.

6. Add cut up refrigerated biscuits and stir gently until biscuits are well coated.

7. Spoon mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

8. Bake for 25 minutes.

9. Sprinkle with cheese, bake an additional 10 minutes or until biscuits are done.


24. Cherry Glazed Chocolate Muffins with a Cherry Center

I am starting to experiment with muffins. Yes, I said it. I want, no I need something other than cereal for breakfast, and I don't really enjoy eggs. Now over the next few weeks you will all be subjected to my muffin whims! Seriously though, I was looking through the Weight Watchers site for a muffin recipe that caught my eye and this one certainly did. It looks like a cupcake, and its chocolate. Um, hello! Where have you been all of my life?! Now I followed the recipe to a T and my glaze was not nearly as pretty as theirs. To be fair, I added 3 drops of red food coloring to the glaze to give it more "pop". My muffins turned out amazingly pretty! It doesn't really matter though, these muffins are very satisfying and filling and easy to make ahead of time for a weeks worth of breakfasts or snacks! Plus, there are cherries in the center. Have I mentioned how much I like cherries? This recipe is straight from Weight Watchers! This is in no way my recipe! I just had to share the wealth!

Cherry Glazed Chocolate Muffins with a Cherry Center - 3 points per serving
Serves 12
Special Equipment: Muffin or Cupcake pan

2 spray(s) cooking spray
1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa
1 cup(s) powdered sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp table salt
3/4 cup(s) Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup(s) water, warm, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup(s) unsweetened frozen sour red cherries, pitted, left whole, or cherries jarred in water (about 12 cherries)
1 tsp butter, softened
1/2 cup(s) powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup(s) unsweetened frozen sour red cherries, pitted, finely chopped or cherries jarred in water (about 3 cherries)
3 tsp water, warm, or more if necessary

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and coat a 12-hole muffin tin with cooking spray or muffin liners.

2. Sift together flour, cocoa, 1 cup of powdered sugar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream Neufchatel cheese, about 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 teaspoon of vanilla together in a large bowl until blended.

4. With mixer running on slow, add flour mixture in small batches, alternating with remaining 3/4 cup of warm water, until batter is thoroughly blended; add vinegar and mix well.

5. Fill each muffin hole with a tablespoon of batter (you’ll have about 1/2 the batter left). Place a whole cherry in center of each muffin hole and top with remaining batter so each hole is about 2/3 to 3/4 full.

6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool muffins for 5 minutes in tin and then remove muffins to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

7. While muffins are cooling, make glaze: Combine butter, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, 3 chopped cherries and 3 teaspoons of warm water (add another teaspoon of water if glaze is too thick). Spread each cooled muffin with a thin layer of glaze. Yields 1 muffin per serving.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

23. Cheesy Tuna Mac

My grandmother used to make this dish called Tuna Casserole, which growing up I wasn't exactly fond of. First of all I really dislike canned tuna, and second of all, it was bland. It also offended me by being a pretender to the crown, it wanted to be macaroni and cheese so badly, but fell short. She (whom I loved dearly) used to make a weird sort of roux using whole milk, 2 pounds of american cheese, tons of butter and cream of mushroom soup. It was always better on the second day, with about 1/4 of a cup of butter... Needless to say, I can't make this no matter how much my family wants me to.

However, I have been searching for quite a while for a recipe for macaroni and cheese that lived up to my standards. So a few nights ago during an episode of Good Eats when I got some pretty good ideas I had to try them out. Now, please, trust me on this. Go with it. If you have ever made a real roux in your life you will probably cry your eyes out the whole time you're whisking away... It tasted amazing! It was creamy with a crispy top. I have no leftovers! My WW friendly dish stands up to full fat macaroni and cheese! I have taken one of my family's most classic recipes and brought it to the present! All of the flavor without the guilt or gain. You can lower the points of this dish by using low fat Velveeta which I could not find!

Just a note for WW users: Please always double check your own points values!

Cheesy Tuna Mac - 7 points per serving
Serves 8 (9 points per serving at 6 servings)
Special Equipment: Casserole dish with round corners*

1 box whole wheat rotini (or anything you like, 5-6 servings pasta)
2 cups chopped, cooked broccoli
1 can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup all purpose flour
10oz regular Velveeta
5 oz can water packed tunafish, drained
1/4 cup fat free shredded cheese
1 cup unprepared (dry mix) stuffing mix
1 tbsp light margarine
2 tbsp spicy brown mustard (or any mustard you like)
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp hot sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350. Cook your pasta as the package directs, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

2. In a sauce pan or skillet on low heat add your milk and margarine. When the milk starts to get warm add your flour and start whisking. Continue whisking keeping the heat low until you get a paste like texture. Add the Velveeta, cream of mushroom soup, salt and pepper and let sit, stirring gently occasionally. (You can avoid a wait here by warming your cheese in the microwave to loosen it up a bit, which I did not think of until right now!)

3. When the cheese is pretty much melted, pour the mixture into a deep mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly until the texture is smooth and creamy.

4. Fold in broccoli, pasta, tuna, mustard, garlic, onion powder, and hot sauce. You want to mix well, but not mash your pasta.

5. Transfer pasta mixture to a casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle on paprika, then cheddar, then stuffing mix in that order.

6. Cover and bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve immediately! Enjoy!

*Rounded corners on a casserole dish keep the corners of your pan from taking most of the heat, and too much of the cooking!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

22. Bubble Up Pizza Casserole

Recently I moved back in with my Mom and younger brother in order to help with bills after my grandfather passed away, and really also to be a cohesive family for a while after such a giant hurt. My brother to my surprise has grown up (he is 22) so much in the two years that I was gone. Before I moved out, this boy would not eat anything that had any vegetables in it, or any spices or rice or ...anything. It was nuts. Macaroni and cheese out of a box, and frozen pizza were his idea of home made. Now, I move back in and I find that the only things he wont eat are beans and pineapple. I'm ecstatic! I can now cook things with peppers and onions that everyone who lives with me will appreciate! Now, back to pizza though...my brother still loves pizza very much, and to be honest so do I. So last week (after having made a recipe that was very pizza tasting) when I asked him what he wanted for dinner this week his reply was "pizza". And so goes my exploration into the most notorious of neo-classsic comfort foods...

This is a recipe I have been playing with for a few months now. When I first read it, I decided that it could not possibly taste good. It probably didn't help that all of the originals are on the Weight Watchers online boards - there were no pictures! I don't know how you guys choose or create recipes, but I like pictures! I know that makes me sound like a third grader but I want to see what the intended outcome is or could be! Sometimes just reading a recipe isn't enough to make it sound appetizing, especially when the recipe is low fat or diet or low calorie. So I finally took the plunge with this one and let me tell you, we loved it! I'll admit that I personally think that the Meatloaf Pizza Pie was more filling, but I have been out voted on all counts! I will definitely make this again, and change it up, next time I will use a ton of vegetables to make it more filling (for me)!

Just a note for WW users: Please always double check your own points values!

Bubble Up Pizza Casserole - 7 points per serving
Serves 8
Special Equipment: 9x13 inch baking dish

1 lb lean ground beef
2 tsp. onion powder or 1 onion, chopped
14 oz. tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce)
1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
2 tbsp (or more!) minced garlic
1 tbsp pizza seasoning (or any combination of italian seasoning you like)
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 oz pepperoni (I use minis/ optional ingrediant)
1 15oz can reduced fat refrigerated biscuits, quartered (or cut into 6ths if you could only find GRANDS)
1 1/2 cups 2% italian three cheese blend (or any cheese you like!)
Veggies- anything you want, remember that some vegetables can add points on!

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Brown ground beef over medium heat, stirring to crumble. When all of the pink is gone, drain the excess grease. Note: the more crumbly the meat the better it will mix and spread out making for more even servings.

3. Stir in onion powder or onion, tomato sauce, pizza seasoning, garlic and red pepper.

4. Add veggies if any.

5. Add quartered biscuits; stir gently until biscuits are covered with meat mixture.

6. Spoon mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle on your pepperoni.

7. Bake for 25 minutes.

8. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake an additional 10 minutes or until biscuits are done. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

21. Meatloaf Pizza Pie

I wrote this recipe up as a guest post over at Thoughtful Momma! My friend Rebekah has been eating my cooking (good and bad) for years while giving me thoughtful advice on everything from having babies, to getting married and more! She has even inspired me to try new foods (I used to be pretty picky) and was the first person I ever saw use cast iron!

So go on over to Thoughtful Momma for Meatloaf Pizza Pie, and when you're done give the rest of her blog a read, it is heartfelt and thought inspiring!