March 2012

Leftover steak quesadilla recipe

Great meal all year round

We love to barbecue steak during the summer months. It takes a lot of work, so we make extra and freeze it to use with other dishes later on. One of our favorite recipes is steak quesadillas. This is done slightly different than when we make our chicken quesadillas, but tastes equally as delicious.

You will need the following ingredients to make steak quesadillas:
  • Leftover steak
  • Flour tortillas
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ green pepper
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. pepper jack cheese
  • 4 oz. diced tomatoes
  • Sour cream
  • Chives

5 Slow Cooker Tips

Lessons I learned the hard way


1. Plan ahead
I'm not accustomed to planning my meals ahead of time. That's just how I roll. But that had to change with the slow cooker.
I instituted "Slow Cooker Sunday," which is a bit silly I agree, but it helps me plan ahead. "Tomorrow is Slow Cooker Sunday," I'll think, "I need to get to the store today to buy meat."
2. Watch your amounts
Speaking of meat, I have learned that a four pound pork roast makes an awful lot of pulled pork. It's delicious, don't get me wrong! Easy, too: just cook the pork roast in the slow cooker for six hours, fork it apart, add a bottle of barbecue sauce, let it cook for another hour, then go to town. 

Hostess Donettes

Delicious and nostalgic, all at once!
When did these change, from "Donette Gems" to "Donettes"? I found traces of the name Donette Gems online, which reassures me that I am not insane or mistaking one product from another. But I found no answers as to when the "Gems" was dropped.
I suppose it makes sense. You don't really need both "Donette" and "Gems" in the same name. Gems implies something small and precious, but so does Donette. It seems redundant to call these small doughnuts both names, particularly since there was no such thing as a regular old Donette. It isn't as if they needed to distinguish Donettes from Donette Gems.

Cheese Makes Everything Better

When I was young, I struggled tackling my vegetables. I would swallow them without chewing, attempt to hide them in my napkin, or toss some to the dog and hope he would eat them before anyone noticed. I suppose that is relatively normal for kids – to dodge the vegetables. Yet, my mother…the good mom that she is, wanted me to eat vegetables and be healthy. So, she opted to find ways to make vegetables more appealing – add some cheese.

Honestly, you smother any vegetable in cheese, and I would eat it. I would still probably eat it now. My mother used cheese to trick me into vegetable eating. And it worked. I have loved cheese since I was little – I can eat sliced cheese, melted cheese, queso, cheese sticks, blocks of cheese, shredded cheese…pretty much cheese in any form or fashion. The downfall to this is that cheese is not the most healthy option. Veggies = great. Cheese on veggies, makes the healthy factor go down a few notches.

Mystery Meat, Vegetarians, and Fake Chicken

How Does Quorn Stack Up?

I saw the headline recently about the hamburger meat with the scientific term “slime” that was being served in our schools. The little I read made me seriously consider what kinds of mystery meat I’ve been eating at other cafeterias, and also made me ponder how healthy meat is in general.

While I’m not necessarily going to jump on the vegetarian bandwagon, I might try to eat fake chicken, which was reviewed in the New York Times as an alternative for people who don’t eat meat for humanitarian (animaltarian?) reasons, as well as for health reasons due to the bacteria often found in chicken raised within the United States.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Additives

Who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese sandwich? It was one of the first things I taught my daughter to cook on the stove. Although grill cheese sandwiches are delicious plain, there are so many ways you can jazz them up.

1. Use mayonnaise instead of butter: When I was younger I had a friend who always cooked her grilled cheese by spreading mayonnaise over the bread slices instead of butter. I found that this method adds flavor, but does an even better job of keeping the grill cheese from sticking to the pan.

It’s No PF Changs, But Delicious None The Less

A completely fat free recipe is quite the challenge; unless you are opting to each a couple veggies and some water. For me, as much as I love vegetables, that combination does not sound appealing. So, although I do seek fat free options and recipes, low fat recipes seem to be far easier to locate.

Recently a friend allowed me to flip through one of her cookbooks. I came across a lettuce wrap recipe that sounded very appetizing and not too harsh on the waistline. Yet, there were quite a few things about the recipe that needed tweeking for my taste. So, I bought the ingredients and conquered a new healthy recipe. Fortunately, I wear and advocate for the Bodybugg; and this system allows me to enter my food into a computerized system, tracking my caloric, fat, sodium, calcium, etc. intake.

With that being said, I am aware that this recipe is less than 300 calories with very minimal fat – reality is, you can alter the recipe as you see fit as well…which will likely change up the nutritional facts a bit. If you have ever eaten at PF Chang’s and tapped into their lettuce wraps, you know the joy that can come from these little asian styled heavenly wraps. Now, you can enjoy them in the comfort of your home.

Hot Tea for a Warm Winter

I live in the Midwest, and we have had an extraordinarily warm winter.  Hardly any snow or sleet has fallen, and many days had high temperatures in the 50s and 60s.  It has not exactly been a winter for cozying up under a blanket with a hot cuppa anything.  Nevertheless, I am still drinking hot tea at least a few times a week. Drinking tea is not just a way to keep warm. It is a relaxing way to ease into or out of the day. 

Use Salad Dressing to Flavor Chicken

When I was younger I had a friend who always poured ranch dressing on the side of her plate when eating chicken. She would dip each piece of chicken in the ranch dressing before eating it. At the time I thought this was strange, but I guess it‘s no different than dipping a French fry in ketchup.

I decided to try dipping my chicken pieces in Italian dressing and found it to be quite delicious. Then when I was visiting my sister and we had to cook dinner for our children, we came up with a new way to flavor the chicken using salad dressing.

Ten Minutes To A Better Body

I could opt to throw out another low-fat or fat free recipe, given that the primary goal of this website is to do just that. Reality is, finding low or fat free recipes is only half the battle. We can eat healthy every day – watch our caloric intake, monitor our sodium intake and reduce or eliminate a chunk of the fat from our meals. Chances are, we will see positive results. We may slim down, have more energy and overall be in the process of obtaining and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. And to some, they may be good enough.

For me, I want all of those things. Yet, a plateau always manages to creep into my life – a moment where my efforts roll to a standstill. The moment where I have conquered a portion of my weight loss and health goals, but a decent amount remains. And no matter how healthy I eat, I stay exactly where I am.

If you speak to anyone in the health and wellness world, they always note that nutrition plays a significant role and exercise becomes the next. I have tried gym memberships and group classes. All are great on some levels – however, I have been striving to find something that would work with my schedule, provide results, and essentially help me reach my fitness goals.

Most people have heard of P-90x. A large chunk of people have tried it. I being one of them – and honestly, I cannot deny that it was a great work-out. My only struggle is the amount of time needed to complete the work-outs. There are numerous days that time is not on my side. I recently ordered the 10 minute work-outs from the same individual who created P-90x. Work out for 10 minutes – believe me, that is a work out I can commit to.

Early Morning Oatmeal Muffins

Oatmeal for the bowlless

I've always been the type to build a morning ritual from which I absolutely cannot stray. Skip those beginning steps and my whole day is off. These days, I need at least an hour at the start of every day in which to brew coffee, make stovetop oatmeal, and read most of the internet. I'm not one of those people who can just skip breakfast and jettison off to work at a moment's notice. If I don't get my caffeine and cereal, it's going to be ugly.

Still, I welcome small variations to the familiar groove. Instead of homemade oatmeal, I might do granola, yogurt, or just some whole fruit. And sometimes I go crazy and bake my usual oats into delicious, compact muffins. It's essentially the same concept as my normal bowl--oats and fruit and other tasty stuff--only there's no spoon and it can be prepared in advance if I know I'm going to be pressed for time in the coming days. 

Homemade Chocolate Covered Pretzels

I have a weakness for chocolate covered pretzels. Unfortunately, I find them quite expensive to purchase. This meant that I had to learn how to make them for myself. I was excited to discover that it was not that difficult, and there are plenty of ways to add extra flavor that you won’t get from a bag in the grocery store.

I prepare for my homemade chocolate covered pretzels by coating a few cookie sheets with wax paper. The pretzels come off of the wax paper easily after they harden in the refrigerator.