Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ranch Ham 'N' Cheese Pasta

While I've only recently expanded my culinary world to include pork tenderloin and pulled pork, the ham sandwich has always been a favorite of mine - I love me some deli ham. This Ranch Ham 'N' Cheese Pasta caught my eye because it uses ham, and I knew that Joe would like it because he is a fan of anything that includes sour cream. I found this recipe in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking magazine. I bought the magazine on a whim a few years ago and still make recipes from it often. The recipes are quick, low-fat and unique - I never would have thought the combination of flavors in this pasta would work, but they do! This pasta is fantastic - creamy and cheesy with a fantastic tangy taste. Plus, it came together in about 20 minutes, which was an added bonus!

I did make a few changes to the original recipe. I used only 8 ounces of pasta since just Joe and I were eating this. However I left all the other measurements the same and felt I still had a perfect pasta to sauce ratio. I left out the dill because I didn't have any, and also left out the Parmesan cheese because I felt the pasta just didn't need it.

Ranch Ham 'N' Cheese Pasta

1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup fat-free milk
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon salt-free lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup (8 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
2 cups cubed fully cooked lean ham
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a Dutch oven, melt butter; whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk and seasonings. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Reduce heat; fold in sour cream until blended. Add ham and pasta; cook and stir until heated through. Remove from the heat; stir in Mexican cheese blend until melted. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Yield: 10 servings.

Nutritional Analysis: 1 cup equals 306 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 27 mg cholesterol, 612 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 20 g protein.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cinnamon French Toast Bowl-a-Rama

Since I was enjoying my Hungry Girl 200 Under 200 cookbook so much, I decided to purchase her newest book, Hungry Girl 1-2-3. I was especially drawn to this book because it features a whole section of crockpot recipes, as well as a section of meals and treats you can make in the microwave. I decided to go the microwave route for the first recipe I tried from the book and made Cinnamon French Toast Bowl-a-Rama for breakfast. This is essentially a French toast bake that you make in a mug in the microwave. It's big and warm and filling and delicious! I love that it feels indulgent when it's totally not. The whole mug has only 228 calories and 21.5 grams of protein! Not only was it a decadent and sweet way to start the day, it kept me full for hours. The only changes I made were to use sugar-free french vanilla creamer in liquid form, since that's what I had on hand, and to reduce the amount of Reddi-wip and add a little more syrup instead. Make this for your breakfast tomorrow!

Cinnamon French Toast Bowl-a-Rama

2 tsp Coffee-mate Sugar Free French Vanilla creamer
2 tbs fat-free cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 no-calorie sweetner packets (I used Splenda)
1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
2 slices light white bread
1/4 cup Fat Free Reddi-wip
1 tbs sugar-free pancake syrup

Combine powdered creamer with 1/4 cup hot water in a bowl and stir to dissolve. Add cream cheese, cinnamon, vanilla extract and sweetner and stir until mixture is smooth and free of lumps. Add egg substitute and stir. Set aside.

Toast the bread and tear into cubes. Spray a large microwave-safe mug with nonstick cooking spray. Add bread cubes and top with the vanilla-egg mixture. If needed, stir gently to ensure that bread is thoroughly soaked. (I added the bread to the bowl with my egg mixture, stirred it all up and added everything together to the mug.)

Microwave for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, until just set. (Make sure your mug is big! This puffs up a LOT while cooking, but then deflates down once its done.) Allow to cool slightly.

Fluff mixture gently with fork. Top with Reddi-wip and drizzle with syrup. Enjoy!

228 calories, 3 g fat, 671 mg sodium, 31 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 21.5 g protein


I love to enter online contests, but I'm not very lucky with that type of thing and never really win anything. So I was super excited when I was announced as a winner of a jar of Bee Raw Honey from cool food blogger Blake of Blake Makes. I love me some honey, so I was excited to break right into my jar of Wild Raspberry honey when it arrived. I decided to try it out in my favorite way to eat honey - on toast with peanut butter. The honey was perfectly smooth and golden and the taste was fantastic! Sweet, of course, with just the slightest tang of raspberry. Delicious, and much better than the stuff you pick up at the grocery store (although I will always love you, Mr. Honey Bear). Thanks Blake and Bee Raw!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chicken Tamale Casserole

I'm a huge fan of any meal that I can make using a single dish, pot, etc. so this one caught my eye immediately. I also loved that it used corn bread mix, because who doesn't love cornbread? I snagged this recipe off of Deborah's blog, and I was even more sold on it when I realized it was a Cooking Light recipe! It was incredibly easy to put together. The only change I made was to use pre-cooked Perdue chicken slices and dice them up instead of cooking and shredding chicken. Joe and I both enjoyed this recipe, although we agreed that it could use a little crunch as the entire thing is very soft. Some crumbled tortilla chips on top next time, perhaps?

Chicken Tamale Casserole

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4 ounce) can cream style corn
1 (8.5 ounce) box corn muffin mix
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
cooking spray
1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.