Chicken Tortellini Soup

Mother Nature must of heard me complaining about the heat last week because the weather we had this weekend was just gorgeous! It was about 70 degrees yesterday and it was actually a little cool outside last night which gave our A/C a much needed break. It was a perfect day to make some soup. Husband and I got a late start yesterday morning and were busy running errands all day getting more Halloween decorations (yes, my decorations are up already) and going to the store so I didn’t want to make anything too complicated for dinner. This chicken tortellini soup is barely a recipe, it is so easy to make and is done in under 30 minutes! You can make your own broth and cook your own chicken, but if you’re pressed for time, any chicken broth will do and you can use a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store!

Chicken Tortellini Soup

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

– 9 cups chicken broth

– 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cut into small pieces

– 1 cup diced carrots

– 1 lb. cheese tortellini (I like Buitoni’s pasta from the refrigerated section)

– salt and pepper to taste

– chopped parsley and parmesan cheese (optional)

– Optional ingredients to add to soup: celery, spinach, diced tomatoes

Directions:

1. In a large pot, heat chicken broth on medium heat. Add carrots and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken to the broth. While the carrots are simmering, cook tortellini (leave slightly al dente). Add tortellini and simmer on low heat for additional 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and parmesan cheese.

P.S. If you are wondering what those delicious biscuits are, they are cheddar bay biscuits! I’ll post the recipe for them tomorrow!

Creamy Pumpkin Pie Popsicles

While the calendar may say it is fall, it’s certainly not feeling like it here in Florida. And despite my attempts to make it feel like fall inside our home by burning apple and pumpkin scented candles, it has been in the 90’s this week and it has been pretty yucky and humid! What’s up with that, yo?!! As I was driving home from work this week, I got this idea to make these amazing creamy pumpkin popsicles. I drove straight to the store to get the ingredients. Back in August, I saw this recipe for oreo popsicles from Kita at Pass the Sushi. I bookmarked her recipe because it sounded so simple and looked so delicious! I used her base of cream cheese and Cool Whip for these pumpkin popsicles and they turned out SO good!! (By the way, Kita, I also made your PB Oreo version, they were amazing!).

The best part about these popsicles is that they are really low in fat and really low in sugar! I used fat-free cream cheese and sugar-free Cool Whip. These pops were the perfect fall treat for these never-ending warm days!

Creamy Pumpkin Pie Popsicles

Ingredients:

– 1 8-ounce package fat-free cream cheese

– 1 container sugar-free Cool Whip, thawed

– 3/4-1 cup canned pumpkin (depends on how much pumpkin flavor you want!)

– 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

– graham cracker crumbs (optional)

Directions:

1. In a bowl, whip the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add in the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and mix until well-combined. Fold in Cool Whip. Pour mixture into molds and sprinkle some graham cracker crumbs on the bottom. Freeze overnight.

Notes:
– Note that I didn’t indicate a serving size for this recipe. How many popsicles this makes will depend on your popsicle molds. Mine are pretty big so I only got 5 out of this. But, if you use smaller molds or dixie cups, you will get more!
– I did not add sugar or artifical sweeteners to this because I felt they were already sweet enough for my tastes, but you can certainly add some if you would prefer!
– While I really loved the graham cracker crumbs with these, I found that most of the crumbs just fell right off when I removed them from the molds and it made quite a mess. Not sure if I would use them again. If anybody has better suggestions to make them stick better, please let me know! :)

Lightened Up Orange Peel Chicken


At my bridal shower last year, my bridesmaids put together a recipe book for me. What was so sweet about it was not the fact that it was just random recipes, but they were favorite recipes from my family and friends.  It’s such a cute book filled with so many great recipes! It was by far my favorite gift that I received at my shower!

Now that I have this blog, I have decided that I really want to try the recipes in this book so I have made it my goal to make at least one recipe from each person that contributed one into the book! Today, I give you P.F. Chang’s Style Orange Peel Chicken from my good friend, Lisa! This recipe was very appealing to me because I love P.F. Chang’s, but because I live in a small college town, there aren’t any around here!! I have made this recipe a couple of times and really enjoyed it so I wanted to make it again, but this time, lighten it up a bit. As is the story with most breaded chicken, the original recipe calls for frying the chicken up in a pan with oil.  I decided to lighten this dish up a bit by using a panko bread crumb and whole wheat flour mixture instead of white flour. And instead of frying the chicken in oil, I baked mine in the oven. Yay for no grease!! This orange peel chicken was so tasty and if you ask me, way better than take out!! Serve it with some steamed rice, quinoa, or more veggies!

Lightened Up Orange Peel Chicken

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

Chicken:

– 4 chicken breasts, cleaned and trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces

– 1 cup panko bread crumbs

– 1 cup whole wheat flour

– 1 egg

– 1 cup milk

– Peel from 1/4 of a large orange, julienned into 1/8-inch strips

– 1 cup sugar snap peas

Sauce:

– 1 tbs. vegetable oil

– 2 tbs. garlic, minced

– 4 green onions, sliced

– 1 cup tomato sauce

– 1/2 cup water

– 1/4 cup granulated sugar

– 1 1/2-2 tbs. oriental chili-garlic sauce

– 1 tbs. soy sauce

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine panko and flour together in a pie dish or bowl. Whisk together milk and eggs. Spray a wire rack with non-stick cooking spray and place the rack into a baking sheet. Dip chicken pieces into milk and egg mixture and then into the flour and bread crumb mixture. Place chicken onto wire rack. Once all your chicken pieces are breaded. Spray them with more cooking spray and bake in the oven for approximately 10 minutes. Gently turn the chicken over, spray with more spray and cook for another 5 minutes. Set cooked chicken aside.

2. Heat vegetable oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and green onion. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, water, sugar, chili garlic sauce, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Simmer sauce for 5-6 minutes or until sauce thickens.

3. Heat a large pan or wok on medium high heat, add chicken and orange peel. Heat for 30 seconds, stirring gently. Add the sugar snap peas and the sauce to the pan. Gently toss chicken (you don’t want to knock off the breading) into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Serve with rice or additional veggies!

Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

After last week’s sugar high, I am ready for some good dinners this week. Fall means time to pull out the crock pot and put it to some good use! Sundays are my cooking days and I always like to try to make a nice dinner for Sunday nights. It was a pot roast kind of night. This pot roast is SO easy to make and while it makes a lovely Sunday dinner, it is also great for any night of the week because you just have to throw it all together in the slow cooker and let it go! And while I only made this for the hubs and I, it would be perfect for a dinner party! The gravy for this pot roast comes out so flavorful and delicious and the meat is perfectly fork tender!

Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Adapted from All Recipes

Makes 6 Servings

Ingredients:

– 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

– salt and pepper

– 2 1/2 to 3 lb. pot roast

– 2 cans condensed 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup

– 1 package onion soup mix

– 3/4 cup red wine

– 1/2 cup water

Directions:

1. In a pan, heat olive oil. Try to trim away any large pieces of fat on the roast. Sprinkle salt and pepper to both sides of roast. Sear meat on both sides until brown.

2 In slow cooker, mix together the soup, onion soup mix, wine, and water. Add roast and cook on low setting for 7-8 hours or on high setting for 4-5 hours. If adding carrots or potatoes, I recommend adding these during the last 1 1/2-2 hours of cooking.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting


Let the week of horrible eating continue!! I swear, I am taking a major break from baking and sugar. Back to healthy eating next week! But, for now, the sugar rush keeps going! Tomorrow is officially the first day of fall, my most favoritest time of the year! I wanted to celebrate with something special for you all. I’ve never made whoopie pies. They’ve been on my list of things I want to make for some time and I decided it was time to give them a try. I originally wanted to make pumpkin whoopies, but my dear husband wouldn’t touch them and God forbid if I make a baked good and he can’t enjoy it too! So, I opted for chocolate whoopie pies with plain cream cheese frosting for him and pumpkin cream cheese frosting for me. There. We both get our way!

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes approximately 24 whoopie pies
Cake recipe from Martha Stewart

Ingredients for the Cake:

– 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

– 1 1/2 cups natural, unsweetened cocoa powder

– 1 teaspoon salt

– 1 tablespoon baking soda

– 1 teaspoon baking powder

– 1 cups unsalted butter (2 sticks) at room temperature

– 2 cups sugar

– 2 large eggs at room temperature

– 2 cups buttermilk at room temperature

– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray whoopie pie pan with non-stick cooking spray. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl, set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat until well-combined. Slowly add in the flour mixture until combined.

3. Drop approximately 2 tablespoons of the batter into each cavity of the pan (or drop directly onto a greased cookie sheet if you don’t have a whoopie pan). Here is where I had an issue. I overfilled mine on the first batch. See:

Here is a comparison of the first and second batch. The first batch is on the left. You can see that they puffed up too much. I didn’t really measure 2 tablespoons exactly the first time around. For the second batch, I did 2 leveled tablespoons of batter and I also tried to spread it a little into the cavity and this made a big difference! After filling each cavity, bake for approximately 9-11 minutes (mine took exactly 9 mins. with the whoopie pan). Cake should be “springy” to the touch. Let cool completely before frosting.

Ingredients for the Pumpkin Filling:

– 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened

– 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter

– 1/3 cup can pumpkin puree

– 4 cups confectioner’s sugar

– 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and pumpkin. 1 cup at a time, add confectioner’s sugar. Add vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Mix until well-combined. If your frosting seems too liquidy, try sticking it in the fridge before filling your whoopie pies!!

Notes:
– I didn’t stuff too much frosting into my whoopie pies so if you want to add more filling to yours, you might want to make extra frosting!

Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies

I don’t know what happened this week, but I have not been eating well. Ok, I should also include last week in that statement, but hey, you get to eat a little bad on your birthday, right?!! Unless I want to try and argue that this is my birthday month, then there is no excuse for making these cookies. I just thought it sounded like a great idea! As I was perusing the peanut butter and cereal aisle last month, I spotted this:

I’ve professed my love for chocolate and peanut butter many times already on this blog so I probably don’t need to do it again. Upon seeing this, I HAD to have it!! This peanut butter is pretty good, almost like Nutella, but with regular peanuts and not as much of a chocolate taste. I like making peanut butter cookies, so I decided this chocolately peanut butter would be GREAT in a cookie. And I was right! They didn’t come out as pretty as I had hoped they would, but Husband said he wants me to make these more often! I used my best ever chocolate chip cookie recipe as a base for these!

By the way, I’m so excited that I am going to be having my first GIVEAWAY tomorrow! I hope you will all come back so you can enter to win!!!

Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies

Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

– 3 cups oat flour (or 2 1/4 cup white flour)

– 1 tsp. baking soda

– 1 cup Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter

– 1 cup packed brown sugar

– 2 tsp. vanilla extract

– 2 sticks of butter at room temperature

– 2 eggs at room temperature

– 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Combine oat flour and baking soda in a bowl. Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter together. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Slowly add in flour until all of it is well-combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for approximately 10 minutes (of put in the freezer for about 5 mins.) (This will make your cookies come out a little thicker and chewier so if you don’t like that, then skip that step!).

3. Drop spoonfuls of chilled batter onto the baking sheet (I like to use an ice cream scoop to do this!). Make sure each cookie is about 2 inches apart. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

Notes:
– I was not asked, nor did I receive any compensation from the Peanut Butter & Co. for this post. I just really like their peanut butter!
– Can’t find this peanut butter in your store? No problem! Use regular peanut butter and add a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder!