Tofu Chocolate Pudding

You’re gonna have to trust me on this one.  This pudding is really, really good – and really good for you.  Don’t get scared away by the tofu part.  If my midwestern-raised, Miller High Life drinking husband likes this stuff, chances are, you will too.  Even my one year old gobbles it up.  Best part – it only has about 80 calories a serving, and the serving size is half a cup. Oh, and it’s delicious too.  For real.

All you need is three-fourths of a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, one package of silken tofu and some milk.

First, stick your chocolate chips and one-third cup of milk into the microwave for about a minute (or until it’s melted).

Next, put one-third cup of milk in your blender with the box of tofu, the 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and the melted chocolate.  Just whiz it all together for about 3 minutes until it’s smooth and creamy.  You might have to scrape down the sides once to get all the chocolate in there.

        

Now here’s the hardest part of the whole recipe — don’t eat it.  Put it into a container and stick it in your fridge for 6 or so hours.  Trust me, it’s way better after it cools down and hardens up in the frige for a while.

This stuff is so freaking good, and no one would know it’s made with tofu unless you tell them. It’s packed with protein, super low cal, and it’s vegan and gluten-free as a total bonus.  The real reason to make it, though … because it’s delicious!  Enjoy!

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Jalapeno Popper Chicken

These jalapeno popper chicken breasts are ridiculously good.  And simple.  You’re definitely gonna want to try them soon!

First up is making the jalapeno filling – super easy.  You might even have all the ingredients on hand right now.  All you need is a tub or block of cream cheese, a jar of sliced jalapenos, some salt and pepper.

Place your cream cheese in a bowl and zap it in the microwave for one minute to soften it up.

Next, chop up how many ever jalapenos you want to add in.  More = more spicy!  I diced up about 20 little rings of jalapenos from the jar.

Mix the diced jalapenos into the softened cream cheese with 2 teaspoons of salt and one teaspoon of black pepper.

The rest is really easy. Just take a bone-in, skin on chicken breast and slather a bunch of the filling under the skin like this.  Yum!

Put all your chicken breasts in a baking dish and into a 375* oven for 40 minutes.  You’re not gonna believe how delicious these are – so so good.  Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Corn

I apologize in advance for this recipe.  It’s crack in a bowl.  And it’s not good for you.  Bad combo, but oh so good. I love this stuff!

My sister-in-law gave us a fun air popcorn popper for Christmas, and I’ve been having fun making all sorts of yummy popcorn variations but this one takes the cake.  First you pop up a bunch of plain popcorn (I used 1.5 cups of kernels for this recipe).  If you don’t have an air popper, just get a plain brown paper bag, put your kernels in it, fold over the top and stick it in the microwave – no need to use that nasty microwave popcorn you get from the store!

While your popcorn is popping, you’ll need to get everything else ready. First turn on your oven to 350* and get out two cookie sheets.  Next, you’ll need to make the caramel sauce.  You’ll need 1 stick of butter, 2 cups of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of light corn syrup, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of baking soda.

Oh, and I almost forgot – 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  I make my own, but I keep it in an old vanilla bottle from the store.

You get all the ingredients into a sauce pan and heat them over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Once the sauce is done, you’ll spread your popcorn on your two cookie sheets and drizzle half the sauce over each cookie sheet.

Next, you use two spatulas to toss the popcorn and the caramel sauce together.  It will clump and be a little tricky, but don’t worry, just do the best you can.

Once you’ve got it pretty well mixed, stick the cookie sheets into the oven for 5 minutes.  When you take them out after 5 minutes, toss the popcorn again and it will be much easier and the caramel will easily spread over all of the popcorn.

Next up – eat it.  Hopefully not all in one sitting, but that’s gonna be hard.  Enjoy!

Mini Gluten-Free Meatloaves

After such success with my mini frittatas, I started thinking of what else I could make in my muffin tins.  Meat loaf.  Who doesn’t love a good meat loaf?! And when they are packed with veggies and in miniature form (aka forced portion control), they are even better.

First, I gathered all the veggies I would need – three carrots, two zucchini, one red onion and three cloves of garlic.

I stuck them all into my Kitchen Aid and really pulverized them.  I know it looks kind of nasty, but oh well!

  

Put them into a big bowl and add in 2 pounds of ground beef, 1 pound of sausage….

Two eggs… these ones are from our hens out back.

About 1/2 cup of ketchup….

And 1/3 cup of gluten-free flour; I love my Cup4Cup.  And 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.

Next, you mix it all together.  And there’s really only one way to do it – with your hands!

Next, scoop the mixture into your muffin tins – don’t forget to use cooking spray or olive oil or something on the muffin tin before you drop the meat mixture in – and top with a little more ketchup.

And stick in the oven at 350* for 45 minutes.

So freaking good.  These freeze really well, too… which makes them great for quick weeknight meals. Enjoy!

White Bean, Sausage, and Kale Soup

This soup is simple, hearty and really delicious.  I’ve seen variations of it online, so I decided to create my own.   Here’s how I did it.

First, I gathered all the ingredients – three cans of white beans, two bunches of kale, an onion, two boxes of chicken broth and two packages of Italian sausage (I used one mild and one hot, but you can do whatever combo you prefer).

You start by sauteing the onion in some olive oil in a big pot.

Next you brown the sausage in the same pot as the onions.  When the sausage is browned, add your chopped kale leaves.  Don’t forget to wash the kale really well and remove the center stalk.  You only want the leafy green part, and you’ll want to chop the leaves up fairly small.

Next, you drain and rinse your beans and add them to the pot.

And pour your chicken broth in on top.   I added in about 2 cups of water as well.

Simmer over high heat for about 30 minutes and it’s ready to enjoy!

Gluten-free Mexican Pasta Bake

I started dabbling in cooking while I was in college, and this was one of the first things I learned to make. It’s stayed in my rotation all these years mostly because it’s a guilty pleasure.  It’s a simple and delicious casserole, and was super easy for me to adapt to be gluten-free. I just use my favorite gluten-free pasta, and I’m all set.  Here’s how I do it.

First, I get two boxes of gluten-free pasta macaroni going in some boiling water. You’ll want to cook the pasta until it is just cooked through (al dente). With this brand of pasta it takes me about 9 minutes.

Meanwhile, dice one onion, two bell peppers and six cloves of garlic.  Get them going in a big skillet with some olive oil until soft – about 5 minutes.

     

You’ll want to add 1.5 pounds of ground beef to the veggies and cook until it’s no longer pink.

The rest of the recipe is super simple.  You’ll just add these ingredients to the cooked pasta and the meat mixture when they are all done.

One can of crushed Italian tomatoes, 2 cups of frozen corn, and 2 cups of cheddar cheese.

   

Don’t forget some seasonings!  2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons of cumin, and 2 teaspoons of chilli powder.  You can totally adjust these to your own taste!

Just mix all of it together in a big bowl – I drain my pasta water and use the pot to mix everything in. One less bowl to clean!

Now you just scoop it into some baking dishes and top with some additional cheddar.

Stick it in a 375* oven for 30 minutes and you’re all set!  This makes a ton – perfect for leftovers during the week!

Wild Rice Chicken Salad

This recipe uses two of my favorite easy cooking techniques  – the best way to cook brown rice, and the other for the most delicious roasted chicken ever.

First up, the rice.  Now, I’ll be honest – when my Mom first told me about this new way she’d discovered to cook brown rice, I was pretty skeptical. I didn’t try it for a few months; but once I did, boy, was I a believer.  You’ve got to try this.  And don’t wait as long as I did – do it now!  First you measure out your rice – for this recipe I used a combo of wild rice and brown rice but it would work just as well with any kind of rice.  I wouldn’t use white rice in this recipe, but any other kind would do.  I used 3 cups of rice.

Mixed the two kinds together and spread it into a baking dish with 4 2/3 cups boiling water.

I added two pats of butter and a little drizzle of olive oil.  Then, you just cover the whole thing with some aluminum foil.

Next, get your chicken ready. I used the three simple ingredients you need for perfect roasted chicken – olive oil, salt and pepper.  You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts (that’s what I used for this recipe) or you can use bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts with this technique.  Either works just as well.  Just drizzle the olive oil over the chicken – don’t scrimp – and add a nice generous shake of salt and pepper over each piece.

Stick both in a 375* oven together – simple!

Take the chicken out after 40 minutes and let it rest for 10 minutes before you chop into cubes.

The rice needs to cook for about 20 – 25 more minutes (60 – 70 minutes total).  When you take it out, it’s the most perfect fluffy rice ever.  The best part? None of it is annoying stuck on the bottom of the pot.

The rest of the salad is easy. Just thaw out 2 cups of frozen peas and put into a large bowl.

Add 2 cups of dried cranberries.

The green parts of two green onions.

You’ll of course also add in all of the rice and the chopped chicken to the bowl.  Next you’ll need to make a simple dressing.  Just take 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons of salt and one teaspoon of pepper.

My secret ingredient in the dressing – 3 – 4 tablespoons of the juices from the chicken.  Yum!

Mix that all together and you’ve got your dressing.

Just toss all the ingredients together with the dressing, and you’re all set. You can eat it right away when it’s warm, or wait and serve it cold or room temperature – it’s delicious regardless.  Enjoy!