White Chicken Chili {Crock Pot}

As fall approaches, I find myself making more soups, chilis and stews.  Comfort food at it’s best.  This chili is one you can throw together quickly in the morning, and come home to a delicious dinner ready and waiting for you that evening – all thanks to the crock pot!

White Chicken Chili {Crock Pot}

  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 8-10 chicken tenders
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I like fire roasted tomatoes, but any will do)
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • cheddar cheese, for serving
  • tortilla chips, for serving

Place all ingredients except cheese and chips into crock pot, stirring to combine.  Cover and cook on medium for 8 hours.  Remove chicken and shred with a fork.  Return chicken to crock pot.  Spoon into bowls, top with cheese, and serve along with tortilla chips.

Sinfully good Spoon Rolls

I love yeast rolls.  But I hate having to wait for them to rise, shape them, let them rise again, blah, blah, blah.  I want the taste of a yeast roll without having to play the rising game.  And so, when I stumbled across this recipe in an old cookbook, I think I almost passed out with excitement!  These babies have that delicious yeast flavor, but without all the fuss – all you need is a mixing bowl/mixer and a muffin pan.  They are amazingly easy.  They are amazingly good.  Seriously.  You’ll thank me.

Spoon Rolls

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup shortening, melted and cooled slightly
  • 4 cups self rising flour
  • melted butter, optional

In a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add beaten egg, sugar, shortening, and flour.  Mix well.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Drop dough by spoonfuls into greased muffin tins.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until a light golden brown around the edges.  Brush tops of rolls with melted butter, if desired.  Serve warm.



Monterey Ranch Bread

For a quick side dish, I created this yummy bread!

Monterey Ranch Bread

  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese blend
  • 3/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 loaf french bread (or, any bread you have on hand)
  • melted butter

Split the loaf of french bread down the center.  Brush cut sides with melted butter; broil until lightly browned.

In small bowl, combine cheese and ranch dressing; spread over bread.  bake at 350 degrees until cheese melts.  Serve immediately.

Skinny Summer Slushies

Cool off on hot summer days with these yummy homemade slushies!  Just keep in mind that these need to freeze for several hours before enjoying, so plan ahead and make them the night before or first thing in the morning, and you’ll be ready for slushies in the hot afternoon!  The key ingredient is the club soda – it prevents the mixture from freezing rock solid like it would if you used water.

Skinny Summer Slushies

  • 1 liter club soda
  • 1 container frozen 100% juice (I used grape juice), thawed

Pour fruit juice into a large container.  Slowly add club soda and stir.  It will bubble up – just wait for the bubbles to subside and then pour into ice cube trays and freeze.  When ready to serve, place frozen cubes in food processor and process until smooth.  Serve immedieately.

Skinny Pasta with Garlic Pesto

I love quick, no fuss dishes in the summer, and this one certainly fits that bill!  If you have basil growing in your garden, you probably have everything you need already!

Skinny Pasta with Garlic Pesto

  • 14 oz spaghetti or fetuccini
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • extra parmesan cheese for garnish, optional
  • meatballs, optional

Place basil, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, and garlic cloves in food processor and pulse until smooth.  With machine running, slowing add olive oil.  Taste, and add salt and pepper as desired.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.  Toss with pesto and top with shaved parmesan cheese and meatballs, if desired.

Skinny Jamaican Grilled Pork Chops

We eat a lot of chicken at our house, so I’m always on the lookout for new ideas for other meats.  I love the flavors in this Jamaican spice blend, and it is so simple to prepare.  Just rub the spice mixture on the meat, grill, and baste with a honey mixture.  That’s it.  Super quick.  Super easy.  Super duper yummy!

Jamaican Grilled Pork Chops

Serves:  4      WW Points Per serving:  3 pts


  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 8 oz. pork chops, boneless (4 chops)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp white vinegar

In a bowl, combine the dry spices.  Place meat on a plate and rub spice mixture over meat.  Let stand for 10-15 minutes.

Heat an outdoor grill (or heat a griddle or grill pan) to medium high.

In a small bowl, combine honey, ketchup, and vinegar.

Place meat on the grill and cook, turning several times until browned on each side, about 3 minutes per side.  Move to cooler part of grill (or turn down griddle/grill pan).  Cook another 5 minutes, or until cooked through, basting occasionally with honey mixture.  Cook until chops reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

Chicken Penne Rustica

I stumbled upon this recipe while searching for something totally different, and just knew I had to make this!  I made a few changes to make it a little healthier (it originally called for TWO CUPS of heavy cream!), and to suit my family’s tastes.

If you scroll down and look at the printable recipe first, don’t be scared off by the long list of ingredients.  This is really an easy dish to prepare.  Just gather all your ingredients before you start and you won’t even notice how many are going into the recipe.   This dish is certainly restaurant quality…it was rich, creamy, and decadent!

Start by seasoning two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or in my case, 4 chicken tenders) with salt and pepper.  Cook in a skillet until cooked through and browned on both sides.

Slice chicken and set aside.  Prepare the sauce by melting 1 tbsp butter over medium-low heat.  Add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook until the garlic is tender, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup heavy cream, 1-1/2 cups milk, 1/2 cup chicken broth , 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp cornstarc, 1 tbsp mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp thyme and 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper.  Whisk to combine.

Bring to a simmer and cook until thick – about 10 minutes.  Cover and remove from heat.

While the sauce is thickening, cook 1 lb. of penne pasta to al dente.

Start building your dish.  You can do this in individual oven proof serving dishes, or in one big casserole dish.

Place about 3 cups of pasta into each dish and top with 3/4 cup sauce.  Sr gently to combine. 

Top with 1/4 of the chicken slices.

In a small bowl, combine 3 tbsp parmesan cheese and 1 1/2 tsp paprika.  Sprinkle over the pasta.

Broil until golden brown and bubbly.  Serve immediately.

Chicken Penne Rustica

1 tbsp butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup heavy cream

½ cup parmesan cheese

1 ½ cups milk

½ cup chicken broth

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp mustard

½ tsp salt

½ tsp thyme

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 lb. penne pasta, cooked al dente

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


3 tbsp parmesan cheese

1 ½ tsp paprika


Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook in skillet on both sides until done. Slice chicken and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, prepare sauce by melting butter over medium-low heat in large skillet. Add garlic and cook about 5 minutes. Add cream, parmesan cheese, milk, broth, cornstarch, mustard, salt, thyme and cayenne pepper, whisking until smooth. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally; cook until thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Preheat broiler. Build each serving in individual oven proof dishes, or assemble in one large casserole dish.

To each dish, add 2-3 cups pasta, top with ¾ cups sauce and stir lightly to coat. Top with ¼ of the chicken slices.

Combine parmesan cheese and paprika and sprinkle about 1 tbsp of mixture over each dish. Broil until the top starts to brown and gets bubbly.

Serve immediately.

Bronzed Salmon

I absolutely LOVE salmon.  So, I chose to make it for myself my family last night for our Valentine’s Dinner.  It is very simple to prepare and tastes absolutely divine!

All you need is salmon fillets, butter, balsamic vinegar, honey and vegetable oil.  A little bourbon makes it taste even better, but that is completely optional.  Here’s how you do it.

Place enough oil in an OVEN PROOF skillet to cover the bottom.  (We will be placing the entire pan into the oven later, so having and oven proof skillet is very very important!)

Pat your salmon filets dry with paper towels.  You don’t want any excess moisture on the fish or it will splatter when placed in the hot oil.

Now, place your fish in the pan and season the top with salt and pepper.

Let this cook on high for about two minutes.  Do not move the fillets, just let them hang out and do their thing.  Now, place the entire pan into the oven for 8 minutes.

While that is baking, we’re going to mix up a yummy glaze for the salmon.

You need 2 tbsp butter, melted.

Add in 2 tbsp honey.

And add about a tbsp of balsamic vinegar.

Now, if you want to add a little bourbon for an extra zing…add just a splash in.


After the salmon has baked for 8 minutes, remove from oven – being very careful! – and spoon the glaze over the fish.

Bake for 2 minutes more.  Remove fish to serving dish, placing the side that was touching the pan up.  Top with more glaze for a finishing touch.

That’s it!  I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do!

Mini Cinnamon Puffs

Disclaimer:  These little bites of buttery, cinnamony goodness are not, I repeat, are NOT  low in points.  But, man they sure are good.  I’ve not made these since doing Weight Watchers…and I probably won’t make them again anytime soon because, well, I’d want to eat them.  All of them.  And not share them.  With anyone.  Yes, they’re that good.

They’re crazy easy to make too.  Start by placing 2/3 cup of shortening into your mixer bowl.  Here’s a little trick on measuring shortening (or peanut butter or anything sticky and gooey like that).  Place some plastic wrap into your measuring cup, and spray it lightly with cooking spray.  Then spoon the shortening into the cup and squish it in real good.  Then you simply lift the plastic wrap out of the cup and dump it into your mixer bowl.  Easy, and NO CLEANUP!

Now, add 1 cup of sugar to the shortening in the bowl.

Cream the two together until nice and smooth.  Now add 2 whole eggs to the bowl.

Mix again until smooth.  Add 3 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg.

Now, you need 3 cups of flour and 1 cup of milk, but you’re going to add them a little at a time, alternatively.  So, add about 1 cup of flour.

Beat well, then add about 1/3 cup milk.

Beat well and add another cup of flour.  Beat well and add another 1/3 cup of milk.  You get the picture…keep going until you have no more flour/milk. 

Now, grease a mini muffin pan.  I like to use the flour spray that’s made for baking, but regular cooking spray works too.  Then, using a small scoop or a spoon, fill the muffin cups 2/3 full.

Continue scooping until you run out of batter.  You’re gonna need more than one pan, by the way.

I think I ended up with about 2-1/2 pans of puffs.  Pop them into a 350 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from pans to cool slightly.

Now comes the fun part.  The sinful part.  Place two sticks of butter in a glass cup or bowl.

I told you it was the sinful part.  And I warned you that these were NOT weight watcher’s friendly.  Stick this in the microwave and melt the butter.

In a small bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups sugar and 3 tsp cinnamon.

Brace yourselves, friends.  You will feel your arteries clogging as you read the next few sentences.

Drop a muffin/puff into the melted butter.  Swirl it around with a fork or spoon to get it super coated in butter.  You want it REALLY good and soaked in.

Now drop that butter-laden muffin/puff into the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and roll it around.

Make sure you get it coated really well.  No one wants a half-coated cinnamon puff.

Repeat with remaining puffs.  And you’ll end up with a basket overflowing with these amazing little sugar coated puffs.  You’ll thank me.  But your arteries will curse me. 

They’re best eaten warm, but they are super good at room temp as well.  You can also bag them up in ziplock bags and freeze them.  Just pop them in the microwave for a few seconds when you’re ready to eat one…or twelve.