Snickers Caramel Apple Salad

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Last Thursday was my son’s 10th birthday.  Every year for his birthday he asks me to make the same dessert – Snickers Caramel Apple Salad.  In my son’s words… “chocolate salad.”  This year was the first year he didn’t ask for it and truthfully, I was a bit disappointed.  It’s delicious!!  He insisted on wanting to do Laser Tag with his brother and a friend, homemade biscuits and gravy for dinner at home with the family, and lemon cake instead of a big birthday party.  He’s older now after all.

I honestly can’t even remember what I was looking for so many years ago when I first came across this.  But, I made it and my son loved it.  Every year thereafter, he wanted it as part of his birthday party spread.  As he got involved in other activities and our friend circle grew, new friends joined us for his birthday party celebrations and this became a quick favorite among the crowd!

It is a unique combination of sweet and tart and a wonderful combination of textures.  The crushed Snickers bars gives some sweet and salty from the chocolate, nougat, and nuts; the cool whip and vanilla pudding make it creamy; the caramel adds some sweet, but also brings in the ever slightest note of bitterness to offset it all; and the diced Granny Smith applies give the salad a unique bite and tartness.  The combination in your mouth is incredible!  Who would have ever thought a combination like this would work – but it does!

When making this recipe, it is important to use at least 2% milk.  Whole milk would work best, but you’ll need at least 2% milk so that the instant pudding sets correctly.  Using 1% or skim milk doesn’t contain enough milk fat to ensure the pudding will set.  Also, I freeze my Snickers bars, then put them in a Ziploc bag and bang them into small pieces with a mallet.  I just find it’s easier and less involved than having to dice up the candy bar and having the pieces stick to the knife and just overall fight through it.  Trust me – it’s just easier.  Freeze ’em and smash ’em.  As for the caramel sauce, I have just resorted to store-bought, pre-made caramel sauce.

While it has been an annual staple at my son’s birthday each year, it is also a nice cold refreshing dessert for any summer gathering!  My best advice on making it is to make it the day you need it and add the apples last.  I’ve made it in advance and when the apples sit overnight in the mixture, they get mushy.  You want that nice crisp bite and texture in the dessert.  When the apples get mushy – it just doesn’t taste the same.  So make it a couple of hours in advance of your event and let it sit in the fridge.  Add the apples at the last minute and mix well.  Top with the caramel and you have yourself a delicious, refreshing summer dessert!  Enjoy!

Snickers Caramel Apple Salad

1 1/2 cups cold milk (use at least 2%.  Whole milk is best.)
1 3.4 oz. package vanilla instant pudding mix
1 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip topping
4 lg. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
6 Snickers bars, chopped (or smashed!)
Caramel Sauce

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and dry pudding mix.  Allow to set about 3 minutes.
  2. Fold in the cool whip.
  3. Add the Snickers pieces and apples.  Mix gently until well coated.
  4. Cover and refrigerate about 1-2 hours.
  5. Before serving, drizzle with caramel sauce.

Recipe adapted from http://www.mybakingaddiction.com

Spaghetti Squash Gratin

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I’m always looking for new healthy recipes to add to my collection.  I’ve had a rough few months and went off my health program for a bit, but I’m back on track these days and focusing on healthy eating again, and this is one of my favorite healthy recipes.

I love spaghetti squash.  It is so versatile and can be used and prepared in a variety of ways.  It’s taste is very mild as well and it really takes on the flavors of whatever you’re cooking with it.  I’ve used it as a taco bake/casserole, spaghetti squash lasagna, and of course, the Spaghetti Squash Chicken Enchilada recipe I’ve previously shared.  (Don’t worry I’ll be sharing the others soon!)

I found this recipe through my health program (and if you’re ever interested in learning more about it, feel free to reach out to me!  As a Health Coach for the program, I can help guide you on your way to achieving optimal health!)  Thanks for letting me plug.  I digress…

This recipe is delicious.  I love cheese and this reminds me of a crustless quiche type of dish.  Cooked spaghetti squash is combined with eggs, Greek yogurt, and cheeses and delivers a delicious vegetarian dish.  While all of ingredients also help bind it together, the cheese gives it a really nice flavor and the Greek yogurt gives it that little bit of tang.  I also roast my spaghetti squash in the oven with some olive oil and seasonings as well – salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  I love the flavor roasting gives the spaghetti squash.  It takes more time than cooking it in a microwave, but it is so worth it!!  It really gives the squash time to develop some deep, rich flavor and allows the seasonings to absorb into the squash giving it a nice, elevated level of flavor.

I’ve made this a few times for myself as part of my health plan as a dinner for myself.  Most recently, I made it for Easter and it was a huge hit among our extended family.  While our family likes vegetables, they are pretty picky about which ones, and honestly, I wasn’t expecting them to like this.  There was nothing left!  I couldn’t believe it!  Healthy eating and delicious food equals a win in my book!

What I also love about this dish is its versatility.  It can stand on its own as an entree dish or served in smaller portions as a side dish.  This vegetarian dish is a delicious, healthy alternative to potatoes or other starchy side dishes.  I hope you’ll take the time to give it a try.  You won’t be disappointed!!

Spaghetti Squash Gratin

2 1/2 lbs. spaghetti squash (to yield about 3 cups cooked spaghetti squash)
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, and Garlic Powder (to season spaghetti squash)
2 eggs
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ Tbsp. fresh thyme
¼ tsp. each salt and pepper
¼ cup reduced fat grated Parmesan cheese
Cooking Spray

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds.  Rub olive oil on inside of spaghetti squash and season with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Bake face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until squash is easily pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Using a fork, shred the spaghetti squash into strands and place in a large bowl.
  3. While squash is baking, in a medium sized bowl, mix remaining ingredients together (except for Parmesan cheese).  Stir mixture into the spaghetti squash strands.
  4. Spray an 8 x 8 inch square Pyrex or glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread mixture into the lightly greased casserole dish.  Top with Parmesan cheese and press down to moisten.
  5. Bake uncovered 30 minutes.

Recipe from Pinterest

Dinner Rolls

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Wow.  It’s been a while.  I have been super busy lately.  All good things, but still – it keeps me from other things.  Kids, school, family – you name it!  We are busy!!  This recipe is one I made for Easter!!  Oy!!  LOL!

Anyways, when it comes to holidays, bread is always part of the dinner spread.  Sometimes its rolls, sometimes is sliced Italian bread.  But trust me, there is ALWAYS bread!  I found this recipe perusing through my Food Network magazine around Thanksgiving last year and decided to give it a try.  They turned out delicious.  Light, airy, fluffy.  The absolute perfect dinner roll.  So I made them again for Christmas and Easter!  They are a huge hit in our family!

The thing about bread it that it’s time consuming.  This isn’t a recipe you just put a bunch of ingredients into a bread machine and press a button.  This takes time and patience.  But it’s worth it!

When I rolled the dough into balls to proof, then bake, I used a small scale and weighed out each roll.  They were about 2.25 grams each.  I placed them onto parchment lined baking sheets and allowed them to proof (rise).  My trick for proofing is that I have a set of double ovens.  With holidays, my ovens are always on.  I use the residual heat being given off by the top oven and put the rolls in the bottom oven where they can proof in a warm area.  It works really well.  If you don’t have double ovens, just find a warm, dry area where you can let the dough rest and rise undisturbed for about an hour each time.

I also did not brush them with butter at the end.  I just decided not to since I figured everyone would end up buttering the rolls themselves as part of their dinner plate – and I was right!  But the butter wasn’t missed.  The rolls were soft, light, airy, fluffy and had delicious flavor.  Give this some love and you will have the most amazing rolls to add to your dinner spread!

Dinner Rolls

1 1/2 cups milk
1 stick butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp. salt
6 cups AP flour

  1.  Place milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat, stir in butter and sugar and let cool.  Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit until foamy.  Combine milk mixture, eggs, yeast, salt, and 3 cups of flour in a mixer with a dough attachment.  Mix until smooth.  Add remaining 3 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time and mix until a smooth ball forms.
  2. Remove from bowl and knead by hand on a floured surface for about 5 minutes.  Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size – about 60-70 minutes.  Once risen, on a floured surface, punch down the dough and shape into desired shapes.  (I just roll mine into balls.)  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Cover again and let rise again until doubled, about 30-40 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and brush with melted butter (if desired) before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay/Food Network

Potato Corn Chowder

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Soup is such a comforting dish, especially on a cold winter night.  A couple of weeks ago we had some very cold temperatures here in Vegas.  Yes, believe it or not, it gets cold here.  We’ve seen temperatures hover in the 40’s throughout the day with some pretty nasty winds making it feel even colder and nighttime temperatures have been falling into the lower 30’s.  A couple of weeks ago it was just cold and hot soup just sounded good!

I was searching for some hearty soup recipes, but of course wanted something a little bit different.  My kids and my husband love corn and I found some corn chowder recipes in my search.  After looking around online, I found a variety of recipes and ended up using some ideas from a few different recipes to create my own.  It’s a creamy, thick, and hearty soup that definitely warms you from the inside out!

Potato Corn Chowder

4 carrots, peeled and diced
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
1 can creamed corn
1 can whole kernel corn, half of the liquid reserved
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. paprika
Dash tabasco
Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder
Olive Oil as needed

1.)  Heat olive oil (about 1 Tbsp.) in a large pot and saute onion until translucent.
2.)  Cook carrots and 1 potato in a separate pot.
3.)  Add 3 of the 4 potatoes to the onions.  Add chicken stock, white wine, and seasonings.
4.)  Bring to a boil and simmer about 20-30 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.  Remove bay leaf.
5.)  Using a stick blender (or scoop mixture into regular blender) and puree the mixture.
6.)  Return the pureed mixture to the pot.  Add the cooked carrots and potato to the mixture.
7.)  Add the can of creamed corn and the can of whole kernal corn with half of the liquid.
8.)  Stir well and heat corn through.
9.)  Serve hot with shredded cheese on top.

Beef and Broccoli

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Everybody knows I love Italian food, but I also love Chinese food!  If it’s not pizza, my go-to choice for take-out is Chinese!  But, it’s not the healthiest of choices on my health plan.  Until now…

As you’ve probably figured out, I do a lot of web surfing for recipes and ideas.  One of my favorite sites is Pinterest and I love how they offer suggested pins of things you might like.  But, I spent some time searching for healthy recipes and was able to find some really great ones that I will be sharing as I try them!  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m on a health journey and healthy recipes are an important part of my life now.

One of the ones I found was a Beef and Broccoli recipe that looked delicious!  It was all healthy ingredients and I decided to give it a try.  I’m glad I did!  Turned out fabulous and my husband and son LOVED IT!  My middle daughter wasn’t impressed, and my “almost vegetarian” 4 year old ate only the broccoli.  Ya know, because she’s “allergic to meat.”  But overall it was a hit.  For me, it is definitely another delicious, healthy recipe to add to my recipe list.  And one I will definitely be making again and again.

The recipe calls for fresh ginger, which I didn’t have, but I did have ground ginger.  So I ended up using that instead.  I also didn’t have any scallions, but I’m sure they would have added a nice fresh, crispy bite and added texture.  And when I went to the store, they were out of flank steak so I substituted rib-eye and then thinly sliced it myself.

I served it over riced cauliflower and the juice from the dish coated the cauliflower and gave it a really nice flavor.  With the added vegetables, this dish is quite filling and you definitely don’t feel like you’re missing any rice.  I was really amazed that it tasted so much like authentic beef and broccoli.

So, if you love Chinese food but are looking for a healthy alternative – look no further!  This one is it!  Enjoy!

Beef and Broccoli 

4 cups cauliflower rice
Non-Stick Cooking Spray (like Pam)
1 1/2 lbs. flank steak, thinly sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup chicken broth (or beef broth)
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 cup diced scallions
1 12 oz. package frozen riced cauliflower (or follow step 1 if using fresh cauliflower)

  1. Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium-high heat, add cauliflower rice, and cook until tender about 3-5 minutes.  Remove rice from skillet and set aside.  Place skillet back on stovetop over medium-high heat.
  2. Lightly grease the skillet and add the beef.  Cook until done, about 4-5 minutes, flipping beef slices halfway through to ensure both sides brown evenly.
  3. Add broccoli and broth to the skillet with the beef.  Cook until broccoli is just tender.
  4. Add the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and scallions.  Stir until combined.  Cook one to two minutes.  Remove from heat.
  5. If using frozen cauliflower, heat riced cauliflower in microwave according to package directions.  Serve beef and broccoli over cauliflower rice.

Recipe courtesy of Pinterest.

Beer Cheese Soup

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I grew up on Long Island.  I’m a New Yorker at heart.  It’s in my blood and always will be.  While I may live in Las Vegas now, I have awesome memories of growing up back East and places I visited with my family and friends.  One particular restaurant that I visited frequently with friends of mine (and also celebrated some fantastic family milestones at), was the 56th Fighter Squadron Restaurant.

The restaurant sat on the grounds of Republic Airport.  A small, local airport in Farmingdale, NY.  It is home to a lot of history.  Republic Airport was also where one of the scenes from the movie “Sabrina” was filmed, which starred Harrison Ford.  Pretty cool right in my own backyard!

The restaurant was decorated in a very homey, cozy feel with a number of working fireplaces and World War II memorabilia throughout.  The waiters and waitresses were dressed time period attire (think late 1800’s early 1900’s).  Outside was an army jeep, with sandbags, and other WWII fighter planes as well.  One of the coolest things about the restaurant is that in some of the booths, there were headphones.  You could listen to the tower and flights taking off and landing.

But this blog is about food, so enough about the restaurant.  Let’s talk about the food!  It was delicious!  They made one of the best prime ribs I’ve ever had.  But one of the most unique items on their menu was one of my absolute favorites – Beer Cheese Soup.  It was incredible!  Creamy, mellow, smooth, and a hint of spice.  It was perfect on a cold night!

Since leaving New York and moving to Las Vegas, the Beer Cheese Soup at the 56th Fight Squadron Restaurant is a little hard to come by.  So I did some digging and found similar restaurants throughout the country to the 56th Fighter Group and as luck would have it, I found a recipe.  And it’s the real deal!  Not a copycat!  Bingo!

I made it for Super Bowl Sunday several years ago and it was a hit!  I love it.  It also freezes well too so making a big batch of it and freezing it makes things easier too!  Just defrost it in the fridge a few days before you want to use it, and reheat it on the stove.  It comes together perfectly once it’s heated through.

When you read the ingredients, you’re going to wonder, huh?  Cheez Whiz?  Yup, this recipe calls for an entire jar of Cheez Whiz, and it’s what gives this soup it’s great cheesy flavor, color, and smoothness.  Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!  As for the beer component, I normally use Budweiser, but you can use any regular beer you’d like.  Just stick to beers that are not too light and not very heavy and dark.

If you love cheese, you will really love this soup.  The beer gives it a nice depth of flavor, and the addition of the Tabasco, gives it the perfect little hint of heat.  It is a smooth, velvety soup that is great served in a bread bowl as a meal or on its own for an appetizer.  Serve it with Texas Toast or some plain toast points.   However you choose to serve it – you and your guests will love it!

Unfortunately, the 56th Fighter Group Restaurant closed its doors permanently.  But I can still hold onto a piece of it with this delicious recipe!  Enjoy!

Beer Cheese Soup

6 cups milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, more if desired
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 slice bacon, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
4 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 jar (16 ounce size) Cheez Whiz
1 can (12 ounce size) beer

  1. Combine 5 2/3 cups milk, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauces in a large pot.  Stir to combine well.
  2. In a heavy skillet, saute bacon until crisp.  Pour off half of the fat.  Add onions, stir and cook until wilted.  Add children bouillon and cook, stirring 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add bacon mixture to milk mixture and heat over medium heat.  When milk begins to steam (about 180 degrees F), combine cornstarch and remaining 1/3 cup milk.  Mix well, until smooth.  Add mixture to hot milk mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until soup thickens.
  4. Add Cheez Whiz stirring almost constantly.  Stir in beer.  Mix well together.
  5. Straight through a mesh strainer into a large bowl to remove the onion and bacon pieces.  Reheat if necessary.

Recipe courtesy of cdkitchen.com and 97th Aero Squadron Restaurant.

Chicken Parmigiana Spaghetti Squash

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So after sharing a sweet treat for the Fall season, I’m back sharing another healthy recipe!

Using my Spaghetti Squash Chicken Enchilada recipe as my inspiration, I changed up the flavors and went from Mexican to Italian!  As everyone who has read my blog knows by now, I am Italian (and proud of it!) and I love Italian food.  But, it’s not always the healthiest with all of the carbs from the pasta and tons of cheese.

I am really loving the versatility of spaghetti squash.  There are so many things you can do with it!!  I also love its mild flavor.  It really takes on the flavors of whatever you make with it.

With the flavors of Italy in this dish, you won’t miss the pasta at all!  I seasoned the spaghetti squash with a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and oregano.  Delicious!

For chicken parmigiana I would normally use chicken cutlets, floured, dipped in egg wash, and coated in bread crumbs and then fried.  Definitely not a healthy option!  So for this recipe, I used lean ground chicken instead.  Of course I had to use my homemade tomato sauce for this recipe.  If you don’t have homemade sauce or don’t feel like making it, that’s okay.  You can still find healthy store bought sauces.

Chicken Parmigiana Spaghetti Squash

For the spaghetti squash

1 small spaghetti squash, cut in half, seeds and strands removed
2 tsp. olive oil
Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Oregano, Basil

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Prepare squash, season each half with 1 tsp. olive oil (rub oil all over each half of the squash), salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, and basil.
3) Place seasoned squash face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil (lightly sprayed with non-stick spray).
4) Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until squash is tender and cooked through.

For the filling

1 lb. ground chicken
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/3 cup tomato sauce (plus 2/3 cup additional for final assembly)
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Oregano, and Basil for seasoning
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese

1)  In a large pan, heat the olive oil and minced garlic.  Saute garlic until lightly browned.  Add the ground chicken and season as desired with seasonings.
2)  Cook ground chicken until almost completely cooked.  Add 1/3 tomato sauce and mix well, continuing to cook chicken through.
3)  Remove squash from oven and turn over.  Using a fork, lightly scrape the inside of each shell to create spaghetti like strands.  Leave in the shell.  Add some of the tomato sauce and mix a little bit.  Fill the shell with half of the ground chicken mixture and add more sauce if desired.  Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella cheese.  Do the same for the second half of the squash.
4)  Place squash back in oven for 6-8 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.

ENJOY!

Spiced Caramel Apple Cider

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I.  Love.  Caramel.  Hard, soft, melted, drizzled.  Any way I can get my hands on it.   I just love it.  During the holiday season, a popular coffee shop chain offers a delicious Spiced Caramel Apple drink (I’m sure you know which one I’m talking about!).  It quickly got added to my list of favorites! I had to recreate it at home!

I love the flavors of Fall.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves – the Fall Flavor Quartet!  It seems no matter what you make this time of year those spices seem to find their way into the recipe and makes you just think of Fall. Each has its own distinct flavor profile and each in their own individual way greatly enhances just about almost any Fall/Winter dish.   I love their earthiness, their depth of flavor, the way each of them contributes a unique flavor profile to the dish.  You can make apple pie without the nutmeg, but it doesn’t taste the same.  You can skip the cinnamon and it’s just missing that something special.  These flavors combined really play a role in making a dish truly memorable!

While I am not a huge fan of clove or allspice (I like them – I just find their flavors extremely strong and overpowering), I do love cinnamon and nutmeg.  When I decided I was going to try to recreate this drink at home, I decided to add a bit of kick to it.  I love spice and a hint of cayenne really does the trick in giving this delicious drink a little punch.  Not too much though because it will destroy the flavor and will make the drink unpleasant.

I decided to stick with the flavors I like best and since it was Apple Cider – I was trying to basically create a caramel apple pie in a drink.  I think I succeeded!  I have a Keurig (I LOVE that thing!) and I used the pre-packaged drink packets to make hot apple cider.  With the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg and a bit of caramel syrup, this was a delicious warm hug on a cold day!

Enjoy!

Spiced Caramel Apple Cider

1 packet Spiced Apple Cider mix
2 Tbsp. caramel syrup
Couple of pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg
Cayenne Pepper
Whipped Cream

  1. In the bottom of a large mug, put the caramel syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. Add apple cider packet to the mug.
  3. Add hot water and mix well.
  4. Top off with whipped cream and a very light sprinkle of cayenne pepper.
  5. Sprinkle with more cinnamon if desired.

*For an extra treat, add a little dark rum or bourbon!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

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I.  Love.  Pizza.  I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything and anything in between.  Unfortunately, it’s not a healthy option for me right now.  I haven’t had pizza in over 5 months!  Wowsers.  And I’m still alive to tell about it!  LOL!

A while back I had made a cauliflower pizza crust recipe that was a big hit and I had just forgotten about it.  I was re-introduced to the idea of the cauliflower pizza crust through a friend of mine who has been helping me on my health journey.  It takes a little time, but it is well worth it and the result is just as satisfying as a slice of pizza – without all the guilt (and carbs!) that go with it!!  You’re probably wondering why I’m sharing ANOTHER cauliflower pizza crust recipe since I’ve already done one.  Well, this recipe is a very healthy, low-carb option if you’re craving pizza, but want to stay on track.  It uses reduced fat cheese (and only one – not two types of cheese) and egg whites vs. whole eggs.  Little changes like these make a big difference when you’re eating healthy.

Rob LOVES mushrooms.  So when I first made the crust, we did it in a traditional pizza style with mushrooms as one of our toppings.  I used my own homemade tomato sauce and some reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese.  They really turned out great.  By cooking the crust in advance and cooking it thoroughly to get the moisture out, the result is a nice, crispy crust that holds up well to a coating of tomato sauce and the addition of other toppings.  It gave the pizza a nice combinations of textures.  The crispness of the crust, the creaminess of the cheese, and the flavor of the tomato sauce with lots of Italian herbs was pure pizza perfection!  It’s definitely a keeper in our house and my kids even like them too!!  Well, minus the mushrooms!

But wait….. there’s more!!!

One of the things I really love about this is its versatility.  You don’t have to be limited to just using it for a traditional pizza crust.  You could make it in place of a tortilla for chicken fajitas.  You can make it and use it in the mornings for a healthy egg white wrap.  Make smaller versions and use them as taco shells!  And of course, there is no limit to the types of toppings you could use on it as a pizza crust.  The possibilities are endless!!

Hope you enjoy this healthy spin on traditional pizza crust!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

For the crust

1 cup grated raw cauliflower (or you can use frozen riced cauliflower, just be sure you remove as much water as possible)
1/4 cup egg whites
1/2 cup reduced fat three cheese Mexican blend or reduced fat Mozzarella
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. dried basil

Optional Pizza Toppings

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. shredded reduced fat Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup tomato sauce or canned diced tomatoes (I just use my own homemade sauce)
Mushrooms, peppers, shredded chicken, etc.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Combine grated cauliflower, egg whites, cheese, garlic powder, and basil until mixed completely.
  3. Spoon mixture onto prepared pan.  Gently thin out the mixture forming a circle about the size of a dinner plate.  The thinner the crust, the less soggy it will be.  Bake for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven.  Carefully flip the crust over using a spatula to life all the edges off the parchment first.  Bake an additional 10-15 minutes until brown and crisp.  (Edges may even slightly burn – but that’s ok.)
  5. Add desired toppings and return to oven one last time about 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Enjoy!

(I’d give credit for this recipe where it is due, but I have no idea where it originated as it was shared by a friend.)  

Spaghetti Squash Chicken Enchiladas

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As you can see from my previous blog post, I’ve been on a health journey the last several months.  As a result, I’ve been researching and discovering (and of course trying) new healthy recipes.  With Rob being such a huge fan of Mexican food, I am always looking for ways to make it healthier.  When I saw this recipe I was very reluctant because my family are very “meat and potatoes” people.  And putting any vegetable in front of my kids is like triggering the start of World War III.  But, sticking with my healthy options I went for it and gave it a try.  And boy am I glad I did!

The recipe calls for diced tomatoes and plenty of spices.  It is an incredible combination of flavors and textures that even the finickiest of eaters will enjoy.  Believe me, I know.  My son gave it a try and actually asked for more and then asked me to make it for dinner again the next day!  WINNER!!  The sweetness of the tomatoes paired with the earthiness of the cumin and the spiciness of the chili powder is perfection and it’s not overly spicy as the creaminess from the cheese helps resolve that.  The meatiness of the chicken and the light, tender strands of the spaghetti squash is a great texture combination as well.

This turned out to be a really incredible dish that was enjoyed by everyone in the family.  I have never really cooked much with spaghetti squash and I’m glad this first recipe turned out to be so great. It’s definitely a keeper!  For those of you interested in a healthy, low-carb meal – this is a great option.  And if you’re a meat and potatoes kinda person – give this a try.  Believe me, you won’t be disappointed!

The only negative I can share (and you can see from the pictures!), I left the squash in the oven a few minutes too long and the cheese got a little more toasted than bubbly.  But that aside – everything else turned out great!  Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Chicken Enchiladas

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 jalapeno, stem & seeds removed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 lb. chicken breast (cooked and shredded or ground chicken cooked)
  • 1 cup shredded reduced fat cheese
  • Chopped cilantro as desired.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the spaghetti squash:  Cut in half, remove seeds and pulp strands.  Rub 2 tsp. olive oil into each squash half and season each with 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper.  Place each face down on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet and bake 40-60 minutes or until middle is tender and pulls apart easily.
  3. In a blender or food processor, combine tomatoes, chicken broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder, salt, jalapeno, garlic, and remaining 2 tsp. olive oil.  Blend until smooth.
  4. If using ground chicken, cook the ground chicken with an additional teaspoon of olive oil until cooked completely.  Add the sauce mixture to the cooked chicken.  Mix until fully coated.  Remove from heat.
  5. If using shredded chicken, heat the chicken and add the sauce mixture to the shredded chicken.  Mix until fully coated.
  6. When spaghetti squash is fully cooked, remove from oven, and flip it on the baking sheet so it is skin side down.  Lightly scrape the inside with a fork to create spaghetti like strands.
  7. Evenly divide the chicken and sauce mixture between each squash half.  Top each half with one half cup of shredded cheese.  Sprinkle with cilantro if desired.
  8. Put squash back in oven and cook another 6-8 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serve immediately.

Recipe from Pinterest.