Monday, September 21, 2009

Asparagus/Mushroom Lasagna

MUSHROOM-ASPARAGUS LASAGNA

I'm a sucker for asparagus...so much that I may name my future son/daughter, "Asparagus".  I found this AMAZING aparagus/mushroom lasagna recipe a while back (I think it was from Snyder Cookbook) in my quest to finding a good aparagus casserole (I'm also a sucker for casseroles).  I will forever be looking for more recipes like this one that include asparagus...stay tuned for more fun aparagus recipes that I have in my secret box, including the famous "Asparaguay"!
Ingredients:
  • 11 lasagna noodles
  • 2 pounds asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (or you can buy them already cut in a can if you prefer)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced or chopped
  • 2 cans (14 ounces) chicken broth
  • Enough milk, soy milk or cream added to broth to equal 4 cups
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¾ cup shredded Parmesan, divided (dry)
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 2-4 cups mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease 13x9 inch pan.. Cook noodles ONLY 4 minutes. Boil asparagus 2 to 4 minutes, depending on how large it is, or until crisp-tender; drain. (Skip boiling the asparagus if you go with the canned version) 
  2. Bring three cups of broth/milk mixture to a boil. Mix remaining broth with ½ cup flour, add to boiling broth mixture, return to boiling, stirring constantly, until thick. Stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and lemon pepper.
  3. Spread about 3/4 cup of the white sauce in baking dish. Top with 3 noodles (adding a cut noodle to the ends to fill the pan), 1 cup of white sauce, half mushrooms, half asparagus and 1 cup or a little more--maybe another half cup--mozzarella cheese, top with three noodles and cut pieces, 1 cup sauce, remaining mushrooms and asparagus and 1 cup (or more) mozzarella cheese. Top with remaining 3 noodles and cut pieces. Push everything down well. Add remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and extra mozzarella cheese--I added a cup more--, if using.
  4. Bake covered for 45 minutes and then uncovered for about another 15 minutes until it is hot and bubbly in the middle. If the sauce and noodles are hot then the baking time will be a bit less.

Deer Tracks

The Heat is ON!!!

I've been ready for Bow season to start back up again every since the day the season ended at the beginning of this year...but nothing has gotten me as fired up as seeing a million deer tracks yesterday in front of my deer stand in Mississippi.  The deer have been partying at the best spot in the house (for me anyhow)!  Whoop Whoop!!! 

Brandon set up a camera about a month ago, and we had over 600 pictures of HUGE doe's, yerlings, a spike, and a buck, ALL TAKEN DURING THE DAY!!!  My bow is ready, and so is its master!!! :)

I'm kind of learning about tracking deer, and finding their tracks.  It's interesting that you can tell what kind of deer, or what size it is by looking at their tracks.  After seeing the ant pile of tracks at my stand yesterday I decided to learn more about the different kinds of tracks, and found this very interesting illustration that is now embedded in my brain. 


Looks like I'll be walking big-eyed through the woods in my search for a 6" track...but for now, I'll take anything over 4 1/2 inches.  I will be whipping out my bow this week, and busting up the artificial deer target, because after seeing the HUGE does' at my feeder, there's no way I'm letting them walk away!!!!

"Thoooom-Pack!!!!"


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Baked Potato & Broccoli Soup

Baked Potato and Broccoli Soup
Delishhhhh!!!!
Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 29oz. chicken broth (divided)

  • 3 cup peeled, cubed potatoes

  • 2 bags frozen chopped broccoli

  • 1 1/4 cup milk (half and half if you prefer)

  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

  • chopped green onions for topping (optional)

  • fulled cooked bacon pieces for topping (optional)

  • salt/pepper




Directions:


  1. Whisk together flour and 1/3 cup chicken broth until smooth.
  2. Combine remaining chicken broth, potatoes, broccoli and onion in a Dutch oven (or large saucepan). Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Cook, stirring often, 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in milk & 8 oz. of freshly shredded cheese. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until cheese melts.
  4. Add seasoning.
  5. Top each serving of soup with shredded cheese, green onions, and bacon pieces as desired.




Monday, September 14, 2009

Fruit Pizza

Fruit Pizza
(Yes, I said FRUIT!)
Many people may cringe at the sound of "fruit pizza"...as some do when they see me take a bite of my favorite, Pinneapple and Canadian Bacon pizza.  But this recipe is off the chain!  My friend Linda and I needed to whip up some desserts for a Graduation party this past May, and this is one of the desserts that was gone before it even made it to the dessert table.  I kid you not!  It's very simple to make, and your guests will be very pleased!

Ingredients


  • 1 (20 ounce) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or other flavoring (almond, orange, or lemon)
  • fresh blueberries or banana, sliced or mandarin orange section or seedless grapes or strawberry, halves or kiwi fruit, sliced, any other fruit you want (Everyone always wants something a little different on their pizza, so don't be affraid to experiement)
  • 1/2 cup orange preserves or peach preserves or apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line an ungreased 14-inch pizza pan with cookie dough cut in 1/8-inch slices, overlapping slightly. 
  3. Bake 12 minutes or until light brown; remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract or other flavoring; spread over cookie crust.
  5. Arrange fruit over cream cheese layer in any design you want (use your imagination).
  6. In a small saucepan over very low heat, make a glaze by heating preserves and water.
  7. Brush glaze over fruit, making sure to cover the fruit that will turn dark.
  8. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Blueberry Muffin

Fat-Free, Sugar Free, Cholesterol Free Blueberry Muffins
My Grandmother was diabetic and we always had to come up with special desserts with her in mind.  This is one of the desserts that was really tastey, and safe for her to indulge in as well.  Definitely a great recipe to try if you'd like to keep it on the healthy but delicious side.

Ingredients


  • 1 cup unsweetened blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I use the "unbleached" kind)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup Splenda granular
  • 1/4 cup Egg Beaters egg substitute (equals 1 egg)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk (skim)
  • 1 tablespoon Splenda granular (to top muffins)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lightly spray muffin tin with non-stick spray (I've found that paper muffin holders do not peel away from these muffins easily).
  3. Wash and drain blueberries. Set aside. If using frozen blueberries, thaw before using.
  4. In large bowl, sift flour. Add baking powder and the 1/3 cup Splenda. Mix together.
  5. In another bowl, mix the Egg Beater egg substitute, apple sauce and milk.
  6. Combine the wet mixture into the flour mixture. Stir just enough to blend (electric mixers aren't really necessary). Gently fold in the blueberries.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Use the last tablespoon of Splenda to sprinkle on top of each muffin (this adds zero calories and has zero fat) and bake for 17 minutes, or until tops are light brown.
  8. After baking, allow muffins to cool before removing them from the tin. Please note: 1 serving = 1 muffin. Enjoy!

Butterfinger Pie

Butterfinger Pie - Out of this WORLD!

We had a huge party at our camp in Cocodrie, LA for Labor Day weekend this year, and someone brought a Butterfinger Pie for dessert that was out of this world!  It's supposed to be very similar to the Butterfinger Pie that they sell at Burger King...I never eat at Burger King so I have yet to try their version, but this one was very sinful.  So I decided to type up the recipe that they gave me...definitely will make it for upcoming events, and hopefully everyone else will get to it before I do.  I also plan on trying different types of candy bars as an alternative...

Ingredients


  • 6 (2 1/8 ounce) butterfinger candy bars, crushed
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (I use fat free)
  • 1 (12 ounce) carton Cool Whip (I use lite) 
  • 1 graham cracker crust

Directions
  1. Mix first three ingredients together.
  2. Put it in pie crust.
  3. Chill uncovered. (takes about an hour) 
(Can also try with heath bar, snickers, oreo cookies, etc.)

Broccoli & Cheese Soup

Weight Watchers Broccoli Cheese Soup - 2 Pts Per Cup
So the girls at work are big Weight Watcher fanatics...and it seems to amaze me that they always seem to have the yummiest things to eat for lunch.  Our secretary brought this soup to work last week, and I was amazed.  Usually broccoli and cheese soup isn't the healthiest dish, so finding a healthier version was definitely Christmas for me...
(Serves 10-12)

Ingredients


  • 3 (14 1/2 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 2 (1 lb) bags frozen broccoli
  • 1 (10 1/2 ounce) can rotel brand tomatoes and green chilies
  • 10 ounces Velveeta reduced fat cheese product

Directions

  1. Mix chicken broth, frozen broccoli and tomatoes and chilies together.
  2. Simmer for 25 minutes or until veggies are tender.
  3. Cube Velveeta and put into soup pot.
  4. Simmer just until cheese is melted.
  5. This recipe freezes and refrigerates well. I make a large recipe at the beginning of the week and use it to snack on when I'm in danger of breaking my diet. I can have a large bowl and some crusty bread with it and still be under 5 points.

Potatoes Au Gratin

Potatoes Au Gratin - Skinny Version!!!
Weight Watchers 3 Pts (Low-Fat)
I'm a sucker for potatoes au gratin, and I feel guilty every time I eat it...but it's SO DARN GOOD!!!  So, after digging through some weight watchers recipes, I came across this one and decided to try it...and it's even better than the fatty version...
(Serves 8 - 3 points)
Ingredients


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups nonfat milk
  • 2 lbs potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded low-fat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Melt butter in a large frypan over medium heat; add in onion and cook stirring occasionally until onion begins to brown (about 5 minutes).
  4. Stir in flour, then slowly add in milk.
  5. Add in potatoes; stir to mix; bring to a boil.
  6. Stir in 3/4 cup cheese, salt and black pepper.
  7. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish then spread out.
  8. Bake for 1 hour uncovered.
  9. After 1 hour cooking time cover with foil and continue to bake another 20 minutes more.
  10. Change oven to broil heat.
  11. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over potatoes and broil 6-inches from heat until the cheese is golden (about 1-2 minutes).
  12. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Another Veggie Soup

Another Veggie Soup
(0 Points -Weight Watchers)
I'm a veggie fanatic, and this soup is healthy, 0 points, and absolutely amazing.  If you like to eat light for lunch like I do, this may become a favorite.  You can eat as much of this as you want and not grow a muffin top!  :)  Also, if there's a veggie that you'd like to add or subtract, feel free!  Also, I use bags of frozen veggies just to make it a little more simple.  Either way, it's healthy and easy!
This recipe serves 12.
Ingredients
  • 6 cups nonfat beef broth
  • 3 cups green cabbage, Diced
  • 2 cups cauliflower, small florets
  • 1 1/3 cups carrots, Sliced
  • 1 cup onion, Diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, Minced
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 stalks celery, Diced
  • 1 bell pepper, Diced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, Sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli, Chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, diced

Directions
  1. Add all the ingredients into a large pot or slow-cooker. (Add or subract veggies according to your preference) 
  2. Simmer until Veggies are cooked.
  3. Season to taste.
  4. Note: you may want to exchange the Beef broth for Fat-Free Chicken Broth or Fat-Free Vegetable Broth depending on your preference. 
It's THAT simple, and SO good for you!!!!

A little FYI, Below is a list of the zero points vegetables:
  • asparagus
  • beets
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts (I sometimes add this to mine, and pretty much love brussel sprouts in all of my vegetable soups)
  • cabbage (**You MUST put cabbage!  Somehow, this is the secret to this soup**)
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • cucumber (Don't think this would go so well in this soup!)
  • eggplant
  • leeks
  • lettuce
  • mushrooms
  • okra
  • peppers
  • pumpkin (Double EWWW for this soup!)
  • radishes
  • salsa (maybe a little rotel wouldn't hurt?)
  • sauerkraut
  • snow peas
  • spinach
  • sprouts
  • squash
  • tomatoes (I know, it's a fruit)
  • turnips


Grilled Green Shrimp

Grilled Green Shrimp = Delish!!
This is a very simple and yummy recipe for grilled green "skrimp".  It's delicious, healthy and definitely bound to make your mouth a happy camper!  These babies don't stand a chance...once you give in to one of them, you're bound to kidnap the rest.
Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Directions
  1. To prepare the marinade, combine the parsley, basil, garlic, oil, salt and pepper in a zip-close plastic bag. Add the shrimp. Refrigerate, turning the bag occasionally, 1 hour to overnight.
  2. Spray a nonstick ridge grill pan with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Working in batches, if necessary, grill the shrimp until they are just opaque in the center and lightly browned on the outside, 2-3 minutes on each side.

Roasted Veggies

Roasted Veggies - 0 Weight Watchers Points!

This is a very easy and yummy side dish...not to mention...HEALTHY!  It also goes well with sauteed shrimp. ZERO POINTS (Weight Watchers)! *Note - this recipe calls for 1 medium or 1 large squash and zucchini - all depends on your preference. (SERVES 8)




Ingredients:

olive oil flavored cooking spray, divided (4 sprays)

2 medium sweet red peppers, seeded and quartered

1 medium green pepper, seeded and quartered

summer squash, halved lengthwise

zucchini, halved lengthwise

1 cup red onion, sliced

12 ounces canned artichoke hearts, without oil, drained

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray.
  2. Arrange peppers, squash, zucchini, onion and artichokes on prepared baking sheets, flesh side up, and coat vegetables with cooking spray; sprinkle with thyme, salt and black pepper.
  3. Roast until vegetables are tender and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Chop vegetables into bite-size pieces and serve. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.

Cabbage Soup: 0 points

0 Point Weight Watchers Cabbage Soup
32 min | 7 min prep

0 points - Weight Watchers Cabbage soup you can eat as much of this as you like and it's soo good for you.
SERVES 6 -8 , 1 cup



Ingredients
3 cups nonfat beef broth or nonfat vegetable broth or nonfat chicken broth (beef is the best)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups chopped cabbage
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup green beans
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt &  pepper

Directions
  1. Spray pot with non stick cooking spray saute onions carrots and garlic for 5 minutes.
  2. Add broth, Tomato paste, cabbage, green beans, basil, oregano and Salt & Pepper to taste.
  3. Simmer for a about 5-10 minutes until all vegetables are tender then add the zuccini and simmer for another 5 or so minutes.
  4. You may try different variations. Leaving out green beans. Adding chopped green onions in addition to the yellow onion, etc.
  5. All very good. You can customize it a bit.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Marshall University

Marshall University

Photobucket
Everyone knows that I'm a big GINORMOUS fan of Mathew McConaughey, and also a fan of one of his better movies, "We Are Marshall."  In March of 2007, I flew to Lexington, KY to attend a baby shower of one of my best friends, Jessica Williamson.  At the time, Jessica was living in North Carolina, so following her baby shower I helped her load her things from her Mom's house and I took a road trip back to Greensboro, NC with her.  Along the way, we passed through Virginia and West Virginia.  Knowing that Marshall University was in West Virginia, I BEGGED til I had the voice of a mute for her to stop and let me stand on the grounds of that University.  Now may I remind you, I was begging someone with some massive pregnancy hormones brewing, but somehow, in her kind, pregnant heart, she found it in her to drive 5 extra minutes for me to witness the University first hand.  I must admit, it was very moving...
November 14, 1970 ... Remembered

Memorial of the 1970 Marshall University Football Team Plane

The event that touched so many peoples lives:
On a rainy hill side in Wayne County, West Virginia, the lives of 75 people were lost in the worst single air tragedy in NCAA sports history. Among the losses were nearly the entire Marshall University football team, coaches, flight crew, numerous fans, and supporters. The event marked a boundary by which an entire community would forever measure time... before or after "The Crash". I've decided to write this blog in memorial to the lives that were lost on that evening; to honor those men and women who made a mark in the hearts of a school, a community and a nation.  It just goes to show you how much can be lost, and how much it takes to bring a community back together, not to mention, a whole team.  What's a team without it's players?





In 2006, more than 35 years later, Warner Bros. produced a feature film about the crash and Marshall's struggle to field a team in the ensuing years - "We Are Marshall" - If you haven't seen it, go out and get it, it's truly touching, and not to mention, Mathew McConaughey is just truly amazing to look at.

Catalpa Worms

Catalpa Worms
A fisherman's "Jackpot"
Sooo...Toni and I went to Hammond, LA with the guys to take down tree stands, and we stumbled upon this huge nest of worms in a tree.  It was one of the craziest things that nature has ever put in front of my face.  Being the great fisherwomen that we are, you would've thought that we knew that we'd hit the "jackpot" in fisherman's terms, but we had no clue what we'd just discovered.  That's until Brandon informed us, and repeated about 500 times, that those are "the best brim bait you can get!!!!"



Interesting Facts:
The worm oozes a bright fluorescent green fluid that smells sweet when put on a hook. The tough skin makes for staying hooked and a fresh worm will attract fish with its smell and its wiggle. It is revered as the best fish bait to be found naturally.


Catalpa worms can be preserved alive by placing them in cornmeal packed in an air tight container and frozen. It has been said that when this container is opened and the worms are removed from the meal, they thaw and become active and as effective in catching fish as ever. (How crazy is that?!!!!!)

Another method of preserving the caterpillar for future use is "pickling" them in a baby food jar filled with corn syrup. The jar should be immediately stored in a refrigerator and has an indefinite shelf life.