PB and J – Cake Balls Recipe

I grew up eating a lot of diet foods like lean cuisines and sugar-free products but these days I live the philosophy of everything in moderation and by everything I mean real foods. So I’ve replaced splenda with real sugar and large portions with smaller portions. I think its important to be able to live your life for the things that you enjoy and food is definitely one of the things that I enjoy in life. I’m very blessed to have amazing friends and this holiday I’ve been invited to a Holiday Sweet Exchange, which is similar to a cookie exchange but doesn’t limit your sweets to only cookies. So I’ve decided to make my take on PB & J Cake balls. I figured it might be fun seeing as it’s the holidays and everyone is baking this time of year to blog about how to make these delicious treats.

Ingredients:

Strawberry cake mix (and ingredients as needed to make the cake)

Peanut Butter candies

1 can of Cream cheese frosting

Directions:

First step – Bake the cake as directed on the box and allow it to cool.

cake baked and crumbled up in the pan

Second step – Mix the cooled cake with a 1 can of frosting and roll into individual balls. Freeze the balls for at least 1 hour+ so that they harden.

Cake + Frosting

'cake balls'

Third step – Melt the peanut candies in the microwave (30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until they are completely melted). Take the cake balls out of the freezer and dip them in the melted candies using a spoon (or two) to completely cover each ball. Place them on parchment paper to cool.

PB & J cake balls

Fourth step – Once the chocolate has set, you can plate them and serve them to your guests.

I also took a few additional pictures of all the holiday goodies from the event I attended – YUM!

sweet treats

Yummy food and treats and a great bunch of ladies equals a great time! Thanks for hosting Jen xoxo

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Mashed Potato Breaded Chicken

This is one of my new favorite recipes – Mashed potato breaded chicken (it works with fish too!)

This is an easy recipe and a very filling meal for someone who is trying to limit their carbohydrate intake in the evenings (like me because I leave for a family Hawaii vacation in 3 weeks)…

Ingredients:

  • Organic Chicken tenders
  • Powdered Mashed Potatoes (I use the Trader Joe’s brand because its more natural than the variety at the grocery store – check the label and make sure there isn’t anything that you can’t pronounce before you serve it to your family)
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Take the chicken tenders and dip them in olive oil and then roll them in a half a serving of powdered mashed potatoes.  Spray a pan with non-stick spray and place the chicken tenders in the pan.  Cook for 20-30 minutes or until its golden brown.

Trader Joe's Mashed Potatoes

Potato Flakes in a bowl

Extra Virgin Olive Oil on a plate

Breaded Chicken (raw)

Breaded Chicken (cooked and golden brown)

Use the other half of the powdered mashed potatoes to make a side dish for yourself or your family.  And you could always cook both packets because the box comes with 2 servings if 1/2 isn’t enough for your family.

Plated Meal - Mashed Potato Breaded Chicken and my version of Urth Salad

Recommended side dishes:

  • Mixed green salad (My version of the Urth Salad comes with organic mixed greens, chopped cucumbers, chopped carrots, hearts of palm, chopped bell peppers, pine nuts, goat cheese, and Trader Joe’s Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette)
  • Mashed potatoes

Note: this recipe was adapted from an idea that my Mom gave me, love you Mommy xoxo!

Easy Individual Vegetable Lasagna

I know it doesn’t feel like Fall just yet but the day I decided to make this recipe I also indulged in my favorite fall treat – the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks…  All the stores are carrying fall decor and some are even carrying Christmas decor (Sam’s Club & Michaels).  As I walked through the grocery store trying to figure out what I was going to make for dinner I started thinking of baked squash and eggplant and vegetable lasagna sounded like a great match….

Ingredients:

no bake lasagna pasta (whole foods makes rice pasta if you are interested in gluten free, I used the pasta from Trader Joe’s)

1 eggplant

1 zucchini

1 bell pepper (optional)

any cheese – ricotta, mozzarella, Daiya (mozzarella flavor), etc…

chunky marinara sauce (canned or make your own – remember this is titled ‘easy’)

canola spray

small baking tins for individual portions

Directions:

Lasagna is fun to make!  Preheat oven at 375F degrees.  Start with a layer of tomato sauce, add a layer of pasta, then a layer of cheese. Then add a thin layer of eggplant (I prefer to remove the skin).  Then you can add the tomato sauce, pasta, and cheese layer again. Continue with Zucchini and bell pepper  (optional) repeating the sauce, pasta, and cheese layer in between.  Bake for approximately 45 minutes.  I baked it with a piece of foil on top for 25 minutes and an additional 20 minutes with foil off.

Now Bode doesn’t eat much ‘adult’ foods yet but this would be a fun treat to make with your little one allowing them to do the layering and making their own food.  You can eat this as your meal or add a side of chicken or fish or incorporate ground beef or turkey into the individual lasagna layers.  Do what works best for your family and your day of the week, life is never predictable so work with what you’ve got!

I browned the zucchini with some olive oil and seasoning (dried oregano, basil, parsley)

First layer includes tomato sauce, lasanga, cheese, and more sauce...

Zucchini layer with cheese...

Eggplant layer with cheese...

Last layer of chunky marinara sauce...

Just out of the oven 🙂

Healthy Fish Tacos

My husband and I have been eating a lot more fish in our diets and so I’ve been trying different ways to cook fish (besides barbeque).  I always get worried about my house having that fishy smell so it always seems like a risk.  I  adapted this recipe from a breaded baked chicken recipe I make fairly often. But I was even more excited when I discovered whole wheat panko crumbs at Sprouts this afternoon.  For someone that likes chicken but gets tired of eating it at every meal and wants to try something new this is a great recipe.  Cod isn’t very fishy and has a firm texture similar to chicken.  I even got a great response from my picky husband who rarely applauds my risk-taking meals (pretty much anything that I haven’t made before).  So it looks like this recipe is a keeper and we’ll be making it again soon!

Ingredients:

1 lb of cod fillet

corn tortillas (I used La Tortilla factory that were seasoned with chiles)

1 lemon

1 egg

whole wheat panko crumbs (approximately 1 cup)

seasoning including – parsley, garlic powder, oregano

bag of cole slaw (cabbage)

fresh salsa

homemade guacamole (optional)

white sauce – 1/2 c mayo, 1/8 c grain milk, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp garlic salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.  Add egg and lemon (1/2 tsp) juice and 1/4 tsp of lemon rind in one bowl.  Add panko crumbs and seasoning in another bowl. take the fillet and dip it into the egg mixture first and then the crumb mixture and then lay on a baking sheet sprayed with vegetable spray.  Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and put on top of the stove.  preheat broiler.  Broiler for 2 minutes or until bread crumbs are crispy.  Make homemade guacamole.  Mix together ingredients for white sauce and put in refrigerator.  To prepare, warm tortillas in the oven and lay the fish in the middle, then layer the coleslaw mix, salsa, white sauce (guacamole – optional).  These are very filling but if you want you can serve it with a mixed green salad on the side.  I ate two, and my husband had four. 🙂

Bon Appetit!

Summertime BBQ Season

It’s that time of year where everyone is heating up their barbeques and getting together with family and friends to enjoy the summertime.  I will sometimes have a hard time finding foods to eat when I attend other people’s BBQ’s because I’m picky and unfortunately I know exactly how many calories and fat is in all of the food choices, so I always make sure I bring something that I like to eat.  And this recipe just so happens to get eaten up by everyone:

Strawberry, Candied Walnut, Goat Cheese (optional) Salad

Ingredients:

Organic spring mix (or spinach)

Fresh Strawberries

Candied Walnuts (Ingredients – raw walnuts – 1 ½ cups, sugar – ½ cup, and salt – few pinches)

Goat Cheese (optional – note that a little of this goes a long way)

Balsamic dressing (I prefer Trader Joe’s Fat Free version)

First off, I make the candied walnuts by putting them on a baking sheet (oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 5 minutes.  Then you allow them to cool.  While those are cooling I slice the strawberries so that they look nice and I typically leave the ends out.  Once the walnuts cool you can put the sugar in a pan on medium to high heat.  Once the sugar starts to caramelize (nice light brown color), you turn off the heat and add the walnuts coating them using a wood spoon.  Before the sugar cools completely I lay down a piece of parchment paper or wax paper with a little cooking spray on top and pull them apart.  Sprinkle a few pinches of salt on top and let them cool completely.  Once you are ready to serve the salad put all the ingredients in a large bowl including the dressing.

I love this salad because it’s delicious and easy!  The combination of fresh strawberries and greens, crunchiness from the walnuts, creaminess from the goat cheese, and all mixed together with the balsamic dressing… my mouth is watering, ENJOY!

Sugar in pan (before melted)

Sugar melting in the pan

Sugar melting in the pan

Homemade candied walnuts

Tossed Salad - Yum!

Namaste

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Now that I am a full-time working mom my ‘easy’ recipes are coming in handy because I love to cook but don’t have all the time that I used to have when it was just me and my husband.  My mom used to make this recipe all the time growing up and I make it at least once a month because it’s easy and delicious.

Ingredients:

5 ounces Organic chicken Breasts

Salsa

Your favorite enchilada sauce (green or red)

Corn or flour tortillas (note: corn is a little messier but I prefer this flavor over flour)

Shredded cheese (I’ll be using Daiya made from tapioca, cheddar flavor)

Green chilies (optional)

Non-stick spray

Avocado

Directions:

Spray your crock pot with non-stick spray and place your organic chicken breasts inside.  Pour about 1 cup of salsa on top.  Turn on high if cooking quickly or low if you have more time.

Chicken in the crockpot with mango salsa

Once the chicken is cooked take it out of the crock pot and leave the remaining salsa inside the Crockpot.  Shred the chicken in a bowl.  Mix chicken with about ¼ cup of enchilada sauce and 1/3 cup of shredded cheese.

Shredded chicken with cheese and enchilada sauce

Heat tortillas (I use the microwave).  Scoop in desired amount of chicken filling into each enchilada, roll up, and place in a pan sprayed with non-stick spray.  Once you have finished filling all the enchiladas pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top.  Sprinkle with about ¼ cup of shredded cheese.

Cover the pan with foil.

Now you can either refrigerate this for a later or bake right now.  If baking right now, turn the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  20 minutes with foil on top.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  If you are eating later, 30 minutes with foil on top.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with avocado slices or guacamole and a green vegetable.  Remember that it should look aesthetically pleasing.  A variety of colors is important!

Finished meal!

Bon Appetite