Friday, September 26, 2014

Easy Double Chocolate Mousse

This is images from exactly the recipe, which is meant to be lower calorie, less fat than "regular." You could make this with a number of substitutions. Also, I forgot fresh berries.

1 ½ cups cold fat free milk, divided
2 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 pkg. (4-serving size) chocolate flavor fat free sugar free instant reduced calorie pudding & pie filling
2 cups thawed Cool Whip Free whipped topping, divided

½ cup fresh berries

  1. Combine 1 cup of the milk and chocolate in large microwavable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 2 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in remaining ½ cup milk.
  2. Add dry pudding mix; beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. 
  3. Refrigerate 20 min. 
  4. Gently stir in 1 ½ cups of the whipped topping. 
  5. Spoon into 6 dessert dishes.
  6. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with remaining whipped topping and berries just before serving. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.


  • Makes 6 servings, ½ cup each.
  • Prep: 15 min. Total 35 min. (incl. Refrigeration)
  • Use any type of milk, any Cool Whip, or 4 oz chocolate pudding mix.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Summer Pasta Salad

This is a super easy to make, great to bring to potlucks or for serving large groups of people pasta salad. The only catch is that you need to remember to make it a few hours before you want to serve it so it can chill in your fridge for a bit. I have no idea the origin of this recipe. I've been making it since the kids were babies to bring to summer potluck events and when we'd host gatherings at our house during the summer.

1 lb. tri-colored rotini, cooked and rinsed
1-2 tomatoes, chopped (I almost always use Roma because they hold their shape better.)
1 cucumber, chopped
small amount of onion, chopped, if desired
8 oz. Italian dressing

Mix well and chill for several hours before serving.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Old World Manicotti

This is a great basic recipe for manicotti. The great thing about this recipe is that you can fancy up any portion of it. We've done stuffing with chicken and cheese, we've done alfredo sauce, a half-and-half red/white sauce, and we've done it just as is.

12 large manicotti shells
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided into 1 & 3
2 cups ricotta cheese
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 tablespoons dried basil
1 (26-ounce) jar prepared spaghetti sauce, divided

½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray 13 x 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; rinse with cool water. Let pasta dry on wax paper and pat with paper towels.
  3. For filling, in medium bowl, stir together 3 cups mozzarella with the ricotta and fresh basil. Using a teaspoon (hands are better) carefully stuff pasta shells with prepared cheese mixture.
  4. Spoon 2 cups spaghetti sauce into prepared baking dish. Arrange stuffed pasta over sauce. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over top of pasta. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
  5. Bake manicotti for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan; bake for 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes                
  • Cook time: 25 minutes   
  • Serves 6

Friday, September 19, 2014

Molten Chocolate Cakes

I'm nearly certain this recipe came out of the newspaper years ago. It's a favorite to make. It doesn't always come out right, even when you've made it before. 

6 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup frozen whipped topping (pressurized can)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup butter
1 cup unsifted powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons flour

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Butter 4 custard cups or souffle dishes. Place on baking sheet.
  2. Microwave chocolate and 1/2 cup butter in large microwavable bowl on high 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour. Divide batter between prepared custard cups.
  3. Bake 13 to 14 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 minute. Carefully run small knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto dessert dishes. Top with 1 Tbsp of whipped topping and serve immediately.


  • Batter can be make a day ahead. Pour into prepared custard cups, cover with platic wrap and refrigerate. Bake as directed.
  • Serves 8 (1/2 cake each).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Heart Healthy Glazed Sweet Potatoes

For those who like sweet potatoes sweet, this is a great recipe. For all of us (except the person in the family who is not a sweet potato fan), this is a winning recipe. 

l/4 cup water
2 tblsp brown sugar
2 tblsp honey or maple syrup or agave
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds sweet potatoes (4 large) peeled and cut into wedges

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. 
  2. Lightly coat a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. 
  3. In a small bowl whisk water, brown sugar, honey/agave/syrup and olive oil until smooth. 
  4. Place a single layer of sweet potatoes in the pan and pour the sauce over them and turning to coat. 
  5. Cover and bake until tender (about 45 min.) 
  6. Turn the sweet potatoes once or twice to coat. 
  7. When tender, remove the cover and continue to bake for about 15 more minutes to set the glaze.


  • You can use yellow sweet potatoes, yams, Okinawan sweet potatoes, or any colored sweet potato. It all is excellent.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pizzoccheri (Italian Buckwheat Noodle Casserole)

This dish came from Robin Asbell's The New Whole Grain Cookbook. I consider it a vegetarian main dish. In the notes, I have the tips to make it vegan. 

1 tablespoon butter (use vegan butter)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
14 ounces savoy cabbage, thinly sliced (6 cups)
4 ounces thin French beans or green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch slices
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 8-ounce package soba noodles
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper
6 ounces aged fontina cheese, shredded (skip for vegan)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. 
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. 
  3. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large saute pan and cook the cabbage and French beans over medium heat. (French beans will cook more quickly than green beans.) When tender and golden , about 5 minutes, add the garlic and sage, and cook for a few more minutes. 
  4. Take the pan off the heat. 
  5. Cook the soba in the boiling water according to the package directions, drain, then mix with the cabbage in the pan, adding the salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Lightly oil a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish, and put half of the noodle mixture in the bottom. Top with half of the cheese, then the remaining noodles, and finally the remaining cheese. 
  7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until melted and golden. 
  • For vegan option, use vegan butter and skip the cheese. (Or if you know of a good vegan Fontina-like cheese, use that.)
  • You can also make this a day ahead, refrigerate, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Serves 6.
  • A whole wheat spaghetti could also be used if you can't find soba. If you want to be true to the Italian tradition, use a homemade buckwheat pasta and roll it out by hand.
  • Ryan made the suggestion to add chicken to the casserole to make it "feel more complete" for the omnivores in the family.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Grilled Steak and Vegetable Salad (with Vegan Option)

This is a fairly easy recipe to make on a warm day. It really did only take 45 minutes total (including adding a couple sides), so not too long to make. This has both the original recipe (not sure the original location) and a veganized version. I am a vegan living in an omnivore household, so two versions of many of our recipes get made and reported.


1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 lb flat iron steak
1 medium yellow squash, slicedd 1/2-inch thick
1 medium onion, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 red pepper, sliced 1/2-inch thick
8 cups salad lettuce mix


  1. Combine red wine, soy sauce, garlic rosemary, thyme and olive oil to make marinade sauce, then divide.  Marinate steaks with half of the red wine sauce for 30 minutes. While meat is marinating, wash and trim squash, onion, and pepper. Cut all vegetables into 1/2-inch thick slices.
  2. Prepare grill (medium-high heat.) Grill steaks to desired doneness. Cut steaks crosswise into strips and set aside. Brush remaining sauce on sliced vegetables and grill until just cooked through, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes.
  3. Serve steak and vegetables over salad lettuce mix and serve warm (in one dish or plated singly.) Alternate option: serve meat, veggies, and lettuce in separate dishes for everyone to serve themselves. 


Everything is the same, except use Field Roast or your favorite vegan meat instead of a flat iron steak. You can skip marinading the vegan meat. You can also skip the vegan meat altogether and do more veggies. More peppers, onions, squashes, or add zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes, or any other veggies you think would grill nicely. 


  • Prep: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • I served this with fresh French baguette and a pasta side, since veggies were in abundance. 
  • Please note that anything that calls for options that could be vegan or not, the vegan option is preferred (such as red wine, butter, milk.)