This is going to have to one of those "short and to the point" posts. I'm heading off to St. Louis to do a technology presentation for a group of librarians and need to hit the road (it's storming - yuck!).
Here's this week's menu. Enjoy and have a great week! Be sure to follow me on Facebook to get fast updates from the blog. :)

Sunday - Grilled Pork Tenderloin (130 cal), Ranch Rice, Green Beans, Salad (shifted from last week)
Monday - Eat in St. Louis (boys will be eating Frito Pie at home)
Tuesday - Eat at my family Reading Night (Chicken Enchilada Soup -130 cal & Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup - 114 cal)
Wednesday - Oven Fried Chicken (179 cal), Cheddar Potato Strips (206 cal), Green Beans, Salad
Thursday - Grilled Tilapia (200 cal), Rice, Brussels Sprouts, Salad
Friday - Pizza Burgers (300 cal), Oven Baked Fries (157 cal), Green Beans, Salad
Saturday - Parmesan Crusted Chicken in Cream Sauce (166 cal), Asparagus, Salad, Strawberries

For more menu ideas, visit


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 oz each)j
1/4 cup skim milk
1 egg white
1 T onion powder
1 T garlic powder
1 t paprika
2/3 cup Bisquick Heart Smart


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with no stick spray or line with parchment paper.

Mix milk and egg white in shallow bowl. Mix spices and Bisquick in separate shallow bowl.

Dip each chicken breast into the egg mixture, and then dredge in Bisquick for form a coating.

Place chicken on baking sheet. Spray lightly with olive oil in a mister bottle. Bake 40 minutes, until crust is golden.

Makes 4 servings


3/4 cup Imagine Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth 
5 Reduced Fat Ritz Crackers, finely crushed 
2 T Reduced Fat Parmesan Cheese 
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 oz. each) 
2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese 
1 T chopped chives

Mix cracker crumbs and Parmesan on plate. Rinse chicken with cold water; gently shake off excess. Dip chicken in crumb mixture, turning to evenly coat both sides of each breast. Discard any remaining crumb mixture.

Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium heat sprayed with olive oil. Add chicken; cook 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to plate and cover to keep warm. Add broth, chives and cream cheese to skillet; bring just to boil, stirring constantly. Cook 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Spoon over chicken and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from Kraft
What a great week I had! We didn't have any snow days and the temperatures were in the low 60s all week! I had fun making "biography stew" with my second graders in library this week. And to top it all off, I had a wonderful birthday dinner date with my husband on Friday, my son won first place in the math contest on Saturday, and I got to go for a 16 mile bike ride on a beautiful, sunny day. Life is good!

I made a new soup for my lunches this week that is really tasty, but you have to be a cabbage lover to appreciate it. It's hearty and tasty, makes 14 cups of soup, and is only 113 calories a serving. Be sure to give this one a try.

My menu this week has lots of simple items that are family favorites. The warm weather has really encouraged me to grill. Here's this week's menu. Enjoy and have a great week! Be sure to follow me on Facebook to get fast updates from the blog. :)

Sunday - Sirloin steaks on the grill (200 cal), Cheesy Mashed Potatoes (178 cal), Green Beans, Salad
Monday - Pepperoni Pizza Stuffed Potatoes (233 cal), Broccoli, Salad, Strawberries
Tuesday - Chili (from freezer - 245 cal), Salad, Peaches
Wednesday - Spaghetti with Meatballs (453 cal), Broccoli, Salad
Thursday - Grilled Bruschetta Chicken (213 cal), Grilled Asparagus, Salad, Peaches
Friday - Hamburgers (230 cal), Oven Baked Fries (157 cal), Green Beans, Salad
Saturday - Grilled Pork Tenderloin (130 cal), Ranch Rice (add a packet of ranch mix to your rice while cooking), Green Beans, Salad

For more menu ideas, visit

Here's a different take on pizza for dinner. You could substitute your favorite pizza toppings if you don't like pepperoni.


3 medium russet or Idaho potatoes
3 oz shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
17 slices turkey pepperoni slices, chopped
1/2 cup Hunts Garlic and Herb Past Sauce


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Poke holes in potatoes with a fork, wrap in foil and bake for about 45-55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Once cool, slice a thin slice off the top of the potato and scoop out the flesh. Be careful not to poke holes in the bottom (it’s okay if you do – it happens!). Put scooped potatoes in a bowl and mix with 2 oz mozzarella and pepperoni. Mix well. Scoop mixture back into potatoes and spoon pizza sauce over top. Sprinkle with remaining 1 oz cheese. Bake for 10-15 more minutes or until cheese melts.

Number of Servings: 3

This hearty stew is low in calories and high on taste.


1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, removed from casings
1 large yellow onion, half sliced, and half minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 15 ounce can white beans (great northern), drained
1 quart Imagine Organic Low Sodium chicken broth
1 quart water
1 cabbage (about 2 pounds), quartered, then sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 bay leaves
1 cup chopped parsley, loosely packed (optional, for garnish)


Brown sausage in large stock pot. Drain, discard fat, and set aside.

In the same pot, add the minced onion (save the sliced onion for later) and saute for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the white wine and the beans and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. If you want a thicker base to your stew, use an immersion blender to blend some or all of the beans and onions.

Add the water, stock, cabbage, sliced onion, bay leaves and browned sausage. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then uncover and continue cooking until the cabbage is tender, about another 10-20 minutes.

To serve, sprinkle on chopped parsley.

Serves 10

Adapted from Simply Recipes
Believe it or not, we were of school again this week for snow! It snowed on Tuesday night, and we were out the rest of the week. This is the most snow our area of the country has had in years! We've only had two weeks in January and February that we went to school all five days. And today, it's 60 degrees, with the forecast for Thursday saying 68! Crazy Missouri weather - gotta love it!

Because of my bonus days, I got to do some extra cooking. I made very tasty cupcakes for Valentine's Day, and I created the most spectacular soup recipe ever! I'm not kidding! You must give my Fire Roasted Chicken Tortilla Soup a try.

This week is a fun week for me. Monday is Valentine's Day and Friday is my birthday. You gotta love having two special days in one week! And, Corey has a math contest on Saturday. Eric and I love math contest day. We are always amazed at what those kids can do that we can't!

As far as my menu goes this week, I have a new pasta dish scheduled for Monday based off a recipe from my friend Kelly. I just lightened it up. :) I have my book club on Thursday, so the boys will be eating stuff from the freezer, and Saturday we go out to eat for my birthday (I hate fighting Friday night restaurant crowds). Here's this week's menu. Enjoy and have a great week! Be sure to follow me on Facebook to get fast updates from the blog. :)

Sunday - Bacon Wrapped Grilled Chicken (no recipe - just wrap a piece of bacon around a chicken breast and grill it! - 123 cal), Grilled Asparagus, Salad, Peaches
Monday - Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta (367 cal), Broccoli, Salad
Tuesday - Mexican Gumbo (393 cal), Salad
Wednesday - South Seas Pork Chops (173 cal), Grilled Pineapple, Green Beans, Salad
Thursday - Book Club (boys will be eating turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes from my freezer stash)
Friday - Catalina Meatballs with Noodles (515 cal), Green Beans, Salad
Saturday - Out to eat at Houlihan's for my birthday

For more menu ideas, visit

This may be my best soup creation ever! I have to admit, I'm pretty proud of this one. I tried lots of versions of tortilla soup over the years, but hadn't found the one that was the perfect flavor combination. I finally decided I just needed to create my own, and boy am I glad I did! The combination of the fire roasted tomatoes (yes, you must use these!), chipotle and green chiles, and the hint of cumin make this a spicy, flavorful soup that my family can't get enough of. And talk about healty, it's only 103 calories per cup, has 1 gram of fat, and 5 grams of fiber! Woo hoo! This just might be the perfect soup recipe. :)

4 cups Imagine Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 4 oz. can chopped green chiles
4 14.5 oz cans Hunt's Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 cup fresh salsa (you'll find it in the refrigerated case in the produce section)
1 cup water
3 T masa flour
2 cups cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups cooked black beans (made from dry, not canned)


In a large stock pot mix the chicken broth, chili powder, cumin, green chiles, and tomatoes. Add the the onion, chipotles, and salsa. Use an imersion blender to mix to a semi-smooth texture. Turn heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Whisk together the masa and water in a small bowl and add to the pot. Add chicken, beans, and corn. Simmer for 30 more minutes.

Makes 16 cups

I'm always looking for ways to cut calories in my recipes, especially dessert! I'm not a person to give up dessert just because I want to eat healthier. I modified my favorite strawberry cake recipe to make these cupcakes, which are just as the title describes. At 133 calories and 2 grams of fat, you can definitely splurge on these when you have a sweet craving. They are a perfect Valentine treat. :)


1 pkg. Pillsbury Moist Supreme Class White Cake Mix
1 pkg. Strawberry Flavor Sugar Free Jello Gelatin Mix
1 cup no sugar added applesauce
3/4 cup mashed fresh strawberries

1 pkg. (8 oz) fat free cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups thawed Fat Free Cool Whip
1/4 cup mashed fresh strawberries


 Combine cake mix and dry gelatin mix in large mixer bowl. Add applesauce and 3/4 cup strawberries and beat with mixer until well blended.

Pour batter into into 24 cupcake cups lined with paper liners.

Bake 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely.

To make frosting, beat cream cheese in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in sugar. Add drained 1/4 cup berries; mix well. Whisk in Cool Whip. Frost tops of cupcakes.

Keep refrigerated.

Makes 24 cupcakes

My husband says these are restaurant quality desserts. I think it's amazing what putting smaller portions in a fancy glass can do for a dessert. This definitely tastes rich and decadent, but its just about 200 calories a serving! Plus, they are super easy to make.


4 brownies (made from Best Choice Low Fat Mix, then cut into 18 pieces)
1 box Jello Sugar Free Fat Free White Chocolate Pudding Mix
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tub Fat Free Cool Whip


You will need four individual dessert glasses to layer the trifle ingredients. If you don't have a dessert glass, you could use a wine class or small drink glass.

Cut each brownie in to very small cubes. Keep portions separate for easy dividing.

Beat milk, pudding mix, and whipped topping in medium bowl with wire whisk 1 minute. Mixture will be thick.

In dessert glass, put the equivalent of 1/2 of a brownie in the bottom of the glass. Add a layer of the pudding mixture (about 2 T). Add the rest of the brownie, and then another layer of pudding. Top with whipped topping and chocolate chips if desired (adds additional calories).

Number of Servings: 4

This sounds like it should be a very heavy, fattening dish, but by using the right ingredients, I've made it one that fits in with my family's healthier eating style. The bacon and ranch flavors make this an outstanding pasta dish that everyone in your family will love.


6 slices Oscar Meyer Center Cut Bacon
4 4 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 T all-purpose flour
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
1 1/4 cup skim milk
8 oz Ronzoni Smart Taste Extra Wide Noodles
1 T Reduced Fat Parmesan Topping


Cook bacon in microwave safe glass dish lined with paper towels. Cover with paper towel and cook on high three minutes or to desired crispness. Chop in to small pieces. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, cook chicken until lightly brown. Sprinkle flour and salad dressing mix over the chicken and stir will. Stir in milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add bacon and stir.

Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain.

Serve chicken mixture with noodles. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Makes 4 servings

Well, we survived the "blizzard" of 2011 here in southwest Missouri. It began snowing Tuesday morning, and by Tuesday afternoon, we had 8 inches of snow on the ground. That's a lot of snow for our area. We were under a blizzard warning for 24 hours due to the temperatures, falling snow, and wind. Corey and I ended up being out of school for the rest of the week. On Friday, we gained additional snow and ended up with a total of 12 inches.  This week they are calling for more snow during the middle of the week. It will be interesting to see what happens. We've already had so many snow days that we are now going to school until June 1
Here are some pictures of our snow!

While were trapped at home, my son did a blog makeover for me and designed a beautiful new header for me. :) What a great kid! I had my old one since 2007, so it was time for a new look. I also finally set up a Facebook page for the blog so people can get updates easier. I know that more of my friends use Facebook than they do feed readers, so I thought it would be a good thing. Be sure to check it out and "like" the page at

Like everyone else who was snowbound, I baked some yummy goodies while trapped in the house. The next time you have a snow day, you've got to try these banana chocolate chip muffins. They are wonderful, and you would never guess they are low calorie and low fat. Be sure to try one fresh from the oven.

Tonight was Super Bowl Sunday. Even though I don't care for football, I do enjoy having friends over for dinner. :) I made some simple finger foods for our "party". The Oven-Baked Bacon Cheese Dip and Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels were big hits with my family. We also had a veggie tray and Pepperoni Pizza Puffs.

This week's menu has lots of comfort food favorites. I spent a lot of time today cooking ahead for the week in case we do actually get to go to school all week. I decided to stop posting my breakfasts and lunches. It just takes too much time. I did make a spectacular breakfast today that you have to try - Sweet and Savory Bacon Stuffed French Toast. Doesn't the title just make your mouth water! Yum!

I am still posting the nutrition information on each of the recipes I post, so I hope you find that useful. Here's this week's menu. Enjoy and have a great week!

Sunday - Oven-Baked Bacon Cheese Dip (151 cal), Veggie Tray with Ranch Dip, Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels (130 cal), Pepperoni Pizza Puffs (43 cal/puff) Cheesecake Mousse (168 cal)
Monday - Lasagna Spaghetti (365 cal), Broccoli, Salad
Tuesday - Chicken Pockets (141 cal each), Green Beans, Salad, Peaches
Wednesday - Tuna Noodle Casserole (367 cal), Brussels Sprouts, Salad, Applesauce
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday -Sausage Pizza (193 cal/slice), Salad, Peaches
Saturday - Sirloin Steaks, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans, Salad, Peaches

For more menu ideas, go to

These spectacular muffins will satisfy your sweet tooth without forcing you to eat a ton of calories and fat. Each muffin has 138 calories and 2 grams of fat. Not bad for a sweet treat!


2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup applesauce
4 large, very, very ripe bananas
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with muffin papers and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mash the bananas in a bowl and mix in applesauce. Add to the flour mixture. Stir until combined. Add the chocolate chips and combine again.

Fill the muffin papers almost to the top. Bake for 20 minutes rotating the pan once during baking. Let cool in the pan for 5 - 10 minutes then serve.

Makes 16 muffins

These are a great protein-filled breakfast item. I like to make them ahead and store them in the fridge to eat throughout the week. You just heat them for 30 seconds in the microwave to warm them. Serve them with a low calorie, high fiber English muffin to get a great protein-carbohydrate combo to get your morning off to a great start. Add a side of fresh fruit to make it even better!


1/2 pound Honeysuckle White Turkey Breakfast Sausage
12 eggs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 cup (about 2 oz. weighed) shredded reduced fat 2% milk sharp cheddar cheese

(Feel free to add additional veggies such as mushroom, green pepper, etc. or substitute a different meat like ham or bacon)


Brown sausage in a nonstick skillet; drain any fat. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add the onion and seasonings. Mix in the sausage and cheese. Add 1/3 cup of mixture to greased muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins

These are a sweet tasty treat to enjoy with breakfast, a snack, or dessert. Each puff is about 90 calories.


1/2 c granulated sugar
1/3 c melted unsalted butter
1 large egg
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1-1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/2 c skim milk

1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
Mix together:
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 t cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350. Place butter, sugar, and egg in a large bowl and mix. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients and milk alternately, ending with milk.

Spray a mini-muffin pan with cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full (I use a small cookie scoop to make this easier) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven.

Roll the hot muffins in melted butter, then in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Makes 24 mini-muffins

This is one of those breakfast treats I make when I'm in a "bed and breakfast" kind of mood. You know, one of  those days when you get the luxury of sleeping in and not setting the alarm, and you just feel like having a spectacular breakfast. I know this sounds pretty decadent, but with some careful use of healthier products, this is actually a breakfast you can splurge on now and then. It's definitely one to pull out for special breakfast occasions. Pair it with some fresh strawberries or a fresh cut grapefruit and you have a spectacular breakfast that your family will love.


6 slices center cut bacon
2 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 T reduced calorie maple flavored syrup
6 slices Nature's Own Light Honey Wheat Bread
2 eggs
2 T skim milk


Cut bacon slices in half. Place slices in glass baking dish lined with paper towels. Cover with paper towel and microwave 2 minutes or until cooked to desired crispness.

Combine softened cream cheese, brown sugar and syrup in a small mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer until fluffy.

Spread the cream cheese mixture on one side of each slice of bread. Add 4 half slices of bacon on 3 of the bread slices. Top with the other slice of bread, cheese side down.

Whisk together eggs and milk in a shallow bowl. Preheat non-stick skillet or griddle (you can spray it with cooking spray before heating if desired). Dip both sides of the sandwich into the egg mixture. Cook 3 to 5 minutes per side until golden brown.

Serve as is, or top with additional syrup, a dollop of whipped cream or powdered sugar if desired (not included in nutrition information). This is a sweet recipe already, so use caution if adding toppings. :)

Number of servings: 3

These are a great snack if you have a salty-sweet craving. Be sure to portion them out to keep the calories where they should be. :)


2 T olive oil
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1-lb. pkg. small pretzel twists


Put pretzels and oil in a large ziplock bag. Shake to coat pretzels with oil. Add sugar and cinnamon to the bag and shake again to coat pretzels. Place coated pretzels on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake uncovered, in a 300 degree F oven for 30 minutes, stirring twice. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 16 one ounce servings.

This is a great dip for your Super Bowl party. How can you go wrong with warm, gooey cheese topped with bacon? By using low fat dairy products and lean bacon, the calorie count won't make you fumble either!

1/2 cup Hellmann's Low Fat Mayonnaise
1 8oz package reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese (about 3 oz if you weigh it)
2 green onions, finely chopped
Dash of cayenne pepper
5 reduced fat Ritz crackers, crushed
8 slices Oscar Meyer center cut bacon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place bacon slices in glass baking dish lined with paper towels. Cover with paper towel and microwave 3 minutes or until cooked to desired crispness. Cool and crumble. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, green onions and cayenne pepper until well blended. Transfer the mixture to a small baking dish or pie plate and spread evenly in the dish. Top mixture with cracker crumbs and bake for 15 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the pan from the oven and top with the bacon. Serve immediately with crackers or veggies.

Number of Servings: 8

This is a nice hearty meat and potatoes kind of soup that gets a little kick from the hot sauce. It's a great one for these cold, snowy days. The best part is that it's only 127 calories per cup!


1 pound lean ground beef (93/7)
4 cups cubed peeled potatoes (1/2-in cubes)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 29 oz can tomato Sauce
4 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 bay leaf


In a large soup pot, brown ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add the potatoes, onion, garlic and tomato sauce. Stir in the water, pepper and hot pepper sauce; bring to a boil. Add bay leaf. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until the potatoes are tender and the soup has thickened.Remove bay leaf before serving.

Makes 11 one cup servings