This is a wonderful, hearty stew.

Makes 6 servings
WW Freestyle Points - 6


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 large ribs celery, chopped
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1¼ pounds boneless, skinless, antibiotic-free chicken breasts (about 2 large)
8 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks
½ cup half-and-half
⅔ cup fresh or frozen peas
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Warm the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Add the broth, chicken, and potatoes; cover; and bring to a gentle simmer over high heat. Uncover, reduce the heat to low, and poach at a bare simmer until the chicken is no longer pink in the center (160ºF internal temperature), about 15 minutes.

2. Remove the chicken to a cutting board to cool.

3. Meanwhile, in a small heatproof bowl, use a fork to stir together the butter and flour into a smooth paste. Gradually stir the paste, a few bits at a time, into the stew and simmer over low heat until the stew thickens, 3 to 4 minutes.

4. In the same bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and half-and-half. Whisk ¼ cup of the hot stew into the eggs; then whisk the egg mixture back into the stew. Cook over low heat for 1 minute.

5. Cut the chicken into bite-size cubes and stir them into the stew along with the peas, salt, and pepper. Heat through; serve.

Tip: For more flavor, stir in ½ teaspoon of dried thyme along with the broth. You can also add a tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley just before serving. The stew can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and refrigerated in an airtight container. Reheat it in the microwave or a saucepan just before serving.

Recipe Source - Panera Bread

This is a super flavorful and healthy way to make grilled chicken to use in burrito bowls, tacos, salads, and more. It is my go-to recipe when I want to make any Mexican-style recipe that calls for grilled chicken.

2 lbs uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 large red onion, cut into large chunks
Embasa Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (1 pepper plus 2 T of sauce from can)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 1⁄2tsp ground cumin
1 cup water
juice of one lime

1. Put all ingredients except for the chicken in a food processor or blender and mix until liquid.
2. Cut the chicken breasts lengthwise to make them thinner for more even cooking. Place in large zip top bag.
3. Pour marinade over chicken in bag, seal, and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.
4. Grill chicken over medium heat until cooked through. Cut in bite-sized pieces and use for burritos bowls, tacos, salads etc.

Makes 5 servings
WW Freestyle Points - 0

A method of making bakery style whipped cream that doesn’t fall or melt. Great for piping onto desserts or even icing cakes and cupcakes. Double if desired. Be aware that the vanilla takes away from the white color. I will probably leave it out next time. I didn't whip mine enough the first time I made it, so it looks a little flat on the cake below. But, it did taste good. :)

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (like Knox, found near Jell-o in the baking aisle)
4 teaspoons cold water
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar (more or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place cold water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it. Let sit for 5 minutes. While it’s sitting, place heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a mixing bowl if using an electric beater. Once gelatin is set, place bowl in microwave and heat until gelatin turns to liquid, about 10 seconds.
Turn mixer on to start beating cream. Let it run for about 1 minute and then with the mixer on high, very slowly pour the melted gelatin in, in a small steady stream.
Continue beating cream until you reach medium-stiff peaks. Spread or pipe whipped cream as desired.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

My husband and I have a favorite dessert at one of our local restaurants called The Vineyard. They make a very delicious Strawberry Champagne Cupcake, which is our go-to dessert when we visit. I wanted to make a special treat for him for Valentines Day, so I thought I would try to make some kind of strawberry cupcakes at home. This recipe was perfect! I paired it with my favorite strawberry frosting that I discovered last Valentines Day. 


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup finely chopped strawberries 

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup freeze dried strawberries
1 cup fresh strawberry puree (from strawberries blended in a food processor)
3/4 cup unsalted butter nearly at room temperature
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


For the cupcakes:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper liners and set aside. 
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scraping the bowl as needed. Gradually add the sugar and beat until well combined.
4. Reduce the mixer to low and add the egg, egg whites, and vanilla extract. 
5. With the mixer on low, add half the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Add the milk, mixing until just combined. Add the remaining flour and mix until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the chopped strawberries. 
6. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Transfer the muffin tin to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

For the frosting:
  1. Place freeze dried strawberries in a small resealable bag, seal bag and crush strawberries to a fine powder with a rolling pin. Sift through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl to remove seeds, set aside. 
  2. Strain strawberry puree through a fine mesh sieve and measure out 3/4 cup, then pour into a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. 
  3. Simmer puree, stirring occasionally until reduced by about two thirds to a 1/4 cup, about 10 - 14 minutes (measure and if it isn't quite 1/4 cup then return and continue to simmer, if it's not reduced to correct amount it will make the frosting runny). 
  4. Pour reduced puree into a small bowl, then freeze or refrigerate, stirring occasionally until fully cooled. 
  5. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter until pale and fluffy. 
  6. Mix in powdered sugar, reduced strawberry puree, freeze dried strawberry powder, lemon juice, and vanilla and continue to mix until frosting is pale and fluffy.

Store these cupcakes in the refrigerator. It helps the frosting from getting too soft. Allow them to come to room temp before serving.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Recipe Source: Celebrating Sweets
Recipe source: Cooking Classy

This is a light and tasty meal that takes advantage of yummy spring vegetables like asparagus and spinach. Luckily, you can get these items year-round at the grocery store, so I like to make it in the winter when I'm needing a little spring in my life. :)

Makes 4 servings of 1.5 cups per serving
WW Freestyle Points - 5

4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 oz uncooked orzo pasta
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups no salt fat free chicken broth
1 cup fresh asparagus spears cut into 1” pieces
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup halved grape tomatoes 
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Additional salt to taste


Add the flour, garlic powder, pepper and salt in a small dish and whisk to combine. Place the chicken pieces in a gallon zip-top bag and add the flour mixture. Seal the bag and shake until the chicken is coated.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken to the pan, stirring to coat with oil. Continue to cook until chicken is cooked through and starting to brown. Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Wipe out the pan and place back over medium heat. Spray with olive oil and add the orzo to the pan. Allow it to cook for a couple of minutes until it starts to brown. BE CAREFUL! Don't let it overcook. Add the garlic to the pan and heat through. 

Add the chicken stock to the pan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Simmer covered for 4-5 minutes and then add the asparagus. Stir and re-cover. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir. Add the lemon juice, tomatoes, spinach and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken back to the pan. Stir together and serve.

This is a great recipe that I modified slightly from The Skinnyish Dish blog. I noted my modifications in parentheses. It made a ton of food, and it was simple and tasty. This will definitely be in the regular meal rotation.


1.5 lbs chicken breast, raw cut into bite size pieces and sprinkled with kosher salt and pepper
3 cups broccoli frozen (sometimes I do half cauliflower and half broccoli)
1.5 cups corn frozen
2 cups carrots frozen (I substituted  1 cup of frozen peas for carrots as I don't like cooked carrots)
*I also added about 8 oz of fresh mushrooms
6 cloves garlic minced (about two tablespoons)
2 tsp olive oil (I leave out the olive oil and just mist my nonstick skillet with olive oil using my Misto)
1 tsp kosher salt extra to taste (I use 1/2 tsp)
pepper to taste (I use 1 tsp)
7 oz (dry) bowtie pasta (I used mini bowties)
3 cups chicken broth (I always end up using 4 cups, which is a whole box of chicken stock)
1.5 cups half and half
1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated (real parmesan - not the Kraft stuff in the can)
1/4 tsp Lawry's Seasoned Salt or to taste (I substituted some garlic and onion powder and a little bit of Mrs. Dash)

1.5 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water

  1. Remove frozen vegetables from freezer and let thaw naturally in a bowl while prepping the other ingredients.
  2. Heat a large skillet or pot with a tight fitting lid over medium-high heat and heat 2 tsp olive oil (I just spray with olive oil to cut down on the extra fat and calories). Add diced chicken breast to hot pan and cook until lightly browned and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. When the chicken is cooked, add minced garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add dry pasta, chicken broth, and salt and pepper. Cover. Bring to a boil and then return to simmer. Let pasta cook, covered, for about 12 minutes or until noodles are tender.
  4. While the pasta is cooking: Make slurry by adding 1.5 tbsp of cornstarch and 1 tbsp of water to a small bowl and whisking it with a fork until combined well. Set aside.
  5. Cut broccoli into smaller pieces if they are large.
  6. When the pasta is done cooking add slightly thawed vegetables into the pot, cover again, and let them cook for just a few minutes or until warmed through.
  7. Stir in half and half and parmesan cheese. Bring to a gentle boil and add slurry. Continue to stir together for a few minutes until thickened. 
  8. Season with Lawry's Seasoned Salt and Pepper to taste (I substitute a little garlic and onion powder and Mrs. Dash).

Serving size: 1 and 3/4 cups. Makes 6 servings
WW Freestyle Points = 6 (7 points if you use the olive oil in the original version)

Recipe Source - The Skinnyish Dish

These egg muffins are a great breakfast to make ahead and then have on hand to heat up on busy mornings. You can customize them to your own taste by using veggies that you enjoy. Adding different meats  or cheese could cause you to add points. Stick with the homemade turkey sausage below to keep the muffins at zero points. I usually make a pound of turkey and double the spices, and then freeze half of the sausage to use in a future batch of muffins.


12 eggs
½ pound 99% fat-free ground turkey breast (has to be 99% fat free to be zero points)
½ teaspoon sage
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon marjoram

Fresh vegetables of your choice, chopped small to mix in muffins. I use the following in mine:

Non-Stick Cooking Spray

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray.
3. Spray a large non-stick skillet with non-stick spray. On medium heat cook ground turkey, sage, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and marjoram for 7-10 minutes or until cooked through. Stir consistently to prevent sticking.
4. While turkey is cooking, in a large bowl, beat eggs and Montreal steak seasoning together until well mixed and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
5. Once the turkey is cooked through, spoon into the muffin tins spreading equally between each muffin tin. Add the veggies.
6. Pour egg mixture over the turkey filling ¾ of the way full.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Remove the muffins from the pan and let them cool before refrigerating or freezing for later use. 

Makes six servings of 2 muffins
WW Freestyle Points - 0

Montreal steak seasoning is a common spice blend you can buy at the store. I like to be in control of what goes in my spice mixes, so I make my own.

2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons crushed black pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon crushed coriander
1 tablespoon dill
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

Mix together and store in a sealed container for use in recipes. 
Brussels sprouts. The name alone might make many people instantly turn away from this post. But, I encourage you to give this "recipe" a try. It's really not a recipe, but more a suggestion on how to prepare them. My husband has always been a Brussels sprouts hater until he tried this recipe. The key to the success in getting him to eat them was shredding them. This is now one of his favorite vegetable side dishes.

Fresh Brussels sprouts
Olive oil


Heat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Shred the Brussels sprouts in a food processor (you could also use a hand grater, but if you have a food processor, use it - it will save  you a ton of time).

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with olive oil (I use a Misto bottle). Spread the shredded Brussels sprouts out in a thin layer on the foil. Light spray olive oil over the top of the sprouts and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until the Brussels sprouts are lightly browned.

Remove from oven, eat and enjoy!

WW Freestyle Points - 0

I absolutely LOVE this marinara sauce. It is so easy to make and is ZERO WW Freestyle points. I make it in big batches and then freeze it in containers so that I always have some ready when I need to make spaghetti or any other recipe that calls for marinara. I haven't bought jarred sauce in months!

3- 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
2- 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
3 T minced garlic
1 large onion chopped
2 T oregano, dried
2 T basil, dried
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Mix all of the ingredients in a 6 quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. If you like a smooth sauce with "no chunks" then use an immersion blender and blend until smooth (make sure the sauce is cool before you do this for safety). 

Pour cooled sauce into freezer safe containers to use in your favorite pasta dishes. 

Makes about 10 cups of sauce
WW Freestyle Points - 0

Recipe source - Skinnytaste

This is the best cheesecake I've ever made! It is just as yummy as I what I get at Cheesecake Factory. I also think this would be yummy with a chocolate crumb crust.

Note for myself: The recipe says to use seedless jam, but I don't think that's totally necessary. I used Polaner All Fruit, and it was not the right choice. It was too jelly like. Next time I will stick with regular raspberry jam with seeds.

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 package (10 to 12 ounces) white baking chips
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

1. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the sour cream, flour and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Fold in the chips. Pour over crust.
3. In a microwave, melt raspberry jam; stir until smooth. Drop by teaspoonfuls over batter; cut through batter with a knife to swirl.
4. Place pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan. Place in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan.
5. Bake at 325° for 80-85 minutes or until center is just set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan. 

Recipe Source: Taste of Home

    These are a very interesting cookie. They are yummy, though. :)

    1 c. butter
    1 c. sugar
    1 t. vanilla
    1 1/2 T. milk
    2 1/2 c. flour
    3/4 c. maraschino cherries, diced, plus 1 t. juice from the jar
    1 c. coconut

    1. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add vanilla and milk and beat until combined.

    2. Add flour, mixing just until incorporated. By hand or with the mixer, work the cherries and the teaspoon of juice into the dough.

    3. Separate dough in half and form each half into a 8 or 9 inch log. Roll each half in coconut to cover. Wrap in freezer paper or plastic wrap and freeze for about 30 minutes, until firm.

    4. Slice the logs of dough into cookies, about 1/4 inch wide. Place on baking sheets and bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
    Recipe Source: Cooking During Stolen Moments
    Since I've been an empty nester for almost six years now, my meal planning has drastically changed. With only two of us in the house, I only cook about three meals a week that last us all week long. You've got to love leftovers! Therefore, I stopped posting my meal plans (though I still make them). My blog is now basically my online recipe book. I do, of course, have years worth of weekly menu plans posted that hopefully are useful for those looking for family meal plans. Since the blog focus has changed, I've decided to change my domain from to I will continue to post new recipes as I know I have many friends and family that use this site to find some great things to cook. :) So, be sure to change your bookmarks to to keep up with what I'm cooking in my kitchen!