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It's Not Just Popcorn!

Who Doesn’t Love Tater-tots Breakfast Casserole

I’ve made this recipe twice now and I tweaked it even more from the original recipe from Kraft. Made it better! And sorry, it’s not low-calorie, but come on, its got tater-tots in it! Or as they are sometimes called potato tots, potato puffs, etc. I have used Great Value brand and Aldi’s brand. Both came out amazing! The pictures are from the first time I made it, since I forgot to take pics the second time. It was Super Bowl Monday the 2nd time and it sure hit the spot that morning!

First time I made it I forgot to cover it when I baked it, still came out good but it needs to be covered. Omg, sooooo incredibly delicious! It can definitely be prepared the night before and then baked in the morning. For the sausage I use whatever type of sausage I have in the house. Usually some kind of chicken sausage. I’ve used the italian style and it’s fine. the original recipe also called for 2.5 ounces of bacon! HA! I used a whole pound. Also the original called for a 10.5 ounce can of cream of potato soup. The store was out of it when I went so I used the big “family” size can. I think it’s like 23 ounces. I used it all! Makes it much creamier.

This recipe is so simple to make. You will NOT be disappointed!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 pound cooked ground sausage

4 large eggs, scrambled

1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

3 1/2 cups thawed tater tots (any brand will be fine!)

1 family size (23 oz) can cream of potato soup (any brand is fine)

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp black pepper

1 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese, divided in half.(use more if you wish!)

Sour cream for top if desired

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, except for 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese.
  2. Pour into a large casserole dish making sure it’s all distributed evenly.
  3. Cover and bake for 35 minutes at 350°.
  4. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and bake uncovered another 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly!
  5. Serve hot! If you want, add a dollop of sour cream to each serving.

 

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Banana Pumpkin Pancakes

I originally found this recipe in Cooking Light Magazine but it was just for banana pancakes. I kicked it up a few notches and made it mine! They are not your normal run of the mill pancakes, they’re a bit more on the rich and custard side but so good, and filling! Loaded with protein also, and when you add the pumpkin more fiber! Easy to make and super easy to eat! I’m not normally a breakfast person but these pancakes are a hit. You can add other items or topper to them but we just added butter and syrup. I also of course forgot to take pics so these are generic pancakes. Similar to the size of what I made. This recipe made about 10 pancakes.

pancakes

Ingredients:

3 medium ripe bananas (we had so many bananas in the freezer that had just gotten too ripe and they worked perfect in this recipe. Just make sure they’re thawed out before using)

6 tablespoons whole-wheat flour

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup canned pumpkin

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

½-¾ cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1.  Mash the bananas with a fork until smooth. Add the pumpkin, flour, pumpkin pie spice and eggs, whisk well.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, or an electric skillet. I used a rectangular electric skillet so I could make more at once.
  3. Spoon/pour batter onto hot skillet into medium size pancakes. Cook 2 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges are cooked.
  4. Carefully flip the pancakes and cook another 1-2 minutes until done. They will be a little thicker than normal pancakes and this is fine. They’re kinda like french toast pancakes.
  5. Serve hot with your favorite topping!
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Italian Spaghetti Squash Quiche

Last night I decided I wanted to make something a little different for dinner. I hadn’t made a Quiche in a while so I thought about doing that. I also had a nice spaghetti squash sitting on my counter and wanted to use it soon. Good thing I decided on the spaghetti squash! When I cut it open a few seeds inside had sprouted! And we’re talking a good 3-4 inches! Crazy! But I also decided to make a Quiche. I combined the two. I just threw stuff together that I had in the refrigerator and voilà! A new delicious taste for dinner! (Or breakfast the next day!)
 I only used half of the squash and it was plenty. And to make it all worth while, ¼ of the Quiche is only 272 calories! Bonus!
 This recipe will make about 8 pieces We usually each have ¼ of the Quiche as a serving though. Oh and did I mention, it’s crustless!

2013-03-13 21.26.07
Ingredients:
½ of a spaghetti squash cooked and scraped out into a bowl. (Cook any way you are used to. I microwave it, cut side down in a shallow casserole with some water for about 10-15 minutes until soft)
1 cup fat-free half-and-half
3 eggs (You can use egg beaters if you want), beaten
1 cup shredded low-fat part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 chicken sausage (any kind you like is fine. I used a Casual Gourmet tomato and mozzarella one), cut into small pieces
2-3 fresh basil leaves, minced
½ teaspoon fennel seed
1 head roasted garlic, chopped (I had it in the fridge, garlic powder will be good too if you want)
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl
 2. Pour ingredients into a casserole dish or any type of baking dish you have. An actual Quiche pan may be too small. Spray the pan with cooking spray.
3. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. Let sit about 10 minutes when done. It will rest this way.

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Zucchini Quiche

Now before you think this is just another boring Quiche, think again! This recipe is one of the most incredibly moist, creamy and delicious Quiche recipes I’ve ever made. It was originally a Weight Watchers recipe that I changed a bit. My version came out incredible. My husband loved it and I can’t wait to make it again. The wonderful thing about it is that there is no cream, no milk, no half-and-half at all in this recipe! It is pretty low-calorie and yet tastes so decadent that you’d never believe it good for you! Well it is. A great recipe to make ahead and freeze too! The original recipe was for ‘mini Quiche’. It was supposed to make 48 little tiny Quiche type bites. Great for a brunch or breakfast. I chose not to do that and we had it for dinner. And breakfast, and lunch. You will not miss the crust. Who needs all those extra useless calories! Crust just covers up the taste and creaminess of the Quiche! The Quiche was so fluffy I was amazed. Usually when I make something like this it falls and flattens when it cools a bit. Not this recipe! 

A side note, I have also gone back to Weight Watchers for what seems like the 20th time. I had to make a change. Couldn’t go on just eating everything in sight and expecting the weight to stay off. So I am back on track. In three weeks I have already shed 5.2 lbs and I’m not stopping till I get where I want to be. It’s a good thing all around. But don’t worry, my recipes won’t all be Weight Watcher recipes or “diet” recipes. But they will be leaning toward the healthier and leaner type stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up my cocktails either, so when I find another great one, I will share! Now if I could just figure out a way to exercise while blogging…hmmm…

Ok here is the recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

cooking spray

2 medium uncooked zucchini, peeled and shredded

3 shallots finely chopped (or one small onion chopped)

3-4 cloves garlic chopped

1 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese

6 large eggs

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup basil, fresh, finely chopped

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

OMG So incredibly creamy and delicious!

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a glass or non-stick Quiche pan or round casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and pour into prepared dish.
  • Bake until bottom is golden brown and Quiche is cooked through. (I cooked it 30-45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes. Make sure it’s not too loose and watery.)
  • Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving. The Quiche will continue to set up.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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Bloody Mary Breakfast Bake

Well being back at work after 18 months is beyond exhausting. The main thing is I am now in an office job! Haven’t had an office job for 7 years! I LOVED my last job, I worked from home on my schedule. It was wonderful. But alas, our economy had other ideas. Either way I am now in my first week back and I’m so tired every night I barely have time to read emails. I am going to do my best to get the blog done without fail though. I’m sure once I get back in a routine I will be fine. But till then please bear with me! Thanks.

Ok, this recipe I found in a Rachael Ray magazine but it’s also a recipe from CorningWare. I have not made this yet but it looks pretty easy and I plan to do this next time I have brunch or company stay over on the weekend. I love a good Bloody Mary so this sounded intriguing. No there is no vodka in it but that doesn’t mean you can’t make an actual Bloody Mary to go with it!  It’s an easy recipe so give it a try. I will swap out the photo once I make it myself! The recipe says to use a 1.5 quart square casserole but you can use a longer one also.

Photo is for illustrative purposes only

INGREDIENTS:

8 slices soft light white sandwich bread, crusts removed

3 cups shredded pepper jack cheese

9 large eggs (or egg substitute 2¼ cups)

2 cups low-milk or fat-free half-and-half

½ teaspoon celery salt

1 jar salsa (16 ounces), your choice

DIRECTIONS:

1. Grease a 1.5 quart square casserole dish. Arrange 2½ slices of bread in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle 1/3 cup shredded cheese on top and cover with another 2½ slices of bread.

2. Layer on another 1/3 cup shredded cheese and top with the final 3 pieces of bread.

3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, milk and celery salt. Pour over the bread layer; let stand.

4. Bake in a 375º oven for 40-45 minutes, then cover with salsa, sprinkle with remaining pepper jack cheese and bake for 5 minutes more.

5. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 12

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Mozzarella Sausage Balls

I found this recipe on the label from a package of mozzarella cheese. It looks like a very simple recipe and  if you use part-skim cheese it saves some calories and fat. Not only is the recipe easy but prep time is only about 15 minutes and cooking time is 10-18 minutes so these will be ready in about 30 minutes! These can be a great snack for a brunch too. I’m all about saving time these days as I am going back to work in the real world and I’ll be looking for ways to save time when making snacks and meals. I’ll also be trying to get back to a healthier diet so I can lose some extra pounds. The recipe calls for hot breakfast sausage. If you can find chicken breakfast sausages you can also save some calories and fat too!

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound hot/spicy breakfast sausage (your choice)

16 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, diced into small pieces

1 egg, beaten

1 cup biscuit mix (your choice)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well until blended. Form into 1″ balls and place on cookie sheet that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 375ºF for 10-18 minutes until deep golden brown and cooked through.

Makes 12 servings

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Oatmeal Pancakes

Yes you read correctly. Oatmeal. And yes, I did eat oatmeal! And yes I did like it! BUT, it was in pancakes. Not as a cereal. (that will NEVER happen) But I still ate it! The pancakes were so good too! Last weekend my husband wanted pancakes. We never have a mix on hand because we make it once and then it sits there for months and months and by the time he wants them again the mix is no longer any good. So I found a recipe in the South Beach Diet Cookbook and changed it up a bit. I used fat-free half-and-half in place of fat-free milk, soy flour in place of whole wheat flour and toasted wheat bran instead of toasted wheat germ. Came out awesome! The only problem was that I do not have a good flat griddle pan. I had to use my largest frying pan and needless to say the pancakes were a bit on the odd-looking side. They were not round. But they tasted really good! Nutty and a little more chewy than pancakes usually are but really tasty. I was going to add some cinnamon to the batter but I forgot. Next time! So please excuse the photos, don’t judge by their looks. We also used agave nectar instead of syrup and it was delicious. Didn’t have to use so much of it either! Oh and if you decide to make them you need prep time. About 40 minutes of  “sitting” is needed. Read below and you’ll see what I mean.

Not your usual round pancakes!

INGREDIENTS:

1¼ cups rolled oats (not quick cooking oats)

2 cups fat-free half-and-half

1 egg

½ cup soy flour

¼ cup toasted wheat bran

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar substitute (I used Splenda)

2 teaspoons canola oil

½ teaspoon salt

There are actually 4 pancakes in this photo.

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the oats and milk and let it stand for 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the egg, flour, wheat bran, baking powder, sugar substitute, oil and salt, mixing until evenly blended and only small lumps are left. Let the batter stand in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. (Don’t do it on High like I did at first. Oops!). Working in batches, pour the batter by ¼ cup into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the top starts to bubble and the bottom is browned. Turn and cook for another 1-2 minutes longer or until golden brown on bottom.

4. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Repeat to make a total of 12 pancakes.

Makes about 12 pancakes

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Blueberry Pancakes

Every so often we get that craving for pancakes on the weekend. But trying to watch the carb and calorie intake makes it tough. This recipe only has 4 grams of carbs per serving! No joke. And they are actually very good! I know many of us have tried the “Atkins” pancake mix, or other low-calorie low carb mix over the years and they were all just a little on the bland side. Not this recipe, which I got from “George Stella’s Livin’ Low Carb” book. I actually use this cookbook quite a lot. This coming from a true carb hound. The recipes are great! This recipe I actually had all the ingredients so we tried them out. It actually calls for heavy cream and I didn’t have any so we used half-and-half instead and it was great. The other minor ingredient I actually did not have on hand was baking powder! So I found my ‘substitution’ chart and made my own! Just combine ½ teaspoon cream of tartar and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. Voila, baking powder. And since I only needed ¼ teaspoon of baking powder it was perfect. Also, usually we have the sugar-free syrup in the house for the pancakes and waffles we sometimes have, but this time we used the amber agave nectar!

Delicious and so much better for you! We also have the light one as well. Found it cheap at Marshall’s! Go figure!

INGREDIENTS:

Cooking spray or butter (for pan)

2 large eggs

½ cup heavy cream (I used half-and-half and it was fine)

¼ cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup soy flour

2 tablespoons sugar substitute (Splenda recommended)

1 tablespoon wheat or oat bran (I used wheat)

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ cup fresh or frozen(thawed) blueberries

DIRECTIONS:

1. Grease a griddle or large skillet with cooking spray or butter and heat over medium heat for at least 5 minutes. The griddle should be very hot so that the pancakes don’t stick.

2. Mix all the ingredients except for the blueberries in a blender or food processor for about 15 seconds. Stop and scrape the sides and mix for another 15 seconds until well blended.

3. Pour about 12 little cakes onto the hot griddle (they should be about the size of the bottom of a soda can). Wait for the pancakes to bubble and then sprinkle with a few blueberries on each of them. Cook for a little longer, then flip with a spatula and cook for a few more minutes, until both sides are slightly browned. Serve hot with melted butter and syrup of your choice! You may have to do this in a couple batches.

Makes about 12 small pancakes. You can use other berries also just make sure you cut them up small enough to about the size of the blueberries.

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Smoked Salmon Spread

There is nothing better than a great bagel with cream cheese. My favorites cream cheese spreads are scallion and smoked salmon. The only problem is they can be very expensive buying them at the bagel store or in the supermarket. I have started making my own which not only give me more than that little container and I know exactly what is in it. I use the Neuchâtel cream cheese, which is lower in calories and fat. You can’t taste the difference at all. Besides, the bagel will have enough calories for everyone! This spread is also great on crackers, fresh vegetables, crostini, pita chips or whatever you want!

INGREDIENTS:

1 (8 ounce) package Neuchâtel Cream Cheese (light cream cheese)

4 green onions (scallions)

4 ounces sliced smoked salmon

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard


DIRECTIONS:

Remove ends and roots of scallions. Place all ingredients into a food processor and mix till well blended.

Chill or serve right away

Makes about 1½ cups

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Mediterranean Omelette

Last Sunday I started out making a Greek omelette then I added a few Italian ingredients and changed the name to Mediterranean Omelette. I used real eggs in this but you can, as always, use an egg substitute. Usually on the weekends I make egg salad for John but he likes it warm (yuck) and I like it cold. So this past weekend I decided to make a large omelette we could share. It was so good I wanted more. And I am not a breakfast person! Though the gyro omelettes we had in St. Augustine at Athena’s Greek Restaurant were incredible! Nothing like it anywhere! Ok I digress…This omelette was nice and easy and since we both liked all the ingredients I could make it in one pan and just split it.

INGREDIENTS:

4 large eggs

½ cup fat-free half and half

½ cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1/3 cup red onion, chopped small

1/3 cup tomato, chopped small

1 clove garlic, chopped fine

1 teaspoon fresh basil chopped/torn

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

½ cup Light Feta Cheese (crumbled)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter/butter substitute

DIRECTIONS:

1. Beat the eggs and half and half till light and fluffy. Set aside.

2. Heat a medium skillet  and add butter and olive oil. Melt on medium heat till a little bubbly.

3. Add the onion and sauté till soft. (A few minutes) Add garlic and sauté a few more minutes.

4. Add the spinach and stir well into the onion and garlic, till warm. (a few minutes)

5. Add the egg mixture. Add the tomato and stir well.

6. Cook the eggs, letting the liquid run to the edges, constantly pulling edges away till almost all liquid is dry. Add the basil and oregano and feta cheese.

7. Gently fold over half the omelette and press gently to seal. If you wish to flip it go ahead, but this is a large omelette and it may be hard to do.

8. Cut in half and serve!

Serves 2

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