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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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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!

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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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Baked Shrimp Quiche (Formerly Known as Baked Shrimp Balls!)

Yes, the shrimp balls did not come out so good. I followed the directions and though they looked and smelled good they tasted pretty bad. So the next night I took all 25 or so of them, crumbled them up in a large bowl. This didn’t take much as they were falling apart to begin with! They already had onions, garlic, and the rest of the ingredients so I was halfway there! I just added 1 cup of egg beaters, 1 cup fat-free half-and-half, about 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed out) and some shredded low-fat cheese. (About 2 cups). Threw it all in a large round casserole dish and baked it for about 45 minutes at 350º. And presto! A delicious dinner saved! So much better all around. And since I don’t use a crust you save more calories!

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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

DON’T FORGET MY WEBSITE!!! www.cucinadiandrea.com

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Zucchini Pancakes Lite

This is an easy, healthy and light side dish or meatless entrée for the hot summer. I really like zucchini pancakes but they are usually full of fillers and other things that boost the calories and fat. This recipe uses my newest favorite food item, House Tofu Shirataki Noodles and egg substitute. The Tofu Shirataki Noodles are great. I will not lie and say they taste just like regular pasta, they don’t. But they are very good in their own right. Their benefits are:

  • LOW CARB – only 3g of carbs per serving
  • LOW CALORIE – 20 calories per 4 oz serving
  • NO CHOLESTEROL
  • NO SUGAR
  • GLUTEN-FREE
  • DAIRY-FREE
  • CONTAINS 10% CALCIUM
  • VEGAN
  • GUILT-FREE

They can be found in the organic section of the produce department in most supermarkets and come in a pouch with water. They must be kept refrigerated and not frozen. They come in Fettuccine, Angel Hair and Spaghetti shapes. I always have at least 2 bags on hand in my refrigerator.  Even my husband likes them! I adapted this recipe to make it lower in calories and fat but if you do not like egg substitutes please use 2 eggs in its place.

INGREDIENTS:


1 -8 ounce package House Tofu Shirataki Noodles (Spaghetti Shape)

½ cup egg substitute (or 2 large eggs)

½ cup biscuit mix (your choice)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup scallions, chopped

2 cups zucchini, shredded

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

1. Prepare noodles according to package directions. Cut into 2-3″ lengths.

2. Combine eggs, biscuit mix and seasoning in a bowl. Stir in the noodles, scallions and zucchini.

3. Heat a flat skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon butter. When it’s hot, scoop 1/3 cup of the mixture at a time onto the skillet, like making pancakes.

4. Cook until the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown.

5. When finished place on a platter and keep warm. Make remaining pancakes until finished.

Makes about six 4″ pancakes.

Each pancake has about 95 calories and 5 grams of fat. With the regular eggs it will be about 110 calories and 7 grams of fat.

You can also add a little soy sauce to the finished pancakes for some added flavor.

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Chicken Egg Foo Young

Egg Foo Young is a really good chinese dish. But I know how high in calories it can be so I usually stay away from it. My husband loves it too and usually gets the pork variety. This recipe can be made with pork, chicken, ham, or shrimp. Pretty much any protein you want to put in will work just fine. I took parts of this recipe from a Rachael Ray recipe as well as another recipe I had found. I left out what I didn’t like (yes, peppers! Eww…) and added my own touch. Another high calorie part of this recipe can be the sauce. Not in this recipe. There are a lot of ingredients and it does look daunting but give it a try. It’s not difficult and it will taste incredible! And it looks so good doesn’t it! If there are any leftovers they make a great breakfast too!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups of egg substitute (I use the plain but you can substitute a flavored one if you like. )

1 cup chopped cooked chicken (leftover chicken is great for this)

1 cup fresh bean sprouts (A few big handfuls is good)

½ cup shredded carrots

¼ pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced (I used canned because the fresh were too expensive)

1 cup baby bok choy, shredded

1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped

1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced on an angle

1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and grated, plus 2 thin slices

2 large cloves garlic, grated or minced

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup fat-free chicken stock or broth

¼ cup tamari (aged soy sauce, use regular low-sodium if you can’t find)

1 teaspoon hot sauce (more if you like a spicier sauce)


DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat a griddle pan over medium heat and brush it with some olive oil.

2. In a large mixing bowl pour in the egg beaters, chicken, bean sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, bok choy, water chestnuts, scallions, grated ginger and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and mix until completely combined.

3. Using a large mixing spoon, drop about ½ cup of the mixture onto the preheated and oiled griddle. Cook the pancakes about 2-3 minutes on each side,until golden. (Careful flipping them, it’s a little tricky. Well it was for me anyway!)

4. In the meantime, combine the cornstarch with a splash of chicken broth/stock to dissolve it. Place the rest of the stock/broth, tamari, cornstarch, hot sauce and sliced ginger in a small pot. Bring to a boil and stir until thickened for about 3 minutes or until you can coat a spoon with it. Remove the sliced ginger and remove from heat.

5. Serve 2 pancakes per person with gravy poured over the top.

Serves 4

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Crustless Dinner Quiche

This is a very filling dish which is great for leftovers as breakfast the next day! I use most of the same ingredients each time though I will switch sometimes depending on what I have on hand. I always add spinach but I will vary if I put in chicken, shrimp, scallops, sausage. And you will not even miss the crust! It comes out almost like a Quiche casserole. It’s always a good “go to” dinner if you can’t figure out what to make. It’s easy and actually good for you! I usually use egg beaters (plain or flavored) and fat-free half-and-half. Feel free to use real eggs and milk if you want the full fat version. Make sure also with any of the high water content foods like the spinach and shrimp to get as much water out of them as possible.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup EggBeaters (or any egg substitute)

1 cup fat-free half-and-half (or 2% milk)

1 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon dill

1 teaspoon basil

2 teaspoons parsley

1 cup salad shrimp, thawed and drained well (or enough cooked chopped shrimp to make a cup)

2 pre-cooked chicken sausages, roughly chopped (any flavor you like)

few dashes hot sauce

1 ½ cups shredded 2% cheese of your choice (I usually use cheddar)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine all ingredients except for ½ cup of the shredded cheese, in a large bowl. Mix well.

2. Pour into a round deep dish baking pan. I use a 10″ round which is about 2″ deep. It has to be deep enough to hold all of the mixture. Sprinkle the ½ cup of shredded cheese over the top.

3. Bake at 350º for about 45 minutes. The top will puff up and then settle when you take it out of the oven. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes. Cut it up and serve!

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