Sneaky Kale Banana Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins |

Sneaky Kale Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I had a bag a kale in the fridge and bananas in the freezer, and I needed a breakfast item for the week.

And that’s about as hard as I thought about creating this recipe.



 Sneaky Kale Banana Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins
(printer-friendly version→ Sneaky Kale Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins)
Yield: 12 Muffins
  • 3 small bananas, over-ripe
  • 1 cup kale (chopped finely)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or sub dairy milk)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt)
  • 1-1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup all purpose and 2/3 cup whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  • brown sugar
  • old fashion oats
  • chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease or line 12 muffin cups.
  3. In a large mixing bowl (or electric mixer),  mash the bananas and kale. Add the vanilla, egg, oil and milk. Mix well. Add the sugars and stir again.
  4. Using a spatula, stir in the cocoa powder, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix until the cocoa is completely incorporated. Stir in the salt and baking soda, then gently fold in the flour and chocolate chips, until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter among 12 muffin cups, about 3/4 full. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips, brown sugar, and oats.
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the muffin tops look set. Remove from the oven and place the muffins on a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room-temperature.
  7. Keeps up to 5 days, refrigerated.

Chipotle Raspberry Meatballs |

I hope Santa brought you lots of presents, and you are filled with peace and joy from this Christmas season.

But now we are on to the New Year’s holiday so put your tree away and put on your party hat.

These meatballs cannot be more simple.

Gourmet? No. But delicious? Yes!



wpid-img_20141221_152241.jpgChipotle Raspberry Meatballs (printer-friendly version →Chipotle Raspberry Meatballs)

serves a crowd

  • 1 bottle of BBQ sauce
  • 1/3 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 jar of raspberry preserves
  • 3- 28 oz bags frozen meatballs

Oven Directions:

In a food processor or blender combine the first three ingredients. Set aside the BBQ mixture.

Place meatballs in a large baking dish, pour the BBQ over the meatballs and toss to coat evenly.

For best results allow the meatballs to marinate in the sauce for 8 hours or overnight.

Bake uncovered at 350ºF for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve warm.

Slow Cooker directions: 

In a food processor or blender combine the first three ingredients. Set aside the BBQ mixture.

Place meatballs in the slow cooker insert, pour the BBQ over the meatballs and toss to coat evenly.

For best results allow the meatballs to marinate in the sauce for 8 hours or overnight.

Heat on low for 4-6 hours. Serve warm.

White Bean Chili with Chicken |

I have never tried a chicken chili that I liked.

Usually the texture/blandness turns me off.

This recipe on the other hand is a winner.

Winner winner chicken soup dinner. And to top it off it’s dairy free and gluten free.

It is definitely worthy of a Christmas or New Year’s get together.

Although I can’t take credit for the whole recipe, I changed it enough that I can call it pretty original to me.


White Bean Chili with Chicken (with no canned soups or mixes) printer-friendly version → White Bean Chili

serves 6-8

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. cumin
  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 2 cans white beans (drained, and rinsed)
  • 1 tube of frozen creamed corn (2 cans of creamed corns also works)
  • 1 package frozen corn
  • 1 can chopped mild green chiles
  • 4-5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 4-6 tbsp. salsa verde

Garnish options:

Sour cream, cilantro, shredded cheese, tortillas chips

 Directions: Cook onion, garlic, cumin in hot oil in a Dutch oven, uncovered over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Cover and let the flavors combine over low heat for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour.

Slower cooker: Combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours.

I used my homemade frozen chicken stock for this recipe.

Easy Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls

Easy apple butter cinnamon rolls

I made a huge batch of apple butter last week.

And as soon as I was finished, I thought this stuff needs to go in some cinnamon rolls.

So that is exactly what I did.

And if you don’t have homemade apple butter laying around, just use the store bought stuff.

Once the dough thawed, these rolls literally took me about about 10 minutes to make, then I let them rise overnight in the refrigerator.

Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 9 rolls

  • 1 lb thawed loaf of Bridgford White Bread Dough
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

On a lightly floured board, roll dough out to a 8 x 12 inch rectangle. Spread 2 tsp butter over the dough and then add the apple butter. Mix cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle mixture over dough. Beginning with 12-inch side, roll tightly in jelly-roll fashion. Cut rolled dough into 9 equal slices. Place slices in lightly buttered 8 in square or 9 in pie pan.  Cover and let rise until doubled in size (or overnight in the refrigerator).

Frosting (optional)

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 ounces, cream cheese
  • 1/2 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

With an electric mixer whisk together all the frosting ingredients until smooth, then set aside.

Bake rolls at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until light brown. Cool slightly and then top with frosting.

PS. I use this frozen dough for all sorts of things including pizza crust and calzones. It’s so easy to work with!


Original Recipe: Thai Chicken Salad


Thai Chicken Salad-

This is the kind of lunch I would like some one to serve to me while I am at the pool.

Cool, light, refreshing, savory, sweet and so tasty.

Thai Chicken Salad

Serves 2-3

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 package broccoli slaw mix
  • 1/3 cup peanut vinaigrette (or Asian sesame dressing)
  • 1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower or sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

Place chicken breast in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with s/p. Bake for 40 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cool, chop into bit size pieces.

Place broccoli slaw mix in a large serving bowl, add the chicken and all the remaining ingredients except for the seeds. Then toss, cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour.

When ready to serve, garnish with the seeds. Enjoy!

*This recipe keeps up to 3 days in the refrigerator.


Click here for the printable version of the recipe.








Original Recipe: The Best Baked Spaghetti


I made this simple dish for my husband’s out of town family while they were here for my stepson’s graduation.

And my father-in-law made me promise that I would post the recipe.

So Will, this post is all for you (and Marsha).

It’s actually a recipe that my mom has made for years, but with my own tweaks.

This dish can definitely be frozen for up to a month. I like to make one batch divided in two smaller baking dishes so I can freeze one for a busy weeknight.

I think it tastes best if you make it a day in advance and then bake it right before you plan to serve it.









The Best Baked Spaghetti

serves 8

  • 1 lb whole wheat angel hair pasta
  • ½ lb Italian pork sausage (removed from the casing)
  • ½ lb ground beef
  • 1 jar marinara
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt

Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Set aside.

In a large dutch oven over medium high heat, brown the sausage, drain and then set aside. Add the ground beef, brown and then drain. Add the marinara to the Dutch oven along with the pork and beef. Set the stove-top to low and allow the sauce to simmer.

In a mixing bowl combine the cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, garlic, egg, Italian seasoning and s/p. Set aside.

In a large stock pot, bring salted water to a boil. Follow the directions for cooking the pasta. Drain and had half of the pasta to the baking dish. Layer half of the cottage cheese mixture and half of the sauce over the pasta (similar to lasagna). Add the remaining pasta, and repeat the layering. Top with 1/2 cup of cheese.

At this point you can cover the dish and freeze for later or bake it for 30-45 min at 350° or until bubbly.

Click here for the printable version of the recipe.



Make Ahead Recipe: One Pot Italian Sausage Bake with Vodka Sauce


This is a tasty twist on box neon-orange macaroni and cheese with cut-up hot dogs in it.

I can’t believe I just typed those words.

My greatest fear as a kid was that my parents might cut-up hot dogs in our mac and cheese.

In my adolescent culinary experiences I considered it the greatest travesty, with one exception being chocolate chip scrambled eggs.

This recipe works great as an easy make-ahead meal because it uses ready-made sauce. I made two and stored one in the freezer for a month.

I baked it the other night, and it was still tasty:)

It would be a great recipe to make if you need to take a meal to someone.

PS. You can use a different pasta shape, but I just like the way corkscrew keeps it shape after being baked.

One Pot Italian Sausage Bake with Vodka Sauce

serves 6-8

  • olive oil
  • 5 Italian sausage links
  • water
  • salt
  • 1 lb corkscrew pasta
  • 8 oz cottage cheese
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 jar vodka sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • dried Italian seasoning (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º (if baking immediately).

Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Set aside.

Add one tbsp of olive oil to a stock pot over medium high heat. Add the sausage links to the pot. Brown on both sides about 3-5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water to the pot and cover. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Using tongs remove the links to cool. Slice the sausage links once cool.

In the same large pot bring salted water to a boil. Cook pasta as directed on the package. Drain. Place the pasta back in the pot, add sour cream and cottage cheese. Stir to combine.

Place all the pasta in the baking dish, pour the vodka sauce over the pasta. Add the slices of sausage to the top of the pasta, top with cheese. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

Bake uncovered at 350º for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.


Cover and place in the freezer for up to 30 days.

When ready to bake add 1/4 cup milk and bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes.






Healthier Spinach Calzones- ready in 30 minutes


PicMonkey Image
Cottage cheese in place of ricotta- cuts the filling calories in half and the fat content by 75%

Sometimes I miss the days of just cooking for myself.

Making meatless meals and loving every minute of it.

Well those days are long gone. But I still fit in a meatless recipe now and then.

And my husband does not even complain as long as I give him advance warning:)

I was inspired to make this meatless calzone after enjoying a yummy fat laden one from a local pizza place.

I was determined to come up with one that I could enjoy more often without the guilt of ALL THAT CHEESE and OLIVE OIL.

So I cut back on the fat by using cottage cheese rather than ricotta. Ricotta has twice the calories and 4 times as much fat as cottage cheese.

And I find that in most baked Italian dishes cottage cheese can be substituted for the ricotta.

And the great thing is I could not even taste the cottage cheese in the calzone. It combines perfectly with the mozzarella and spices for a great tasting filling.

The calzones come together really quickly making it a perfect weeknight recipe.

Healthier Spinach Calzones

makes two large calzones, serves 4 (or 2 really hungry people:)

  • 1 lb bread or pizza dough, if frozen defrost it the refrigerator 4-8 hours, or at room temperature for 2 hours (I prefer the Bridgford or Trader Joe’s brands)
  • flour or cornmeal
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 10 oz package frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup marinara, plus extra for dipping
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400°F.

On a floured(or cornmealed) surface, cut the dough into two equal sections. Using your hands carefully spread the dough into a rectangle shape, approx 10″x 6″. Transfer the dough to a greased (or silpat or parchment paper lined) cookie sheet. Allow dough to rest while you prepare the filling.


Defrost the spinach in the microwave (approx 4-5 minutes). Drain excess water from the spinach. Set aside.

While the spinach defrosts: Over medium heat, in a non-stick skillet add the olive oil and and the sliced mushrooms. Saute for about 3-5 minutes. Add spices and drained spinach to the mushrooms. Heat the spinach through (and evaporate any remaining water) and then add the cottage cheese to the skillet. Combine thoroughly. Set aside.


Spoon 1/4 cup of marinara over 1/2 of each section of dough. Add half of the filling to each section of dough. Top with mozzarella cheese. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the seams closed. Cut 3 small slits in the top of each calzone to let the steam escape during baking.

Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes. Serve with marinara.




PicMonkey Image


Original Recipe: Hot Chocolate Monkey Bread


My grandma Deuink made the first monkey bread I ever tried.

And today is her birthday.

So this recipe will be in honor of her.

It’s easy and tasty. Perfect for office parties and church get-togethers.

And I am sure it would be lovely for a Easter brunch.


Hot Chocolate Monkey Bread

  • 1 package frozen dinner roll dough (I like the Bridgford brand)
  • 2 individual packages of hot chocolate mix
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup pecans or almonds, chopped (optional)

Grease a bundt cake pan.  In bowl, combine the hot chocolate mixes, sugars and cinnamon. Add the nuts (optional) and 1/2 cup of the sugar and hot chocolate mixture to the bottom of the bundt pan.

Dip each piece of frozen (or thawed) dough in the melted butter and roll in sugar and hot chocolate mix. Layer the dough evenly in prepared bundt pan. Pour the remaining melted butter over the dough. Cover and let rise until double in size or until dough reaches just under the top rim of pan (my frozen dough took about 4 hours to rise).

Tip: If you want to make it the night before but bake it in the morning, prepare the recipe with frozen dough, cover the bundt pan and place in the refrigerator overnight. By morning the dough will have defrosted and risen enough to be perfect for baking.

Bake in a 350ºF preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. Turn out of pan immediately and serve warm or room temperature.