Saturday, August 30, 2008

Chicken Feta Burgers

1 pound uncooked ground chicken breast
1 Tbsp fresh oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
7 Tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
4 reduced-calorie hamburger roll(s)
1 cup lettuce, romaine, cut into thick strips
2/3 cup roasted red peppers, sliced (without oil)
5 small olive(s), black, sliced (about 4 tsp)

Instructions
Preheat grill or broiler.
In a medium bowl, combine chicken, oregano, garlic powder and feta; divide mixture into four balls and then press them gently into patties.
Grill or broil patties until internal temperature of burgers reaches 165°F, about 7 to 8 minutes per side.
Serve each burger on a bun with 1/4 of lettuce, 1/4 of peppers and 1 teaspoon of olives. Yields 1 burger per serving.

Spaghetti Amatriciana

1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste (for cooking pasta)
8 oz uncooked whole-wheat spaghetti
1 tsp olive oil
4 oz Canadian-style bacon, diced
1 large onion(s), finely diced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cup canned tomatoes, chopped
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste

Instructions
Cook spaghetti in salted water until al dente; reserve 1/4 cup of cooking water and then drain pasta. Place pasta back in pot.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon, stirring frequently, until browned. Stir in onion and increase heat to medium-high; cook until lightly browned. Stir in red pepper flakes and tomatoes; toss to mix and coat.
Toss hot spaghetti and reserved pasta cooking water with tomato sauce; season to taste with salt and pepper. Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving.
Notes

Healthy Pear Cobbler

1 sprays cooking spray
3 medium pear(s), peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole-grain wheat flour
1 1/2 Tbsp unpacked brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp reduced-calorie margarine
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp powdered sugar

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine pears, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of flour, lemon juice and cinnamon in a large bowl; toss to coat pears and pour mixture into prepared baking dish.
In a medium-size bowl, combine the remaining flours, remaining brown sugar and baking powder; cut in margarine with a pastry blender, or quickly with your fingertips, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and toss with a fork until flour mixture is moist.
Drop four heaping tablespoons of dough onto pear mixture. Bake until crust is lightly browned and fruit is bubbly, about 40 to 45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, dust with powdered sugar and cut into 6 pieces

To Die For Tortellini

Okay, this is NOT the healthiest meal in the world SO I only eat it when I am feeling really, really thin because it is SOOOO good but SO incredibly fattening.

bag of frozen tortellini
olive oil
garlic
parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Cook tortellini according to directions. While cooking, mince two or three garlic cloves. Pour generous amount of oil in skillet and roast garlic until it is browned but NOT burned. Toss with pasta, cheese and salt and pepper.

Eat and try not to think about all that oil.

Parmesan Mashed Potatoes-Weight Watchers

10 medium potato(es), red (about 2 1/2 lbs)
1/2 cup buttermilk, warmed
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, strong-flavored, grated
1/4 cup chives, chopped
1 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste

Instructions
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with an inch of water; bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer and cook until fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to pot.
Mash potatoes with a potato masher. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well to combine. Yields about 2/3 cup per serving.

Clay's Favorite Pasta-And Mine Because It is Lowfat!!!

12 oz uncooked ziti (I use whole wheat sometimes)
2 tsp olive oil
2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1 pound raw lean ground beef
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned, breaking up meat with a spoon as it cooks, about 3 to 5 minutes; drain off any fat and set pan back over medium heat.
Add oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper; stir to coat beef. Cook until herbs become fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Spoon a small amount of beef-tomato mixture into bottom of a 4-quart casserole dish (just enough to cover surface); top with half of cooked ziti. Next, layer with half of remaining beef-tomato sauce and half of mozzarella cheese. Layer with remaining ziti and then top with remaining beef-tomato sauce; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Slice into 8 pieces and serve. Yields 1 piece per serving.

Santa Fe Salad-Low fat

6 Tbsp reduced-calorie mayonnaise
3 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, finely chopped
3 Tbsp water
1 medium scallion(s), minced
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp chili powder
15 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cup cooked corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 cup grape tomatoes
1 medium sweet red pepper(s), cut into thin strips (about 1 1/2 cups)
8 cup romaine lettuce, cut into thick shreds (about 2 hearts)

Instructions
To make dressing, whisk together mayonnaise, cilantro, water, scallion, lime juice, sugar and chili powder in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer to a jar or a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large bowl or food storage container, layer remaining ingredients in order listed. Cover and refrigerate.
To serve, spoon salad ingredients into a bowl. Shake dressing and then drizzle dressing over salad; toss well to coat. Yields about 2 cups of salad and 1 1/2 tablespoons of dressing per serving.

Apple and Pear Crisp-Low Fat

3 small apple(s), Granny Smiths, cored, chopped
2 medium pear(s), cored, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup Quaker Oats Old-Fashioned Oats, or other brand
1/4 cup almonds, ground
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
2 Tbsp reduced-calorie margarine, spread
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 6-cup casserole dish with cooking spray.
Arrange apples, pears, raisins, lemon juice and zest in bottom of prepared casserole dish.
Combine sugar and allspice in a small bowl; sprinkle over fruit. Combine oats, almonds and flour in same small bowl; rub in margarine using fingertips and then sprinkle the topping over the fruit mixture. Bake until the fruit is tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cut into 6 pieces and serve warm.

Berry Cobbler-Low Fat

2 cup blackberries
2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved
1/4 tsp table salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup buttermilk
Instructions
Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a shallow, 2-quart ovenproof dish, stir together berries, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, cornstarch and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bake until hot, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare topping: In a bowl, stir together flour, 1 teaspoon of sugar, baking powder, baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cardamom. Stir in buttermilk to form a sticky dough.
Remove fruit from oven. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto fruit to form 4 biscuits. Bake until biscuits are golden and fruit is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Allow cobbler to sit for 5 minutes for fruit to firm up before serving. Yields about 1 cup fruit and 1 biscuit per serving.

Raspberry Muffins-Low Fat

1 sprays cooking spray
1 1/2 cup whole wheat self-rising flour
4 Tbsp reduced-calorie margarine, softened
2 oz ready-to-eat crisp rice cereal, divided (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups raspberries, divided
2/3 cup unpacked brown sugar, divided
2 large egg(s), lightly beaten
2/3 cup buttermilk

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a 12-hole muffin tin with cooking spray.
Place flour in a large bowl and rub in margarine with your fingers. Stir in 1 1/3 cups of cereal, 1 cup of raspberries and 1/2 cup of sugar. Combine eggs and milk in a small bowl; stir into flour-fruit mixture. (Note: If you cannot find whole wheat self-rising flour, mix together 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour with 2 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.)
Pour mixture into prepared tin; sprinkle with remaining raspberries, cereal and sugar.
Bake 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before flipping onto wire rack to cool. Yields 1 muffin per serving.

The cereal makes these fluffy!

Blueberry Bran Pancakes-Weight Watchers

1 cup ready-to-eat bran flakes
2 large egg white(s)
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup blueberries
2 tsp powdered sugar

Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat.
Crush cereal in a food processor or blender, or place in a zip-close plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin; set aside.
Stir egg whites, buttermilk, oil and cereal together in a medium bowl; allow to stand 5 minutes. Beat in flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda with a wire whisk until well blended.
To make pancakes, place 3 tablespoons of batter onto skillet, repeat to make 4 pancakes at a time. Gently press 5 to 6 blueberries into each pancake. Cook until puffed, about 2 minutes; flip and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Repeat to make 12 pancakes. Serve pancakes in a short stack dusted with powdered sugar. Yields 3 pancakes per serving.

Grilled or Roasted Asparagus

Fresh Asparagus-washed and trimmed
olive oil
salt and pepper
lemon juice
proscuitto or bacon

wrap bacon or proscuitto around bottoms of three or four asparagus. Secure with toothpick. If you are grilling make sure you soak the toothpicks in water first. I just broil mine in the oven most of the time. Lay bundles in casserole dish, drizzle olive oil, lemon juice and then season with salt and pepper.

Honey Mustard and Bacon Smothered Chicken

4 Chicken Breasts
1/4 tsp pepper
8 bacon slices
1/4 cup Mex. Cheese blend
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 small jar honey mustard dressing
1 tbsp. olive oil

Sprinkle cheese with salt and pepper. melt butter with oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, add chicken and cook 8 minutes on each side or until done. Reduce heat to medium low, brush chicken with honey mustard dressing. Top with bacon and sprinkle with cheese. Melt cheese.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Shrimp Quesadillas

nonstick spray
tortillas
1/2 a 7 oz. carton of garlic or spicy three pepper hummus
6 oz. peeled, deveined cooked medium shrimp
2 6 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 4 oz. pkg. crumbled feta cheese


Coat one side of each tortilla with cooking spray. Place tortillas, sprayed side down, on work surface; spread with hummus. Top half of each tortilla with shrimp, artichokes, and cheese. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently.

Heat large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat for one minute. Cook quesadillas, two at a time, for 4 to 6 minutes or until browned and heated through, turning once.

Calories 430 each quesadilla, 20 g fat.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cut Out Cookies and Frosting

Cut Out Cookies from Christy
These are perfect for Christmas!
Dough:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sugar
2 tblsp. orange juice
1 cup butter, softened
1 tblsp.vanilla
1 egg, beaten
Frosting:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 Tblsp. milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 drops food coloring (optional)
Combine all dough ingredients and beat at low speed, scraping sides of bowl often until well mixed (1-2 minutes). Cover and chill for 2-3 hours or until dough is firm enough to roll out. On a floured surface, roll small portions of the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters and bake at 400 degrees for 6 to 10 minutes or until sides are light brown.Combine all frosting ingredients and beat at low speed until fluffy. Frost and decorate cooled cookies.

Low Fat Lasagna

Low Fat Lasagna from Christy
You can't tell this is low fat!I pound ground turkey or lean hamburger meat
1 large egg
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups lowfat cottage cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tblsp. parsley flakes
1 (16 oz.) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
cooked lasagna noodles
2 tsps. dried basil bag of mozarella cheese
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook first 3 ingredients in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until meat is browned. Crumble and drain well. Add diced tomatoes and next 4 ingredients, stirring well. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring often. Combine 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, egg, cottage cheese, and parsley in a large bowl, stirring well. Spread one third on fthe meat sauce into the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish. Layer 3 or 4 noodles over the sauce. Spread one half of the cottage cheese mixture over the pasta. Sprinkle with chcese. Repeat all steps ending with a final layer of meat sauce. Cover with Parmesan cheese and remaining mozarella. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.I use 2% mozarella-it tastes just as good but is even lower in fat. I also get lazy sometimes and just use jar sauce, it still turns out yummy!

Shrimp and Grits

1 1/2 pounds frozen shrimp (thawed by running under cold water)
1 tsp. salt
2 cups cooked grits
1 tube garlic cheese
1 tsp butter
Ground white pepper
6 bacon slices, diced
2 cups fresh, sliced mushrooms
1 cup sliced scallions
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tblsp. chopped fresh parsley
6 to 8 tsps. lemon juice
salt and ground pepper to taste

Peel shrimp, and devein, if desired. Combine first 5 ingredients in the top of a double boiler, keep warm over simmering water. Saute' bacon in a skillet over medium heat until done but not crisp. Remove bacon from skillet. Drain drippings, reserving 2 tblsp. in skillet. Return bacon to skillet. Add shrimp, and saute' until beginning to turn pink, turning once. Add mushrooms, and saute' 2 to 4 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm. Add scallions and garlic, stirring well. Add parsley, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon grits evenly onto 4 serving plates. Spoon shrimp mixture over grits, and serve immediately.

Biscuits

EASY Biscuits-Christy
2 cups self-rising flour
generous pinch of salt
stir together 2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

stir JUST until mixed.Knead lightly and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out and bake at 450 until golden brown.These are the only biscuits that I can make!I will sometimes add sage and chedder for cheesy herb biscuits.

Pot Roast

This is Clay's favorite meal.

roast (for me and Clay I will even find a fatty steak-it makes less but tastes the same)
potatoes
onion
packet of onion soup (Liptons)
cream of mushroom soup
Wash and chop potatoes and onions. Put in the bottom of the pan. Place roast on top and cover with cream of mushroom soup. Sprinkle with entire packet of onion soup. Cover and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 -2 hours or until done in the center. The amount of potatoes, onions, and cooking time depends on the size of the roast.

Sausage and Arugula Skillet

Large bag of fresh spinach or equal amount Arugula (I use spinach)
6 cloves of fresh, chopped garlic
1/2 small onion
olive oil
Lean Mild Italian Turkey Sausage (it is sold next to the ground turkey, it is in large links)
Red Pepper Flakes
box of Bowtie Pasta

Begin cooking pasta.

Saute garlic, onions and olive oil in a large skillet. When they are soft cut open the turkey meat casings and add to the pan. Add red pepper flakes to taste. Cook meat until done. Add spinach or arugula one small bunch at a time. Cover skillet after each batch is added and allow to wilt. When all of the spinach has wilted stir in cooked pasta mix well with meat and spinach.Top with grated parmesan.

Poppy Seed Chicken

5 cups chopped cooked chicken (or one whole chicken-I boil the chicken in a stock pot until done)
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups crushed buttery round crackers
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).Place the chicken into a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, stir together the condensed soup and sour cream. Pour over the chicken. In a separate bowl, stir together the crushed crackers, poppy seeds and melted butter. Sprinkle over the chicken and sauce.Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top of the casserole is browned and the sauce is bubbly.

Sausage and Rigatoni Pasta

Sausage and Rigatoni Pasta
8 oz. (1/2 box) Rigatoni Pasta
Italian Turkey Sausage (Jenny Owens)
1/4 cup onion
1/4 cup Kraft sundried tomato salad dressing
1 sm. can tomato paste

Remove the casings and lightly brown the sausage-chop roughly with the spatula. Add onions and tomato paste and stir. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes on med. low or until onions are tender and sausage is cooked through. Meanwhile, cook pasta.When sausage mixture is done add salad dressing. Mix with cooked pasta and serve topped with parmesan cheese.The salad dressing is delicious and surprisingly low in fat and calories. I served a green salad with the pasta and used the salad dressing.

Chicken and Dumplings

5 tortillas (8 inch)
3 14 1/2 oz. cans chicken broth
Boiled Chicken cut into pieces
1/4 cup milk

Sprinkle tortillas with flour, boil broth and drop in tortillas. Cook about ten minutes or until tender. Add chicken and milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Boil to thicken. Remove from heat and let sit for fifteen to twenty minutes. Tortillas will turn into dumplings!ALSOI don't always use a whole chicken-I use four or five chicken breasts and just chop them up. This is healthier and easier!I don't always use tortillas, the bags of frozen dumplings work just as well!

Cheesy Crescent Roll Chicken

4 Chicken Breasts
1 can crescent rolls
1 10 oz. can cream of chicken soup (I use fat free)
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
3/4 to 1 cup cheddar cheese

Boil chicken breasts until done. Roll chicken breasts in individual crescent rolls and place in casserole (it may take two or three rolls). Combine soup, milk and half of cheese in a saucepan and heat until smooth. Pour mixture over crescent rolls and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Sesame Chicken and Noodles

It is really good!Sesame Chicken and Noodles
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup natural-style, reduced-fat creamy peanut butter (such as Smucker's)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, divided
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (this doesn't make it spicy, just adds flavor)
2 teaspoons canola oil
3/4 pound chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups matchstick-cut carrots, chopped (about 4 ounces)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced green onions (about 1 bunch)

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. DrainCombine broth, peanut butter, 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds, and next 5 ingredients (through hot pepper sauce).Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt. Add chicken to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add carrots and onions; sauté 2 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in broth mixture.Add pasta to pan, tossing to coat. Top with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds; serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 cups)

Cheesy Spinach Lasagna

This is wonderful. Even Laura Grace eats it. Enough said.

9 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded mozarella cheese
1 16 oz. container fat free ricotta cheese
1 10 oz. pkg. frozen spinach (chopped, thawed, and drained)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (3 oz.) pkg. Canadian Bacon, chopped. I also use 4-6 pieces turkey bacon.
1/2 small onion chopped-I use less.
1 26 oz. pasta sauce

Cook pasta and set aside.Stir together 1 1/2 cups mozarella cheese, ricotta cheese, and next 5 ingredients.Saute chopped bacon and diced onion in a skillet coated with cooking spray over med. heat 5 to 6 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir into cheese mixture.Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce on bottom of 11x7 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer with 3 noodles and 1/2 cup pasta sauce; top with half of cheese mixture. Repeat layers once, ending with remaining cheese mixture. Top with remaining 3 noodles and remaining pasta sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, top with remaining mozarella. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts, let stand 5 minutes.

Bread Machine Pizza Crust

Breadmachine Pizza Crust
1 cup of water PLUS 3 tablespoons of water
2 tbslp oil (I use olive oil or flax oil)
3 cups bread flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp active rise yeast or breadmaker yeast

Put in bread machine in the order listed. Use the white dough cycle. When done spray pizza pan with cooking spray, spread out with fingers, top with favorite toppings!

Florentine Meatballs

I make this recipe alot, it is really good and healthy! Laura Grace begs for it and then eats her weight in meatballs :)
1 10 oz box frozen spinach
2 pkgs ground turkey (2 lbs)
1 sm. onion finely chopped ( I only use 1/2)
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups 1% milk
3/4 cup bread crumbs ( I use toasted whole wheat bread and then crumble it)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or just parmesan)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tblsp butter (I use the omega 3 butter)
2 tblsp flour
1 cup chicken broth
bag of shredded Italian cheese
1/2 tsp nutmeg
fresh chopped parsley
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Thaw and dry spinach. Put turkey in large bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the spinach, all but 3 tblsp onion, garlic, the egg, 1/4 cup milk, the breadcrumbs, parm-reg cheese, and salt and pepper. Form into 12 large balls and drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Arrange on a cookie sheet sprayed with non stick spray and bake 20 minutes ( I use a broiler pan so the grease drains into the bottom).During the last 5 minutes of bake time, heat a sauce pot, add drizzle of olive oil and butter. Then add the onion and cook 2 min, whisk in flour, rest of the milk, and cup of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, stir in bag of cheese, and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Turn temp down to low and stir until the cheese melts. Serve over the meatballs!I just steam broccoli as a side and sometimes if we are really hungry, I will serve the meatballs over pasta.

Taco Soup

Taco Soup

1 pd. lean hamburger meat (I often use turkey) browned with onions
1 can diced tomatoes1 can corn (drained)
1 can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can refried beans
1 sm. can tomato sauce
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet ranch seasoning
1-2 cups water (I only use 1)
fritos or tortilla chips (I use baked or WOW tortillas when I am trying to be healthy, when I am not I use fritos which taste the best!)
Sour cream and shredded cheese are optional toppings

Mix seasonings in with cooked meat, add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hr. I often put this in my crockpot and just let it simmer on low all day! Serve over chips and sprinkle cheese on top.

Mediteranean Bread

Mediteranean Bread (That doesn't look like it is spelled correctly-sorry)

pizza dough (I sometimes make it from scratch, but Pillsbury refridgerated pizza dough (next to canned biscuits) works great too.
Roll into a long rectangle.
2 tbslp. of pesto
1/3 cup of feta cheese
2 tblsp of chopped black olives
2 tblsp of chopped sun dried tomatoes

Mix together and spread on pizza dough. Roll pizza dough up, jelly roll style. Put on cookie sheet (sprayed with nonstick spray) and bake until golden brown at 350 degrees. I have no idea how long it takes :)I then slice this and serve it with a salad and fruit. White and red wines are good with this as well, and it makes a great appetizer for a party.

Grits and Greens

Grits and Greens
1 pkg. 50%-less-fat pork sausage (such as Jimmie Dean)
You can also use turkey sausage
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup grated onion
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
4 ounces fresh baby spinach (about 5 cups) ( I use 2 pkgs of frozen, chopped spinach)
2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups uncooked quick-cooking grits1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Dash of ground nutmeg

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add bell pepper, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; sauté 3 minutes or until bell pepper is tender and sausage is done. Add spinach; cook 1 minute or until wilted. Remove pan from heat.Combine milk and broth in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Slowly add grits, stirring constantly. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until thick and grits are tender, stirring frequently. Stir in butter, black pepper, red pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and sausage mixture. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

***DOUGH***
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup milk-room temp.
1 large egg-beaten
1/4 cup butter-softened
1 tblsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups all purpose white flour or bread flour
1/2 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
1 tblsp bread machine yeast
***FILLING***
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbslp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter-softened
***CREAM CHEESE CINNAMON FROSTING***
4 oz. cream cheese-softened
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tblsp milk
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Add the dough ingredients in the order listed to the bread machine and prepare using the dough setting. On a lightly floured surface, roll out to a 18 by 30 rectangle. The dough can also be handmade, if you use reg yeast you may want to let the rolls proof for 15-30 min after assembly.In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread the softened butter over the dough and evenly sprinkle on the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Starting at the long edge of the dough, rollup tightly. Mark the roll every 2 inches. Cut the cinnamon rolls and place into greased 8 or 9 inch baking pans 2" apart. COver and let rise in a warm, draft free place until almost double, approx. 1 hr. After rising, rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.While baking mix cream cheese, butter, vanilla and milk. Add powdered sugar and cinnamon and mix until smooth. Spread on warm rolls and serve immediately.

Beef Tips

Beef Tips
2 pkgs. stew meat
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 can Sprite
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Place cubed meat in crock pot. Sprinkle onion soup over meat and spoon mushroom soup over top. Pour in can of Sprite. Do not stir. Cook on HIGH setting for four hours or LOW setting for eight hours. Serve over rice, noodles or mashed potatoes

Hamburger Steak

Hamburger Steak

1 lb. hamburger meat
1 cup bread crumbs
1 small onion, grated
1 envelope dry onion mix
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 can mushroom soup
1 cup water

Mix together meat, milk, bread crumbs, egg and onion; chill. After chilled, pat out into patties. Flour each patty and brown in oil. Drain fat and add mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water. COok in oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. We eat Velveeta shells and cheese, green beans and sweet tea with this :) OR you can serve the meat and gravy over rice.

Hot Tamale Casserole

Hot Tamale Casserole
1 can tamales
1 can refried beans
1 pkg. taco mix
cheddar cheese
4 flour tortillas
1 lb. hamburger meat
salsa

Cooke hamburger meat, drain and stir in package of taco mix. Start layering: put tamales on bottom of dish, flour tortillas, refried beans and then sprinkle with cheese. Then layer hamburger meat, more tortillas and salsa. Finish with more tortillas and cheese. Refridgerate overnight and then bake at 350 degrees until warm and cheese bubbles. Serve with sour cream and guacamole.

Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti
1 chopped onion
1 (12) oz. pkg. spaghetti
1 can chicken broth
4 chicken breasts cooked, deboned
1 can Rotel1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of mushroom
1/2 lb. box of Velveeta

Saute' onion in oleo until tender. Cook spaghetti until tender, cool in colander. Add all ingredients to chicken broth. Chop up 1/2 lb. Velveeta and stir in. You can add cheese to ingredients of casserole and on top as desired. Cook about 30 minutes in oven at 350 degrees until slightly browned and bubbly. Serve with salad and crusty rolls.

Bagel Sandwiches

Meditteranean Bagel Sandwich
lightly toasted bagel
hummus
Cucumber
Lettuce (I used spinach leaves)
Tomato
sliced, smoked turkey

Pesto Chicken Bagel Sandwich
lightly toasted bagel
store bought pesto
Lettuce
Tomato
Provolone Cheese
Sliced Turkey or chicken

Bagel BLT
Toasted Bagel
Fat Free Mayo
Turkey
Bacon
Lettuce
Tomato

Triple Chocolate Covered Clusters

1 (16 oz.) jar dry roasted peanuts
1 (16 oz. jar unsalted dry roasted peanuts
18 (2 oz.) chocolate bark squares, cut in half
2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
1 (4 oz.) German chocolate baking squares, broken into pieces
1 9.75 oz. can salted whole cashews
1 tsp vanilla extract.

Cobine 1st 5 ingredents in a crockpot. Cover adn cook on low 2 hours or until melted. Stir chocolate misture. Add cahsews adn vanilla, stirring well to coat cashews. Drop nut mixture by heaping tblsp onto wax paper. Let stand until firm. Makes 60 candies.

Chicken Tortilla Soup-Crock Pot Meal

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 10 oz. pkg. frozen whole kernel corn (thawed)
1 lg. onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 (14 oz.) cans chicken broth
1 (10 3/4) can tomato puree
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chiles (Rotel-I use Mild)
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsps ground cumin
1 tsp ground chili powder
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
4 corn tortillas

Cobine first 13 ingredients in a crockpot. Cover and cook on High for 6 hours. Remove adn discard bay leaf. Cut tortillas into 1/4 inch strips. Pace on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 5 minutes, stir and bake 5 more or until crisp. Serve on top of soup.

"Baked" Potato Soup-Crockpot

6 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, minced
3 14 oz. cans chicken broth with roasted garlic
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 tsps. salt
1 1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
3 tblsp. chopped fresh chives
1 8 oz. container sour cream
4 bacon slices, crumbled
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Combine first 6 ingredients in a 5 qt. slow cooker. Voer and cook on high 4 hours, or on low 8 hours or until potato is tender. Mash mixture until potatoes are coasrly chopped and soup is thickened. Stir in sour cream and cheese.

Tomato Florentine Soup

3 cups chicken broth
2 (14 1/2 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic, undrained
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 tsps. minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 pkg. refrigerated cheese tortellini (or the frozen bag-just thaw them first)
shredded parmesan cheese

Combine 8 ing in a 4 qt slow cooker. Cover adn cook on low 5 1/2 hours;add pasta cook on low 30 minutes longer. Garnish with Parmesan.

Crockpot Extra Cheesy Mac and Cheese

1 (8 oz.) pkg. shredded italian 3 cheese blend
1 (8 oz.) pkg. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 large eggs
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
8 oz. small shell pasta

Combine cheeses in a bowl, set aside. Whisk together eggs and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in pasta and 3 cups cheese mixture. Pour mixture into cooker, sprinkle with 3/4 cup cheese mixture. Cover and cook on low four hours. Sprinkle servings with cheese mixture.

Crock Pot Rosemary and Garlic Chicken

10 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. chopped, fresh rosemary
1 (5-6 lb.) roasting chicken
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tblsp. balsalmic vinegar

Combine minced garlic and chopped rosemary. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Loosen skin with fingertips and rub garlic mixture under skin. Place breasts down in slow cooker. Cook on high 1 hr. Reduce heat to low and cook 7 hours. Remove chicken from slow cooker, reserving drippings. Discard skin from chicken. Place a zip top freezer bag inside a 2 cup glass measuring cup, pour into freezer bag; let stand 10 minutes. seal bag, snip off 1 bottom corner of the bag. Drain drippings into a small sauce pan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Add orange juice and vinegar to sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer ten minutes and pour over chicken before serving.

Don't let the steps intimidate you-it is quick and so good!

BBQ Muffins

1 (12 oz.) can refrigerated can buttermilk biscuits
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Roll biscuits inot 5 inch circles. Press into muffin tins that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Brown beef and crumble. Drain. Stir spoon into muffin cups. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Sprinle with cheese and bake five more minutes

Shepard's Pie

2 (17 oz.) pkg. beef tips
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1 cup frosen sweet peas, thawed
1 (24 oz.) package refrigerated mashed potatoes
1/2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup 4 oz. shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350, Cook beef, spoon into casserole dish, top with corn and peas. Cook potatoes and spoon into bowl. Add cream cheese, butter and garlic powder;beat at med. speed with electric mixer until smooth. Spread potatoes over mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Chicken Alfredo with Dried Tomatoes and Spinach

8 oz. uncooked fettuccine

1 (1.6) package Alfredo sauce mix (I think Knorr is best)

1 1/2 cups milk

1 tbsp. butter

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg (optional)

2 (6 oz.) packages refrigerated grilled chicken breast strips (or I just cook chicken with salt and pepper)



1 oz. piece of Parmesan cheese shaved (or use the grated in a tub-not the powder)

1/2 cup thinkly sliced fresh baby spinach

1/3 cup oil packed dried tomatoes, thinly sliced



Cook fettucine according to package directions; drain.

Meanwhile, whisk together Alfredo sauce mix and milk in a large sauce pan. Add butter. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, whisking often. Reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in pepper and nutmeg, if desired. Combine sauce, chicken strips, and hot cooked pasta in a large bowl;toss well.

Kung Pao Chicken

1 tbsp. canola oil
4 cups broccoli florets
1 tsp. bottled fresh ginger, divided
2 tbsp. water

1 lb. skinned and boned chicken breasts, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1/4 dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 tsp. bottled minced garlic
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. coarsely chopped salted peanuts

Heat 1 tsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over med high heat. Add broccoli and 1/2 tsp. ginger to pan. Saute one minute. Add 2 tbsp. water. COver and cook 2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Remove broccoli from pan; keep warm.
Heat remaining 2 tsp. oil in pan;add remaining 1/2 tsp. ginner, chicken, and crushed red pepper. Cook 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, stirring often.
Whisk together broth and nest five ingredients in a small bowl. Add broth mixture to pan;cook one minute or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Return broccoli mixture to pan;toss to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Calories: 248
Fat: 8.6 g

I serve this over white or brown rice.

Crisp Garlic Chicken-A twist on Spaghetti Parmesan

1 tsp. bottle minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 skinned and boned chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 425. Combine garlic and olive oil in a small microwave-safe bowl;microwave at HIGH 30 to 45 seconds or until just warm.

Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, and pepper in a shallow dish. Dip chicken in warm olive oil;dredge in breadcrumb misture. Place chicken on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake at 425 for 20 to 25 mnutes or until chicken is golden.

Calories: 339 Fat: 13.5

I serve the chicken over a bed of spaghetti and marinara sauce.

Sesame Orange Chicken

2 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
1 tbsp. grated orange rind
1/4 tsp. salt, divided
Dash of pepper
4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. butter
1 cup chikcen broth
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tbsp. whipping cream

To toast sesame seeds place a skillet over med high heat and add sesame seeds. Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds or until sesame aroma is obvious and they are lightly toasted.

combine sesame seeds, orange rind, 1/8 tsp. salt, and pepper in a food processor;process until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap;pound to 1/4 inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken evenly with remaining salt. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over med heat until butter melts. Add chicken;cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan;keep warm.

Add sesame mixture and broth to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring to loosen browned bits from skillet. Cook mixture about 3 minutes or until reduced to 2/3 cup. Add orange juice and cream; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. serve sauce over chicken.

Chicken has only 279 calories per serving!! I serve this with a salad and fruit.

Caramelized Onion Chicken

1 lb. chicken breast tenders
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 small onion
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. bottled minced ginger
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Saute onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium high heat for 2 minutes. add chicken to pan; cook 8 minutes or until chicken is done, turning occasionally. Remove onion and chicken from pan, and set aside. Add jam and remaining ingredients to skillet;cook 2 minutes, sittiring constandly with a whisk to loosen browned bits from skillet. Return chicken mixture to pan;cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Seedless blackberry jam is also good with this recipe.

Cal: 247 per serving, 3 grams of fat.

I serve this with green beans and rice.

Three Cheese Chicken Penne

1 tsp. olive oil
Vegetable cooking spray
1 8oz. package sliced, fresh mushrooms
1 small onion chopped
1 small red bell pepper
3 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper

8 oz. penne uncooked

1 16 oz. container cottage cheese (I use reduced fat)
2 cups shredded roasted chicken (I use a Rotisserie chicken from deli)
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 10 3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup, undiluted (I use fat free)

Cook pasta and drain.

Preheat oven to 425. Heat olive oil in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Add mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper; saute 4 minutes or until tender. Add spinach, oregano, and pepper;saute 3 minutes or just until spinach wilts. Set aside.

Place cottage cheese in a food processor or blender and blend until very smooth. Combine cottage cheese, spinach mixture, cooked pasta, chicken, 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, milk, and soup in a large bowl;stir until well blended. Spoon mixture into a 2 qt baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining cheeses on top. Bake for 25 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

You can bake the pasta in individual ramekins, bake for only 15 minutes

Friday, August 22, 2008

Easy Chicken Fried Rice

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2/3 cup orange juice
3 tbsp. teriyaki sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 garlic powder.
2 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
2 small red onions, cut into wedges

Marinate chicken and vegetables in above ingredients, in a large freezer bag for thirty minutes.

Grill or cook in skillet until done, cut into bite sized pieces.

3 tbsp. veg oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 10 oz. package frozen peas
5 cups cooked long grain rice
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. chili-garlic sauce (optional-it is in Asian section)

Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over med high heat, add eggs and gently stir one minute or until soft scrambled. Remove eggs from skillet, cool and cut into bite size pieces. Set aside.

heat remaining 2 tbsp. oil in skillet, add reserved chicken, vegetables, and peas. Stir fry 2 minutes. Add rice and remaining ingredients, stir fry 5 minutes. Stir in reserved eggs.

Southwest Corn and Sausage Dressing

1 lb. ground pork sausage
1 med. onion
1 (8.5 oz.) package corn muffin mix
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can cream style corn
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (4.5 oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Cook sausage and onion in a large skillet over med high heat, stirring until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain well.

Combine corn muffin mix and next three ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in cooked sausage mixture, black beans, green chiles, and cheese. Spoon cornbread mixture into a lightly greased (I use cooking spray) 11x7 inch casserole dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until golden brown and set.

Quick Shrimp Chowder

2 tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans cream of potato soup
3 1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1 1/2 lb. med size frozen RAW shrimp, peeled and deveined.
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat'add oinon, and saute until tender. Stir in cream of potato soup, milk and pepper;bring to a boil. Add shrimp; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often for five minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Stir in cheese until melted.

Broccoli, Ham and Cheese Soup

5 large baking potatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 14 oz. cans chicken broth
1 12 oz. package diced cooked ham
1 1/2 broccoli florets
2 tsp. bottled minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Combine first 8 ing. in a 5 qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH one hour, reduce heat to LOW and cook 6 hours or until potatoes are tender.

Process half of soup mixture in a food processor until smooth. Return pureed soup, whipping cream, and 2 cups cheese to slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 30 more minutes or until thoroughly heated. Top with additional cheese if desired.

Loaded Potato Soup

5 large baking potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1 med. onion
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 qt. half and half (I use fat free)
3 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
8 cooked and crumbled bacon slices

Prick each potato several times with a fork. Microwave on HIGH for 20 minutes or until done.

Peel potatoes, and coarsely mash with a fork.

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over med heat; add onion, and saute' until tender. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Stir in potatoes, half and half, and next three ing. Cook over low heat about fifteen minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Top each serving with cheese and crumbled bacon

Club Wraps

1/2 cup creamy mustard-mayonnaise blend (Dijionnaise)
4 ten inch flour tortillas
1/2 lb. thinly sliced honey ham lunch meat
1/2 lb. thinly sliced smoked turkey lunch meat
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1 cup shredded mozzarella or sliced smoked provolone cheese
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 small red onion, diced
8 fully cooked bacon slices
1/2 tsp. pepper

Spread mustard mayonnaise blend onto tortillas, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Layer turkey and next six ing. over tortillas, sprinkle with pepper. Roll up tortillas and secure with toothpicks, and cut in half diagonally.

Strawberry Smoothie

1 (10 oz.) container frozen strawberries in light syrup

1 (32 oz.) low fat vanilla yogurt

Blend and serve

Ham And Swiss Muffins

3 Tbsp. Butter

1 Med. Sized Onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups all purpose baking mix

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Swiss or Cheddar cheese, divided

1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 large egg

1 cup finely chopped cooked ham (I buy the prepackaged chopped ham)

Poppy seeds



Preheat oven to 425. Melt butter in skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and saute three to five minutes or until tender.



Combine baking mix adn half of cheese in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.



Whisk together milk, Dijon mustard, and egg; add to cheese mixture, stirring just until moistened. Stir in onion and ham. Spoon into lightly greased muffin pans, filling two-thirds full. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and poppy seeds if desired.