Tara’s Kitchen

Yummy Game Day Dishes

This year, the Super Bowl is going to be so exciting in our house because my son just started playing flag football and he is obsessed with the game now.

My daughter is also cheerleading so it’s super cute! Even though our favorite teams didn’t make it, we are beyond thrilled to enjoy the day celebrating the love of the Game.

With great food, family, and football coming together for a fun-filled day, what’s not to love about the Super Bowl?

Below are some yummy ideas you can enjoy for game day:

Seven-layer Vegetarian Greek Dip

Shred one medium cucumber, toss with a large pinch of kosher salt, and let it drain in a strainer for 10 minutes. After squeezing out the remaining liquid, mix with 2 cups Greek yogurt, two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, finely grated garlic clove, and half a teaspoon dried mint.

Toss together two cups chopped fresh parsley, half a cup chopped and pitted kalamata olives, one teaspoon lemon zest, and four chopped scallions.

Squeeze the liquid out of two 14-ounce cans of artichoke hearts and two cups jarred roasted red bell peppers and then chop.

In a clear bowl, spread out the artichokes, followed by the cucumber-yogurt mixture, peppers, two cups pita chips, two cups hummus, one cup crumbled feta, and then top with the olive-herb mixture.

Serve with additional pita chips.

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Season two pounds of boneless and skinless chicken thighs with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, one tablespoon dark brown sugar, two teaspoons paprika, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne. Sear chicken on both sides for four minutes. Add one cup hot sauce and let simmer. Finish cooking in a 400°F oven until chicken reads 160°F on a kitchen thermometer. Let cool.

Shred the cooked chicken and then place back in the oven to broil. Cook until a crust forms on top and it caramelizes.

To assemble the sandwiches, place some chicken on the bottom of a buttered and griddled roll. Top with ranch dressing, crumbled blue cheese, a slice of tomato, and lettuce.

Chicken Chili

Cook four cups yellow onions in 1/8 cup olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add in two minced garlic cloves and cook for another minute. Stir in two large diced red and yellow bell peppers, one teaspoon each of chili powder and ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon each of dried red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper, and two teaspoons kosher salt. Cook for one minute. Crush two cans of whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree and add to mixture. Add basil. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat. Simmer uncovered for half an hour and stir occasionally.

Rub four split chicken breasts with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 35 to 40 minutes.

Once cooked, let cool and then cut into ¾-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Have a great time in the kitchen!




Guilt Free Holiday Cocktails

The holiday season presents the perfect opportunity to celebrate with friends and family and no festivity is ever complete without enjoying a few drinks here and there. The downside is that most cocktails are laden with sugar and excess calories and by the time the holidays are over, you will have already gained extra pounds due to indulgence.

If you’re serving drinks this Christmas, check out these low-calorie cocktail recipes that you and your guests will surely enjoy:

  • French Martinis. Shake together 2 ounces of vodka, half an ounce of raspberry liqueur, and an ounce of pineapple juice. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with raspberries or strawberries.
  • Campari with Pear Puree. Shake together two ounces of Campari, ¾ ounces of prickly pear puree, and one and a half ounces of Grüner Veltliner or an aromatic white wine with ice. Strain into a chilled neat glass.
  • Gingerbread Cocktail. Pour sake in a glass together with ginger ale and sprinkle with cinnamon. For garnish, add in a cinnamon stick.
  • Cranberry Margaritas. Shake together cranberry juice and margarita mix and blend with muddled cranberries. Pour into a rocks or margarita glass.
  • Bloody Mary. Muddle two cherry tomatoes in the bottom of a shaker then combine one ounce of Russian Standard Vodka, half an ounce of absinthe, half an ounce of cucumber water, a splash of lemon juice, and half an ounce of simple syrup. Shake well with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass rimmed with black pepper and sea salt.

Guilt Free Holiday Cookies

The holidays simply aren’t complete without cookies. Just the scent of these freshly baked morsels of deliciousness not only gets everybody in the mood for celebration but can also bring back great memories of merriment. However, indulging in these tasty treats can also mean putting on unwanted weight thanks to the sugar and fat content of most store-bought cookies.

Thankfully, there are healthier options available for those who still want to enjoy nibbling on these sweet treats without the added guilt. I’ve scouted for some holiday cookie recipes that you can try with your kids that not only pack a punch flavor-wise but also won’t wreck your diet:

Linda Crowley’s One Nutty Date

Sinking your teeth into these peanut butter and date cookies will surely take you down memory lane and it only has 114 calories per serving. All you need is to beat together one cup of packed light brown sugar, half a cup each of softened unsalted butter and smooth natural peanut butter, and half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon until well mixed. Add to this one large egg and one teaspoon vanilla until well combined. This will be followed by the addition of one and a half cups of flour, half a teaspoon each of baking powder, baking soda, and salt. When well mixed, stir in eight ounces each of chopped, pitted dates, and 1/3 cups of chopped walnuts. Refrigerate for at least an hour before baking.

When ready, simply scoop about 1 3/8 to 1 ½ inch balls of dough two inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet and placed in a preheated 375°F oven, and bake for eight to ten minutes  or until the edges are lightly browned. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack completely.

Finally, combine eight ounces of white chocolate chips and one tablespoon of canola oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on medium and stir every thirty seconds until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Drizzle this on top of the cookies.

Cranberry-Honey Spice Pinwheel Cookies

For just 54 calories per serving, the spice and tang of these cookies will truly inspire holiday cheer in anybody. Simply combine and cook over medium heat 1 ½ cups of sweetened, dried cranberries as well as 1 cup fresh cranberries, 1/2 cup of honey, 2 teaspoons of freshly grated orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom or all spice in a non-reactive saucepan for four to five minutes. Let cool slightly and puree in a food processor. If the mixture looks dry, add up to two teaspoons of water. Refrigerate in a non-reactive container.

For the dough, whisk together 2 1/3 cups all purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon each of baking soda and ground cardamom or all spice.

In another large bowl, mix 1/3 cup canola oil,  ½ teaspoons of cooled melted butter, 1 cup of sugar, 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons of low fat milk, 2 1/2 teaspoons of freshly grated orange zest, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and ½ teaspoon of almond extract. Beat this with an electric mixer on low and then increase the speed until well combined. Stir up to 1 tablespoon of milk if the dough is too dry. Let it rest in the refrigerator for thirty to forty five minutes.

Divide the dough into two and shape each one into a six-inch long log. Place on a 16-inch sheet of baking paper, cover with a second sheet and roll out into a 12 by 15 inch rectangle. Do the same for the other half of the dough. Freeze for about fifteen minutes.

Place a sheet of dough on a working surface and peel off the top sheet of baking paper then spread half of the filling over the dough. Take a 15-inch side and tightly roll the dough like a jelly-roll. Stretch out the center of the log to ensure that it is even. Wrap in a clean baking sheet and twist the end to prevent the log dough from unrolling and place on a cookie sheet. Do the same for the other batch of dough. Freeze until firm for three to four hours.

Trim the uneven ends of the roll and cut it crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices using a large serrated knife. Turn the roll periodically to maintain the round cookie sheet. Place these on a cookie sheet with half an inch separating each one. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes in a 350°F oven.

Cool on a rack completely.

Chocolate Coconut Meringues

These cookies are light, airy, and perfectly crisp. What’s more, these little treats only have 36 calories a serving. To make, whisk four large egg whites, a quarter teaspoon each of cream of tartar, coconut extract, almond extract, and vanilla extract, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until well combined. Gradually add a cup of sugar, two tablespoons at a time and beat until stiff, shiny peaks form (about six to eight minutes).

Sift in a quarter of a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. Gently fold until well combined.

Spoon the mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch round piping tip. Pipe two-inch circles half an inch apart on a baking sheet. Bake in a 250°F oven for fifty minutes. Turn off the heat and leave them inside until completely dry for about an hour and a half.

Drizzle with melted semisweet and white chocolate. Let stand until it sets.

I hope you try making these deliciously guilt free holiday cookies and sharing them with friends and family. If you would like to find more recipes, go to Delish.com.

Happy Holidays!




Prepping Tasty On-the-Go Lunches

We live in a fast-paced world but that doesn’t mean that people’s nutrition should be disregarded. Along with a healthy breakfast and a satisfying dinner, we, as moms, should also know the value of serving a tasty and nutritious lunch. Let’s face it, most days, family members are either at school or at work for lunch but that shouldn’t stop us from serving healthy and delicious food other than PB and J sandwiches. Here are some tips for preparing on-the-go meals for busy mothers like you:

  • Do the Prep Work Ahead of Time. More often than not, prepping ingredients can take up a lot of precious time. If you want to prepare fast meals, you’re going to have to pre-cut you fruits and veggies and pre-portion your meats like beef, poultry, or fish and store them in the fridge so that when you need them, they are ready.
  • Stock Up on Pantry, Fridge, and Freezer Staples. Having pasta, beans, canned tomatoes, cereals, grains, broth or stocks, olive oil, curry powder, milk, and eggs on hand can help moms in coming up with great meals every day without staying in the supermarket for too long.
  • Collect Recipes. Sometimes it can be daunting trying to come up with a filling and nutrient-packed lunch especially when there is so much left on our to-do list. In order to avoid getting stressed over deciding what to prepare for lunch, clip recipes from magazines or print out interesting ones you find online and be sure to store them in a single area. This way, you can just pull one recipe and get cooking.
  • Opt for Simplicity. When you are pressed for time, going for meals that pack a punch without the need for slaving over a hot stove is a definite lifesaver. Put together simple but filling salads or wraps that will leave your family satisfied and not sluggish for the rest of the afternoon.
  • Pre-pack Lunches the Night Before. This is the perfect time to get the kids involved with meal prep. Let the youngsters choose from an assortment of food items that can be included in their lunch boxes while you prepare the entrée.




Hauntingly Yummy (and Healthy) Halloween Treats

Halloween is perhaps one of the most awesome holidays there is for kids. Not only do they get to dress up as spooky creatures, whimsical characters, or their favorite superhero but they also get to receive tons of sweets from the neighbors.

I was browsing Lauren Conrad’s blog and I found awesome healthy Halloween treats that not only look tasty but also looked cute.While resisting the urge to munch on Halloween candy can be difficult, moms like us can still help our kids get their sugar dose without having to succumb to the refined sugars commonly found in those decadent sweets.

In her post, she included Banana Graveyard Ghosts which were made from halved bananas with faces drawn on with black decorating icing. The spooky fruits were then glued to a plate with peanut butter and then a bed of chocolate cookie crumbles were laid on to act as graveyard dirt.

Moreover, she also included adorable Clementine “pumpkins” made from peeled fruit. Green pipe cleaners were then cut for stems.

Aside from these sweet treats, Halloween candy can also be replaced by the following:

  • Rice Krispies Treats made from brown rice puffs and brown rice syrup. These can also be decorated with Sun Drops.
  • Chocolate-covered fruit skewers. You can also freeze these for instant fruit pops.
  • Eerie Popcorn Balls made with popcorn, honey, butter, salt, and raisins.
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Caramel apples
  • Yogurt covered raisins
  • Ghoulish Jell-O in orange peel cups

I hope you have fun finding yummy alternatives this Halloween!




Cooking Healthy this Thanksgiving

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is that we are able to sit down together at the dinner table and just enjoy each other’s company while munching on great food. However, typical dishes served during this holiday are laden with fat. This is why every year, with my little girl’s help, I try to whip up a healthy meal that my family will enjoy.

I was browsing the Readers Digest website a few days ago and I found some great recipes that not only looks delicious but are also tailored to be free from so much grease:

Apple Hazelnut Stuffing

This wholesome alternative to the traditional stuffing combines fresh flavors like hazelnuts, apples, parsley, and rosemary for a delectable treat while cutting back on the fat and calories.

The recipe calls for sautéing two chopped celery stalks, one chopped onion, in a tablespoon of olive oil for four minutes. Add a shredded carrot, three tablespoons of minced parsley, a tablespoon of minced rosemary and keep sautéing for four minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add two minced garlic cloves and cook for one more minute.

Combine the vegetable mixture with four cups of cubed day-old bread, 1 ½ cups of shredded peeled tart apples, ½ cup of toasted chopped hazelnuts, a lightly beaten egg, ¾ cup apple cider, ½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper, and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Transfer this to an 8-inch square baking dish, cover, and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover, and then bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until it reaches a temperature of 165°.

Low Calorie, Low Fat Gravy

Let’s face it, Thanksgiving will not be complete without the gravy but it has too many calories and too much fat that skipping it seems like a good idea. However, there is a way to enjoy gravy without the guilt.

For this recipe, sauté a chopped large onion, a chopped medium-sized carrot, and one stalk of celery in two teaspoons of canola oil until tender. Add half a cup of sherry or unsweetened apple juice and cook for one more minute. Add two and a half cups of water, ½ cup of parsley sprigs, and two bay leaves. Let simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.

Strain and discard vegetables.

In a small saucepan, combine ¼ cup of unbleached all purpose flour, 1 ¾ cups chicken broth, 1 tablespoon turkey drippings, 1 teaspoon sage, salt, pepper, and the gravy base. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened.

Maple-Ginger Roasted Veggies

Seasonal vegetables laced with the crisp flavor of ginger and sweetened with maple syrup will definitely make your dinner table festive.

Simply combine five medium peeled and sliced parsnips, 5 small sliced carrots, 3 medium peeled and cubed turnips, 1 large peeled and cubed sweet potato, 1 small peeled and cubed rutabaga, 1 large wedged sweet onion, and one small wedged red onion in a re-sealable bag with 1 tablespoon minced ginger, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Shake to coat the veggies and lay in two 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans.

Bake uncovered, at 425° for 25 minutes, stirring once. Drizzle with syrup and then bake until vegetables are tender.

I hope you have fun in the kitchen this Thanksgiving!




Easter Meals to Try

Easter presents the perfect opportunity for families to come together and to celebrate new beginnings; at the Boreyko house, we especially value this holiday because of our beliefs in our Lord and savior.

As a mom and wife, I believe that there is no better way to spend time with your family than sharing great meals. I was searching Foodnetwork.com the other day and I found great recipes that we could all try and serve to our families and I’d like to share them with you.

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms from The Barefoot Contessa

This simple recipe calls for large white mushrooms, stuffing composed of Italian sausage, Marsala wine, and mascarpone cheese as well as a topping of panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Spinach Salad with Sweet Roasted Pecans and Gorgonzola with Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette

This may sound like a mouthful but this light salad is as simple as mixing together spinach, pecans halves, and some gorgonzola cheese for the salad and combining olive oil, vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper for the dressing.

4-Pepper Deviled Eggs

Alton Brown’s simple recipe requires eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, and freshly ground peppercorn for a fantastic batch of deviled eggs.

Bacon-Watercress Salad

This refreshing salad only requires bitter spring greens, crispy bacon, orange segments, dried fruit, blue cheese, and nuts; a perfectly hearty Easter appetizer.

Smoked Salmon Dip

Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, minced dill, horseradish, kosher salt, ground black peppers, and sliced smoked salmon for a versatile dip that suits veggies, chips, and toasted pieces of bread.

Have fun cooking for your family this Easter and may God bless you all.




Skinny Super Bowl Crock Pot Recipes

Super Bowl is coming up again and what better way to spend it than gathering your friends and family around your living room and enjoying the game with good food. But then again, who has time to slave over the hot stove when you have company to entertain, right? Don’t worry ladies because I have compiled easy and skinny crock pot recipes from Fabfitfun.com that you and your guests will surely enjoy!

Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole


1 package frozen hash brown potatoes

9 ounces lean turkey or chicken breakfast sausage, browned and diced

1 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese

1 bell pepper, diced

1 8-ounce package of mushrooms, diced

14 egg whites

1 cup fat free milk

6 scallions, diced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard


1. Spray inside of Crock-Pot with non-fat cooking spray.

2. Layer potatoes, bell pepper, onions, mushrooms and sausage and ½ cup of the shredded cheese in the crock pot, in two or three layers. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and dry mustard. Pour over the entire potato and vegetables layers.

4. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until eggs are cooked through.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 6 hours

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken


For the chicken:

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast

1 celery stalk

1/2 onion, diced

1 clove garlic

16 ounces fat free low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup hot cayenne pepper sauce

For the wraps:

6 large lettuce leaves, bibb or iceberg

1 1/2 cups shredded carrots

2 large celery stalks, cut into 2 inch matchsticks


1. In a Crock-Pot, combine chicken, onions, celery stalk, garlic, and broth, enough to cover chicken. (Pour in extra water if the can of broth isn’t enough.) Cover and cook on high 4 hours.

2. Remove the chicken from pot, reserve 1/2 cup broth and discard the rest. Shred the chicken with two forks, return to the slow cooker with the 1/2 cup broth and the hot sauce and set to on high for an additional 30 minutes. Makes 3 cups chicken.

3. To prepare lettuce cups, place 1/2 cup buffalo chicken in each leaf, top with 1/4 cup shredded carrots, celery and dressing of your choice. Wrap up and start eating!

Nutritional information:

Servings: 6; calories: 147.7; fat: 0.1g; carbs: 5.2g; fiber: 1.6g; protein: 24.9g; sugars: 1.7g; sodium: 879mg

Crock Pot Baked Apples


1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

2 tablespoons trans-fat free margarine or butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

6 Gala or Macintosh apples, cored

1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider

2 tablespoons orange liqueur (optional)


1. In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, walnuts, margarine or butter, and cinnamon. If you don’t want to use walnuts, you could use pecans or go nut-free by substituting with 1/4 cup chopped raisins, prunes, or granola! Another great substitution is 1/4 cup of rolled quick oats moistened with a tablespoon of water before stuffing the apples.

2. Use a grapefruit spoon that has the sharp edges (or a melon baller or small paring knife) and core most of the way through, I leave about 1/2 inch apple left at the bottom. You could remove the skin but I find that it helps to hold the apple together as it bakes — it also adds extra fiber which is always a plus.

3. Fill the apples with the filling and place them in the Crock-Pot.

4. Pour the apple juice or cider (and the liquor, if using) into the Crock-Pot, around the apples. If you don’t have apple juice or cider, you can use apple lime juice or apple vinegar (diluted with water and a little sugar).

5. Set the Crock-Pot on high heat and cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the apples are soft and begin to collapse.

6. If you don’t have a Crock-Pot, you can use a 7 x 11-inch casserole dish or stock pot. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and cover the pan with aluminum foil. They’ll take about 45 minutes to one hour. A glass baking dish is also an option, just be sure to lower the heat by 5-10 degrees since glass can cause food to burn.

7. If you’re making this recipe for a large crowd, you could do these in the oven in a large disposable roasting pan and just double the recipe. They also taste delish with a scoop of low-fat frozen vanilla yogurt.

8. You can refrigerate these for up to 3 days, but store them in an airtight container so they don’t pick up odors from the fridge.

Nutritional Information:

Serving size: 1 apple; 214 calories, Protein: 1g, carbs: 34g, fat: 7g; saturated fat: 1g; cholesterol 0mg; fiber 2g; sodium: 50mg

Pulled Pork Sandwich


3 pounds pork shoulder meat

1 onion, diced

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon mustard

1 cup vinegar

Salt, pepper and paprika to taste


1. Add ingredients to slow cooker cover and simmer on low for 6-8 hours. Stir every 30-45 minutes.

2. Remove pork when tender and drain fat from the bottom of the pot.

3. Use forks to pull apart the pork and return it to the slow cooker to keep warm.

4. Serve with seeded hamburger buns.

Slow Cooker Classic Fudge


2 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1/2 cup coconut milk, (canned, not in a carton; can be found in Asian grocery stores)

1/4 cup raw mild honey

Dash of sea salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Add chocolate chips, coconut milk, honey and salt, stir to combine. Cover and cook on low 2 hours without stirring. Keep lid on during these 2 hours.

3. After 2 hours, turn the slow cooker off, uncover, add vanilla and stir to combine ingredients. Allow to cool in uncovered slow cooker, until fudge has reached room temperature, approximately 4 hours.

3. Using a large spoon, stir vigorously for 5-10 minutes until it loses some the gloss.

4. Lightly spray a 1 quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour fudge into dish, cover and refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Cut into 30 pieces.

Beefy Stuffed Peppers


6 red or yellow bell peppers

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 can (11-ounce) Mexican-style corn

1 can (7-ounce) sliced ripe olives

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

1/2 cup converted rice

1 packet (10-ounce) taco seasoning

1 can (10 3⁄4-ounces) condensed tomato soup

1 can (10-ounce) diced tomatoes

1/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend


1. Cut tops off peppers. Remove stems, seeds, and cores from peppers. Dice pepper tops.

2. In a large bowl, combine beef, corn, olives, 1 cup cheese, the rice, taco seasoning, and diced pepper tops. Stuff peppers with equal portions of meat mixture. Place stuffed bell peppers in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker.

3. In another bowl, combine soup and tomatoes. Pour over stuffed peppers in slow cooker. Top peppers with 1⁄4 cup shredded cheese. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 7 hours.

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos


3 whole ancho chiles

3 whole pasilla chiles

4 cloves garlic, unpeeled

2 to 3 chipotles in adobo sauce

1/2 medium white onion, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Kosher salt

2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican

3 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (untrimmed), cut into chunks

Freshly ground pepper

2 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving

Assorted taco toppings, for garnish


1. Put the ancho and pasilla chiles and the garlic in a bowl; add 2 to 3 tablespoons water. Microwave on high until soft and pliable (2 to 3 minutes.)Stem and seed the chiles; peel the garlic. Transfer the chiles and garlic to a blender.

2. Add the chipotles, onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, honey, vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt and the oregano to the blender; puree until smooth. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat; add the chile sauce and fry, stirring, until thick and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Pour in the broth and reduce until slightly thickened.

3. Season the pork all over with salt and pepper and transfer to a large slow cooker. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick, and then pour in the sauce. Cover and cook on high until the meat is tender, about 5 hours. (Or cook the meat in a large Dutch oven, covered, for 1 hour 45 minutes at 350 degrees; uncover and cook 30 more minutes.)

4. Discard the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Shred the pork with 2 forks; season with salt and pepper. Serve the shredded pork in the tortillas, along with toppings.

Nutritional information:

Per serving (does not include tortillas or garnishes): Calories: 399; fat: 1g; saturated fat: 4g; protein: 51g; carbs: 14g; sugar: 5g; fiber: 3g; cholesterol: 147mg; sodium: 212mg

Skinny Margarita (Courtesy of www.sheknows.com)


2 ounces silver tequila

1 1/2 ounces lime juice (freshly squeezed)

1 ounce agave nectar or sugar-free sweetener


Mix together all the ingredients and serve cold.

Raspberry Spritzer (Courtesy of www.eatingwell.com)


2 cups seltzer

2/3 cups frozen raspberries

2 sprigs fresh mint

3 ounces raspberry-flavored syrup or Chambord

Ice cubes


Combine seltzer, raspberries, mint and raspberry-flavored syrup (or Chambord) in a small pitcher. Pour over ice.

Love Lots,


Dairy-Free & Flour-less Chocolate Cake

Recipe via http://www.glutenfreeclub.com contributed by Angie Halten

Flourless chocolate cakeIngredients:
  • 1 1/2 cup GF chocolate chips
  • 19 oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 eggs or 1 cup egg substitute
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar

  • Directions:
  • In a small bowl, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave (or in a double broiler on the stove).
  • Combine the beans and eggs in a blender or processor, then add sugar, baking powder and melted chocolate.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Turn into a nonstick single-layer cake pan. Bake at 350°F for 45 min. or until a knife in the center comes out clean.

    Easy and Yummy Soups in Minutes

    Recipes and photos via fabfitfun.com
    Savory Squash Soup

    3-3/4 pound pumpkins or butternut squash
    1 (1-3/4 pounds) acorn squash
    6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
    1 (4 ounce) White onion peeled, trimmed, and finely diced
    1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
    1/8 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
    1/4 teaspoon ginger, ground
    1/8 teaspoon cardamom, ground
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    4 cups Wolfgang Puck Organic chicken stock or vegetable stock
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 sprig rosemary, fresh
    1 serving Cranberry Relish, for garnish

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Cut each squash in half and discard the seeds. Brush cut sides with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Arrange squash cut side down on rack placed in baking tray, bake until tender, 1 1/2 hours. Cool, scoop out insides of the squash, and puree the flesh in a food processor. Reserve. (Yield 4 cups)
    3. In a medium stockpot, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Over low heat, sweat the onion. Do not allow it to brown. Add the pureed squash and cook over very low heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. Do not allow it to bubble up. Season with the salt, pepper, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, brown sugar and lemon juice.
    4. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, still over low heat, stir often. Cook 20 minutes.
    5. In a small saucepan, heat the cream with the rosemary sprig. Remove the rosemary and pour the cream into the soup. Transfer to a blender or food processor and process, in batches, for 2 or 3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
    6. To serve, ladle the soup into heated bowls. Place a tablespoon of Cranberry Relish in the center. top with a dollop of Cardamom Cream, then sprinkle with chopped pecans. Drizzle pumpkin oil over soup.

    Easy Minestrone Soup

    3 tablespoons olive oil
    2 cloves garlic, minced fine
    1/2 large onion, minced
    5 stalks celery, chopped
    4 carrots, chopped same size as celery
    1 32-ounce container chicken broth
    1 cup water
    1 29-ounce can tomato sauce
    1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
    1 15-ounce can green beans (or about 1 cup frozen)
    2 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    2 teaspoon dried basil
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 cup seashell or orichette pasta
    2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping

    1. In a large pot, heat olive oil and saute garlic and onion for 3-4 minutes. Add in minced celery and carrots, saute for about 5 more minutes. Salt a bit to bring the liquid out in the vegetables.
    2. Once the onions are translucent, add chicken broth, water and tomato sauce and bring to a boil, stirring every few minutes until it’s boiling well. Reduce heat to a simmer and add beans, green beans, zucchini, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the carrots are done.
    3. Cook pasta separately until al dente. Add approximately 1/4 cup cooked pasta to the bottom of the bowl before ladling the vegetable soup over the top.
    4. Top with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and serve with grilled cheese!

    Valerie Bertinelli’s Tuscan Style Soup

    1 1/4 cup eggplant, peeled and cubed
    1 cup water
    1 (14 ½-ounce) can no-salt-added whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
    1/2 (4-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
    1 clove garlic, minced
    3/4 cup zucchini, coarsely chopped
    1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    1. Combine first 9 ingredients in large pan. Bring to boil; cover, reduce eat, and simmer 25 minutes of until vegetable are tender.
    2. To serve, ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.
    Number of Servings: 4

    Lentil-Tomato Soup (6 Servings)

    4-1/2 cups water
    4 medium carrots, sliced
    1 medium onion, chopped
    2/3 cup dried lentils, rinsed
    1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
    2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    1 tablespoon white vinegar
    1 teaspoon garlic salt
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/4 teaspoon dill weed
    1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

    1. In a large saucepan, combine the water, carrots, onion and lentils; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables and lentils are tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
    2. For Sausage Variation: Stir in 1/2 pound chopped fully cooked turkey sausage; heat through.
    3. For Kale Variation: Stir in 3 cups chopped fresh kale; cook, uncovered, until kale is tender.
    4. For Spiced Variation: Add 3/4 teaspoon garam masala when adding other seasonings.

    Corn Chowder

    1 celery stalk
    1 medium onion
    1 1/2 tablespoons butter
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    3 cups 1% milk
    1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into little cubes
    3 scallions
    2 cups frozen corn
    1/4 cup chopped fresh chives and/or parsley

    1. Pull the leaves from the celery stalks and set them aside. Chop celery and onion.
    2. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the celery (not the leaves), onion, and thyme. Stir until the vegetables start to brown.
    3. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir for a few more minutes. Pour in the milk, add the potato and bring to a boil, stirring the whole time so the soup doesn’t stick to the pot. Cook until the potatoes are tender, but not mushy – this will take around 10 minutes.
    4. Meanwhile, chop the celery leaves, trim the ends off the scallions and slice them thinly. When the potatoes are tender, stir in the corn, scallions and celery leaves. Bring the soup back to the boil, then serve.

    Southwestern Chicken Soup

    Cooking spray
    1 cup chopped onion
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    1/4 cup uncooked white rice
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 16-ounce can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
    3 cups chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup chopped seeded tomato
    3/4 cup diced peeled avocado (about 1 medium)
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    6 lime wedges

    1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 3 minutes. Add broth, rice, cumin, and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes.
    2. Stir in chicken, cilantro, pepper, and salt; simmer 5 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly heated.
    3. Remove from heat, and stir in tomato, avocado, and juice. Serve with lime wedges.

    French Onion and Wild Mushroom Soup

    4 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
    3 large onions, thinly sliced
    1 bay leaf
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground thyme
    Salt and pepper
    1 32 ounce container (4 cups) chicken or beef broth
    1 1 ounce package mixed dried wild mushrooms
    1/4 – 1/3 cup dry sherry (eyeball it)
    4 thick slices crusty bread
    1 large clove garlic, halved
    1/2 pound gruyere cheese, shredded

    1. In a heavy soup pot, melt the butter with the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, bay leaf and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are softened and browned, 25 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth, mushrooms and 2 cups water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms and slice.
    3. Preheat the broiler. Pour the sherry into the onions and cook over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the mushrooms and hot broth.
    Toast the bread under the broiler, rub with the garlic and top with the cheese. Broil until melted. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the toasts.

    Half-Hour Chicken Gumbo

    3 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
    1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
    1 medium onion, chopped
    4 garlic cloves, chopped
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    Coarse salt and ground pepper
    1 package (10 ounces) frozen, cut okra
    8 ounces smoked (precooked) andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick
    1 rotisserie chicken (about 2 1/2 pounds), skin and bones removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)
    Store-bought or homemade cornbread, for serving (optional)

    In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in bell peppers, onion, garlic, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
    Add 4 cups water; stir in okra and sausage. Bring to a boil. Stir in shredded chicken, and warm through, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; if desired, serve with cornbread.