Hummus and the Hangry

Even though I am a snow-loving, northern girl at heart, I love all things Mediterranean.   Greek first press olive oil (it really does taste the best!), Dead Sea scrub from dad’s trip to Israel, hummus, San Marzano tomatoes, wine, Greek olives, Argan Oil for my “hello 40” face, feta, … I could go on and on.

We also tend to get a little *hangry* (that’s “angry from hunger”) around here so it’s good to have quick healthy meals that I can prep ahead and have handy.   And while we love eating out, I was looking for a recipe for Chicken Shawarma I could make at home. The hubs loves shawarma and it took a while but I finally found it.  It’s easy, healthy, and versatile.  You will love it.

I took this recipe and cut it in half.  Because we prefer white meat I used 1lb boneless thin chicken breasts and omitted the chicken thighs. For dinner I served it with hummus, pita, broccoli, and salad (with olives and feta of course!).  For a light lunch we rolled the chicken in little thin pita that I had cut into strips and dipped it in hummus.  It’s great both ways.  I have not made the sauce but that’s on our list for next time!

This made enough for 2 and with leftovers for another lunch or a couple of salads later.  Definitely do the extra step of sautéing in the olive oil at the end.  It takes 5 minutes and is totally worth it.

Now if only I were on one of those Mediterranean beaches…..





Grandma’s Cookies

Low-fat buttermilk has become a staple in the Musselman kitchen, mainly due to these cookies.  My hubby’s grandma used to make them and he and my father-in-law LOVE them.  My little nieces now BEG to make them when they stay with us and then convince us to let them have them for breakfast.  WHAT??  They are healthier than a donut.

While they are good fresh out of the oven, they are definitely one of those cookies that taste better when they sit for about 30 minutes.  The original recipe called for shortening and chilling and cutting with a glass.  Well let me tell you…I did that once and then decided that was way too much work.  So I added butter instead of shortening and turned them into a drop cookie.   And all of the cookie fans in our family loved them.  I’m hoping your family will too.

Grandma Musselman’s Buttermilk Cookies

Preheat oven to 350.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup low-fat buttermilk (shake before pouring)

1 tsp good vanilla

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

4 cups all-purpose flour

In stand mixer cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs.  Once blended add buttermilk and vanilla.

In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients and *slowly* add dry ingredients (trust me, it will end up all over the kitchen if you aren’t careful!).  Once mixed drop about 2 tablespoons of dough onto a baking stone, wet your fingers with water and lightly tap them in the middle (so there’s no point from the spoon) and then bake for 8-12 minutes. I usually set the timer for 8 min, check them, and then watch carefully.  You want them a little undercooked (but still somewhat firm in the middle when you poke them).  Cool on a rack lined with foil.  Store in an airtight container.  Yum!  And you can have one for breakfast.  Go ahead.  I won’t tell.  ~s


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Mmmmm fajitas!

Today was our first day back to work after Christmas break and I knew that it would be one of those nights where we didn’t want to go out but didn’t want to cook either.

Then I found this recipe for oven baked fajitas.  Although I made a few adjustments that worked better for us, it would be perfect as is.  But, here’s what I did…

Last night, I marinated the chicken (sliced thin) in 1/4 cup each of chile infused olive oil and pineapple balsamic vinegar overnight in the fridge and pre-sliced the peppers.  Which meant that tonight all we had to do was slice an onion and throw it in the oven!  Winner!

I also omitted the cumin because my hubby is not a fan, omitted the cayenne because I didn’t have any, drizzled with olive oil instead of vegetable oil and used 2 large chicken breasts, 2 red peppers, 1 green pepper, and a quarter of an onion.  This gave us enough leftovers for tomorrow night.   We served them on warm tortillas with low-fat sour cream, reduced fat cheese, and added red beans in our individual portions.

It was yummy, easy, and all the chicken mess was cleaned up last night.  My favorite.  They were a-mazing!




Praises and Pie

So it’s been a long time since my last post. 10 months to be exact. (And it’s been longer than that since my last Magnum Bar.  ha!!) Sorry about that, but we’ve been a little busy with remodeling and a wedding!  It was a wonderful holiday wedding weekend and I want to thank everyone who made wedding flowers and crafts, brought food, kidnapped me and forced me to chill out with a glass of wine and much needed girl time, and sent texts and emails of love and offers of help over the past few months.  They say it takes a village to raise a child and I can honestly say it also takes a village to throw a wedding.  It was perfect and our sweet girl just glowed on her special day.  You know who you are and my husband, daughter and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  And to my book club girls, I promise to actually read the books in 2016.  Every.  Single.  One.

So, in honor of weddings and Thanksgiving, I give you the one recipe I was willing to make for Thanksgiving and two days before the wedding.  It is easy, quick, and foolproof.  And it is my amazing college roommate’s grandma’s recipe.  So many fun memories of making huge batches of apple pie in college and borrowing ovens in houses across the street and in neighbor’s apartments…because what 22 year old guys actually use their ovens on a Saturday afternoon?? I can tell you: ZERO!!! So Andi, in honor of your wonderful grandmother, this is our family tradition.  (Note:  you can peel all the apples but you can also buy the Pampered Chef Apple Peeler.  I highly recommend. Ask Santa. He also loves this pie. )

Apple Pie:

1 Pillsbury pie crust (box of two, use one)

6-8 cups granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbsp flour

Put one crust in the bottom of a pie plate.  Mix the rest of the above and pour into crust.  In a bowl, mix the following for the topping:

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup softened butter (not melted)

Place crumble mixture on top of apples as the top layer (instead of a second crust).

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes then lower heat to 350 degreed for 45-60 minutes.  Watch carefully at the end as the edges may brown faster.  I use one of those metal pie rings for the last 20-30 minutes.  You want the top to have golden brown bits.

It is a family favorite and super easy.  Perfect for Christmas dinner. Or just because mama needs a treat.

Welcome back to the blog and I thank you for being patient with me! Here’s to a winter of fun and food and family!  Merry Christmas!



Tuscan Chicken and White Bean Gratin

Wow.  I am horrible at this blogging thing.  Has it really been a month since my last post?  I have a stack of recipes to try so hopefully the next month will be better!

Mary’s pretzels are at the top of the stack.  🙂

But alas, I cannot feed us JUST pretzels for dinner, so tonight it was a simple yet yummy new bean recipe.  I tried this one:

It. Was.  Amazing!!  And this is coming from the girl who is not a huge fan of beans.  I only used 3 cups of spinach and omitted the half cup of parmesan that was supposed to go on top.  Served it with baked chicken, which was just marinated for 4 hours in equal parts tuscan herb olive oil and lemon balsamic vinegar with italian herbs sprinkled on top and then baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and 400 for 20 minutes.

Simple.  Healthy.  Perfect for Company.


Comfort Food…Part 2

Yep.  It’s still cold!  So tonight we had shepherd’s pie! Just like stew, i was not always a fan.  At ALL!!  But I was determined to find a recipe we both liked. So after tweaking a few recipes, here’s what I came up with.  It’s pretty simple and really good and another healthier take on an old standy-by…


Shepherd’s Pie…

For the potatoes:

1lb (-ish) of yukon gold potatoes (basically 6 large or 10 if they are small)

1 cup of low fat buttermilk

pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to taste

For the meat:

1lb ground sirloin

1 1/2 cups frozen peas

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 cup unsalted beef stock

2-3 tablespoons corn starch (I use non-GMO)

2 teaspoons ground pepper

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 tsp worcestershire

1/3 cup ketchup

1 cup mild cheddar 2% milk cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and start boiling water in a medium saucepan.  Peel and cut the potatoes and add them to the boiling water.  While the potatoes do their thing, sauté the carrots in a little olive oil and in a separate pan brown the beef with the onion and garlic powders and pepper.  Typically with sirloin there is no grease to drain.  If you use chuck, be sure to drain it.  Add 1/2 cup of stock to the meat and then whisk the cornstarch and remaining stock.  add to beef.  You want it wet with a little extra liquid, but not soupy.  You may need to adjust the amount of stock.  Add the frozen peas, ketchup, worcestershire, and carrots.  Heat on low until it is thick and the peas are thawed.

When tender, drain the potatoes and add the buttermilk and a little pepper and garlic and onion powders.  Mash with a potato masher until thick and creamy.  You may need to add a little more buttermilk.  in a 2 1/2 quart baking dish, add the meat and then top with the potatoes.  Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the top is a little crunchy.

The best part? It reheats in the oven in the SAME PAN so no more dishes! And tonight we had it with the leftover salad (see last night’s post).  Yummy, healthy, and tomorrow night I can just pop it back in the oven! ~s

Baby It’s Cold Outside!

It’s cold.  Like -25 degrees with the wind chill cold (yes, that was a minus sign).  As in, “I got a glass of water from our room temp in-sink filter without ice and it was COLD” cold.

So needless to say I didn’t want to stop by the store on my way home but I had chicken breast tenders and english muffins and salad ingredients.  Perfect night for a little comfort food by the fire!

Oven Baked Chicken Tenders

1 lb chicken breast tenders (If large, cut into smaller pieces)

2-3 high fiber english muffins (we use the Thomas brand “light”)

1 egg

onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Grind the english muffins in a food processor or blender to create bread crumbs.  Put crumbs in a bowl and add garlic and onion powders and pepper.  I started with a couple teaspoons of each until I found the mix that worked for us.  Whisk the egg in a separate bowl with a couple splashes of water.  Rinse and prep the chicken.   Dip one chicken tender in the egg wash and then roll in the seasoned crumbs until well coated.  Put on baking tray.  Once all pieces are finished, spritz with olive oil or cooking spray and bake for 30 minutes or until no longer pink and breading is crunchy.

I served it with a salad of red leaf lettuce, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, raspberries and blueberries and reduced fat feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette (just whisk 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard and one-third cup GOOD balsamic vinegar).  YUM!!!

Healthy, easy, and a great way to use up those english muffins before they expired!