Parmesan Green Bean Casserole

Let’s face it folks…sometimes you just don’t have fresh, crisp veggies to pair with your meals. You may think you have veggies in your “crisper” drawer…only you find that they aren’t magic vegetables that have survived 3 weeks in said drawer.

I know, sad face.

Personally, I really enjoy canned french cut green beans. I like them with just a little spray butter, salt and pepper. I like them with crispy onion straws on top.

But my favorite? Sorry (again) to my sister…is with cheese. Duh.

What’s great about this recipe is that it is so easy to throw together and serve it up immediately or you can stick it in the oven if the whole meal timing thing isn’t your forte. It’s also delicious, but I hope you know I’m not going to share a recipe with you that I find repulsive.

So here’s the starting line-up:

Parmesan Green Bean Casserole (for 2)

8 oz. can french cut green beans (it’s the adorable can)

2 oz. fat-free cream cheese

3 Tbsp. skim milk

2 Tbsp. grated reduced fat parmesan cheese

1/8 tsp. garlic salt

1/8 tsp. salt

Add green beans to a small bowl and cook for about 1 minute in the microwave. Drain liquid and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat milk and cream cheese over medium-low heat. When cream cheese has softened, add Parmesan cheese, salt and garlic salt. Whisk until smooth.

I love my tiny little whisk!

Add the green beans to the cheese mixture and stir until everything is incorporated. Serve immediately or add to casserole dish and transfer to oven.

I had this alongside my Chicken Parmesan paired with some whole wheat spaghetti…and a glass of wine, of course.

Let Me See That Super Bowl

I absolutely adore football – like seriously love it and actually understand and watch it – not just an excuse to get dressed up and tailgate (which I don’t think will ever make sense, but I digress). I love advertising – heck, I got a degree in it! And cooking…well, hello if you’re here then I think we know the answer to that.

So what does this all mean? Well my friends, today is a day when some of my favorite things happen to intersect – it’s Super Bowl Sunday! A great game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots (woo hoo) + yummy and delicious finger foods.

Add in awesome commercials created by some of the greatest minds in the business and you have one happy Mary! You do NOT want to miss anything from your prime spot on the couch!

This year, we’re playing it a little low key since I had been assuming my husband would be studying for his test (He flew in my friend Erin for my birthday last weekend – so he pushed back his studying a week so we could have some “us” time this weekend!). Yup – he’s a keeper!

Now…while I like my football and do not have to find other things to entertain me today (although the Puppy Bowl is pretty darn tempting – so many cute flufferkins running around!) – I will give my non-football loving ladies a tip.

His name is Tom Brady and he is why you need to invest in a high def big screen television. He is not the sole reason I will be cheering for the Patriots, but he is the best looking one (even with the nasty long hair)

ANY WHOO – here I am,quite unprepared to give you all of the recipes I’d be making if I were throwing a party – but I will not send you away empty handed! This is my favorite chili recipe that is perfect for today – because you can throw everything in your slow cooker before the game so that it’s ready to dish out at halftime. Low maintenance baby – gone are the days of making a chowder that involved me peeling 5 pounds of potatoes during the 2nd quarter.

Turkey Beer Chili – Serves 10-12

2 pounds of extra lean ground turkey, cooked and crumbled

1 pound Italian turkey sausage, “hot” – cooked and sliced

2 cans mild chili beans, drained

2 can chili beans in hot sauce, 1 drained, one not

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

1 small yellow onion, chopped

3 medium celery stalks, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 whole jalapenos, seeded and chopped

1 Tbsp. bacon bits

4 cubes beef boulion

6 oz. beer

1/4 cup chili powder

1 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. ground cumin

4 tsp. Tabasco sauce (or less if your spice tolerance is low!)

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. sugar

Fat free shredded cheddar cheese for garnish (you can also use baked tostitos and fat free sour cream…you know, if you like sour cream as a garnish. I can try to withhold my judgment.)

Begin by cooking your meats. I like to cook the sausage on the grill and then slice it when it has cooled – but you can also cook in a skillet if it’s too frigid for grilling (or, if you’re my sister and you need lessons on how to embrace the grill)! I cut about 1/4 inch thick slices. Cook your ground turkey in a skillet.

Now slice your vegetables (onion, celery, green and red bell pepper, jalapenos) and put in a large bowl. Measure all of your dry seasonings (chili powder, oregano, cumin, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, sugar)  and set in a large bowl as well.

Get your big mama of a slower cooker out. This tastes best when cooked at least 2 hours…but the more time it cooks, the better the flavors. If you only have 2-3 hours – use the high setting. If you have 4+ hours, use the low setting.

Add the meats, beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire, hot sauce and beer. Add boulion cubes and bacon bits. Now add your chopped veggies and dry seasonings. Stir until everything is blended well. Cover and let it cook. Check with about 30 minutes left to stir and taste to see if you need any additional seasoning.

Serve with cheese and any “other” garnishes you prefer.

Now how could Super Bowl Sunday not be incredible…


In the beginning…

I honestly can’t even explain how excited I am to FINALLY be starting a blog! I am sure those of you reading it know me through my parents, sister or husband – so thank you for your support. I will try to keep your interest by posting new and delicious things!

So first off comes one of the first recipes I made when I started losing weight – Chicken Parmesan. It’s quick and easy and delicious – really, what’s not to like? (Also great with eggplant if you want a veggie version!)

Lightened Up Chicken Parm for 2

2 thin-cut chicken breasts (about 6 oz. total weight)

1 egg white, beaten with 1 tsp. water

1/8 cup plain bread crumbs

1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese, reduced fat

1/2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 cup “Light” spaghetti sauce (I use Ragu Lite)

1 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese (2% or fat free)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large dish, mix together bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Mix until blended well.In a bowl, beat egg with water until combined.

Line up egg, crumb mixture and a lightly greased baking pan. Pat chicken breasts dry and dip in egg. Move chicken breast from egg to bread mixture – gently pressing the crumbs into the chicken on both sides. Then place in pan and repeat with remaining breast.

Bake chicken in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Lightly grease a baking dish and add sauce (I often add a little garlic salt and oregano to kick it up a notch). Place baked chicken breasts on top of the sauce and sprinkle each with  1/2 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan and divide the shredded mozzarella between the two.

Return to the oven for 15 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

I love serving this with a side of whole wheat spaghetti and my special green bean casserole – which I will post at a later date!

Hope you enjoy!