you can do it…just trust me

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salted car sauceSalted Caramel anything is a down fall for me.  I love it in brownies, cookies, cakes, coffee, on ice cream, on biscuits or lets be real honest straight out of the jar…it is just that good.  Now I have found a recipe that is perfect in my mind, it is creamy, rich, buttery with just the right amount of salt in each bite.  OK, I know what you might be thinking…you want me to make homemade caramel?  YES I DO!

I understand how intimidating the idea is, I was nervous about it as well, until I started making it.  As I was watching the sugar and water turn into a deep caramel color and then saw it come together with the cream and salt I couldn’t stop smiling…I had just made caramel sauce!!!  I couldn’t believe it…I was so excited.

The Hubby was in his office working and I was so excited that I yelled at him and made him stop working just to come see it…it wasn’t cool enough for him to taste just yet, but it was just so pretty I had to show him.  Needless to say I am not sure he was as impressed as I was, but that’s ok he loved it once it cooled down and he could taste it.

I have already used the sauce in some Pumpkin Brownies & Banana Pudding (recipes coming soon) for our weekly family dinner and everyone loved it.  Some even put extra sauce on the brownies and pudding because it was just that good!  Trust me this is one challenge you want to take on…you can do it…trust me!!

Salted Caramel Sauce
Serves 24
A homemade caramel sauce with just the right amount of salt in each bite
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  2. 1/3 cup water
  3. 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  4. 1 tbsp. butter
  5. 3 tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan combine sugar and water - This is the only time you will be able to stir the mixture until you add in the cream, if you stir while the sugar is cooking it will turn into rock candy
  2. Place saucepan over medium low heat and let sit until sugar starts to dissolve and begins to bubble, 5-7 minutes
  3. Increase heat to medium high and let mixture continue to cook until it begins to turn a deep caramel color, 5-7 minutes - make sure to watch very closely as it can burn very quickly in this step
  4. Remove pan from heat and carefully add in the cream and butter - the mixture will bubble violently but just let it sit until it stops
  5. Return pan to low heat and stir in salt until caramel is smooth and deep in color, about 3-4 minutes
  6. Remove from heat and let sit until it is room temperature
  7. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator
  8. Use on everything...trust me you will be creating recipes just to use this sauce!!
  9. Congrats you did it...now ENJOY it!!
Each serving (about 2 tbsp.) is 3 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 109 Calories from Fat 38 Total Fat 4.2g Saturated Fat 2.6g Cholesterol 15mg Sodium 360mg Potassium 7mg Total Carbohydrates 19.0g Sugars 18.8g Protein 0.2g
  3. Vitamin A 3% - Vitamin C 0% - Calcium 1% - Iron 0%
  4. Nutrition Grade F
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
Go ahead…you can do this…your family, friends, neighbors and YOU will be so glad you did, plus it is low in WW+ points!!

cupcake-crop

 

  Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

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Chicken Parm a la The Hubby

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chicken parm tenders The Hubby and I have a favorite local Italian restaurant that we like to visit fairly often.  When we first started going, over 10 years a go, we would try different things but now we seem to order the same thing again and again.  I get a dish that is made with jalapeño fettuccine and cream sauce and The Hubby get chicken parmesan with fettuccine alfredo.  OK, I know some of you just had to read that last part again…who pairs chicken parm with fettuccine alfredo?  Well, The Hubby does.  I have to admit I thought it was a little strange as well, until I tried it one time, everything in one bite, and it  was quite delicious.  The bit of red sauce with the crispy chicken and the creamy alfredo made for a perfect bite…one that I knew I wanted to recreate at home and surprise The Hubby with. 

quick alfredoA few weeks a go we moved my Mammaw into her new home which is just around the corner from us and we wanted to celebrate with an impromptu family dinner.  I had all the ingredients for chicken parmesan with alfredo, to surprise The Hubby with, and I knew I could pull it together quickly so I ran home to get started to surprise the whole family.  In my haste to defrost chicken I pulled out chicken tenders instead of breasts, so chicken parm tenders it was.   I prepared the tenders as I would  a chicken breast just didn’t have to cook it as long, which in this case worked out perfectly.  I also kinda loved the serving size of the tenders, the ladies ate 2 and then men ate 3 or 4…it was great!

The fettuccine alfredo came together very quickly and everything was ready to go when the chicken was out of the oven.  It was creamy, rich and absolutely delicious.  This alfredo is going to be a go-to recipe for The Hubby and I.

 

Chicken Parm Tenders
Serves 6
Chicken tenders are transformed into chicken parmesan, making them more fun to eat and so pretty on the plate
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders (or 2-3 chicken breasts split in half and cut into tenders)
  2. 1 egg
  3. 1/2 cup water
  4. 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (or bread crumbs)
  5. 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  6. 2 tsp Italian Seasonings
  7. 1 tsp dried basil
  8. 1 tsp salt
  9. 1 tsp pepper
  10. 4 cups Jar Marinara Sauce
  11. 1 cup part-skim Mozzarella Cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and generously spray with nonstick spray
  3. Place tenders (or cut-up chicken breasts) in-between 2 pieces of plastic wrap
  4. Using a meat mallet, or a heavy saucepan, pound out chicken to 1/4-1/2 inch thin
  5. In a small shallow bowl beat together egg and water until well combined
  6. In another shallow dish mix together bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian Seasoning, dried Basil, Salt & Pepper
  7. Dip each tender in the egg mixture then press into the bread crumb mixture making sure to coat each tender, shaking off any excess
  8. Place coated tenders on the baking sheet
  9. Spray tenders lightly with nonstick spray
  10. Cook for 15 minutes, and then flip, continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes
  11. Pour 2 cups of marinara sauce into a casserole dish, making sure to cover the bottom
  12. Place cooked tenders on top of sauce
  13. Spoon remaining sauce over the tenders and sprinkle shredded Mozzarella over each tender
  14. Place into oven and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown on the edges
  15. Serve with the pasta of your choice or on its own...it's delicious!!
Each serving is 5 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 247 Calories from Fat 30 Total Fat 3.3g Saturated Fat 1.5g Trans Fat 0.0g Cholesterol 39mg Sodium 716mg Potassium 31mg Total Carbohydrates 24.6g Dietary Fiber 0.5g Sugars 16.8g Protein 21.8g
  3. Vitamin A 15% - Vitamin C 8% - Calcium 19% - Iron 16%
  4. Nutrition Grade B-
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
Go ahead…trust us.  You will love this pairing.

Quick & Creamy Alfredo
Serves 8
A quick, creamy, delicious and full of flavor alfredo sauce...perfect for a weeknight dinner
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups fat-free Chicken Stock , divided
  2. 12 oz fettuccine pasta
  3. 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
  4. 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  5. 1/2 cup skim milk
  6. 1 tsp salt
  7. 1 tbsp. pepper
  8. 1 tbsp. garlic powder
Instructions
  1. In a large pasta pot combine 3 cups chicken stock and 3 cups water, and bring to a boil
  2. Once boiling add in pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente
  3. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water and place pasta back into pasta pot
  4. Add in cream cheese, parmesan cheese, milk, remaining 1 cup of chicken stock, salt, pepper and garlic powder
  5. Stir until cheese is melted and everything is combined
  6. Add in remaining pasta water if sauce is too thick
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary
  8. Serve immediately and ENJOY!!
Each serving is 5 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 193 Calories from Fat 46 Total Fat 5.1g Saturated Fat 2.8g Trans Fat 0.0g Cholesterol 46mg Sodium 669mg Potassium 122mg Total Carbohydrates 26.8g Sugars 2.4g Protein 10.2g
  3. Vitamin A 5% - Vitamin C 1% - Calcium 9% - Iron 11%
  4. Nutrition Grade B-
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
It was a huge hit with the family and we all decided Chicken Parmesan al la The Hubby was the only way we would ever have it again. 

cupcake-crop

 

 Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

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A Surprise for Hubby

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 beef bean taquitosA few weeks a go I was hanging out on Pinterest one evening & The Hubby told me that he had joined Pinterest.  I was a little surprised at first but then I got a great idea.  I was going to create a shared board between The Hubby and I and that way he could post things to the board that he would like me to make for him.   

The very first thing he posted was baked taquitos.  I have to be honest I was very intrigued by this idea.  The only taquitos I had ever had were the tiny little things at a Mexican restaurant or from the ones from the freezer aisle, and I knew we could make them better and NOT FRIED!  So me, being me, I took the idea and ran with it.  The first challenge was to figure out what varieties of taquitos we would make.  After The Hubby got over the shock that I was actually going to make them, evidently he thought I would never get on the taquitos bandwagon, we decided to do ground beef taquitos, as he said that would be his most favorite, and a then a chicken one as well.

For the ground beef ones you could definitely use ground turkey or chicken, we had lean ground beef on hand so that is what I used.  The Hubby layered the seasoned beef with refried beans and cheese, and according to him these were the PERFECT taquitos.  You could use black beans if you prefer, or leave the beans out all together.  I served then guacamole but salsa would be delicious or queso!!

 

Beef & Bean Taquitos
Serves 10
Taquitos loaded with ground beef, refried beans & cheese to make a perfect taquito
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 onion, chopped fine
  2. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp cumin
  6. 1 tbsp. pepper
  7. 1 tbsp. chili powder
  8. 1 cup red enchilada sauce
  9. 1/2 cup fat free refried beans
  10. 1/2 cup Reduced Fat Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
  11. 10 small flour tortillas
Optional Toppings
  1. Guacamole
  2. Sour Cream
  3. Salsa
  4. Queso
To make the ground beef
  1. Spray a large sauté pan with nonstick spray
  2. Sauté onions until soft, over medium heat
  3. Add in garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly
  4. Add in ground beef, salt, cumin, pepper and chili powder
  5. Brown ground beef, breaking it up as it cooks, until it is no longer pink
  6. Add in enchilada sauce and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often
  7. Remove from heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes
  8. You can either make the taquitos now, or you can store the ground beef for a dinner coming up soon, this is a great make ahead meal
To make the Taquitos
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray
  3. Take a flour tortilla and spread 1-2 tbsp. of the beans on one side of the tortilla, about an inch from the side
  4. Top beans with 1-2 tbsp. meat, and almost a tbsp. of shredded cheese
  5. Roll tortilla tightly and lay on prepared pan seam side down
  6. Repeat until all 10 taquitos are complete
  7. Spray taquitos with nonstick spray
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tortillas begin to brown
  9. Remove from oven and top with your favorite toppings
  10. ENJOY!!
Each taquito is 3 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 136 Calories from Fat 37 Total Fat 4.1g Saturated Fat 1.7g Trans Fat 0.0g Cholesterol 21mg Sodium 543mg Potassium 168mg Total Carbohydrates 15.8g Dietary Fiber 3.0g Sugars 1.2g Protein 9.5g
  3. Vitamin A 17% - Vitamin C 6% - Calcium 7% - Iron 8%
  4. Nutrition Grade A-
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
 chicken taquitoFor the chicken taquitos I knew I wanted to make the filling extra creamy so I mixed the chicken with some sour cream, Salsa Verde and some fresh cilantro which made the taquitos creamy but still light and delicious.   To make these taquitos even easier you could use some leftover chicken from a dinner earlier in the week. 

To add a little more spice you could add in some chopped green chilies or some charred poblano peppers.  I served then with some additional sour cream and fresh cilantro but a cilantro ranch dressing would be amazing… you can find my recipe here.    Monterey Jack cheese would also be a delicious addition, or pepper jack cheese for some added fun. 

Sour Cream Chicken Taquitos
Serves 10
Chicken taquitos with a creamy sour cream filling - and they are low in points and calories
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  2. 1/2 cup sour cream
  3. 1/2 cup salsa verde
  4. 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  5. 1 tsp cumin
  6. 1 tsp garlic powder
  7. 1 tbsp. chili powder
  8. 1 tbsp. pepper
  9. 1/2 cup Reduced Fat Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
  10. 10 small tortillas
Optional Toppings
  1. Sour Cream
  2. Cilantro
  3. Cheese
  4. Salsa
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray
  3. In a medium bowl combine shredded chicken, sour cream, salsa verde, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder & pepper
  4. Spoon 1-2 tbsp. chicken mixture on one side of tortilla about 1 inch from the side
  5. Sprinkle just about 1 tbsp. cheese over chicken
  6. Roll tortilla tightly and place seam side down on prepared pan
  7. Repeat with each tortilla
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tortillas begin to brown
  9. Serve with your favorite toppings
  10. ENJOY
Each taquito is 3 WW+ points
Nutritional Info
  1. Calories 118 Calories from Fat 32 Total Fat 3.5g Saturated Fat 1.6g Cholesterol 26mg Sodium 198mg Potassium 90mg Total Carbohydrates 13.4g Dietary Fiber 2.0g Sugars 0.5g Protein 9.1g
  2. Vitamin A 7% - Vitamin C 4% - Calcium 4% - Iron 5%
  3. Nutrition Grade B
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
These taquitos are perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or for the big game this weekend…they will be a hit anytime you serve them!!!

cupcake-crop 

  Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

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