Tag Archives: Superbowl Week

Superbowl Week: Chili and Loaded Chili ‘skins

29 Jan
Chili with shredded cheese, sour cream and chips

This chili looks almost too good to eat!


Don makes a great chili, he really does. I’d never even HAD chili until I met him and had his. I also had never had peppers or onions because growing up my dad didn’t like either, so we steered clear of them when cooking. Now though, I eat all of those things and I especially love my husband’s chili. It’s perfect for Superbowl Sunday.


5 lbs ground beef or ground turkey or ground pork (or any combination of the three)

2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 six ounce cans of tomato paste and 2 cans of water

2 twenty-eight ounce cans of diced tomatoes

3 twelve ounce cans kidney and/or black beans

2 green peppers, chopped

1 large onion chopped

4-6 TBL chili powder

1 tsp. oregano

Salt/Pepper to taste

Sour cream, cheddar cheese, chips for topping


1.) Combine and cook meat, garlic, oregano in large cooking pot

2) Add chopped peppers and onions

3) Add all other ingredients and cook on low for two to five hours.

If you’d like to cook this in the crock pot, cook up the meat first and then throw it all into the crock pot to cook on low for the 2-5 hours.

This is the sort of recipe you can make according to your taste. The spicier you like things, the more spicy ingredients you can add to it (hot sauce, chili powder, chili peppers etc.) The more mild you like it, the less you add.



Loaded chili potato skins

A bonus appetizer that you can use some of your chili to make.

We love potato skins and chili seems to lend itself to an additional appetizer idea: Loaded chili potato skins.

Cook up a bunch of baked potatoes ahead of time. Let them cool a bit.

Cut them in half and hollow them out, leaving about 1/4″ to 1/2″ of the potato in the skin.

Add some of your chili and some cheddar cheese to the inside, and bake them until cooked through.

Broil at the end to crisp up.

Add your favorite toppings: sour cream, guacamole, etc.

Superbowl Recipes: Homemade Salsa(s) and Guacamole

22 Jan
Football Helmet and Football

We are big Patriots fans here!


I hate football. Yup, I’m a buzz-kill when it comes to football season, (and also baseball season) Superbowl, anything like that.

However, I love food. So, featuring Superbowl Week, several days of recipes you can cook for the upcoming Superbowl Sunday feast, works for me.

The cool things about these recipes is 1) none of them are recipes I grew up with and 2) they are all recipes I would not have, had I not had these people come into my life at some point or another. To me, that makes them extra-special in a different way than the ones I treasure from my childhood.

Today I am featuring several recipes at once. The first is a Homemade Salsa recipe from my friend and college roommate, Karen. She first shared this recipe with me when we were in college and I’ve held onto it, making it ever since. She is also the one who introduced me to my husband when we were out back in December 1992. But, that’s a whole other story for another day.


Karen's Homemade Salsa

This is what Karen’s Homemade Salsa looks like when it’s all done.

2 cups peeled and cored plum tomatoes (I buy 18 but it says about 12)
peeling and coring is the most time-consuming part of the recipe. The rest is quick.

1 long green frying pepper (light green)

1-3 chili peppers chopped (Buying one or buying three depends on their size and how hot you like your salsa.)

1/3 cup chopped onion (I use one medium sized onion.)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup cider vinegar


Combine all ingredients in sauce pan, bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve hot or cold.


This next recipe is from my brother’s mother-in-law, Marianne. She makes a kickin’ guacamole and ever since we first tasted hers, it’s been the one we make as our own. Had my brother not married his lovely wife, we would not have this recipe to share with you! Unfortunately when we made this recipe last weekend, along with the above salsa, I took photos of the salsa but forgot to take photos of the guacamole! So next time I make it, I’ll add a photo here. But, you all know what guacamole looks like….green.


2 Avocados, mashed

1 tsp. salt

Juice of one small lemon (we use half a lemon, even for a double batch. You can always add more, but you can’t add less!)

1/2 of a 6 oz. plain lowfat Greek yogurt or non-fat (We get this at PriceRite for about $1)

chili powder to taste

Mash, mix and eat!


The last recipe is one I haven’t made in a while, so I don’t have a photo yet, but again when I do, I’ll add it in. However, my friend Stacey brought this to a cookout at our house one year, I think a dance recital cookout we were having about ten years ago. It was so good and she said she got it off the side of a can of Bush’s Black Beans. I have made it since then and I think of her every time I do.


one 15 oz. can Bush’s Best Black Beans, drained

one 11 oz. can white shoepeg corn, drained

one 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (basil, garlic and oregano flavor)

one 10 oz. can diced tomatoes and green chilies

one 8 oz. bottle Italian dressing

Chopped onion to taste


Mix all ingredients together.
Refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours.

Serve with tortilla chips.

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Fajita Quesadillas

10 Jul
Fajita Quesadilla veggies

I love the look of fresh vegetables when they’re mixed up and cooking!


Today’s recipe is again, one that I did not grow up with! Imagine that, four recipes in two days, and not one of them was from my childhood! This recipe is a combination of recipes from two different people and it makes a great meal or an appetizer for a football game.

We actually had never had quesadillas at our house until about four years ago or so. Elizabeth had a friend at preschool whose house we used to go to for playdates often. My friend Jody used to make cheese quesadillas a lot when we went over for playdates. (In fact, this past fall I featured my friend Jody’s Butternut Squash Soup, which was also a playdate lunch. And just so you know, my traditional playdate lunch at my house is mac & cheese from a box with chicken nuggets. we were spoiled at Jody’s!)

Anyway….we started making quesadillas at our house on a regular basis. You can put anything in them so we’ve done just cheese, chicken and cheese, tomato/chicken/cheese, peppers/beef and cheese, and we’ve done bbq chicken/onion/cheese. However, on New Year’s Eve this year my sister in law Jessica made us Fajita Quesadillas which had all kinds of peppers, mushrooms, onions and cheese, and they were so fabulous!! We had to try them at home. So last week, we had them.

Cook up some chicken tenders first. Then shred or dice the cooked chicken.

My sister in law and I are both lucky because we both live near an Aldi’s and you can get everything you need for your Fajita Quesadillas at Aldi’s.  The ingredients vary, depending what you’d like in your quesadillas. You need soft flour tortillas, we use the large ones.

This is another meal where I pull out some frozen chicken tenders, so convenient! Cook them up if you’d like chicken in your quesadillas.

While your chicken is cooking, grate a bowl full of cheddar cheese (a block of cheese is usually plenty.) Slice up your veggies and cook them on top of the stove.

We use a countertop griddle to make our quesadillas two at a time.

Once you’ve got your ingredients pre-cooked, you’re ready to begin the last step. Butter your soft flour tortillas on one side and lay it on the griddle, in a frying pan, or use a Quesadilla Maker (which we do actually have also, but we prefer the griddle most of the time because we can make two at a time.)

Butter one side of the top flour tortilla and place it on top of the others on the griddle and flip (we have a big metal spatula for flipping!)

Once both sides are golden brown and the cheese inside is melted, you’re ready to cut your quesadillas into triangles and eat them!

finished quesadillas

Once the quesadillas are golden brown, cut them into triangles and eat!

Here’s to good friends

13 Apr

This is what happens when you mix cream cheese, Oreos and chocolate all in one recipe. These are perfect "pop one in your mouth and go" desserts, and one of my favorite treats from Sue.

Today’s post is dedicated to, and brought to you by my friend Sue, and until she reads it, she won’t even know that it’s about her!

Seven years ago I went to my very first PTO meeting at my daughter’s elementary school. I was a “newbie,” a kindergarten mom looking to meet people, volunteer my time, and get involved in a school setting. Although I was a new parent at the meeting, I had a long road ahead of me. I was going to be a parent at this elementary school for about twelve years by the time all of my children made their way through.

I got to the meeting, not knowing anyone yet, and I sat down at the table. Before long, the nicest woman came and sat down next to me.

“I know your dad,” she said.

Turns out my dad and her husband worked together. She’d been to my parents’ house, she’d eaten my mom’s Beef Brisket.

She was Sue.

Here’s the thing about Sue. Not only is she the absolute nicest person around, she makes great, great desserts!!!  You know how I know?? It’s because Sue brings dessert to almost ALL our PTO meetings!!

In September, Sue brings apple pie.

Yup, an entire apple pie.

At Passover she brings a chocolate/caramel matzo bread snack that is to-die-for.

Throughout the year she makes dark chocolate brownies that are SO fudgy they melt in your mouth (and she apologizes when they’re not “from scratch”).

Some months she brings pretzels dipped in chocolate and then in sprinkles.

And, if I’m super-lucky, she brings these amazing  “Chocolate Balls,” which are my favorite Sue Dessert ever.

If Sue’s going to miss a meeting, I don’t want to go.

Last fall when my husband underwent surgery on his leg, Sue brought us an entire dinner, but most importantly, she brought dessert. Everyone needs a little chocolate pick-me-up after their husband goes through surgery.

You would’ve thought I was the one on crutches.

At Superbowl time this year, Sue asked if we could trade some of Don’s chili for some of Sue’s desserts. Why yes, I thought that’d be a fabulous idea! Sue would get to have chili, which no one in her family likes but her, and I’d get to have some of her desserts! It was a winning Superbowl Weekend for me.

I don’t even like football.

Last night we had Book Club, Sue brought a snack for us to munch on while we chatted about our book and chose another for next month.

It was at that moment, while I crunched away on our matzo bread/chocolate/caramel snack, trying to show casual restraint so that I didn’t eat the entire tin by myself, that I decided my next post would be dedicated to Sue.

In honor of all the desserts Sue has shared with me, I mean with us, here is Sue’s recipe for the Chocolate Balls, which are pictured above.



1 pkg. Oreos

1 pkg. cream cheese (can use light)

1 box Baker’s Semisweet Chocolate Squares (red box)

PLUS some Ghiradelli 60% chocolate chips (brown)

OR if you don’t have the Ghiradelli, you can use TWO boxes of the Bakers Chocolate Squares.


Crush Oreos in food processor. Put aside 1-2 tablespoons crushed cookies.

Soften cream cheese in microwave (about 2 minutes).

Mix together cream cheese  and crushed Oreos (minus the set aside crumbs).

Roll into balls.

Melt chocolate on stove.

Dip/roll balls in melted chocolate and place on waxed paper or cookie sheets.

Sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of crushed Oreos.

Put in fridge.

The chocolate balls will harden so that they look the way they do in my photo above. Once they’re done, keep them in the fridge and indulge on them whenever you need a little pick-me-up.

And when you do, think of my friend Sue.

Bonus Post from a Guest Blogger and Weight Watcher Success Story: Debi

4 Feb
Football Helmet and Football

Don't let Superbowl Sunday be a loss for your diet!

One of the things I love about modern technology is the ability I’ve had to reconnect and stay connected with so many people, near and far. One of the people I’ve reconnected with most recently is my friend Debi from college. She is what I consider to be a Weight Watchers Success Story. She has lost 70 pounds while on the program and is now a Weight Watchers Meeting Leader, helping other people meet the same success she has had on WW.

When she approached me last week about using our chili recipe for her upcoming WW meeting, and computing the WW points for it, I immediately said yes and asked her if she would share her findings as to how healthy the recipe actually was (it seemed healthy enough to me) when she finished. I asked her to be a guest blogger for today’s post. Tomorrow is the Superbowl and I thought it was important to remind everyone that the Superbowl is just one day, but diets are a day in and day out commitment. Don’t let one day throw you completely off the wagon. Here is Debi’s post. Thanks Debi!


Super Bowl – Beyond the Game: Let’s Talk Food!

Ah, the Super Bowl, what’s better than a day filled with football, friends and food? Of course, the day would be perfect if YOUR team won! I’m not so concerned with which team wins. I’m more interested in the game itself and how it’s played. I cheer when someone makes a good play and route for the underdog when they just can’t seem to get their act together.

With the Super Bowl just one day away, and not being concerned about the game, my focus here is on the food. I can’t help but think of all the extra calories that people across the country will be mindlessly consuming on game day.

While you’re hooting and hollering, do you ever stop and think why are you eating all those tortilla chips? Are you really hungry? Do you even know how many you’ve eaten? How many beers did you drink? Were you really thirsty? Better yet, do you even remember what the beer tasted like? Being mindful of what and how much we are eating usually takes a back seat to the excitement of the game.

But, it doesn’t have to play out this way.

A couple of years ago, I would have been one of those people mindlessly eating. However, after joining Weight Watchers and losing 70 lbs., I have a new perspective when it comes to food; even more so now that I am a Weight Watchers meeting room leader.

Earlier in the week when I started preparing for this week’s meeting, I immediately knew that the timing of this week’s topic was purposely planned to help members think about how to make better food choices during the Super Bowl. I remembered that Jen had posted a Chili recipe recently and asked her if I could borrow it to illustrate how making simple ingredient substitutions can make a dish healthier.

To help guide members’ weight loss, Weight Watchers assigns a numerical value called a PointsPlus Value (PPV) to all food and drinks. Combined with Weight Watchers’ proprietary, scientific formula, determining the PPV of a recipe requires you to know three things: the ingredients, the serving size and how many servings the recipe makes. Well, Jen posted the ingredients (refer to her Chili recipe posted on Jan. 27th), but when I asked her about the latter two, she admitted that she didn’t know.

After discussing the ingredients and comparing them to other similar recipes, we estimated that the Chili recipe makes approximately 24 – ¾ cup servings. Therefore, the Chili recipe calculates to 7 PPV per serving. By replacing the regular ground beef with either ground turkey or 95% lean ground beef, the PPV decreased to 5 PPV. However, this does not include the cheese (1/4 cup = 3PPV) or the sour cream (2 Tbsp = 1 PPV) that you put on top of it, or the tortilla chips (12 chips = 4 PPV) that you choose to have alongside it.

So, the Chili itself is relatively ‘low-cost’ item. But how many of you actually measure how much you are eating? And, is this the only thing that you will eat? If you documented what you actually ate and drank throughout the game, the quantity may surprise you. Also, how many of the recipes are made with lower-calorie or healthier ingredients versus the regular, full-fledged ingredients?

One of my members reported hearing that after Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl is the second biggest eating day of the year. How much food do you eat during the ‘festivities’ compared to a ‘normal’ day of eating? Perhaps you never thought about that before, but it is never too late to start looking at food differently.

Weight Watchers has taught me how to WIN the food game regardless of the event, holiday or circumstances in which I find myself. Only eat when you are hungry, be aware of what and how much you are eating, and take control of your game!

Some final pointers to get ready for game day include:

  • Sit or stand away from the food. Being closer to the food lends itself towards mindless picking. Stay farther away from it so you have to make a more conscious decision to go get the food if you want it.
  • Practice portion control. Be mindful of the size and quantity of the servings you consume.
  • Bring a healthier snack with you to the party. Modify your recipe with lower-calorie/fat ingredients. Or, choose to bring some fruit or vegetables that you can pick on.
  • Drink wisely. Liquid calories add up quickly whether it’s from beer, wine or even regular soda. Choose lite beer, diet sodas or even water! Drinking water (even if in between each beer) will help keep you hydrated, keep you from mindless snacking and help you feel full so you don’t over indulge when you eat.
  • Get into the game. Focus on the game and socializing with friends. The more time you spend watching the game and cheering, or groaning, the less time you’ll be eating.

We cannot control the outcome of the football game, so may the best team win! However, you can make healthier choices and control the outcome of your food game. Plan ahead and join the winning food team!

Good luck and enjoy the game!

Recipe of the day: Brown Sugar Brownies

3 Feb
Brown Sugar Brownies

These brownies melt in your mouth!

I found this recipe on the back of a package of Domino Light Brown Sugar a while back. The title alone made me want to try them. I love brown sugar. You can always tell if a recipe is going to be good by how the batter tastes, and this batter is delicious.

The recipe is quick and easy, and it will make a great dessert for the Superbowl game, or really any time you want a delicious dessert!


1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup (one stick) butter or margarine, softened

2 eggs

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (we don’t like nuts so I never put those in.)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease 8×8 baking dish.

In large bowl beat sugar and butter until fluffy.

Beat in eggs one at a time.

Beat in chocolate, then flour.

Kids can help with this recipe, which technically doesn't even need a stand up mixer.

Stir in nuts if using them.

Pour into pan.

Bake 25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan and cut into bars.

Makes 2 dozen bars.

Bonus Superbowl Week Recipe: Homemade Corn Bread

2 Feb
Homemade Corn Bread

Served warm with butter...delicious!

You didn’t think I was *really* done when I said I was done with Superbowl recipes, did you? Here’s a bonus recipe for you for Homemade Corn Bread. It goes great with the chili, or with BBQ or, just by itself. I usually double mine, especially if we have more than just the five of us to feed. Below is the single recipe.

I got this recipe out of the “Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book” a few years back, and of course it’s super fast and easy. On the back of the cookbook it says “Updated for the 90’s.” Apparently this book was new to me about 12 years ago.

**As an added bonus to this bonus recipe, see the note about Honey Butter below.**


1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup yellow, white or blue cornmeal

2 to 4 TBL sugar (I did 6 TBL for the double recipe.)

1 TBL baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/4 cup cooking oil

There's a wealth of information and recipes in here!


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a mixing bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl beat together milk, oil, eggs.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir til batter is smooth.

Pour into greased 9×9 dish (I used 9×13 for double batch)

Bake in 425 oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Single recipe makes 8-9 servings


For a single recipe of corn bread, soften- but don’t melt- about half a stick of butter in a small bowl. Add in about a teaspoon of honey, mix well. Delicious when spread on the hot corn bread! (In a last minute hurry? “Soften” your butter in the microwave by heating for 15-30 seconds or until soft enough to mix.)

Superbowl Week: Easy Apps

26 Jan

Apps as in appetizers, not as in for your iPhone or iPad. I thought today I’d share two easy appetizers that you can serve on Superbowl Sunday or any time you need an appetizer idea. One of them we make often when we are asked to bring an appetizer with us and the other one, Don makes all the time for dinner on Friday nights, which is usually his night to cook while I take the girls to dance and Girl Scouts. It’s a late night and they look forward to that night’s dinner as it’s more laid back than our other nights’ meals.

The first is Kielbasa Roll-Ups, something we’ve been making for years and years. Don has pretty much taken over making these as the years have gone by and he’s really, really good at them!

Kielbasa and Crescent Rolls

These only need two ingredients: the kielbasa and the crescent rolls.

You need just two ingredients: two tubes of crescent rolls and one package of kielbasa.

First, open up your package of kielbasa and cut the pieces into bite-sized pieces, about the size of your thumb. Cook them in a frying pan in a little bit of oil. Try not to eat lots of the little pieces while you cook them.

A few easy steps and this appetizer is done.

Next, open up your crescent roll dough and cut each triangle in half. Roll the cooked kielbasa right up in the crescent roll dough and place on a cookie sheet.

Bake in the oven at the temperature on the crescent roll container until they are golden brown, about 10 minutes or so, according to the container. The kielbasa is cooked all the way through so you’re just cooking the crescents around it. Serve warm or cold and with a side of mustard if desired. You may have more pieces of kielbasa then you do crescents to wrap them in, so those you can eat while you wait for the appetizers to cook!

Next up: Loaded Nachos…this is the one the kids crave on Friday nights. When we come home and they see that Don’s made them for dinner, they literally cheer. He often makes them along with another dish like a pizza or calzones, but I could eat a whole plate of just nachos alone.

Loaded nachos

The good thing about this appetizer is you can use whatever ingredients you'd like!

The only definite ingredient you need to make a Loaded Nacho appetizer is the chips. After that you can decide what else you want to add to them on top of the chips: meat (chicken or beef), veggies (lettuce, tomatoes, olives, chili peppers), cheese, guacamole, sour cream etc. You decide.

Layer your chips first, and then the cooked meat of your choice on top. Bake for a few minutes until chips are crispy and then sprinkle your cheese on top. Cook until melted. You can even broil them a little bit to crisp them up, as long as you watch them carefully so that they don’t burn.

Add cold ingredients to the top once your baking is finished.