Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cheater's Pasta

Good morning! I remembered my camera today - woo hoo! I should probably be posting this recipe on Friday as part of my Lenten pasta bake series, but I have an awesome cake recipe to share with you on that day, so the pasta bake gets bumped to today.

Since I found out that I'm pregnant, the husband has taken over the food shopping. He says it's because it's one less thing that I have to do, but I think it's because he gets nervous if I lift a gallon of milk or orange juice. It's very sweet, and I do appreciate it, but I keep promising him that I won't get hurt by lifting those things!

The hubby has been learning what I mean when I put certain things on my list. For example, ff cheese = fat free cheese. I know that other foodies would get that right away, but sometimes others take a little bit longer to get it.

I didn't want to have the hubby search up and down the store for fat free ricotta cheese this week, so I thought it would be interesting to try making baked ziti without the ricotta cheese. I suppose that wouldn't make it baked ziti then, and more like a baked pasta.

I cooked my pasta and added some extra marinara sauce to compensate for the lack of ricotta cheese.

Next up was my favorite part-adding the mozzarella!

Baked in the oven for 10 minutes and was presented with:

Cheesy, yummy pasta!

To be honest, I don't miss the ricotta cheese at all. This was perfect just the way it was!

Question of the Day:
When it comes to pasta, do you prefer the long or short noodles?

I love the short noodles, but actually prefer the long. There's something about twirling them with a fork and spoon that I absolutely love.

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Almost a Non-Post

Happy Tuesday!

So this post almost didn't happen. I completely forgot my camera this morning which means that all of my meal pictures for the week are sitting comfortably at home. As I was looking through my pictures on my hard drive at work, I saw my failed attempt at buffalo chicken. Thinking it was better than no post at all, I decided to go with it.

I make my buffalo chicken pretty simple by using some fat free blue cheese and some hot sauce. I had a little bit of blue cheese left, so I thought this would be the perfect way to use it up.

Little did I realize that this sauce barely made enough for two pieces of chicken let alone 4!

Needless to say, I had no other choice but to wing it. I ended up with this guy, who is lacking in both picture quality and blue cheese sauce.

Sad, isn't it?

It still tasted good, but definitely would've been better with more blue cheese. Oh well, you can't win them all, right?

Question of the Day:
How do you handle failed recipes?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, March 29, 2010

Comfort Food Again!

Hello everyone!

Hope you had a fantastic weekend! The husband and I enjoyed spending the weekend celebrating his birthday. Later this week, I'll post the recipe for his favorite birthday cake-peanut butter butterfinger cake with cream cheese icing. It's also a lower-fat cake, so that's pretty exciting!

Since it's raining and looking gloomy out, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to post a recipe I made that takes me back to some classic comfort food.

You can find the recipe for Tex-Mex Chicken & Rice Bake here.

I love that you can make the entire recipe in one pan. It makes cleanup so much easier!

Salsa, water, soup, corn, rice and some chili powder mixed in the pan (I didn't have any paprika on hand)

I put the chicken on top and baked for 45 minutes. After it was done baking, I topped it with cheese and let it melt.


I took out my portion and put it in a to-go container.

This was one of the best meals I've had in a long time. How can you go wrong with some chicken, rice and cheese?

Question of the Day:

What's the weather like where you are?

In Philly, it's looking like it's going to pour!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pasta and Peppers

Happy Friday!!

For this week's Lenten pasta series, my frozen veggies of choice to add to pasta were these guys:

Mixed pepper strips!

I ran some hot water over them to defrost while the pasta was cooking.

I love the pretty colors of the peppers.

Next up, I added it to the pasta and mixed together.

Baked for 10 minutes and I had myself a meal!

I loved, loved, loved the combination of peppers, pasta and cheese. It's just the right amount of carb and crunch.

Question of the Day:
Any fun weekend plans?

It's the husband's birthday this weekend, so tomorrow we're going out to dinner and on Sunday (his actual birthday), we're going to his mom's for dinner. Should be a fun time!

Have a great weekend!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday

There's a place by my mom's house that I've always referred to as "the crick." It's one of the most beautiful, relaxing places I've ever been to. When I was little, my mom would bring my brothers and I down to the crick to feed the ducks and to take a walk. It also holds a special meaning to me because it's where the husband proposed.

On one side of the crick is a stone and dirt path, and on the other is a hiking trail. There's always a different route you can take, and it never ever gets boring!

Today, I am thankful for spending time at the crick with my brother and mom.

Since the weather was so beautiful last weekend when I was at my mom's house, my brother, me and my mom headed down to the crick to do something we haven't done in such a long time....feed the ducks!

Kevin and I hanging out on the ledge.

We brought popcorn and raisin bread, which the ducks seemed to enjoy.

The sun was so bright that I could hardly see the pictures I was taking. It was basically point, click, and hope for the best!

Most relaxing place ever.

Kev and I took a break to smile for my mom.

Action shot!

Pointing out a cool looking duck.
I truly enjoyed spending this time with the fam. Since the weather's getting nicer, I'm sure there will be more visits to this beautiful place!

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Best Stuff Ever

On Sunday, the husband and I visited with my grandmom . My aunts, uncles and cousins also happened to be over, and we had such a great time laughing and catching up.

The husband and I couldn't stay for dinner because we had something going on that night. I came into work Monday morning with an e-mail from my grandmom telling me that she saved me some dinner. It wasn't just any dinner, it was her famous, (probably should be) award winning homemade green spaghetti. Green spaghetti you ask? Why yes! My grandmom makes green spaghetti by adding spinach to her dough. It is the most amazing homemade spaghetti ever!! Grandmom used to make this delicious stuff for just about every holiday.

I haven't had it in awhile, and I thought it was so sweet that she would save me some. I apologize for the lighting of the picture. It was taken very quickly at my mom's house. I couldn't wait to dig into it!

Whenever I tell people about my love for green spaghetti, they always look at me like I have ten heads. My grandmom gave me the recipe for it, but I have yet to try it. My theory is that nothing tastes as good as grandmoms.

Question of the Day:
Do you eat any foods that people consider weird?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

10 Minute Meal

Thank you for all of your suggestions in yesterdays post. I loved them all!

Sometimes you just need a good, nutritious meal that can be made in a short amount of time. The husband and I had somewhere to go, and we had about 40 minutes to make and eat dinner before we had to leave the house.

I cranked the burners on high, and got ready to make some sort of taco/burrito thing.

I started with a chopped red pepper and an onion. I put a lid over it until they became soft. The lid helped them cook faster, which is always a plus!

Text Color

Next, I started working on the meat part of the tacos/burritos. I only had ground chicken on hand, so I cooked that up and added some taco seasoning.

While that was cooking, I pulled out all the toppings: fat free sour cream, 2% mild cheddar cheese, salsa and tortillas.

Before I knew it, it was time to eat! I quickly assembled my first taco/burrito.

The husband saw me taking pictures of mine, so naturally, he wanted a snap shot of his too.

It was fun trying to watch him roll it up. He loaded it up so much, that it was difficult to keep together!

A peek inside!

From start to finish, making the entire meal took about 10 minutes. The husband and I both loved it-it was quick, easy and tasty!

Question of the Day:
What are your favorite taco/burrito toppings?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yummy Breakfast

Happy Monday!

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. It was so beautiful in Philly, so the hubby and I took full advantage of the warm weather, and of course, the free Rita's water ice on Saturday. Has anyone tried the Swedish Fish water ice? It's so good!

Typically, I'm an oatmeal for breakfast kinda girl. I think it was due to the warm weather, but I wasn't feeling a hot bowl of oats for breakfast. I don't eat much cereal (it never fills me up) and I didn't have anything in the house to make smoothies. It was at that point that my mind dreamed up the most perfect breakfast ever.

A bagel with peanut butter and banana.

Seriously, one of the best combinations ever! How can you go wrong with carbs, protein and fruit?!

I'm in the process of figuring out what I could eat for breakfasts in the summer that doesn't involve hot foods. Any suggestions?

Question of the Day:
What do you eat when you don't want a hot breakfast?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Cravings

Happy Friday!

Even before I was pregnant, I battled with cravings. Usually, they consisted of peanut butter, ice cream and Chinese food. Now, being pregnant, my hope was that I'd be craving some of this:

Fresh peaches from Linvilla Farms


Fresh strawberries.

But really, it's not true. My body wants more of these types of foods instead:

Better'n Peanut Butter (and regular peanut butter too!)
Fat free pretzels

And last, but not least, lots and lots of this!

It's interesting how my body craves foods that I didn't eat a lot of while following Weight Watchers. I'm hoping that I'll get back to craving fruit and veggies and that my body stops going on carb overload!

Question of the Day:

What are some foods you crave?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday!

I don't think it would be possible to let this Thankful Thursday pass without being thankful for this gorgeous weather! The last few days, it's been so sunny and nice and spring-like! I could get used to this kind of weather all year round!

This type of weather only makes me think of one thing....summers at the shore! I love going down the shore. I usually don't stay overnight, but just the day trip is enough to hold me over.

How cute is that little bird?

Whenever I'm on the beach, I try to get sunrise or sunset pictures. I always think they are beautiful!

This is one of my favorite pictures from the husband and I's honeymoon in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.

I couldn't talk about the summer weather without thinking of going to one of these during the season:

A Phillies game!

I think it's safe to say that the snow has finally gone and that nicer weather is in our future.

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Easier is Better

Lately, I've been finding that the easier it is to make meals for the week, the less stressed I become. Even if it means that one of our meals come out of a can, I'm all for it if it makes my week a little bit easier.

Such was the case when I thought of using this for my meals this week:

Sloppy Joe sauce!!

I stirred this into some cooked lean ground turkey and had myself some comfort on a plate.

I usually add veggies to my sloppy joes, like peppers and onions, but I was lacking for time this week and didn't do it.

Am I the only one who thinks of Adam Sandler when I eat sloppy joes? Lunch Lady Land anyone?

Question of the Day:

Do you watch Saturday Night Live?

I don't anymore, but I sure used to! I thought it was awesome when Chris Farley and Will Ferrell were on it's just not the same!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Finding a New Sauce

I love finding new sauces....or old sauces in my fridge that I've forgotten about. Such was the case when I opened the refrigerator door and found this guy hanging out next to the salad dressing.

House of Tsang General Tsao Sauce

I've used this sauce before, but since it needed to be used up before the expiration date, I decided to put it on my chicken this week.

I have to tell you, the aroma in my kitchen was phenomenal. This sauce is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. Even though it doesn't taste exactly like the stuff you get from the Chinese restaurant, it comes pretty close.

The husband was so excited to have this on the menu for the week. He loves Chinese food almost as much as I do.

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite item to order in a Chinese restaurant?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Best Lasagna Ever!

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a fantastic weekend! On Friday, the hubby and I went to our friends' house for dinner. They served the most amazing lasagna (made with whole wheat noodles, might I add!). It was honestly the best lasagna I have ever tasted-even better than I've had at restaurants (and that says a lot!)

Ron and Joe (our buddies) were so nice that they let us take home the leftover lasagna and garlic bread.

This was what was leftover-I told you it was good!

The husband and I ate some for dinner on Saturday and plan on finishing it up tomorrow night for dinner.


Can't forget that garlic bread!

The amount of cheese on this thing was incredible.

Thanks Ron and Joe for having us over-it was so much fun!

Question of the Day:

Garlic bread-yay or nay?

I LOVE garlic bread-the more, the better!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pasta and Veggies

Hello everyone,

Thank you for all of the wonderful, supportive comments on yesterday's post. To answer a few questions, yes, I am in fact having a baby. The husband and I are super excited but also nervous and scared at the same time. I turned three months on Wednesday and am due in September. Except for being tired, I feel pretty good!

For today's pasta dish, I decided to do make another concoction that would be simple and delicious.

I started with a pack of these.

Mixed veggies!

I thawed them under some hot water while I boiled the pasta.

I think it's pretty.

Once the pasta was cooked, I mixed marinara sauce with the pasta and thawed veggies.

I love how you can see the veggies poking through.

Topped with cheese (of course!) and baked until it was melted.

In keeping my promise, here's a picture of it once it was cut.

It was so yummy!

Question of the Day:

Any fun weekend plans?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

I have a video for you this week - hope you like it! I should warn you though-someone in the video screams pretty loud *coughauntnettecough* so turn down your speakers if you need to!

To my family and friend who read this blog-there's still one more person we have to tell, so no facebook announcements yet!

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Makin' it Healthier

Happy Wednesday! It's so nice to finally be wearing a light jacket and not feel cold. I could really get used to this weather!

As many of you know, I struggled (and sometimes still struggle) with weight my entire life. After embarking on my Weight Watchers journey four years ago, I've learned many things. I think the number one tip that I took from my meetings was to make unhealthy foods that I used to love healthier.

One of my favorite dishes at a bar-b-que is pasta salad. It doesn't matter how it's made, if there's pasta, I'm all over it. I've found a way to make this yummy dish waist friendly without sacrificing taste.

I cooked and drained a box of whole wheat pasta. To that, I added broccoli, onion, a can of diced tomatoes (drained) and some garlic. It probably could've used more veggies, like carrots or squash, but I had to use what was on hand.

Instead of using mayo as the dressing, I used some fat free Italian dressing.

The result?

This yummy concoction.

I think I'll be using this idea as a base when it's my turn to bring the pasta salad. How can you go wrong with all of these veggies?

The best part was the taste. I felt like I was getting a delicious pasta salad without all the extra calories and fat.

Question of the Day:
How do you make your dishes healthier?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie