Archive for the ‘Wednesday: Recipes!’ Category

Simple Chicken Pot Pie

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 @ 11:06 AM
posted by mrscaz

It’s rainy here in Port Orange, Florida and that makes me want comfort food. Right now, comfort food sound like a nice chicken pot pie. I’ve shared a variation of a chicken pot pie before (here) on my kids belts blog, but I have another recipe that is really easy and more traditional. Besides pots and pans, all you need is what’s shown in the pic above.

Chicken Pot Pie

2 Chicken Breasts (Boneless)
1 Bag Frozen Mixed Veggies
Self Rising Flour
Chicken Broth
Refrigerated Pie Crust
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large pot, fill halfway with chicken broth and salt & pepper to taste. Then place the chicken breasts in the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium and boil until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. remove the chicken and add the mixed veggies. Cook on a low boil until veggies get tender. While they are cooking, take a fork and shred the chicken into small pieces.  Add the chicken back into the pot with the veggies. Now, in a small cup, add 2 tbsp of flour and add water and mix to make a slurry (looks like milk) and then add to the pot. Let it boil for a bit to thicken. Repeat the process until the sauce is as thick as you’d like it. Take a nine in pie pan and place one of the pie crusts on the bottom and trim the excess off the edges. After the chicken mixture has cooled a little, begin spooning it into the crust. Don’t overfill it. Then add the other pie crust to the top and seal the edges and trim excess. Place in the oven and bake until crust browns. Enjoy! (you may have enough mixture to make 2 pies, just freeze the extra one)

These taste great and are perfect for freezing if you want to make it ahead. You can also make them up, freeze them and bring them to a sick friend. They travel well when frozen. I hope you like it!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Chicken & Dumplings Simple Recipe

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 @ 11:05 AM
posted by mrscaz

Are you looking for a hearty, filling, delicious and EASY dinner idea? I know I always am. Especially after a long day of working on kids belts and running around with the kids. So, who do I turn to? My assistant, Jen. Why? Because she is always cooking and is very good at pulling meals together, quickly!

She is part of a meal ministry at her church which provides meals for new moms as well as those recovering from illnesses and such. This is her go to meal. She swears that everyone loves it and asks for the recipe. It looks really easy so I’m ready to give it a try.

Here you go!

Chicken & Dumplings

1 or 2 Boneless Chicken Breasts (if you like dark meat better, use boneless chicken thighs) one breast actually goes much farther than you would think
1 Package of Pillsbury  Grands Flaky Layers it has to be the flaky ones, they help the broth thicken
32 oz Low Sodium Chicken Broth (may need more or to add water, you need plenty) low sodium keeps you in control of how salty it gets
Salt & Pepper to taste

Place the chicken breasts (thawed works best, but you can use frozen) in a large pot and fill the pot at least halfway. Turn the burner on high, until water boils. Turn down to med high and let the chicken boil. While the chicken is boiling, pop open the biscuits and cut them up into cubes (they don’t have to be uniform in size). They should look something like this…

I put a little flour on my board, but you don't have to.

Once the chicken is done (cut a piece open to make sure there is no pink). Remove it from the broth to cool down. Bring the broth back up to a rolling boil and drop all of the biscuit cubes in and stir. Turn the burner down to medium or med low. Don’t stir too much or too hard or they will break apart. Now just shred the chicken and add back to the pot. Stir again and let simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the dumplings are done to your liking! For a variation, you could throw in a bag of frozen mixed veggies.

Not bad, huh? It definitely beats mixing the dough and rolling it out! This gives you fluffy dumplings and the flaky biscuits come apart enough to thicken the broth! As much as Jen has talked these up, I can’t wait to try it out!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Soy Butter Basil Baked Chicken Wings

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 @ 12:05 PM
posted by mrscaz

Baked, yes, not fried chicken wings. Why not make such a potentially unhealthy meal, a little healthier?? My wonderful kids belts assistant, Jen, shared this recipe (her original recipe) on her personal blog and she said I could share it here. I tried them and let me tell you, they are amazing.

My family loves wings, but all that fried food is too much so I thought I’d try this recipe. The wings still come out crispy and a lot of the fat boils off (yes, boils, I’ll explain in a minute). What’s really great about this recipe is the preparation. Even if you don’t like the soy butter basil (but why wouldn’t you?) you can sauce them however you like. If you have a traditional hot sauce you like, great! Use that. Teriyaki more your cup of tea, then use that. This preparation can be very versatile.

SBB Wings

20 wings (give or take)
1 Stick of Melted Butter (or the equivalent in margarine)
3 Cloves of minced Garlic
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Basil (or the equivalent in the squeeze basil that you get in the produce section)
Soy sauce to taste
Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to 375. In a large pot, fill half way with water and salt to taste. Add the wings and bring them to a boil. Boil them until they are almost done. While those are cooking, mix the rest of the ingredients together (minus the salt). Keep tasting until you get the soy to mixture ratio to your liking. When the wings are almost done, but still a little pink, pull them out of the water and add them to the marinade. Mix it up until all the wings are coated. let sit for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place the wings on a lined baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray and brush with extra marinade. Bake until the wings brown and the skin crisps. Turn halfway through.

I love the soy, butter and basil combination. They just compliment each other so well. You have to try these. Let me know what you think!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


3 Easy Healthy Recipes

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 @ 12:05 PM
posted by mrscaz

When I actually have time to plan it out and think about it, I really do like to cook. The problem is, most days I am rushed to get something on the plate (or *gulp* we eat out) before we fly out the door to either Bug’s or Super Dude’s practices or games. That means that I fall into a food rut. I end up cooking the same dishes over and over again, but now I am vowing to change. As I sit here in my kids belts office, I vow to prepare and cook at least one new (healthier) dish a week. I don’t think that’s too unreasonable.

So, where do I go to find healthy recipes? Why, Pinterest, of course! So here are 3 recipes I came across to start out with. I thought I’d share them with you as well!

Chicken Tacos(courtesy 

1. Chicken Tacos

Makes:1 serving (just multiply to your needs)


3 oz grilled skinless chicken breast (seasoned with chili powder, garlic salt and cumin)
Two 6” corn tortillas
1/4 cup black beans
1/4 rice, brown or Spanish
1/4 cup avocado, cubed
Extra virgin olive oil cooking spray
Shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, salsa

Use extra virgin olive oil cooking spray to grill chicken. Wrap grilled chicken breast into warm tortilla stuffed with lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado and salsa. Enjoy with black beans and rice on the side. *Can swap chicken for shrimp or fish.

Nutrition facts:377 calories, 28 grams protein, 50 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fat

Broccoli with Fusilli and Red Pepper (courtesy

2. Broccoli with Fusilli and Red Pepper


  • 1 1/2 cups of broccoli florets
  • 3 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/2 pound fusilli pasta
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into long thin strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Freshly grated Parmesan (optional)


    1. Cook broccoli for 3 minutes in a large pot of boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt. Remove from water with slotted spoon. Place in large bowl and set aside.
    2. In same water, cook pasta according to package directions, about 10 minutes. Drain well and add to broccoli.
    3. While pasta is cooking, in small sauté pan, heat oil and cook sliced red pepper, garlic and lemon zest over medium-low heat for 3 minutes.
    4. Off heat, add 2 teaspoons salt, red pepper flakes, pepper and lemon juice. Mix and pour this over broccoli and pasta. Toss well.
    5. Season to taste, sprinkle with cheese (if using), and serve.
    6. For added protein, shred 1/2 of a cooked store-bought roasted chicken, then toss with pasta and serve.
Serves 6 to 8

Cheezy Loaded Potato Broccoli Soup (courtesy

3. Cheezy Loaded Potato Broccoli Soup
vegan, makes about 5 large bowls

2 large russet potatoes, peeled/roughly chopped
4-5 cups broccoli (mostly florets)
1 cup almond or soy milk unsweetened/plain
1 cup+ vegetable broth
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 cup+ nutritional yeast (a must for the ‘cheezy’ flavor)
fresh black pepper to taste

1 red onion, chopped
1 small tomato, diced


1. Boil a large pot of water + a few pinches of salt. enough water to cover the potatoes and broccoli.

2. Prep your veggies. Toss your potato into the boiling water. Cover.

3. After about 5 minutes, add in the broccoli and continue boiling until veggies are tender. Remove from heat. Drain water.

4. Saute the chopped onion until it caramelizes – add some salt and pepper and optional spices to enhance the flavor. Toss in the tomato. Add the Daiya cheese over top to melt. Turn off heat. (Saute in oil if desired – I just used a splash of water to keep oil free.)

5. Add the potato, broccoli, non-dairy milk, veggie broth and nutritional yeast to a blender, like a Vitamix. (Immersion blenders also work.) Blend from low to high until smooth. Blend with extreme caution since contents will be quite hot.

6. Add a few scoops of sauteed onion to the blender and blend. Do a taste test and add in the spices, optional flavor enhancers and salt to taste. Add in more liquid for a creamier or thinner texture.

7. You can serve warm from the blender or simmer in a pot on the stove until ready to serve. To serve, add tomato, onions, melted vegan cheese, tempeh bacon bits and whatever else you’d like to “load” your soup with. Serve with some crusty bread or sprouted grain toast. Vegenaise on toast is a nice accent too. Store covered in the fridge and eat within a few days.

Hopefully, I can get the kiddos to eat these as well. Let me know what you think! I’ll try to give you my reviews of these as well!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 @ 12:04 PM
posted by mrscaz

Yay for chocolate! I don’t know about you, but when I have to de-stress from a hectic day in the world of kids belts, I reach for chocolate. I’m not picky, any chocolate will do, really, rich dark chocolate, creamy milk chocolate, chocolate ice cream, choffy, and so on and so on.

I mentioned my affection for chocolate to my assistant one day and she said, “Oh, have I got a pie for you! I’ll bring it in for you.”

Can I just that it was fantastic? It was light and creamy with a hint of peanut butter. I asked for the recipe and she said that it was the easiest thing in the world to make and there is no cooking or baking involved! Now that’s my kind of recipe. Here’s what you need.

4 Individual Snack Packs (you can do sugar free or fat free if you want)
1 8oz Container of Cool Whip (you can do sugar free or fat free if you want)
2 tbsp of Creamy Peanut Butter
1 Chocolate Ready Pie Crust
Handfull of Chocolate chips or slivers

In a large bowl, combine all of the pudding with all of the cool whip.  In a small, microwave safe bowl, put the peanut butter and warm until melted. Now you have to work quickly so the peanut butter doesn’t set, so take the melted peanut butter and  spread a thin layer across the bottom of the pie crust. Let it cool for a second, then spoon the pudding mixture into the pie crust on top of the peanut butter. Top with the chips and refrigerate until you serve it!

Is that not the easiest dessert ever? I’m sure I’ll be using this as a go-to for all of those get togethers that we are invited to! It is sure to impress everyone.

I hope you enjoy! What’s your go-to dessert?


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


3 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 @ 11:04 AM
posted by mrscaz

Yea, yea, yea, I know pumpkin season has come and gone, but I found this recipe that I made this winter and they were yummy and well, today is recipe day at the kids belts office so… I’m sharing! And besides, you know you have a can of pumpkin stashed away in the back of your pantry for just such a recipe emergency as this…

I know you have probably see the 2 ingredient pumpkin muffin recipe floating around the interwebs and Pinterest. Well, this one is very similar, but with two changes: 1. different cake mix 2. Adding decaf coffee.

Yes, decaf coffee. Sound weird, but I have made the original two ingredient muffins and while they were good, they were a little too dense for me. I wanted a way to lighten them up some and I had some left over coffee. I’m not sure what made me put the two together, but it was a great combination! The muffins came out more light and airy and not too sweet! Also, if you are not a coffee fan (what is wrong with you? I mean seriously) the coffee taste did not carry over into the muffins, I promise.

I made these into mini muffins which makes them about 55 calories per muffin (without the glaze).

Here goes…

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

1 Boxed Spice Cake Mix
1 Can Pureed Pumpkin
3/4 Cup Decaf Coffee

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl (if you like a spicier cake, add extra cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc…). Spray your muffin pan with non-stick spray. Fill each one almost to the top. Bake until they are springy to the touch.

Optional… Cinnamon Sugar Glaze

1 Tbsp Butter substitute
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon (more or less to taste)
1/2 cup Sugar (or sugar substitute)

Place all ingredients into a sauce pan and heat until everything is melted and dissolved. You may find that you need to adjust some of the ingredients to your own liking. Drizzle over the muffins!

That’s it, super simple, low fat, low cal, low guilt. Just what I like in a recipe. “You’re welcome…”

PS If you bring these to a party or serve them to guests, they will never know they low guilt. Trust me, I have snuck sneaked (is that right? It doesn’t seem like that would be right, but my trusty spell check says it is) these in on the most discerning palates and they didn’t even bat an eye!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Flour-less Gooey Dark Chocolate Cookies

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 @ 11:04 AM
posted by mrscaz

Show of hands, who doesn’t love chocolate? You there, in the back, put your hand down, you can’t not love chocolate! I think there is a law somewhere that says you have to love chocolate or, at least, in my world there is… I know that everyone here at the kids belts office LOVES chocolate and since I love them, I make these cookies for them! Annnd… since I do love my employees, I want them to be healthy and these cookies seem to be a better alternative prepackaged cookies. Keep reading though! Don’t give up on this recipe because you think it’s “health food” and therefore tastes like cardboard.

When I say healthier, I know that I may lose a few of you readers, but I promise, you will not think these are “health food”. Yes, it’s true that they don’t contain flour, or egg yolks or oil, but they taste AMAZING! The best way to describe it is, they taste like a perfect brownie, crunchy edges with a melty, gooey center. You have to try these at least once and if you are disappointed, you can tell me about it. (I originally found this recipe on Pinterest)


       Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1½  cups bittersweet chocolate chips (about 9 ounces), divided
3     large egg whites, room temperature
2½  cups powdered sugar, divided (I used 2 cups)
½    cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1     tablespoon cornstarch
¼    teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave, stirring twice, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly.
Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl to soft peaks. Gradually beat in 1 (I halved the sugar here) cup sugar. Continue beating until mixture resembles soft marshmallow creme.

Whisk 1 cup sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue.

Stir in lukewarm chocolate and 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dough will become very stiff).

Place 1/2 cup sugar in bowl. Roll 1 rounded teaspoon of dough into ball; roll in sugar, coating thickly. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 2 inches apart.

Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 10 minutes. Cool on sheets on rack 10 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool.

Yield: Makes about 24

Word of warning…. You will be tempted to eat them right out of the oven because of the chocolaty goodness you have been smelling for the past 15 minutes, don’t, I repeat, DON’T do it! The inside of the cookie is about 2 degrees shy of hot lava and you will ruin your taste-buds for the rest of the cookies. I may or may not know this from experience….


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


5 Simple Finger Foods for Pot Lucks

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 @ 11:04 AM
posted by mrscaz

It seems like there are a lot of functions this spring where food is involved. As much as I love food, it’s daunting to come up with creative recipes. It’s so easy to fall back on the tried and true pasta salad or potato salad or egg salad or any other salad (the term salad is misleading, because none of those “salads” are healthy). So, I thought I would take a break from the ever exciting world of kids belts, to share 5 simple finger food recipes!

Brie & Red Pepper Jelly Bites

1 – 8oz Wheel of Brie
2 – Boxes of Pre-made Phyllo Cups (found in Freezer section)
1 – Jar Red Pepper Jelly (found in the Jelly Isle)

Preheat the oven to 375. Line up the empty cups on a baking sheet. Place a teaspoon full of jelly in each cup. Cube up the brie and place a small cube in each cup. Bake until the cheese is nice and gooey! Serve!

Super simple!

Caprese Skewers

1 – Package Grape Tomatoes
1 – Package Mozzarella Balls (found in the specialty cheese section)
1 – Bunch Fresh Basil
1 – Bottle Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 – Package Toothpicks

On each tooth pick, skewer the tomato, a basil leaf (or two) and the mozzarella ball. Do this until you have the amount desired. Lay the skewers out on your serving platter and either drizzle all of them with the vinaigrette or have a bowl of the dressing for dipping.

Spinach Tortilla Roll Ups

1 – Package Spinach Tortillas
1 – Jar Pickled Jalapenos
1 – Package Cream Cheese
1 – Package Deli Turkey
1 – Package of Baby Spinach
Lawry’s Seasoning

Lay out the tortillas. In a bowl, combine the room temp cream cheese with chopped jalapenos (more or less to your taste) and Lawry’s seasoning to your taste. Spread a layer of the mixture all over the tortilla. Top with slices of turkey and the spinach leaves. Roll up the tortillas and place in the fridge to cool. Once they are cool, take a very sharp knife and slice them into bite size pieces. Repeat with the rest of your ingredients.

Pear Crostinis

1 – French Baguette
2 or 3 Pears
Chopped Walnuts
1 – Package Brie or soft cheese of your choice
1 – Package Deli Turkey

Preheat oven to 375. Slice the baguette in to medium slices. place on baking sheet. Top each piece with a slice of brie and a piece of turkey. Bake until cheese melts and bread toasts. Top with thin slices of pear, drizzle with honey and top with a few chopped walnuts.

Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries in Phyllo

2 – Packages Pre-made Phyllo Cups
1 – Package (of 4) Snack Pak Chocolate Pudding
1 – 8oz Tub of Cool Whip
1 or 2 Packages of  Fresh Raspberries

In a bowl, mix the whole tub of cool whip with all of the snack pak containers. Place all of the empty cups on your serving dish. Fill each cup with the mixture (you can use a pastry bag if you have one) and top with a fresh raspberry. Yummy!

There you have it! Super, super simple recipes that pack a punch visually and are delicious! Let me know what you think!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Spinach Zucchini Patties

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 @ 08:03 AM
posted by mrscaz

I’m often at a loss as to what to cook for dinner after a long day at the kids belts office, but a few night ago, I had it all planned out. Until I realized I thawed out the wrong thing. So I made these and they turned out amazing even if it was totally on accident.

Originally, I thought took out some ground beef to thaw so that I could use half of it for meatballs and the other half for tacos the next day. I starting getting my meatball mixture together (I go very veggie heavy in my meatballs), once that was all mixed I went to open my package of ground beef and there it was… link sausage (the kind wrapped in white paper from the butcher, not your local grocery store), not ground beef.

Shoot… now I have this mixture that I don’t want to waste and no meat thawed. I am the queen of improvising so I looked at what I had and thought, this would probably make a pretty tasty patty. I made a few additions to the mixture and did a test batch. YUM! And pretty healthy too!

Spinach Zucchini Patties

1 Med Zucchini, grated
1 Cup Chopped Fresh Spinach
1/2 Med Red Onion, finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 Cup Finely Shredded Cheddar
1 Egg
1/2 Italian Breadcrumbs (add gradually until mixture holds together when formed into a patty)
Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Blend Seasoning to taste
Salt  & Pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add bread crumbs gradually, the mixture will look loose, but if it holds together when you form it into a patty, it’s good. Put a small amount of olive oil in a pan and heat on med to med high. When the oil is warm, place the patties in and pan fry until browned on both sides. Drain excess oil on a paper towel or cooling rack. Serve hot!
These would be great with a marinara sauce served over pasta or served as a side dish with almost anything. My hubby even mentioned using a bigger version as a burger replacement. Kudos to him for wanting to be healthier! Enjoy!
Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

Sweet Potato & Sausage Soup

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 @ 01:11 PM
posted by mrscaz

It’s cold in Florida! Ok, so it’s more like what we would call “spring” back in Oregon, but here, it’s cold. That means it’s soup time! I’m not a huge soup fan, but when the weather is right, there is almost nothing better! Also, a perk of making soup is that there is almost always plenty to bring with me for lunch the next day at the kids belts warehouse! Bonus!

I found this recipe on Florida Coupon Savers site and thought I would share! This recipe calls for sweet potatoes, but oddly enough, it doesn’t call for marshmallows or brown sugar. I know, like you, I didn’t think you could eat sweet potatoes any other way, but you can and they are delicious. This soup is a variation on the standard potato soup.

If you don’t like sweet potatoes, don’t just skip this recipe. I’m also not a huge fan of sweet potatoes, so I love that in this recipe you can taste them, but they aren’t overpowering. It’s creamy, savory and hearty, but not too heavy.

Sweet Potato & Sausage Soup

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Package of Chicken Sausage, sliced into medallions
    (I used the Al Fresco Chicken Sausage that I got on sale a few weeks ago)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3-4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 average sized sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • 4 or 5 small white potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • 1 small pool ball squash, peeled and cubed (zucchini would work)
  • 6 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Garlic Powder to taste

In a deep pot, put the olive oil and the chicken sausage and saute until browned. Remove the sausage and add the onions & garlic and saute until translucent. Add all of the potatoes and saute until the potatoes start to brown. Add the squash, chicken broth, milk, chicken sausage, salt, pepper and garlic. Cook until the potatoes are tender and use a potato masher to break up the cubes. Let the soup boil until it gets to be the thickness you desire. Keep in mind, the longer it sits/cools/cooks, the thicker it will get as the potatoes continue to break down.

Serve hot and enjoy!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor