Coconut Pecan Sweet Potatos

3 c. mashed sweet potato
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. butter
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
Bake sweet potatoes in oven until soft, then peel and mash. Add butter first, so it will melt, and then the other ingredients and mix well. Pour in oven safe pan/bowl.
Top with below recipe and bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes.

1 c. coconut
1 c. pecans, chopped
1 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. melted butter
Melt butter. Stir in other ingredients and sprinkle over top of potato mixture

I've been making this for Thanksgiving for about 4 years now....everyone loves the yummy topping and it's WAY better then the canned version with marshmallows!!


Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Last year I watched Paula Deen make this and decided to bring it to our big extended family Thanksgiving Feast and it was a huge hit! I just finished making it again for tomorrow! It really does look this impressive!!


  • 2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
  • 1 (5.1-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
  • 1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping
  • 1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional


Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cardamom into the pudding. Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping. Sprinkle of the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Trifle can be layered in a punch bowl.


Turkey Tortilla Soup

Turn that leftover turkey from Thanksgiving into soup.

  • 3 6-inch corn tortillas, cut in strips
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 cup red or green salsa
  • 2 14-ounces cans reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups cubed cooked turkey (12 ounces)
  • 1 large zucchini, coarsely chopped
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  • Sour cream

1. In a large skillet cook tortilla strips in hot oil until crisp; remove with spoon and drain on paper toweling.

2. In a large saucepan combine salsa and chicken broth; bring to boiling over medium-high heat. Add turkey and zucchini; heat through. Serve in bowls topped with tortilla strips, lime wedges, and cilantro.

Makes 4 servings.


Golden Squash Soup

2 apples
2 1/2 pounds banana squash (1 large piece)
1 cup chicken broth
2 TBS butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 TSP salt
1/4 TSP pepper
2 TSP mild curry powder (optional)
1 cup apple juice
1 cup cream
Salt to taste

Peel, core and cut apples in half. Place apples and squash face down on greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Scoop out squash. place squash and apples in a blender and mix until well blended; set aside. In a large cooking pot melt butter over low heat. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and curry powder. Mix well. Add apple juice, cream and squash mixture. Stir and heat through. Do not boil. Salt to taste. Serve hot. Makes about 8 cups.

Easy Minestrone Soup

1 lb pork sausage
4 cups water
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 (10 oz) can beef broth
1 (10 oz) can bean with bacon soup
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 TBS sugar
2 cloves of garlic, minced or 1 TSP garlic salt
1 TSP dried oregano
1 TSP salt
1/2 TSP pepper

Brown Sausage in large pot. Drain any grease; add remaining ingredients and stir together. Simmer uncovered over low heat for at least 1 hour.
Makes 10 cups


Mexican Lasagna

I'll be honest, I was kind of scared to try this! But I'm glad I did... it was incredible!

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 large onion, halved and cut into thin wedges
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
2 cups (16 oz) fat-free ricotta cheese
1 cup (8 oz) reduced-fat sour cream
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, if desired
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups salsa
8 corn tortillas (6-inch diameter), cut in half
1 1/4 cups shredded low-fat Monterey Jack cheese (5 oz)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch rectangular baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Spray large skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove to a medium bowl. Wipe skillet with paper towel. Spray with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 7 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Add to chicken in the bowl.

3. In another medium bowl, stir together ricotta, sour cream, green chilies, cilantro, cumin and salt.

4. Spread 1 cup of the salsa across bottom of prepared baking dish. Arrange half of the tortillas evenly over salsa. Spread half of the ricotta mixture over tortillas. Top with half of the chicken mixture. Top with 1 cup of the remaining salsa and 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat layering with remaining tortillas, ricotta mixture and chicken mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup salsa and 3/4 cup cheese.

5. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through. Loosely cover with foil if the cheese browns too quickly.


"Healthified" Caramel Vanilla Cheesecake

15 chocolate or vanilla wafer cookies, crushed (1/2 cup)
2 packages (8 oz each) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 egg whites or 1/2 cup fat-free egg product
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups lowfat vanilla yogurt
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup fat-free caramel topping
Pecan halves, if desired

1. Heat oven to 300°F. Spray springform pan (9x3 inches) with cooking spray. Sprinkle cookie crumbs over bottom of pan.

2. Beat cream cheese in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add sugar, egg whites and vanilla. Beat on medium speed about 2 minutes or until smooth. Add yogurt and flour. Beat on low speed until smooth.

3. Carefully spread batter over cookie crumbs in pan. Bake 1 hour. Turn off oven; cool in oven 30 minutes with door closed. Remove from oven; cool 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

4. Drizzle caramel topping over cheesecake. Garnish with pecan halves. Store covered in the refrigerator.

"Healthified" Mac & Cheese

2 cups uncooked regular or whole wheat elbow macaroni (8 oz)
2 cups fat-free (skim) milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
2 cups shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese (8 oz)

1. In 3-quart saucepan, cook and drain macaroni as directed on package. Return to saucepan; cover to keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Spray 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 2-quart saucepan, stir milk, flour, mustard, salt, black pepper and red pepper with wire whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted.

3. Add cheese sauce to cooked macaroni; mix well. Spoon into baking dish.

4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are bubbly.

Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole

6 beaten eggs
10 slices of bread
1 1/2 C. milk
2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 lb sausage
salt and pepper
yellow mustard (optional)

Brown and crumble the sausage. Drain remaining fat.

Spread mustard on one side of the bread and cut bread in quarters. Beat eggs and milk together with salt and pepper to taste.

Spray inside of crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Layer bread, cheese and sausage in crockpot. Pour milk and egg mixture over everything. Cook on low 8-12 hours.

*Put this in the night before...or have breakfast for dinner.

Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup

2 potatoes
3 T. Butter
2 C. chopped white onion
2 T. all-purpose flour
4 C. chicken stock
2 C. water
1 1/2 C. instant mashed potato flakes
1 t. salt
3/4 t. pepper
1/2 t. basil
1/8 t. thyme
1 C. half & half
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 lb. bacon cooked and chopped
2 green onions, chopped

Peel and dice potatoes and boil until almost tender. Drain, Meanwhile, cook bacon and chop onions. Melt butter in skillet and saute onion until tender. Mix one cup of water with 2 T. flour. Add this mixture to the butter/onions. Stir to blend well. It should thicken the mixture some.

Put drained potatoes, chicken stock, 1 cup water and onion mixture in crockpot. Add bacon, half & half, pepper, basil, salt, and potato flakes. Stir.

Cook on LOW for 6 hours or on HIGH for 3 hours. Serve with cheddar cheese and bacon on top and green onions if desired.

Cream of Potato Soup

1 Cup Diced Celery
1 Cup Diced Onion
4 Cups Peeled and Cubed Potatoes
3 Cubes Chicken Bouillon
¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper
½ tsp Celery Salt
1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
½ Cup Butter
6 Tbsp Flour
2 Cups Milk
1 Cup Half & Half
In a large pot combine celery, onion, potatoes, bouillon cubes, pepper, celery salt and parsley. Add enough water so that vegetables are submerged, cover and cook until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat, set aside.
In a small skillet melt butter. Once melted add butter and flour and stir until a paste like consistency in formed. Add milk all at once and stir on low heat until it thickens.
Add milk and flour mixture to the vegetable mixture and stir gently. Stir in half and half.
Serve with grated cheese and bacon bits.


Chicken Spinach Lasagna

Wow, I'm finally posting! Apparently I am incapable of taking cool pictures of food like everyone else seems to be able to do. Oh well, this was really good regardless, even my 5 year old son and very picky hubby ate it!

Chicken Spinach Lasagna

1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 (10 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 1/2 oz.) jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1/3 cup mayo
6 lasagna noodles, cooked
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup chopped pecans

(**NOTE** I left out both the jar of mushrooms and the pecans)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. In a large bowl, combine spinach, chicken, cheddar cheese, onion, cornstarch, salt, pepper, soy sauce, soup, sour cream, mushrooms, and mayo. Put a layer of noodles in the bottom of a greased 9X13 lasagna pan. Spread half of the spinach mixture over noodles. Place another layer of noodles on top and cover with the remaining spinach mixture. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese, then pecans on top. Bake for 1 hour. Serves 12.


Favorite Soup Recipe Challange

Attention all "What's Cookin" cooks!
The leaves are falling, the weather is getting cooler, the smell of burning fires is in the air, and soup season is officially here! I am in need of some good soup recipes.
I challenge you to post your favorite soup recipe(s). The more the merrier!
Chicken noodle, chowders, vegetable, chili...anything counts!
P.S. If you wish to be a "What's Cookin cook" and would like to contribute to our recipes,
please leave a comment!


BBQ Chicken Calzones

1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 cup barbecue sauce
2 tubes (10 ounces) pizza dough
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded, low-fat Cheddar cheese
1 egg white, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Sprinkle with the cornmeal. Coat a medium nonstick skillet with nonstick spray. Set over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft. Add the chicken and barbecue sauce. Stir to mix.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll 1 piece of dough into a 7-inch circle. Place 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture on one side of the circle, spreading to within 1 inch of the edge. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the Cheddar. Brush the edges of the crust with some of the egg-white mixture. Fold the circle in half. Pinch the edges to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling to make a total of 4 calzones.

Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the calzones with the remaining egg-white mixture. With a sharp knife, make 3 slashes in the top of each calzone.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crusts are golden brown. To serve, cut each calzone in half. These are incredibly delicious... and easy to make!


Creamy Italian Chicken

Sorry, I don't have a picture!
But just try this one, your family will love it!

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 package dry Italian Seasons Dressing Mix
1 8 oz cream cheese
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 can cream of chicken soup

Place chicken in crock pot and pour melted butter, and sprinkle italian dressing mix over the top.
Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4.
Remove chicken from crock pot and set aside. Add cream cheese and stir until incorporated, then add cream of chicken soup and mix well.
Add chicken back into crock pot (you can shred the chicken first if you prefer)
Cook on high 15 minutes then serve over rice



Pot Stickers

Wonton Filling

1/2 cup finely chopped cabbage
Coarse salt
6 ounces ground pork, not all lean
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


24 rectangular (3 1/2-by-3-inch) or square wonton wrappers
1 recipe Wonton Filling
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 scallions, finely chopped (optional)
1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce, for serving

In a medium bowl, toss cabbage with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let stand 10 minutes. Wrap cabbage in a double layer of paper towels; firmly squeeze out excess liquid. Return cabbage to bowl; add pork, scallions, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix well with a fork. Refrigerate leftover filling up to 2 days.

Work with one wrapper at a time, and keep the rest covered with a damp towel. Spoon one rounded teaspoon of filling in center. With dampened fingers, wet the four edges. To make a triangle, fold wrapper in half over filling, making sure the ends meet and filling is centered; press edges down firmly to seal.

Moisten one tip on long side of triangle. Then bring together both tips on long side, overlapping them slightly; press tips together to seal.

Fold remaining top corner back. Transfer to an oiled plate; cover with a damp towel to keep moist. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add half the wontons and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 1 minute per side. Carefully add 1/2 cup water (oil may sputter), cover, and steam until translucent and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and wontons. Sprinkle pot stickers with scallions, if using, and serve with soy sauce.


Beef and Bow Ties

2 cups cooked bow-tie (farfalle) pasta (4 oz)
1 1/2 lb boneless beef sirloin steak, about 3/4 inch thick
1 lb asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
2 medium onions, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 cups beef flavored broth
1 cup tomato puree
3 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
3 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.

2. Meanwhile, remove fat from beef. Cut beef with grain into 2-inch strips; cut strips across grain into 1/8-inch slices; set aside.

3. Spray 12-inch skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add asparagus, onions and 1 cup of the broth; cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated. Remove vegetables from skillet.

4. Add beef to skillet. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until beef is brown.

5. Stir in asparagus mixture, remaining 1/2 cup broth, the pasta and remaining ingredients except cheese. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until hot. Sprinkle with cheese.

"Healthified" Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander or cumin
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend (4 oz)
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 corn or flour tortillas (6 or 7 inch)
1 medium tomato, chopped (3/4 cup)
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)
Salsa, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender. In medium bowl, stir broth, flour, coriander and pepper with wire whisk until blended. Slowly add to hot mixture in skillet, stirring constantly. Cook and stir 5 to 6 minutes, until mixture boils and thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream until well blended.

3. In another medium bowl, mix chicken, corn, 1/2 cup of the cheese, the chiles, cilantro and 1/2 cup of the sauce. Place 2 tortillas at a time on microwavable plate; cover with paper towel. Microwave on High 10 to 15 seconds or until softened. Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down center of each warm tortilla. Roll up tortillas; arrange, seam sides down, in baking dish. Top enchiladas with remaining sauce. Cover with foil.

4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until sauce is bubbly. Remove from oven. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Just before serving, top with tomato and green onions. Serve with salsa.


Spicy Parmesan Meatballs & Pasta

3/4 cup bran cereal
1 lb extra-lean (at least 90%) ground beef
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (1 oz)
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion, undrained
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
6 oz uncooked whole wheat angel hair (capellini) pasta
Additional shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, if desired

1. Place cereal in resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag and finely crush with rolling pin or meat mallet (or finely crush in food processor).

2. In large bowl, mix cereal, ground beef, 1/4 cup cheese, the Italian seasoning, garlic powder and 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce until well blended. Shape into 16 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs.

3. Spray 12-inch skillet with cooking spray. Cook meatballs in skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned. Drain if necessary. Add remaining tomato sauce, tomatoes and red pepper to skillet; turn meatballs to coat.

4. Cover; cook over medium-low heat 15 to 20 minutes, stirring sauce and turning meatballs occasionally, until meatballs are thoroughly cooked and no longer pink in center.

5. Meanwhile, cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Serve meatballs over pasta. Top each serving with additional Parmesan cheese and parsley.