Tag Archives: easy


Brigadeiro, a famous Brazilian treat, is such an easy candy to make, and tastes delicious. It is sweet, chewy, decadent and slightly addictive. The recipe I use is one I found years ago in an international recipe book.

Brigadeiro 1Brigadeiro

This recipe makes approximately 40 Brigadeiro

2 cans sweetened condensed milk (14 oz each)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted*
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup NESQUIK® Chocolate Powder*
1/3 cup chocolate candy sprinkles

Grease an 8″x8″ or similar size pan with a little butter and set aside. Sift cocoa powder into a non-stick saucepan, then add sweetened condensed milk and butter. Turn heat on to medium, and stir mixture constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. As soon as it starts to bubble, reduce heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the mixture is thick and begins to pull away from the pan, about 15 to 20 minutes. When you can run the spoon from one edge of the bottom of the pot, through the center and to the other edge, and the candy is thick enough to stay separated for a couple of seconds, it is thick enough.

Brigadeiro 2

Remove from heat and pour into the prepared pan. Refrigerate or let stand until the candy is cool enough to easily handle. Meanwhile, place the NESQUIK or chocolate sprinkles in a shallow dish – I use a pie pan. Once the Brigadeiro candy is cool enough to handle, scoop up teaspoon sized amounts, and with buttered hands, form into balls. Roll the balls in the NESQUIK or chocolate sprinkles and place in mini paper baking cups.

Store the Brigadeiro, covered, in the fridge up to one week. Remove from fridge and let them come to room temperature before serving.

*A note about sifting the cocoa powder: I find that if I do not sift the cocoa powder, it will sometimes clump in the milk and butter mixture. As it’s heating, most of the clumps will dissolve, but not all of them. Some recipes suggest to combine the cocoa powder with a small amount of water before adding it to the milk but I have not tried this.

*You can also roll the Brigadeiro in crushed nuts or shredded coconut, or, an alternative to the NESQUIK is to combine unsweetened cocoa powder with powdered sugar (sift together to combine).


Bruschetta Chicken with Spaghetti Squash

I am participating in a fitness challenge hosted by our local hospital. It’s a 12-week challenge, with various fitness activities, classes and opportunities to win cool stuff. At the last class, they had a cooking demonstration and showed us how to make a few easy recipes. Here is my adaptation of their Bruschetta Chicken. I had a spaghetti squash that needed to be cooked so I decided to incorporate it into the recipe as well. You can use fresh tomatoes instead of canned for the bruschetta, I just find the canned to be more flavorful during the winter.

Bruschetta Chicken with Spaghetti Squash
serves 3-4

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 to 3/4 cup prepared low-fat Italian salad dressing (like Good Seasons or Kraft)
1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup fresh basil, slivered
1-3 cloves garlic, minced (depending on how well you like garlic)
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 small spaghetti squash
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, optional

Trim any fat off of chicken breasts, then slice diagonally into 4-5 strips. Place chicken strips in bowl and pour salad dressing over, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 8 hours, turning occasionally. You could also place the chicken and dressing in a Zip-lock bag instead of a bowl.

Combine tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste then cover and refrigerate at least an hour to allow flavors to mingle.

Cook spaghetti squash by whatever method you prefer. I cut mine in half lengthwise, seeded and removed the strings, then placed in a small casserole dish with a little water and microwaved it for 14 minutes. I let it cool a few minutes, then used a fork to separate the strands and placed them in a bowl.

Place chicken and the salad dressing marinade in a skillet and cook over medium heat until cooked through. Spread a tiny bit of the bruschetta sauce over the chicken, and combine the remainder with the spaghetti squash. If desired, sprinkle parmesan cheese over the squash. Plate and serve.

3-C Protein Ice Cream (Chocolate, Coconut and Coffee)

This is an easy base recipe for protein ice cream. Any number of variations can be made. Use your favorite add-ins and your favorite brand and flavor of protein powder.

3-C Protein Ice Cream (Chocolate, Coconut and Coffee)

2 cups milk of choice*
2 scoops BSN Syntha-6 chocolate protein powder, or your protein powder of choice
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1/8 tsp Xanthan gum, optional*
1/2 cup coconut

Combine milk, protein powder and instant coffee in Vitamix, or high-speed blender. Blend until combined, then with blender running, sprinkle in Xanthan gum. Pour the mixture into your prepared ice cream maker. When the mixture starts freezing, add coconut. When ice cream maker stops churning, remove and serve immediately for soft-serve, or transfer ice cream to a covered bowl and freeze for a couple of hours. If the ice cream becomes too hard after freezing, you can place it in microwave for 30 seconds, or leave it on the counter for a few minutes to soften it enough to scoop.

*You can use any milk, dairy or not. I’ve found that when using low-fat, skim milk or fat-free almond milk, the ice cream crystallizes more than when using full-fat milk. This is not a problem for me, but if you want it to be creamy, use full-fat milk. The use of Xanthan gum also helps to prevent ice crystals.

*This is what America’s Test Kitchen has to say about Xanthan gum in ice cream:

Many ice cream manufacturers add xanthan gum to their products because it prevents the formation of large ice crystals during churning and storage. And that translates into a smoother ice cream. This can easily be done at home. Adding 1/8 teaspoon of xanthan gum to the base prior to churning had our ice cream starting out smoother and less noticeably icy than a control recipe made without the gum—and it stayed that way for more than a week.


Xanthan gum has a tendency to clump when it comes in contact with liquids; here’s how we ensure even incorporation:

Create a vortex: Place ice cream base in tall, narrow container, leaving at least 4 inches of headspace. Insert immersion blender to bottom of container. With blender on high speed, create vortex in middle of liquid.

Sprinkle and Blend: Slowly sprinkle xanthan gum over vortex (3/8 teaspoon per 2 cups of gravy or sauce and 1/8 teaspoon per quart of churned ice cream), allowing it to be sucked down into blade of blender for at least 30 seconds to thoroughly combine.

Quick and Easy Turkey-Lentil Stew

I have 3 different types of lentils in my pantry and use them regularly. They cook in about 30 minutes and are very versatile. Sometimes though, I want to serve a meal that practically prepares itself. While I am not a big proponent of canned soups, there are a couple I will occasionally use. Campbell’s Lentil Soup is one of them. It’s seasoned well and makes a great base for soups and stews. Here is one of my go-to recipes when I want to do zero chopping and measuring.

Quick and Easy Turkey-Lentil Stew

1 lb. ground turkey breast
1 tbsp. Canola oil, I just eyeball it
2 small cans Campbell’s Lentil Soup
16 oz jar of roasted Salsa Verde
1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1-2 cups water, as needed to get to desired consistency
1 Parmesan cheese rind – optional*
1/2 cup shredded cheese – optional – I used Asiago because it’s what I had, but Feta would be good too
salt and pepper, as desired

Brown ground turkey in Canola oil in large pot. Add all remaining ingredients except shredded cheese. Cook 20-30 minutes, although if you cook it longer it will thicken up nicely. Garnish stew with cheese if desired. Delicious and easy.

*I buy Parmesan cheese rinds from Kroger, in the deli section, and freeze until needed.

Quick and Easy Chicken Fajita Soup

This is a great quick and easy soup. It’s made from mostly pantry/produce items that I keep on hand all the time. You can use a store-bought roasted chicken or any leftover chicken that you have.

Store-bought jalapeño peppers are usually mild but occasionally you will get a hot one. Just use half the pepper, or omit if you are adverse to the heat.

Chicken Fajita Soup

Serves 6

32 oz. chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
½-1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
16 oz salsa verde (I used the roasted variety)
28 oz can petite diced tomatoes, not drained
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1½-2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 package fajita seasoning mix
1 c. frozen corn
Salt and pepper to taste

Lime wedges, guacamole, sour cream, and chopped cilantro if desired

Combine chicken broth and next 7 ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add shredded chicken, fajita seasoning mix and corn and cook an additional 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with lime wedges, guacamole, sour cream, and chopped cilantro if desired.

You can also crush tortilla chips and sprinkle over the soup.

Stuffed Baked Potato Salad

This is a great potato salad to take to family gatherings or on picnics. Roasting the potatoes gives them a depth of flavor that cannot be achieved through the standard method of boiling. Start off with just half the package of the Ranch dip mix and taste before deciding if you want to add more. It can overpower and make the dish too salty if you use too much.

Definitely not a low-carb dish, but my family loves it.

Stuffed Baked Potato Salad
3 lb small red potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
½ pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dip mix
1 ½ c sour cream (I use low-fat or fat-free)
1 ½ c mayonnaise (try this mayo substitute)
½ to 1 c. green onions, green part only, sliced thin
1 pkg precooked bacon, 14-16 slices, chopped
1 c. shredded Colby-Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes into quarters. If potatoes are very small, cut them in half – they should be bite size. Toss potatoes in olive oil and spread out on a large baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes, just until potatoes are tender and light golden in color. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Combine half the package of Ranch dip mix, sour cream, mayonnaise, green onions and bacon and in a large bowl. Taste to see if you want to add more of the ranch dip mix. Add cooled potatoes and stir gently until combined. Top with shredded cheese. Chill until ready to serve.

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