Slow-Cooker Hamburger Soup

There is something comforting about a nice, hot bowl of soup. Even better when it requires little prep time and can be ready & waiting for you at dinner. This hamburger soup is very hearty, and my version is pretty low carb (so my diabetic hubby can have a huge bowl – this is his favorite soup!) but feel free to add potatoes, corn, carrots, anything you like.

Crock Pot Hamburger Soup

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can use pre-cooked ground beef for a “hands off” meal, or you can add the hamburger raw, allowing it to cook in the broth, but you have to be available to stir and break up the beef as it cooks. You also need to use very lean ground beef for this method, or you will have greasy soup! I’ve made that mistake, so I’ve learned to start writing the fat content on my ground beef if I am freezing it raw. However, I prefer to cook large quantities of ground beef in the crock pot, then freeze in 2 pound portions so it’s ready for recipes like this.

Hamburger Soup


I sometimes add carrots, but as stated earlier, feel free to add any veggies you like. It’s also good with rice. I usually have Cornbread Muffins or Copycat King’s Hawaiian Bread with it, because the kids and I still love our carbs! (This can also be made on the stove top, but it’s just so easy to let it simmer in the crock-pot all day!)
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) , , ,  (Tuesday) ,, ,  (Wednesday) , , ,  (Thursday) , ,  (Friday) , , , ,, , , , ,  (Sunday)

Baked Sesame Chicken

My New Year’s Resolution was to publish a blog post at least 3 days a week. FAIL. But hey, I’m here today & I have a pretty easy dinner to share. If you know me through the blog or in real life, you know that I have three kids that keep me running constantly from one end of the county to the other with all their extracurriculars. Who has time to plan & execute elaborate meals? Not me. However, I still want to cook decent meals for my family, so quick & easy is where it’s at. Who’s with me?

Baked Sesame Chicken

I love Asian inspired food, as does my oldest daughter. I like making it at home because I can make it so much healthier than take-out. Plus, we have one local Chinese place…and it wasn’t very good the one time I’ve been. This Baked Sesame Chicken is fairly simple to make, just takes a few ingredients, and is baked instead of fried – which makes this a healthier (and less messy…I hate frying) option.

Baked Sesame Chicken


Recipe adapted from

Even though I would have liked a nice thick sauce to add at the end, I didn’t want to use the sauce that the chicken cooked in because it contains so much chicken fat (thighs are fatty), but it is certainly an option (just thicken with cornstarch). I think next time I may reserve some of the sauce, thicken it, and baste it on, under the broiler at the very end. That would give it a sticky sauce, kind of like my Slow Cooked Sticky Chicken. The chicken has a good flavor & is good with rice or sesame noodles. We also had egg rolls, which I normally make from scratch, but these were super convenient!

What’s your favorite Chinese food? I want to try some other dishes at home. This Bourbon Chicken is one of my favorites!


I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) , , ,  (Tuesday) ,, ,  (Wednesday) , , ,  (Thursday) , ,  (Friday) , , , ,, , , , ,  (Sunday)

My Top 10 Favorite “Skinny” Recipes

I’m always experimenting in the kitchen, and often trying to reduce calories here and there while still having something good to eat. I like to try out new recipes, so something has to be pretty good for me to make it over and over again. Here is a list of “skinnier” recipes that I make frequently. (But remember…skinny doesn’t necessarily mean healthy!)

Top Ten Skinny Recipes:

1. 3-2-1- Skinny Mug Cake – this is actually a favorite of my children. All 3 like to make these, and they are handy for after school snacks or after dinner dessert. I personally don’t like them all that much unless I top it with hot fudge or chocolate chips or you know, something to make it fattening! It’s certainly not a health food, just a lighter version of cake! (and made in single servings)

2.  Super Skinny Chocolate Muffins {copycat Vitatops} – These are very chocolate-y but have a pretty healthy ingredient list. I love them with a cup of coffee.

3. ‘Skinny’ Pizza – I ate these all the time when doing Weight Watchers. They are quick and easy and satisfy that craving for pizza.

4. 2-ingredient Apple Angel Food Cake – This recipe actually comes from Weight Watchers. You can use any pie filling or even a can of crushed pineapple. I’ve made several flavors. 

5. Baked Mozzarella Sticks – this is another favorite of my kids, and we have recently discovered Baked Cheese Cups…which they also love. These are best when eaten soon after they are made.

6. Baked Egg Rolls – (can also be made in won ton cups.) I make egg rolls A LOT. I love them, they are filled with vegetables and baked, not fried. When I did Weight Watchers, one egg roll wrapper was only one point too!

7. Homemade Turkey Sausage  – I rarely buy pork sausage anymore, and make this often. I have been experimenting with different spice combos…but this one is pretty good and basic. You can add heat or whatever you like to achieve the taste you want. I usually make breakfast sausage, but sometimes Italian too.

8. Bourbon Chicken – this is a great alternative to take-out Chinese food. It’s not fried, and it’s delicious.

9. Low-fat Brownies – made with brownie mix and yogurt. Again, I can’t say they are healthy, but sometimes you gotta have a brownie. (Black bean brownies are also good, but these are so quick and easy.)

10. Low Carb Pizza Crust – my favorite low carb pizza crust to date, you can pick it up without it falling apart, and it has a “real” pizza feel to it. My only minor complaint is the natural sweetness that comes out when roasting cauliflower.

Do you have a favorite “skinny” recipe? I’m thinking of putting together a list of crock-pot and soup recipes too. Maybe casseroles…anyone interested?

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday)  (Tuesday) ,, (Wednesday) , (Thursday)  (Friday) ,  ,

3-2-1 Skinny Mug Cake

Many of you may have seen this before…I’ve seen it several times on various blogs. I first tried this out about a year ago, and I have no idea why I haven’t written about it before.

I think it’s because I can never get a good picture…mug cakes are generally ugly. I’m also usually in a hurry to stuff something sweet in my face if I am making a cake in a coffee cup in the microwave! You know, desperate times and all.

I can’t say that I love these cakes, or that they are anything gourmet, but I can say that when you are craving something sweet in a hurry, and do not want to totally bust the calorie bank, these fit the bill. I really like them for the convenience…my children love to make them, and my girls can make them by themselves. That way, when they want a sweet treat, and I don’t want the temptation staring me in the face, they can go make themselves a cake. They are satisfied, and there are no leftovers sitting on the counter torturing me with their existence.

(See…the photos aren’t very good. Gotta work on that I suppose…which you know, means making more cakes!) My kids have had a good time coming up with variations…adding hot fudge (pictured, which is why it looks so gooey), peanut butter, nutella, etc.

The “skinny” part comes in because they are low in are combining a pack of regular cake mix (any flavor) with a box of angel food cake mix…that’s it! Store the combined dry mix in a container or plastic bag and use “as needed”…which is often in my house. It gets the name 3-2-1 because you need 3 T. of mix, 2 T. of water, and 1 minute in the microwave. Super fast, super easy.

3-2-1 Skinny Mug Cake

1 box of cake mix (favorite brand and flavor)
1 box of angel food cake mix
Combine 2 cake mixes in a large container or gallon size bag. When you want a cake, get a coffee mug or microwave safe bowl, add 3 Tablespoons of cake mix, 2 Tablespoons of water. Stir until just combined. (Can also add in a tablespoon of hot fudge sauce, peanut butter, chocolate chips, etc.) Microwave for 1 minute. Add cool whip or frosting if desired.
*The best I could calculate, the mug cakes were approximately 4 Weight Watchers Point Plus points without any additional add-ins. 
Do you have any single serving treats that you enjoy? Feel free to leave links or a recipe!
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday)  (Tuesday) , ,,, (Wednesday) , (Thursday) , (Friday) ,,(Saturday) 

Detox Drink

Yes, I’m back! After an unintentional blogging break (life got busy trying to get the kids finished up with school, and then a few days vacay) I am trying to get my blogging groove back. Of course, now it’s summer and the kids are home everyday…so we’ll see how it goes! Speaking of summer, that means it’s bathing suit time *groan* so I figured it was the perfect time to try out this…
Losing bloat
I imagine many of you have seen this pin floating around Pinterest at some point. I’ve looked and looked and couldn’t find the original source, but it is supposedly a recipe recommended by Jillian Michaels to BEAT THE BLOAT. Isn’t bloat such a gross word? It conjures up all sorts of not-fun images. I found another version of the drink on eHow with the same ingredients, just different quantities, and that’s the one I’m using. The ‘detox drink’ calls for Dandelion Root tea, cranberry juice, lemon juice, and of course, water.

I was given the opportunity to try brand Dandelion Root tea, and I immediately made this ‘detox’ drink. I was a little worried since I had read that dandelion root tea was very bitter, and could cause “GI discomfort” – I didn’t find either to be the case, but I did add a few drops of NuNaturals Orange Stevia to sweeten it up a bit. I am really, really bad about not drinking enough fluid throughout the day, so I did not manage to drink all 60 oz. in one day. I did however drink much more than my norm, which was good. Did I lose 5 lbs in 7 days? No. Did I lose some water weight/bloat? Yes! I was definitely better hydrated, which made me feel better. So, I’m trying to keep it going by keeping a pitcher of ‘detox’ tea or flavored water in the fridge (I’m currently drinking on a pitcher of “Flat Tummy Water” which I will share later!)

Jillian Michaels’ Detox Drink

60 ounces of distilled/bottled/filtered water
2 bags of Dandelion Root Tea
4 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh squeezed lemon tasted better IMO but I’ve used bottled too)
2 Tablespoons all natural cranberry juice (100% cranberry juice, no sugar added)

Place tea bags in a pitcher of water and let steep overnight. In the morning, remove tea bags and add remaining ingredients. Stir and drink! As noted, I added some stevia b/c I like my tea sweet…I don’t know if that makes a difference and was just my preference. 

*You can also steep the tea bags in hot water, then it doesn’t need to sit overnight.

(inspired by Pinterest, recipe from )

As with anything, I suggest reading up on it yourself before starting any ‘fad’ drinks/diets/exercises. Dandelion Root Tea is an herbal supplement and traditionally used to support liver function, but as with all herbal supplements that I am aware of, they have not been evaluated by the FDA. The Alvita brand I used is certified organic.

I was sent a package of dandelion root tea for sampling/review purposes. No compensation was received.

Skinny Cherry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast w/GIVEAWAY! {#sponsored}

Today I get to talk about one of my favorite things…BREAD! Hi, my name is Kim and I am a carb-addict. Seriously, I love bread – all kinds of bread, and so do my kids. If there is a bread basket around, you better watch out, b/c they will crush it. So, it’s no surprise that when I was given the opportunity to get free coupons for  and and , I jumped on it. I was already a fan of their products, and purchase some items on a regular basis. 

Like these Arnold®, Brownberry® and Oroweat® Sandwich Thins® Rolls. I use them for sandwiches frequently, like this breakfast sammie loaded with lots of protein (eggs, Canadian Bacon, reduced fat cheese) and the rolls are only 3 PointsPlus on Weight Watchers®! They come in 100% Whole Wheat, Healthy Multi-grain, Honey Wheat, and Flax & Fiber. I like to make this sandwich on Bagel Thins ® too. However, I’ve had pinned for a while, and definitely wanted to try it out. I came up with a slightly different version and it was quite tasty!

I enjoyed this on my sun porch on a (finally!) nice day, and (briefly) pretended like I was on vacation…because it reminded me of something I would only eat while splurging at breakfast or brunch while on vacay!
However, this quick and easy version can be made anytime, letting you feel like you are splurging, when you’re actually not!
YUM! If you are not a fan of cherries, you could use any no sugar added/sugar free pie filling (apple, blueberry, etc.) or fresh fruit too.  Blueberry and lemon curd will be my next flavor combo!

Skinny Cherry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

1-2 Tablespoons reduced fat/fat free cream cheese (depending on taste preference, I used 2 T.)
1/4 cup No Sugar Added Cherry Pie Filling
1 egg or 1/4 cup Egg Beaters
Cooking spray (I used Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray)
sprinkle of cinnamon
powdered sugar (optional)
  • Add cream cheese to bottom half of roll.
  • Top with pie filling.
  • Place top of roll on pie filling, making a sandwich. Gently press together.
  • In a shallow bowl, beat one egg or pour in Egg Beaters, sprinkle with cinnamon (a lot or little depending on taste preference. I like a lot!)
  • Carefully dip sandwich in egg, flipping to coat both sides. Allow excess to drain off.
  • Heat a skillet on medium high heat and coat with cooking spray (can also use reduced calorie butter spread).
  • Add sandwich and cook until browned on bottom, then flip and cook other side.
  • To serve, add a dusting of powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from

 I’ve only made one at a time, so I saved my leftover egg/cinnamon mixture in a sealed plastic container to use later in the week, as well as the pie filling. I’m pretty sure the pie filling could be frozen as well, but I haven’t tried that yet. (I have another super easy recipe using pie filling coming soon!)
You could also make  with bagels. I usually buy the  because they are only 110 calories and 3 PointsPlus on Weight Watchers®. (They come in Plain, 100% Whole Wheat, Cinnamon Raisin and Everything) but when shopping I saw these….
Banana Bread Bagels! I knew my kids would flip since they love banana bread. They smell heavenly (the bagels, not my kids) and I don’t even like bananas! I think they would be really awesome in this recipe I found for using bagels. However, I don’t think ours will last long enough! I need to go back to the store anyway, because my 5 y/o loves pizza made on bagels, and I need plain for that. We also like to make pizzas on flatbread. Arnold®, Brownberry® and Oroweat® makes which are perfect for this, and they are only 3 PointsPlus on Weight Watchers too! They come in 100% Whole Wheat and Healthy Multi-grain.
Now, who wants to get their own free product coupons AND a $25 Visa Gift Card?! Because I appreciate all of you, and want to enable you in your own carb-loving addiction, one Makin’ it Mo’Betta reader will win just that! To enter, use the Rafflecopter form. (If viewing this in an email, you will need to open it up in the browser so that the form will load.) Open to US residents only.
Disclosure: Sandwich Thins®, Pocket Thins® and Bagel Thins ® provided me with coupons for free product and a gift card for recipe ingredients. The opinions and photos are my own!

Creamy Sausage Dip {with skinny option}

Sausage is like crack. It rivals the beloved bacon. They each have their own special place in my meat-loving, nitrate infused world. In other words, I love sausage. I don’t eat it often, because let’s face it, it’s not a health food…BUT, let’s make an exception for this dip. It’s a great appie and should make any sausage loving person very happy. Oh, and it has cream cheese in it. And we know cream cheese makes errything a little mo’betta.

This dip goes by many names: sausage dip, cream cheese sausage dip, Rotel Sausage Dip, etc. Since I was out of Rotel when I made this, I’m just calling it Creamy Sausage Dip! I used salsa in the place of the Rotel, and it wasn’t as spicy as I like, but still delicious. I’ve been making this for years, and originally got the recipe from my cousin. There are variations all over the net, but this is my verison.

Creamy Sausage Dip

1 lb. sausage, cooked and crumbled (and drained if needed) *hot or mild
1 can  Tomatoes or 1 1/2 cups salsa, drained
2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese (1 also works, will just be thicker, as pictured)
Mix cooked sausage and cream cheese in a pot over medium heat. Stir often until cream cheese has mostly melted. Add Rotel or salsa. Stir to combine and continue to heat until cream cheese is completely melted and mixture is warm throughout. Dip can be placed (or prepared) in a crock pot to keep warm while being served.
Serve with chips, crackers, pita crisps, etc.
Want your Creamy Sausage Dip to be a little more waistline friendly?

Skinny Creamy Sausage Dip

1 lb. turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled (buy it or make it)
1 can Rotel Tomatoes or 1 1/2 cups salsa, drained
1 or 2 (8 oz) package(s) fat free cream cheese
Prepare as above.
Serve with homemade tortilla chips, or store bought baked tortilla chips. It’s still not a health food, but a little more figure friendly! ‘Cuz everyone wants to eat party food…dieting or not!
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) , , , , , ,  (Tuesday) ,   , , ,,, ,  (Wednesday) , , , , , ,   (Thursday)  ,, , ,  (Friday) ,  , , , , , , ,, , , ,, , (Saturday)  , , , 

No-Bake Chocolate Pie

So…it’s the later part of January. How are those resolutions going? I know most of us are trying to get our healthy on, but it doesn’t stop our brain from telling us to EAT CHOCOLATE does it? I crave chocolate on a pretty regular basis, and have been pretty creative in coming up with ways to satisfy those cravings without using a days allowance of points. (Weight Watcher talk) This Chocolate Pie is a delicious way to satisfy cravings, without totally breaking the calorie bank.

This recipe came from Mr. Brown. Alton Brown that is. It was pretty awesome. You would never know the main ingredient was tofu. I was calling this ‘Special Ingredient Chocolate Pie‘…but then I saw the movie ‘The Help’ based on a comment a reader made. So, I decided a new name was in order!

No-Bake Chocolate Pie

1 bag (13 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup coffee liqueur (store bought or )
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound silken tofu, drained
1 tablespoon honey
1 (9-inch) prepared chocolate wafer crust (I used chocolate graham cracker but Oreo would have been better!)

  • Place about an inch of water in the bottom of a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Melt the chocolate chips, coffee liqueur and vanilla in a medium metal bowl set over the simmering water, stirring frequently with a rubber or silicone spatula. 
  • Blend the tofu, melted chocolate and honey in a blender or food processor until smooth (about a minute)
  • Pour the filling into prepared pie crust and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until set. 

Source: Alton Brown’s


You will be amazed at how unhealthy this chocolate pie tastes. And I’m pretty sure no one will be able to guess the special ingredient!

If interested in other special ingredient desserts, you might want to check out my Biscoff Cookie Dough Dip, Deep Dish Cookie Pie, or Double Dark Chocolate Cookie Balls!

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) , , , , , , , , , , (Tuesday) , , ,,, ,  and ,  ,  (Wednesday) , , , , , ,   (Thursday)  ,, , ,  (Friday) ,  , , , , ,, , , ,, , , ,, , (Saturday)  , , , 

Baked-not-Fried Pickles {and a few other snack ideas}

Don’t cha just love fried food? Don’t cha just hate that it’s so bad for you?! I’m always looking for healthier alternatives to my favorite “bad” foods. That’s why when I saw this recipe for baked “fried” pickles in Prevention RD’s cookbook, I knew I had to give them a try.

The bad news is that I ate almost all of them by myself. The good news is they were not too bad for me, so it’s okay 🙂 I think I shared a few with my girls. My 5 y/o wasn’t interested in a breaded, hot pickle…he thought I was nuts! He didn’t appreciate me messing with his beloved dill pickles.

Oven-Fried Pickles from

20 oz jar Claussen Kosher dill burger slice pickles (about 16 slices) *I used the regular dill pickles slices by Mt. Olive
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp garlic powder *I reduced this to about 1/2 tsp
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Preheat oven to 450 F.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and flour together. 
  • Add Worcestershire, hot sauce, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, and pepper to egg mixture. Blend well.
  • In a shallow dish or plate, add panko crumbs. 
  • Dip each pickle slice into the egg mixture, than coat with the panko bread crumbs until both sides are well coated.
  • Place coated pickles on a sprayed baking sheet. Bake for a few minutes on each side (2-3) or until lightly browned on each side. 
Serve warm with choice of dressing for dipping. We used ranch! These would make a great addition to your New Year’s Eve party tray, along with these….
What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? {Insert song burst here *what are you doingggg, New Year’s.  New Year’s Eveeeee*} I’ll be fixing a few appies and try to stay awake to watch the ball drop. My kids might invite a couple of friends over and that’s about as exciting as I am planning on things getting around here. I’m getting so old.

Easy Baked French Toast with Streusel Topping

I love French Toast. I love French Toast Casseroles. Or maybe what I should say, is that I love the flavor of French Toast…’cuz I do not love soggy bread. That mushiness it gets in the middle? Ewww. So, I guess I sort of like Cinnamon Toast, with syrup. Anywho, this Baked French Toast is awesome, b/c ONE, it has a streusel topping. I love, love, streusel. TWO, it’s not soggy! (If you like yours soggy, you can make it that way too.) And THREE, this version is lower in sugar and fat than lots of others.

 OH! AND you can make a whole bunch at once…so no individual dipping and flipping and cooking. score!

Easy Baked French Toast with Streusel Topping

1 loaf French bread (any good bread, sliced in 1 inch slices)
4 eggs (I used 2 eggs and 1 serving of Egg Beaters)
1 3/4 cup fat free milk
1/4 cup brown sugar substitute*
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
Streusel Topping
1/4 cup brown sugar substitute*
1/2 cup flour (I used unbleached all-purpose)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 T butter, melted
(maybe a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter)
*I used Splenda Brown Sugar Blend which is a combination of brown sugar and Splenda artificial sweetener. I have also made my own blend of half stevia and half brown sugar. You can use all brown sugar if you prefer.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. 
  • Arrange slices in a single layer in dish. 
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar/sugar substitute, cinnamon, vanilla and salt.
  • Pour egg mixture over the bread. 
  • {At this point, you can cover and place in fridge overnight}
  • In a small bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter (and salt if using) with a fork until it comes together and forms crumbles.
  • Sprinkle over bread and bake 35 – 40 minutes or until edges of bread are golden brown.
Adapted from
Enjoy for breakfast, brunch or dinner! We, of course, had ours for dinner (brinner) with a little sugar free syrup and turkey sausage. It was carb-o-licious!
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) , , , , , , , , , , , (Tuesday) , , ,,, ,  and ,  ,  (Wednesday) , , , , , ,   (Thursday)  ,, , ,  (Friday) ,  , , , , ,, , , ,, , , ,, , (Saturday)  , , ,  (Sunday) , , ;