Tag Archives: kitchen gadgets

Quick & Juicy Pork Tenderloin

This recipe is in our dinner rotation here at Casa FSL.  It’s super simple, flavorful, and juicy.  Oh yeah, it’s lean too.  An easy win.

I make this in my covered stoneware baker which cuts the roasting time in half.  Really.  Invest in one (mine’s Pampered Chef, but I’m sure any one would be fine).  It works like a high speed crockpot.  Dump everything in, cover it, pop it in the oven, and pull it out in 30 minutes (when it should have taken an hour).

My sister-in-law gave me this recipe, she’s awesome.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 F

Plop the meat and cut potatoes into your baker


Mix up 1/3 c balsamic vinegar, 1/3 c olive oil, 1/3 c chicken stock & 1 t minced garlic.

Pour on top of the tenderloin and potatoes.

Sprinkle with rosemary, salt & pepper.


Cover & bake for about 30 minutes.

Let stand for 5 minutes.

Slice & serve.



1 pork tenderloin

1 t minced garlic

1 t rosemary

1/3 c olive oil

1/3 c low sodium chicken stock

1/3 c balsamic vinegar



a few red potatoes cut into uniform bite-sized pieces (I used 5 baby ones)


Place the tenderloin in the baker and surround with cut up potatoes.

Mix the liquid ingredients and the garlic in a small bowl, then pour over meat & potatoes.

Sprinkle on the rosemary, salt & pepper.

Cover & bake until pork reaches 155 F in the center.  Let this stand for about 5 minutes. Pork is supposed to be 160 F, it should keep cooking in it’s juices while it stands it will reach 160 during this process.  If you overcook pork it’s like chewing on Manolos.  Not good.  If you want to be on the safe side, however, cook until meat registers at 160. The potatoes should be soft enough to stick a fork in easily.



Skinny Pizza Dip

Who doesn’t like pizza?  Really though.  I’ve never met a person that doesn’t like pizza. If you don’t, I don’t think we can be friends anymore.

Mr. FSL despises anything that is classified as a “dip”.  He thinks all dip is gross.  Especially if there’s any sour cream or cream cheese involved.  He actually makes this odd mock barf noise when those particular ingredients are mentioned out loud.  Not kidding.

I made three different hot dips in my new triple crockpot buffet thing-a-ma-bobber.  I made low fat  turkey taco dip (recipe here) and a full fat bacon and cheese dip (I’ll post that next week 😉 ).  I didn’t tell him what was in the pizza dip and he took it upon himself to test it.  He said verbatim “Woah! You need to make this again!  It’s awesome”.

I’ve eaten pizza dips before.  They are dangerously addicting.  I’m always the girl at the party with sauce around her lips when this stuff is around. Embarrassing.

I got my saucy little paws on the recipe so I can hoover it down without an audience to gross out make it for parties.  I doctored it up to make it lighter so I can eat twice as much.  I switched out the full fat version for low fat.  I don’t choose the non-fat version when it comes to dairy because it tastes weird to me and it tends to have a watery consistency.  Ew.

Here’s how I made it…

2 packages of low fat cream cheese (if you’re like my husband, insert weird belchy noise here)

2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning

2 cups

2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 (16oz) jar of pizza sauce

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper, olives, onion, olives, (whatever “topping” you like on your pizza)

1 Baguette sliced for dipping


In a bowl, combine the cream cheese and the Italian seasoning.

Spread in the bottom of the crockpot.

Next, sprinkle 1/2 of the shredded mozzarella and 1/2 of the grated cheese over the cream cheese mixture.

Pour the jar of pizza sauce on top.

Sprinkle the remaining cheeses and any “toppings” on top.

Put the crockpot on high for about an hour, then switch to low heat for 3 hours to serve.

I’m a bad blogger.  I forgot to snap a finished photo.  You’re just going to have to take my fatkid word on this one.  It was demolished in like an hour flat.  All of it.  My husband said it tasted like a cross between bagel bites and pizza rolls.  I though it tasted more like Elio’s Pizza.  Either way, it is something you need to make.


Go ahead.

I’ll wait 😀

What’s your fave party dip?

Abs Diet Chilli

Winter is here.  I’m loving the idea of coming home from work and eating a nice hearty bowl of chilli.  Nothing warms the body like chilli.

I know there are tons of great chilli recipes out there, but this one is FSL kitchen approved for a few reasons.

1) It tastes good.  Okay, it tastes fantastic!

2) It’s filling.  Like, really really filling.

3) It’s super healthy for you!

4) It’s easy.

I got it from here:

I know what you’re thinking.








Chilli usually = bloat for most people and they wish they had this instead:

*sigh* I can explain why I own that.  My grandfather knows that I appreciate crude humor.  He took it a step too far by ordering this and giving it to me as an early Christmas gift.  Did you think my craziness came out of nowhere?!  Nah.  It’s clearly hereditary.  I digress….

Here’s the recipe followed my mess step-by-step, highly professional, iPhone pics 😉 .

I omitted the flax because I didn’t have it. I used 1.3 pounds of ground turkey  because that’s how much was in that package and I refuse to waste it.

Boil water for your fancy boil-in-a-bag rice.  Cook the rice while you make the chilli.  It should be done at the same time.

Here goes.

I browned the turkey in a large skillet.  I used the “Mix & Chop” from The Pampered Chef.  It’s an awesome gadget for exactly this task.  Perfect for taco night too.


Add in your Mexican tomatoes!  Ole!

Black beans rinsed and drained.  I never rinsed them until I got this other gadget from Pampered Chef.  It allows you to rinse and drain beans, chick peas, whatev.


Dump in the corn, chilli mix, & water.  Stir it up like Bob Marley.

Add in any extra spices you might want to jazz it up (cumin, chilli powder, garlic, etc…).

Cook for about 10 minutes over low heat.

Pull out your rice bags 🙂

Serve the chilli over the rice.


Do you use cookbooks?  Follow the recipe to a tee?  Do you free-style like me?  Tell me all about it…

Apple Cranberry Cookie Cobbler

It’s Fall y’all. The holidays are  coming along with chillier weather.  That can only mean one thing.  It’s baking season! I know a lot of people who love baked goods, but hate to bake.  Well, this recipe is for you guys.

This past weekend, I hosted a Pampered Chef cooking party.  This recipe comes from the rep that did the demonstration at casa FSL.  I tweaked it a little bit. Here’s my version.  It tastes fan-frikkin-tastic and is super easy to make.  It tastes like Autumn.


4 granny smith apples (or whatever apples you have on hand – I used 5 gala apples)

1 (16oz) can of whole berry cranberry sauce

2/3 cup of brown sugar

6 tablespoons of flour

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/2 package of frozen sugar cookie dough


Pre heat the oven to 400 F.

Core and slice apples into bite sized pieces (I left the skin on because I’m a slacker)

In a large bowl, combine apples, cranberry sauce, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon.


It should look like this

Put it all into your bake-ware evenly spread out (I used Pampered Chef’s “deep covered baker”). It’s stoneware, so if you use a glass dish, you’ll just have to keep an eye on it while it bakes.

Next, slice up 1/2 of the frozen roll of sugar cookie dough. Keep the other half to eat raw while you wait bake with later.

Evenly place the dough slices on top of the apple mixture.

Bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes (or cookie looks golden brown).

Your house will smell amazing at this point.

Imagine the scent of apple pie and sugar cookies.  Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!!

Scoop and serve!  It probably rocks with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, but this thing barely made it out of the oven before we had spoons in it.

It’s not entirely from scratch, but when you get home from work and you want comfort-food style dessert, this baby hits the spot!


What’s your favorite comfort dessert?  I need some more easy recipes like this one, so share them if you’ve got them!

Strawberry & Fudge Brownie Trifle

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  Why would Mindy post a chocolate dessert recipe if she gave up chocolate desserts for lent?  Because I like to torture myself and test my willpower, that’s why, LOL!  No really, I wanted to make my god-daughter Karina a strawberry shortcake trifle for her 2nd birthday party. When her mother (my cousin & best friend) was little, she loved strawberry shortcake.  The dessert, the ice cream bar, the cartoon, she even dressed up as Miss Shortcake for Halloween! I thought it would be a cute and sentimental treat to bring to her daughter’s party. 

{IMG from I-love-cartoons.com}


Plus, I was DYING for this trifle bowl because it had a lid, and I loved the shape of it. I registered at Bed Bath and Beyond and loved all of the Luigi Burmioli products.  I couldn’t wait to use it.

I had all good intentions to use pound cake or even angel food cake.  I was too lazy to run to the store thought I’d be creative, and decided to use a brownie mix I already had. 

I prepared the brownies using one less egg than the  directions on the box instructed (yes, a boxed brownie mix. I didn’t have all day to bake these babies from scratch!).  The less egg in a batter, the more fudge-like and chewy the brownies will be. 

If you want to make this more waistline-friendly, you can prepare the brownies using applesauce instead of oil and use fat free or sugarfree coolwhip 😉 .

**random side note**

My mom was over our house that night and she loooves the edges and corners of brownies, so we ended up with this…

No edges or corners left!

I think I know what I’m getting her for her upcoming birthday…. (Mom, if you’re reading this, scroll down quickly)


That pan makes only edges an corners!  We are hardcore brownies people in mi famiglia. 

I digress…

I let the brownies cool completely, then I crumbled them up. This will make it much easier than brownie squares to scoop out when serving.

I put some crumbs in the bottom of the trifle bowl  as my first layer.

Next, I spread a layer of whipped cream on top of the brownie crumbs. This part can get messy .  If it smears on the bowl, the presentation is not pretty at all (I learned this when I made it).  Start in the center and spread to the sides gently.

I sliced up some strawberries and placed them on top of the whipped cream.

Repeat the layers until you reach the top of the bowl.

This was the first trifle I’ve ever made, so it wasn’t the prettiest thing, but it disappeared at the party.

Karina ate some Dora The Explorer cake instead of my dessert I guess I can see the appeal :)…

She had a nice time opening gifts after the cake.

This guy kicked back after all that cake to watch the wrapping paper fly!

Dessert wears me out too.   It’s tough being a kid!  LOL!

Well, there ya have it.  My strawberry & brownie trifle recipe and some gratuitous proud auntie pictures of my favorite girl!

What kind of trifles have you made that were a hit?  I want some new ideas!

Genie’s Protein Waffles!

I “met” Genie (a figure competitor) on a fitness forum, and once my little blog project took off, I discovered that she has her own blog.  It includes recipes, workouts, etc.  Well, I came across this recipe for protein waffles.  They looked too good not to try. 

Today was the day.  Here’s what was happening in my kitchen this morning:

I cracked open 2 eggs & tossed out the yolks.

I added 2 tablespoons of water to the egg whites.

Then 1 scoop of BSN’s Cinnamon Roll protein powder. I’ve found that BSN cooks the best.

I added a teensy bit of vanilla extract since her recipe called for vanilla protein powder & I used the cinnamon (plus, vanilla makes everything taste better).

Next, I sprayed the waffle iron with Pam.

I poured the batter onto the waffle maker…

I can’t NOT make a mess!

While that cooked, I made the ricotta topping.  I measured out about 1/4 cup. (okay, okay, a heaping 1/4.  I love this stuff! What?!  I’m Italian.  Don’t judge ;))

I added in some cinnamon to this for some flavah…

I also mixed in a tablespoon of sugar-free syrup to make it into some sort of maple-y cream.

I knew the waffle was going to be great before I even tasted it.

Hello Lover!

I topped it with the cinnamon maple ricotta and some more syrup…

This puppy was gone in about 2 minutes.  I had to make another one to pack for lunch.  Yes.  I’m having it for lunch too :).

Thanks Genie!!! Waffle for lunch = Happy Mindy

My Morning’s Little Pleasures

Part of being happy is finding pleasure in the small stuff.  Making your morning habits become a ritual, not a routine.  I try to engage all of my senses.

Here’s a sample of an average weekday morning…

Brush my chompers with cinnamon flavored toothpaste. It’s my favorite.  Not minty, slightly sweet, slightly spicy clean mouth 🙂 

Slather on some Palmer’s Cocoa Butter.  This stuff smells like dessert in the most subtle way possible.  Not greasy at all, but super moisturizing.

I stroll into the kitchen (where our computer & Bose speakers are) and get a peppy Slacker.com station up on my screen & into my ears.  This week has been the Adele or Sarah Bareilles station.

Adele's music is soulful and uplifting (and catchy!)

I put on my makeup.  I don’t just slap the stuff onto my face, but I use soft brushes and feel like I’m painting a picture. (Yes I am an art dork) You can see what’s in my makeup bag here.

I choose clothes to wear depending on what I feel like I need for the day.  I wear comfy shoes if it’s a really busy day, I wear a pinstripe structured jacket if I feel like I need to feel more assertive, or a cheetah print trench if I want to make the best of a rainy day.  Each choice you make can influence the way you experience your day (even the smallest details).

I fill a Magic Bullet cup 1/2 way with ice cubes

Add some skim milk

Throw in a scoop of Gaspari Nutrition Myofusion in milk chocolate protein powder

Let the Bullet do its thing, and I have my morning chocolate milkshake.

This really tastes like a Frosty from Wendy’s.  Not kidding. 

Next, I flip on my Keurig coffeemaker.   I choose which flavor I want to jumpstart the day with.

Desicions. Decisions.

I usually end up choosing my favorite.  German Chocolate Cake flavor.

I’m not ashamed of my chocolate and coconut addiction.   I then add coconut cream coffeemate and a splenda.

Here’s a peek into my lunch bag…

Protein milkshake? check.

Water? check.

Chocolate-ey Zone Perfect Bar? check.

Green Tea? check.

Tupperware container with 0% Greek yogurt & natural peanut butter? check.

Bonus piece of fruit? double-check.

All this stuff goes into making for a happy start.

What is your daily ritual?  How do you make the ordinary extraordinary?

Woah Mama!

I used to call my mother “Sabotage” because I was always trying to eat super healthy.  She used to have baked desserts and candy dishes stocked and readily available.  There comes a time in every woman’s life where she does something and realizes she is becoming her mother. Case in point:
Last night, I thought I’d make my mother-in-law birthday dessert. We are having dinner with her.
Yes, I own a cupcake carrying case. Doesn’t everyone? HAHAH!

pink cupcakes!
I had way too much fun with the frosting gun I got from The Pampered Chef. This photo was taken with the idea that I’d share how cool this kitchen toy is!
pink cupcakes 2
Until I saw this. We had extra cupcakes, so I put them in a fun cake dome on the counter.Pretty, delicious, completely devoid of nutritional value except empty carbs & fat. That’s when it hit me. Sitting right there on my counter staring back at me taunting. I had become Sabotage.

When (if ever) did you realize you were turning into your mother/father? How did you recover from this if at all?