Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pumpkin Muffins

One 15-oz. can pure pumpkin
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries or raisins - chopped (optional)
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine both types of flour, Splenda, Splenda brown sugar, baking powder, spices, salt, and pumpkin pie spice (in other words, all dry ingredients except for the dried cranberries, raisins or nuts). In a medium bowl, mix together pumpkin, egg, applesauce, milk, and vanilla extract (all the wet ingredients). Add this mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir until just blended. Slowly sprinkle chopped dried cranberries or raisins and/or nuts into the batter, making sure they don't all stick together, and mix to distribute them. Spoon batter into a large loaf pan (about 9" X 5") sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the top of the loaf is firm to the touch. (Bread may be moist inside. This doesn't mean it's undercooked.) Allow to cool, and then cut into 8 slices. Or evenly distribute the batter among 8 cups of a muffin pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Cook 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool and Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chicken Tortilla Soup - Crock Pot

A soup my family loves and is a great way to have dinner ready to go after a long day at work.

1 bag frozen onions and tri-colored peppers
1 (15 ounce) can chili beans
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 small bag frozen whole kernel corn
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning - low sodium
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)
sliced avocado (optional)
crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Place bag of frozen onions and peppers, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 7 hours (If you will be cooking for longer than 7 hours, make sure chicken breasts are frozen when you put them in the crock pot so they won't over cook).

Once chicken is cooked remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Shred chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, . Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, sliced avocado and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

Butternut/Acorn Squash Soup

This is one of my all-time favorite soups.

1 butternut squash, halved and seeded
1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 tsp. olive oil
1/3 cup chopped sweet onion
1 quart chicken broth
1 TBSP. Splenda Brown Sugar
1/2 cup fat-free half and half
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the squash halves cut side down in a baking dish. Bake 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Scoop the pulp from the skins. Discard skins.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the onion until tender.
In a blender or food processor, blend the squash pulp, onion, broth, brown sugar, half and half, pepper, and nutmeg until smooth. This may be done in several batches.
Transfer the soup to a pot over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Garnish with a bit of sour cream or roasted pumpkin seeds if desired.

Creamy Pea Soup

I know what you're thinking - Pea Soup???? I thought the same thing, until my friend Mandy prepared it for us for dinner one night. Very yummy and loaded with protein and other good stuff.

1 large frozen bag of baby sweet peas
1 1/2 - 2 cans low sodium chicken broth - just enough broth to cover
1 1/2tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground Thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
3 TBSP. Low-fat sour cream

Cook peas with curry powder and salt and pepper in chicken broth until fairly tender. Using a stick blender, blend in pot until smooth. (can transer to a regular blender if you don't have a stick blender and blend to smooth). Once smooth, stir in sour cream and serve. Can be topped with bacon crumbles, favorite shredded cheese, or a small dollop of sour cream.

Beef Barley Soup - Crock Pot

With the weather turning cooler, I like to have at least one meal a week as a "soup" meal. Easy on the budget and a great way to get in some extra veggies. Look for several new soup recipes.

1 pound lean stew beef, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
2 packages favorite frozen soup veggies (peas, carrots, onions, peppers, etc.)
3/4 cup barley
1 bay leaf
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes
1 can V-8
6 cups beef broth - low sodium
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine (optional - but yummy)

In crock pot, combine stew beef with frozen veggies, barley, bay leaf, spices and beef broth and wine. Cook beef and barley soup on LOW in crock pot for 6 to 8 hours.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Milk

I love the Pioneer Woman's Website. Great recipes. Most I can't even begin to cook and stay on program as they are really fattening, but this one is a good alternative to regular chocolate milk. This one has no added sugar and when mixed with skim or 1% milk is a tasty treat to help curb that chocolate craving and get in some of that all important dairy.

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
4 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate pieces
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Heat cream over medium-high heat until slightly boiling. Add chocolate pieces and turn off heat. Whisk slowly until chocolate is melted and mixture is very smooth. Stir in vanilla. (Another tasty add-in would be 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon). Pour into a container and keep in the fridge up to two weeks. Mix with cold or warm milk, depending on how frightful the weather outside is.

Note: Mixture, after refrigerated, will be quite thick. Just stir well in cold milk and you’ll be fine.

Sweet Potato Mash

Yummy side dish - loaded with beta carotene and lots of vitamins and tastes really good too!

5 Sweet potatoes
3 TBSP transfat free margarine
2 TBSP Splenda Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 - 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt

Bake sweet potatoes in a 375 degree oven until tender. Remove potato meat from the potato jackets and put in a large bowl. Mash with potato masher and stir in remaining ingredients. Great served with a pork loin or as a terrific side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without all the fat and calories of the sweet potato souffles.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Layered Salad

This is for my friends' Tina and Vernon! Hope your family likes it.

1 pound cooked and crumbled bacon or 2 small packages of cooked, crumbled bacon found near the regular bacon
1 large head iceberg lettuce (can use other lettuces, but iceberg holds up better) - rinsed, dried, and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
10 ounces shredded 2% Sharp Cheddar cheese
2 cups chopped cauliflower
2 cups chopped broccoli
4 stalks celery finely chopped
1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
2 - 3 tablespoons Splenda
1 - 3 tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Other vegetables can also be added: Thawed frozen peas, peeled and seeded chopped cucumber, bell peppers, etc.

Make sure all vegetables are chopped with a small, fine chop. It makes it easier to eat and the ingredients combine together better. In a large flat bowl (a glass bowl is best, because the layers look pretty), layer the ingredients in the following order: lettuce, broccoli, celery, onion, cauliflower, bacon, 1/2 of the dressing. Top with the 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers and cover with the remaining dressing.

DRESSING: Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, Splenda and vinegar. Taste. May need to adjust Splenda or vinegar until it tastes good to you. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover salad and refrigerate for at least 5 hours. Better if it can be refrigerated for 8 - 12 hours. Right before serving top with shredded cheddar cheese.

This salad makes a lot, but leftovers are good the next day.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Zucchini Fries

Yummy Dish! We like these with the horseradish dip that is listed below. But you can also eat them plain or with your favorite Ranch dressing.

1/2 cup seasoned dry whole wheat bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg whites
2 medium zucchini, cut into 3-inch sticks or in 1/2 inch rounds

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine bread crumbs, pepper and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Place the egg whites in a separate bowl. Dip zucchini into the egg whites, then coat with the bread crumb mixture. Bake for 5 minutes in the preheated oven, then turn over and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until browned and crispy. Serves 4.

Horseradish Dip

3/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
3 tablespoons minced chives (optional)
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, chives, mayonnaise, dill, horseradish, mustard, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

This dip is also good on other favorite veggies as well as roast beef and pork roast.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Peach Jalapeno Chicken

Looking for a new way to cook chicken, this dish turned out pretty tasty!

4 - 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Garlic Pepper
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil

1/2 of one sweet onion finely diced
1/2 of one bell pepper finely diced
1 jalapeno (membranes and seeds removed and finely diced)
2 cloves garlic minced
2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
2/3 of a jar of sugar-free or no-sugar added peach preserves
juice of 1/2 of lime
1/4 cup orange juice
1 small can diced peaches (packed in its own juice - not packed in syrup)
Salt and Pepper

Optional ~ splash of white wine, brandy, peach snapps or mango rum

Cook chicken breasts in the oven (350 degrees for 45 -60 minutes) or in a skillet in a little olive oil. Lightly coat with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with garlic pepper. Cook until no longer pink and cooked through.

Sauce - Saute' onions, bell peppers, garlic and jalapenos in a little olive oil (just enough to keep them from sticking) in a small sauepan. Once softened, add peach preserves and orange and lime juice, salt and pepper. Add in splash of liquor if using. Cook on low for 30 minutes or until reduced by 1/3. Add in peaches and heat through.

To serve, slice each chicken breast into thin strips and spoon some of the peach sauce on top. If you would like the sauce to be a bit spicier, leave some of the jalapeno membranes and seeds in when dicing.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mediterranean Meatloaf

I love mediterranean food. I had some ground turkey in the fridge and was wanting something yummy to eat. Here is my brainstorm on my road home from school! Enjoy!

1 package ground turkey
1 box chopped frozen spinach
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped or minced
2/3 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
olive oil
Couple splashes white wine or brandy
1 small package tomato basil reduced fat feta cheese crumbled
2/3 cup oatmeal ground fine in a blender

Saute onion and garlic in a little olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Once lightly browned, add spinach and continue to cook until heated through. Add sundried tomatoes and wine/brandy, salt, pepper and oregano.
Take off the burner and let cool. Once cool, mix half of the spinach mixture with the ground turkey, feta cheese and half of the ground oatmeal. Add more spinach and oatmeal as needed to give it a good consistency. Make sure there is enough spinach mixture to be evenly distributed throughout the meat. Shape into a loaf shape and cook in a 350 degree oven for 45 - 60 minutes or until cooked through.

I added my extra spinach mixture to some whole wheat couscous that I cooked to serve as a side dish. Made a great spin on the regular couscous we eat.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Five Bean Baked Beans

I love baked beans, but the cans of baked beans have a lot of sugar in them. So I started playing around with some different cans of beans I had on hand. These turned out really yummy!

5 cans of your favorite beans drained ~ I used 1 can each of black beans, northern beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans. (The different beans all have slightly different textures and tastes. Made the dish more interesting and tasty!)

1/3 cup Splenda Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Sugar Free Maple Syrup
3 TBSP mustard
1 1/2 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
3 - 6 shakes Tabasco sauce (can omit or add more to your taste)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2/3 cup ketchup (I used 1/3 regular, 1/3 sugar-free)
2 cloves garlic minced
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
4 - 5 slices center cut lower fat bacon (optional - Omit for vegetarian dish)

Saute onion, garlic and bell pepper in a nonstick skillet with some nonstick spray until lightly browned.

I mix my beans right in the pan I'm going to bake them in. No need to dirty an extra dish. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray. Dump all the cans of drained beans in the baking dish, add onion/pepper/garlic mixture (if you are not a fan of any of these feel free to omit - it is your dish!). Add brown sugar, maple syrup, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce. Mix well. Season with black pepper. TASTE! You may need to add more mustard or brown sugar at this point. Lay bacon slices on top of the beans. Cook in a 275 degree oven for 1-2 hours (this dish can keep for a while in a warm, not too hot, oven; but make sure it doesn't get dried out!). Can also omit bacon and cook in a slow cooker on low for 7 - 8 hours.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Saving Money the Healthy Way

In this declining economy, I am constantly looking for ways to save money and still eat healthy. As I come across good ideas, I am going to start posting them so other can benefit too!

Longer-Lasting Lettuce
Here is a great idea for how to keep bagged or heads of lettuce fresher longer. Often the lettuce turns brown after a few days. Rinse the pre-bagged salad/lettuce and break it up. Then, air-dry it for awhile in the strainer and then dry it off as dry as possible with paper towels. After it is dry, dump it into a large square plastic container and put three to four balled up dry paper towels all through it top and bottom, seal it, and shake it up. The paper towels will absorb the extra water before it could rot the lettuce. When you use the salad, replace the damp paper towels with new crumpled up dry paper towels and your lettuce/salads will last over two weeks! Savings and fresh lettuce too!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Turkey Breast in the Crock Pot

Made this for dinner and it was super easy and super yummy!!! Lots of good leftovers too!

1 turkey breast with bone in
1 package powdered soup mix (onion, garlic herb, etc)
1 1/2 cups baby carrots or whole carrots cut in pieces
5 stalks celery cut in big pieces
1 onion cut into big pieces
2 tsp. dried sage
2 tsp. rosemary

Put vegetables in the bottom of the crockpot. Place turkey breast on top. Rub powdered soup mix into the skin of the turkey breast. Also add herbs to the skin of the turkey breast. Cover and cook on low for 7 - 8 hours. If cooking longer, turkey breast should be a bit frozen. Do not add broth, the turkey will make plenty. The vegetables in the bottom won't be good to eat after the turkey has cooked, but will flavor the broth nicely. Strain the broth and heat in a pan and mix with a little corn starch for a great tasting gravy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Apple Pork Loin - Crock Pot or Oven

I cook this in the crock pot, but it can also be cooked on low (250 degree oven) for about 5 hours.

4 lb. pork loin roast
4 apples
1/4 cup no sugar added apple juice
3 T. Splenda brown sugar
1 1/2 cups chicken broth, beer or white wine
3 Tablespoons brown mustard
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
1 tsp ground dried ginger or fresh finely minced ginger

Directions: Rub roast with salt and pepper. Core and quarter apples. Place apple quarters in bottom of crockpot. Place roast on top of apples. Combine apple juice, mustard, Splenda brown sugar, wine/beer/broth, onion, rosemary and ginger. Pour over top surface of roast. Cover and cook on Low for 10-12 hours, until done.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

4 - 6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/3 cup favorite bottled buffalo sauce
2 Tablespoons vinegar
2 Tablespoons melted margarine (non trans fat)
1 - 2 teaspoons Paprika

Place chicken breasts in the crock pot. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over chicken and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours. If you need to cook it longer than 8 hours, put chicken in frozen.
Tabasco sauce can be added to taste if you want it spicier.

Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing to dip it in along with celery and carrots.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Crockpot Chicken Cordon Bleu

Now that school is back in session, I LOVE crock pot or slow cooker recipes. Nothing is nicer than coming home to a good smelling dinner you can serve right away!

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (10.75 ounce) can 98% fat free condensed cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup skim milk
2/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 tsp. dried thyme
4 ounces sliced ham
4 ounces sliced low fat Swiss cheese
6 slices of whole wheat bread (use food processor or blender to make crumbs)
1/4 cup trans fat free margarine, melted

Mix together the cream of chicken soup, milk and sour cream in a small bowl. Add thyme. Spray crockpot with non stick spray. Pour enough of the soup into a slow cooker to cover the bottom. Layer chicken breasts over the sauce. Cover with slices of ham and then Swiss cheese. Pour the remaining soup over the layers, stirring a little to distribute between layers. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top, and drizzle margarine over stuffing. Cover, and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours, or 2 to 3 hours on High.

NOTE: If you will be gone longer than 8 hours, make sure chicken breasts are frozen when put in the crockpot - cook on low. They won't be overcooked this way!

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Here is a cookie recipe you can feel good about!

1/2 cup margarine (non trans fat such as Smart Balance), softened
1/2 cup honey
1 egg (or two egg whites if watching cholesteral)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 apple, cored and chopped, finely

Optional mix-ins: 1 cup raisins, craisins or other chopped dried fruit, 1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, honey, egg and vanilla until smooth. Combine the whole wheat flour, baking soda and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats and apple. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Delicious California Slaw

My mom turned me on to this super easy veggie side dish! My kids love it and it is ready to serve in 10 minutes.

1 bag of prepared California Slaw (found near the bagged salads)
1/3 cup sliced almonds or sunflower seeds
1 TBSP favorite flavored oil (Sesame oil, 5 pepper blend oil, garlic oil)

Heat oil in a non stick skillet. Add bag of California Slaw and nuts/seeds. Cook on med/high heat stirring frequently until cooked (don't want to over cook this, just until slightly tender). Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

Yummy Chicken Strips

2 cups finely crushed whole wheat crackers
Salt and ground black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide strips
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1/4 cup fat-free chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a shallow dish, combine yogurt with chicken broth and salt and pepper (can add bottled buffulo wing sauce if you want it spicy).
In a t second shallow dish or resealable plastic bag, add cracker crumbs. You can also add any spices you like here - such as: Lemon Pepper, Italian seasoning, or chili powder
Dip chicken into flour and turn to coat.
Dip chicken into yogurt mixture and then transfer chicken to cracker mixture.
Turn to coat chicken (or shake bag) until well covered with oat mixture.
Place chicken on prepared baking sheet and spray the top of chicken with cooking spray.
Bake 15 minutes, until crust is golden brown and chicken is cooked through. (bake, then turn on the broiler for a few minutes to really brown/crisp them and get the coating crunchy)
To freeze, let them cool completely then lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze. Once they are frozen, pack them up into packages that are the amount you think your kids will eat in one meal. To reheat just pop them in the oven on a baking sheet.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Healthy Lunch Ideas - Wraps

With school starting back up in a week, I'm going to post a bunch of different lunch ideas to keep from getting the lunch blahs. I'm also all about cooking a little extra the night before and changing it up the next day for lunch. Some of these recipes will have hyperlinks to previous recipes that you can use to cook a little extra and have lunch ready in a flash! With all these Wrap ideas - it is best to use whole wheat tortillas or those with high fiber and low carbs - These ideas will be posted over several days so check back for more ideas~

Veggie Roll-Ups

Whole-wheat tortilla

2 slices (1 ounce each) reduced-fat cheese

1/2 cup chopped vegetables (such as green pepper, radish, tomato, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower)

2 teaspoons reduced-calorie salad dressing, reduced fat cream cheese or yogurt cream cheese

Directions Spread salad dressing or yogurt cream cheese on the tortilla. Place the 2 slices of reduced-fat cheese, 1/2 cup of chopped vegetables. Roll up and enjoy!

California Chicken Wraps
1/3 cup prepared hummus
4 whole wheat tortillas
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken breasts
1/4 cup roasted red peppers
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Fresh basil
Additional Topping choices: lettuce leaves, tomato slices, cucumber slices, avocado slices

Spread hummus on tortillas, top with chicken, peppers, cheese, basil and other toppings of your choice. Roll up and enjoy.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Wraps
Shredded Chicken (from leftovers or rotesserie chicken)
2% reduced fat Swiss Cheese Slices
Lean ham slices
2 TBSP Sour Cream
1 TBSP Dijon Mustard
Wraps or bread
Fresh Baby spinach leaves (optional)

Mix Sour cream and mustard together. Spread on wrap or sliced of bread. Layer spinach leaves, swiss cheese, ham and then shredded chicken. Wrap it up and bon appetit'.

Jerk Chicken Wraps
Caribbean grilled marinated chicken (cook extra chicken for lunch the next day)
Favorite lettuce
Mango slices
Avocado slices
Lime Cream sauce: 1 cup Reduced-fat sour cream, zest from 1/2 of lime, juice from that lime, 1/2 of the can of chopped green chilis, 1 TBSP of chopped cilantro, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 4-6 shakes of hot sauce (more if you like it hotter)

Spread lime cream sauce on the wrap. Layer lettuce leaves, chicken, mango slices and avocado slices. Enjoy!

Spicy chicken Wraps
Grilled Chicken Jalepenos (leftovers)
Favorite lettuce
2 - 3 TBSP Salsa Verde (storebought or homemade)
2 TBSP Low fat sour cream
2 % low fat Pepper Jack cheese
Other optional toppings - sliced red, green or yellow bell peppers; sliced sweet onions

Slice leftover Chicken jalepeno roll-ups into round slices. Mix salsa verde and sour cream together and spread on wraps. Layer lettuce, chicken, pepper-jack cheese and other toppings you would like.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Quinoa Greek Salad

I love Quinoa. It is an ancient grain that has so much good stuff going for it! One serving is 190 calories, 35 carbs, 6 grams fiber and 7 grams protein. It is a great substitute for rice! And can be flavored with lots of good stuff.

2 cups chicken stock<
1 cup water
1 1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 seedless cucumber, diced
1/2 cup black olives, rough chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes sliced in half
1/4 cup sweet onion, diced
3 ounces reduced-fat feta cheese or 3 ounces shredded parmesan cheese

DRESSING (or can use bottled Greek Dressing if pressed for time)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano

Be sure to always rinse quinoa well. (It removes the bitterness. I use a small mesh strainer). In a saucepan, bring stock and water to a boil. Stir in quinoa. Reduce heat to med low and cover.
Cook 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl and cool. Stir veggies and cheese into cooled quinoa. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over quinoa mixture and toss. Refrigerate and give the flavors a chance to mix together.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Strawberry Dessert

For a light yummy dessert that can be adapted with your favorite fruit. - Feel free to substitute raspberry, orange, blueberry or your favorite jello and fruit.

1 package (.3 ounce) sugar-free stawberry gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 package (.8 ounce) sugar-free cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
1 cup cold water
1 package (12 ounce) frozen unsweetened strawberries thawed and chopped

In a large bowl, dissolve gelating in boiling water; set aside. In a small saucepan, combine pudding mix, water and strawberries. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir 1 - 2 minutes longer or until thickened.

Remove from heat, stir in reserved gelatin mixture. Pour in an 8 inch square dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or over night.

For a larger crowd, double the recipe and use a 9 x 13 in baking dish.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Couscous - a couple of yummy recipes

I LOVE couscous. I tried it once years ago and it didn't have any flavor, but when I tried it again, I realised it is all in how you cook it. I get whole wheat couscous (found in the healthfood part of the grocery store) and it sports 3 - 6 grams of fiber depending on the brand. I have started serving this instead of rice. The varieties are endless. You can take either of these recipes and change and adapt them to your favorite tastes!

NOTE:I always cook couscous with broth instead of water. It gives it so much more flavor.

Couscous with Almonds (4 servings - adjust measurements according to box directions)

1 1/3 cups couscous
1 1/2 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP olive oil
1/3 cup slivered almonds

Heat olive oil in a 2 - 3 quart saucepan that has a tight fitting lid. Add almonds and stir until lightly toasted. Add broth and salt and heat to a boil. Add couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork right before serving.

Couscous with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Feta (6 servings)

1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (NOT oil-packed)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) favorite broth - vegetable or chicken
1 1/4 cup couscous
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano or 1 1/2 tsp fresh chopped oregano
3 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp water
1 tsp olive oil

In a small bowl, pour boiling water over tomatoes; let stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a 2 -3 quart saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.

Drain and chop tomatoes. Add to couscous. Gently stir in all remaining ingredients. Can be served warm as a side dish or cold as a salad.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Green Beans - The Sesame Way!

My friend, Mandy, made these the other night for dinner. They were so yummy and so simple, I had to share with you!

1 - 2 bags of frozen green beans (french style)
2 -3 TBSP Sesame Oil
salt and pepper
Slivered almonds - toasted (optional)

Heat the Sesame Oil in a large non-stick skillet. When heated, add the bags of frozen green beans and stir to coat with sesame oil. Cook on medium heat to cook and heat through. Once cooked through, add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle and serve with toasted almonds for a great delicious crunch!

NOTE: Make sure and taste and cook long enough. If you don't they will be yucky. I normally cook mine for 20 - 30 minutes.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Parmesan Tilapia

I am trying to be good about incorporating fish into our daily diet. But cooking fish TOTALLY intimidates me. We had this for dinner last night. It was super easy and yummy!

1 pound fish fillets (I like tilapia or orange roughy, but any mild white fish will do)
1 TBSP softened Smartbalance (or other nontrans fat margarine)
2 TBSP light mayonaisse
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
Salt (not too much the cheese is salty)
Sliced tomato (optional)
Freshly washed baby spinach (optional)

Spray a baking pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with tomato slices and then spinach leaves (if using them). Place fish fillets on top. Mix together, margarine, mayonaisse, parmesan cheese, basil, lemon pepper and salt. Coat top of the fish. Place in a 400 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until fish is cooked through and flaky. Be sure to not overcook.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Steamed Broccoli Special

3 cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets
1/4 cup melted Smartbalance
1 teaspoon poppy or sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (can use the stuff in the green can, but I like the fresh shreds the best)

Place broccoli in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water, and cover. Cook until tender but still firm, about 6 minutes; drain. Meanwhile, stir together the melted margarine, poppy/sesame seeds, paprika, salt, and pepper. Toss the broccoli with the butter sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to serve immediately.

Asian Zucchini

I was talking with my friend Amy about how to get in some more veggies into our daily diet. I started looking around for some new veggie recipes and here is a yummy one to try on all that zucchini that is on sale this time of year.

2 tablespoons vegetable (can substitute one tablespoon oil for sesame oil)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 medium zucchinis, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon soy sauce (lite sodium)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional, but yummy!)
salt and pepper

2 tablespoons Teriyaki Sauce - recipe following (can use store bought if not watching your sugar/carb intake)

Sugarfree Teriyaki Sauce - Put all ingredients in a jar with lid- shake well. Will keep in refrigerator.
1 c Soy Sauce (salt free)
2 -3 tsp. Splenda
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. dry mustard

Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions, and cook 5 minutes. Add zucchini, and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Stir in teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Cook until zucchini are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Baked Berry Crunch

1/2 cup whole almonds
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/2 TBSP Whole wheat flour
1/3 cup rolled oats (Not instant kind)
1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Smartbalance - melted
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups favorite berries (sliced strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries)
1 1/2 tablespoons Splenda

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a blender or spice grinder, grind whole almonds until finely ground. In a small bowl, combine ground almonds, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Add margarine, Splenda brown sugar and vanilla and stir to combine.
Lightly coat an 8x8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place berries and sugar substitute in the dish; toss to combine. Dot with ground nut mixture (it will not entirely cover surface) and then sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake for 35 minutes, or until topping is golden and fruit is hot.

Divide fruit among 6 dessert bowls and top each with some of the thickened yogurt cream or sugarfree vanilla ice cream.

Broccoli Cranberry Salad

My friend, Lisa, made this salad for us while we were at the lake a couple of weeks ago. It was really yummy and refreshing salad. I think it could be changed around to add other favorite ingredients to it.

3 cups finely chopped fresh broccoli
1/2 cup dried cranberries OR raisins
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1/3 cup nonfat yogurt
1/3 cup Splenda
2 tablespoons red wine or apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/3 sweet onion chopped
2/3 cup slivered almonds

Other ingredients that would be good: Chopped cauliflower, chopped celery, crumbled bacon, shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Wash broccoli and remove the biggest part of the stem. Set the stems aside to use for another dish. Chop the broccoli into small pieces. In a large bowl combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix until smooth. Stir in the broccoli, onions, almonds and cranberries. Mix well. If possible allow to chill for several hours or overnight before serving.

Note: This dressing was also really good when added with a bag of broccoli slaw.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Yogurt Cream and fruit- Lite version

I LOVE The Pioneer Woman Cooks website. But unfortunately most of her recipes are not ones I can eat and stay successful with losing weight. She posted a recipe this week on Yogurt Cream that you eat with berries or other fruits. It looked so good. But being made with heavy cream, full fat yogurt and brown sugar, it was out of the question. Here is my lightened up version. It is really good. I had trouble not eating it all before dinner (it was our dessert). Might not be as good as the full-fat one, but this one I can enjoy and still see my scale going down.

1 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 scant cup fat free half-and-half
1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla or almond extract
1/8 cup splenda

Mix together the yogurt and half-and-half in a bowl that can be covered securely with plastic wrap. Stir in vanilla. Sprinkle brown sugar Splenda and regular Splenda on top of yogurt. DO NOT STIR. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for several hours. Before serving stir well with a whisk. Serve with favorite berries for a good afternoon snack or refreshing dessert, or layered in a parfait glass with a bit of granola for a yummy breakfast treat. Could also be served as a yummy dip for a fruit.

EDITED Recipe: I decreased the amount of half-and-half. It was too runny after it sat for awhile. I also strained it through a cheese cloth (same method as making the yogurt cream cheese) until it was thicker. It made it even better. I think strained it would make a better consistency for fruit dip. I am going to use the strained liquid in my smoothies.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip

This is a favorite appetizer dish. I make it lighter by using my homemade yogurt cream cheese and low-fat cheese.

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (can use canned in a pinch)
1 recipe of yogurt cream cheese (recipe on this site under 'appetizers')
1 small bottle of blue cheese dressing
1 small jar of favorite wing sauce (check ingredients and make sure no sugar is used)
1 package of 2% shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients together and put in a baking/serving dish sprayed with non-stick spray and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla chips and raw veggies.

Chicken Dijon

This is a great dish to serve with company or for a special event.

1 1-lb package boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
2 T. all-purpose flour (I use whole wheat)
1 tsp. onion salt
2- 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half
1 TBSP. Dijon-style mustard

Sprinkle chicken breasts with onion salt and lemon pepper. In a skillet over medium heat cook chicken in olive oil for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken to a platter, and keep warm. Add chicken broth to pan juices. Stir together half-and-half and flour. Add to broth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 - 2 minutes more. Sitr in Dijon mustard. Spoon some sauce over each serving and pass the rest. I serve this with wild rice, couscous or brown rice and a favorite veggie.

Jalepeno Chicken Roll-Ups

This recipe is my sister, Kerri's, recipe. It is a family favorite and great for entertaining or summer grilling.

1 1lb pkg. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 jalapenos, seeded and julienned sliced
8 slices bacon (center cut or lean)
1 bottle Balsamic Viaigrette (I like Wishbone)

Cut each chicken breast in half. Cut a small slit in each breast piece. Place 3 -4 julienned jalapeno slices inside each breast. Wrap each chicken bundle with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place all chicken breast bundles in a pan and cover with the Balamic Vinaigrette. Marinate for 6 - 8 hours. Grill until cooked through on medium high heat. We leave the jalapeno slices off of the children's portions. Can also add onion slices with the jalapeno slices when wrapping bundles.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Lemon Blueberry Smoothies

I love smoothies. I often have one in the afternoon to keep those late afternoon cravings at bay. Also helps get in those fruit and dairy servings that I sometimes struggle with. Here is a favorite one, but you can definitely change it up to suit your own tastes.

1 (8 ounce) container blueberry sugarfree, nonfat yogurt
1/4 cup skim milk (may need to add more to make it blendable)
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon sugar-free powdered lemonade mix (I also like Crystal Light Raspberry Lemonade)
1 packet of Splenda

Place yogurt, milk, blueberries, strawberries, and lemonade mix in a blender. Pulse until smooth and creamy.

Can't get much more simple than that. I make smoothies with just about any flavored yogurt and frozen fruit.

Another one of my favorites is peach yogurt with frozen mangoes and peaches! Get creative!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Caribbean Chicken with black beans and mango

I was wanting a fun new way to cook chicken and read a bunch of different recipes and combined what I considered the best elements of each. Don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. Most are things you have in the pantry and substitutions can easily be made.

1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoon balsamic, red wine or apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons splenda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 TBSP. Worchestshire sauce

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 onion chopped
3 TBSP fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips (optional)
1 avocado chopped in small pieces (optional)
1 TBSP. olive oil
3 - 4 dashes of hot sauce
1 TBSP. Splenda

Whisk together lime juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, Splenda, Worchestshire sauce, salt, and pepper until blended. Slowly whisk in olive oil until incorporated. Mix half of this dressing with the chicken breasts, cover, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Refrigerate the remaining dressing for later use.
Heat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. Grill chicken breasts until no longer pink, about 6 minutes per side. Rest for 5 minutes then slice into bite-sized pieces.

While chicken is grilling, saute' chopped onion and red pepper in a skillet with 1 TBSP. olive oil. After onions become translucent. Stir in black beans and cilantro. Add dashes of hot sauce and 1 TBSP splenda. Keep on low heat. Once chicken is cooked and resting, stir in chopped avocado and mango. Stir in grilled chicken pieces and remaining dressing. Heat through. Be careful not to stir too often or too hard. Serve with brown rice.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fish Tacos with a lime cream sauce

My friend, Lisa, was telling me about fish tacos. My husband loves them and sometimes orders them when we go out to eat. I decided to try my own hand at them. They made for a really yummy dinner tonight.

1 TBSP Olive Oil
2 -3 cloves minced garlic
4 - 5 TBSP lime juice
4 - 5 shakes of hot sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
2 TBSP fresh chopped cilantro (could use dried as well, just use less)
Zest from 1/2 a lime
1/2 small can chopped green chilis
4 - 5 Tilapia fillets (or your favorite type fish, I think any would work)
Whole wheat tortillas
Toppings: Finely shredded cabbage, sliced avocado or guacomole, chopped tomatoes, favorite salsa, black olives, black beans, etc.

Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add garlic and lime juice cook for about 1 minute. Add next 5 ingredients. Heat through for about 2 minutes. Add fish fillets and cook through - white and flaky. (make sure not to overcook)

Lime Cream Sauce
1 cup Reduced-fat sour cream
Zest from the remaining 1/2 of lime
Juice from that lime
Remaining 1/2 of the can of chopped green chilis
1 TBSP of chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp ground cumin
4-6 shakes of hot sauce (more if you like it hotter)

Stir all ingredients together. This would actually make a great sauce for fajitas, tacos, etc.

Layer on top of the tortilla ~ fish pieces, lime cream sauce and any other toppings you like.

Super quick, easy and tasty!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Spiedies (or the best marinade for grilled chicken)

My dad grew up in upstate New York near Binghampton. I remember as a child going to visit my grandparents and having the most delicious grilled chicken I'd ever eaten. They eat Spiedies up in New York in small bite-sized pieces, but my grandmother would marinate split chickens (or chicken breasts) and grill them. I'm going to have to make some soon~

5 pounds chicken, cubed or 6 split chicken breasts
2 cups olive oil
1 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic salt
3 tablespoons crushed dried mint
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
12 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes (only if using cut up chicken)

Place the cubed chicken or chicken breasts into a large resealable plastic bag or container, add the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, garlic, garlic salt, oregano, garlic salt, mint, basil, and black pepper. Seal the container and shake until combined. Refrigerate for 1 to 3 days (the longer the better), shaking the container and turn the meat every 6 to 8 hours.

If you are cooking the split chicken breasts, put the chicken and marinade in a large baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Cook in the oven in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. This will help cook the chicken all the way through without risking it being scorched on the grill.

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate. When you are ready to cook, remove meat from the marinade and place on skewers or take the partially cooked chicken out of the oven and put on the grill.

Place the skewers on the preheated grill and cook, turning every three minutes until cooked through and the internal temperature of the meat reaches 170 degrees F. Be careful not to overcook or the meat will be very dry. The bite-sized chicken is great by itself, on whole wheat hoagie rolls or on a salad.

Curry Chicken Salad

I remember my mom making this chicken salad while I was growing up. It is still a favorite dish and one that I love. It's got lots of good stuff in it that make it good for you.

3 cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, chopped (can boil the chicken in water, salt and pepper or purchase a rotisserie chicken and take the meat off)
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 1/2 - 2 cups seedless red or white grapes that are halved
3/4 cup rough chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise (do not use Miracle Whip)
2 teaspoons curry powder
salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium bowl, stir together the chicken, celery, grapes, nuts, mayonnaise, and curry powder, salt and pepper. Chill for a couple of hours to let the flavors blend together. Add curry powder to taste.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Homemade Black Bean Burgers

I love black bean burgers and I love that I can eat them without feeling guilty AT ALL! This is a recipe I found on one of the Southbeach websites. It is really yummy!

1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce (optional)
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly oil a baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.

If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

My favorite way to eat a black bean burger is with a slice of low-fat swiss cheese, some sliced avocado, lettuce and tomato. Eat it with or without a whole wheat bun!

Other topping ideas: sauteed onions, spicy BBQ sauce, any low-fat cheese, steak sauce, mustard, low-fat mayo, ketchup, pickles, etc.

James loves Pepper Jack cheese and jalepenos.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Yummy Summer Drink

One drink has less calories and carbs then a glass of red wine. This drink is only 69 calories and 0 carbs. Not too bad! And it will carry you to the "beach" in 3 seconds flat. For me a little treat now and then makes the program much easier to stick with.

1 1/2 ounces of Mango Flavored Rum

That's it!

In a high-ball glass filled with ice, pour in shot of the mango-flavored rum. Top with Fresca. Stir and I swear you can feel the warm breezes flowing and smell the salt air. Turn on some Jimmy Buffet and enjoy your evening!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Easy Crock-Pot Chicken Fajitas

This is a great dish to make in the morning in your crockpot and have dinner ready when you get home in the evening.

Frozen chicken breasts (enough for 1 per person plus a couple extra if you want leftovers for lunch the next day)
1 - 2 bags frozen triple peppers and onion mix (we like a lot of peppers and onions so we use 1 1/2 - 2 bags)
Large jar of favorite salsa
1 packet fajita seasoning (found with the Mexican food items)
1 - 2 cans drained and rinsed black beans (optional)
Whole wheat flour tortillas
Favorite toppings: low fat sour cream, avocado or quacamole, lettuce, cheese, black olives

Put frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot (make sure they are frozen, this will help make sure they don't over cook). Add frozen peppers and onions. Sprinkle fajita seasoning on top. Pour large jar of salsa on top. Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours. About an hour before serving add black beans if using and heat through.

Serve with tortillas and toppings.

Spanikopita (or Greek Spinach Pie)

Spinach is a fantastic food to incorporate into your diet. Here are two recipes that feature spinach. My kids love these recipes and it gets them to eat their spinach. Caroline even asked for me to make this recipe for her birthday dinner!

1/4 - 1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth
1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds spinach, rinsed and chopped (or 3 packages of frozen spinach that is thawed and drained)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. ground nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
2 eggs whites, lightly beaten
1/2 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1 cup crumbled low-fat feta cheese
8 sheets phyllo dough
2 TBSP cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray with nonstick spray a 9x9 inch square baking pan.
Heat 1/4 cup chicken broth in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, green onions and garlic, until soft and lightly browned. Stir in spinach and parsley, and continue to saute until spinach is limp, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool - add more broth if needed for to keep food from sticking
In a medium bowl, mix together egg whites, ricotta, and feta, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Stir in spinach mixture. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough in prepared baking pan, and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top, brush with olive oil, and repeat process with two more sheets of phyllo. The sheets will overlap the pan. Spread spinach and cheese mixture into pan and fold overhanging dough over filling. Brush with oil, then layer remaining 4 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each lightly with oil. Tuck overhanging dough into pan to seal filling.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot.

Spinach-stuffed chicken breasts or pork loin/chops

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 clove minced garlic
1 cup low-fat/ff ricotta cheese
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves or 1/2 of a large pork loin butterflied or 4 butterflied lean pork chops
2 tablespoons favorite herbs (I like thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage)
2 tablespoons melted Smart Balance spread
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Squeeze excess water out of thawed spinach; in a large bowl, mix spinach with onion, garlic and ricotto cheese, nutmeg and salt and pepper and set aside.
Season chicken breasts with your desired herbs. Make a pocket in the breast or split in half without cutting all the way through to make two thinner breasts that can be stuffed. Place 1/4 of cheese/spinach mixture in the center of each breast and fold in half. Secure with toothpicks and place in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Melt Smart Balance and then stir in whole wheat flour and cook for about 1 minute. Add chicken broth (add a bit more to make loose). Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Spread over chicken breasts. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Guilt-Free Chocolate French Silk Pie

1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground pecans
2 T. Splenda or brown sugar substitute
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 T. canola oil
1 T. water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine oats, flour, pecans, sugar substitute, and salt together in mixing bowl. In separate bowl, whisk together oil and water. Add oil mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. If necessary, add a little more water to hold mixture together. Press into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

3/4 cup Smart Balance, room temperature
1 cup and 2 TBSP Splenda
3 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Pasturized eggs

Cream Smart Balance in a mixing bowl. Gradually beat in the Splenda with an electric mixer until light colored and well blended. Stir in the thoroughly cooled chocolate, and vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating 5 minutes on medium speed after each addition. Beat for an additional 5 minutes. Spoon the chocolate filling into a cooled, baked pie shell.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving and top with light Cool Whip.

Asian Slaw

6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
5 tablespoons canola oil
5 tablespoons no sugar added peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Splenda brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root (can use dry, but fresh is better)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 TBSP sesame oil

8 cups thinly sliced cabbage (can use any type or combination of different types of cabbage you would like: Napa, Green, Red)
2 red or orange bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 carrots, shredded
6 green onions, chopped
Can also add thinly sliced and juliened radishes
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Sunflower seeds

In a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing in bowl or jar (I prefer a jar with a lid so I can shake the dressing. In a large bowl, mix the cabbage, bell peppers, carrots, green onions, and cilantro.

You can toss the salad with the salad dressing right before serving or serve on the side to add individually. This recipe makes a lot of salad and is great for leftover lunches if dressing is added individually.

Top salad with sunflower seeds and enjoy.

Cream Cheese that is totally healthy!

The basic method and ingredients used in this recipe are great in a number of other recipes. Any recipe can be substituted for any that calls for cream cheese.

1 large container of non-fat plain yogurt
Cheese cloth
Various herbs or fruit (optional)

Place the yogurt into a cheese cloth that is inside a mesh strainer. Set over a bowl to catch the 'whey'. Sit in the refridgerator for 24 hours. As the yogurt drains it will become thick. If you want to make a delicious 'sour cream' drain for about 4-5 hours. After 24 hours the yogurt in your cheese cloth will now have the consistency and taste of cream cheese. Try it - you won't believe it.

If you would like to make herbed cream cheese or fruit flavored cream cheese. Stir in your favorite fresh or dried herbs or for fruit-flavored cream cheese some strawberry, blueberry or other fruit puree into the yogurt BEFORE you strain it.

You can also use Greek style yogurt to make it even more rich and creamy.

Sugar-free BBQ sauce

I made this sauce and my husband couldn't tell it was sugar free! Tastes great on grilled chicken, pulled pork or ribs.

1 - 8 oz can of tomato sauce
2 TBSP white or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 clove chopped garlic (can use garlic powder)
1 TBSP Splenda Brown sugar or sugar-free maple syrup
1/3 cup diet cola

Mix all ingredients together. Simmer over low heat stirring occassionally until thickened. (I normally cook mine for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Roasted Cauliflower - Or my new favorite food

This is my new most favorite food. It is amazing how excited I can be to buy a new head of cauliflower at the grocery store. Try this and let me know what you think.

1 head of cauliflower broken into bite-sized pieces or 2 bags of frozen cauliflower
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Place cauliflower pieces on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on top of cauliflower and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook in a 425 degree oven for about 20 - 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve. How easy is that!!!!!!

This method of cooking vegetables is also delicious with broccoli, asparagus and brussel sprouts.

Spicy Thai Chicken

I may never go out for Thai chicken again! James agrees!

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 TBSP olive or canola oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP curry powder
1 tsp ground or freshly grated ginger (if you can do fresh, it is so much better)
1 (13.5 ounce) can light - no sugar added coconut milk (look in the ethnic aisle)
1/2 - 2/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 - 1 tsp red thai curry paste (the more you use the spicier it is, start small and add from there)
1 TBSP - Brown sugar splenda

Season chicken well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in skillet and cook chicken until lightly browned and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon transfer chicken to a plate. Cook onion until translucent. Add garlic, curry powder and ginger to the same skillet and cook until fragrant - about 2 minutes. Add coconut milk, broth, curry paste and brown sugar splenda. Stir just until mixed through. Stir back in chicken and simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes or until sauce is thickend and reduced. Stir often. Serve with jasmine or brown rice if desired.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

This is a delicious low-carb, lower fat way to enjoy Eggplant Parmesan. My family loves it (even the kids). I serve it with some whole wheat pasta. (just make sure to watch your portions if you are trying to lose weight).

2 eggplants sliced in thick 1/2 inch slices (I leave the peel on them).
2 cans diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
Italian herbs (dry or fresh - oregano, basil, parsley etc.)
Olive Oil
1 -2 cloves garlic chopped
1 pint container low-fat ricotto cheese
1 cup - 2% shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup - Low fat grated parmesan cheese

After slicing eggplant, place it on a cookie rack (or other similar rack where the vegetables can drain). Sprinkle liberally with salt. Let sit for about an hour and then rinse with water. Place eggplant on a cookie sheet that is sprayed with non-stick spray. Rub some olive oil over the eggplant slices and sprinkle with some Italian herbs/spices (I use dry for this). Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Spray a 9X13 pan with non-stick spray. Combine tomatoes with Italian herbs and garlic. Spread a little of the tomatoe mixture in the bottom of the pan. Put one single layer of eggplant on top of the tomato sauce Lightly sprinkle (about 1/2 cup) with parmesan cheese. Spread with 1/2 container of ricotta cheese. Top with 1/2 of remaining sauce. And then repeat layers, ending with sauce. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. During last 10 minutes sprinkle lightly with mozarella cheese and continue baking until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Baked Oatmeal Muffins

This is a great way to have a fast breakfast for those on-the-go days.

1/4 cup canola oil
2/3 cup splenda
2 eggs
3 cups dry oatmeal
1 to 2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fat free milk
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
Wisk oil, splenda, and eggs. Add cinn, baking powder, salt, vanila and wisk again. Add oatmeal then milk and yogurt and mix. Spray a muffin tin pan with non-stick spray. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. - Makes 8 muffins.

My FAVORITE - add a cup of fresh blueberries
Add some chopped or thin sliced apple.
Peanut butter & mini chocolate chips .
Can be baked in a 9-inch round cake pan or 9x9 cake pan and cut into 8 pieces.

Store individual muffins in zipper bags in the freezer. Heat in the microwave for about 1 minutes and breakfast is served!

Grilled Chicken Piccata

This is a great summer time recipe that can be used on any phase of a low-carb diet.

2 lemons
4 tsp. olive oil
4 tsp. snipped/chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley or tarragon or other favorites ~ can use one type or multiple)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
4 chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. drained capers
2/3 cup dry white wine or chicken broth

Zest the peel of one lemon and chop finely with your desired herbs. Mix with 2 tsp. olive oil, salt and pepper. Rub into both sides of the chicken breasts and let sit in the refridgerator for up to 8 hours. Grill on medium heat (can use indoor grill pan if desired) for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. While the chicken is cooking, combine juice of 1 1/2 lemons, 2 tsp. olive oil, white wine or broth and capers and let simmer while the chicken is cooking. Serve chicken topped with the lemon/wine sauce. Can serve with whole wheat pasta, brown rice or just yummy cooked veggies. Top with a little grated parmesan cheese.