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.