Thursday, December 18, 2008

Easy-Do Ahead Recipes - Posted by Valerie B.

Here are a couple recipes I found in a cook book I have called Supermarket Gourmet. They sound REALLY yummy!

Apple Spinach Salad
16 oz. pkg. baby spinach leaves
2 medium apples, unpeeled, chopped
2 tbsp. minced red onion
4 1/2 tbsp. nonfat sour cream
3 tbsp. lemon juice3 tbsp. honey
1.2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. low-fat bacon crumbles

Combine spinach, apples and onion in a large bowl. Toss to mix. Combine sour cream, lemon juice, honey and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix until blended. When ready to serve, pour dressing over salad; toss to mix until coated. Sprinkle with bacon crumbles and serve. Serves 4.

Nutrition per serving: Calories 146, Fat 1.4 g, Carbs 30 g, Protein 6 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Dietary Fiber 5 g, Sodium 222 mg

Caesar Salad-Stuffed Sandwiches
10 oz. can chunk white chicken in water, drained
10 oz. pkg. romaine lettuce or romaine salad mix
1/2 C fat-free Caesar salad dressing
4 low-fat pita pockets

Combine chicken, lettuce, and salad dressing in a bowl. Toss until completely coated and mixed. Stuff into pita pockets and serve. Serves 4.

Nutrition per serving: Calories 237, Fat .7 g, Carbs 29 g, Protein 24 g, Cholesterol 32 mg, Dietary Fiber 2 g, Sodium 718 mg *Tip: According to research by the American Heart Association, eating fatty fish (i.e. tuna and salmon) just once a week reduces the chances of suffering a fatal heart attack by 44 % compared to eating leaner fish (i.e. cod and snapper).

Chicken and Artichoke Salad
18 oz. cooked chicken breast cuts
6 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
3 oz pkg. julienne-cut, dry-pack sun-dried tomatoes
14 oz can artichokes, drained and chopped
3/4 C. nonfat Catalina, French or Dorothy Lynch salad dressing
1/4 C. fresh chopped basil
1 large red onion, sliced into rings or strips
2 (10 oz) pkgs. romaine lettuce or romaine salad mix

Combine all ingredients except lettuce. Toss until mixed. Divide lettuce among six plates or bowls. Top with chicken/artichoke mixture. Serves 6.

Nutrition per serving: Calories 216, Fat 2.9 g, Carbs 24 g, Protein 26 g, Cholesterol 24 mg, Dietary Fiber 3 g, Sodium 943 mg

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mushroom Whole Grain Casserole

I love mushrooms so when I saw this recipe I was excited to try it. This is also a GREAT and EASY way to get your whole grains in and make them taste good!! I recommend whole grains all the time to people but the truth is many people don't know how to make some of the "less common" whole grains. For this recipe you can use any whole grain and/or brown rice that you would like. I made mine with (& HIGHLY RECOMMEND) the Kashi Original Flavor Rice Pilaf. It's ready in 90 seconds and has SEVEN whole grains in it. Now tell me...are you going to prepare 7 whole grains to use in this recipe? The recipe I saw actually served 8 so I scaled the recipe down and posted the recipe I made. It was called Mushroom Casserole but I'm adding the Whole Grain into the name.

Mushroom Whole Grain Casserole

~4 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1/2 onion or 1 shallot, well chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (or 1 Tbsp)
~2 cups cooked whole grains and/or brown rice
1/4 cup egg beaters (or 1 egg)
1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt (and I used pepper too)
freshly grated Parmesan and/or Romano cheesea
bit of fresh tarragon, chopped (optional...I didn't have so I didn't use)

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat saute the onions and garlic in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and some sea salt until golden. Add mushrooms and stir every minute or so until the mushrooms have released their liquid and have browned a bit. Continue to stir/cook until mushrooms are softer. Add the rice to the skillet and stir until combined.
In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper.
Combine the rice mixture and cottage cheese mixture in a 8x8 pan. Sprinkle with the Parmesan/Romano cheese, cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes more or hot throughout and golden along the edges. Sprinkle with the chopped tarragon and enjoy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

White Bean Chicken Chili - Posted by Valerie B.

So I have on my Google Reader this food storage website's blog. And this was a recipe I found on it. I've attached a picture. I haven't tried it, but it looks really good!! And you can use your food storage stuff!
White Bean Chicken Chili
6 cans of white navy beans (or about 1 lb. dried white beans--soak them overnight or boil for 1 hour or until tender)
1 jar of salsa
1 can green chilies
2-4 chicken breasts
1/2 onion, diced (or you can use dried)
1 c. shredded colby or cheddar cheese
1-2 cloves garlic (or you can use powdered)
1 T. cumin (or more, I like a lot of cumin)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 T. McCormick Chicken Base (or you can use chicken bouillon)
Cayenne Pepper if you like more of a spicy soup
Garnish with fresh cilantro, sour cream, diced avocados, fresh lime squeezed & more shredded cheese.
Put all of the above ingredients into a large pot. Simmer until beans and chicken are tender and cooked through (I just throw my chicken breasts in raw and let them cook in the water. When they are cooked I take them out and chop them up. They give the broth more of a chicken flavor). Garnish with the above ingredients. Yum!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Carrot-Ginger Dressing

This is a recipe I tried to make the ginger dressing that comes on your salad when you eat at a sushi/Japanese restaurant. I love this dressing and when I found this recipe I had to try it out! I didn't take my own picture though...oops! I like the dressing but it was very carrot-y. I think if I made it again I'd adjust the carrot and ginger porportions slighty. It was good though, I'll make again.

Carrot-Ginger Dressing
From the November 2008 Self Issue
Makes 1/2 cup

2 small carrots, peeled and chooped
1/2 medium shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon extra light olive oil

Combine all ingredients except olive oil with 2 tbsp water in a food processor. With motor running, drizzle in olive oil until smooth. Refrigerate; stir once before serving.

The skinny:
43 calories per tbsp, 2.9 g fat (0.4 g saturated), 3.1 g carbs, 0.4 g fiber, 0.3 g protein

Fresh Cranberry Relish (recipe shared from Eileen D)

This was the cranberry relish my Aunt Eileen made for our Thanksgiving meal. I fell in love! It is so refreshing and delicious! I love how most of the ingredients are fresh. She said sometimes she hardly has to put in much sugar at all depending on the sweetness/juiceness of the apples. I don't think this is a recipe that needs to be reserved for the holidays though because it does not "scream" turkey cranberry relish :)

Fresh Cranberry Relish
**Proportions are approximate and depend on the tartness of the cranberries, apples, and orange. (She says each year the proportions are a little different)

5 Cups fresh cranberries
1 whole orange (not peeled)
3 apples, cored, with peels
2 cups sugar

Pulse cranberries in bowl of food processor until desired consistency. Remove to large bowl. Do the same with the orange, add to the cranberries. Pulse the apples and add to cranberry mixture. Combine fruit thoroughly. Add sugar and stir well. Taste and adjust ingredients to your taste. Chill well.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Sorry I have not posted much...I was out of town visiting my family which was wonderful! Now I am SICK so I'm afraid I won't be cooking for a bit. I decided to post some healthy holiday recipes that I have not tried but that look good. I might post some more depending on how quickly I get better and try a new recipe! December is a busy month for me so if anyone has any recipes they would like to share please send them my way! And if anyone happens to try one of these recipes please share your thoughts and experiences. Thanks!

Happy Holidays!!

Spiral Stuffed Turkey Breast with Cider Gravy

Makes 8 servings
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh sage or ½ teaspoon crumbled dried (not ground)
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Turkey & gravy
1 2-pound boneless turkey breast half
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup apple cider
½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
8 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.2. To prepare stuffing: Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, sage, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.3. To prepare turkey: Remove skin from turkey breast and trim off fat. Butterfly the turkey breast (see Tip). Flatten the turkey breast. Spread the stuffing over the breast and roll the breast up into a cylinder. Secure with kitchen string. 4. Sprinkle the turkey roulade with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the roulade and cook, turning from time to time, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add cider to the skillet and bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.5. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the browned turkey roulade. Pour in the cider mixture, then add thyme sprigs (or dried thyme). Cover the pan and transfer it to the oven. 6. Bake the roulade until it is no longer pink inside and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 170°, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer to a carving board, tent with foil and keep warm.7. To prepare gravy: Strain the liquid from the Dutch oven into a medium saucepan, pressing on the solids. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; cook for 2 to 3 minutes to intensify the flavor. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl; add to the simmering gravy, whisking until lightly thickened. Add sour cream, mustard and lemon juice, whisking until smooth. Season with pepper. Heat through. 8. Remove the string from the roulade. Carve into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve with gravy.

Nutrition Info: Per serving: 222 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 73 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrate; 29 g protein; 2 g fiber; 246 mg sodium.

Lowfat Mock Deviled Eggs

This recipe removes 3 grams of fat and adds 6 grams of protein and 7 grams of dietary fiber compared to real deviled eggs.

6 hard-boiled eggs
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 can (16-oz) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
2 tablespoon nonfat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons nonfat sour cream
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons minced green onion
1/4 teaspoon ground paprika

Directions:Remove shells from eggs. Halve eggs lengthwise; remove and discard the yolks. In a small bowl, dissolve sugar in vinegar. Rinse the chickpeas and drain thoroughly. In a food processor or blender, combine chickpeas, sugar mixture, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, pepper, onions and clove and blend until smooth. Spoon mixture into egg whites or fill using a fluted pastry bag. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serving Size: 1/2 egg, or one Deviled Egg
Recipe makes 12 servings

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 151 Total fat: 2 grams Saturated fat: trace Cholesterol: trace Sodium: 70 mg Carbohydrate: 24 grams Protein: 9 grams Dietary fiber: 7

Chocolate-Ginger Angel Food Cake

From the December 2008 Issue of Self

This drool-worthy dessert is a chocoholic's dream come true. There are 2 grams of fiber per serving…from the cocoa! Swap candied orange for the ginger to dial down the spiciness.
Makes a 10-inch cake; serves 10

Parchment paper
1 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 teaspoon ground ginger
9 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 cup half-and-half
4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup candied (crystallized) ginger, chopped

For cake
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°. Line a 10-inch springform or Bundt pan with parchment paper. Sift confectioners' sugar, flour, cocoa and ground ginger in a bowl; set aside. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed, whip egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar and salt until whites begin to form soft peaks, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed to high, add 6 tbsp granulated sugar and whip until incorporated. Add remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar in 2 increments and whip until whites hold stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Gently fold dry ingredients into egg mixture with a spatula. Pour batter into pan. Bake until cake springs back when touched, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Loosen edges with a knife; transfer to a serving platter.

For glaze
Bring half-and-half to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a low simmer and add chocolate and confectioners' sugar; whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Pour glaze over top of cake, allowing it to drip down sides. Top with candied ginger. Store at room temperature in a cake saver for up to 3 days.

332 calories per serving, 7 g fat (4 g saturated), 62.8 g carbs, 2.1 g fiber, 5.6 g protein

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Skinny General Tso's Chicken

Wow, I really liked this recipe! I got it from this month's Self magazine. One thing I like is that you can make it as spicy or mild as you want. I even used Cayenne powder instead of red pepper flakes and it came out great.

Skinny General Tso's Chicken
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp finely chopped ginger (I recommend grating it, its the easiest way to get the pieces small enough)
1 tsp balsamic vinager
2 tsp cornstarch (divided)
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
Mix chicken, garlic, ginger, balsamic vinager, and 1 tsp cornstarch in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate about 20 minutes. Whisk broth, soy sauce, sugar, pepper flakes, and remaining 1 tsp cornstarch in a bowl until smooth. Coat a small skillet w/ sesame oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion until it browns lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken browns, 4 t0 5 minutes. Add broth mixture and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly until sauce thickens, about 1 minute.
Serving suggestions: serve w/ brown rice and side salad.
**This really only makes enough for 1 person so if making for more people, recipe would need to be adjusted

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Microwave Pancakes

This is something I make at times when I want pancakes for breakfast. Since I live alone and don't really want to go through all the hassle.

1 cup Bisquick
3/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup Egg beaters (or 1 egg)

Make batter in microwave safe bowl. Drizzle syrup into batter before microwaving. Microwave batter ~3min or until done.

There you go...pancakes in less than 5 minutes!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cranberry Salad

Sorry for the minimal posts this month. I have been pretty busy so I haven't been trying as many new recipes and I haven't received any posts from others this month. Here's a recipe that's perfect for the holidays!

Cranberry Salad
1 package fresh cranberries (12oz)
1 can (15oz) of crushed pineapple, drained (or use frozen pineapple for a slightly healthier version and crush it yourself)
1 container (16oz) of fat free Cool Whip

1. Chop finely or grind the cranberries in a food processor or blender. Then add one cup of sugar (or sugar substitute in equivalent amount). Stir thoroughly, cover, and let sit in the fridge overnight.
2. The next day add the pineapple and fold in the container of whipped topping. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. This may also be frozen until ready to use, let thaw at room temp for about 15-20min before serving.

The above recipe is the version I like but if you're allergic or not a pineapple person here is the alternate version.

Alternate Cranberry Salad
1. Step one is the same as above
2. The next day add 3 mashed bananas, 1 cup finely chopped pecans, and whipped topping

Friday, November 14, 2008

Produce in season near you!

An easy way to save money, eat fresh and delicious, and be earth friendly is to eat local and know what is in season.

Here's a website to help!

Reducing Calories - Quick Substitutions

Instead Of.................Choose…

Dairy Aisle
2 eggs.................2 egg whites or ½ cup (C) egg substitute
Butter or margarine.................Low-fat margarine (may need to add more flour when baking)
Regular cheddar cheese, whole-fat mozzarella cheese, cream cheese.................2% cheddar cheese, part skim mozzarella cheese, Neufchâtel cheese
Mayonnaise or sour cream.................Low-fat plain yogurt or low-fat versions
Whipped cream.................Chilled and whipped evaporated milk
Ricotta cheese.................Firm tofu
Whole milk.................Buttermilk

Meat, Poultry, and Fish
Oil-packed tuna.................Water-packed tuna
Salami, pastrami, bologna.................Lean roast beef or turkey
Beef pot pie.................Canned stew (or homemade low-sodium stew is even better!) with a crust made from reduced-fat biscuit mix
Fish sticks .................Bread your own fish with whole-wheat bread crumbs, light margarine, and lemon juice
Regular bacon.................Canadian bacon
Regular ground beef.................Extra lean ground beef or lean ground turkey
Pork sausage.................Turkey sausage
Porterhouse steak or chuck.................Beef tenderloin or top round
Pork loin.................Pork tenderloin

Ordering Out
Cream-based soup.................Broth-based soup
Onion rings.................French fries
Egg rolls.................Steamed pork dumplings
Sour cream or cheese on nachos or baked potatoes.................Salsa
White sauce.................Red sauce
Pasta sauce containing sausage or cheese, or cream-based sauces.................Marinara sauce

Snacks and Desserts
Chocolate-chip cookie.................Vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, fig bars, or animal crackers
Fruit juice.................Fresh fruit
Ice cream.................Frozen yogurt, low-fat ice cream, sorbet, sherbet, or gelato
Ice cream bar.................Frozen fudge pop
Pound cake with strawberries.................Angel food cake with strawberries
Prepared potato-chip dip.................Fat-free sour cream and powdered ranch dressing mix
Prepared chocolate-cream pie.................Chocolate pudding made with skim milk in a graham- cracker crust, topped with low-fat whipped cream
Shortening in pie crust recipes.................½ nonfat cream cheese and ½ margarine
Store-bought cinnamon chips.................Flour tortillas coated with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkled with sugar substitute and cinnamon

Coffee creamer.................Fat-free half-and-half
Club soda.................Seltzer
Hot chocolate mix.................Cocoa powder and artificial sweetener
Margaritas, pinã coladas, or daiquiris.................Gin and tonic, or wine

Gravy.................Fat-free broth, thickened with cornstarch
Regular maple syrup.................Light maple syrup
Hot-fudge ice-cream topping.................Chocolate syrup

Monday, November 3, 2008

Meatball Soup

This is a recipe I tried from Deceptively Delicious. I thought the broth was awesome and super flavorful. I would even make it on its own with a little basil in it. The meatballs were not bad but I thought they were a little bread-y so next time I'd probably put more meat in the recipe. I actually didn't think the soup needed the noodles at all but they weren't bad. For those out there that don't like (or have kids that don't like) wheat noodles, one trick is to overcook the noodles a little bit. When the noodles are softer the texture is a little more like regular noodles. I got full surprisingly fast with this soup.

Meatball Soup

3 ounces whole-wheat pasta (shape of choice)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 gloves garlic, chopped
1 (28oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice
1/4 cup carrot puree
3 cups reduced fat, low sodium chicken broth

3 slices whole wheat bread, cubed
1 large egg, beaten (or 1/4 cup Egg Beaters)
1/4 cup sweet potato puree
1/4 cup nonfat (skim) milk
2 tablespoons grated or shredded Parmesan (plus more for serving)
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 pound lean ground turkey

1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. When the pot in hot, add the olive oil and then the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often until the onion is softened.
3. Pureed the tomatoes and their juice with the carrot puree and salt in a food processor or blender then add to the pot. Add the broth, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes
4. Meanwhile, put the bread in a large bowl. Add the egg, sweet potato puree, milk, Parmesan, salt, pepper, paprika, and let soak until the bread is very soft. Stir to break up the bread, add the ground turkey, and mix until smooth. Form into mini meatballs.
5. Add the meatballs to the pot. Simmer, covered, until the meatballs are no longer pink in the center, 12-15 minutes. Stir in the pasta. Serve sprinkled w/ Parmesan.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Chicken Curry Salad

Chicken Curry Salad

1 cup diced celery
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into chunks or shredded
1-15oz can of sweet peas
2 cups cooked rice
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise/Miracle Whip
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup green onion, chopped (optional)

Combine and chill 1 hour. Add nuts if desired

You don't have to like curry to enjoy this salad. I usually eat it plain but you could use it in a sandwhich too if you desired. I use brown rice in mine and reduced fat Miracle Whip.

30 Ways to Sneak More Fruits and Vegetables Into Your Diet

Add blueberries to pancake, waffle, or muffin batter
Mix raisins, diced apple, or dried apricots into oatmeal
Add pepper, onion, spinach, broccoli, or shredded carrot to a morning omelet
Make a smoothie with fruit, low-fat yogurt, and ice
Add peppers and onion to hash browns, and serve with a little ketchup on the side
Top a toasted waffle with warmed applesauce

Lunch and Dinner
Top a pizza with mushrooms, peppers, onions, or pineapple
Put a slice of avocado on a regular sandwich
Add mushrooms, peppers, onions, or diced carrots to spaghetti sauce
Place a few slices of tomato on a grilled cheese sandwich
Add some extra mixed vegetables to soup
Add celery, onions, carrots, or peppers to meatloaf
Replace the jam on a peanut butter sandwich with sliced bananas
Add apples, grapes, or raisins to chicken salad
Spread some cranberry sauce on a turkey sandwich
Top pork chops with apples, pears, or raisins
Roast fish under a layer of lemon, orange, or lime slices
Add layers of frozen spinach or eggplant to lasagna

Sides and Snacks
Top a baked potato with salsa
Use applesauce to replace half of the oil in any recipe
Slice a sweet potato, toss with a little olive oil, season as you wish, and bake to make sweet potato chips
Add mandarin oranges or diced pears when making Jell-O® salad
Try mixing dried fruit with almonds and a few M&Ms® as a snack
Mix fresh fruit and granola into yogurt
Add broccoli or diced pepper to macaroni and cheese
Blend cooked cauliflower into mashed potatoes

Choose fruit sorbet instead of ice cream
Enjoy a baked apple stuffed with raisins and topped with a drizzle of caramel sauce
Dip strawberries in chocolate syrup and top with low-fat whipped cream
Roast pears with honey and a sprinkling of ginger


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lucas Beans

These are rediculously simple but I love them. I made these one day as a snack and now I do it weekly to get my legumes in! I seriously eat them as a snack all the time or put them on my taco salad. I decided to call them Lucas beans because the taste kind of reminded me how much I love Lucas! So here's a recipe for those of you who grew up in El Paso (or elsewhere) and ate way too much Lucas!

Lucas Beans

1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
Juice from 2-3 limes
Sprinkle with a seasoned salt that contains paprika or chili powder - I use Great American Land & Cattle Company Steak Seasoning that is actually from the good ole west Texas town of El Paso

(I think they're best after refrigerated)

Greek Burger

I don't have a picture because my pitas tore so they were kinda messy looking and I ended up eating them with a fork (still good!). I was surprised how good the sauce on the burgers were. I actually think it would have been good to prepare the meat just as normal ground meat and fill the pitas. Either way this was a good, flavorful burger to add to the mix. I will definitely make these again!

Greek Burger

1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
Juice from 1 whole lemon
1 lb ground meat (recipe called for lamb, I used ground turkey)
Salt & Pepper
*Mix all ingredients together. Form patties of desired size. Prepare as desired...on grill, skillet, oven, etc.

2/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1/2 cup peeled and finely diced cucumber

Serve in whole wheat pitas. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, crumbled feta, and dressing.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Strawberry-Orange Pancakes - Posted by Michelle D.

A delicious way to get a serving of fruit in your breakfast!!

I don't have exact amount since I just made it up but if you like strawberries then you can add more or if you want a little more sweetness then add more orange juice, whatever you like!

Strawberry-Orange Pancakes

about 2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice (any kind that you like!)
2 eggs
about 1/2 - 3/4 cup frozen strawberries, pureed

Stir all ingredients until blended adding more liquid if needed.
Pour about 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot griddle.
Cook until golden and enjoy!

Serve with syrup, powdered sugar, nuts, extra fruit, or jam.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cole Slaw - Recipe from Sarah L.

Cole Slaw

1 bag of cole slaw
3 green onions, chopped w/ some green
3 T. sunflower seeds
2 oz. almonds, sliced and sauted in oil in skillet
1-2 pkgs. ramen noodles, crushed

2 T. sugar
4 T. wine vinegar (I use white wine vinegar)
1/2 c. oil
1 t. accent
1 t. pepper
Mix in blender

Monday, October 27, 2008

Crescent Roll Apples - Posted by Hilary B.

This is one of my favorite fall recipes:
So easy and SO good. I like to serve mine with light vanilla ice cream.

Crescent Roll Apples

Yield: Makes 8 servings

1 (8-ounce) can refrigerated reduced-fat crescent rolls
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and quartered
1 (6-ounce) can frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed

Unroll crescent roll dough, and separate into triangles. Spread butter evenly over dough. Stir together sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over butter.
Wrap each apple quarter in 1 crescent roll dough triangle, and place in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Pour apple juice concentrate evenly over rolls.
Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Chicken Roll-Ups - Posted by Valerie B.

Here's a quick lunch (or dinner) idea!

Chicken Roll-Ups

1 can chicken
mayo/miracle whip
1 can cresent rolls
*makes 8 rolls

Open the can of chicken (I actually used tuna the other day because I was out of chicken and that tasted good too!) and mix with the amount of mayo/miracle whip to your liking. So change it up however you like! Once mixed, roll up inside the cresent rolls and cook as directed on package of rolls. I used ranch dressing instead of mayo once and that added a little kick. I've even thought of adding cheese or avocado on the inside or melt cheese on top, or whatever other toppings you might like. Give us all ideas for variations in your comments!

I cooked like 60 of these (8 packages!!) for my in-laws once at our cabin at Bear Lake. They were a hit with everyone, adults and kids alike. Super easy and super yummy!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Zucchini Bake

I'm a sucker for anything w/ Bisquick in it and I thought this recipe sounded pretty good. Here's the original recipe:

Zucchini Bites

1 cup Bisquick
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
4 small unpeeled zucchini, thinly sliced (3 cups)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 serving: calories-260, fat-20g, chol-110mg, sodium-600mg, carbohydrate-13g, fiber-1g, protein-8g
Makes 8 servings

Well I didn't want to make 8 servings so here is what I made. I'm calling it a zucchini bake instead of zucchini bites because as you see from the picture....its clearly a bake and not bites. Here's what I made:

Zucchini Bake

1/2 cup Bisquick
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
2 small unpeeled zucchini, sliced
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (heaping 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup Egg Beaters (equiv to 2 eggs)
1 Tbsp chopped garlic

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Stir all ingredients until blended. Spread into pan. Bake about 25min or until golden brown.

I had to bake this about 10 minutes longer because the Bisquick was not all the way cooked yet. I found this was a pretty good side dish. I also think this could be a pretty good way to get kids to eat zucchini (although I don't have any to try this out on). The nutrition info I put before was for the original recipe so my version would obviously be different because I used Egg Beaters.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Easy, Quick (Yummy) Breakfast Ideas

  • Scrambled egg in a whole wheat pita with salsa

  • Granola to go: a Ziploc bag filled with nuts, dried fruit, and whole grain cereal

  • Muffin sandwhich: English muffin w/ sunny side up egg, sliced avocado, and tomato
  • Spread peanut butter on a whole grain tortilla and wrap it around a banana

  • Fruit w/ yogurt/nautural peanut butter/cottage cheese/string cheese/nuts/hardboiled egg/cereal/oatmeal

  • Homemade smoothie: 1 cup frozen fruit of choice, 1 cup fresh fruit of choice, 2 heaping Tbsp yogurt

  • Heather's favorite: 2 whole grain frozen waffles, toasted, made into a sandwhich with some natural peanut butter, thick sliced bananas, and a drizzle maple syrup

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Sour Cream Sauce

I took parts of 2 different recipes that I like and here's what I made.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Sour Cream Sauce

1/3 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped celery
1-1/2 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth if making a vegetarian dish)
3/4 cup brown rice
1/2 pound ground turkey (omit if making a vegetarian dish)
10 oz chunky Rotel tomato & green chile
1/2 cup canned mushrooms
1 cup chopped zucchini
2 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper
cheese of choice (recommend Monterey Jack)

In large saucepan saute onion, garlic, and celery in small amount of butter or oil until vegetables are tender. Add broth and rice. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until rice is almost done.

While rice is cooking brown the ground turkey in a skillet. Stir in Rotel, mushrooms, zucchini, Worchestershire, garlic salt, and pepper.

Add rice to skillet and mix.

Cut off tops of large bell peppers (any color) and clean of seeds. Stuff peppers half way, layer some cheese, then fill the peppers the rest of the way.

Cover with foil; bake at 375 degrees for 1 hr or until bell peppers are tender. When almost done, remove foil, top with cheese, and bake 10 more minutes.

About 1/2 fat free sour cream, 1/2 green chile enchilada sauce. Heat till blended smooth and sauce is warm

This recipe made enough stuffing for about 6 peppers but would make less if meat wasn't used. I used goat cheese because that was all the cheese I had but I think it would have been better with a cheese such as Monterey Jack. I thought the recipe turned out pretty good and I'll probably make it again.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Easy Salsa Meatloaf - Posted by Valerie B.

I got this meatloaf recipe from my mother in law and it is really simple! Perhaps Heather can tell us of a way to add more health to meatloaf :)

Easy Salsa Meatloaf

1 lb. ground beef (or ground turkey!)
1 egg
salsa to your liking (maybe like 1/2 C)
6-8 saltine crackers crushed
1/4 C. milk (I don't think the milk is necessary, but you can put it in if you like)
(The recipe is one that you can play around with, altering as you like. So if you want more or less salsa, go for it! If you want more or less crackers, go for it too!)

Mix together and bake for about 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Voila! I don't have pictures because I didn't just make it, but wanted to send another recipe in that others might like :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mongolian Beef

This is a recipe I tried from Light & Tasty Magazine. I don't think its anywhere near as good as the mongolian beef at PF Changs but it was okay. I don't think the sauce was wonderful but it wasn't bad. I think if I made it again I would add some vegetables to the dish.

Mongolian Beef

1 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 c reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
5 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups hot cooked rice

In a small bowel, combine cornstarch and broth until smooth. Stir in the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and sesame oil; set aside. In a large nonstick skillet or wok, stir-fry beef in hot olive oil until no longer pink. Remove and keep warm.
In the same skillet, stir-fry the onions in olive oil for 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; add beef and heat through. Serve over rice. Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition: 1/4 cup beef mixture w/ 1/2 cup rice = 372 calories, 16 grams fat (5 grams sat fat), 74 mg chol, 540mg sodium, 28 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 28 grams protein

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkin Seeds

I realize this is not a "healthy" recipe but I got a request for this recipe and just couldn't resist. It's Halloween time again and that means time for homemade pumpkin seeds! Yum! Don't throw away all that junk inside your carved pumpkin, instead clean off the seeds and make these to snack on instead of some candy :)

Pumpkin Seeds

1/4 stick butter, melted
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt

Stir together. Add in seeds from 1 medium pumpkin.
Bake at 220 F for 2 hours

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 20, 2008


The Potential Health Benefits of Ginger

Stimulates Digestion
Naturally Freshens Breath
Relieves Nausea, Including Dizzyness from Motion Sickness
Helps Lower Cholesterol
Relieves Gas and Bloating
Soothes Common Cold Symptoms, Including Respiratory Infections
Eases Menstrual Cramps
Relieves Headaces
Helps Stop Diarrhea
Believed to Have Anti-Cancer Properties

Helpful Tips for Buying, Using, & Storing Ginger
When Buying Fresh Ginger:
Try to find ginger that is firm and has smooth skin. Try to avoid ginger with wrinkled skin, soft spots, or any mold.
When Using Ginger:
Ginger is most beneficial when grated or pressed in a garlic press. You can also slice it. You can use a citrus zester to grate the ginger.
When Storing Ginger:
Peel it & freeze it. Tip: Peel all of the ginger right when you get home. Wrap it in plastic and freeze until you are ready to use. Not only does it retain most of its freshness, but it is much easier to slice and grate when it is frozen.

Savory Tomato Shabu Shabu with Seafood Dippers - Posted by Michelle Davis

I originally wanted to cook this recipe because I was looking for a new recipe to incorporate seafood. I love seafood and am always trying new ways to spice it up. Then as I was looking over it, I saw that it had a lot of ginger in it. I know that ginger is a very healthy ingredient to use so that was a double bonus! The only thing I am not sure of is how exactly is ginger good for you? Maybe you could help me with that!
When I actually ended up cooking this meal my whole family loved it! We all thought it was a very light, refreshing dish that wasn’t too filling. The dipping sauces really added a lot to it too! (The lemon mayonnaise was my favoriteJ) We all agree that it would make a really good dish to entertain with, kind of like a fondu party! All in all I think this dish is the perfect weeknight meal for one, or a weekend meal with friends. Hope you try it!

Savory Tomato Shabu Shabu with Seafood Dippers

4 large tomatoes, seeds removed
4 cups vegetable stock
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, sliced
2 tablespoon roughly chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound salmon tail, sliced thinly
1/2 pound scallops, sliced in 1/2
Lemon Mayonnaise, for serving, recipe follows
Ginger Cream, for serving, recipe follows

Place a blender onto the counter and add all 4 of the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock. Cover and blend altogether until the tomatoes are completely pureed. Add the remaining vegetable stock and pulse for a few more seconds to combine.
Place mixture into a saucepan or stove-top safe fondue pot, add the sliced ginger and roughly chopped cilantro, cover and place on medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
While the sauce is heating, take the seafood out of the refrigerator and begin to arrange the fish on a plate.

As soon as the sauce has come to the boil, transfer the pot onto the heat station on the table (or keep on stove), and continue to keep the mixture at boiling point. If the liquid seems to have reduced just add more vegetable stock.
Take a skewer and a piece of seafood, skewer the seafood and set it into the sauce. Wait just a few seconds to allow the seafood to cook and taste with dipping sauces.
Serve the seafood dippers with Lemon Mayonnaise and Ginger Cream

Lemon Mayonnaise:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
In a mixing bowl combine the mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice.

Ginger Cream:
2 hands fresh ginger, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces, skin on
1/2 cup mayonnaise
In a food processor place both heads of the ginger, pulse the ginger until it has become a pulp. Place the mayonnaise into a mixing bowl.
Place a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth over a bowl; transfer the pulp onto the towel. Pick up the towel by all 4 corners.
Twist the kitchen towel very tightly over the mixing bowl, and let the ginger juice pour into the bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise, mix well and serve

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fat Free vs Sugar Free

Are you ever overwhelmed with the variety of "healthier" versions of a product there are? Low Fat, Fat Free, Light, Diet, Sugar Free etc. Here's the trick... typically when making a product with less fat they add more sugar and vice versa. Look at the label and compare the modified product with the original product. If they took away 2 grams of fat but added 10 grams of sugar....NOT HEALTHIER! However if they took away 10 grams of fat and minimal to no sugar was added...HEALTHIER. Typically the benefit is found in dairy products such as milk, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, etc. Also notice if they're taking away the "bad" fats or the "good" fats. Remember taking away the saturated and trans fats ("bad" fats) are a good thing. But you would rather have monounsaturated and polyunsaturated ("good" fats) then added sugar. So keep in mind that not all modified versions are healthier but not all modified versions are bad either! Also keep in mind that if an item has fruit in it there might be some natural sugars so the grams of sugar might be a little higher than you would expect. It's also important to look at the ingredient list. There are many other names for sugar!

Easy Tomato Basil Soup

This is a recipe I got while I was interning at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas for a week. This recipe is ridiculously easy and pretty good. It's not the most amazing tomato basil soup I've ever had but for how quick and easy it is, it's pretty tasty!

Easy Tomato Basil Soup

2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes w/ basil, garlic, and oregano
8 oz fat free cream cheese
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan reggiano cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Place tomatoes and cream cheese in blender and blend until desired consistency is reached. Pour into a medium pot and simmer until cream cheese has melted. (I found microwave works fine too!). Stir as needed. Add chopped basil, Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4, serving size 1 cup
Calories: 102
Total fat: 3g
Sat fat: 2g
Chol: 9mg
Sodium: 642mg
Carbs: 8g
Fiber: 1g
Sugar: 3g
Protein: 12g

**I also have a great recipe from Cooper Clinic for one that I think tastes a little bit better but takes more work to prepare. If you're interested I can give it to you.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Beef Gravy recipe?

I'm on the search for a really flavorful beef gravy....does anyone have a recipe for one or know of one? I don't want it to taste too floury or bland but really full bodied.

I'd appreciate the help if anyone has suggestions!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Questions from a reader

I received some questions from someone who wants to remain anonymous. I am going to include my response but I would love any other advice others might have on the subject!! Feel free to supplement my answer!

1) Would you be interested in offering advice on cooking for one? I get so frustrated because I want to eat well and fresh, and do my best, but it seems so hard to cook for one person. Any suggestions?

2) I've noticed that I am constantly hungry and always thinking about my next meal. I am not distracted enough at work to keep me completely busy so I feel like I'm watching the clock waiting to eat. I don't overeat but I'm always thinking about food. I also feel like I've gained some weight. Any suggestions on foods/snacks that will make me feel full? I am worried about this because I know I can get obsessive and I don't want. I want to be healthy and happy!


Well as far as eating for one, I am definitely a pro at that since I've lived alone for the past 3 years. The one thing I've had to learn is to figure out what the proper amount is to cook up for a portion size for one. I tend to not like leftovers very much so the idea of cooking something then eating those leftovers for a later meal only works for me on certain dishes. Use things that are easy to prepare in a one-person portion. For example, cut up 1 chicken breast, 1 bell pepper, and 1 slice of onion. Cook & season as desired, or if you want to use a packet of seasoning don't use the whole thing. Use w/ 1-2 tortillas & top w/ avocado to make tacos/fajitas. Or prepare with a little more chicken and use the whole seasoning packet. Then use the leftover chicken for taco salad the next day. If you're the type that likes to make recipes remember not all recipes are going to scale down easily. Look for recipes that you can taylor down to a smaller portion or ones that you would enjoy eating leftovers. Another thing that I've found very useful is using cooking appliances that taylor to a one person meal such as The Bullet and a George Forman Grill. It makes it much easier (& quicker) to make a personalized smoothie without getting your whole blender dirty or grilling up a patty for your turkey burger without having to light the grill (which is especially good for apartment life).

Here are some general tips for eating for one:

  • Plan ahead for leftovers so that you can cook once, and eat twice (or more!) For example, use leftover meat for soup or quesadillas

  • After cooking a meal, freeze single sized portions for use later

  • Purchase foods that are already individually portioned such as frozen chicken breasts, fish fillets, fruits, and vegetables .

  • When eating alone it may be helpful to re-think your idea of a meal...sometimes a “snack” is really sufficient

  • Use a skillet for a one-pan meal...add your meat, veggies, and sauce or marinade of choice. Serve over rice or pasta.

  • If you don't like to cook a lot or don't have time, reserve an hour or two on the weekend (or whenever is good for you) to make one or two recipes, then set aside servings for future use. Refrigerate or freeze servings in individual containers, then pull them out later for a quick homemade meal.
As far as always feeling hungry, this may be due to a couple of things. I'm going to be giving some general suggestions. Since I'm not sure how much you are actually eating throughout the day some of this may or may not apply to you.
  • From how you posed your question, I'm not sure if you're eating snacks in your day. One of the best ways to maintain your hunger and your weight is by eating 5-6 mini-meals throughout the day (or 3 small meals w/ snacks in between). First of all this helps to boost your metabolism but it also helps to curb your hunger. If you feel yourself hungry you know its just a couple hours till you get to eat next. A good snack typically contains some carbohydrate and some protein. This will help tie you over until your next meal. For example: cottage cheese & fruit, celery & peanut butter, yogurt, apple & string cheese. You get the idea. Now if you're altering your eating pattern so that you are eating 5-6 mini-meals throughout the day the snacks would be a little bigger since they are now a mini-meal. Not all of us can do this with our work schedules so it's whatever works for you & your schedule!

  • Next, look at how much fiber you're getting from your food. Fiber helps keep you full longer. Eat some extra fruits and vegetables! Also make sure you're getting whole grains encorporated into your diet.

  • Also, at times people try to eat "too" healthy and try to cut all the fat out of their diet. Healthy fats have essential purposes for our body and also help to keep you feeling full. Make sure you focus on getting enough healthy fats in your diet. So what is a healthy fat? Healthy fats are the unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). Focus on the monounsaturated fats...found in plant sources such as olive oil, avocado, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, olives. Put some avocado on a sandwhich, eats some nuts as a snack, etc.

  • Make sure you're eating enough :) Some people that "diet" eat wayyy too little calories. To those of you starving yourself...remember it actually slows down your metabolism to eat too little. Eat a little more and you might find you lose a little more! Surprising huh?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Berry-Mandarin Tossed Salad

This is a recipe from my Aunt Barb....its delicious!

Berry-Mandarin Tossed Salad

¼ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
1 ¼ teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoons mustard
½ teaspoon grated onion
¼ teaspoon celery salt
dash salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Combine all but vegetable oil and microwave on high for 1 ½ -2 minutes; stir till sugar is dissolved. Whisk in oil. Cover and refrigerate till serving.

8 cups torn mixed salad green
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 medium sweet onion, sliced into rings
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

In salad bowl, combine all ingredients. Drizzle with dressing and gently toss to coat.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Heather & Shannon's Homemade Tortilla Soup

Shannon & I decided we could make our own tortilla soup that was delicious...and we did! I think its a lot healthier then getting it at a restaurant, buying a can of it, or packet to make it. I apologize once again I don't have exact amounts. I know that might be annoying to some but I really like to make things to taste and experiment when I cook. Plus change the amounts depending on how you like your tortilla soup! I'll try to estimate amounts though.

Tortilla Soup

Tomatoes (~6 Roma tomatoes, diced)
Onion (~1 medium onion, diced)
Garlic (~3-4 cloves, minced or 1 tbsp minced from the jar)
Bouillon Cubes (to match the amount of water you use)
Water (~6 cups)
*Depending on how "juicy" the tomatoes are you might need to use more/less tomatoes. Boil until the mixture turns into a "tomato broth". It should taste flavorful and not watery.
1 can of diced tomatoes (any flavor...we usually used the jalapeno one)
Shredded chicken (optional) (~2 breasts)
Juice of a lime
Garlic salt/powder (if needed)
Salt to taste (if needed)
Stew with:
1 large fresh Jalapeno (whole, not chopped)
*Add the jalapeno, whole into the soup along with cilantro. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover soup. Simmer until soup is "ready"...basically the flavor of the jalapeno and seasonings have permeated throughout the soup and the broth is the right consistency and taste.

This soup is super easy to make, super fresh, and healthy! The flavors even get better over time so its actually wonderful left over. And if you have tomatoes that are too ripe...perfect to use for this soup! In fact a good tip is to make sure you get fully ripe and soft tomatoes so that you get a richer broth. I usually skip the "toppings" but if you want to add tortilla strips/chips, cheese, or avocado then go for it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Falafel and Cucumber Sauce - Posted by Valerie Barber (and Michelle Davis)

I was able to rope my little sister Michelle into helping me attempt to make falafel. I had first tried falafel when I was studying abroad in Europe and I really enjoyed it. So I hoped to recreate that at home and have others try it too. First, here's the recipe:

Ingredients - Cucumber Sauce
1 (6 oz) container plain yogurt
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp. dried dill weed
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs. mayonnaise

Directions - Cucumber Sauce
1. In a small bowl, combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, salt, pepper, and mayonnaise. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Ingredients - Falafel
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 onion, chopped
1/2 C. fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg
2 tsps. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. salt
1 dash pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 C. dry bread crumbsoil for frying

Directions - Falafel
1. In a large bowl, mash chickpeas until thick and pasty. Don't use a blender as the consistency will be too thin. In a blender, process onion, parsley, and garlic until smooth. Stir into mashed chickpeas.
2. In a small bowl, combine egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and baking powder. Stir into chickpea mixture along with olive oil. Slowly add bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but will hold together. Add more or less bread crumbs as needed. Form 8 balls and then flatten into patties.
3. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-hight heat. Fry patties in hot oil until brown on both sides.

Now here is my response to it! About the preparation and cooking...I made the cucumber sauce first so it could be chilling while I made the falafel. With the falafel, the chickpeas were hard to mash! If I had something that mashed them really well, it would have helped a lot with the time and effort involved. Next, it called for one onion, but I only put in half. I felt I had a really big onion and to have put it all in would have been overwhelming. Perhaps you could try to whole onion and let me know. Next, I don't think you need nearly that much parsley. It turned the whole thing a vivid green and that didn't help with making it very appetizing. However, once browned, you couldn't tell as much. The onion gave me a hard time - I was crying from the get-go! Even mixing the onion/parsley/garlic mixture into the chickpeas made me cry! Which is another reason I think a whole onion would have been too much :) My sister accidentally put in a whole tsp of pepper and tried to fix it so our seasoning may have been a little off. It's ok Michelle :) Now when I ate falafel in Europe, I had them in balls so I did not make mine into patties. That may have altered our cooking experience a bit. When we tried to cook them, they fell apart! We ended up adding another 2 cups of bread crumbs to the mixture we had not started cooking. That batch ended up turning out all right. I attempted to save the first batch by taking them out of the oil (they were pretty soaked by then), adding more bread crumbs, and then frying them on a bare skillet, no oil (considering they were already oil-logged!). Those fell apart a little still but I blame it on having too much oil in them. In the end, we had about 10 really well formed falafel balls, a couple iffy ones, and a bit of mash that we just put into a bowl! However, they were a pretty good hit considering my 11 year old little brother ate a whole sandwich and he is extremely picky!! And my one year old son ate a bunch too. I just put some on his high chair and he snatched it right up. We served them in a pita with the cucumber sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, olives and mozzarella cheese. They tasted pretty darn close to what I had in Europe. These won't be something I make once a week, but it was fun to have something new and something unique to try to give variety to my menu. It is also pretty healthy! I welcome your comments both on preparation, ingredients, anything I could do differently, etc. Thanks!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Grocery Shopping Tip

*Grocery shopping tip: Go grocery shopping right after a workout while you're still in your workout clothes. Sure you might be sweaty but you'll also be less likely to sabatoge your workout but buying "junk" food.

*Some of my favorite new products:

Morning Star Veggie Cakes (both flavors!!)

Kashi Whole Grain Pilaf

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cajun Chicken Pasta

This is a recipe I got from Sommer...she's made it but I don't actually know if she's ever tried it since she's vegetarian! This is one of my favorites. I always double up on the vegetables and sometimes make it with the chicken, sometimes make it just with vegetables. So I tried to make a "healthier" version of it the other night. I tried to replace the heavy cream with skim milk and cornstarch. The dish came out okay and edible but I would highly recommend sticking with the full fat version and just watching your portion size. Its hard for me since I live alone, I'll make a big pot and eat on it for a few days but this might be easier for those of you cooking for more than one. Although I had never looked at the nutritional facts and now that I!! And Sommer, just make it without the chicken...its delicious! The 1st time I made it I followed the recipe and after that I have always just made it from my head. Add more or less Cajun seasoning depending on how spicy you want it. I bought a thing of Cajun seasoning just for this recipe and wondered when I was ever going to use it again. I use it when cooking veggies all the time or as a seasoning on chicken or fish!

Cajun Chicken Pasta

4 ounces linguine pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced into thin strips
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
4 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 green onion, minced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguini pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.Meanwhile, place chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl, and toss to coat.In a large skillet over medium heat, saute chicken in butter until no longer pink and juices run clear, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add green and red bell peppers, sliced mushrooms and green onions; cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat, and stir in heavy cream. Season the sauce with basil, lemon pepper, salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper, and heat through.In a large bowl, toss linguini with sauce. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Nutritional Information: Servings Per Recipe: 2 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1114 Total Fat: 82.3g Cholesterol: 348mg Sodium: 1184mg Total Carbs: 55.2g Dietary Fiber: 4.6g Protein: 42.8g

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Southwestern Couscous Salad - posted by Hilary B.

Southwestern Couscous Salad

1 1/2 c Whole-wheat couscous
1 1/2 c Chicken Stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian)
1 15 oz can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 c red bell pepper chopped
1/2 c green bell pepper chopped
3/4 c tomato chopped
3/4 c red onion chopped
1 jalapeno chopped
Juice of 3 limes
Chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Bring chicken stock to a boil in a small saucepan. Add couscous, cover with a tight lid and turn stove off. Let sit for about 5 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Fluff couscous with a fork and add the remaining ingredients.

Yummy! Perfect as a side dish or main course, hot or cold. Super easy to make.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sesame Tuna with Cucumber Salad - Posted by Eileen D.

I got some nice fresh Tuna fillets at Costco last week. Probably 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. I rubbed each side with a small amount of sesame oil, a tsp. of Hoisin sauce, then sprinkled it fairly heavily with a mix of light and black sesame seeds (so it covers the entire surface). I then grilled it on my outdoor grill. Restaurants serve tuna rare - but that's not my preference so I probably did about 4 minutes each side.

I served it with another favorite of mine - that I adapted from a sushi restaurant that I like.

I mandolin small cucumbers into very thin slices (don't peel of course) - two per person. I mix the cucumbers with a dash of sesame oil, seasoned rice vinegar, and a dash of low-sodium soy sauce. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on the top and serve immediately.

I like this meal because it's light, satisfying, and as far as I know - pretty darn healthy. (I know Hoisin sauce isn't very good - but I use a very small amount.) The more I read about how much fish we should eat, I try more ways to prepare it so that everyone likes it. Both Case and Carson will eat fresh tuna - so it works.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mango-Jalapeno Sauce

This is a sauce I learned from Kim C. back when we used to cook meals together all the time. (In loving memory of Summer 2003!!) Whenever I make salmon this is always the sauce I use! And it's always a hit when I make it for others. I love it because it is made completely from fresh ingredients and it is super easy to make and impress. A few months ago I had some leftover sauce and had run out of fish. I made a small bowl of fresh blueberries and cut up strawberries and put some of the sauce on top...delicious! The fruity flavor with the spice was a nice taste combination. I tried freezing some extra sauce but it just didn't taste as fresh when I thawed it out so I recommend making it fresh when you want to use it.

Mango-Jalapeno Sauce

1 ripe mango, cut into chunks
1 jalapeno, diced
chopped cilantro

Blend in food processor. Best when refrigerated for a bit because the flavor of the jalapeno gets into all the mango. Of course feel free to adjust the ingredients to taste depending on level of spiciness you like or amount of sauce you want to make. I'm not a huge cilantro fan so often I leave the cilantro out and it tastes equally good.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Carrie's Beef Fajitas - Posted by Kim S.

Well, I seriously can not think of one single recipe that I make regularly that is considered "healthy" by most peoples' standards. For me it is all about portion control, and as a runner, making sure I get plenty of protein and healthy fat in my diet. I never look at fat content or calories in food. The only thing I monitor is the amount of sugar and starch in the food I eat. For example, I never buy "light" mayonnaise, because I would rather have the fat than the added sugar they put in "light" products. I also try to watch my intake of simple carbs by substituting with whole-grain varieties whenever possible. I found this recipe in Runners World Magazine this month (October 2008). It looks pretty good, and this is precisely the type of food I like to eat-lots of protein and healthy fats. If I were to make this recipe, I would load up on the "filling" and not eat a lot of the tortillas. Here's the recipe. It was submitted to Runner's World by world-class runner Carrie Tollefson.

Carrie's Beef Fajitas:

Carne Asada:
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 limes, juiced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
2 cloves garlic
2 lbs flank steak, cleaned

Fajita Fixings:
1 onion, grilled and sliced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 avocados, diced
2 green or red peppers, cut into strips and sauteed
16 small corn tortillas, warmed

Place all the carne asada ingredients into a zipper bag, making sure to turn the bag regularly so the marinade penetrates both sides evenly. Marinate 20 minutes per side. Place meat on heated broiler or grill and cook to medium rare. Thinly slice and serve with fajita fixings.

Serves four. Calories per serving: 710 Carbs: 62 grams Protein: 56 grams Fat: 27 grams.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Vegetable Confetti

Recipes don't need to be hard or complicated. This is something I made one day because I had a bunch of veggies I didn't want to go bad. What I absolutely love about it is that it can go on a salad, on top of salmon, as a side dish, or even a snack by itself. It actually becomes more flavorful as it sits so you can make a batch and keep it in the fridge to use whenever. You can use whatever vegetables you like (or have handy) and whatever dressing you choose. I put no measurements because everything is based on your taste and how much you want to make! The mix I made was a beautiful range of colors, which was another thing I like about this. *Remember...every different color fruit and vegetable has a different benefit! Here's to eating our rainbow every day!

Vegetable Confetti

-diced yellow squash
-diced green bell pepper
-diced tomatoes or halved grape tomatoes
-sliced green onion
-dressing of choice (I use the spray dressing in Caesar...yum!)
-salt/pepper (optional...remember don't use salt if there is plenty in your dressing!)

Mix together! It's as easy as that! Sorry I don't have a picture available at this time...I don't have any made right now.

The start of The Healthy Bite

So this is something I've wanted to do for awhile now but have been worried that I wouldn't have the support for it to get off the ground. Sommer and I were talking about how much fun it would be to do a recipe club where we all made different recipes and got together to try them and talk about them. Well unfortunately all my friends are scattered allll over so I decided to start one online...

My vision is to start a place to discuss and share healthy recipes and ways of life. Now when I say healthy that can mean many things...whether it be a healthy recipe or a recipe that has a beneficial ingredient or even thoughts about making substitutions to improve the health content of a recipe. As a dietitian I believe healthy is moderation in all things. So by all means we can still have desserts and "normal" recipes too!

It is easy to find recipes online. Its also easy to find ones where someone says "this is good!" Lets do a little bit more...lets talk about why its good...flavor, cost, easy, family friendly, quick, etc! Lets add our tips about what works and what doesn't. In the long run I'd love to see this grow into tips for an all over healthy life, not just food.

I'm also excited because not only am I a dietitian but I also have many dietitian friends and friends/family who enjoy cooking and eating/living healthy. I know so many people with a wide range of opinions and eating styles, so this really has the potential to be such a well rounded site. And for those with questions what a great resource of people (I hope!) to get those questions answered or discussed!

PLEASE PLEASE consider helping me out in this project! It is only with your support that this can get off the ground and turn into something useful and fun for all of us! If you have any recipes, comments, hints, tips, questions, anything that you want me to post please email it to me at or feel free to comment on any of the posts. Also, if you know any friends that would be interested please pass this along!! I know we're all very busy but even a couple a recipes a month would help a ton! Thank you so much for all your love and support! Here's to happy eating and a healthy life!