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.