Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Santa Fe Soup

Just had a friend ask me for this recipe so I figured I would share! It makes a full crockpot of soup (I usually make it there rather than the stovetop) and can feed a crowd. Or, it freezes really well and is nice to have on hand for a quick meal down the road. So make the full batch and save some for later. It is low fat and  you can add as much or little garnish as you like. I don't typically use this much pre-packed/canned foods but it is nice that you can buy the ingredients ahead of time or just keep them on hand in your pantry. If you rinse the beans it will reduce quite a bit of the sodium and you can look for reduced-sodium tomatoes if you like. 


From: The Good to Give Cookbook


1 lb. ground beef or turkey
2 cans shoepeg corn (or sweet corn)
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can milder rotel tomatoes (tomatoes with green chiles)
1 can diced toatoes
2 pkg. dry ranch dressing
2 pkg. taco seasoning
2 cups water
tortilla chips
shredded cheddar cheese
low-fat sour cream

Brown meat and drain fat. Put all ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil and then simmer on low for at least an hour and a half. You can also put in the crockpot in the morning and simmer on low all day if you prefer. Serve with broken up tortilla chips, cheese and sour cream.
*This soup freezes really well! It makes a lot so I usually freeze half in a gallon ziploc bag. I put the ziploc bag into an 8x8 pan and pop it in the freezer. When it is mostly frozen (or fully frozen) I run a little water on the bottom of the pan to warm it and pop out the soup. Then it is frozen in a little square and stacks nicely in the freezer. Then, when I want to re-heat, I put the bag in a large bowl of lukewarm water and let it defrost until it slides out of the bag. Then re-heat the soup in a pan on the stove.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Spinach Meatballs

Turkey and Spinach Meatballs
Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Spinach Meatballs
A delicious and interesting meal! If you are cooking the spaghetti squash in the oven you can get it started while you are pulling the meatballs together. This is a quick dinner and a great way to add in some more veggies. Next time I make this I will mix some spinach into the pasta sauce as well to give it even more nutritional value. 


From: aggieskitchen.com 


Spaghetti Squash


Heat whole squash in the microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften prior to cutting in half. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds.
To cook in oven: Place squash cut side down in a 9x13 pan. Cook 45 minutes at 350 or until done.
To cook in microwave: Place squash cut side down in a pan with 1/4 in. of water. Cook 8-10 minutes on high until done.

Turkey and Spinach Meatballs


Ingredients:
1 lb. lean ground turkey (or lean ground beef if you prefer)
2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves
1 small onion grated
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs (whole wheat if you want)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
splash of milk
non stick spray

In a large bowl mix together onion, egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan, and milk. Mix until it turns to a loose paste.  Add in ground turkey, spinach, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Gently combine ingredients. Roll meat mixture into small meatballs, about 1-2 inches round. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Before placing in oven, spray each meatball with non stick spray.

Cook 20-25 minutes until browned at 375 degrees.

When spaghetti squash is done, use a fork to scrape out squash lengthwise. Place squash on plate and cover with spaghetti sauce of choice (I love all Newmann's Own products since they use all natural ingredients and everything tastes great!), and top with meatballs. If meatballs have cooled prior to serving, drop them in the saucepan with spaghetti sauce and cook until heated through. We sprinkled with just a bit of Parmesan cheese before serving.

* Make a double batch of these meatballs to freeze for later!



Almond Cheesecake Brownies

No photo of these brownies...by the time I thought to take a picture the leftovers were demolished by my husband! These brownies are one of my favorite treats. They are a little extra work but you can taste the richness from the melted butter/chocolate base. Pop them in the microwave for 8-10 seconds and they taste like they are fresh from the oven. These are so rich you really only need a small piece. 


From the Good Housekeeping cookbook


Serves: 24

Ingredients:
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter/margarine
4 squares (4 oz.) unsweetened chocolate
4 squares (4 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate
2 c. sugar
5 large eggs
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 pkg. cold cream cheese (I use 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
3/4 tsp. almond extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a heavy 4 quart saucepan, melt butter and unsweetened and semi-sweet chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat. With wooden spoon, beat in 1 1/2 c. sugar. Add 4 eggs and 2 tsp. vanilla; beat until well blended. Stir in flour mixture until just blended.
3. In a small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese until smooth; gradually beat in remaining 1/2 c. sugar. Beat in remaining 1 egg, almond extract, and remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla until blended.
4. Spread 1 to 1 1/2 cup chocolate batter in prepared pan. Spoon cream cheese mixture in 6 large dollops on top of chocolate mixture. Cream cheese will spread and cover most of the chocolate batter. Spoon remaining chocolate batter over and between cream cheese in several large dollops. With tip of knife, cut and twist through mixtures to create a marbled effect.
5. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean (30-35 min). Cool completely in pan on wire rack before cutting.

Nutrition info: 238 calories, 14g fat

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chicken Tetrazzini

I have been wanting to try this recipe for awhile so I whipped it together for dinner this week. It was extremely simple and requires very few items that I don't typically have on hand (pretty much all I had to pick up was mushrooms). It's a very forgiving recipe that you can make a lot of substitutions to with whatever you have in the pantry. The book also mentioned you could use leftover turkey instead of chicken...this will definitely be one of our staple "after Thanksgiving" meals to use up the extra turkey. This was absolutely delicious and just as good the next day! 


Serves: 6

Ingredients:
6 oz. whole wheat fettuccine (I used the Dreamfields angel hair pasta we had on hand)
2 tsp. canola oil
3 leeks, white parts only, washed and finely chopped (I substituted diced yellow onions)
6 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary, divided (or dried)
3 T. all-purpose flour
3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup low fat milk
2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (I didn't have a lemon on hand so I used lemon juice and lemon pepper seasoning)
1/4 tsp. salt, divided
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1 T. finely chopped fresh parsley

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a 3-quart (9x13) baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Cook pasta in boiling water until just tender (may want to under cook slightly since it will be baked later), 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Drain and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 6-8 minutes. Add mushrooms and rosemary; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. add broth and milk; bring to a boil, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes or more (mine took much longer). Remove from heat and stir in chicken. Season with lemon juice, 1/8 tsp salt, and pepper. Gently mix in the pasta. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Combine lemon zest (this is where I used a bit of lemon pepper seasoning), Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, the remaining 1/2 tsp. rosemary, and the remaining salt and pepper (Since I didn't have fresh rosemary or parsley on hand, I used a dried Italian herb mixture to season the topping. You could also use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs.). Sprinkle the mixture over the casserole.
4. Bake the casserole until bubbling, 20-30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Info: 290 calories; 6g fat; 2g sat fat; 45mg chol; 25g protein; 5g fiber; 533mg sodium

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Broccoli, Cannellini Bean and Cheddar Soup

I love broccoli cheese soup (especially Panera's...yum!)! This is a lightened up version from Eating Well that still tastes delicious. Sorry I didn't snap a photo but it does look about like what you would think. The extra sharp cheddar cheese does work better than just sharp cheddar but use whatever you have/can find. I use our immersion blender to finish this off right in the pot to make less of a mess. 


From: Eating Well in Season

Serves: 6

Ingredients:
1 - 14oz. can of chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 lb. broccoli crowns, trimmed and chopped (about 6 cups)
1 - 14oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:
1. Bring broth and water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add broccoli, cover and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in beans, salt, and pepper. Cook until beans are heated through, about 1 more minute.
2. Transfer half the mixture to a blender and puree with half the cheese. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining half of soup and cheese. (Again, I just use the immersion blended to blend right in the pot).

Nutrition:
152 calories; 7g fat; 4g sat fat; 20 mg chol; 11g protein; 6g fiber; 558mg sodium

Monday, November 14, 2011

Roasted Broccoli (w/optional garlic)

From America's Test Kitchen

Even if you don't like broccoli, this recipe is worth a try...delicious!!

Servings: 4

Ingredients: 
1 large head of broccoli (1 3/4 lbs)
3 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
Ground black pepper
Lemon wedges for serving
*optional garlic to taste

Instructions:
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place large rimmed baking sheet on rack and heat oven to 500 degrees. Cut broccoli into large pieces, remove outer peel from stalk. Cut stalk into 2-3 inch lengths and 1/2 inch pieces. Place broccoli in large bowl; drizzle with olive oil and toss until well coated. Sprinkle with salt, sugar, and pepper and toss to combine 
2. Working quickly, remove baking sheet from oven. Carefully transfer broccoli to baking sheet and spread into an even layer, placing flat sides down. Return baking sheet to oven and roast until lightly browned (9-11 minutes). Serve immediately with lemon wedges. 

* If you would like to use the optional garlic, mix minced garlic with the olive oil prior to drizzling oil over broccoli. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fish Sticks and Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash

I enjoy going back to the good old days of my childhood when I loved fish sticks! These are good enough to eat as adults (or kids) and much healthier than the fried version I remember and love. I generally use frozen tilapia filets because I can never get my hands on fresh! The Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash is definitely something I will serve to my kids (and myself to, of course!). Great way to work in a few more veggies! 

Fish Sticks
Fish Stick prep
Fish Sticks

Servings: 4

Ingredients:
Canola oil cooking spray
1 cup whole-wheat dry bread crumbs
1 cup whole-grain cereal flakes
1 tsp. lemon pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 large egg whites, beaten
1 lb. tilapia fillets cut into ½ by 3 inch strips

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Place breadcrumbs, cereal flakes, lemon pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and salt in a food processor or blender and finely grind. Transfer to a shallow dish.
  3.  Place flour in a second shallow dish and egg whites in a third shallow dish. Dredge each strip of fish in the flour, dip it in the egg and then coat all sides with the breadcrumb mixture. Place on prepared pan. Coat both sides of the fish sticks with cooking spray.
  4. Bake until fish is cooked through and the breading is golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes.

* We make our own tartar sauce by mixing together ¼ cup of low calorie mayo with 2T. pickle relish, and a splash of lemon juice.

Nutrition Info: 289 calories; 3g fat; 1g sat. fat; 57mg chol; 31g protein; 373mg sod; 4g fiber
Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash
Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash

Servings: 6

Ingredients:
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges
3/4 lb. broccoli crowns, chopped (4 cups)
¾ cup fontina cheese
½ cup nonfat milk, heated
½ tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add potatoes, cover and steam for 10 minutes. Place broccoli on top, cover and steam until the potatoes and broccoli are tender, 6 to 8 minutes ore. Transfer the broccoli to a large bowl and coarsely mash with a potato masher. Add the potatoes, cheese, milk, salt, and pepper and continue mashing to desired consistency.

* We cooked these in our rice/veggie steamer and used half broccoli and half cauliflower. We also didn’t have fontina cheese or Yukon gold potatoes on hand so we substituted parmesan and red potatoes. Cheddar cheese would also taste great I think!

Nutrition Info: 135 calories; 4g fat; 3g sat fat; 16mg chol; 7g protein; 330mg sod

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pumpkin-Walnut Cake

Pumpkin-Walnut Cake


From The Essential Eating Well Cookbook

Yum!! I absolutely love fall and all the fun foods it brings. We made this cake for a grill-out with friends. It looked beautiful and tasted great but I would recommend making it for a brunch or afternoon coffee get together. It seemed to be more like a coffee cake than a dinner dessert but was delicious. I loved the pumpkin and spices – perfect for fall. I also doubled the glaze recipe (couldn’t resist) and it was well worth it. I am not sure there would have been enough if I hadn’t doubled the recipe.

Servings: 16

Cake:
½ cup walnuts, divided
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
2 large eggs
 1 large egg white
 1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
 1 15-ounce can unseasoned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup orange juice
¼ cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Carmel-Walnut Glaze:
2 T. packed light brown sugar
2 T. 1% milk or evaporated skim milk
2 T. butter

1.       To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12-cup Bundt or tube pan with cooking spray. Dust pan with flour, tilting to coat and tapping out excess.
2.       Spread walnuts in a shallow pan and bake until fragrant, about 5 minutes: let cool. Chop walnuts and set aside.
3.       Whisk whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl.
4.       Combine eggs, egg white, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add pumpkin, orange juice, oil, and vanilla; beat until smooth.
5.       Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Set aside 2 T. of walnuts for the glaze and fold the rest into the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
6.       Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
7.       To prepare glaze and finish cake: Combine brown sugar, milk, and butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook for 1 minute. Reove from heat and stir in the reserved 2T. walnuts.
8.       Turn the cake out onto the rack; place the rack over a baking sheet (or I just put mine right onto the cake stand to catch the glaze). Drizzle warm glaze over the top and sides of the cake. Transfer to a serving plate; spoon any glaze from baking sheet over the cake. Let cool.

Nutrition Info: 214 calories; 7g fat; 1g sat fat; 28mg chol; 4g protein; 281mg sod

Grilled Black Bean Nacho Pizza

Eating Well on a Budget

I don’t have a photo of this one but I wanted to share anyway. It would be a great fall football appetizer or meal and is seriously so delicious! We made it the other day when friends came over to watch the NFL season opener. I would recommend cooking the crust first like the recipe says to make sure it is good and crispy. I could eat this every week!!

Servings: 6

Ingredients:
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
½ cup chopped jarred, roasted red peppers
1 medium clove garlic, quartered
1 T. chili powder
¼ tsp. salt
Yellow cornmeal for dusting
1 lb. Whole-Wheat pizza dough
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or taco/Mexican cheese)
2 medium plum tomatoes, diced
4 medium scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped pitted ripe black olives
2T. chopped pickled jalapenos

1.       Preheat grill to low (or bake in oven at 450 degrees)
2.       Place beans, peppers, garlic, chili powder, and salt in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
3.       Sprinkle cornmeal onto a pizza peal or the bottom of a large baking sheet. Roll out or stretch dough on a lightly floured surface into a 14-ince circle. Transfer to the prepared peel or baking sheet, making sure the underside of the dough is completely coated with cornmeal.
4.       Slide the crust onto the grill rack; close the lid. Cook until lightly browned, 3-4 minutes.
5.       Using a large spatula, flip the crust. Spread the bean mixture on the crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Quickly layer on cheese, tomatoes, scallions, olives, and pickled jalapenos.
6.       Close the lid again and grill until the cheese has melted and the bottom of the crust has browned, about 8 minutes.

Nutrition Info: 317 calories; 8g fat; 4g sat fat; 17mg chol; 14g protein; 692mg sod

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Recipe
Essential Eating Well Cookbook

We always make our own – it’s easy to have the ingredients on hand and less expensive than buying the pre-made crusts. This recipe rises quickly so it’s not a hassle to let the dough rise while prepping any ingredients for the pizza.

Makes: 1 lb. dough

Ingredients:
1 cup whole-wheat four
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 pkg. quick rising yeast (2¼ tsp).
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. sugar
¾ cup hot water (120-130 degrees)
1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1.       Combine the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. With the motor running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1-2 T. warm water; if too sticky, add 1-2 T. flour. Process until the dough forms a ball, then process for 1 minute to knead.
2.       Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let dough rest for 10-20 minutes before rolling.

Nutrition info (per 1 pound): 1,032 calories; 18g fat; 3g sat fat; 0mg chol; 33g protein; 2,509mg sod

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Marshmallow Frosting


Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Marshmallow Frosting
Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Marshmallow Frosting

  • From The Essential Eating Well Cookbook
  • I debated whether or not these cupcakes were worth the effort since they called for a few expensive ingredients (dried egg whites and dried apples). The shredded apple really does keep the cupcakes from drying out and takes a ton of fat out by reducing oil. Just as an FYI - I used Red Delicious apples which I find hold up the best to cooking and baking. Also, this is not for the faint of heart since the marshmallow frosting took some work but they did turn out delicious (albeit more like a muffin than a cupcake) and are fairly healthy. I used all white whole wheat flour instead of the two different kinds the recipe called for and I thought they turned out great. Also, if your frosting doesn't whip over the stove like it should, put it in a stand mixer for a few minutes on a med-high speed and it should fluff up after 2-3 minutes. They did turn out beautifully and make a nice fall treat! I had plenty of extra leftover frosting to use for other things later!!
  • Cupcakes:
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded peeled apples
  • 1/2 cup diced dried apples
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, plus 3/4 cup, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • Frosting:
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 teaspoons dried egg whites (see Note), reconstituted according to package directions (equivalent to 2 egg whites)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish

  1. To prepare cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners or coat with cooking spray. 
  2. Combine shredded and dried apples in a bowl with 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside. Beat oil and the remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Beat in eggs one at a time until combined. Add vanilla, increase speed to high and beat for 1 minute.
  3. Whisk whole-wheat flour, cake flour, baking soda, salt and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the batter, starting and ending with dry ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Stir in the reserved apple mixture until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. (The cups will be full.)
  5. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before frosting.
  6. To prepare frosting: Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler (see Tip). Combine 1 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup water in the top of the double boiler. Heat over the simmering water, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Add reconstituted egg whites, cream of tartar and pinch of salt. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture is glossy and thick, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the top pan from the heat and continue beating for 1 minute more to cool. Add vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and beat on low just to combine. Spread or pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle cinnamon on top, if desired.
Nutrition Info: 267 cal; 7g fat; 1g sat fat; 35mg chol; 4g protein; 2g fiber

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vanilla-Orange Freezer Pops

My Vanilla-Berry Freezer Pop!
I LOVE these when the weather is hot! It’s a guilt-free snack for me since it’s pretty much just fruit juice and yogurt. We use a bottle of Naked juice in any flavor (berry or orange-carrot) and you can really make these out of whatever flavor of juice you feel like. Bed, Bath, and Beyond has a great selection of popsicle molds – we got ours for $9.99 and they have a handy stand that holds them upright in the freezer!

Servings: 10

1 ½ cups of orange (or other) juice
1 ½ cups low fat vanilla yogurt (2, 6 oz. containers)
1-2 T. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract

1. Whisk orange juice, yogurt, sugar to taste and vanilla in a medium bowl.
2. Divide the mixture among freezer-pop molds. Insert the sticks and freeze until completely firm, about 6 hours. Dip the molds briefly in hot water before unmolding.

Nutrition Info: 53 calories; 1g fat; 0g sat. fat; 2mg chol; 2g protein; 25mg sodium

Monday, August 29, 2011

Roasted Eggplant & Feta Dip

Roasted Eggplant & Feta Dip
From Eating Well 500 Calorie Dinners

Lately we have had so much eggplant I wasn’t sure what to do with it! If you like hummus you will definitely like this yummy dip for veggies and pita chips!!

Servings: 12 (1/4 cup each)

1 med. eggplant (about 1 lb.)
2 T. lemon juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup finely chopped red onion
1 small bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small chile pepper, such as jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
2 T. chopped fresh basil
1 T. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
¼ tsp. salt
Pinch of sugar (optional)

1. Position oven rach about 6 inches from the heat source; preheat broiler.
2. Line a baking pan with foil. Place eggplant in the pan and poke a few holes all over it to vent steam (I put mine straight on a broiler pan instead). Broil the eggplant, turning with tongs every 5 minutes, until the skin is charred and a knife inserted into the dense flesh near the stem goes in easily, 14-18 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board until cool enough to handle.
3. Put lemon juice in a medium bowl. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and scrape the flesh into the bowl, tossing with lemon juice to help prevent discoloring. Add oil and stir with a fork until it is absorbed (the eggplant should be a little chunky). Stir in feta, onion, bell pepper, chile pepper, basil, parsley, cayenne and salt. Taste and add sugar if desired.

* I pureed everything in a blender afterwards because I like a smooth consistency. It turned out great and had a beautiful consistent look to it.

Nutrition Info: 75 calories; 6g fat; 2g sat. fat; 6g chol; 129mg sod; 2g protein


Roasted Eggplant

Indian-Spiced Chicken Pitas, Glazed Mini Carrots, and Crushed Red Potatoes with Buttermilk

Indian-Spiced Chicken Pitas, Glazed Mini Carrots, and Crushed Red Potatoes
From Eating Well 500 Calorie Dinners (all three items together make a dinner under 500 calories)

Indian-Spiced Chicken Pitas

Servings: 4

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
1 ½ tsp. garam masala, divided
¾ tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 cup thinly sliced seeded cucumber
¾ cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro or mint
2 tsp. lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4, 6-inch whole-wheat pitas, warmed
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
2 small or 1 large tomato, sliced
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion

1. Preheat grill to medium-high or position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler. If grilling, oil the grill rack. If broiling, coat a broailer pan with cooking spray.
2. Sprinkle chicken with 1 tsp. garam masala and ½ tsp. salt. Place chicken on the grill rack or prepared pan and cook until no longer pink in the center, turning halfway through. Transfer chicken to clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine cucumber, yogurt, cilantro, lemon juice, remaining ½ tsp. garam masala, and ¼ tsp. salt and pepper in a small bowl. Thinly slice the chicken. Split open the warm pitas and fill with the chicken, yogurt sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onion.

Nutrition Info: 333 calories; 5g fat; 1g sat. fat; 64mg chol; 637mg sod; 32g protein

Crushed Red Potatoes with Buttermilk

Servings: 6

2 lb. red potatoes, scrubbed
1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
½ cup nonfat buttermilk
2 T. chopped fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 1 tsp. salt and bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook until tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl. Coarsely crush the potatoes with a potato masher or the back of a large spoon. Gently stir in buttermilk and chives. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutrition info: 85 calories; 0g fat; 0g sat. fat; 0mg chol; 311 mg sodium; 3g protein

Glazed Mini Carrots

Servings: 4

3 cups mini carrots (about 1 lb)
1/3 cup water
1 T. honey
2 tsp. butter
¼ tsp. salt, or to taste
1 T. lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 T. chopped fresh parsley

Combine carrots, water, honey, butter, and salt in a large skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover and cook until tender, 5-7 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring often, until the liquid is a syrupy glaze, 1-2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley.

* As a side note, Robbie and I often make this by combining all ingredients, putting them into a covered glass baking dish, and baking in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour (depending on the thickness of the carrots). It is easy to throw alongside anything else you have baking and just pull out when the carrots are done to your liking!

Nutrition Info: 74 calories; 2g fat; 1g sat. fat; 5mg chol; 236mg sod; 1g protein

Friday, August 5, 2011

Harvard Beets


My sister ranks beets as one of her all-time favorite foods. I have to admit this somewhat baffles me since it has definitely not been love at first bite for me. I’m determined, however, to find a few staple recipes that I enjoy using beets (especially since so far we get a bunch of them each week in our CSA! I can’t stand wasting food…).

Today I cooked up what was in our fridge using a recipe called Harvard Beets. To date, this is my favorite beet recipe. The beets are boiled until tender and coated in a sweet and sour sauce. This would make a gorgeous side dish and is a really healthy way to incorporate few beets into our diet. The only adjustment I plan to make next time is to reduce the amount of sugar and possibly the vinegar as well. I think that would really help the flavor of the beets to shine through. The recipe calls for 1 bunch of beets but I used 2 (6 small to medium beets) and felt there was still plenty of sauce.

From The Good Housekeeping Cookbook

Servings: 4 side dish sized servings

1 bunch beets with tops (1 pound)
1/3 cup cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 T. cornstarch
½ tsp. salt
1 T. butter or margarine, cut into pieces

Trim all but 1 inch of stems from beets. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine beets and enough water to cover; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until tender, 20-30 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup beet liquid. When cool enough to handle, peel beets and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices.
In a nonreactive 2-quart saucepan, blend reserved beet liquid, vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until smooth. Add butter; heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring until sauch has thickened and boils. Reduce heat and simmer 1 minute. Add beets; cook until heated through.

Nutrition Information: 104 calories; 3g fat; 2g sat. fat; 8mg chol.; 352mg sod.; 1g protein

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Squash Casserole

Squash Casserole
From The Good Housekeeping Cookbook

Servings: 8 side dish size servings

2 T. butter or margarine
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 lb. yellow squash (2 med.), cut into ½” slices
1 lb. zucchini (2 med.), cut into 1/2” slices
½ tsp. salt
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
2 T. all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
4 T. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup saltine cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 12-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add squash and salt. Cook, stirring occassionally until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and ground red pepper and cook 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low; sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add milk and heat to boiling, stirring until browned bits are loosened from bottom of skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and 3 tablespoons Parmesan.
Spoon squash mixture into shallow 9”x9” baking dish. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs and remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Bake until bubbling at edges, about 20 minutes.

Nutrition Information: 130 calories; 7g fat; 4g sat. fat; 17mg. chol.; 307 mg. sodium; 5g protein

Jill’s notes:
* I love making substitutions to use whatever I have in my fridge! For this recipe I chopped up 4 different kinds of summer squash I had lying around, substituted low-fat plain yogurt for the sour cream, and put some triscuts in the blender to use as topping since I didn’t have any saltines on hand.
** Another time/money-saving technique I use is to prepare and freeze onions in advance for cooking. Instead of buying onions one or two at a time, I buy a bag (which costs less) and prep them different ways (diced, sliced, quartered, strips, etc.). I freeze them in bags in 1 cup or 1 onion measurements. It saves so much time and effort when preparing cooked dishes later on!

Squash Casserole fresh out of the oven!

Toasted Coconut Banana Bread

Toasted Coconut Banana Bread

From Trim & Terrific Freezer Friendly Meals

Servings: 16 slices

1 egg
2/3 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 bananas, mashed
1 cup light coconut milk, shake before opening
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ cup flaked coconut, toasted
Toasted walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch non-stick loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.
In a bowl, mix together the egg, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add the mashed banana and coconut milk. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl. Gradually stir in the flour mixture into the banana mixture just until moist. Add half the coconut (and toasted walnuts or pecans if desired) and transfer batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the remaining coconut and press into top of batter. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.

To Freeze: Cool to room temperature, then wrap, label, and freeze. Recommended freezing time: up to 4-6 months. Just remove from freezer and defrost when ready to eat!

* Jill’s notes: To toast coconut either put in the oven in a metal pan (can do as it pre-heats) and stir on occasion until coconut reaches desired level of toasting. Can also toast in a skillet on a stovetop. Cook over low heat stirring occasionally. This is one of Rob’s favorite snacks and we always have some coconut flakes on hand. Add toasted coconut to mixed nuts, chocolate chips, and raisins or cranberries for a quick trail mix, sprinkle on top of yogurt, pudding, or ice cream, or just eat plain!

** This is a great recipe to double. Eat one now and freeze one for later. 2 batches will use 1 can of coconut milk and you can throw in 4-6 bananas.

*** You can also easily incorporate whole wheat flour into this recipe. Make a blend of whole wheat flour and regular flour 50/50 or I used 100% white whole wheat flour.

Nutrition Info (as recipe is written): 161 calories; 6g fat; 2g sat. fat; 13 mg. chol.; 84 mg. sod.; 1g fiber; 2g protein