Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pumpkin French Toast Fritters with Syrup

You all are probably sick of me posting recipes that call for the use of pumpkin, but I can't help it...seriously! I absolutely love using pumpkin in as many recipes as possible. First, I just love the flavor it gives dishes. Second, it packs a lot of nutrition into a small amount, which is exactly what I want with my meals/dishes.

This is a great recipe for breakfast but can also be tasty for lunch or dinner. I serve french toast with some scrambled eggs or turkey sausage. You want some protein with a carb-filled meal, even if the carbs are whole grain. A small serving of fresh fruit would be good to serve with this meal as well.

Pumpkin French Toast Fritters with Syrup
Serves: 4
Adapted by:

4 slices whole wheat bread (I prefer Wonder Smart Wheat Bread)
2 - 3 tablespoons Libby's pure pumpkin
2 eggs OR 3 egg whites OR 1/2 cup eggbeater substitute (I use 3 egg whites)
2 tablespoons skim or 1% milk
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

-Take 2 slices of bread and spread 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin on each slice. Top each piece with a dry slice of bread. You will have 2 whole sandwiches.
-Cut each sandwich into 4 squares.
-In a small bowl, combine eggs, milk, and spices together.
-Dunk each square of bread into the egg mixture, making sure to coat both sides.
-Once coated, place each square on a nonstick baking sheet.
-Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. You will flip them over after 10 minutes of baking.
-Serve pumpkin french toast fritters with a small schmear of butter and syrup of your choice or sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and serve.

Enjoy! :)

-I like these with syrup and a dab of butter, but the powdered sugar makes for a very pretty presentation.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chicken Not So Pot Pie

Who doesn't love chicken pot pie? It is creamy, filled with tons of hearty veggies and chicken, and always comes with a super flaky crust on top. While it tastes delicious, it is usually high in fat and calories. This recipe is great because it taste just like chicken pot pie, but without the crust, which means it is much healthier for you and still taste amazing.

Chicken Not So Pot Pie
Serves: 4-6
Adapted by:

2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine OR water (I used a Sauvignon Blanc dry white wine)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves OR 1 teaspoon dried thyme
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
2 to 3 large Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1'' cubes
2 medium carrots, sliced
3/4 teaspoon lite salt
1/2 pound fresh green beans OR asparagus, cut into 1'' pieces (I prefer green beans)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 large lemon)
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, chopped - OPTIONALbut highly recommended

-In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Once the pot is heated, add onion and cook for about 5 minutes, making sure to stir frequently. After 5 minutes, add the chicken broth, wine, and thyme. Bring mixture to a boil and add the chicken. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer until meat is cooked. This will take at most about 6 minutes. Remove chicken pieces and keep warm in microwave on a plate.
-To the pot, add the potatoes, carrots, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook until potatoes are tender, which should be 15 to 20 minutes.
-Add the green beans and cook for an additional ten minutes. Stir the mixture frequently to prevent scorching/sticking.
-Return chicken to the pot and add lemon juice, peas, and additional salt and pepper to season. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top of the dish just before serving.

Enjoy! :)

BBQ Sloppy Joe's

I always try to change up recipes every time I make them. It drives my husband bonkers sometimes because he will really like the way I do a recipe one time and then hates that I don't make it the same way every time I make it. Sloppy Joe's are one of those recipes that I make differently each time I make them. They are such a versatile dish and there are so many options on how to make them. I decided to try out some bbq sloppy joes and they were extremely tasty.

BBQ Sloppy Joe's
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
Adapted by:

1 pound lean ground turkey breast OR 1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup bbq sauce - your preference (I use lower sugar/lower calorie bbq sauce)
1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
4 to 6 whole wheat sandwich buns

-In a nonstick skillet, heat over medium high heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Brown the turkey or beef until it is cooked, which should take 8 to 10 minutes.
-Add the peppers and onions to the skillet and cook an additional 3 minutes.
-Add the bbq sauce, tomatoes, garlic powder, and chili powder and cook 2 to 3 more minutes.
-Toast your wheat sandwich buns in the broiler for a few minutes (you may want to brush some light melted butter on each piece to toast up nice and good)
-Serve some of the mixture on your bun and eat

Enjoy! :)

-We find these to be very good if you add some dill pickles or sliced jalapenos just before eating. I imagine you could add all kinds of things though.

Healthy Sauteed Vegetable Medley

I don't know about all of you, but I definitely splurged a bit much over this past week. I feel like I need to detox, so this week will be all about eating healthy, whole foods to get back into my normal routine.  Here is a very simple, yet delicious recipe that will go with so many different meals. I love this recipe because it is so colorful and just simply tasty. You can even use the leftovers and make veggie scrambled eggs for breakfast the next day. YUM!

Healthy Sauteed Vegetable Medley
Serves: 4 servings
Adapted by:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped baby portabella mushrooms
1 cup fresh broccoli florets, chopped
1/2 zucchini, chopped
1/2 yellow squash, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons reduced sodium chicken broth

-In a large saute pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and heat until warm. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add all the remaining vegetables and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the oregano, soy sauce, and chicken stock, with any additional spices you might want to add (we add black pepper) and stir well until the vegetables are all mixed together. You will cook the dish an additional 3 minutes or so. Serve

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Turkey Meatball and Spaghetti Soup

It is getting colder and colder as the weeks go on and winter will be here before we know it. Soup is one of the best meals for winter months because it is so hearty, filling, and warms you right up. We try tons of different soup recipes every winter and always find a few that we absolutely love and want to share with people. This soup is incredibly delicious and is cheap to make, which is an added bonus with the holidays coming up.  This recipe reminds me of Spaghettio's with meatballs from when I was a child, but it is much healthier and so much tastier.

Turkey Meatball and Spaghetti Soup
Serves: 6 servings
Adapted by:

5 cups low sodium/fat free chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cloves of garlic, chopped and divided
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided OR 2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 sweet onion, chopped and divided
3-4 tablespoons tomato sauce (I use low sodium tomato sauce)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes - OPTIONAL but totally worth it
salt and pepper for seasoning
6 oz dry spaghetti noodles, cut into small pieces - make sure to use whole wheat/whole grain varieties

1 pound ground turkey breast OR lean ground beef
1 small egg
1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup light grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil

-In a large soup pot, over medium heat, bring the chicken broth, water, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1/4 of the chopped onion, tomato sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to a boil; simmer about 5 minutes or so.
-In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, parmesan cheese, egg, remaining garlic, remaining onion, remaining parsley, breadcrumbs, and salt and pepper. Once combined thoroughly, form the mixture into small 1 inch meatballs (you will end up with about 36 meatballs if you make them small enough).
-In a nonstick skillet, add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Once heated, add the meatballs. You will want to make sure all sides of the meatballs get seared. This will take approx 5 minutes or so.
-Once you have seared all sides of the meatballs, add them to the large pot of broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Once at a boil, turn to medium heat and cover. Cook for 20 minutes.
-Add the pasta to the boiling soup and cook according to the directions on the pasta package. It usually takes 10-14 minutes for spaghetti noodles to be cooked thoroughly.
-Right before soup is done, add the basil, add any additional salt and pepper if it is needed and then serve with grated parmesan cheese on top.

Enjoy! :)

Smashed Spiced Sweet Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a common side dish served at almost any Christmas dinner. How about trying something healthier, by serving smashed sweet potatoes instead? Sweet potatoes are loaded with all kinds of nutrients and are by far better for you than white spuds. This dish is great because it is more savory than sweet. I find that people who like sweet potatoes either like the sweetened, marshmallow topped kind, or they prefer them savory, with chili powder and cumin spices. Either way, give this dish a try and I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Plus, it is super healthy!

Smashed Spiced Sweet Potates
Serves 12 servings, 1/2 cup each
Adapted by:

4 to 5 pounds sweet potatoes or approx 4 - 5 large spuds
2 tablespoons light butter
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup - no substitutions or it will taste funny
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon lite salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pierce each potato with a fork in several places to vent the potato. Place in the oven and roast until they are soft. This could take as little as 30 minutes or as long as 1 hour 15 mins. It depends on the size of them and your oven.
-Once the potatoes are soft, remove from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes.
-Remove the peel from the sweet potatoes. It is best if you cut them in half and then try to remove the peel. Cut the peeled sweet potatoes into chunks and place in a large bowl.
-To the bowl of cut up sweet potatoes, add butter and then mash with a potato masher or an electric mixer until fluffy and smashed. You don't want all the lumps gone because this dish is supposed to be the consistency of a smashed potato, not a mashed potato.
-Add the maple syrup, chili powder, cumin, ginger, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine all ingredients and serve.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Whole Wheat Chicken Ravioli with Sweet Pepper Sauce

Here is a great recipe to try out this week. It doesn't take a very long time to make this dish and it comes out tasting very good. Pasta dishes can be healthy for you, but only if you eat them in small portions and only if you eat whole wheat/whole grain varieties. Our household strives to not purchase anything that is considered a "white" pasta/starch. I encourage your household to do the same. Just walk on past the "white stuff" next time you are at the store. This is a heavy meal so try to eat a small salad or some steamed veggies with it. Resist the urge to eat garlic bread with this meal. Typically, people want garlic bread or dinner rolls with pasta dishes and that is simply too many carbs. Keep it light if you serve this with anything. :)

Whole Wheat Chicken Ravioli with Sweet Pepper Sauce
Serves: 4
Adapted by:

5 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup water
2 tablespoons tomato paste (try to use the lower sodium kind)
1/2 teaspoon McCormick crushed sage
1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package Buitoni Whole Wheat Chicken Ravioli OR whatever ravioli you see and want to serve with this - remember whole wheat varieties only (found in the refrigerated goods section; ie: butter,juice, cheese aisle)

-In a large nonstick skillet, add the olive oil and heat over low heat. Add the bell peppers, onion, and garlic, and cook for about 15 minutes or until softened.
-To the nonstick skillet, add the water, tomato paste, sage, brown sugar, and salt. Cover the skillet and cook an additional 20 minutes.
-While the mixture is cooking, bring a stockpan full of water to a boil and cook the ravioli. Make sure to salt the water. It won't take long to cook at all. Drain the water, except reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and put in a bowl.
-Transfer the contents of the skillet to a food processor/blender and process until the mixture is smooth. Return blended mixture to the skillet and add the 1/2 cup reserved cooking pasta water. Bring mixture to a simmer and add the cooked ravioli to the dish. Stir all ingredients and serve.

Enjoy! :)

Brown Sugar and Honey Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Need something delicious to serve to all of your family on Christmas morning? I made these homemade cinnamon rolls this past weekend and delivered to a friend's house. She just had a baby about 2 weeks ago and I thought she might like not having to make breakfast and be able to just grab a delicious cinnamon roll.
Bryan tested one of these babies and he said they were the best to date that I have made. I definitely wanted to share the recipe with all of you.

Now, cinnamon rolls are generally very unhealthy for you. They are high in calories, refined carbs, and fat. These are not super healthy cinnamon rolls, but I did use substitutions to make them healthier than what you are going to find in a can or in the frozen aisle at the grocery store.

Brown Sugar and Honey Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
Serves: 12 medium cinnamon rolls or 6 gigantic cinnamon rolls
Adapted by:

1 cup water
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 whole egg or 1/4 cup eggbeaters substitute (I used eggbeaters)
1 1/3 cups Bread Flour
2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute equivalent (I used Splenda baking sugar substitute)
1/2 teaspoon lite salt
3 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons softened butter
1/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute
1/4 cup brown sugar or sugar substitute
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
honey to drizzle - Optional

For the dough -
1) Add the water to the bread pan of your bread maker. Add the softened butter, egg, flour, sugar, and salt to the bread pan. Make a small hole in the middle of the bread pan and add your yeast to it. Star the bread machine to the dough cycle and let it do its magic. It takes about 1 1/2 hours in a bread machine.
2) When the dough is finished, prepare your surface to roll it out. I put down sheets of wax paper and pour flour on top of it so the dough doesn't stick to it. You can also use a silicone pastry mat or a wooden cutting board to roll the dough out.
3) Prepare a 13x9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray
4) Place dough on floured surface and roll the dough out into a rectangular shape (approx 12 x 16)
5) Once the dough is rolled out, brush the softened butter or spread with a knife onto the entire surface of the dough.
6) sprinkle the brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon on top of the buttered surface.
7) drizzle honey over the entire surface of the dough - OPTIONAL
8) Roll the dough and pinch each end of the dough
9) Cut the roll into 6 large pieces or 12 smaller pieces and place each piece in the baking dish. Cover the dish with a paper towel and let it sit for 1 hour to rise. The dough will double in size and that is how you know they are ready to bake.
10) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 15-25 minutes. It will depend on your oven as to how long these take. My oven took about 18 minutes. You know they are done when they are golden brown on top.
11) Ice the cinnamon rolls while they are still warm. See recipe below.

Cinnamon Roll Cream Cheese Icing
3 ounces reduced fat or fat free cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confections sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

1) In a bowl, Beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer. Add confections sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat together until cream cheese frosting consistency. It took about 1 1/2 minutes of mixing to get the right consistency.
2) Ice the cinnamon rolls and serve

Enjoy! :)

Italian Beef Sandwiches on Whole Wheat Rolls

With Christmas less than a week away, I am sure you are going to be quite busy all week preparing for this weekend's festivities. Crockpot meals are going to be a lifesaver for you during this hectic time. These sandwiches are incredibly delicious and so simple to make. The best part about sandwiches is that they are so filling that you don't really need to serve them with anything else except a small serving of fresh fruit.

Italian Beef Sandwiches on Whole Wheat Rolls
Serves 6-8 sandwiches
Adapted by:

1 roast (I use rump roast and about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds) - trim any visible fat off the roast
1 packet of dry italian seasoning (usually found near the mayo/salad dressing stuff)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablesoon granulated sugar
1 can reduced sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 package of brown gravy mix (mix with 1 cup of water) OR 1 jar of beef gravy
1 green bell pepper - sliced in thin strips
1 small jar pepperoccinis with juice

-In a bowl, combine all ingredients except the roast and pepperoccinis, and mix together well.
-Place trimmed roast in the bottom of a slow cooker and pour the mixture on top of it.
-Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours
-Shred the beef and serve on whole wheat rolls with pepperoccinis
-Use the sauce from the slow cooker to dip your sandwich like an au jus sandwich

Enjoy! :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Angel Chicken

This dish is so incredibly delicious! The recipe is very simple to put together and you will be so impressed with the end result.  This dish is quite filling so I served this with a steamed veggie medley (carrots, cauliflower, snap peas, and broccoli)

Angel Chicken
Serves: 6-8 portions
Adapted by:

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons light butter
1 packet - Italian Dressing Mix (dry)
1 can of cream of chicken soup OR golden mushroom soup
4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 cup white wine
whole wheat or whole grain angel hair pasta, cooked

-In a slow cooker, add the chicken to the bottom of it.
-In a small bowl, combine butter and cream cheese and soften in the microwave (will only take a few seconds)
-Stir the butter, cream cheese, italian dressing mix, soup, and the wine together.
-Pour the mixture over the chicken breasts.
-Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours
-Cook your pasta of choice just before you are ready to serve the meal

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Peas with Mushrooms and Thyme

I feel like peas are one of those veggies that people either love or just can't stand. I love peas but I tend to get bored with just steaming them and seasoning them with pepper. This is a simple, yet delicious, side dish that I think you will enjoy.

Peas with Mushrooms and Thyme
Serves: 6
Adapted by:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (approx 1/2 cup)
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms OR canned mushrooms (fresh is always better)
1 bag (16oz) frozen peas
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme OR 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

-In a nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms to the oil and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-Add peas to the skillet and cook an addition 3 to 5 minutes.
-Add salt, pepper, and thyme to skillet and stir until all ingredients are blended.
-Dish on a plate and eat

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Soft Gingersnap Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

This past weekend, my mom came over and we baked about 8 different kinds of holiday cookies/treats. This is a yearly event for us and always has been. I look forward to it each and ever year. I think some of the best presents are those that are made homemade. I enjoy being able to bake everything and then wrap it up in pretty treat bags for all of our coworkers and friends. It's also nice to spend time catching up with my mom and just talking about life.

This year we tried several new recipes, and were quite pleased that all of them were very good. Our very favorite cookie we made was Soft Gingersnap Cookies with White Chocolate Chips. My coworkers have said this was their favorite cookie as well, so I thought I would share the recipe. I know that I usually post recipes that are modified and healthier, but it is the Christmas season and a few sinful cookies never hurt anyone. These are made just like the original recipe calls for, but it they are so worth it! I will offer a few tips on how you could "healthify" this cookie recipe below.

This recipe is great because it makes a LOT of cookies. You can freeze them and enjoy them over the next few weeks or you can put them in little goody bags and give to your loved ones. I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Soft Gingersnap Cookies with White Chocolate Chips
Serves: approx 4 dozen cookies
Adapted by:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon lite salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips or chunks
Granulated sugar for coating the balls of dough

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Line two large baking sheets with parchment papers or a baking mat to prevent sticking when you cook them
-In a large bowl, add the butter and sugar and mix with an electric mixer until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
-Add the molasses, canola oil, vanilla, baking soda, salt, and spices to the bowl. Mix until the mixture is blended completely.
-Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat  until the mixture is smooth.
-To the large bowl, add 1 cup of flour at a time and blend together until all the flour has been added and incorporated.
-Stir in the white chocolate chips to the batter. Do not use the mixer, you just want to fold in the chocolate.
-With a small scooper, scoop the dough into balls and roll each one in granulated sugar. Place the rolled balls on the baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes in the oven.
-Remove the cookies from the oven and let them sit on the baking sheet for 3 to 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.

-You could use 1 tablespoon canola oil and 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce instead of 2 tablespoons of canola oil.
-You could use a sugar substitute in place of the cup of sugar. My recommendation would be to use Splenda Sugar Blend. I find it works well with baked goods.
-You could use light butter instead of normal butter.
-In place of the 2 eggs, you could use 1/2 cup eggbeaters
-You could do half and half with the flour; do 2 cups white whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour to get some whole grains in these cookies.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Firecracker Beef Casserole

While the recipe has the term "Firecracker" in it, this dish is not that spicy. Casseroles are what I turn to in the winter months because they are so hearty and filling. It also helps that I don't have tons of dishes to clean up after dinner, because the meal is all in one baking dish. This casserole is beyond delicious. You really don't need anything else served with this meal, but if you insist on something on the side, try to stick to a small salad or some fresh fruit. Some fresh pineapple or mango might go really well with this dish.

For our family of 2, this dish made a ton of food. It fed us lunch for a few days. If you wrap up the casserole correctly, you could freeze remaining leftovers and have another night for supper.

Firecracker Beef Casserole
Serves: 8
Adapted by:

1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 medium to large yellow onion, chopped
1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon lite salt
6 low carb flour tortillas or any tortilla you prefer (try to use low carb and whole wheat options)
1 can Campbells Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can Original or Mild Rotel, undrained (I used original)
4 ounces reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a large skillet, add the ground beef and onion and cook until the beef is cooked completely. Drain any excess fat.
-To the skillet, add black beans, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Stir together until mixed well.
-In a 13x9 baking dish, spray with nonstick cooking spray and add the bean and beef mixture to the dish.
-Arrange the flour tortillas over the meat/bean mixture.
-In a small bowl, combine the cream of mushroom soup and rotel. Pour this mixture over the flour tortillas.
-Sprinkle the top of the casserole with shredded cheese
-Bake in the oven uncovered for 25-30 minutes.

-You could easily substitute ground turkey breast or shredded chicken in place of the beef.

Enjoy! :)

Sweet Pepper Rice

This is one of those quick side dish recipes that is perfect for a weeknight meal. This rice doesn't take long to make, yet it delivers an incredible flavor and goes well with just about any kind of meat you wish to serve with it.

Sweet Pepper Rice
Serves 4-6
Adapted by:

1 tablespoon light butter or margarine
1 sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped OR 1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped (I use a mixture of both peppers)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp of salt
dash of black pepper for seasoning purposes
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
1/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute equivalent (I used 1/8 cup of Splenda Sugar Blend)
1 1/3 cup brown rice OR long grain white rice
3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

-In a large nonstick pan, melt the butter and add the onion and peppers. Saute the onions and peppers until soft and the onions are translucent.
-Add cilantro, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and cook an additional minute.
-Add the rice and brown it. Make sure to watch it closely and stir often to prevent burning. You want the rice to have a toasted look to it.
-In a medium to large sized saucepan, dissolve the sugar into the chicken broth. You will achieve this by having a medium high heat. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, add the rice and pepper mixture to the pan. Bring entire contents to a boil and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
-Fluff with a fork before serving on a plate

Enjoy! :)


Friday, December 9, 2011

Honey-Bourbon Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

The past few weeks have been busy and quite hectic for us. I have been using my slow cooker a lot. Here is a recipe that we tried recently. We absolutely devoured these sandwiches. They were so flavorful and just a little different than your average chicken sandwich. These sandwiches were hearty and very filling. All you need is a simple side salad or some fresh fruit and you are all set. This recipe makes quite a bit of pulled chicken, so if you have a small family it will last for several meals. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

Honey-Bourbon Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Serves: 4-6 large sandwiches or 8 smaller sandwiches
Adapted from:

1 cup lower sugar Ketchup
1/4 onion, minced
1/4 cup Bourbon
1 tablespoon Honey
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tablespoon Molasses
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce (use lower sodium)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch red cayenne pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
whole wheat sandwich buns
pickle slices - optional

-Combine all ingredients except chicken in the slow cooker. Mix all ingredients well. Add the chicken breasts and make sure to coat them with the sauce.
-Cover the slow cooker and cook the chicken on low for 8 hours. After cooking for 8 hours, take a fork or spoon and gently shred the chicken into pieces. It will probably just fall apart after cooking so long. Stir the entire ingredients together and cover the slow cooker.
-Take a wheat sandwich bun and put some of the chicken on it. Add pickles or any additional toppings you might prefer on top.

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Healthy Spinach-Stuffed Meatloaf

I know meatloaf is one of those dishes that you either love or you hate. I am in the category of those that love it. Yes, I have had my fair share of different meatloafs that I didn't care for, but I love them so much because you can make them different every time you make one. Top contenders in our house are the bbq bacon meatloaf and the italian meatloaf. This recipe is definitely making its way to the top of my favorites though.

I opted to try this recipe because I am really trying to like spinach and I find that when it is mixed in dishes, I don't mind it at all. A great thing about this meatloaf recipe is that it is super healthy. As long as you pair it with healthier side dishes, you will be good to go. I served this meatloaf with a small serving of dill and garlic roasted red potatoes and roasted green beans. YUM! The reheated leftovers taste very good as well!

I hope you all give this recipe a try because I am quite confident you will love it!

Healthy Spinach-Stuffed Meatloaf
Serves: 8 slices of meatloaf
Adapted by:

2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
1 pound ground turkey breast OR lean ground beef (I used ground turkey breast)
1 cup oats
2 egg whites
1/8 cup low-sodium soy sauce (I use kikkoman)
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup minced parsley or 3 tablespoons dried parsley
4 cloves of garlic, minced or 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic in oil
1 tablespoon reduced sodium worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons of ketchup or bbq sauce (I used bbq sauce)
Salt and pepper for seasoning purposes

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the spinach, a dash of salt and pepper, and 2 tablespoons water. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until the spinach wilts. Set aside.
-In a bowl, combine the oats, eggs, milk, and soy sauce and stir together until combined. Set aside for about 10 minutes to soak.
-After 10 minutes of the oats soaking, add the ground turkey, parsley, garlic, worcestershire sauce, and paprika. Mix well.
-Coat a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and take half of the meat mixture and make into a loaf in the bottom of the pan. Top with spinach and sprinkle with the cheese. Then press the remaining meat over the top of the spinach and cheese. Cover the top of the meatloaf with bbq sauce or ketchup.
-Bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes or until meatloaf is cooked and no longer pink in the middle.
-Remove meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sopapilla Cheesecake Pie

Disclaimer: This dish is not a healthy dish at all. It is RICH and INDULGENT!

Every now and then you need something indulgent and sweet. This dessert is extremely indulgent but I absolutely love it and had to share the recipe with all of you. This dish is perfect for a holiday party or work party. It is very sweet and rich, so you only need a few little nibbles at a time.

I tried to make this dessert slightly healthier by using reduced fat cream cheese, splenda, and reduced fat crescent rolls.

Sopapilla Cheesecake Pie
Serves: 12 larger pieces or 24 smaller pieces
Adapted from:

2 (8oz) packages reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar or 1/2 cup Splenda Sugar Substitute
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 (8oz) cans reduced fat crescent rolls
3/4 cup white sugar or 1/3 cup Splenda Sugar Substitute
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup light butter, room temperature
1/4 cup pure honey

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
-In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar or equivalent, and vanilla extract. Beat with a hand mixer until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
-Unroll the cans of crescent rolls, and use a rolling pin to shape each piece into 9x13 inch rectangle. You want it to be rolled out to fit into the baking dish almost perfectly.
-Press one piece of dough into the bottom of the baking dish. Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture into the baking dish, then cover with the other piece of rolled dough.
-In a bowl, stir together the 3/4 cup sugar or equivalent, cinnamon, and butter. Dot the mixture over the top of the cheesecake. You can sprinkle the mixture all over the top and it works well.
-Bake in the oven for approx 30 minutes. You want the dough to be puffed up and golden brown.
-Remove from the oven and drizzle with honey. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 or 24 pieces/squares.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie is one of those recipes that is made differently in every household. I have had the dish several different ways. This recipe is the first one I've had that was topped with sweet potatoes instead of regular mashed potatoes. As you all know, I prefer sweet potatoes over regular potatoes any day of the week. Put simply, they are just way more nutritious than a white potato. This is a great casserole because it has all the components you want in a meal. It fills you up and is great for a cold, wintery day. A side serving of fruit or a small wheat dinner roll is a perfect compliment to this dish.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
Serves 4-6
Adapted from:

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
splash of 1% milk
Nonstick cooking spray or olive oil spray
12 oz lean ground turkey or lean ground beef - I used ground turkey breast
2-3 celery stalks, diced
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
several dashes of worcestershire sauce - I did about 2 1/2 tablespoons
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce - use the lower sodium kind
1.5 cups steamed green beans - can be fresh or frozen
salt and pepper for seasoning
asiago or parmesan cheese, for sprinkling on top - use sparingly (I used parmesan cheese because that is what I had on hand)

-Bring a large pot of water to boil on high heat. Add sweet potatoes, reduce heat, and boil until they are fork-tender. Should take 15-20 minutes depending on how big the chopped potatoes are.
-While potatoes are cooking, take a separate nonstick skillet and add a few sprays of nonstick cooking spray or olive oil spray. Heat on medium high heat and add your celery, carrots, onion, and worcestershire sauce. Saute for approx 5 minutes or so. Remove from pan and place on a plate and keep warm in the microwave.
-In the same saute pan, add your ground meat and season with salt, pepper, and more worcestershire sauce. Crumble and cook the ground meat until done. Drain any excess grease.
-To the cooked ground meat, add the tomato sauce and the carrot, onion, and celery mixture. Set aside once combined thoroughly.
-Drain your sweet potatoes and add a splash of milk and seasonings to the pot and mash with a potato masher or blend with a hand mixer. The amount of milk and seasonings will depend on your preference. I used just enough milk to get them to a creamy consistency.
-In an oven safe baking dish, add the meat/veggie mixture to the bottom of it. Then top with your steamed green beans. Next, add the mashed sweet potatoes to top off the casserole. Finally, add some grated cheese on top.
-Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the casserole is nice and bubbly.
-Remove from oven and serve some on a plate.

Enjoy! :)

Brunch/Breakfast Idea: Stuffed Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast can get boring if all you ever do is eat a bowl of cereal or oatmeal every morning. Yes, a hot breakfast takes a little longer to prepare but it is so worth it. This past weekend, my husband and I slept in way past the breakfast hour. I decided to do a brunch type meal when we woke up. I opted to make healthy stuffed breakfast burritos. I wanted something warm, filling, nutritious, and different than what we normally eat. Typically I make waffles or toast and eggs when we want a warm breakfast so this was a welcome change in our house. The great thing about these burritos is you can pretty much add in all kinds of veggies or meats and customize them to what ingredients you prefer. My recommendation is that you try to use the low carb/high protein/high fiber/whole grain tortillas/wraps. This will ensure you are getting the proper nutrients and will also keep you full for several hours.

Breakfast burritos have the capacity to be quite nutritious when you make them at home. Most that you find at restaurants and fast food joints are high in calories and fat and offer little nutritional value. Give these a try and let me know what you think. We really enjoyed them. I served them with a side serving of mixed fresh fruit (grapes, blackberries, and orange slices).

P.S. These can be made for a supper also. Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner! :)

Stuffed Breakfast Burrito
Serves 2

La Tortilla Factory Low Carb Multi-grain tortillas/wraps (100 calories per wrap, 14 g of fiber, 8 g protein!)
extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces sweet potatoes, diced (you can peel these if you want but I leave the peel on because it has nutrients)
1 small to medium red bell pepper, diced
1 small to medium green bell pepper, diced
1 small red onion, diced
Jimmy Dean Fully Cooked Turkey Sausage Links - 5 links, diced
3 Eggs or Egg whites - I used egg whites
black pepper, for seasoning
cumin, for seasoning
dash of red cayenne pepper, for seasoning
Reduced-Fat shredded mexican cheese - Optional
Fat free or reduced fat sour cream - Optional

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-In a large nonstick skillet, add 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil and heat over medium heat.
-Once oil is heated, add your diced sweet potatoes and season with some pepper and cumin. Cover the skillet and cook sweet potatoes, turning frequently, until they are fork tender. I cut mine up in small pieces so they would cook faster. Mine took about 6-8 minutes to cook.
-Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, add your red and green bell pepper, red onion, and diced sausage to the skillet. Add additional seasoning and a dash of red cayenne pepper. Saute an additional 5 minutes or so. It will cook faster if you cover the skillet.
-In a separate skillet, add nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium high heat.
-Once the skillet is heated, add your seasoned eggs and scramble them. Cook until fluffy and done.
-A few minutes before everything is done, throw your tortillas in the oven and heat just until warm. You don't want them to get hard and crispy. It will only take a minute or so. Keep an eye on them.
-Combine the scrambled eggs to the large saute pan. Combine all ingredients together.
-Take a tortilla and fill with the egg/pepper/meat mixture. Feel free to throw on a little mexican shredded cheese or reduced fat sour cream and fold together.

-Feel free to use any kind of meat for this recipe. I highly recommend using turkey sausage, turkey bacon, or reduced fat center-cut bacon. You want this dish to be healthy!

Enjoy! :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Grilled Herbed Pork Medallions

Now I know you probably think I am crazy for posting a recipe that requires grilling in the month of December. I assure you I am not. I found this recipe and thought it sounded good, but it is way too cold to be grilling these days. I just went ahead and made the recipe in my oven and they turned out quite delicious! This is a very simple recipe and it quite healthy. These pork medallions taste great when served with some healthy maple mashed sweet potatoes and sauteed garlic green beans.  A nice side dish of seasoned brown or wild rice would compliment this pork dish as well. I hope you like it!

Grilled Herbed Pork Medallions
Serves 4-5 servings
Adapted by:

1 pork tenderloin - trimmed of any fat (I used original Hormel Lean Pork Tenderloin)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground pepper
pinch of salt for seasoning

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-In a small bowl, combine olive oil, mustard oregano, garlic, pepper, and salt. Set aside.
-Take the pork tenderloin and slice it into 1/4 inch thick medallions.
-Take each medallion and coat it with some of the oil mixture.
-Place coated medallions on a nonstick baking tray or a broiler pan
-These medallions will not take long in the oven. You will want to check them for doneness after about 8 minutes. Make sure not to overcook the pork or you will have dry pork medallions.

-If the medallions are a little dry to you, serve some homemade gravy or store bought gravy on top of them.

Enjoy! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

White Chocolate-Peppermint Marshmallow Martini

Good morning! I realize that this is the very first time I have posted a recipe for an alcoholic beverage, but I just had to share this one. It's a great recipe to share on the first day of December. We have only 24 more days until Christmas! This is one of my most favorite times of the year. With all the holiday parties people host or will be attending, I thought this would be a great way to start recipes for the month of December.

If you like peppermint, this martini is going to be a huge hit for you. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I, for one, am in love and think I will be indulging in these a few times in the coming winter months. :)

White Chocolate-Peppermint Marshmallow Martini
Serves 1 martini
Adapted from:

marshmallow sundae topping (I used sugar free)
2 peppermint candies, crushed or you could use about 1/4 of a peppermint candy cane, crushed
1/4 cup vanilla vodka (I used smirnoff)
1 tablespoon peppermint schnapps
1/4 cup white chocolate liqueur (I used Godiva)
Martini glass

-Dip the rim of a martini glass in marshmallow topping and then in the crushed peppermint candies. Drizzle some marshmallow topping on the inside of the glass and then place in the freezer.
-In a shaker with ice, add vodka, schnapps, and the liqueur. Shake until mixed; pour into the prepared glass. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint.

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gingerbread Waffles or Pancakes

The scent of gingerbread makes me think of Christmas every time I smell it. I envision growing up and making homemade gingerbread cookies with my mom and I have such fond memories of holiday baking with her. Other than gingerbread cookies, I really have never done anything else related to gingerbread. This recipe was the perfect dish to try out for the holiday season.

I am a loyal fan of "breakfast for dinner" nights in our house and these were a smashing hit, even with a husband that doesn't prefer anything that is remotely gingerbread tasting. These delicious babies are healthy for you as well, so no guilt when you eat a lot of them. Feel free to make these and freeze them. They reheat very well. You can also whip up a batch and just put them in the refrigerator and heat a few up for breakfast during the work week.

Gingerbread Waffles or Pancakes
Serving size depends on how big you make the pancakes or waffles
Adapted from:

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or all purpose flour (you could do half and half also)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon lite salt
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 egg OR 2 egg whites OR 1/4 cup egg substitute (I used 2 egg whites)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar or brown sugar substitute (I used Splenda Brown Sugar blend)
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/4 cups water
Pure maple syrup OR sugar free maple flavored syrup (obviously pure maple syrup is very high in calories and has lots of sugar, so if you use this make sure to use sparingly) - I use sugar free syrup in my house

-In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon.
-In a small separate bowl, beat egg whites with vanilla and molasses until smooth. Add the water and whisk until combined.
-Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and make sure to stir until thoroughly mixed.
-Heat a waffle maker or pancake griddle and spray with nonstick cooking spray
-Add approx 1/3 cup of batter onto hot waffle maker and let cook until the light says it is ready. Complete this process with all batter.
-Spread some light butter on a waffle and drizzle with syrup

-You can make waffles with a waffle maker or you can make pancakes. I decided on waffles this time but know this would be delicious as pancakes.
-I believe you could use milk instead of water but I am not 100% sure how they would turn out.

Enjoy! :)

Green Chile-Cheese Rice Casserole

I love cooking with brown rice but I tend to get bored with the same rice recipes. I found this recipe and wanted to try it out. The original recipe looked good but I went with suggestions and added a few things to zest it up. Let me know what you think of this delicious dish.

Green Chile-Cheese Rice Casserole
Serves 4-6
Adapted from:

1 tablespoon light butter or margarine
1 small onion, chopped
4 cups cooked brown rice or white rice - prefer brown rice because of the whole grains
2 cups or 8 oz shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 10oz package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of excess water
1 1/2 cups fat free or reduced fat sour cream
3 (4 oz) cans diced green chiles
3/4 cup Fat free or reduced fat evaporated milk
pepper for seasoning purposes
1 large jalapeno - seeded and diced - optional
1 can Original Rotel, drained - optional

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 2-quart casserole dish. I sprayed it with nonstick cooking spray.
-In a large, nonstick skillet, melt butter. Add onion; cook and stir occassionally until the onions are sauteed.
-Remove the skillet from the heat source and add in the rice, 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese, spinach, sour cream, chiles, evaporated milk, black pepper, jalapenos, and rotel.
-Spoon mixture into prepared casserole dish
-Bake for 45-50 minutes or until bubbly around the edges. Once finished baking, top with remaining shredded cheese and return to oven to melt the cheese on top.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Creamy Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

I wanted to make a new soup recipe and this is what I tried. I make homemade chicken noodle soup and beef & barley soup quite frequently. I just wanted something a little different but still stay healthy and affordable. This is a great recipe to use any leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. The original recipe is for creamy chicken and wild rice soup, but I like to switch things up and I decided to try leftover turkey instead of chicken. This soup is perfect for a chilly day. It is healthy, hearty, and warms you right up.  Since there is rice in the soup, you might try to have some fresh fruit with it instead of bread or rolls. For a small family, this soup will feed you for a few meals. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Creamy Turkey & Wild Rice Soup
Serves 6 heaping portions
Adapted from:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 pound of cooked turkey - cut into bite size pieces
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
black pepper for seasoning purposes
1/2 teaspoon lite salt
1 cup wild rice mix, dry
6 cups of water
1/3 bunch fresh parsley, minced or 2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons light butter
2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups 1% milk or any milk you prefer

-In a nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and saute for about 5 minutes.
-Add celery and carrots to the skillet and cook an additional 5 minutes
-Add the turkey, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, black pepper, dry rice, and water to the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
-Once the soup is boiling, you will turn heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Make sure to stir occassionally.
-After 15 minutes before the soup is going to be done, take a small sauce pan and melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour. Cook and whisk the butter and flour mixture for two minutes. Whisk in the milk and allow the pan to come to a simmer, whisking occassionally. This will come to be a thick cream sauce.
-Add the parsley and thickened milk mixture to the pot of soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

-If you have leftover chicken, this would work in place of turkey.
-If you don't care for wild rice or don't have any, you can replace it with brown rice.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Sage, Brown Butter, and Gruyere

Do you have some extra sweet potatoes leftover from Thanksgiving? I know I do and I know exactly what I am making with them. The recipe below is a great way to use sweet potatoes as a side dish with your meal. Sweet potatoes are extremely nutritious and should be incorporated into your meals each and every week. I know we eat them quite a bit in our household. If we have any kind of potato dish, I make it with sweet potatoes instead of regular white potatoes.

Now, a lot of people like sweetened sweet potato dishes but this is  most definitely a savory type sweet potato dish. This is why it is a big hit in my house. Definitely try this one out! These will be served with some grass-fed beef ribeye steaks and fresh cut up strawberries and blackberries.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Sage, Brown Butter, and Gruyere Cheese
Serves: 4 if you only eat one half of a potato or 2 if you eat a whole potato
Adapted from:

2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried off
4 tablespoons light butter - I use 3 tablespoons and find that to be enough
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs or plain panko breadcrumbs - I use panko breadcrumbs
4 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage - I use dried sage
salt and pepper for seasoning - I omit the salt
1/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
2 teaspoons real maple syrup
2 tablespoons fat free sour cream or fat free plain greek yogurt - I use fat free sour cream
pinch of red cayenne pepper for some spice

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven for 30-45 minutes. You will know they are done when you can stick a fork all the way through them. You don't want them overcooked so just check periodically.
-Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough for you to handle them
-Cut each potato in half lengthwise and scoop out the filling. Place filling in a medium sized bowl. Mash with a potato masher or an electric mixer until smooth.
-In a small nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat, whisking constantly. When the butter is a deep golden brown color and has some dark brown specks in it, remove from heat immediately.
-In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon of melted brown butter, 1/2 the dried sage, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
-To the bowl of mashed sweet potatoes, add the remaining brown butter, the other 1/2 of dried sage, shredded cheese, maple syrup, cayenne, and yogurt or sour cream and combine well.
-Take the contents of the bowl and start filling the sweet potato skins that you scooped out of originally.
-Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of each potato half and return to oven for 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy! :)

White Beans with Garlic and Rosemary

Now that Thanksgiving is done with, I will be back to posting recipes for the every day dinner.

I am just starting to realize that you can have different kinds of beans as your protein for a meal. It definitely takes some convincing to my husband, but he is slowly wrapping his head around the idea. Beans are so good for you. They are high in fiber and loaded with protein. They are usually fat free or low fat and essential for a nutritious and balanced diet. An added bonus is that beans are very cheap to buy and meat can get pricey in the stores. Another bonus is that beans fill you up so you don't need a lot of them at each meal. I was searching for a simple bean recipe and this is what I found and tried out. It was tasty! 

White Beans with Garlic and Rosemary
Serves: 3-4
Adapted from:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced OR 1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped OR 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 15oz can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste - omitted salt and just used pepper

-In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil and heat over medium high heat.
-Saute the garlic and rosemary in the olive oil for just a few minutes, stirring frequently.
-Add the beans and heat thoroughly.
-Season with salt and pepper

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

I realize that most of you will be cooking whole turkey's on Thanksgiving. However, for smaller families, or families that wish to have turkey and ham or roast on the holiday, this is a great recipe to use. This recipe is small enough that you won't be stuck with tons of leftover turkey either. It is simply delicious and I hope you will try it out. If not on Thanksgiving, definitely another evening for supper.

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast
Serves: 6-8 people
Adapted from:

1 bone-in turkey breast or boneless turkey breast (5-7 pounds)
1 tablespoon minced garlic or 3 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt (i use Morton Lite salt)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup dry white wine

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
-Wash turkey breast and pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan.
-In a bowl, combine garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice and combine mixture thoroughly.
-Loosen the skin from the meat by gently using your fingertips. Try not to rip the skin. You will then smear half of the herb mixture between the turkey and skin. Spread evenly.
-Take the remaining amount of mixture and spread on top of the turkey breast.
-Pour 1 cup of dry white wine in the bottom of the roasting pan.
-Feel free to add additional cups of wine or water. This will be used to make your pan gravy and some of the liquid evaporates while cooking. (I use 3 cups of white wine and 2 cups water)
-Roast the turkey breast for 1 3/4 - 2 hours or until the skin is golden brown and the thermometer reads 165 degrees in the thickest and meatiest area of the turkey breast.
-You can cover the turkey breast loosely with foil if the skin is getting darker than you want.
-When turkey is done, cover it and let it rest for 15 minutes.
-Make a pan gravy with your drippings.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Healthy Apple Cider Gravy for Thanksgiving

I am baking a homemade apple bundt cake with apple cider buttercream frosting for Thanksgiving. I am going to have extra apple cider leftover. I have decided that I am going to make this gravy recipe to use with our turkey this Thanksgiving.

Healthy Apple Cider Gravy
Serves: 2 1/4 cups gravy
Adapted from:

4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth, divided
3 tablespoons white whole wheat flour OR all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups apple cider
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
ground pepper, to taste

-In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup chicken broth and flour in a small bowl until smooth and set aside.
-In a large, nonstick saucepan, add cider and cinegar and bring to a boil and then simmer for 6 to 8 minutes.
-Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups chicken broth and turn the heat to high. Return mixture to a boil and make sure to whisk often.
-Boil until the liquid is reduced by about half, which is about 8 to 12 minutes.
-Whisk the flour mixture that was set aside into the saucepan and boil for 1 to 3 minutes, whisking/stirring constantly, or until gravy mixture is thickened.
-Remove gravy from heat source and add salt and pepper to season. Stir on good time before serving.

Enjoy! :)

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake

I realized I had not put anything up on my blog about Thanksgiving day desserts. This is an extremely delicious dessert for anyone that likes cheesecake. It is a pumpkin spiced dessert that definitely would compliment any Thanksgiving day menu. I love that I can have some cheesecake and not feel so guilty about it.

Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake
Serves: 8-10
Adapted from:

16 ounces cream cheese - I use 8 oz of fat free cream cheese and 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
2 cups splenda sugar substitute
1 can pure pumpkin (15oz)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large whole eggs or eggbeater substitute
2 whole Keebler Ready Made Reduced Fat Graham Cracker Crusts
1 cup fat free or sugar free cool whip, slightly thawed
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon sugar - optional

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a large bowl, combine the splenda and cream cheese with a mixer on low speed until mixed thoroughly.
-Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and all spices until smooth and combined thoroughly.
-Add one egg at a time, making sure to blend smoothly each time.
-Pour filling into the graham cracker pie crusts.
-Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a butter knife comes out clean after inserted into the center of the pie.
-Allow pies to cool completely and then spread the whipped cream over the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Place in the refrigerator until time to serve.

You can use any kind of cream cheese you desire. I want the recipe to be a healthier, lighter version, so I used what is listed above.

Enjoy! :)

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Homemade Green Bean Casserole

Who doesn't like Green Bean Casserole on Thanksgiving? It is honestly one of my favorite side dishes. However, I really prefer homemade over the Cream of Mushroom soup kind. Yes, it takes a little longer to prepare but it is so worth it. One great thing about the recipe I am providing you is that it can be made in advance, so you save some time on turkey day.

Please try out this recipe. I think you will never go back to the Cream of Mushroom soup kind. The entire family will love that you made this from scratch as well. :)

Homemade Green Bean Casserole
Serves 8
Adapted from:

1 1/4 pounds green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half OR 19 oz bag of frozen whole green beans - thawed
2 tablespoons light butter
10 oz. button mushrooms, sliced OR baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons minced shallots OR minced yellow onion
3 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
1 cup half & half (I am using fat free half & half to make this dish healthier)
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
salt and pepper for seasoning

For the crunchy topping:
Canola oil - for frying
2-3 shallots, sliced thinly OR onion slices (shallots are the preferred ingredient)
Flour, for dredging

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take a 2 quart casserole baking dish and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
-In a large pan, add the green beans and cover with a few inches of water. Bring the green beans to a boil and then simmer on low for 4 to 6 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and rinse the beans in cold water. Set aside.
-Return the large pan to heat and add the butter and mushrooms to the pan and saute for about 5 minutes.
-Add the minced shallots or onions to the pan and cook an additional 1 minute.
-Add the flour to the pan and cook for approx 1 minute.
-Stir in half and half, the chicken broth, and the soy sauce. Bring entire contents of pan to a boil. Make sure you are stirring or whisking constantly to prevent scorching/burning.
-Once the pan is at a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes making sure to continue to stir the mixture.
-Add in the green beans and season the entire pan with salt and pepper. Pour contents of pan into the greased baking dish.
-If you are making the dish ahead of time, you will want to cover and refrigerate the baking dish.
-If you are going to make this dish right away, bake for 20 minutes or until browned and bubbling in the oven.

-To make the onion topping, add some canola oil to a small saucepan. Heat oil over medium high heat.
-While the oil is heating, dredge the sliced shallots in some seasoned flour, making sure to shake off any excess batter.
-Add the dredged shallots to the hot oil and fry until the shallots are golden brown. Should take 2-3 minutes. Remove the shallots and place on a paper towel lined plate. I double up on paper towels to get rid of any excess oil.
-Sprinkle these fried shallots over the casserole and serve immediately.

Enjoy! :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Homemade Spice Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing

I decided to bake some homemade cupcakes tonight for my coworkers, to help celebrate Thanksgiving a few days early. I didn't want to run to the store so I just found a recipe that I had everything to make it. This recipe comes from my Better Homes and Garden cookbook. I love it and use it often. Spice cake is perfect for the fall. Please don't go buy a prepackaged box of spice cake mix. It is far too easy to make yourself and so much more fun to prepare.

You can make this recipe a cake and use a 13x9 dish to bake it or you can make cupcakes.

Homemade Spice Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing
Serves 12-15 large cupcakes or 18 smaller cupcakes
Adapted from: Better Homes and Garden cookbook

2 cups all purpose flour OR 2 cups plus 4 tablespoons cake flour (I used cake flour because I prefer it with baked goods)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 eggs or eggbeater equivalent
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup unsweetened applesauce

-In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger together and set aside.
-In a large bowl, combine butter and shortening and use a hand mixer to mix until fluffy and blended well. This is approx 30 seconds or so.
-To the large bowl, add the sugar and vanilla and beat with the hand mixer until blended
-Add eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat well each time.
-In a small bowl, combine applesauce and buttermilk.
-Add dry mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to beaten mixture in the large bowl. Beat on low speed and make sure it gets blended together well.
-Prepare a cupcake pan with muffin tins or spray with nonstick cooking spray
-Bake in a 350 degree oven for 19-22 minutes or until your cupcakes are cooked completely and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If baking a cake, bake in a 13x9 baking dish for 35 to 40 minutes.
-Cool cake completely before frosting it.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing
Adapted from:

8 oz Philadelphia Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
1/2 cup pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
5 tablespoons packed brown sugar

Enjoy! :)

BBQ Chicken Pizza Soup

It was a very windy and chilly day here! You can definitely tell that our warmer days are getting more and more limited. You are going to see a ton of soup and stew recipes in the winter months because I absolutely love making them for dinner when it is so cold outside. Soup can be really healthy but you should really try to make it homemade instead of buying it in a can at the supermarket. I think this is a great soup recipe to try out if you are just starting out with soup recipes in your home. It is unique and absolutely scrumptious! :)

I serve this soup with a side of fresh fruit.

BBQ Chicken Pizza Soup
Serves 4-6 people
Adapted from:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped - I used a red onion but the original recipe calls for a sweet yellow onion
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
11 oz can Mexicorn drained - try to use the reduced sodium kind
1 - 1 1/2 pounds shredded chicken breast meat - you can buy the canned chunk chicken breast like the original recipe calls for or you can cook up chicken meat and shred it (I prefer fresh chicken over the canned stuff)
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/4 to 1/2 cup bbq sauce - try to use one with less sugar/less calories
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Lawry's garlic salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

-Heat oil into a medium pot over medium heat. When hot, saute onions in olive oil for 5 minutes or until softened.
-Stir in garlic, corn and chicken breast; mix to combine.
-Pour in chicken broth, BBQ sauce, salt, pepper, garlic salt and cilantro leaves.
-Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until ready to serve. Garnish each bowl with a fresh sprig of cilantro.
-Sprinkle cheese of your choice on top of your bowl if you desire.

Enjoy! :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Healthified Stuffing

Who doesn't love stuffing on Thanksgiving? You can get intimidated if you look up recipes for stuffing on the internet. There are endless possibilities when it comes to this side dish. I think the recipe below is a great recipe. You still get to enjoy stuffing, but with a little less guilt. This is a good side dish for any dinner but I wanted to post it since Thanksgiving is just a few short days away.

Healthified Stuffing
Serves 12
Adapted from:

15 slices white whole grain bread - I use Sara Lee White Whole Grain Bread
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
2 cups Reduced Sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

-Heat oven to 350 degrees.
-Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray
-On a large cookie sheet, place bread slices on it and bake 15 to 20 minutes, making sure to turn each slice once, until they are firm and lightly golden brown.
-Remove bread from oven and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
-In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium high heat. Add celery, onion, and carrot and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in broth, sage, salt, thyme, and pepper; heat to boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the bread cubes and mix well. Spoon into casserole dish.
-Cover casserole dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the dish and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is light golden brown.

Enjoy! :)

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Carrots

This recipe is a bit of an indulgence but it is still a vegetable side dish. That should count for something, right? I made these carrots for a work Thanksgiving Potluck. They are a simple dish to put together and they taste delicious.

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Carrots
Serves: 4-6 (recipe can be doubled)
Adapted from:

32 oz bag of baby carrots
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar or Brown Sugar Substitute
1/4 cup pure honey
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup melted light butter
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 cup water
1 tablespoon corn starch

-Spray nonstick cooking spray in a slow cooker.
-Put carrots in the slow cooker.
-In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, honey, orange juice, melted butter, and cinnamon. Mix well.
-Pour mixture over the carrots and stir together.
-Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until desired tenderness is reached
-15-20 minutes before serving the carrots, you will want to thicken the sauce
-In a small bowl, combine the water and corn starch and stir together.
-Remove carrots from the slow cooker and keep warm in microwave.
-Add the corn starch mixture to the liquid mixture in the slow cooker and stir well.
-Turn slow cooker to high and add carrots back in.
-Stir one last time before serving.

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Parmesan Butternut Squash Gratin

I have been trying really hard lately to try to use seasonal produce/fruits. I realized that I hardly ever had the different kinds of squashes and they all seem perfect for fall dishes. I promised myself I would try some recipes out that call for these delicious fall vegetables. This would be a great side dish to serve at Thanksgiving. One added bonus is that this dish is a healthified version, which never hurts on a food-filled day. Another bonus is that this dish can prepared the day before Thanksgiving and placed in the refrigerator up to 24 hours in advance and then just bake right before dinner is served.

Parmesan Butternut Squash Gratin
Serves 6
Adapted from:

1 butternut squash (2 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons light butter or margarine
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup Progresso panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated reduced fat Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or dried parsley (I only had dried parsley)

-Heat oven to 375 degrees.
-Spray a 13X9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
-Peel, halve lengthwise and seed the butternut squash; cut into 1/2 inch thick slices.
-Arrange the slices, overlapping slighty, in the bottom of the baking dish.
-In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, making sure to stir frequently. You don't want the garlic to brown too much or the butter to burn.
-In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and 1 tablespoon of the melted butter-garlic mixture.
-Brush the squash slices with remaining butter-garlic mixture. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the bread crumb mixture.
-Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.
-Bake uncovered 30-40 minutes or until squash is fork tender. Increase oven to 425 degrees and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Sprinkle parsley on top just before serving.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Oven Fried Zucchini Strips with dipping sauces

A couple of our best friends and us went to dinner at a really neat gourmet burger restaurant a few weeks ago. For an appetizer, we ordered the fried pickles and fried zucchini strips to share with everyone. I had never had fried zucchini strips before and wasn't sure I would like them. Guess what? They were phenomenal. I enjoyed them so much that I was determined to figure out a way to make them at home but make them healthy by baking them and not frying them. This recipe turned out great. If you are looking for that greasy, fried version, my recipe suggestion is not for you. This recipe is light and delicious, but nothing like the fried version. It really goes well with the two dipping sauces I used. I am making these as an appetizer to tide the family over before Thanksgiving Supper is served. I know they will love these.

Oven Fried Zucchini Strips with Marinara Sauce and Garlic Aioli Dipping Sauce
Serves 4 appetizer servings (double recipe for a larger amount)
Adapted from:

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs or whatever bread crumbs you have or prefer
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano grated cheese or grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound zucchini - cleaned, sliced into strips and patted dry
1 egg - lightly beaten

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, grated cheese and oregano in a bowl.
-In a small bowl, add the lightly beaten egg.
-Season zucchini strips with salt and pepper.
-Dip the zucchini strips in the egg and then dredge them in the bread crumb mixture.
-Place on a nonstick baking sheet in a single layer with the skin side down.
-Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

*to save on time, I used some organic marinara sauce from the supermarket.

I made a delicious Garlic Aioli dipping sauce to compliment this dish as well.

Garlic Aioli Dipping Sauce
Serves: 4
Adapted from:

4 tablespoons light mayonnaise
4 tablespoons fat free greek vanilla yogurt
2 cloves of garlic - minced
1 teaspoon black pepper

-Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and serve with zucchini strips.
-Refrigerate any remaining dip.

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Healthy Homemade Wheat Pie Crust

I know what you are can wheat pie crust taste good at all. Trust me, it is really good and most people would never even know the difference unless you tell them. Remember, I try to provide recipes that are healthier for you and your family. Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful and enjoy delicious food, but that doesn't mean it has to be loaded with unhealthy fats, calories, and junk. This crust is perfect for several different recipes. I use it to make homemade pot pie and I use it for all of our homemade fruit pies. I am using this recipe to make a sugar free apple pie for Thanksgiving because one of my guests is diabetic. I know she is going to love it.

Healthy Homemade Wheat Pie Crust
Serves 1 pie crust (double the recipe if you need a double crust)
Adapted from:

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons lite salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup skim milk

-In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir together until the dough forms a ball. It is best to mix with your hands to make sure it combines thoroughly.
-Roll out the dough ball between two pieces of wax paper. You want it about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
-Pull the top of the wax paper off and use the bottom piece to carry the dough to your pie plate.
-Make sure to spray nonstick cooking spray in your pie plate before putting the crust in it.
-Fill your pie crust with whatever pie you are making.

Enjoy! :)

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Homemade Wheat & Herb Dinner Rolls

*Warning - you will need a breadmaker for this recipe.

Who doesn't love warm, homemade dinner rolls served up with Thanksgiving supper? It is so easy to buy the kind in the bread aisle, or even worse, the kind in the refrigerated section that you have to pop open. I am not making fun of anyone that does this, but it is just not my thing. Homemade bread and rolls are so much healthier and they simply taste way better. I use mostly whole wheat flour with this recipe, which is a good way to incorporate whole grains.

Homemade Wheat & Herb Dinner Rolls
Serves: 12 - 15 rolls
Adapted from:

1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of light butter, softened
1 egg - room temperature
1 1/4 cup bread flour
2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
1 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup sugar or 1/4 cup of pure honey
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons regular active dry yeast

-Using a bread machine, place all the dough ingredients into the machine in the order listed. You typically want wet ingredients first and then the dry, with the yeast being the last thing you add.
-Select the dough cycle and press start. It will take approx 1 1/2 hours to be finished.
-Once the dough is done, grease a cookie sheet. Divide the dough into 12 - 15 even pieces and shape into a ball and place on the cookie sheet. Do this with the remainder of the dough. Make sure to keep each of the balls of dough about 2 inches apart.
-Brush the dinner rolls with some melted butter and then cover with a cloth or kitchen towel.
-Let the dough rise for 30 to 40 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown

Enjoy! :)

*These are so easy and very and your family will love these for Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chicken Breasts with a Balsamic and Garlic Sauce

This recipe is one of my very favorite new recipes! I have just started to use balsamic vinegar in a lot of recipes and I am finding that I really enjoy using it. The flavors of this chicken are just unreal. I think you will all enjoy this recipe. I imagine you could even use pork chops instead of chicken and it would still be amazing. This dish was served with some oven roasted garlic red potatoes and steamed edamame.

Chicken Breasts with a Balsamic and Garlic Sauce
Serves 4-6
Adapted from:

5 boneless skinless chicken breasts OR boneless skinless chicken thighs (I used breasts)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon light butter, softened
3 cloves of garlic, minced or 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic in oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar - Please make sure to buy quality balsamic vinegar; the cheap stuff just isn't good
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
-In a large OVEN PROOF nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. (I used a cast iron skillet)
-Season chicken breasts or chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
-Lay the chicken down in the heated skillet and cook until golden brown or approx 4-5 minutes.
-Turn the chicken over and place the skillet in the oven.
-Bake in the oven for 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.
-Remove chicken from the oven and put chicken on a plate and keep warm in the microwave.
-Return skillet to the stove over medium high heat and add a teaspoon of olive oil and minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, and then add the balsamic vinegar.
-Stir, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan, for an additional minute.
-Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
-Mix the butter and flour together. It makes a paste. Whisk the flour mixture into the pan and return to a boil.
-Simmer until the sauce gets thick - about 1 to 2 minutes
-Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Enjoy! :)

*I promise you will love this dish!

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Oven Roasted Cauliflower

I feel like cauliflower is one of those vegetables that people either love or they hate, and their is no in between. I absolutely love cauliflower and cook it quite frequently. I definitely think it needs additional spices and ingredients added to it or it can be quite bland. This is a very simple side dish that would be perfect for Thanksgiving dinner. You could even add some broccoli and do Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower. I think this is what I am doing for our Thanksgiving.

Oven Roasted Cauliflower
Serves 6-8
Adapted from:

1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds), trimmed and cut into florets
3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons grated reduced fat parmesan cheese

-Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
-In a bowl, combine cauliflower and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking dish/baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
-Make sure to keep them in a single layer so they cook evenly.
-Roast for about 25 minutes; make sure to stir at least once to prevent scorching.
-Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve

Enjoy! :)

*As always, this could be used any meal of the year, not just Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea: Wild Rice Pilaf

When you think of Thanksgiving dinner, you probably imagine turkey, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, etc... If you are anything like me, you probably tend to have the same kind of dishes every year for Thanksgiving. This year, since we are hosting at our house, we decided to make tons of new dishes and try to stay away from some of the standard Thanksgiving dishes, or at least spruce them up and make them slightly different and more healthy. I think this Wild Rice Pilaf dish is a great side dish idea for Thanksgiving. While it is still a starchy carb, it is something a little different and I imagine it will go great with some roasted turkey or ham. The dish also has some very good nutritional qualities.

An added bonus to this dish is that it can be cooked in a slow cooker, which means more room in the oven for your other side dishes and your turkey or ham! :)

Wild Rice Pilaf
Serves: 8 - 10 servings
Adapted from:

1 cup brown rice - uncooked
1 cup wild rice - uncooked
2 tablespoons light butter - melted
1 32-oz low sodium chicken broth
1 cup diced sweet onion
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 package dried cherries (5.5 oz) - coarsely chopped or about 1 cup
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

-In a slow-cooker, lightly grease or spray nonstick cooking spray in and around it.
-Combine the brown rice, wild rice, and melted butter in the slow-cooker and make sure all rice is coated with the butter.
-Stir in chicken broth, onion, and black pepper.
-Cover the slow-cooker and cook on HIGH for 3.5 - 4 hours or until the rice is tender.
-Stir in chopped cherries and stir together until completely mixed.
-Turn off heat, cover the slow-cooker, and let it sit for 15 minutes.
-Meanwhile, you will want to toast your pecans. You will do this in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Make sure to toast them for 4 to 5 minutes and stir often. Stir the toasted pecans into the wild rice pilaf right before serving.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cashew Beef

I think it goes without saying that we love to have chinese/asian style foods for supper quite often in our household. This is a very simple and delicious cashew beef recipe. I hope you like it. We served the beef dish with some spicy garlic green beans and a small portion of steamed jasmine rice.  Usually I use brown rice for any recipe that calls for rice, but every now and then we splurge and have jasmine rice. The only reason I am a huge fan of brown rice is because it is a whole grain and jasmine rice is not.

Cashew Beef
Serves 4 main dish servings
Adapted from:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
1 pound flank steak or boneless sirloin steak - cut into 1'' strips (we used boneless grassfed sirloin steak)
4 green onions - diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic or 2 cloves of garlic - diced finely
2/3 cup cashews (we used the lightly salted cashews)
4 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup cold water
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups of jasmine rice - steamed/cooked

-Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or canola oil to a large wok or nonstick skillet over medium heat.
-In a small bowl, combine the following ingredients and stir together until blended well: soy sauce, sesame oil, water, cornstarch, ginger, black pepper, and cayenne
-To the heated wok/pan, add the strips of beef and cook until the beef is brown and almost cooked completely. This will only take a few minutes if you sliced the beef thin enough.
-Remove beef from the wok once it is browned and place on a plate and in the microwave to stay warm.
-Add the additional tablespoon of olive oil or canola oil to the wok. Add the green onions, garlic, and cashews and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
-Add the liquid mixture to the wok and stir together with the onions, garlic, and cashews.
-Bring liquid to a boil and then turn down to low to simmer and thicken. Add the beef to the pan and stir all the ingredients together.

Enjoy! :)

-Chicken or pork could be substituted if you don't wish to use beef.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Spicy Round Steak Casserole

This is not a Thanksgiving recipe, but I wanted to share it with all of you. We had this a few days ago and it was simple and delicious. We are getting 1/2 grass-fed beef cow later in the week and we wanted to use up the last cuts of beef we had remaining from the one we got last year. This casserole is great because it has all the important components of what a meal should consist of all in one pan. A simple salad or some fresh fruit would compliment this dish. I served this casserole with some fresh pear slices on the side.

Spicy Round Steak Casserole
Serves 4
Adapted from:

1 pound beef round steak - cut in cubes
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce - use the lower sodium kind
1 teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped - we used baby bella mushrooms
1 large potato - diced into small chunks - you can peel if you wish but I leave the skin on because that is where the nutrients are
1/2 cup carrots - diced small
1 cups water
2 cups low sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil

-preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Cut the beef round steaks into bite size chunks
-In a skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat and add the chunks of round steak to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook just until all the pieces are browned.
-Once the meat is browned, place the round steak in a casserole pan. I used a 13 x 9 inch baking dish and sprayed it with nonstick cooking spray.
-In a bowl, combine the garlic, onion powder, bell peppers, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, water, and beef broth together.
-Pour the mixture over the beef in the baking dish.
-Bake in a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes. Check the dish and it might need to cook an additional 30 minutes. The dish is ready when the sauce is thickened and not soupy like and the beef is cooked thoroughly.

Enjoy! :)

*Tip: You can place everything in a crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours if you don't want to bake this dish.