Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quick and Healthy Potato Salad

With the 4th of July weekend approaching, I thought it would be good to put a few recipes on here that would be great to have with all of your family. For those that do not know, I am not a fan of Mayo at all! I don't eat it on anything and don't eat anything that has it in the ingredients list. This potato salad is a much healthier version of potato salad and is made with plain yogurt instead of mayo. It's a great side dish for almost any entree. Enjoy!

Quick & Healthy Potato Salad
Serves 4
  • 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes
  • 1 cup non-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/4 cup minced dill pickles plus 1 tablespoon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley
Place whole potatoes (do not poke) into microwave-safe dish. Cover dish. (If covering dish with plastic wrap, poke small hole in plastic.)
Microwave on high 10 to 12 minutes depending on strength of microwave. Use oven mitts to remove dish from microwave. Carefully remove cover from dish and beware of steam buildup, and let cool.
Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces, and place in a large bowl with remaining ingredients. Stir well to mix.
Refrigerate until ready to be served.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tropical Cake

Cake is one of my favorite desserts, but I rarely eat it because it's just not that healthy for you. When I want to indulge, this is one of the cakes I make.  One of my husband's co-workers gave me this recipe about a year ago. In my opinion, this cake is perfect because it is moist, flavorful, and has a very light texture to it, which is exactly what I like.

Tropical Cake
Serves 12


1 box Moist Yellow Cake Mix
1 14oz can Mandarin Oranges
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil

1 large tub whipped topping (Cool Whip)
1 large can crushed pineapple (drained completely)
1 box sugar free french vanilla pudding mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine ingredients for cake (w/electric mixer). Do not drain the oranges!
Pour batter into a greased 13x9 cake pan
Bake for 30-35 minutes
Let cool before frosting

To Make frosting:
Drain crushed pineapple completely
Combine with softened cool whip and pudding mix

Frost the cake and refrigerate.

*Healthier Suggestions
-I buy the yellow cake mix that is sugar free
-You can use a can of mandarin oranges that has no sugar added
-You can use egg substitute (just make sure you do the equivalent of 4 eggs)
-You can use unsweetened apple sauce instead of the oil
-You can use Cool Whip Lite or Sugar Free Cool Whip

If you use the apple sauce instead of oil, you will have a different texture than the normal recipe.

Happy Baking! :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Grilled Ranch Turkey Burgers

Who doesn't love a good burger? They are so delicious and you can practically make them hundreds of different ways. These are one of my favorite kind of burgers. When we do burgers, I tend to serve them on whole wheat buns, with some fresh mixed fruit and some kind of fresh veggie. Tonight, we are having these with fresh mixed fruit kabobs that are drizzled with cinnamon honey and some delicious cajun sweet potato fries. (By now, you have probably learned that we eat sweet potatoes a lot in our household!) :)

Grilled Ranch Turkey Burgers
Serves 4

1 pound Butterball Ground White Turkey Breast
1/4 cup of whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 egg white or 1/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 packet of dry ranch seasoning packet
Black pepper to season
Lettuce, onion, tomato, mustard, ketchup, mayo, and pickles for toppings

Combine all ingredients and shape into 4 even sized burger patties.
Grill or cook on a non-stick cooking pan until cooked completely.
Serve on a bun and add any toppings you wish to add.

-Feel free to add cheese the last minute of cooking, so that it melts some before taking them off the grill.
-Serve these on any kind of bread/bun you prefer. We always use whole wheat buns though.
-You can use ground chicken, ground pork, or ground beef with this recipe. We use turkey breast meat, because it is much leaner and healthier for you.
-I add breadcrumbs and eggs to this dish because turkey meat can actually be very dry, so you need to add a little liquid to keep them moist during the cooking process.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicken, Fruit, and Spinach Salad

Summer is definitely here in Kansas! When it is an extremely hot day, the last thing I want to do is cook a heavy, warm meal for dinner. I try to make lighter meals for dinner in the summertime. This salad is a perfect example of something that would be perfect for a summer dinner. I myself am not a salad eater. I've tried and I just can't get myself to like them. Maybe one day...  My husband loves salads though, so I make them for him and I just eat a fresh deli sandwich or something cool and light. This is a great way to get your vegetables and fruits for the day.

Chicken, Fruit, and Spinach Salad
Serves approx 3 people

1/2 bag of romaine lettuce (rinsed and dried)
1/2 bag of fresh spinach leaves (rinsed and dried)
Slivered almonds or pecan pieces - your preference
1/2 cup of fresh sliced strawberries
1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
1/2 cup of fresh sliced pineapple
4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts - season with pepper and salt (cut in strips or chunks)
Maple Grove Farms Sugar Free Raspberry Vinaigrette

Cut up all fruit and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the lettuce and spinach, and toss with the fresh fruit. Add your nuts if you desire.
In a non-stick cooking pan, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and cook your chicken strips/chunks until 165 degrees.
Throw the chicken on top of the salad mixture.
Serve in bowls.
Add whatever dressing you wish to add, but the sugar free raspberry vinaigrette works very well with this dish.

*I use sugar free dressing for this dish because there is already natural sugars in the fruits.
*feel free to add other fruits and make it your own salad dish.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Al Fresco All Natural Chicken Sausage (Sundried tomato with basil and tomato)

Ok, so this chicken sausage has to be one of the best new things I have seen in the stores.  I don't typically buy hot dogs, sausages, or anything that comes in a casing, due to the fact that 95% of them are so unhealthy for you. I also don't like all the nitrates that are in them. However, when I was in the grocery store a few weeks ago, I saw a new chicken sausage brand called "Al Fresco" and was intrigued. I had never even tried chicken sausage. The particular grocery store I was in only had a few kinds on stock, which were the sundried tomato with basil and tomato and the Spinach and Feta. I looked up the company when I got home and quicky realized they have several different kinds.  The thing I love is that all of the different types are gluten free, 100% natural, all are made with lean, skinless chicken meat, and none of them have nitrates or preservatives. I am attaching the website so you can see all the different kinds they have.

Last night I tried the Al Fresco All natural Chicken Sausage in the Sundried tomato with basil and tomato. Oh my was so tasty! I sort of just threw together a meal and it was quite delicious for not having any sort of recipe. I served this dish with some steamed cauliflower but pretty much any vegetable would be good with it. Now, hurry along to the store and buy these in the flavor you think you would like and let me know what you think. I don't think you will be disappointed! :)

Sundried Tomato with Basil and Tomato Chicken Sausage
Serves 4

Package of 4 chicken sausages
1 cup of whole wheat pasta (I used thin spaghetti, but you could use any kind of pasta)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion sliced
1/2 green bell pepper sliced
1/2 cup of fresh basil chopped (I grow my own)
1/2 cup of Roma Tomatoes diced
Fresh grated parmesan cheese for topping

Cook pasta according to directions on box and set aside.
Take each of the chicken sausages and slice them in little quarter size pieces.
In a non-stick cooking skillet, add the oil and heat the pan.
Once the pan is heated, add the chicken sausage, pepper, and onions and saute for 5 minutes.
Add the fresh basil and tomatoes to the pan and toss for 1 additional minute.

On a plate, add a portion of pasta and then top it with the sausage mixture. Add grated parmesan cheese to it if you like.
Enjoy! :)

*With all the different kinds of chicken sausage, you could come up with all kinds of ways to serve them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

3 Recipes: Green Chile & Pepper Jack Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Pan-Roasted Asparagus, and Baked Sweet Potatoes

Original Recipe: From "For the Love of Cooking" blog (

Since we were away on vacation for the past 9 days, I decided to have my family over for supper tonight, so that we could visit and catch up. I decided that this week would be sort of a "detox" week in terms of the food we eat, since we ate way too much food on vacation. The plan is to have a lean protein and 2 nutritious vegetable side dishes most nights for the next week. I always try to cook something new when my parents come over for supper. They always enjoy trying the dishes that I cook, so tonight I am making a new recipe I found. I am not making any changes to this dish. I plan on serving it with some fresh roasted asparagus and baked sweet potatoes.

Green Chile & Pepper Jack Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Serves 4-6 people

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 smaller chicken breasts approx)
2 cans of Ortega Diced Green Chiles (whole or diced will work)
2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Slices of Pepper Jack Cheese (each cut in half for a total of 6 pieces)
Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut a horizontal slit in each of the chicken breasts. You want the slit to be about 3/4 of the way through the chicken, but not cut the entire chicken breast in half.
Stuff each breast with some diced green chiles and one piece of pepper jack cheese.
Secure each breast with toothpicks, so that the stuffing doesn't come out during the cooking process.
Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

In an ovenproof skillet, combine the 2 tsp of olive oil and heat over medium high heat.
Once skillet is hot, cook all chicken breasts for approx 4 minutes on each side.
Once both sides have been seared, place the skillet in the oven to cook the chicken breasts the rest of the way.
It will take approx 20 minutes to finish cooking in the oven. Check the temperature and make sure chicken is registering 165 degrees.

-You could stuff the chicken breasts with all sorts of veggies or cheeses. Feel free to try your own recipe.
-I am using Sargento Reduced Fat Pepper Jack cheese slices to lower the fat content of this entree dish.

Pan-Roasted Asparagus
Serves 4

1 pound of fresh asparagus stalks
2 tablespoons light margarine
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper for seasoning
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Wash and dry asparagus.
Remove the tough ends of all the stalks.
Cut all stalks in 1 inch pieces.
In a non-stick cooking pan, add butter and olive oil and heat to a medium-high heat.
Once the skillet is hot, add all the asparagus pieces, season with salt and pepper, and pan saute for approx 8 minutes. *Cooking time will depend on how thick the asparagus pieces are.
During the last minute of cooking, add the minced garlic.
Enjoy :)

*I will be using I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Fat Free margarine for this side dish to keep it healthier.

Baked Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4

4 medium sized sweet potatoes
whatever toppings you like on top of your sweet potato

You can bake these potatoes in your oven or cook them in your microwave, like a traditional baked potato.
I will be cooking them in the microwave. They will take approx 8-10 minutes to cook in our microwave.
Once potatoes are cooked to your liking, cut the potato open and season it how you like it.

I personally will be seasoning my sweet potato with some brown sugar splenda blend and cinnamon with a dash of light butter.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sweet Chicken Kabobs with Peppers, Onions, and Pineapple

Chicken Kabobs are a great dish to cook in the summer, because you can cook them on the grill. I love chicken kabobs and have my husband cook them quite frequently in the summer months. Kabobs are a great entree because you can change them up every time you cook them. Sometimes we do baby tomatoes, baby red potatoes, squash, and carrots, but my favorite combination is an assortment of bell peppers, onions, and pineapple chunks. You can also use pork or steak instead of chicken. I usually opt for chicken because it is healthier. Another great thing about kabobs is that you can change up the marinade each time you use them. There are some really delicious pre-made marinades in the grocery store, but marinades are a very easy thing to make from scratch. I served these kabobs with baked sweet potatoes and steamed fresh green beans that were seasoned with cracked black pepper and garlic.

Sweet Chicken Kabobs with Peppers, Onions, and Pineapple
Serves 5 people

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup of pineapple chunks
1 red or sweet onion medium sized
1 green bell pepper medium sized
1 red bell pepper medium sized
1/2 cup of your choice of bbq sauce
3 tablespoons of orange juice concentrate (from the freezer section) - thawed
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Preheat your grill.

For the marinade:
Combine the orange juice concentrate and bbq sauce and stir well. Set aside.

For the kabobs:
Cut chicken breasts in good sized chunks
Cut all vegetables - you will want big enough pieces that stay on the skewer
Take kabob skewers and add the assorted vegetables, pineapple, and chicken to each of them.
Take the marinade and brush it onto each of the chicken kabobs.
Salt and pepper all of the kabobs.

Place kabobs on the grill and cook over medium heat until chicken is 165 degrees.
You will need to turn the kabobs over several times to prevent charring.
Enjoy :)

*You can use any kind of meat or vegetable combination you like
*You can broil the kabobs in your oven if you don't want to grill them
*Feel free to use whatever marinade you prefer.

Steamed Edamame with Sea Salt

Each month, we try to add a new fruit or vegetable to try that we have not liked or ever had before. Recently we tried edamame for the first time. It is one of my new favorite vegetables! I can't believe I have missed out on this vegetable for so long. While on vacation, I had it again at one of the local restaurants in Tampa. I strongly encourage you or your family to give this veggie a try. You might be surprised at how delicious it is. It is also a very nutritious veggie, that provides fiber and the healthy kinds of fat that your body needs. It is a very tasty vegetable and could be used in several different dishes. The recipe I am giving you is very simple and plain. You could shell the edamame though and add it to different stir fry recipes or salads.

Steamed Edamame with Sea Salt
1 bag fresh edamame
Sea Salt

Steam edamame for 4-5 minutes.
Sprinkle generously with sea salt.
Do not eat the pods of the edamame...just the beans inside them. :)

*I shell the edamame and will sprinkle lite soy sauce on them occassionally.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Healthified Chicken Cordon Bleu

Original Recipe from Gina's Skinny Recipes (

Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of my favorite recipes. However, if you buy the prepackaged kind in the frozen section of the store, you quickly realize just how unhealthy it can be. This recipe is very simple to make and is perfect for a quick, no fuss dinner. It allows you to control the ingredients that are in the recipe as well. There are several  modifications that can be made to this recipe for something different each time you make it. I will post these below the recipe. I serve this chicken dish with salad and a veggie side dish, but you can serve it with almost any side dish you prefer. It would be very tasty with a wild, brown rice dish, in my opinion.

My recipe: Healthified Chicken Cordon Bleu
Serves 4

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts thin-sliced (I use the hormone-free chicken)
2 egg whites or 1/2 cup of eggbeaters
1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
4 ounces of Healthy One's Honey Ham Thin-sliced (from the deli or from the deli meats section of the store)
2 slices of Sargento Reduced Fat Swiss Cheese Slices - cut in half so you have 4 pieces
Pepper - as much as you prefer for seasoning purposes
3/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Parsley
Olive Oil Cooking Spray or nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
On a baking tray, spray your cooking spray on the surface to prevent chicken from sticking to baking tray
In a small bowl, whisk eggs and set aside.
In another small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley and mix well.
Take each chicken breast and dip them in the egg mixture and then coat them with the breadcrumb mixture and place on baking tray.
In the middle of each chicken breast, add a slice of honey ham and swiss cheese.
Roll up the chicken and secure with a toothpick.
Sprinkle additional pepper on top of each chicken bundle for additional seasoning.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked to 165 degrees.

*you can use any breadcrumbs, ham, and swiss cheese you prefer, but the nutritional information will be different.
*feel free to add any additional spices that you might like to season the chicken.
*You can use thin sliced turkey breast cutlets instead of chicken or you can use thin sliced, boneless pork chops.
*You can use this basic recipe and change it up by doing a broccoli/cheese center or a spinach/ricotta center. I have done both and they were both quite tasty. Change it up and make it your own dish. Just make sure you share what you have tried, so that I can try it as well. :)

Nutritional Information:
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts thin-sliced (I use the hormone-free chicken) - 440 calories
2 egg whites or 1/2 cup of eggbeaters - 40 calories
1/2 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs - 140 calories
4 slices of Healthy One's Honey Ham Thin-sliced (from the deli or from the deli meats section of the store) - 60 calories
2 slices of Sargento Reduced Fat Swiss Cheese Slices - cut in half so you have 4 pieces - 120 calories
Pepper - as much as you prefer for seasoning purposes - 3 calories
3/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder - 9 calories
1 teaspoon Parsley - 1 calorie
Olive Oil Cooking Spray or nonstick cooking spray - 0 calories

= 813 calories/4 servings =  203.25 calories per chicken breast