Thursday, September 29, 2011

Baked Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs

There are hundreds of ways you can make meatballs. I have a few different recipes already on my blog that pertain to meatballs. This is a different spin on how you can make them. These are really good by themselves but they are also really good if you put them over some whole wheat pasta or meatball subs. I serve them plain with some healthy side dishes since the meatballs are a little sinful. :)

Baked Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs
Serves 4
Adapted from:

-1 pound ground turkey breast or 1 pound lean hamburger meat
-1/4 cup italian style breadcrumbs or plain if that is all you have
-2 teaspoons minced garlic
-1/4 cup grated light parmesan cheese
-1 egg OR 1/4 cup eggbeaters OR 2 large egg whites
-2 teaspoons dried parsley or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
-pepper and salt for seasoning purposes
-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
-3 tablespoons pasta sauce
-1 jar pasta sauce or your own homemade pasta sauce
-4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese -separated into 8-10 small pieces/cubes
-nonstick cooking spray

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-On a baking sheet, cover the sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
-In a large bowl, combine ground turkey breast, breadcrumbs, garlic, parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper, oregano, and 3 tablespoons pasta sauce. Mix until the contents are blended together.
-Take some of the meat mixture and make a small meatball
-Repeat this process until you have around 16 smaller meatballs
-In the center of half the small meatballs, add a piece of the mozzarella cheese cube.
-Take the other meatballs that don't have mozzarella cheese on them and cover the meatballs that do, to create covered stuffed meatballs.
-Place on a baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until the meat is cooked to the correct temperature.
-While meatballs are baking, heat up your pasta sauce in a sauce pan.
-Add the meatballs to the sauce once they are done in the oven
-Feel free to eat them on their own or add them to pasta or whatever you decide to do with yummy, cheese-filled, meatballs!

Enjoy! :)

*Ground turkey breast makes these meatballs much healthier but a lean ground beef or lean ground sirloin would be perfect also.

Teriyaki Sweet Potatoes and Dijon Mustard Oven Roasted Potatoes & Veggies

Continued from previous post...

Teriyaki Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4
Adapted from:

-1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
-1 tablespoon sesame oil
-2 teaspoons of minced garlic
-2 tablespoons brown sugar
-3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
Optional: 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (we don't add these)

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Wash and peel your sweet potatoes
-Cut your sweet potatoes into medium sized chunks/cubes
-In a large casserole dish, spray with nonstick cooking spray and put your cut sweet potatoes in it.
-In a small bowl, combine sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, and soy sauce together.
-Pour the contents of the bowl over all of the sweet potatoes, making sure to coat all of them.
-Cover your casserole dish with foil
-Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir the mixture real well. Add your sesame seeds at this point if you wish to use them in this recipe.
-Put back in the oven uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and cooked.
-Remove from oven and eat

*The potatoes should not be mushy, but they should be fork tender.

Dijon Mustard Oven Roasted Potatoes & Veggies
Serves 4-6 servings
Adapted from:

6 small red potatoes - washed and cut into chunks/cubes (do not peel because the peel offers nutrition)
1 red bell pepper medium sized - sliced
1 green bell pepper medium sized - sliced
1 red onion large - sliced
Dijon Mustard
Pepper for seasoning
Salt for seasoning if you desire
Nonstick cooking spray or olive oil

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-In a large bowl, combine potatoes, peppers, and onions.
-Season the vegetables with pepper and salt and mix well.
-Add desired amount of dijon mustard to the bowl and stir until the veggies are mixed well. I use about 1/4 -1/2 cup for my recipe.
-Spray a baking sheet or casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and put the veggie mixture onto the dish
-Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir the veggies around.
-Return to the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
-Remove from oven and eat

Enjoy! :)

3 Side Dish Ideas: Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole, Teriyaki Sweet Potatoes, and Dijon Mustard Oven-Roasted Potatoes & Veggies

I thought I would post a few simple side dishes that all of you might like to try. I love simple meals, especially on the week days when we have both been working hard all day. I wantmy meals to be healthy, taste good, and not require a ton of time in the kitchen. It's so easy to buy the packaged, processed crap in the store, but it really is better to make your side dishes from scratch. You get to control what you put in the dish and it is not loaded with unhealthy ingredients that most of us don't even know how to pronounce, much less know what they are.

These are three dishes that we make quite often in our house. They make a lot of food and they all reheat really well. One tip I will give you is make a large version of these recipes and then just reheat some each night with your main entree. It reduces the time you have to be in the kitchen after work.

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole
Serves 8
Adapted from:

1/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated light parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons light stick butter - melted
1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick italian seasoning
1 package frozen broccoli florets - thawed
1 package frozen cauliflower florets - thawed
1 extra large bag of broccoli and cauliflower florets mixed bag
2 tablespoons light stick butter
1 cup diced sweet yellow onion
2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 cups skim milk
4 ounces or 1/2 package reduced fat or fat free cream cheese

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a bowl, add breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning. Set aside.
-In a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons butter and melt on medium high heat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes or until they are tender.
-Add your flour, 1 teaspoon italian seasoning, garlic powder, and pepper.
-Add your milk and cook until the mixture is bubbly and thickened.
-Add your cream cheese and remaining parmesan cheese and mix well.
-Toss your vegetables with the melted cheese sauce
-In a 2 quart baking dish, spray nonstick cooking spray and pour your veggie/cheese mix into the baking dish.
-Sprinkle the contents of the first bowl you set aside on top of the veggies.
-Bake 30-40 minutes. Top will be slightly browned and the mixture will be completely melted and delicious looking.

-This side dish goes really well with ham or pork chops.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pasta with Roasted Garlic, Chicken, Broccoli, and White Cheddar Cheese

In our household, you can never go wrong when making a pasta dish. I am sure my husband would love me if I made it several times a week. However, I try to only make 1 meal each week that focuses on pasta. It's healthier for our waistlines and gives us something to look forward to each week. :)

There are so many things you can do with pasta. The possibilities are limitless. This is a very tasty and nutritious meal. The great thing about this dish is that it has all the components you want in a healthy, balanced dinner. It has your lean protein, your vegetable, and your whole grains/carbohydrates. It is a very filling meal, so you won't need anything with it. If you really want to make it extra healthy, add a small side of fresh fruit on the side and eat it as dessert after your meal.

Pasta with Roasted Garlic, Chicken, Broccoli, and White Cheddar Cheese
Serves 8  1-cup servings and reheats well for leftovers
Adapted from:

1 box Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Grain Rotini or Penne Pasta
1 1/2 tablespoons light stick butter
1 large bulb of garlic roasted (directions below)
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup dry white wine - your preference (use chicken broth if you don't have any white wine)
1 cup lower sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup shredded reduced fat white cheddar cheese
1 bag frozen broccoli florets - thawed
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts - cut into bite size pieces
salt and pepper for seasoning purposes

*To roast garlic: You will need a piece of foil (enough to completely cover your bulb of garlic). Take one bulb of garlic and cut off the top of one end, which exposes some of the garlic cloves. Place the garlic bulb on the foil and drizzle a few teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil on it. Wrap the foil around it to close it completely. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes. When it is done, remove from the foil and let cool. Once cooled, you will remove the garlic cloves and smash them in a bowl with a fork.
You can make several bulbs of garlic this way and just keep a few wrapped up in your refrigerator for other recipes. They stay good for a few days.

-Cook your pasta according to the directions on the box.
-In a large skillet, spray some nonstick cooking spray. Heat on medium high heat and add your seasoned chicken chunks to the skillet. Cook until the chicken is completely done. Set aside.
-In a large skillet, over medium high heat, melt your butter. Once the butter is melted you will want to add your roasted garlic and saute it for about 30 seconds.
-Add your flour to the skillet and whisk together with the butter and garlic for a few minutes, making sure to stir constantly.
-Add in your chicken broth and white wine.
-Bring mixture to a boil and then simmer on low for about 2-3 minutes. The mixture will start to thicken.
-Add your shredded white cheddar to the mix and stir until the mixture is blended and melted.
-Add any salt or pepper you wish to add for seasoning. We omit the salt but add about 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
-Add the chicken chunks and broccoli florets to the mixture and make sure it blends together completely.
-You can add your pasta to the entire mixture or you can just put some pasta on a plate and add some of the mixture on top of the pasta.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Oven-Roasted Corn on the Cob with Honey Chili Butter

I realize that fresh corn is about to be out of season at the grocery stores, but around here you can still find some fresh corn at the supermarket or at the local farmer's market. I bought a few the other day and decided to try this recipe. If you can't find fresh corn on the cob, I am positive that frozen corn on the cob would be sufficient.

This side dish recipe will go with almost anything else you cook.

Oven-Roasted Corn on the Cob with Honey Chili Butter
Serves 4
Adapted from:

4 ears of corn
3 tablespoons light margarine - room temperature
1 tablespoon local honey
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Optional: salt - to taste

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Take each piece of corn and de-husk it and remove all the silk. Clean off with water and dry off.
-Wrap each piece of corn on the cob in foil and make sure you completely cover it
-Roast corn on the cob in the oven for 30 minutes
-While corn is roasting, in a small bowl combine chili powder, honey, and margarine and stir together until blended.
-I used an electric mixer to combine the ingredients.
-Remove corn on the cob from oven and remove the foil.
-Place corn on a serving platter and cover each with some of the butter mixture

*Tip: Make sure you set the butter/margarine out so that it is close to room temperature when you go to mix it. It will mix so much better than cold butter/margarine.

Enjoy! :)


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Whole Grain Crepes filled with fresh fruit

I have never had crepes before, so I decided last week that I was going to make some. I found a great recipe for some whole grain crepes, which made me all giddy. I love when I can indulge a little and still have it be nutritious. For my first time making them, they turned out delicious. I filled the crepes with fresh berries and light cool whip and drizzled some honey on top of them. I also had turkey sausage patties and eggs with them. I ate way too many crepes but they were so delicious! :)

Whole Grain Crepes with Fresh Fruit
Makes 8 crepes
Adapted from:

1/4 cup eggbeaters or 1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup white whole wheat flour (substitute all purpose flour if you don't have this but they won't be whole grain)
1 cup skim milk
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
Cool whip
nonstick cooking spray
Optional: honey for drizzling

-In a large bowl, whisk egg, egg white, salt, and vanilla until frothy.
-To the bowl, you will add the flour and milk a little at a time. Add some flour and then mix together. Then add some milk and mix together. Repeat process until all flour and milk has been combined.
-Add sugar and cinnamon and combine well
-In a medium size nonstick skillet, heat over medium heat. Make sure to spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray.
-Pick up the pan when it is heated and pour 1/4 cup of batter in the pan and spread around to cover the entire bottom.
-Place the skillet on the burner and cook for 30-45 seconds.
-Flip the crepe and cook an additional 10-15 seconds.
-Repeat process until all your batter is used. You should end up with 8-10 crepes. *keep adding nonstick cooking spray in between batches to prevent sticking/scorching.
-In a bowl, combine your fresh berries and add desired amount of cool whip and combine together.
-Take a crepe and fill with berries/cool whip mixture and roll up. Drizzle honey on top if you wish.

-Crepes can be savory or sweet. For dinner, we our stuffing the leftover crepes with sliced turkey breast, swiss cheese, baby spinach, and honey dijon mustard. Get creative and use any fillings you desire.

Enjoy! :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Healthy Beef and Black Bean Chili and Homemade "Healthified" Cornbread

With fall approaching and the cooler temps, we have been making lots of soups and chili the last few weeks. I've been experimenting with all sorts of different kinds of chili. I've made regular beef chili, white chicken chili, and now beef and black bean chili. This recipe is one of my favorite chili recipes. It is extremely hearty and filling, so one bowl is usually all you need for a meal. If you want a little splurge, make some homemade cornbread to go with it.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it only takes about 10 minutes or so to prepare and then you just let it simmer for about 30 minutes, so it's a perfect meal for a busy week day.  You can make your cornbread while the chili is simmering. :)

Beef and Black Bean Chili
Serves 6-8
Adapted from:

1 pound lean ground sirloin
1 cup frozen corn or 1 can corn drained
1 packet McCormick's Lower Sodium taco seasoning or chili seasoning
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 can black beans - do not drain
1 can petite diced tomatoes - do not drain
1 can Rotel - do not drain
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Optional: Fat-free sour cream, reduced fat shredded cheese, scallions, diced red onions, or cilantro

-In a large pot, season and cook your ground sirloin until it is completely cooked. Drain well and put back into the pot.
-Add corn, taco or chili seasoning, bell peppers, black beans, both cans of rotel, beef broth, and black pepper. Stir until the chili is completely mixed.
-Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cover the pot with a lid.
-Simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-Once chili is done, pour desired amount of chili in a bowl and top with any of the optional toppings listed above.

-If the chili looks very thick, you can add more beef broth to make it less thick.
-Feel free to use ground sirloin, ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken for this recipe.

Homemade "Healthified" Cornbread
Serves 6-8
Adapted from:

1 cup white whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons honey

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-In an 8x8 baking dish, spray nonstick cooking spray.
-In a large bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt together. Stir in yogurt, eggs, and honey and mix just until blended.
-Pour batter into baking dish and bake 20-25 minutes.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Vegetable "Fried" Rice

Before I left for work this morning, I set out boneless pork chops. When I got home I was trying to decide what to have with the pork chops. Bryan and I talked about our options and we decided on teriyaki marinated grilled pork chops, salad, and homemade vegetable "fried" rice. Traditional fried rice is very high in calories and fat. At the grocery store, they sell spice packets for fried rice, but those are loaded with a bunch of crap and are usually high in sodium. I decided to take a stab at creating my own version. It was very easy to make and we thought it tasted really good. I hope you like my version of it. :)

Vegetable "Fried" Rice
Serves 4

2 Boil-in-a-bag brown rice bags (4 servings)
1/2 medium sized red onion - diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup Eggbeaters or 1 large egg
1 cup mixed vegetables (I used vip steamworks mixed veggies and just steamed the bag in the microwave)
2 tablespoons lower sodium soy sauce
black pepper for seasoning

-Cook brown rice according to directions on box
-Steam your mixed veggies in the microwave and set aside.
-In a skillet, spray some nonstick cooking spray.
-On medium high heat, add onion and garlic and saute for 4-5 minutes
-Add eggs and scramble
-Once eggs are cooked completely, add brown rice and mixed vegetables and stir the entire dish until combined.
-Add black pepper and soy sauce and mix well.

-Feel free to use white rice but brown rice is whole grain and a healthier option

Enjoy! :)

Dark Chocolate M&M cookies

I absolutely love dark chocolate. I could do without milk chocolate, but dark chocolate is my weakness. While at Target this past weekend, I passed the aisle with chocolate just to see if I could find something small for my sweet tooth. I ended up finding a huge bag of dark chocolate M&M's. I hardly ever see them in dark chocolate so I got them. I decided I needed to bake something with them so I don't end up eating the whole bag myself. I decided to make M&M cookies. Dark chocolate is a healthier option than milk chocolate, as most of you already know. This recipe is great because you can pick any kind of M&M and use them. Bryan really likes when I make these with peanut butter M&M's.

Recipe adapted from:

Dark Chocolate M&M Cookies
Makes approx 32 cookies

1 1/2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Quaker Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup of Light, Unsalted Stick Margarine at room temperature (set out about 45 minutes before you start making the dough)
2/3 cup Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Brown Sugar Splenda Blend or 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 large Egg
1 Egg Yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla
3/4 cup M&M's

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Place one rack towards the bottom of the oven and the other in the top 1/3 portion of the oven
-Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (easy cleanup and easy to remove from the baking sheet after baking cookies)
-In a bowl, combine flour, oats, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
-In a large bowl, add butter, sugar, and brown sugar. With an electric mixer, cream the sugars and butter for 2 to 3 minutes.
-Add egg and egg yolk and combine until blend thoroughly.
-Add pure vanilla and blend thoroughly.
-Gradually add flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. You don't want to over mix the dough. Just combine it until all ingredients are blended.
-Drop dough by tablespoonful onto baking sheet.
-Top each of the cookies with M&M's, pressing them gently into the cookie dough
-Bake cookies for 12-16 minutes, depending on your oven
-Place the first cookie sheet on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for approx 6 minutes. Then move to the top rack and bake 6 minutes or until they are lightly browned.
-Remove from oven and let cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a baking rack to completely cool.
-Store in an airtight container

-Feel free to use all purpose flour if you don't use or like white whole wheat flour
-If you don't have rolled oats, just use 2 cups of flour

These cookies will be crispy on the edges and have a soft center. They are one of my absolute favorite cookies. Plus, they are made with whole wheat flour, so you are getting your grains and enjoying chocolate! P.S. each of these cookies is less than 100 calories.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Beef and Vegetable Barley Soup

For some reason, I am on a soup kick this week. I think the colder temperatures make me really crave it. I also think soup is really easy to whip up for an easy weeknight supper. I wanted to try a soup with beef because I realized that I post a lot of recipes for turkey, pork, and chicken, but not a lot of beef. This recipe is great because you get your grains, protein, and vegetables all in one bowl. :) This soup can be ready in an hour or you can cook it in your crockpot and let it simmer on low all day.

This soup is great all by itself but a homemade grilled cheese compliments it wonderfully. Just make sure you use whole wheat bread and reduced fat cheese if you are wanting it to be a healthy side dish.

Beef and Vegetable Barley Soup
Serves 8 (1 cup servings)

3/4 cup carrots - chopped
1/2 cup celery - chopped
1/2 cup sweet yellow onion - chopped
1 tablespoon light butter
4 cups reduced sodium beef broth
2 cups of water
1 can diced tomatoes
1 pound beef - I use lean ground beef but stew meat or leftover steak would work fine also
3/4 cup barley - can be quick-cook barley if you wish
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons black pepper (use less if you don't want it spicy)
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon minced garlic

-In a nonstick skillet, season and brown your ground beef and drain well. Set aside.
-In a large skillet, melt butter on medium heat.
-Add carrots, celery, and onions and saute for 4-5 minutes.
-In a large stock pot or dutch oven, add the sauteed veggie mix, along with the beef broth, water, tomatoes, cooked ground beef, barley, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and garlic and stir together, making sure to mix it real good.
-Bring the pot of soup to a boil on high heat
-Once the soup is boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour. Stir occasionally. Taste halfway through cooking to see if any additional seasonings need added. Season accordingly.

*if using quick-cook barley, add the barley about 20-25 minutes before the soup is done. It takes a lot less time than regular barley to cook.
*feel free to add additional veggies if you want and substitute ground turkey if you don't like beef.

Enjoy! :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze

Saturday I met up with some sorority sisters for a brunch. I wanted something that would be delicious and everyone would like, but I also wanted it to be healthy. These are a perfect muffin recipe for this time of year because they are made with pumpkin, which reminds me of fall weather. These are very easy to make and they will stay stored for several days. I doubt they will last that long in your household though.

Original Recipe is from:

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Serves 8 large muffins or 12 smaller muffins

-1 3/4 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
-3 tablespoons brown sugar or brown sugar substitute (2 tablespoons Splenda Brown Sugar Blend)
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1 beaten egg or 1/4 cup Eggbeaters
-3/4 cup milk (I use skim milk)
-2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
-1/2 cup Libby's Canned Pure Pumpkin
*Optional Add Ins: 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 chopped walnuts, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
(I added the ground flaxseed for added nutrition)

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees
-Lightly grease and flour muffin tin pan or use cupcake liners
-In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and baking soda.
-In a separate smaller bowl, mix milk, egg, applesauce, and pumpkin with an electric mixer until blended completely.
-Combine the wet and dry ingredients together and mix with electric mixer until the mixture is combined completely.
-Add your raisins, walnuts, or flaxseed and combine with the mixture, only if you wish to add these.
-Pour batter into your muffin tin cups and bake 15-18 minutes.
-You will know when the muffins are done when you stick a toothpick into the center of one and it comes out clean.

- use 2 tablespoons light margarine melted if you don't have unsweetened applesauce
- add 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla for added flavor

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze
*Disclaimer: let the muffins cool completely before adding the glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup softened cream cheese (reduced fat cream cheese)
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-milk for thinning out glaze

-Combine powdered sugar, cream cheese, and cinnamon together with an electric mixer.
-Add a splash of milk to the mixture and keep stirring until the mixture is at the consistency you want for drizzling over the muffins.
-I used 2 tablespoons of milk for my glaze
-Drizzle glaze over the muffins

Enjoy! :)

Crockpot Turkey Taco Soup

It is a dreary and rainy day today. It's crazy to think it is only September and it is this chilly. Last night I made a loaf of homemade honey wheat bread so soup and grilled cheese sounded perfect for tonight. This recipe is delicious and very easy to put together. The original recipe idea comes from

This is a very healthy meal loaded with fiber and lean protein. I think you will truly enjoy this soup recipe. :) 

Crockpot Spicy Turkey Taco Soup
Serves 8  (1 1/2 cup servings)

1 pound Honeysuckle White ground turkey breast (99% fat free)
1 sweet onion - diced
1 medium green bell pepper - diced
1 can reduced sodium pinto beans - drained
1 can reduced sodium black beans - drained
1 can Green Giant reduced sodium corn - drained (or use 1 1/2 cups frozen corn)
1 can original rotel
1 can Del Monte diced tomatoes - do not drain
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon ground cumin
McCormick taco seasoning 33% reduced sodium - I use the whole packet but the recipe calls for 1/2 a packet
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano

-In a skillet, add onion and ground turkey and season
-Brown turkey meat until its done
-In a crockpot, add your bell pepper, pinto beans, black beans, corn, rotel, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and all seasonings.
-Add in your turkey and onion mixture and stir until the entire contents are combined
-Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours

*Add ins:
-Once you scoop some soup into a bowl, feel free to top it with some low fat sour cream, reduced fat shredded cheese, chopped green onions, or some crushed tortilla chips.

-Feel free to use ground beef or shredded chicken breasts instead of ground turkey. This is a recipe that you can change up to your preference.
-A crockpot doesn't have to be used for this soup recipe. Just put everything in a large pot and bring to a boil and then simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Enjoy! :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Honey Dijon Baked Chicken Breasts

Looking for a healthy entree to serve your family during a busy work week? Well, here is a very simple recipe that is great for during the week because it doesn't require a lot of prep work and the end results are so delicious. I make this dish when I want something healthy but don't want to spend an hour in the kitchen after a long day at work. This recipe is a huge hit in my household. I like it so much because it is a versatile recipe. You can use pork chops, chicken, or turkey as the meat. The idea for this recipe came from this original recipe:

Honey Dijon Baked Chicken Breasts
Serves 4

3/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs or whatever kind you prefer
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons light butter - melted
1 tablespoon local honey
1/3 cup dijon mustard (we use country style Grey Poupon)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-On a baking sheet, spray with nonstick cooking spray
-In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs, pepper, garlic, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
-In another bowl, combine melted butter, honey, and dijon mustard and stir together.
-Take each chicken breast and dip it in the mustard mixture and then into the breadcrumb mixture and place on baking sheet.
-Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
-After 20 minutes, turn the chicken breasts over and continue to cook until they are completely cooked. (depending on the thickness of the chicken, it can take up to 25 more minutes)

-We use the leftover chicken and cut it up in salad or serve it in a whole wheat pita drizzled with additional honey dijon mustard.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

3 recipes: Banana Walnut Oatmeal, Raspberry Almond Oatmeal, and Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal

I am pretty much hooked on oatmeal these days. I eat it almost every single morning for breakfast. It is much more nutritious than most cereals on the market and it is just incredibly easy to change up each morning. Now, when I say I am hooked on oatmeal, I mean the plain oatmeal, not the store bought packets that contain all kinds of junk and tons of added sugar. I like to know exactly what is in my breakfast, so I make it from scratch. The best part about these recipes is that they don't take a long time to make at all, which is always helpful on days you need to get to work on time. Here are three of my favorite kinds right now. I hope you at least try one of them. :)

Side Note: I typically make eggs and chop some fresh fruit when I have oatmeal for breakfast. It's very important to have some protein, whole grains/carbs, and healthy fats at each meal, while remembering that fresh fruit and veggies are also important. This always keeps me satisfied until lunch time.

Banana Walnut Oatmeal
Serves 4-6 servings (This can be made in a huge batch and then eaten a little each morning)

Original Recipe:

3 cups skim milk or water (I use 1 1/2 cups water and 1 1/2 cups skim milk)
3 tablespoons brown sugar or brown sugar substitute
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned will work)
2 ripe bananas - mashed

Optional ingredients: honey and pecans

-In a large saucepan, combine milk/water, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a gentle boil.
-Add the oats and return to a gentle boil.
-Cook approx 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
-Remove from heat and stir in bananas and chopped pecans
-Drizzle some local honey on top if you prefer.
Enjoy! :)

Raspberry Almond Oatmeal
Serves 1 (can be doubled for 2 servings)

Original Recipe:

-1/2 cup Old Fashioned Oats
-6 to 8 ounces water or skim milk
-pinch of salt - optional
-1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
-1/4 teaspoon pure rasbperry extract
-1/2 cup fresh organic raspberries
-Chopped almonds (a few tablespoons to 1/4 cup)

Optional ingredients: honey

-In a saucepan, add your oats, water/milk, and salt.
-Cook approx 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed
-Remove oatmeal from heat source and stir in almond and raspberry extracts.
-Pour oatmeal in a bowl and top it off with raspberries, almonds, and a drizzle of local honey.
Enjoy! :)

Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal
Serves 2

Original recipe:

-1 cup old fashioned oats
-2 cups of water or skim milk
-1 medium to large apple chopped in chunks (I use fuji, braeburn, or honeycrisp apples for this)
-1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1 tablespoon brown sugar or brown sugar substitute

-In a large saucepan, add water or milk and bring to a boil.
-Add old fashioned oats and gently boil for approx 5 minutes or until liquid is mostly absorbed
-Add cinnamon, nutmeg, apples, and brown sugar and stir together until combined.
-Pour in a bowl and enjoy :)

Cajun Style Turkey Meatloaf

Original idea:

Bryan has been asking me to make meatloaf for quite some time now, so I decided tonight I will make a new turkey meatloaf recipe I have been wanting to try. Meatloaf is one of my favorite dishes to make because I change it every time I make it. You can add so much and change it up every time. Sometimes I add shredded zucchini and carrots to my meatloaf to make it more nutritious. Other times I make a bbq bacon meatloaf with caramelized onions on top. Bryan's favorite is my Italian Meatloaf that I got a recipe off CookingLight. Hopefully this one will come out just as tasty as the others have in the past. I plan on serving this meatloaf with sundried tomato florentine brown rice, some baby sugar snap peas, and cut up nectarines.

Now, with this particular recipe, you can use ground chicken, ground turkey breast, or very lean ground beef/sirloin.

Cajun Style Turkey Meatloaf
Serves 8 1-inch slices

1.5 pounds of ground turkey breast
1 large sweet onion chopped (use vidalia if you can)
1/2 cup green bell pepper chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup oats or breadcrumbs (feel free to use plain, whole wheat, or italian seasoned breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
1.5 tablespoons of creole seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg white beaten
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons spicy mustard/dijon mustard

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a loaf pan, spray nonstick cooking spray.
-In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, onion, bell pepper, garlic, oats/breadcrumbs, parsley, creole seasoning, black pepper, cumin, and thyme. Make sure you combine all ingredients very well.
-Form mixture into a loaf and place in loaf pan. Cover pan with foil.
-Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
-Remove meatloaf from the oven and top with spicy mustard.
-Place back in the oven, uncovered, for an additional 35-40 minutes.
-Check your meatloaf with a thermometer for doneness
-Slice and enjoy!

-You won't need to add any salt to this meatloaf because the creole seasoning should be salty enough.
-If you don't have any breadcrumbs, you can take croutons and blend them up in a grater or blender and make your own breadcrumbs.
-Using oats in this recipe will add to the nutrition of the dish and give it more fiber and whole grains.

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chicken Philly Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust

I am a huge fan of bell peppers and onions. We probably cook with them at least 5 or 6 days a week. I am also a huge fan of pizza. We don't ever order it anymore because I have found that homemade is just so much tastier and healthier. This is my version of a chicken philly sandwich, except on a pizza instead of a sub sandwich. Pizza is great because the choices of toppings are endless and you can sort of become an artist and create exactly the pizza you like. This is one of my favorite kinds of pizza.

For the pizza dough, you can make the recipe I will provide or you can use your favorite pizza dough. I know they have some pretty decent whole wheat dough's at the store these days. Try to use whole wheat though for the whole grains. This is what will make pizza a healtheir choice for supper.

Chicken Philly Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust

For the Pizza Dough: Enough for 2 very large thin crust pizzas
(You will need a breadmaker for this recipe)

1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
3 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour

-Bake bread according to your breadmaker instructions.
-For our breadmaker, you add the liquid ingredients first, then the dry ingredients, and the yeast goes last. You make a little hole at the top of the ingredients and pour the yeast in that.
-My breadmaker takes about 1 1/2 hrs to make the pizza dough.
-When the dough is done, you will divide the dough into 2 equal portions.
-Using a silicone dough mat or another nonstick surface, place some cornmeal on the surface and roll out your dough with a rolling pin. You can make it as thin or thick as you prefer.

You can freeze pizza dough. I usually make a large batch of dough and then freeze several smaller portions in separate bags in the freezer for later use.


8 oz fat free or reduced fat cream cheese
1 pound/16 oz grilled chicken breast strips (you can buy these already cooked from the store or cook up some fresh chicken strips)
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced mushrooms - optional
1 bag/2 cups shredded low fat mozzarella or provolone cheese

-Preheat oven to 500 degrees
-Place rolled out pizza dough onto a pizza stone or a nonstick baking sheet (make sure to coat your baking sheet with some nonstick cooking spray and cornmeal for easy removal once pizza is done)
-Bake pizza crust for 5 minutes without any toppings on it
-Remove pizza crust from the oven
-Spread cream cheese on pizza crust. You can slather it on there or use just enough to cover the crust with a thin coat of cream cheese.
-Top pizza with chicken, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and then top with cheese.
-Bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
-Crust will be light brown and cheese will be melted.

A side salad or some fresh fruit would compliment this pizza.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oven Roasted Green beans, Carrots, and Red Onions

Original recipe from:

We are about to go on a vacation to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary, so I am trying to use up any fresh produce and fruit that we have. We just picked about a pound of green beans from our garden yesterday, so this is a great way to use them up. This is a simple side dish that is scrumptious. It would go well with almost any entree you choose to serve it with.

Oven Roasted Green Beans, Carrots, and Red Onions
Serves 4-6 people

1 pound Fresh Green Beans - cleaned and ends trimmed off
1/2 pound Carrots - peeled and cut into small coin size pieces or use baby carrots and split them in half lengthwise
1 large Red Onion
2 cloves of Garlic diced or 1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
Pepper for seasoning
Chicken Broth or water - I use low sodium chicken broth to give more flavor

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-In a roasting pan or on a foil covered baking sheet, spray some nonstick cooking spray on it.
-In a large pot, boil water or chicken broth. Add your fresh green beans and a pinch of salt and boil gently for 2-3 minutes.
-Drain the green beans
-In a bowl, combine the green beans, carrots, onion, garlic, and olive oil. Sprinkle the cumin and pepper and stir together until combined.
-Pour your veggie mix on your baking sheet and roast in the oven for approx 45 minutes.
-Your oven may cook them faster and some ovens may take longer. Make sure you toss the veggies around every 15 minutes or so.

*my oven only took 35 minutes to cook these veggies to a crisp tender stage

Enjoy! :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Banana Nut Bread Cookies

I was looking in my kitchen tonight and trying to figure out what ingredients I had on hand to make some cookies for my coworkers tomorrow. I realized I had 2 bananas that were a little overripe. I decided to make "healthified" Banana Nut Bread Cookies. These are extremely delicious and taste just like banana nut bread. The best thing about this recipe is that if you don't like nuts or are allergic, you can just omit them in the recipe. I think you will truly enjoy this delicious treat! :)

Banana Nut Bread Cookies
Makes approx 50 cookies

2 1/4 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar or brown sugar substitute (I used 1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend)
2 sticks Light Butter
1 Large Ripe Banana - mashed up
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Optional: 1/2 cup of Chopped Pecans or Chopped Walnuts

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a medium size bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice and stir until combined well.
-In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 2 sticks of butter and cream together until blended.
-Once the butter mixture is blended well, add your vanilla extract and your mashed banana and stir together until blended.
-Add your flour mixture a little at a time to the butter mixture. Keep adding more flour until you have added it all and all ingredients are mixed well.
-If you wish to add chopped nuts, do so now.
-Place by spoonful onto a nonstick baking sheet.
-Bake approx 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are brown
-Let cool on a cookie rack and then store

Enjoy! :)

-If you find that the cookie dough is a little dry, feel free to add about 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce to the mixture and combine well.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Healthy Vegetable Lasagna

A great way to use up fresh vegetables is to throw together a stir fry or roast them. Another great idea is to throw them all together and put them in a pasta dish. You can never go wrong doing this. I love pasta, even though I try not to eat it very often, and this is a great way to incorporate my indulgence in pasta and also get benefits of vitamins and minerals from tons of vegetables. This is a great vegetarian entree that I think you all will enjoy. You can definitely add meat to this lasagna if you wish, but I think it tastes fabulous without it. If you did add meat, I would suggest chicken or ground turkey, not beef. This recipe could be prepared and then frozen for a later time if you are looking for ways to get in healthy dinners during the week but not have to spend hours cooking dinner. Another great thing about this dish is that it is so incredibly filling that one serving is plenty for a meal. We had just the lasagna for dinner and then had some fresh fruit on the side for dessert.

Healthy Vegetable Lasagna
Serves 6 (can be doubled if you want a 12 serving meal)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup carrots - sliced
1 cup zucchini - sliced
1/2 cup red bell pepper diced (feel free to use a red, green, yellow, or orange bell pepper )
1 cup baby spinach leaves - chopped
1/2 large red onion - chopped
1 cup fresh broccoli florets - chopped
1 1/2 cloves of garlic - minced (or use 1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil)
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup low fat or non fat ricotta cheese
2 large eggs or 1/2 cup eggbeater egg substitute (I use eggbeaters)
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups Marinara Sauce or Spaghetti Sauce (I use Muir Glen Organic Marinara Sauce)
9 lasagna noodles - cooked (I use Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles)
Grated light parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of lasagna

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-In a large stock pan, boil water and cook lasagna noodles according to box directions. (you can add a little olive oil to the boiling water to prevent pasta from sticking together)
-While noodles are cooking, in a large skillet, add olive oil and heat on medium high heat.
-Add your carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, onion, and broccoli and saute for about 7 minutes. Stir occassionally. Add garlic and baby spinach and saute for an additional minute. Set aside.
-In a medium size bowl, combine cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, eggs, basil, oregano, and pepper and combine well.
-In an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking dish, spray with nonstick cooking spray.
-Place some marinara sauce on bottom of baking dish (just enough to sort of cover the bottom of the dish)
-Place 3 lasagna noodles in a row on top of the sauce
-On top of lasagna noodles, add a layer of the vegetable ragu and then a layer of the cheese mixture. Then add some marinara sauce on top of that.
-Repeat the same steps for the remainder of the lasagna noodles and mixtures of veggies and cheese.
-The final layer should be lasagna noodles and then a little marinara sauce on top. Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top of that.
-Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

Enjoy! :)