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! :)