Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Spicy Buffalo Chicken Salad

My sister has gotten me hooked on website. This website takes resturant recipes and gives them a healthy make-over. Jarrod and I have always loved the Buffalo Chicken Salad from Chili's and we used to eat it all the time when we were dating. Little did we know that that 'little salad' was packed with well over 1,000 calories! No wonder I gained weight! This week I made the hungry-girl's version of this salad and it was AMAZING! We absolutely loved it and it tasted so much like the one from Chili's! This recipe is only enough for 1 person, so double or triple it if you're making it for more people. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Changes I made:
  • Added sliced avacado
  • After breading the chicken and putting it on the pan, spray it well with cooking spray. This will help it to crisp during cooking and not be dry and dusty. After flipping the chicken halfway through baking, spray again.
Spicy Buffalo Chicken Salad
1/4 cup Fiber One bran cereal (original)
Several Dashes of garlic powder
Several Dashes of onion powder
One 4-oz. raw boneless skinless lean chicken breast cutlet, pounded to 1/3-inch thickness
2 tbsp. fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1 tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
1 tbsp. precooked real crumbled bacon (like the kind by Oscar Mayer)
3 low-fat baked tortilla chips, slightly crushed
1 tbsp. Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
2 tbsp. fat-free ranch dressing

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.

2. Place cereal in a sealable bag, remove air, and seal. Using a rolling pin or meat mallet, crush cereal through the bag to a breadcrumb-like consistency. Add garlic powder and onion powder. If you like, add salt and pepper. Seal and shake to combine. Set aside.

3. Place chicken in a bowl and top with egg substitute. Coat both sides of the chicken and then give it a shake to remove excess egg substitute. Transfer to the bag with the crumbs, seal, and shake to thoroughly coat both sides with crumbs.

4. Place chicken on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Carefully flip chicken and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, until crispy and cooked through. Set aside.

5. Meanwhile, place lettuce in a bowl and top with tomato, cheese, bacon, and crushed chips. Set aside.

6. Pour hot sauce onto a small plate. Once cool enough to handle, coat both sides of the cooked chicken with sauce. Slice and place on top of your salad. Serve with ranch dressing and enjoy!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A New Twist on Chicken Fajitas!

Since we've made this new healthy eating 'change,' I have tried coming up with different way to still have some of my favorite things. I love Mexican food, but unfortunately it adds to my waist line pretty drastically. One day I was walking through the grocery store and saw a package of fajita sauce. I had never made fajitas before, but how hard could it be? Since I'm watching my calories very closely I decided I needed to find something to put in the fajitas that would take the place of a lot of the meat. I decided I would sautee mushrooms, onions, squash, and zucchini and then add some of the fajita sauce to it after it was cooked. It was AMAZING! This is my favorite dish and we've been making it once a week for probably 3 months now.

A few tips:
1. Buy 2 packages of dry fajita mix (one for the chicken or beef and one for the vegetables).
2. When slicing the squash and zucchini, try to just skim thin strips don't want a lot of the middle part otherwise it will become mushy and nobody likes a mushy fajita!
3. Sautee the mushrooms by themselves first, remove them, sautee the rest of the vegi's and then add the mushrooms back in when everything is cooked. The reason for this is because mushrooms release juice when they are cooked and if you cook them with the rest of the vegi's everything will just go me).
4. Slice your chicken in short, thin strips. This will help them too cook faster and it'll help you not to pile so much onto your tortilla.
5. Use any kind of tortilla you want. My husband likes to use spinach wraps while I use low-carb wheat wraps to cut of his is 210 calories and one of mine is 76 calories....big difference!

Cooked onion, mushrooms, squash, and zucchini

The finished fajita!

Chicken Fajitas

1 lb. chicken, cut into short thin slices
2 packages prepared fajita mix
1 small package of sliced mushrooms
1 medium/large onion
3 large zucchini
3 large yellow squash
extra virgin olive oil
tortilla shells
low-fat shredded mozzerella or cheddar cheese

1. Marinate chicken in fajita sauce for atleast 30 minutes before cooking.
2. Slice all vegetables
3. Sautee mushrooms in olive oil until a little crispy then set aside.
4. Cook chicken in skillet over medium high heat until done.
5. Sautee onions, zucchini, and squash in a large skillet until slightly browned (do not use much olive can always add more if you need it!)
6. Add mushrooms to vegetables and add the rest of the fajita sauce. Cook until most of sauce is absorbed.
7. Load tortilla with a little chicken and a lot of vegi's. Top with some cheese and voila!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chili and Cornbread

Nothing says 'Fall' quite like chili and cornbread! I took a few recipes I had and put my own healthy twist on them and they came out pretty darn good! We made a vegetarian chili and cornbread using whole wheat flour instead of white, applesauce instead of oil, eggbeaters to eliminate cholesterol, and skim milk to cut down on calories. This version of cornbread is a little dense but is perfect for dipping (which in my opinion is its sole purpose!). To give the chili the taste as if it was cooked over a fire, I added worstershire sauce and liquid dash. The chili definitely had a kick to it, so if you want to cut down on the spicyness, simply substitute the Rotel tomatoes with green chilis for regular diced tomatoes. Happy Fall!

*The chili came out to being 75 calories for a 1/2 cup and the cornbread was 135 calories for 1 piece (when cut into 9 pieces).

Vegetarian Chili
1 large chopped yellow onion
3 Tbsp minced garlic
2 can fulls of water
2 tablespoons Stevia (sugar substitute
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chilis, undrained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can Great Northern White Beans, rinsed and drained
Couple dashes of liquid smoke

Combine everything in a crockpot and cook all day on low.

Wheat Cornbread
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2  cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup Stevia (sugar substitute)
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 cup skim milk
3/4 cup eggbeaters

Preheat oven to 375 and place 8"x8" dish in oven to heat up.

Mix together all ingredients until there are no lumps.

Take dish out of oven, spray with non-stick spray, and pour in batter.

Cook for 25-35 minutes

Friday, October 15, 2010

Stuffed Zucchini

We eat zucchini constantly! Literally, probably at least 4 times a week. I was trying to find some new variations to it since we usually just sautee it and I ran across this recipe from The only change I made was that I added sautee'd mushrooms and it was super yummy! You don't just eat the inside 'stuffing' part, you eat the whole thing and I can definitely say I'll be making this more often. Each stuffed zucchini came out to being only about 100 calories and they're pretty big! I definitely recommend this recipe to anyone who likes any kind of "stuffing" and is trying to watch their calories.

Stuffed Zucchini
4 medium zucchini halved lengthwise
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup finely minced onions
3 Tbsp minced garlic
3/4 cup eggbeater (or 3 eggs)
1/2 cup diced tomato
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
2-3 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon italian bread crumbs

1. Scoop out inside of zucchini.

2. Chop scooped zucchini into bits and cook in oil with onions and garlic until onions are soft.

3. Combine sautéed ingredients with tomatoes cheese, herbs, eggs, salt and pepper.

4. Fill each zucchini with mixture and dust with breadcrumbs and some extra cheese.

5. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes in a lightly oiled glass baking dish.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Spaghetti Squash

This post isn't really a recipe, it's basically just giving an overview of spaghetti squash and how you can use it in place of noodles. All you do is take the spaghetti squash, a sharp knife, and make several slits all over it. Place it on a baking sheet and bake it in the over on 375 for 1 hour. After it comes out slice it down the middle (lengthwise) and scoop out the pulp/seeds. Take a fork and scrap the sides, this is going to be your "noodles." I served ours with organic spaghetti sauce and it was pretty good. The noodles almost have a slight crunch to them, but they're a good alternative if you're trying to watch the calories or the carbs.
After coming out of the oven

After scooping out the pulp but before scraping the sides

The "noodles"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Country Fried Butternut Squash

On my way to the grocery story yesterday, my husband called me and asked me to pick up spaghetti squash. He wanted to substituted it for regular noodles in spaghetti that night. I had no idea what that squash looked like except that it was bigger than the normal yellow kind. Since it's fall there were about a million different squash to choose from! I searched and searched and finally found a sign that said "Spaghetti Squash." It was a little bigger than a cantaloupe, heavy, and almost looked like a green pumpkin. Once I got home I starting looking up ways to cook it and guess what? The spaghetti squash in the pictures looked nothing like the one I had bought! I went and looked at the squash again and saw a tiny sticker that said "butternut squash." Great! I only had a little over an hour until dinner and I have to figure out what to do with this new, huge squash. I found a few recipes that showed how to fry it up and a pan so I decided I would do that, except putting my own twist on it.

First I had to peel it....easier said than done! It has ridges like a pumpkin and was kind of hard to hold. Took about 20 minutes but I finally got that little bugger peeled! Next was to cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and then slice it relatively thin. Again.....easier said than done! This kind of squash was so hard! It looks like a sweet potato on the inside, but much harder to work with. It took me about 25 minutes to slice it (I'm not even kidding!). Finally it was time to coat it, bread it, and fry it. Since this squash was so big there was a lot to fry. I used the biggest skillet I had, but it still took about 40 minutes to do it all.

After finally finishing, I can honestly say it was super yummy! My husband and I both thought it tasted like sweet potato fries....and they were even better dipping them in ketchup! I liked this recipe, but it was a lot of wrist is still sore. I might stick to using regular sweet potatoes because they're easier to work with and would use a lot less oil, plus you just bake them (therefore a lot less work!). I liked the flavor of the butternut squash so I'll just try it with another recipe next time....maybe a soup.

*I did not measure the salt, pepper, garlic salt, or onion powder, but I did have to keep adding more so that it would not taste bland, I used a good bit. Taste test your first batch and add more if you think it needs it.
*You will have to keep adding olive oil after each batch.

Country Fried Butternut Squash 
1 large butternut squash - peeled, seeded and sliced
1/4 cup egg beaters (or 1 large egg)
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
ground black pepper
garlic salt
onion powder
extra virgin olive oil for frying

1.Combine eggbeaters and milk together in a small bowl, mix well.

2.In a second bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, garlic salt, and onion powder. Dip squash slices first in the egg mixture, then dredge the squash in the dry mixture.

3. Drizzle olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Fry squash until golden brown.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Breaded Baked Flounder

I've never been a big fish eater, so I had to find a fish recipe that I could actually enjoy eating. At Kroger I found individually packaged wild-caught flounder fillets and decided to give them a try. I brushed each side of the fillet with extra virgin olive oil (or you can do egg beaters) and coated them with italian bread crumbs. I baked them @ 425 for 18-20 minutes and they turned out great! They look and taste just like fried fish. You can use basically any kind of fish fillet with this recipe, but I picked flounder to minimize the "fishy" taste.
Breaded Baked Flounder
Flounder fillets
Italian bread crumbs
Extra virgin olive oil

Defrost fish and lightly coat each side with olive oil. Dip each side in bread crumbs and place on baking sheet. Bake @ 425 for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Country Fried Steak & Gravy

I got this recipe from and loved it! It is a great alternative version of the original greasy, full of fat country fried steak. I liked the gravy that went with it even though I didn't even realize until writing this blog that I accidently used cornmeal instead of corn starch in it....whoops! Well, it still tasted good! I was very surprised you can make gravy from low-sodium beef broth the same way you can from grease. Another way this recipe cuts out a lot of the calories is by only browning the meat in olive oil and then baking it the rest of the way in the oven. If you and your family like a lot of gravy for the meat and potatoes, you might want to double the gravy recipe. Happy cooking!

Country Fried Steak & Gravy Recipe
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten (or egg beaters)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch, divided
1 teaspoon paprika
1 pound cube steak, cut into 4 portions
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup fat free half-and-half
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Place all-purpose flour on a large plate. Place egg whites in a shallow dish. Whisk cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch and paprika in another shallow dish. Season both sides of steak with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Dredge the steak in the flour, shaking off excess; dip in the egg whites, then dredge in the cornmeal mixture.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add 2 pieces of the steak; cook until browned on both sides, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes total. Transfer the steak to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 2 pieces of steak. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, add broth to the pan and boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1 cup, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk water and the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in half-and-half; season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Serve the steak topped with the gravy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Crystal's Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've looked at several chocolate chip cookie recipes and they're pretty much all the same, with little variations. Most of them only substitute one ingredient to make it healthier, but I thought 'why not substitute as many as you can?' So that's exactly what I did. I didn't know how they were going to turn out or if they would even be edible but I gave it go! When they came out I noticed they didn't flatten out on their own, so next time I will flatten them out a little myself instead of keeping them in a 'ball' form. They actually tasted pretty good. The dough part is more of a bread consistancy, but all the taste comes from the Ghiradelli chips (which are great!). My recipe came out to making 2 dozen cookies and 73 calories per cookie, which is a pretty big drop from 130-250 calories a cookie. I will definitely be making this recipe again.

Crystal's Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup light butter, softened
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup Stevia (a natural sweetener)
1/3 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/4 cup egg beaters
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
1.Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

2.Grind oats in a blender. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl. Add unsweetened applesauce, Stevia, brown sugar, eggbeaters and vanilla; beat until smooth. Continue mixing and add the dry ingredients slowly, beating on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

3.Using a cookie scoop, drop batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies for about 12 minutes. Cool the cookies for 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hamburger Buddy

I was starting to feel a little defeated on most of the healthy recipes I had done so far, so I didn't exactly have high hopes for this one. However, I am happy to say I was completely wrong! This recipe (which came from is definitely one of my favorites so far. It really is a good comfort food dish! This pasta is packed with vegetables and you would barely even know. The onion, mushrooms, and carrots are diced up so fine that kids will never think to 'pick them out.' The vegetables also serve as the base to the sauce, therefore you don't have to add pre-made soups, only low-sodium beef broth and water. This recipe turned out more soupy than I thought it would but it was so good! I made whole wheat french bread from scratch to go with this dish and it was great to dip it the excess juice. My picture doesn't do it justice, but I will definitely be making this dish again. The next day it had thickened up a lot and was more of a hamburger helper consistancy, but tasted a million times better of course.

Changes I made:
  • I used extra lean ground turkey instead of ground beef
  • I used whole wheat flour, rather than all-purpose
  • I couldn't find whole wheat elbow noodles, so I had to use whole wheat shell noodles instead.

Hamburger Buddy
3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
10 ounces white mushrooms, large ones cut in half
1 large onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound 90%-lean ground beef
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups water
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth, divided
8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles, (2 cups)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or chives for garnish
1.Fit a food processor with the steel blade attachment. With the motor running, drop garlic through the feed tube and process until minced, then add carrots and mushrooms and process until finely chopped. Turn it off, add onion, and pulse until roughly chopped.

2.Cook beef in a large straight-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped vegetables, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften and the mushrooms release their juices, 5 to 7 minutes.

3.Stir in water, 1 1/2 cups broth, noodles and Worcestershire sauce; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

4.Whisk flour with the remaining 1/4 cup broth in a small bowl until smooth; stir into the hamburger mixture. Stir in the sour cream. Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley (or chives), if desired.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chocolate Blueberry Cake

If you are a fan of dark chocolate, you are going to love this recipe! All of my friends and family know I have a huge sweet tooth, so finding a chocolate dessert that is easy on the calories and still tastes good is very hard to find....but I found one! This recipe uses blueberries in place of oil, but the cake tastes nothing like blueberries. I made a few changes to this recipe to lower cholesterol and drastically lower the calories. The cake itself is very dense, so don't be surprised when it comes out and it's a bit stiff. The chocolate ganache is where all the flavor is going to come from. It literally tastes just like dark chocolate and it's so good. I wouldn't be surprised if I make this recipe every single week for my sweet cravings. For my version of this recipe (with all the changes), one piece is only 132 calories when you use an 8"x 8" pan and cut 8 slices (these are pretty large slices). I don't think you can get another chocolate cake recipe for that few of calories and if you can, please send it to me :)

Tips/Changes I made:
  • I used Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips....quality is important when it comes to chocolate.
  • I substituted the sugar for Stevia (a natural, zero calorie artificial sweetener)
  • Next time I will top the ganache with a sugar free raspberry drizzle.
  • I used 1/4 cup egg beaters instead of 1 egg
  • Check the cake after 20 minutes in the oven. I think mine over baked and was a little dry the next day, but still yummy with the ganache.
Chocolate Blueberry Cake Recipe
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
1 egg
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup Cool Whip Free
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350º. Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. In a blender combine water, egg and blueberries. Blend until smooth. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture. Beat with a mixer, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Pour into a greased 8x8 square pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in the pan for 10–15 minutes, then invert it to serving plate. Top with ganache.

For the ganache:
In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and whipped topping. Microwave for 30–60 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir until smooth.

Turkey Club Sliders with Avocado Ranch Dressing

This recipe is from Rachel Ray and sounded pretty easy and a good alternative to a greasy burger. I made a few changes to the recipe, but basically stuck to most of it. I'm pretty much just starting out on eating ground turkey rather than lean ground beef (cholesterol is one of the main things I am trying to cut out of my cooking). Overall this recipe was pretty good, but I won't lie....ground beef tastes so much better! The ground turkey in this recipe had almost a strong sausage taste, and since I'm not a huge fan of sausage, I had to try and hide it with dipping sauce. The avocado ranch sauch was pretty good, but I don't know why they call it avocado tastes nothing like ranch! All in all we enjoyed this dish, but next time I will just make regular sized burgers since they are so much easier.

Tips/Changes I made:
  • I got wheat hamburger buns and simply 'cut' them down to size by putting a jar over the bun and twisting it until the excess came off.
  • I used turkey bacon instead of regular and I didn't chop them up and mix them in with the meat, i just layed it on the burger.
  • Keep the avocado ranch on the side instead of on the may prefer mayo, ketchup, or mustard with this burger.
  • I put a few tablespoons of liquid Dale's seasoning to the meat to try and give it more of a 'burger' taste.
  • I broiled the burgers in the oven rather than grilling them. About 8-10 minutes on each side.
Turkey Club Sliders with Avocado Ranch Dressing Recipe
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 pounds ground turkey
1 small onion
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
salt and pepper
1 avocado
1 cup sour cream
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
a small handful of fresh chives, finely chopped
a small handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
a small handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
16 slices good-quality white or whole wheat bread
lettuce leaves, for serving
2 plum or vine-ripened tomatoes, thinly sliced

Preheat an outdoor grill or griddle pan to medium high. Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and the bacon to the pan and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels to cool, then chop.

While the bacon cooks, place the turkey in a large bowl. Grate the onion on top of the turkey to get 3 to 4 tablespoons onion juice. Add the hot sauce, poultry seasoning, salt and lots of pepper. Add the cooked bacon, mix and form 8 slider patties, about 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide. Drizzle with olive oil to coat lightly. Cook on the grill or griddle, turning once, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

While the sliders cook, preheat the broiler. Place the avocado in a food processor. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, garlic, chives, dill and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Process into a smooth, thick sauce.

Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds of bread (or trim 1 inch of crust all the way around the bread slices to form small squares); discard the crusts.* Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and toast under the broiler. Serve the bacon-turkey sliders with the lettuce, tomatoes and avocado-ranch sauce between the toasts.

Baked Zucchini Coins

When I found this recipe I got super excited! Jarrod and I love zucchini and cook it just about 4 or 5 times a week, so I loved the idea of having a new and different way of cooking it. This recipe is basically how to make 'fried zucchini' without the fat or calories of deep frying, but I have to say, I was very disappointed. When they came out of the oven they looked great, but as soon as we tried them we instantly didn't really like them. I expected the center to be a little crispy like the outside but instead it was very soft. The only way I was able to eat them was to dip them in ranch dressing which completely takes away the whole reason for not frying them. They almost tasted a bit like fried okra....only with a mushy center. I will not be trying this recipe again.
Baked Zucchini Coins Recipe
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
freshly ground pepper
2 zucchini
1 egg
olive oil

1. Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, basil and pepper on a plate.
2. Beat egg in a small bowl.
3. Slice zucchini into 1/4" thick coins
4. Dip zucchini into egg and then into cornmeal mixture.
5. Coat a parchment lined cookie sheet with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Arrange zucchini coins on cookie sheet and back at 425 for about 10 minutes per side, until golden brown.
6. Serve with bottled blue cheese or ranch dressing.

Mini Mushroom & Sausage Quiches

I'm always looking for new healthy breakfast ideas because so far they've been pretty hard to find. Everytime I search for breakfast recipes that are low in calories it usually consists of yogurt with fruit and granola (yuck! never been a yogurt fan). I came across this recipe from and it sounded pretty good. It makes 12 mini quiches (made in regular cupcake tins, not mini-cucake tins). I followed the recipe pretty close and only made a few changes. Also, since a tube of sausage is 14 oz. and the recipe only calls for 8 oz., I simply doubled the recipe so I wouldn't waste any. I made a dozen mini quiches and one regular size quiche. I will make this recipe again, but I will not put the turkey sausage in it. The sausage tasted too strong for me (almost a strong herb flavor). Instead I will add a little more cheese to it and serve it with a side of turkey bacon.

Recipe tips and changes:
  • Use a thin regular spatula when cooking the turkey sausage. I tried to use a wooden spoon and it just stuck together and was hard to work with.
  • I used part-skim mozzerella instead of swiss cheese to cut calories
  • I used 1 cup egg beaters instead of the 5 regular eggs to get rid of cholesterol
  • I used skim milk, not 1%

Mini Mushroom & Sausage Quiches Recipe
8 ounces turkey breakfast sausage, removed from casing and crumbled into small pieces
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
5 eggs
3 egg whites
1 cup 1% milk

1.Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F. Coat a nonstick muffin tin generously with cooking spray.

2.Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Add oil to the pan. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to the bowl with the sausage. Let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in scallions, cheese and pepper.

3.Whisk eggs, egg whites and milk in a medium bowl. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle a heaping tablespoon of the sausage mixture into each cup.

4.Bake until the tops are just beginning to brown, 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Place a rack on top of the pan, flip it over and turn the quiches out onto the rack. Turn upright and let cool completely.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Banana Nut Bread

We had some bananas starting to look a little brown, so I decided to make a healthy version of banana nut of my many weaknesses! I searched the internet for recipes and finally decided on the one at To help cut down even more on the calories, I substituted sugar for Stevia (a 100% natural zero calorie granulated sweetener....this sweetener is better for you because it's raw, unlike Splenda or Sweet & Low which is man-made). Just substituting sugar for Stevia saved me 1,161 calories in my bread! If you want to omit another 160 calories from the bread, simply don't add toasted walnuts (but honestly they're worth the extra calories!). To toast walnuts (or any kind of nut for that matter), spread nuts evenly on a baking sheet and bake in the oven @ 350 for 8-10 minutes, very simple.
The bread smelled great while baking but I was a little disappointed when I took it out and saw that it did not rise much at all.....not sure what caused that since I am still a fairly new cooker and baker! However, the bread not rising did not take away anything from recipe! My husband and I both really like it. It's not too sweet, so it really is the best balance between bread and cake, but don't go thinking it'll taste just like one would in the have to sacrifice a little taste for a whole lot less calories! I will definitely be making this more often since it's great to have for a snack, dessert, or even breakfast (put a little light butter on it, nuke it in the microwave and there you go!). The only thing I will change next time is to substitute the oil for unsweetened applesauce. I meant to do that this time but forgot to pick it up at the store....that substitution can save another 300 calories or so.
The way I made the bread this time came out to having 156 calories per slice if you cut it into 10 slices (and those are pretty thick!). Happy Baking!

Banana Nut Bread Recipe
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 egg whites
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 large)
1/4 cup fat-free (skim) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted (optional)

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 8x4-inch or 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

In large bowl, beat sugar, oil, egg whites, bananas, milk and vanilla until well blended. Stir in flour mixture until well blended. Stir in walnuts. Spoon into pan.

Bake 8-inch loaf 55 to 62 minutes, 9-inch loaf 45 to 52 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack.

Goat Cheese Grits with Fresh Corn

I was really excited about trying out this recipe I found at I love grits, goat cheese, and corn, so why not mix them all together! It was extremely simple (and quick!) to make which is a definite plus for all of us 'non-cookers' in a hurry. For anyone not familiar with goat cheese, it has an almost cream cheese texture. This recipe called for crumbled goat cheese and the kind I bought came in a 'tube-shaped' form so I simply crumbled it with my fingers (very easy to do). I thought the recipe would make a little bit more than it did, but it was still enough for me and my husband. Jarrod didn't really like it. He's not a huge fan of goat cheese and said it seemed to be more of a "girly" dish (and I kind of have to agree with him on that one). I had to add extra salt and pepper to mine because the recipe didn't call for much and in my opinion, grits always needs a good bit of salt.

I am definitely going to make this recipe again but only if I'm cooking for myself. I also will add another ear of corn in it to enhance the sweetness and sautee'd shrimp would be a good addition as well. All in all it was a fun dish to try!
Goat Cheese Grits with Fresh Corn Recipe
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup quick grits (not instant)
1 cup fresh corn kernels (1 large ear of corn)
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (3 ounces), divided
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives or scallion greens
Bring water, salt and pepper to a boil in a large saucepan. Slowly pour in grits, stirring constantly. Stir in corn; return to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in half the goat cheese and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in chives (or scallions). Serve each portion sprinkled with some of the remaining cheese.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gringo Cabbage

I am not new to this recipe, however, I still wanted to post about it because it's been a huge hit with anyone who has tried it. I got the recipe from my husbands family. On Thanksgiving one year they had this cabbage dish out, and although a cabbage casserole seemed kind of gross, I decided to put a little on my plate and it tasted amazing! I got the recipe and tried it the very next week at home. It has several steps but is fairly easy to make. You can increase the white sauce (which I do), use more cayenne pepper for an added kick, or add shredded really can't mess up this recipe.

Gringo Cabbage Recipe
1 lg. head of cabbage
1/2 cup grated reduced fat Parmesean cheese
1 1/2 cups crushed whole wheat Ritz crackers
4 Tbsp melted light butter
1/3 cup light butter
cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup low-fat or skim milk

Chop cabbage. Fill a large saucepan 1/4 full of water and sprinkle with salt. Add cabbage, cover and boil for about 7 minutes, then drain. In a small bowl, mix 4 Tbsp melted butter with Ritz crackers. In a small pot on the stove, melt 1/3 cup butter. Add flour and stir until smooth. Add milk, a dash or 2 or cayenne pepper, and salt and cook until slightly thickened.
In a greased 9 x 13" baking dish, place half cabbage, cover with half of the white sauce, sprinkle with parmesean cheese and Ritz cracker mixture. Repeat layers and bake @ 350 for 20 minutes.