Monday, December 29, 2014

Healthy Sausage Ball Delights

1/2 lb. prepared turkey breakfast sausage
1/2 cup instant or old fashioned oats
1 tablespoon milled flax seed
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon reduced-fat grated parmesan cheese
2 wedges low calorie soft cheeses (such as Laughing Cow)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons water 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with silicone baking mat or spray generously with cooking spray. In a food processor, finely grind oats, flax, and chia until it resembles a powder. Set aside. In a medium bowl, place bulk sausage with cheeses, and warm tap water. Stir to fully combine. Combine with reserved oat mixture ensuring the mixture is completely incorporated. 
Using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop rounds of mixture on to prepared cookie sheet. Then lightly pick up and roll each to form balls placing about 2 inches apart. Bake for 20-22 minutes at 400 degrees flipping once in the middle of cook time. Makes 22-24 balls. Recommended 4 balls per serving. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: serves 6

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chicken Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Chicken Sausage Stuffed Peppers

This blog post is perfect for anyone trying to cut out carbs from their diet, but still incorporate some really good for you veggie nutrition. This recipe comes from the merging of two things that I have been making for a really long time, chicken sausage and stuffed peppers. I chose a really flavorful pepper for this, an anaheim pepper, which is a sweet pepper similar in flavor to bell peppers. This is a great way to hit the spot for an italian food craving and is a real crowd pleaser so it would be great and easy to serve company.

In addition to making delicious stuffed peppers, this recipe also makes enough sausage to create patties for breakfast the next day all with only 1/2 lb. of ground chicken breast. Enjoy!

Chicken Sausage Stuffed Peppers

1/2 lb ground chicken breast
1 shallot, finely diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
2 large anaheim peppers  
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 garlic clove, grated

In a saucepan on low heat, stir together tomatoes, basil, and garlic cloves to warm through. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together chicken, shallot, salt, pepper, garlic powder, fennel, and sage until thoroughly combined. Cut of tops of peppers and clean out seeds and veins. Stuff peppers with sausage until completely full. Reserve the rest of the sausage for sausage patties or other use. In a small baking dish, spoon about 1/2 cup of warm tomato sauce. Place stuffed peppers on top of sauce. Pour remaining sauce over the peppers. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes or until peppers are tender and sausage is completely cooked through. Serve with sauce spooned over the top, one pepper per serving.



Saturday, April 6, 2013

Buffalo Style Chicken Recipe Rescue

Buffalo Style Chicken Recipe Rescue

One of American's all time favorite bar food, football snack, and all around snack time favs has to be buffalo chicken. The regular buffalo chicken wings or bites served at restaurants is sadly and terribly full of fat, calories, and pretty much has no redeeming health qualities. For several years, I have been working on ways to make this delicious food something that anyone can enjoy guilt free. This particular food presented so many challenges, I thought I was never going to figure it out. In some testing and working with chicken breasts, I have found a few ways to cut out some of the fat and calories but it was still lacking in satisfying the real taste and feel of the beloved buffalo chicken.

With all the testing, I finally came up with a recipe that I think really hits the spot. It was so exciting to be able to find a way to make a crispy coating with delicious buffalo sauce. The real secret is the addition of fat free buttermilk. It is such a versatile ingredient and makes a huge impact on this recipe. At less than 200 calories and 4 grams of fat per chicken breast, you can truly enjoy this buffalo chicken recipe as often as you like guilt free. Enjoy!!

Buffalo Style Chicken Breasts

4 thin chicken cutlets about 1/2" thick per cutlet
1 cup buttermilk
2 egg whites
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup flour divided
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
nonstick cooking spray


1/4 cup hot sauce
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 clove garlic grated
1 teaspoon dried italian seasoning
1 teaspoon corn starch

Put chicken in a zip top bag with the cup of buttermilk. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to overnight. 
Pull chicken out of the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil and spray liberally with nonstick spray. Set aside. Line up three plates on counter to start a breading station. In first plate, put 1/4 cup of flour. In second plate, pour the buttermilk from the marinating chicken and whisk with the egg whites. In third plate, stir together remaining 1/4 cup flour with the panko and herbs and spices to combine. Dip each chicken in flour, then egg, then breadcrumb mixture making sure to coat completely and place on baking sheet covered in cooking spray. Spray the tops of chicken with cooking spray to liberally coat each piece. Bake 30-40 minutes until browned and crispy and chicken is completely cooked through. 
While chicken is cooking, begin sauce. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan on low heat and stir occasionally until thickened and warm. 
When chicken is ready, slice chicken breast into 1" strips carefully so as not to break up coating. Drizzle liberally with buffalo style sauce. Serve hot with fat free ranch dressing, celery, and carrots if desired.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Healthy Spin on Asian Flare

     Ordering take out Asian food can not only impact your wallet, but definitely can make a big impact on your waste line. The other night I was looking for a satisfying meal that would hit all the same notes as food ordered from my favorite Chinese or Japanese restaurant, but with all of the great health and nutritional value I like to include in my current lifestyle.

This recipe for Beefy Asian Lettuce Cups is super simple to pull together and definitely can be on your table faster than take out. It boasts a huge nutritional impact and is full of veggies and vitamins all for 175 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 18 grams of protein per serving. This is a great way to start cooking for yourself by introducing some healthier ingredients with an easy recipe and can be enjoyed by beginners or experienced cooks with busy lives alike.

Beefy Asian Lettuce Cups

1/2 lb extra lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
4 brown or white button mushrooms finely diced
1 small red onion finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper finely diced
1 celery stick 6-8 inches finely diced
1 carrot finely diced
2 garlic cloves grated or finely minced
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1/4 cup edamame (frozen is fine)
1 inch of ginger peeled and grated
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
12 bibb lettuce leaves

Dice all vegetables to prepare for cooking and set aside. In a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray, brown ground beef until cooked completely. Drain in a colander and set aside. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Spray with cooking spray.  Add all vegetables and garlic to skillet and cook on medium high heat until lightly cooked and onions become translucent about 5 minutes. Add beef to vegetables in skillet stirring to combine. Add ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cook about 3-4 minutes until everything is well combined. Add cilantro off heat and stir. Serve in lettuce leaves about 1/4 cup per leaf. Makes 2-3 servings. for 175 calorie serving, make 4 lettuce cups with 1/4 cup filling in each

This filling also is great stuffed in tomatoes. Cut off the top of tomato and scoop the inside out with a spoon. Stuff with filling and serve.



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Comforting Potato Soup

Nothing says comforting winter time quite like a bowl of soup. Of course, if you are like me, not just any soup will do. Oh sure, I can get by on the brothy, liquid based soups, but really, who wants that when you can have a delicious and rich bowl of creamy potato soup?

Thus became the inspiration for my next recipe: Creamy Potato Soup. Hooray, I was so happy to have the thought. Now, can I just implement this recipe into my lifestyle of quick, healthy, and delicious? This one was a bit tough. There are not a lot of healthy things in your typical bowl of potato soup after all. Most of the recipes have lots of potato, cheese, bacon, and cream. Yikes!!

As I embarked on writing this recipe, I wanted to make sure that it delivered or I wasn't even going to go to the trouble. I thought about the ways to make the texture velvety and creamy and how to get that potato flavor to really shine through. The finished product is really delicious and I am proud to say it only has 118 calories per cup and less than 1 gram of fat!! Definitely worth making this one and even making a batch to freeze for later!

Creamy, Healthy Potato Soup

2 small yukon gold potatoes cut to small dice (about 2/3 cup diced)

1 celery stalk diced

1 carrot diced

2 tablespoons grated onion

1 tablespoon light butter

1 cup baby spinach leaves chopped finely

1 soft cheese wedge around 35 calories per wedge

2 tablespoons reduced fat parmesan cheese

1 slice reduced sodium turkey bacon

1 tablespoon dried italian herbs

1 teaspoon salt or salt substitute

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 cups water

2 tablespoons nonfat plain greek yogurt

Nonstick cooking spray

Spray a 2 qt saucepan with a short spray of nonstick cooking spray. Dice slice of turkey bacon into small dice and cook in the saucepan on medium high heat until crispy. Remove and set aside on a paper towel. In the same pan, place butter and let melt. Cook diced potatoes, carrots, celery, and grated onion with the salt and pepper about 10 minutes on medium heat until almost tender. Sprinkle in flour and stir to coat veggies. Slowly add broth and water. Add in herbs. Cook about 15 minutes on low until reduced and slightly thickened, and veggies are completely tender. Add cheeses, spinach, reserved turkey bacon, and yogurt and stir to combine. Remove from heat for about 10 minutes to cool slightly. Puree in a blender until mostly smooth. Place back in same saucepan to warm through on low heat for about 10 minutes. Serve in bowls and top with garlic herb croutons below if desired. 4.5 servings

Garlic Herb Croutons

1 slice light bread (about 35 calories per slice)
pinch of garlic salt
pinch of italian seasoning blend
nonstick cooking spray

Spray both sides of bread lightly with cooking spray and top with sprinkle of garlic salt and italian seasoning. Cut into cubes. Cook in a small skillet on medium high heat until browned on both sides, turning occasionally. Makes about 4 servings for soup/salad topping.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fast Food Attack!!

Burger and Fry Cravings... 
   It happens to the strongest willed of us, and the new dieter/healthier lifers alike. The constant, powerful urge to eat something totally delicious, satisfying, and downright naughty and dive into a fast-food burger and extra large fry may be one of the most powerful forces we fight against. 

   I will be the first to admit that these temptations are hard to resist and its hard to replace those tastes with something healthy. I have, however, found that if you have some of the same flavors on a fairly regular basis, you can "trick" your taste buds out of the temptation of that favorite drive-thru fare. 

   After several attempts, I have completed what I feel is a completely spectacular burger, and with an awesome side of nutrient rich sweet potato fries, this is a really complete, healthy and satisfying way to stop some of those harsh cravings. Enjoy all of this, completely guilt free!!

Restaurant-Style Gourmet Turkey Burger

1/2 lb. ground turkey breast
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon steak sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon course black pepper
1 teaspoon dried italian seasoning blend
1 grated garlic clove
1 tablespoon finely grated onion
1 carrot finely grated
1 teaspoon brown spicy mustard

4 slices sandwich bread *look for low calorie 35-40 cal per slice
Your favorite low calorie burger toppings such as red onion, tomato, lettuce, ketchup, mustard     

Mix ground turkey will all spices, sauces, and mustard in a large bowl very gently until completely combined, being careful not to over-handle. Divide into two large patties, flattening slightly more in the center to keep from "puffing" up. Spray a nonstick skillet lightly with cooking spray. Cook patties in skillet on medium heat until completely cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. Check temperature of cooked meat to ensure food safety if unsure it is cooked completely. Serve on lightly toasted bread, topped with toppings.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries 

1 large sweet potato
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel the sweet potato. *Hint: look for a potato with less curves for easier peeling and slicing for this recipe. Slice potato into 1/2 inch thick slices and cut each slice into 1/2 inch strips. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Arrange the sweet potatoes evenly in a single layer on the cookie sheet and coat them with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cumin and salt. Bake 35-40 minutes flipping over halfway through cooking until completely cooked through and brown. Makes 2 servings.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Comforting Tastes for Early Fall

In late summer and early fall, there are so many delightful foods to enjoy. Here in the south, we benefit from having the variety of the last of the delicious summer harvest, and the start of the vast varieties of fall produce during these months

One of the things I truly enjoy doing is taking some of those last delicious summer tomatoes, onions, and garlic and turning them into a wonderful, roasted tomato soup. This healthy, vibrant soup is perfect for early fall nights when the chill hits the air. It also freezes beautifully to keep the taste of summer tomatoes alive throughout the winter. Also, I chose to pair this with a quick and simple take on a strawberry shortcake that can be made year round. Please enjoy!

Roasted Tomato Soup

4 large tomatoes
1 large sweet or yellow onion
2 large garlic cloves
1 low sodium chicken boullion cube
1 quart reduced sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 tablespoon herbes de provence
2 bay leaves
3 basil leaves carefully cut into small strips
nonstick cooking spray

Rinse and quarter tomatoes. Using finger, push out the rows of seeds from each quarter, removing most of the liquids from tomatoes. Clean and quarter onions. Smash garlic cloves with a knife and peel the skins. Place all vegetables on a large cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Spray the top of the vegetables with cooking spay to coat. Mix the salt, pepper, and herbes de provence together and sprinkle over the vegetables. Roast in the oven at 450 degrees until edges are browned and tender about 25 minutes. Transfer to a large stockpot or dutch oven with tongs or spatula, leaving the juices on the sheet pan. Add the boullion cube, chicken stock, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender puree to mostly smooth or carefully puree in batches in a blender (cool first if using a blender for safety). Finish by adding basil and stir to combine. Serve. Freezes well in quart size freezer bag after cooling completely. 2 large servings.

Super Easy Strawberry Shortcake

1 storebought angel food cake
1 lb quartered capped strawberries (or use thawed frozen strawberries in sugar and omit sugar)
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons from small box instant sugar free fat free vanilla pudding mix    
1/2 cup fat free unsweetened fat free almond milk or skim milk

Mix instant pudding mix with milk using an electric mixer to combine completely. Cover and refrigerate to set. Mix strawberries with sugar in a bowl to coat and set aside to allow strawberries to give off their juices. Serve sliced angel food cake topped with 2 tablespoons of pudding and strawberries. Recipe makes 6 servings. Angel food cake freezes well wrapped and placed in freezer ziptop bags so this recipe can easily be divided into two.
 Guilt-free and both totally delicious!!