Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Zucchini Cakes

Get ready to see some zucchini recipes here on A Healthy Makeover – you’ve been warned.  Because you see, I have a lovely little garden, and I’m at the point in the summer where I have this abundance of goodness and am scratching my head wondering how I’m going to use it all!  I’ve given some to friends and family and I still have way more than I need.
So I guess you could call this Installment 1 of Zucchini Madness.
This was a great little recipe and I loved the combination of feta with the zucchini.  You could even add some dill, chopped olives…oh, the list goes on – get creative!  They were super delish.
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 tsp salt
½ cup egg substitute
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp low sodium Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/3 cup feta cheese
2 T Canola oil, divided
Red Pepper flakes to taste

Shred the zucchini into a colander.  Sprinkle layers with salt to sweat it.  After about 30 minutes, squeeze the zucchini to drain as much of the water off as possible.  If you have more time, you can continue to do this for a good few hours.  If not, just try to get as much as you can off.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over med/high heat and sauté the onions and garlic for about 1 minute.  Reduce heat to med/low and continue to sauté until the onions are translucent but NOT browned; about 7 minutes.  Remove from heat and splash with Worcestershire sauce.  Set aside.

Once you have drained the zucchini, place it into medium sized bowl.  Add the egg substitute, sautéed onions and garlic, panko, cheese and red pepper.  Mix all of the ingredients together.  If you find that the mixture is too wet (it will be a little bit), add a little more panko until the mixture holds when scooped.

Heat canola oil in the skillet over med/high heat.  Scoop the zucchini mixture into the pan and pat down a little bit forming thick patties.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown, then flip.  Continue for the other side and for the rest of the mixture.

I made larger patties, about 3” diameter, feel free to make them as big or small as you’d like.

Serve warm topped with low fat sour cream, plain Greek yogurt (this is how we had them, YUM) or any topping you prefer.  We also sliced up some cherry tomatoes from the garden and sprinkled them on top.

They were also delicious the next day!

Nutrition per cake:
Makes about 12 cakes, serves 4 (approximately 3 patties each)
Calories 83 / Carbs 5g / Fat 5g / Protein 4g / Fiber 0g / Sodium 227mg

Let me know what you think!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Shrimp and Cheesy Grits

Living in West Virginia has introduced us to a sort of Southern style of living.  In fact, this area is what I like to call “North Southeast”.  We are right about at the beginning of where the Southeast ends and the Northeast begins.  But recipes and cooking in this area are definitely geared towards a more Southern style.  Shrimp and grits is a classic Southern style dish and, like pizza and Buffalo wings in New York, you can ask any Southern cook about their take on the perfect recipe and you’ll be bombarded with hundreds of different ways to enjoy this dish.
Grits are actually made of ground up hominy, which is the dried kernel of corn, and are loaded with fiber.  They are a bit high in carbs, but they contain almost no sugar, and are loaded with iron and vitamin B.
When I was younger if you mentioned the word “grits” to me, I automatically made a face.  I mean, it’s grits.  Even the name doesn’t sound appealing, does it?  Oh, who am I kidding, as an adult, I made that face, too.  It wasn’t until I was out with some girlfriends a few years ago that I was introduced to cheesy grits…with shrimp…and you all know how I love me some shrimp…and cheese.  That dish changed my views about grits.  Now, don’t get all excited, I’m not going to be bombarding this blog with grits recipes.  My grits repertoire is limited…to this one recipe.  So if you have others, please share!
This is a super quick dinner idea (my favorite kind) so get all of your ingredients together and get to it.  Yum!
3 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
1 cup old fashioned grits (instant grits seem to be frowned upon by real Southern cooks, so do them some justice and use the real stuff)
½ cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tsp olive oil
6 slices ultra-thin deli ham, chopped
1 ½ lbs large/jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice of one lemon
3 tsp low sodium Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp finely minced garlic
1 T chopped fresh parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, boil the chicken broth over medium heat.  Slowly stir in the grits and reduce heat to med/low.  Cover and simmer for approximately 12 minutes stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and mix in the cheeses, stirring until melted.  Cover and set aside.

In a large skillet heat olive oil over med/high heat and add ham when hot.  Cook the ham until it is a little bit crispy – about 3 minutes – remove to a paper towel and set aside.

In the same pan, cook the shrimp for about 3 minutes, sprinkling with salt and pepper to taste.  Flip the shrimp about halfway through, and cook until no longer pink.

Add the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic and stir.  Heat through to a low simmer and remove from heat.  Stir in the ham.

Spoon grits onto plates and top with shrimp mixture and parsley.  Be sure to include sauce, the combination is divine!  Serve and enjoy!

Serves 4
Calories 462 / Carbs 38g / Fat 11g / Protein 52g / Fiber 1g / Sodium 794mg

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tomato Cannellini Salad

It’s summer and my garden is in full swing!  Which means, I’m desperately trying to stay on top of my bounty by creating some fun summer dishes.  Yesterday my mom and I made zucchini muffins (stay tuned for a post soon!) and today I had a bunch of cherry tomatoes on hand that were perfectly ripe and needing to be used.  Do you have a go-to cherry tomato recipe you use for your harvest?  If you do, let me know!  I didn’t even plan on planting cherry tomatoes this year because I got so many last year.  But lo and behold, I had two volunteer plants pop up.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cherry tomatoes, but when you’ve got more than you need and you’ve given them to everyone you know and they know…well, you get my drift.

This little salad was so quick to throw together and tastes exactly as summer should – fresh!

1 can cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed well
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup canned corn (you can use fresh, too if you have it)
20-25 basil leaves, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp honey

Place all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Stir to incorporate all of the flavors.  Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.  Serve!

See?  E.A.S.Y!

Serves 4
Calories 161 / Carbs 28g / Fat 2g / Protein 9g / Fiber 7g / Sodium 412mg

Friday, July 20, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes

I’m always on the hunt for a delicious dessert recipe, especially for poor Hubby who doesn’t get the amount of homemade treats he used to.  In addition, my niece is visiting so I wanted to have something chocolately and yummy for her to enjoy.  And of course, bottom line is that I want it to be healthy, too.  This recipe absolutely served all purposes!

I adapted this recipe from one I found on Taste of Home.  The cupcakes came together really quickly - I mixed them up and got them in the oven while dinner was on the grill! – and they were OH. SO. GOOD.  Neither Hubby or our niece knew they were healthy!

Hope you get a chance to whip some up soon!

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup baking cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup fat free vanilla Greek yogurt (I had ff honey yogurt on hand)
2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup mini semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Mix in the yogurt, almond milk and vanilla until incorporated.

Ladle/spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cups.  Sprinkle the tops with chocolate chips.  (You can also mix the chips into the batter if you prefer)

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes then cool completely on a rack.  Serve with whipped topping, sprinkled with confectioners sugar, or your favorite frosting.

Serves 12 – 1 cupcake/serving
Calories 131 / Carbs 27g / Fat 0g / Protein 3g / Fiber 2g / Sodium 342mg

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Healthier Meatballs

As I noted in my last journal update, last week we were on vacation with Hubby’s family.  One of the best parts of our family vacations is not only eating, but eating together.  Something we don’t get to do regularly since we don’t live close to each other.  This year, the lake house we rented had a big round table in the kitchen which seated all of us, so no kiddie table needed! 
In addition, to ease the burden of meal preparation, we all plan menu items for the different days that we are there.  Since most of my meals are of the healthier variety these days, I decided that I wanted to try a new recipe out on the family:  Turkey meatballs but with a Swedish flaire – yikes, a gamble!  I worried a bit, but then decided this recipe seemed to be less of a gamble since most everyone likes meatballs…and I served it with pasta and a light gravy for an additional easy winning side.
As I set about getting all of the ingredients together, my dear sister-in-law kindly offered to help.  I later learned that she was pretty skeptical as all of the ingredients were coming together…she’s not a fan of onions and this recipe incorporates shallots.  But she was a trooper since she didn’t tell me until AFTER dinner and she said she really liked them!
These little guys came together so quickly, you can certainly have them on a weeknight – no need to wait for the weekend…you could be eating in an hour.  I had the whole day so I actually used the crockpot (see crockpot note below) but you can whip this up without one just as easily.
I absolutely loved these meatballs.  The recipe below includes a Swedish sauce/gravy, but they were very versatile, so you could add them to any of your favorite sauces like spaghetti or even serve them with BBQ sauce as an appetizer.  They will certainly be the meatballs that I'll be making from now on.  They were delicious right out of the oven.
Ingredients (serves 12 – half recipe for smaller group):
          2lbs lean ground turkey (99% lean is best)
          1 T olive oil
          5 cloves garlic, minced
          1 large shallots, minced
          ½ cup parsley, chopped
          1  tsp sea salt
          1  tsp fresh ground pepper
          1  tsp dried oregano
          2 T fresh basil
          ½ cup egg substitute
          ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
          ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
          3 cups beef broth
          2 cans reduced fat cream of chicken soup
          3 T Worcestershire sauce
          3 T dry red wine
          ½ cup sour cream
2 packages no yolk egg noodles

In small fry pan, heat oil over medium heat.  When heated, stir in shallots and garlic. 
Reduce heat to med/low and continue cooking until shallots are tender.  Splash with 1 T Worcestershire sauce and stir.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Once cooled, combine all ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl and mix. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out meatballs, and place on foil lined baking sheets sprayed with non-stick spray.  Cook meatballs for about 35 minutes until cooked thoroughly.  Depending on the size of your meatballs, you may need more or less time.
Swedish sauce:  In the meantime, in a large pot or Dutch oven, add the beef broth and heat through.  Add cream of chicken soup and stir to incorporate.  Add the remaining 2 T Worcestershire sauce and red wine.  Continue to heat through until simmering. 

sour cream and mix to incorporate.  Note:  This sauce is not thick, but if you choose, you can thicken it with cornstarch (1 ½ T mixed with either the beef broth or water), then adding it to the sauce during the initial stage of sauce prep.
Remove cooked meatballs, add them to the sauce and heat through for about 7 - 10 minutes.  Serve over egg noodles.
Crockpot Note:  I decided to cook the sauce in a crockpot for most of the day, which actually adds a step.  Mix the sauce ingredients (except the sour cream) in the large pot until all ingredients are incorporated.  Pour the sauce into the crockpot and add cooked meatballs.  Cook on low for 6 hours (4 hours on high) adding the sour cream 30 minutes before you are ready to serve.
Serves 12 (approx. 5 meatballs each serving)

Nutrition data for meatballs alone:
Calories 171 / Carbs 5g / Fat 4g / Protein 28g / Fiber 1g / Sodium 380mg

Nutrition data for entire serving, includes meatballs, sauce and noodles
Calories 285 / Carbs 27g / Fat 4g / Protein 33g / Fiber 2g / Sodium 676mg

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Vegetable Tian (Roasted Vegetables)

Oh, this is one of those dishes that I couldn’t wait to share with you!  I adapted this from Ina Garten’s Vegetable Tian recipe.  The adjustments came solely from what I had on hand...and me thinking I could get a little creative, heh heh.

I could have eaten this whole dish all by myself but alas, I didn't get to because it was all gone!  This is a great side dish to any protein, or try it as a meatless main dish for dinner with a side salad.  Either way, I think you’ll really enjoy it.

(Tian is a French word which describes a shallow casserole dish and the vegetables, herbs and cheese that are cooked in it.)

1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large vidalia onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium shallot, diced
¼ tsp dried red pepper flakes
4 small white or yellow potatoes, washed and unpeeled
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 medium squash, sliced
4 medium Roma tomatoes, sliced (any you have on hand will work)
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 T fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp fresh or dried rosemary leaves, if fresh, be sure to mince it
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray a medium to large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or Misto Olive Oil sprayer.
In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil and cook the onions, garlic and shallots over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, sprinkling with a little bit of salt, pepper and the red pepper flakes.  Continue to sauté until they are happy and translucent. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.
Slice the potatoes, zucchini, squash, and tomatoes in equally thick slices. Layer them alternately in the baking dish on top of the onions.  See below, isn't it gorgeous!?  Be sure to fit them tightly, but only make one layer.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Add the thyme leaves and rosemary, and when you are finished, spray the veggies with olive oil, or drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake for another 30 minutes until browned. Serve warm.  So yum!

Serves 6
Calories 220 / Carbs 35g / Fat 6g / Protein 8g / Fiber 5g / Sodium 473mg