Friday, August 31, 2012

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

I am a sucker for a quesadilla…really, you all know my love for cheesy goodness so are you even a little bit surprised???  I don’t feel that guilty eating this guy because it’s loaded with fiber rich, antioxidant- and vitamin-filled spinach and delicious meaty mushrooms...and cheese!
If you’re in the mood for quick, this is your answer!
1 bag of fresh baby spinach leaves
1 container of fresh, sliced mushrooms (any kind will do!)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 ½ cups 2% shredded cheddar cheese
4 Burrito-sized whole wheat tortillas (you can use smaller of course)
Non-stick spray or Misto
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over med/high heat.

When heated, add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.

Add the mushrooms, seasoning with salt and pepper, and sauté for about 3 minutes, until beginning to brown.

Add the spinach leaves, stirring occasionally, and cook down.  This will produce a lot of water; you can drain periodically.

Once the spinach has cooked down, remove the veggies from heat.  Isn't it gorg??

In a separate skillet heated on med/high heat, spray non-stick spray or Misto, lightly coating the pan.  Add the tortilla.

Now, add the cheese.

Once the cheese begins to melt, add the veggie mixture to half of the tortilla and flip the other edge over the veggies.  Heat through, (tortilla should be browning), and remove.  Continue with additional tortillas.

Look at that deliciousness!

Serve with your favorite salsa and/or light sour cream – Yum!

Okay, one more pic!

Serves 4:
Calories 387 / Carbs 10g / Fat 17g / Protein 23g / Fiber 27g / Sodium 814mg

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Basil Spinach Pesto

I have never been a pesto fanatic; that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it when I had it, but it’s just not something I ever craved.  However, I am the BIGGEST basil fan!  Go figure, right??  I love the sight of it, I love the smell of it...

Every year, I always have basil in my garden and I would use it for the occasional Caprese salad, tomato sauce, or other Italian dishes.  But every year, my basil always bolts and I end up not being able to use it as it so lovingly should be.  This year, I was bound and determined to not let it go to waste…and I haven’t!  I’ve dried a lot of it, and after talking with my bestie, I decided to try making pesto…it was DELICIOUS!  I could kick myself for not trying to do this sooner!  And this is a pretty (and pretty!) healthy version because I used walnuts, spinach and a lot less oil than your typical pesto recipe calls for.

So don’t let your basil go to waste this year!  There are so few ingredients in this recipe, it’s a breeze to whip up, AND it freezes well, too!

2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
1 ½ loosely packed cups of fresh baby spinach
¼ cup grated Parmegiano – Reggiano cheese (or other parmesan cheese)
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup toasted walnuts (to quickly toast, toss in a skillet over med/high heat stirring often until lightly browned), cooled
Salt and Pepper to taste

Toss everything into a food processor and pulse until combined.

That’s it!

I tossed it with whole wheat pasta…

Then I spread it on bread…

Honestly, I would have put it on just about anything…

This will keep in the fridge for about 2 days, but it will freeze for up to a month.  Be sure to put a drizzle of olive oil on the top to keep it from browning and store in an airtight container.

Makes about 1 cup
2 T serving each:
Calories 80 / Carbs 1g / Fat 8g / Protein 2g / Fiber 1g / Sodium 26mg

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Pin It
I have been making this salad for about 4 years now and it’s one of my favorite Summer salads.  I like to use the tomatoes from my garden and if I had a garden with corn, peppers and parsley, I’d use those, too!  Even though it’s approaching the end of the Summer (boooo!), my tomatoes are still growing like crazy; are yours??

I could eat this salad by the spoonful and because there isn’t any fat (no oil!), I certainly can and not feel guilty.  I have also added diced avocado in the past and it’s delicious AND adds healthy fats.  My favorite ways to have it are with Late July Mild Green Mojo Tortilla chips, or on top of a big ol’ green salad with grilled southwestern chicken.  Make it a day ahead and bring along to your next potluck!  However YOU decide to have it is all up to you, but I think you’ll really enjoy it!

2 – 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 – 15.25 cans corn, drained
1 red pepper, diced (you can use any color pepper you like, I like the added color of using three different types)
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
2 small fresh jalapenos, deseeded and deveined
1/3 cup sliced jarred jalapenos, chopped
1 large shallot, minced
¼ cup flat leaf parsley (you can also use cilantro but I am not a fan), chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 limes, juiced
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ tsp of ground cayenne pepper
2 tsp sugar
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 cups diced tomato (I used the cherry tomatoes from my garden and sliced them in quarters)
Additions:  diced avocado (like the tomatoes, add these right before serving)

Look at the pretty colors!

In a large strainer, drain and rinse beans. 

Once the beans are rinsed, drain the corn into the same strainer.

In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, peppers, jalapenos, onion, parsley and garlic and mix to combine.

Add the lime juice, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper and sugar and stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and place bowl in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  Stirring occasionally.  I like to make this a day before which adds even more time for the flavors to come together.

Before serving, mix in the tomatoes (and/or avocados).  Adding the tomatoes last keeps them from becoming mushy.  Stir again to meld the flavors.

Serve with tortilla chips or as a side dish to chicken, fish, or beef.  Try to share…it’ll be hard…but try.

Serves 12 (approx. 3/4 cup each)
Calories 121 / Carbs 26g / Fat 1g / Protein 5g / Fiber 5g / Sodium 385mg
Leave me a comment to let me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Two ingredients…Bam!  Yah, I said it.

This recipe uses coconut milk and before you write it off because of the bad press coconut milk gets as far as calories, let me tell you how healthy coconut milk actually is.  Coconut milk is loaded with magnesium, potassium and selenium, all great for relaxing muscles and nerves and preventing joint inflammation.  This is wonderful for those extra hard workouts and sore muscles.  It also contains high levels of Omega 3, 6, a 9 and is high in phosphorous which helps to build strong bones.  Potassium is also helpful in keeping blood pressure lowered.  Coconut milk is also easier to digest than cow’s milk, and has been shown to heal digestive tract ailments like IBS and Crohn’s.  Coconut milk is also used to prevent anemia due to its high iron amount.  Countries around the world have used coconut milk’s benefits to heal people for centuries!  Don’t even get me started on its benefits for hair and skin

I loved this flavor combination with the sweet potatoes, it was just a hint of a different flavor and I served it with ham steak; a really great accompaniment.  If you really wanted, you could add pineapple to the ham and really make it Island-y.

If you are NOT a fan of coconut milk, you can use regular milk, too!  Just adjust your cals.

3 med/large sweet potatoes
½ cup light coconut milk (I used the Thai Kitchen canned milk located in the Asian section of my grocery store)

Note:  I’m giving you TWO options for cooking the potatoes this time because depending on how much time you have, you can bake the potatoes, or for a super quick fix, microwaving is an option.  I’m not a huge fan of this, but in a hurry, it works.

Wash the skins of the potatoes but do not peel.

Option 1 - Baking:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Poke some holes in your spuds with a fork and bake on a baking sheet for 45-60 minutes, depending on how large the potatoes are.  You know they are done when you poke them and they are soft inside.

Option 2 - Microwave:  Poke some holes in your spuds with a fork and place them on a paper towel-lined microwaveable plate.  I estimate about 4 minutes for the first potato and 3 minutes each for the additional potatoes.  So, roughly 9-10 minutes…About halfway through, turn the potatoes over.

Remove the potatoes from your cooking vessel of choice.  Give the potatoes a few minutes to cool; long enough to handle them without burning your little fingers.  Then cut them and remove the inner goodness by scooping into a bowl (microwave option) or medium saucepan on low heat.

Add the coconut milk and stir.  I only had the full fat version on hand and it does add a few more cals to the serving (about 33 more cals...not enough to make that big of a difference if this is what you have/find). 

Look at that creamy deliciousness!

If you are microwaving, heat for about 2 minutes on high.  If you are using a saucepan, just heat to simmer. 

That’s it!  Enjoy!  I topped it with unsweetened shredded coconut and a little bit of cinnamon, but it was dang good right off the stirring spoon!

I love to hear from you, so tell me what you think!

Serves 4
Calories 120 / Carbs 24g / Fat 2g / Protein 3g / Fiber 4g / Sodium 43mg

Friday, August 17, 2012

Shrimp Penne in Tomato Cream Sauce

One word :  Nom.  That’s it…plain and simple.  I’m a huge fan of pasta – who isn’t, really??  And this dish is right up there as a new favorite.

You all have heard me mention my adoration for The Pioneer Woman…I heart her.  Like, I-Wanna-Move-To-Oklahoma-And-Beg-Her-To-Be-My-Friend type of love.  How she keeps her fabulous figure making the delicious dishes she creates is a wonder.  So, in keeping with my girl crush, if you will, I desperately want to eat like her.  Or at least attempt to make the same dishes she does but in a way that I can roll around in them and not feel guilty kind of way.

She has this dish called “Penne a la Betsy”, an homage to her equally beautiful sister, Betsy…pretty creative name, right??  I just had to try and make it over.  If you are a regular here, you know this does not always work.  This time, it did.  First bite was amazing…second…amazing…and did I mention?  Ah-mah-zing.  So, really in all honesty, if mine was good (and a little lower in calories), imagine the euphoria you would experience if you tried her recipe??  If you don’t have to worry about calories like I do (lucky!), let me know how that goes.  If you are trying to cut back, try this one! 

I love that this dish tastes like you are being really, really bad…but the great part is, you aren’t.  If you don’t like shrimp, you can certainly sub chicken or leave the carne out altogether!

8 oz Smart Taste Penne, or use whole wheat
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and clean
1 ½ T butter
1 ½ T olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio because that’s what I had)
1- 8 oz can tomato sauce (I used Hunt’s Roasted Garlic)
6 oz low fat half and half (I wouldn’t try fat free for this one)
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
2 T fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp dried oregano
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Diced tomatoes, parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper for topping

Fill a large pot with water to boil the penne.  Follow box directions for cooking.

In a colander, rinse your shrimp with cold water and drain.  I buy these guys that are not peeled, but they are super easy to peel, just squeeze the base of the tail and pull!

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the butter and olive oil.  When melted, add the shrimp and cook until just pink.  Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, add the shallots and garlic and cook until just tender.  About 3 minutes.  Be careful not to let it burn.

While the onions and garlic are getting happy, chop the shrimp into bite-sized pieces.

Add the wine to the pan and let simmer for a few minutes to evaporate.  If you don't like wine, just sub chicken broth (less cals, too!)

Add the tomato sauce and stir.

Add the half and half and stir.

Now, add the chopped shrimp and stir.

Once warmed through, add the parsley, basil, and oregano and stir.

Drain your pasta and add to the sauce, mix and SERVE IT UP!

Top with tomatoes, salt, peppers, and parm – NOM!

Serves 4
Calories 479 / Carbs 46g / Fat 15g / Protein 33g / Fiber 6g / Sodium 650mg

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Orange Balsamic Glazed Chicken

It seems you can never have enough options for making chicken – am I right?  The best part about this recipe is that it’s quick and a break from the norm.  The glaze has just enough of a sweet taste and a bit of savoriness (word??) to keep things interesting...and who doesn’t love interesting AND delicious meals?

½ cup orange marmalade, like Simply Fruit
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 T good olive oil
1 tsp dried sage
2 T shallots, chopped
4 medium-sized boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp sea salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat grill to med/high heat.

Sprinkle the garlic powder, salt and pepper onto both sides of the chicken. 

In a small saucepan, combine marmalade, vinegar, olive oil, dried sage and shallots.  Simmer about 3 minutes over med/low heat, stirring occasionally.  Remove about 1/2 of the sauce to a small bowl, and set aside.  Keep the rest of the sauce warming in the saucepan.

Place the chicken onto the hot grill and cook the first side for about 5 minutes.  Flip the chicken over and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. 

Before removing the chicken, baste it with the sauce that you previously set aside.  Flip and baste the other side being sure to let the glaze grill a little bit.

Remove the chicken and serve with the remaining sauce.

I served ours with rice and veggies.  Soo yummy!

I'd love to hear from you - let me know what you think!

(Please note that the calories below factor in the sauce ingredients; the amount will be adjusted depending on how much is consumed.)

Serves 4
Calories 234 / Carbs 25g / Fat 9g / Protein 15g / Fiber 0g / Sodium 295mg

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Crustless Summer Veggie Frittata

Recently, I mentioned that I was expecting an abundance of zucchini, but alas, I believe I have gotten to the end of my harvest.  I don’t know about anyone else’s gardens, but this year my squash and now my zucchini have been overrun by squash bugs.  Bad little buggies.  So this is probably the last recipe I’ll have for this delicious summer veggie.  There’s always next year, right?  

Since I am limited, I thought that I better try to get creative and I wanted to try different recipes this year than I have in the past.  One interesting trial was this great recipe for a crustless frittata.  The first bite screams summer and it’s extremely low in calories, so enjoy it without the guilt!

2 – 2 ½ cups of shredded squash and zucchini, squeezed and drained (see prep below)
½ cup of yellow, orange or red pepper, diced
¼ cup shallots, chopped
½ cup broccoli, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup shredded mozzarella
½ cup feta cheese
¼ cup lowfat milk
½ cup egg substitute
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
¼ cup parmesan cheese

Spray a pie plate/pan with nonstick spray.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Shred the squash and zucchini into a large strainer.  You can add a little bit of salt to each layer to assist in drawing out the water.  Let sit for about 30 minutes and then squeeze the veggies, and attempt to extract as much of the water as you can.  This may take a few good squeezes as those little babies have a lot of water in them!

In a small bowl, mix the whole wheat flour, baking soda, thyme, dried mustard, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, once the squash and zucchini are drained, mix in the peppers, broccoli, shallots, garlic, mozzarella and feta cheese. 

Once mixed together, add the flour mixture and stir.

In a small bowl, mix the milk and egg substitute together, then add to the veggies and mix. 

Pour mixture into the pie plate.


On top, place the tomato slices and then sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving; this will help it to set a bit, too.

This freezes really well, too!

Serves 6
Calories 163 / Carbs 15g / Fat 6g / Protein 11g / Fiber 3g / Sodium 840mg

Let me know what you think!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Maple Teriyaki Glazed Salmon

Recently, I had a hankering for salmon and I was looking for a different flavor combination to try.  This is a super easy, fast and delicious recipe.  I’m working on incorporating more fish into my diet to help raise my good cholesterol levels!  Don’t know what means?  Check out my recent Journal post for more information.

But first, whip up this little bit of goodness!

¼ cup maple syrup
1 T low sodium soy sauce
2 T teriyaki sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp garlic powder
16 oz. salmon (approx. four 4oz servings)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Look at that beautiful salmon!

In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, garlic and ginger.

Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture.  Sprinkle the filets with garlic powder and black pepper.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place the baking dish in the preheated oven.  Bake the salmon covered for about 10 minutes.  Remove the foil, baste the salmon with the sauce, and then bake for an additional 10 minutes or until easily flaked with a fork.

Serve immediately and be sure to include the sauce!

Please note that the information below includes the amount of the marinade; nutrition information will vary depending on the actual consumption of the marinade.

Calories 162 / Carbs 15g / Fat 2g / Protein 22g / Fiber 1g / Sodium 578mg