Thursday, November 29, 2012

Portabella Mushroom Pizzas

It's been a week since Thanksgiving - did you get back on track with your healthier eating right away?  Or are you still riding that holiday high?  I have to tell you that I rode that wave a little longer than I intended...oops!  I actually ate my way through the rest of last weekend...but the weirdest thing happened on Monday:  I realized I was so relieved and happy to get back to my healthy routine!?

So, now that we have gotten through Thanksgiving meals and all of the subsequent leftovers, leftover recipes and the like, it’s way past the time to get back to healthier eating.  This is where low-calorie Portabella Mushroom Cap Pizzas come into play.  I’ve seen these all over the web and I had wanted to try them…I can’t believe it took me this long!

These were delicious!  And you can honestly just make them your own way with any of your favorite pizza toppings…and don’t be afraid to be creative!

·         Medium to large sized Portabella Caps – wiped clean, stems removed; scoop out gills (the number of caps really depends on how many folks you are cooking for; I’d plan for 1-2/person depending on the cap size)
·         Marinara Sauce (this would even be delicious with a pesto or alfredo sauce!)
·         2% or FF cheese
·         Frozen Spinach
·         Turkey Pepperoni (again, you can put whatever you like on it!)
·         Red pepper, chopped
·         Garlic powder

1.    Preheat oven to 475 degrees, place caps, gill-side down on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes (you want them gill-side down to help remove moisture)
2.    Remove from oven and turn them over
3.    Top the caps like you would a pizza crust
4.    Return to oven and bake for about 10-15 more minutes to melt the rest of the ingredients.
I added crushed red pepper at the end and pepper rings because I like spicy pizza…and THAT. IS. IT! 

These were even more delicious the next day for lunch.
(Info below is for one large cap – info would change depending on your toppings)
Calories 175 / Carbs 12g / Fat 8g / Protein 15g / Fiber 4g / Sodium 564mg

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

Hubby and I love, love, LOVE Philly Cheesesteaks…I mean, come on, it’s meat and it’s cheese, who doesn’t?? 

But obviously they are VERY high in calories and fat so I don’t get to partake in as many of them as I’d like…which could be at least one a week, just sayin’.

When I decided that there just HAD to be a way to slim this little sucker down, I shared my idea with said Hubby:  no bread, stuff all the goodness into a pepper; brilliant!…he looked at me like I was CAH-RAY-ZAY...take away the bread??  What?!  He’s a limited veggie eater anyway, so I snickered knowing I wouldn’t have to share.

And seriously, I don’t like to make separate meals, but how easy was it to make him his own sandwich and me my pretty, fancy stuffed pepper??  WAY easy.

I think you’ll really, really, REALLY like this…

·         2 – red bell peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, deseeded
·         4 slices reduced fat provolone cheese
·         2 cups sliced mushrooms; you can use button or portabella, or any variety that tickles your fancy!
·         1 medium onion, sliced
·         6 oz sliced lean roast beef from the deli; I used Boar’s Head
·         2 T low sodium Worcestershire sauce
·         ½ cup reduced fat shredded cheese; I used mozzarella, but would also be good with pepper jack

1.    Place your peppers onto a microwave safe plate and microwave them for about 3 minutes.  Just to soften them up a little bit.  Afterwards, remove them from the microwave and place them onto a baking sheet lined with foil.
2.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees
3.    Spray a sauté pan with non-stick spray and over medium high heat, sauté mushrooms and onions until mushrooms become nice and brown.

4.    Chop up your roast beef a bit and then place it into the pan with mushrooms and onions.

5.    Add the Worcestershire sauce and mix, then remove from heat.
6.    At this point, I like to add hot peppers, but you can omit this.

7.    Place one piece of provolone onto each half of the peppers.

8.    Add the meat and veggies to fill each half.

9.    Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake for 10 minutes until cheese is melted.

OH.  SO.  GOOD  &  OH.  SO.  FAST!

Serves 2
Calories 350 / Carbs 25g / Fat 14g / Protein 38g / Fiber 4g / Sodium 678mg

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Turkey and (Cauliflower) Rice Casserole

How was your Thanksgiving!??

I hope it was wonderful!  Hubby and I hosted his sister and her husband; it was great to have them here.  We love having guests and entertaining and it was so nice to spend the holiday with family since we live so far away from most of ours.  I don't know about you, but I love having a houseful of people.  If I could get everyone to travel to our house for every holiday, I'd host every single one!

Did you eat a lot?  Yah, we did, too!  And by now you might be looking for a creative way to eat up some of that turkey, right?

Try this one; it's a great way to use up that leftover turkey without feeling like you're actually eating leftovers.  It's a remake of your typical turkey and rice casserole and uses cauliflower rice, instead. 

I'm seriously loving the variety of things I can make with this stuff.  So far, every time I sub it for regular rice, it's been a's actually a pleasant surprise, really.  I'm Asian, so I love me some to have found a pleasant substitute that I can feel good about eating, that TASTES good, too?  Well, by golly, I'm in.

·         4 cups cauliflower rice (it's just shredded fresh cauliflower; one large head will produce about 4 cups.)
·         8 oz leftover turkey or chicken, diced
·         1 cup diced carrots
·         1 cup diced celery
·         1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms, chopped
·         1/2 cup onions, chopped
·         1 garlic clove, minced
·         1 can reduced fat cream of chicken soup (you can use any flavor you like, really)
·         1 cup skim milk
·         Salt and pepper, to taste
·         Crispy onion topping
·         Non-stick spray

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.    Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Spray with non-stick spray.

3.    Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms to the pan and sauté until the celery and carrots soften, about 10 minutes.

4.    Add the turkey and cauliflower rice and mix.

5.    In a small bowl, add cream soup and milk and combine.

6.    Pour the soup mix over the veggie mix and stir until everything is combined; bring to simmer then remove from heat.

7.    Spray a baking dish, or individual crocks, with nonstick spray.

8.    Transfer the casserole mix to the baking dish or crocks.

9.    Sprinkle with crispy onion toppings.

10. Bake until bubbly - about 15-20 minutes.

Since I made individual servings (in these adorable little baking crocks that my Mama gave me), I mixed in some extra goodness for hubby's by adding shredded cheese.  He loved it.  Feel free to make it your own!

Serves 4
Calories 221 / Carbs 22g / Fat 2g / Protein 23g / Fiber 5g / Sodium 981mg

Friday, November 16, 2012

Low Sugar Cranberry Sauce

When I was growing up, my dad and I were the only ones in our family that liked cranberry sauce…and I’m talking the congealed tube right from the can with the little can-ridges embedded into it.  I always thought it was so cool that my mom sliced it up and we ended up with these perfect little discs that would slide all over my plate and mix with all of my other yummy Thanksgiving goodies.  I know – some people are not fans of foods touching, but that is not me…if I can get a perfect bite of my plate’s deliciousness onto one forkful – ohhh…don’t even get me started…simply heaven.
Where was I?  Oh, yes!  Cranberry sauce!
I adapted this recipe from Wellness Mama, but honestly, I had to make a second batch because it was way too tart for my taste.  Her recipe calls for NO sugar, and for those of you who are trying to cut it out altogether, check it out.  I, on the other hand, just wanted to lighten it up so I added light brown sugar for a little bit of sweetness.
Let’s talk a little bit about how much sugar there is in that fun little can of cranberry gelatinous goodness, shall we?  There are 21 grams of sugar in a ¼ cup serving and 110 calories.  By cutting down the sugar, we cut out approximately 7 grams of sugar and 31 calories/serving.
I love making my own cranberry sauce, but a lot of the recipes I used in the past called for a cup or more of sugar.  This cuts it down a bit and you still get that tarty sweetness.  I also like the chunky pieces of cranberries that are still in there, too.
Feel free to throw this together a few days before your company arrives – saves you some time and gives the flavors extra time to co-mingle and become one with their bad selves.
Let’s get to it.
·         2 – 12oz bags of fresh cranberries
·         3/4 cup pineapple juice
·         ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
·         ½ cup water
·         ½ cup orange juice
·         Zest of one small orange – zest can be very bitter so you may even want to use only a few bits
·         ½ cup light brown sugar

1.    Place cranberries, pineapple juice, applesauce and water in to a large saucepan over medium heat and stir together.

2.    Bring berries to a boil and stir continuously until most of the cranberries have popped (they sound so cute when they are popping!)
3.    Reduce heat to low, add orange juice and zest and simmer for about 7 more minutes.

4.    Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar.
5.    Pour the sauce into your serving dish and then bring to room temperature.
6.    Place in the refrigerator to cool; at least 4 hours, but overnight or even a few days before serving is better.

Serves 12
Calories 79 / Carbs 19g / Fat 0g / Protein 0g / Fiber 2g / Sodium 0mg

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Roasted Root Vegetables

If you’re looking for a healthy side dish to this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, this is the one!  I LOVE the earthy tastes of all of these veggies separately, but throw them all together and roast them and you have this magical feast of flavors that just screams “Fall”!

Root vegetables like beets, parsnips, turnips, garlic and onions are not only inexpensive, they are loaded with health benefits.  Classified as tubers and bulbs, they sound more like flower-types, and they are grown in the ground where they are able to soak up lots of Mother Nature’s goodness.  They are filled with nutrients (beta-carotene and vitamin C to name a few) and complex carbohydrates to keep you going, are low in calories and fat, and have TONS of fiber.  These veggies fill you up!  So go ahead and pile them onto your plate right next to that bird; no guilt and oh-so-good for you!

·         1 large beet, cubed
·         1 ½ cups butternut squash, cubed (about ½ of a medium sized butternut squash)
·         1 med/large parsnip (about the size of a large carrot), diced
·         1 large carrot, diced
·         1 medium red onion, large dices
·         6-8 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
·         3 T extra virgin olive oil
·         3 tsp dried thyme
·         Salt and Pepper

1.    Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
2.    Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray (or if you don’t care about clean up, go ahead and spray the sheet with non-stick spray)
3.    Place all of your veggies onto the sheet and then pour the olive oil onto them.
4.    Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper and then mix by hand until all of the veggies are coated.

5.    Bake for about 45-50 minutes, turning veggies at least once during roasting.
6.    Remove from oven and serve right away.

So delicious!

Serves approximately 6 – ¾ cup servings
Calories 122 / Carbs 15g / Fat 7g / Protein 2g / Fiber 4g / Sodium 48mg

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sweet Potato Casserole

I LOVE THANKSGIVING.  Glorious Thanksgiving with all of its Fall gorgeousness…Family…Giving Thanks…Feeling Blessed…Friends…Fall leaves…Football…DELICIOUS, comfort food…and tired, full bellies…I mean it – I LOVE it ALL.

Last year was my first Thanksgiving, or holiday season for that matter, in which I really tried to be conscious of healthy eating.  Don’t get me wrong, I still ate until I wanted to explode, but it was that ONE meal.  In years past, as soon as Thanksgiving week began, it was a great excuse to begin my SEASON of eating…and eat I DID from the last week of November all the way through to January 2.

Did you know that the average person consumes more than 3,000 calories in their Thanksgiving meal alone?  That doesn’t even include dessert…add that delicious pumpkin pie and any or ALL of those other yummy desserts, and you’re upwards of 4,500 calories!  Do you know how much exercising it would take you to work that off?

Let me tell you:  If you ate all of those 4,500 calories, you would need to walk 44.28 miles to walk it off.  YEEKS!

Okay, but let’s get real…it’s not like you’re NOT going to eat all of the things you want to, right?  I mean, it’s Thanksgiving…just eat…enjoy…and then move on.  To combat the day, be smart; get up in the morning and go for a brisk walk…take another walk later after you eat…try to add lots of walks in the days leading up to it and/or after.  Take your family on a hike.  Get up and MOVE.  But the most important part:  DON’T STRESS about it! 

And maybe try to healthify some of your old standbys!

If you are looking for healthier options to your favorite holiday treats, this is a great recipe for sweet potato casserole and you won’t even know that it’s healthy – creamy inside, crunchy topping, and deliciously sweet!  No need to feel guilty with this one!

Adapted from Cooking Light

6 med/large sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
1/4 cup granulated sugar  
1/4 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
Cooking spray

1.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/3 cup)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar  
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans or another of your favorite healthy nuts!

1.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.       In a large bowl, place the mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, milk, butter, salt and vanilla and mix well.  I used a hand masher because I like there to be chunks of potato, but if you prefer a smoother texture, use a hand mixer.
3.       Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and scoop the potatoes into it, spreading to cover.

4.       In a separate bowl, combine the topping ingredients, being sure to mix the melted butter and pecans in last.
5.       Sprinkle over the potatoes.

6.       Bake the casserole for 25 minutes until golden.

Just look at that yumminess!

Serves 12 – 2/3 cup each

Calories 197 / Carbs 31g / Fat 8g / Protein 3g / Fiber 3g / Sodium 172mg

Friday, November 9, 2012

Crispy Baked Coconut Chicken

Recently, I made it my mission to go through the freezer and clean that thing OUT!  It had gotten to the point that I had NO idea what was in there…so I pulled everything out and threw away anything iffy and got it all pretty in there.  It also became apparent that I buy WAY too much stuff.  SO, I thought I would make Hubby happy and actually USE what I have in there.  There’s actually some satisfaction in pulling stuff out of there and making more room!  I don’t know about you, but I sure do buy a lot of chicken!?
Do any of you ever get sick of chicken?  Yah, me, too but it’s really one of our go-to healthy protein options so what can we do?  So I made it my next mission to find some creative ways to use this little bird and this one was a keeper!  I adapted it from the Kraft website.
You all know my love for crispy goodness and this little recipe hit the spot perfectly.  This time, I combined coconut with panko and flour for a coating that came out exactly that:  crispy…Oh, and delicious…and the best part:  guilt-free!
1lb boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips
½ cup egg whites or egg substitute
½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs
¾ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp crushed red pepper

·         Preheat oven to 400 degrees
·         Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray
·         You will need 3 bowls/containers for dipping.
·         In the first one, place the eggs and the chicken strips.
·         In the second one, place the flour, salt and pepper and mix together.
·         Lastly, place the Panko, coconut, garlic powder and red pepper, and mix.
·         Remove each strip from the eggs and place them into the flour to coat, and then into the Panko and coconut to coat, finishing by placing them on the baking sheet.
·         Once you have coated all of the chicken, place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes until browned and crispy.  You can turn the chicken over halfway during cooking time if you really want it to be crispy all over.
·         Remove from oven and serve with your favorite dipping sauce. 
I LOVE sweet chili sauce, which you can find in the International aisle of your grocery store, and it was the perfect dipping sauce to serve alongside!
Crispy and delicious and oh, so coconutty!  YUM!
Serves 4
Calories 337 / Carbs 29g / Fat 11g / Protein 30g / Fiber 2g / Sodium 736mg

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cheeseburger Soup

Yippee!  I love when I have no idea what I’m going to make for dinner and then am pleasantly surprised when it actually turns out…and is yummy!  It has been freezing here and I had been hungry for a good hearty soup but I have to admit, I’m not a huge soup fan.  Don’t get me wrong, I like it, but it’s not on my go-to list and I really only feel like having it when it’s cold outside.  I might have to change my thinking after this one!
I really hope you get a chance to try this; it was super easy and completely comforting.  Bonus is that it’s low in cals and good for you since it’s loaded with our favorite superfood (or in this case, souper…haha, I slay me!):  sweet potatoes.
1lb extra lean (96%) ground beef
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium sweet potatoes, baked, and mashed
1T all-purpose flour
½ cup fat free evaporated milk
3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1-14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained
4 oz. 2% Velveeta Cheese
½ tsp Paprika
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Non-stick spray

·         (While I was cutting up the onion and celery, I threw the sweet potatoes into the microwave on high for about 6 minutes.  Don't forget to poke them with a fork!  When they are done, scoop out the insides and discard the skins)
·         Spray a medium sized stockpot with non-stick spray and heat over medium heat.
·         Sauté the celery, onion and garlic until the celery begins to soften – about 8 minutes.
·         Once the veggies are done, remove them to a blender or food processor along with the sweet potatoes and give them a few pulses to blend everything together.  (You might have to add a little bit of chicken stock to help.)  Set aside.

·         In the stockpot, brown the ground beef until no longer pink.
·         Add the sweet potato mix to the ground beef and stir together.
·         In a small bowl, whisk the flour and evaporated milk together and pour into the pot and mix.
·         Add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes and cheese and mix everything together.
·         Sprinkle with paprika, stir, and simmer on low for about 40 minutes.

I served the soup with some crispy onions (like French’s) on top.  Hubby loved this soup and I hope you do to!

Serves 4
Calories 262 / Carbs 30g / Fat 5g / Protein 23g / Fiber 5g / Sodium 988mg