Healthy Chinese Orange Chicken


Who doesn’t love a bit of Chinese takeout?  Problem is they are often pretty unhealthy, and sometimes you just have no idea what goes into it, but likely MSG.  I actually really enjoy recreating our favorites at home, and there are no shortage of recipes floating around the net from which to do so.

Although I have made other versions of Orange Chicken in the past in the more traditional way of a breaded chicken bite, and they were great, I was very excited to come across this recipe which eliminates the breading making it not only healthier but a thousand times easier!  This recipe was so easy in fact I could hardly believe it!  It’s also made with honey in place of some of the sugar which helps keep it lighter and better for you.

I honestly didn’t miss the breading, and felt this had a nice heat level and orange flavor.  We had ours with some rice, which I also like to take a little shortcut with and use boil in a bag.  For me it just turns out way better than our rice maker which I have yet to perfect.  Overall it was a great dinner and one I would make again!

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Healthy Chinese Orange Chicken

Ingredients :

  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 T. oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 T. white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 3 T. corn starch
  • zest from 1 orange
  • red pepper flakes to taste (I think I used about 1/4 tsp)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
  • sesame seeds and more green onion slices for garnish (optional)

Directions :

  1. Heat 1 T. of oil in a pan.  Add salt and pepper to chicken and saute until chicken is no longer pink.  Remove any excess water or oil from the pan.
  2. In a saucepan mix together the rest of the ingredients minus the garnish.  Bring to a boil and stir a few times until the sauce thickens.
  3. Pour sauce over the chicken and mix thoroughly.  Serve.

Recipe from Clever Spoon

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Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter


So I know it’s been a while again since my last post, but what can I say….. I just get busy and unfortunately my blog and even making new recipes in general takes a back seat for a while.  But I always come back!  I left off with my first installment of a new project called Kids in the Kitchen, and though I haven’t had time to fit in another between busy school schedules, mini vacations and illnesses it’s still on my to-do list so be watching for that!  In the meantime I am hoping things have settled down enough that I can focus on making new and, in keeping with my current mindset of eating lighter and losing some of this holiday weight, healthier recipes.

First up on the menu is this Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter.  I will share my technique/recipe below, but this is one of those great recipes that has a lot of versatility.  All you’re doing is preparing a piece of salmon and mixing whatever flavors you want into some butter to top it off.  Super simple.  I served this with some grilled asparagus drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper, and some smashed potatoes.  This was my first time trying smashed potatoes and all I can say is now I am a believer!  So good, with a crispy outside, seasoned just right, and soft in the middle….. but let’s get back to the salmon lol.

I will admit, I have struggled to cook salmon in the past.  It’s not particularly hard, but cooking fish in general takes practice to get it done right where you get that nice crust on top and the fish is nicely cooked through.  I have either had it stick in my pan, or ended up with somewhat undercooked fish in the middle of a nice thick piece of fish.  With time, however, I have gotten the hang of it.  Although I switched over to stainless steel cookware some time ago to cut down on my use of non-stick and their chemicals. fish is something I pretty much always use nonstick for.  Specifically, I use a a Rachel Ray Anodized Nonstick skillet and it works beautifully for giving me a nice crust, but avoiding the dreaded stick.  Another very important tip when cooking fish to ensure it doesn’t stick and gets great crust is to leave it alone once you have placed it in the pan.  It may be tempting to lift the edges to check, or slide it around to see if it’s sticking but don’t.  Trust me.  And don’t forget to use oil or butter or something to grease your pan.  Once it’s done on one side according to your recipe’s directions flip it once and again leave it alone til it’s time to come out.  It also helps to take your fish out a few minutes early to bring the temp up just a bit before you start, and make sure it’s dry…. especially if you are cooking with previously frozen fish.  Of course, as with pretty much all food, seasoning is important, so don’t forget to season before you place it in the pan!

Now that we talked a bit about cooking a nice piece of salmon, let’s talk about the butter…. as I mentioned it’s a versatile method.  You could put whatever herbs or seasonings in this you like.  The butter will melt beautifully over the warm fish and give that richness that takes a boring piece of fish to a whole new level, imparting the flavors you incorporated at the same time.  For this recipe I used some fresh chives, dill, garlic, lemon and some salt and pepper.  It’s important to start with room temperature butter for this, so don’t forget to take it out in advance.  You could even make the butter in advance and either use it hard from the fridge, or take it out a little before for a softer butter…. and any leftovers can be used on other meats, bread, or whatever sounds good to you.

As a natural casualty to having to photograph my food before I can eat it my salmon had cooled a bit while I was setting up so my butter wasn’t melting over it right away as I would have liked for the photos, so you’ll have to use your imagination a bit.

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Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter

Ingredients :

  • salmon fillets (about a lb) * I used salmon with the skin
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 T. butter, at room temp * I just eyeballed how much butter so this is estimation
  • drizzle of olive oil (about 1/2 tsp. perhaps)
  • fresh chives, chopped (about 1 tsp. or so)
  • fresh dill, chopped (about 1 tsp or so)
  • salt and pepper to taste (separate from the salt and pepper above)
  • garlic clove, minced
  • lemon zest
  • Lemon wedges (for serving with the fish)

Directions :

  1.  Make your butter first.  To your room temp butter add your herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, the garlic, lemon zest (by preference but about a tsp or so), and some salt and pepper.  Using a small spatula sort of stir/whip it up until well combined and set aside.  If making ahead put back in the fridge.  You can either use it straight from the fridge later on, or let it warm up just a bit so it’s a little softer.
  2. Prepare you salmon.  If you are using previously frozen salmon be sure to pat dry before you start.  Season your salmon with a bit of salt and pepper (I like to use coarse salt when seasoning meat).  If you are using salmon with skin you don’t need to season that side, but if not I would suggest doing both sides.
  3. Heat the T. of oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  If using skin-on salmon place it in your pan skin UP so you get the nice crust from that first bit of heat on the top of your fish first.  Once you have set your fish in your pan DON’T TOUCH IT for about 4-5 minutes.  You see the fish start to turn opaque towards the middle and the edges will start to brown.  Flip it and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.  Of course the cook-time depends on the thickness of your fish, so take that into consideration, and watch for the fish to become opaque all the way through.
  4. Remove from pan and top with a dollop of your prepared butter.  Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Note : Amounts for the herbs in the butter are estimations and I encourage you to use more or less to your tastes.  I like a nice punch of flavor and likely used more than stated above.

Paprika Chicken Stroganoff


This dish has almost all the elements that to me make a perfect meal…. pasta, mushrooms, garlic, meat, bold flavor, creamy sauce, and some fresh parsley!  The only thing it IS missing to be a perfect combo of my favorite things is some cheese, but this isn’t really a recipe that needs it, so I guess I will give it a pass on that lol.  This is not only a tasty dish, but is also very visually appealing.  The red/orange color of the sauce, the white of the pasta, and the bright green of the parsley make it look like a piece of art!

As if those elements alone weren’t enough to make me or anyone else want to try this, I was also intrigued by the use of Greek yogurt in the dish.  When I think of stroganoff I think of cream of mushroom soup, or some other variety.  If the recipe is more health conscious or just more involved it at least calls for cream or butter or something to make it so good and creamy, but not quite so healthy.  With this dish there really was no need.  The sauce was thick and creamy from the yogurt and the flour alone.  This for me at least cuts back on the guilt of either using cream and butter or “cream of soup” (which I am trying to phase out in our house).

I didn’t make any changes to the recipe, which for me is rare lol.  So with that, I will just get on with it and share the recipe.

Paprika Chicken Stroganoff

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium  yellow onion, diced
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 T. all-purpose flour whisked with 1 T. water
  • 1o oz. dry egg noodles
  • fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Directions :

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the cubed chicken with the paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour on top of the chicken and toss to coat.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until rippling and hot. Add the chicken and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink (no need to cook through); remove the chicken onto a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the last teaspoon of oil to the pan and allow to get hot, about 1 minute; stir in the onions and mushrooms. Saute the mixture, stirring occasionally and scraping up the browned bits from the chicken, until the onion is translucent and the onions and mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, saute 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 2 quarts of water in a large pot. Bring water to a boil and add noodles. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
  5. Pour in about 1/4 cup of the chicken broth and deglaze the pan by scraping up any bits from the bottom. Stir in the tomato paste, whisking to combine. Add the rest of the chicken broth and the bay leaf, whisking well. Add the chicken back into the skillet and simmer the mixture over medium-low to medium heat, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the yogurt and cook for about 2-3 minutes longer.
  6. Add the flour and water slurry to the simmering mixture in the skillet, whisking quickly to combine. Let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Serve over hot noodles and garnish with fresh parsley.

Recipe from Prevention RD

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Crock Pot Kid-Friendly Turkey Chili


I have to admit, I did not choose this recipe based on the self-proclaimed title of being kid-friendly, knowing all to well my kids would in fact NOT eat it.  Rather I chose it because it boasted of a mere 226 calories a serving.  Whether or not that is fully accurate I can’t say, and I am too lazy to plug it all in to a nutrition calculator myself, but I figured it can’t be much more and that’s definitely low enough to have some wiggle room and fit into anybody’s diet!

So as I said I had no intentions of my kids eating this, but I did urge my oldest to at least try it.  He actually gave it the thumbs up, which is no small feat, but then after a few bites decided maybe it wasn’t for him.  But trust me, that the fact that he liked it at all speaks volumes.  My husband and I, however, thought it was very good.  We topped ours with a bit of sour cream, cheese and chips as suggested, which I am sure brings the total up, but as I said the calories are so low that’s no problem, and you can certainly choose healthy versions of your toppings such as low fat, or multigrain chips like we did.  I actually made this with plans to use the leftovers for the blogger’s Turkey Chili Loaded Baked Potatoes, but then my entire family ended up really sick and my meal plans went out the window.  It was just as good heated up though the next few days.

I did alter things a little to suit our tastes…. I added black beans and some more tomato sauce.  I actually doubled the recipe, and used two cans of the beans, and 2 (15oz) cans of tomato sauce.  I also cut the meat back to an even 2 lbs, rather than 2.6 as it should have been.  Other than those changes I made it as stated and thought the seasoning in particular was just right.  I have made many chili recipes with a lot more chili powder, and wondered if this would be too bland, but it really wasn’t.

 

Crock Pot Kid-Friendly Turkey Chili

Serves : 5

Ingredients :

  • 1.3 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced fine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 10 oz. can Rotel Mild Tomatoes
  • 8 oz. small can plain tomato sauce (see notes above)
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Optional : black beans (see note above)

Optional Toppings :

  • diced avocado
  • reduced fat sour cream
  • reduced fat shredded cheese
  • baked tortilla chips

Directions :

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the turkey, season with salt and cook, breaking up with a spoon until turkey browns and is no longer pink; place into the slow cooker.
  2. Add the oil to the skillet and sauté the onion, garlic and bell pepper over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes. Spoon over turkey into the slow cooker and stir in corn and tomatoes, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, paprika and salt, mix until well blended.
  3. Cover and cook on HIGH 4 hours or LOW 6 hours. Serve with desired toppings.

Note : the original recipe said to add a bay leaf after adding the spices in step two, but I wasn’t sure if it was a mistake since there was no bay leaf listed in the ingredients list and I didn’t really think it was necessary so I skipped it, you are welcome to put it in though if you prefer.

Recipe from Skinny Taste

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Mediterranean Pasta


This was another fantastic dish.  Judging by the ingredients I didn’t expect it to be as flavorful as it was.  While I am all for eating healthier, I will admit that at times I find the food to be a bit on the bland side.  There wasn’t much in this recipe that made me think it would be otherwise, and especially in regards to the sauce.  But somehow, when you put these simple things together, magic happens and as I said, there is an abundance of great flavor.  There is a nice not of heat from the chili flakes, plenty of freshness from the lemon and basil, and a great Mediterranean flavor blend from the garlic, artichokes, capers, and sundried tomatoes.  It’s just another added bonus that this dish is so healthy for you!

For the pasta, I suggest using something like Barilla Plus.  It has the health benefits of other whole wheat pastas, but resembles white pasta more closely in texture and appearance which makes it a bit more enjoyable.  I used regular spaghetti because it’s the size I had on hand, although the recipe calls for thin.  I really don’t think it matters.  For the artichokes I used marinated hearts from a jar, and I used sundried tomatoes packed in oil to save time.  I just squeeze as much oil off them as I can before cutting them up.

As you can see from the picture, this is also a beautiful dish with all the colors.  As you know, I am a firm believer in the enjoyment of foods based on not only how they taste, but also how they look!  This one was so good, and so simple I think I will be making it again soon!

 

Mediterranean Pasta

Makes : 4 servings

Ingredients :

  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. flour
  • 8 oz. multigrain thin spaghetti
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. red chili flakes (I think I used about 1/3 tsp.)
  • 1 (9oz) pkg. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (or canned)
  • 2 T. capers
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 2 T. grated parmesan cheese

Directions :

  1. Place the sundried tomatoes in a small bowl and soak them in warm water to soften them.  If using tomatoes packed in oil, you can skip this step. 
  2. To make the sauce, stir the chicken stock, lemon juice, zest and flour together in a bowl.  Set aside. 
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti.  Cook according to package directions, until al dente.  Drain and reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water. 
  4. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium high heat.  Add the chicken and cook without moving it until it is browned on one side, about 3 minutes.  Turn the chicken over and cook on the other side until browned.  Remove the chicken and set aside in a bowl.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium and add the remaining teaspoon oil.  Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir the sauce mixture and pour it into the pan.  Stir to pick up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Drain the sundried tomatoes and slice them.  Add them to the pan along with the artichokes, capers and chicken.  Simmer for a few minutes to allow the ingredients to heat up and the flavors to meld.  Add the pasta along with the basil and cheese.  Toss to combine all ingredients well.  Add some of the reserved pasta water as needed until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.  Garnish with fresh basil and serve.

Recipe from The Foodie Physician

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Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo


A title that seemingly defies the laws of physics!  We’re all familiar with the amazingness that is Alfredo.  And most of us are also painfully aware of how bad it is for you.  I can still remember the first time I made it at home and how shocked I was to find out the particular recipe (which is right up there with the best I have ever had btw) called for not one, but TWO sticks of butter, a TON of parmesan and cream.  It’s no wonder it tastes so good!  After that day I vowed to find a more guilt-free, or least less guilty version to satisfy that craving.  I actually have found some rather great alfredos, that are indeed lower in fat or calories, but far from “healthy”…… until today that is!

I won’t sit here and try to tell you this tastes as good as the full fat, cheesy, creamy version… that would be ludicrous.  I can however, in all honesty, tell you that this recipe definitely delivers on the creamy factor and the taste is surprisingly much closer to actual alfredo than you would imagine.  In case you haven’t figured out my dirty secret by now, this recipe is made with a cauliflower based sauce.  You do get that hint of cauliflower in your bite, but the texture is so rich and creamy and the garlic masks a lot of the veggie taste.  It’s not perfectly smooth like some alfredo sauces, but then again, neither are some of the other low fat versions I have tried.  For a person who is quite picky about textures I found it not only NOT bothersome, but pleasant in it’s texture.  I did cheat just a little and added some fresh grated parmesan to the sauce, in part because I had it and didn’t want it to got to waste, but also because I admit I was a doubter and couldn’t imagine alfredo without parmesan.  I only added a little… probably not even enough to notice, but I think it could be a good addition nonetheless.  It certainly didn’t take away from it in any way.

The recipe comes from a blogger in the Philippines, and there seems to be some difference in our produce from what they have over there.  So her estimation of using three small heads of cauliflower was a bit tricky to figure out.  I ended up going with about 1 2/3 heads of cauliflower, and the heads were just your average size I’d say.  I only had one box of vegetable broth on hand, which is 4 cups, but that seemed to be just enough to cover my cauliflower, which I assumed was the point since you only use about 2 cups of it later anyway.  I ended up with almost exactly that amount after the cooking process.  Unlike the recipe I was following I didn’t see a need to add any of the pasta water to my sauce, so I would just make that call when you get to that point on whether you think it is necessary or not.  The other thing I did differently was in my haste to get dinner on started and while struggling to keep my youngest out of the way I used the olive oil while sauteing the garlic and skipped the butter altogether.  I didn’t go ahead and add any extra olive oil in the blending and didn’t have any problems.  I used a food processor to blend mine which worked very well.

I took a few extra pictures of this particular dish in an attempt to prove to you how good it really was by how beautiful the sauce looked both in the skillet and on the pasta.  If someone had not told you it was cauliflower you honestly might not have figured it out.  The recipe included a nutritional calculation, and though I imagine it could vary slightly depending on ingredients used and measurements being exact, the calorie count was at only 316 calories a serving, and fat was a measly 5 g.!!!  Finally alfredo you can enjoy without the guilt!

Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo

Serves : 8          Time to make : 30 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 3 small heads of cauliflower (I used 1 2/3 heads, see note above)
  • 1 lb. uncooked fettuccine noodles
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (I found 4 cups to be enough)
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup starchy pasta water (see note above, I didn’t need to use any of this in mine)
  • Fresh grated parmesan (this wasn’t included in original, but is something I added, and I would just add however much you like)

Direction :

  1. Chop the cauliflower.  Bring the vegetable broth to a boil over medium high heat and add cauliflower.  Cook until cauliflower is soft, about 15 minutes.  The softer it is, the smoother your sauce will turn out.  Meanwhile melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and saute for 4-5 minutes or until soft and fragrant.  (4-5 minutes seems like a long time to me for garlic so I just did it until it started to turn golden)
  2. As the garlic and cauliflower are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the fettuccine according to package directions, reserving some oft he starchy pasta water for the sauce.
  3. Transfer cauliflower along with 2 cups of the vegetable broth to a blender (or food processor).  You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender.  Add the sauteed garlic, salt, nutmeg, and black pepper, and puree until very smooth.  Once mixture is moving stream in olive oil.  Add more broth if the mixture is too thick.  When it is very smooth return it the skillet.
  4. Add the cream and cook over low heat.  Add the starchy pasta water (I didn’t need any, and I suggest adding it a little at a time if you feel it might be necessary until you reach a desired consistency) and keep warm until ready to serve.  Combine noodles and sauce in a large pot and serve immediately.

Recipe from pinch of yum

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Grilled Turkey Burgers and Feta


I have tried numerous turkey burgers over the years in an attempt to cut fat/calories from my diet.  Some were good, and others were flavorless and dry.  This is the main issue with turkey burgers.  With the help of a few things you can still have a flavorful and moist burger AND live healthier.  This particular recipe is probably THE best one I have tried thus far.  It was definitely the most moist and though I have done them with feta before this is the first time I have done the sundried tomatoes and their concentrated flavor really goes a long way in something like this.  The tzatziki is a nice addition and not something I would have thought to serve with it.  I took some help from the store and purchased pre-made tzatziki which was ok, but I think next time I will use my own tried and true recipe.

The recipe called for these to be made on a grill, but not only is it still a bit too cold here for grilling weather, but our grill has been out of commission for quite some time.  I typically make burgers and the like on a foreman which is ok, but not great.  It tends to flatten the burgers quite a bit and press all the juices out leaving it almost rubbery.  This is especially bad for turkey burgers!  I recently got a Griddler and have only tried making burgers on it a couple of times but it has all the same issues.  I had just about given up on using it for anything but a griddle or panini maker, but I decided to give it one more shot.  I laid it open flat, using only one side of the grill rather than closing it on the patties.  I wanted them to stay thick.  Then I made sure it was nice and hot before brushing a little olive oil on the side I was going to use.  This helped get some nice color and grill marks on the patties.  Since they grill doesn’t get very hot and I can’t close it like a regular grill I decided to lay a huge glass lid over them that I have which was the perfect size to cover all four without actually touching the patties.  This helped them to cook through all the way and stay nice and moist.

 

Grilled Turkey Burgers and Feta

Serves : 6                         Time to make : 20 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 C. crumbled feta
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C. breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 C. sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 C. onion, diced
  • 2 T. flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • tzatziki for serving
  • 6 buns (I used kaiser rolls)
  • baby arugula

Directions :

  1. Preheat grill for 10 minutes. (If you are using a counter top grill you may not need to start it first but you do want it fully heated before you place your burgers down.)
  2. In a medium bowl combine the ground turkey, feta, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, sundried tomatoes, onion, parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper by hand, being careful not to over mix.
  3. Shape into 6 patties.
  4. Reduce heat to medium on place burgers on lightly greased grill, cooking covered for about 8 minutes or until done through, flipping about halfway through cook time.
  5. Serve with a bit of tzatziki on the bottom and top with baby arugula.

Recipe from Zesty Cook

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Mango & Banana Salsa with Tilapia


It is my goal to eat more fish this year for it’s health benefits and just for the variety as well.  I have always enjoyed fish, but I am not very experienced with it, so it will be fun to try new ways to prepare it.  Tonight’s recipe instantly grabbed my attention by all the gorgeous colors in the dish.  After all, they way your food looks plays a large role in your enjoyment of it.  I was a bit disappointed to see that the recipe called for mango because I just can’t stand the stuff, but I also knew that I could probably substitute some pineapple with good results since I have had a similar salsa before.  The addition of banana was very new to me however, and intriguing for sure.  I will post it with the original recipe, but my own review is for the pineapple version.

The dish comes together very quickly, and easily.  I suggest making the salsa earlier in the day if you have time and letting it sit in the fridge to really let the flavors marry, but I only had about a half hour for mine and it was still great.  The dish has such a freshness to it, and a great balance of heat, sweet, and sour with the colorful salsa.  With the eye-catching presentation it’s the perfect thing to serve to guests if you want to impress.  It’s also very low calorie/fat which everyone appreciates.  The recipes makes a lot of the salsa, almost more than you need, but it worked out to sort of eat it like a salad with the cut up fish rather than as a topping for it.  I was a bit confused about the part where it called for half of a long red pepper, and then listed jalapeno or thai, so I just got a red jalapeno and put the whole thing in there since they aren’t very big.  I would suggest tasting whatever type of pepper you use first to determine how much you want in there.

 

Mango & Banana Salsa with Tilapia

Serves : 4                         Time to make : 25 minutes (+ time for salsa to sit)

Ingredients :

  • 1 large ripe mango, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (a heaping cup) * I subbed the same amount of fresh pineapple
  • 1 medium banana, firm ripe, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 long red pepper, ripe jalapeno or Thai
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cups cilantro leaves, 1/3 cup minced & 1/3 cup roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 T. fresh lime juice (I added a little more and some zest)
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt or to taste
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • flour (about a 1/4 cup or so
  • 2 T. olive oil

Directions :

  1. Combine mango, banana, pepper, red pepper, cilantro, onion, lime juice, and salt in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 hours if time allows, otherwise you can move right on to the fish.
  2. Pat dry fish fillets, season with salt and pepper on both sides and dredge in flour; shaking off excess.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add fish and cook until medium golden brown and fish easily lifts from bottom of pan.  Turn over and cook until done all the way through.
  4. Move to either one serving tray or individual plates before topping with the salsa (about a cup per fillet if individual).  Serve with additional lime wedges if desired.

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Ultimate Tuna Melt


Let me start by saying I did not name this recipe.  It came from Food.com.  However, I do agree that this is one awesome tuna melt!  The first time I made this recipe was in 2007, and I have made it countless times since.  Not only are they tastey, but they are quite quick and simple to prepare, and low in fat and calories.  These melts make it into our meal rotation often during those times we are trying to lose a bit of weight… such as last night lol.

Over the years I have very slightly altered the recipe to suit our needs and this is what I will share on my blog.  The ingredients are all basically the same, but I may have changed a few amounts and also the method a little to give the best results.  Jeff and I usually each eat 4 of these…. yeah I know it sounds like a lot, but even at that many the calorie total fits well within our daily budgets.  If you can find the 100 calorie english muffins that works best (if you are counting calories anyway), but any type will do just fine.  Likewise, I use the ultra thin cheese for diet reasons, but have used regular slices before as well.  As for the tuna, I use chunk light because I try to avoid Albacore for the mercury levels, however the original recipe did suggest the albacore.

 

Ultimate Tuna Melt

Serves : 2-4               Time to make : 15 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 4 (100 calorie, or wheat variety) english muffins, cut in half
  • 2 small cans of tuna (in water), well drained
  • 3/4 cup artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (I usually use one of the small jars of marinated hearts)
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • zest of a lemon
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (start with the lesser and taste it)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 8 slices ultra thin provolone

Directions :

  1. Preheat broiler, and arrange muffins on baking sheet.  Spray lightly with any sort of cooking spray and brown slightly.  This happens fairly quickly so keep an eye on it.  Once done set aside while you mix the topping.
  2. In a large bowl combine the tuna, artichokes, onions, lemon juice and zest, seasoning, and oil.  Spoon carefully onto each toasted muffin.  Top with a slice of cheese.
  3. Broil for a couple of minutes, watching closely until cheese has melted and starts to brown.  I find that rotating them helps get them all evenly done.

ultimatetunamelt

Day 40 : Triple Berry Parfait


Normally our lives are not so hectic, but with Jeff busy at work again today I was left with no time to plan a meal, let alone cook one.  I promise that in the future there won’t be QUITE so many desserts or drinks, but of course there will always be some as those are two of my favorite things!

Tonight’s recipe is one I discovered while on Weight Watchers and it instantly became a favorite!  It’s great as a dessert, but filling enough to be a healthy breakfast as well.  With so many flavors of yogurt out there to choose from and fruit to pick from, the possibilities for this are pretty endless.  My husband actually likes to make his with the shredded wheat cereal, but I really like the fiber one myself.  My favorite mix of berries are the raspberries, blueberries, and huckleberries, but of course you could use whatever you had on hand.  Also I prefer my berries still somewhat frozen, but Jeff likes his thawed.  It just depends on your personal tastes.

With such a beautiful presentation, these would be the perfect things to whip up for a special breakfast with your loved ones, for guests, or as a romantic dessert.  For those watching their weight this would be a great dessert for Valentines Day even.

 

Triple Berry Parfait

Serves : 1                      Time to make : 3 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 3/4 cup mixed berries of your choice
  • 1 container low fat yogurt (I prefer white chocolate but it’s up to you)
  • 1/2 cup fiber one cereal (the original kind)

Directions :

  1. In a dessert type glass layer in the following order… yogurt, berries, cereal, yogurt, berries, cereal, yogurt.

 

 

Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 39 : Grapes Elizabeth


What a day!  It started earlier than usual because my 11 month old is teething and has decided sleep is overrated… then I had a fridge delivered and installed this afternoon (YAY I finally have more room for all the food I buy and make lol).  With things now off schedule the day went the exact opposite of smoothly and of course today of all days Jeff was stuck at work late and we just finished our take-out dinner at about 8:30!  This meant yet another day I needed something quick, and LIGHT after all the calories of dinner.  This is where a well stocked refrigerator comes in handy!

I have had these once before and that time I did use green grapes as it calls for, but for my own personal tastes I think I prefer the red grapes.  I am just not a fan of the bitter tartness of the green.  You really can’t get more simple than this and it is surprisingly good!  The sour cream takes on such a smooth and sweet quality which when paired with the sweet/tart grape just tastes so fresh and vibrant.  You will think you are being indulgent but this treat is pretty guilt free in my book!  It’s also a great way to use up left over sour cream which I am sure most of us have in our refrigerator.

 

Grapes Elizabeth

Serves : 2         Time to make : 5 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup green grapes, halved
  • 2 T. fat free sour cream
  • 1 T. brown sugar

Directions :

  1. Mix brown sugar and sour cream together in a small bowl until smooth, then stir in the grapes and enjoy!

 

Published in: on February 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 21 : Cookies ‘n’ Cream Tortoni (Weight Watchers)


3 weeks in now, and today is also special because my baby boy is 11 months old now.  I can’t believe that in just one more month he will be celebrating his first birthday…. such a bittersweet thing.

Anyway, with all the treats and high calorie recipes lately I figured it was getting about time to throw in something a bit healthier.  Of course that doesn’t mean I want to miss out on flavor!  These little gems are not only fairly guiltless at only 3 Ww pts each (at least by the old standards), but they are super simple to make and convenient since they are frozen.  Whenever you feel like a quick dessert, just pull one out!

These can be enjoyed either frozen or thawed.  While frozen they are reminiscent of an ice cream sandwich, though not quite creamy in texture like ice cream would be.  Thawed, which is my preference they are quite like dirt cake which is a GREAT dessert as well and who knows, maybe someday that will also show up on my blog!  They are a bit less intense in flavor than they would be if made with the full fat versions of the ingredients, but for a healthier snack they are very good and deserve 5 stars we felt.  Great presentation as well for these, though they do thaw fairly fast, so if you want to serve them at a party that is something to keep in mind.

Coookies ‘n’ Cream  Tortoni

Serves : 6                        Time to make : 10 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 9 reduced fat oreo cookies
  • 1 1/2 tsp butter or margarine, melted
  • 3 (3 1/2 oz) sugar free vanilla pudding cups
  • 1/2 C. lite cool whip, thawed
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Directions :

  1. Place 4 cookies into a sealed ziplock bag and using a meat tenderizer crush them into fine crumbs.  Mix with melted butter and press into the bottom of 6 lined muffin cups. (the foil ones work best for this)
  2. Place remaining cookies in back and coarsely crush.  Measure out 1/4 cup of the crumbs and set the rest aside.
  3. Mix the 1/4 cup of crumbs with the remaining ingredients and divide mixture evenly among muffin cups.
  4. Top with the reserved crumbs, cover and freeze.
  5. Once frozen remove from muffin pan and place in a freezer safe ziplock bag or serve.

 

 

Published in: on January 22, 2011 at 10:41 pm  Comments (1)  
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