Monday, May 30, 2011

80--- Beet & Tangerine Salad

Beets are all the rage right now and I am SO happy about that! Not pickled beets. Lightly steamed or roasted beets. These lovely root vegetables are a wonderful source of iron, vitamin C, folate, fiber, lutein, and potassium! AND if you eat enough of them, you can turn your urine red -- circus trick!

This salad is so springy and delicious! I cannot stop thinking about it! It would be a perfect accompaniment to any grilled summer meal.

Beet & Tangerine Salad

Serves 5

5-6 medium beets, peeled and cut into 1" pieces (put on a black shirt first- you will thank me!)

4-5 tangerines, sliced to remove white pith and chopped into 1" pieces

1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley

2 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp Champagne vinegar

1 tsp honey

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp paprika

2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Place beet cubes into a large steamer and cook for ~10 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool (I put mine in the refrigerator).

When beets have cooled, add tangerine pieces and parsley, and toss to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, honey, paprika and olive oil. Add to beet mixture and toss to coat. Crumble goat cheese on top of salad and serve.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup: 184 calories, 7 g fat, 5 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Saturday, May 28, 2011

80(ish)--- Homemade Kettle Corn

Can't wait for your local farmer's market or fair to have kettle corn? No need to sit in agony. You can make your own at home! Gigantic kettle and wooden stick are not required!

I am tickled pink with the results of this sort-of healthy snack. You know those people who burn microwave popcorn? That's me. I really didn't think that my first try at this would go off without a hitch-- but it did. And remember my husband who doesn't like salty-sweet combination foods (yes he is bonkers)-- he liked it. Yep, I know-- I'm a miracle worker. I may even go buy myself a gigantic kettle to celebrate.

Homemade Kettle Corn

Serves 4-6

1 cup yellow popcorn kernels

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1-2 tsp salt (to taste)

Place a large dutch oven (make sure you have a lid) over medium high heat on your stove top. Add oil and allow to heat for ~1 minute. Place 2-3 kernels into pot and wait until they pop (yes, they will probably pop out of the pot). Add remaining kernels and place lid on pot. Wait until you hear a few other kernels pop, then with oven mitts pick up pot and shake. Continue to shake for ~30 seconds every minute of cooking (place back on burner for remainder of time). After first minute, carefully lift one side of lid and sprinkle in sugar. Replace lid and continue cooking and shaking (yes it is a good shoulder and bicep workout) for ~4-5 minutes, until span of time between pops lengthens to ~5 seconds.

Remove from heat. Wait until all popping has finished, then remove lid. Sprinkle lightly with salt (to taste), then mix and place into a large serving bowl or individual serving bowls. Now close your eyes and picture the Ferris wheel. Unless it makes you sick. Then just picture something else.

Nutrition Info per 1 cup serving: 175 calories, 5 g fat

Friday, May 27, 2011

80--- Grilled Fruit Platter

This is hardly a recipe. Basically, I am just telling you that grilled fruit is a delightful summer dessert! Here are a few fruits that grill wonderfully:

Apricots, halved
Bananas, peeled (obviously)
Peaches, halved
Pineapple, sliced into rings
Pears, sliced into thick slices
Melon- I used honeydew
Mangoes, sliced into thick slices

I am sure that there are some that I am leaving out. Experiment and post a comment if you find others that work well!


Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Spray grill lightly with cooking spray after grate has been cleaned (with a scraper is fine). Lay pieces of fruit on grill and cook for ~3-4 minutes on each side, depending on grill temperature. Flip when grill marks appear. Remove from heat and serve with a side of yogurt dip:

Grilled Fruit Yogurt Dip

1 cup low fat plain yogurt or 2% Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp honey or 1 Tbsp balsamic syrup (reduced balsamic vinegar)

Whisk ingredients together until smooth.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

80--- Grilled Potato Salad

Memorial Day weekend is upon us! Many consider this the unofficial first weekend of summer. We are going to a friends' barbecue. Are you? What about camping?

The first weekend of summer is no excuse to cave into a tub of processed potato salad. This is a light, fresh, grilled cousin of that barbecue accompaniment. Better yet? No mayonnaise means no staphylococcal poisoning!

Grilled Potato Salad
Serves 6

4 red potatoes, sliced into 1" pieces
4 yellow potatoes, sliced into 1" pieces
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped coarsely
1 cup baby arugula leaves, chopped
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/2 cup banana pepper rings
1 Tbsp capers
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Place potato slices into a medium bowl. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and toss to coat. Place slices onto a medium-high heated grill. Grill potatoes for ~4 minutes on each side, until grill marks appear. When slices are cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Whisk together vinegar, remaining olive oil, parsley, red pepper flakes, ground mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in pepper rings, chopped tomatoes, olives and arugula. Set aside.

When potatoes have cooled, cut each slice into quarters and gently fold chunks into vinegar mixture. Serve immediately!

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup serving: 147 calories, 5.5 g fat, 4 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber

Monday, May 23, 2011

80--- Working Woman's Healthy Refried Black Beans

If you are like me, you have good intentions to prepare food from the simplest ingredients possible. I try to eat close to the earth, but as a working woman, this can sometimes be a challenge. Typically when it comes to preparing dried beans, I forget to soak them overnight, and then it ends up taking HOURS to prepare them. Solution? My slow cooker and a little bit of arm work.

I love refried black beans, but eating them from a can is not my idea of natural. To get the creamy texture of refried beans, a lot of oil or lard is typically added. These are actually kind of un-refried, but you get the picture!

Working Woman's Healthy Refried Black Beans
Serves 4


1 cup dried black beans

1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup diced green chiles
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup water


Place dried beans into your crock pot. Add enough water to cover all the beans and an additional 2 inches.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. All of the water may not have been absorbed. Ensure that the beans are tender, then drain beans of excess water.


In a nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and chiles and saute until tender. Stir in cumin seeds, paprika, salt, and cayenne pepper. Saute for 1 minute. Add drained black beans and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, then use a potato masher to mash beans. Continue to add remaining 1/4 cup water during mashing until desired consistency is reached. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.

Serve immediately, garnished with cojita cheese if desired.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup: 185 calories, 1.8 g fat, 11 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber

Saturday, May 21, 2011

80--- Wild Spanish Rice

Wild rice is an aquatic, high fiber, high protein grain that is also high in niacin and other B-vitamins. It grows in lake beds and river beds in North America, and apparently it is dated back 12,000 years. It's nice to know that our ancient ancestors would recognize this food!

Wild Spanish RiceServes 6

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup wild rice medley (I used a mix from Costco of long grain brown rice, red rice, and wild rice)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1-14 oz can low sodium diced tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and green pepper. Saute until fragrant, then add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve!

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup serving: 163 calories, 2 g fat, 5 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber

Thursday, May 19, 2011

80--- Mango Mint Granita

A dessert that is a true 80? Welcome to heaven on earth.
Mangoes are in season right now and they are so fragrant and delicious! They are high in vitamins C and A-- great antioxidants! AND they make you feel like you are in the tropics while adding to your daily servings of fruits-- can't beat that!
Mango Mint Granita
Serves 4
3 mangoes, peeled and sliced

5 peppermint leaves

1 Tbsp lime juice

1 cup water

2 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp lite coconut milk
In a large food processor, combine mango slices and peppermint leaves. Process until a smooth puree is formed. Transfer to a large bowl and add water, coconut milk, sugar, lime juice and sugar.
Transfer mixture into a 9x13 glass or metal baking dish. Place in freezer for 3 hours. Each hour, whisk mixture, making sure to incorporate frozen edges. Prior to serving, mash with a fork and stir evenly. Spoon mixture into glasses and enjoy!
Nutrition Info per ~1 cup serving: 133 calories, 1 g fat, 1 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

80--- Poor Man's Pasta with 15-Minute Light Tomato Cream Sauce

No money? No problem. This dish will feed your family and get you a few servings of veggies. I did not do the math, but I promise it is CHEAP!
Beans in pasta? My husband was concerned as well. But he was pleasantly surprised. You will be too.

Eating healthy typically eliminates creamy sauces. But with this addition to your pasta repertoire you won't go hungry! And it only takes 15 minutes to create.

Poor Man's Pasta with 15-Minute Light Tomato Cream Sauce
Serves 5-6

8 oz canned tomato sauce
14 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
2 cloves garlic, pressed and finely minced
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp red wine
1 tsp olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh sweet basil, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup light sour cream

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until fragrant, ~3 minutes. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, red wine, sugar, basil, salt and pepper and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Whisk in sour cream and heat through for 2-3 minutes.

8 oz uncooked whole grain pasta of your choice, prepared al dente, drained and rinsed
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 clove garlic, pressed and finely minced
1 tsp olive oil
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
14 oz canned white beans, drained and rinsed

In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and zucchini pieces and saute until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add baby spinach leaves and saute until wilted. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans, stirring gently until heated through, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve: Add cooked pasta to tomato cream sauce and turn gently with a pair of tongs. Place ~1 cup of pasta on each plate and top with zucchini mixture. Garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese if desired.

Nutrition info per 1 serving: 390 calories, 5 g fat, 19 g protein, 60 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber

Sunday, May 15, 2011

80--- Banana Bread French Toast

There is a quaint little breakfast joint in Bozeman, MT that serves Banana Bread French Toast. It's called the Stockyard Cafe, and yes, it is located at the old stockyard. It's only open on the weekends and the wait for a "stool" is usually quite long. My solution to making sure that I get some of that goodness every once in a while? Make my own.

This is a low fat banana bread that is absolutely perfect on it's own. But when it is cooked in an egg and orange juice batter? To die for.

Banana Bread French Toast

Serves 8


4 ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tsp butter, softened

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Pour batter evenly into two bread pans that have been prepared lightly with cooking spray.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly, then gently remove from pans and cool fully on a wire rack.


3 egg whites

1 whole egg

2 Tbsp skim milk

3 Tbsp orange juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk all ingredients in a large shallow dish.

Cut each loaf of bread into 8 even 1" slices. Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Soak banana bread slices, two at a time, in batter for one minute, flipping halfway through soaking. Place slices onto skillet and cook for ~3 minutes each side, until golden brown.

Serve lightly dusted with powdered sugar or with maple syrup.

Nutrition Info per 2 slices: 196 calories, 2 g fat, 6 g protein, 39 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g fiber

Saturday, May 14, 2011

80--- Steamed Artichoke with Roasted Red Pepper Yogurt Dip

Artichokes are in season!! They are inexpensive and so good right now!

Steamed artichokes are an amazing, versatile appetizer. They can be served warm or cold, with a variety of dipping sauces.

Artichokes are low in calories and high in fiber and antioxidants. Among the most powerful phytonutrients in artichokes are cynarin and silymarin, which may have strong positive effects on the liver.

Steamed Artichoke with Roasted Red Pepper Yogurt Dip
Serves 4


1 large artichoke
2 cups chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, pressed and halved
1/4 cup white wine
3 Tbsp+ 3 Tbsp lemon juice

Using a heavy stainless steel knife, cut off the stem of the artichoke close to the base. Pull off the lower petals that are small and tough. Cut off the top inch of the artichoke and dip in 3 Tbsp lemon juice to preserve the green color.

Bring remaining ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and place artichoke, bottom side up, into liquid. Cover and cook for 15-18 minutes, until you can insert a knife into the bottom of the artichoke easily. Remove and serve or chill prior to serving.


1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 whole roasted red pepper (from a jar), blotted of oil
3 Tbsp reduced fat crumbled feta cheese

In a small food processor, combine ingredients and blend until smooth. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Nutrition Info per 1/4 artichoke and 1/4 cup dip: 75 calories, 4 g fat, 6 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber

Monday, May 9, 2011

80--- Grilled Thai Barbecue Salmon

Everyone knows that salmon is a healthy choice for protein. It is very high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help decrease inflammation throughout the body. Omega-3's may also be helpful in lowering plasma triglyceride levels and improving concentration and mood.

Farmed or Wild? This is a debate that I had to research quite a bit. What I found is the suggestion that eating farmed fish could expose you to PCBs (toxic chemicals) due to possible water pollution near farming operations. The recommendation is to only eat farmed fish once a week. If salmon is on your menu more frequent than that, try wild salmon (canned wild salmon is good as well). For more information, check out this CNN article.

I love finding ways to use my homemade barbecue sauces! I served this salmon garnished with edamame on a bed of medium grain white rice with a side of grilled red onions and pineapple. Highly recommended!

Grilled Thai Barbecue Salmon

Serves 4

4- 4oz wild sockeye salmon filets

1 cup Some Like it Spicy Barbecue Sauce (see below)

Some Like it Spicy (Thai) Barbecue Sauce

Makes 3 cups

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup Thai chile sauce

1/2 cup spiced rum

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp ketchup

3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, pressed and finely minced

2 tsp ground dry mustard

In a medium saucepan, saute garlic until slightly browned. Add remaining ingredients over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use.

On a hot grill. place salmon filets meat-side down for ~1-2 minutes, just until grill marks appear on filets. Flip filets to skin-side down. Brush each filet with 2 Tbsp sauce and continue to cook on medium-hot grill for 20-25 minutes or until fish is cooked through but not dry. Reapply 2 Tbsp sauce to each filet halfway through cooking.

Nutrition Info per 4oz salmon with sauce: 259 calories, 7 g fat, 25 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates

Saturday, May 7, 2011

20(ish)--- Fruit & Oat Pizzas -- For Mom

Because she never let me eat white bread. Or sugar cereal. Or those cute little breadsticks that you dipped in fake cheese that all of the other kids had in their lunch boxes.

I thank her for those deprivations now. She said I would. She was right.

I am returning the favor and created a healthy dessert recipe that suits her tastes. And her desire to not spend forever in the kitchen.

Fruit & Oat Pizzas

Serves 6


1/4 cup butter, softened

3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 egg white

3/4 cups rolled oats

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


6 oz low fat cream cheese

1 Tbsp orange juice

8 strawberries, stemmed and sliced

1 kiwi, peeled and sliced

2 Tbsp honey


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine butter, applesauce, sugar, and egg white in a large bowl and mix with handheld mixer. Add in flour, baking soda, and cinnamon and mix well. Gently fold in oats and mix until moistened.

Drop ~2 Tbsp batter onto prepared baking sheets and spread into discs with the back of the spoon. Leave 3 inches between each drop, placing three drops on each sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until edges are crisp. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a sheet of parchment paper to cool fully.


Whip together cream cheese and orange juice with handheld mixer. When crusts have cooled, spread 1 Tbsp cream cheese mixture onto each crust, then top with sliced fruit as desired. Drizzle each pizza with honey and serve or chill prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per 1 pizza: 273 calories, 11 g fat, 6 g protein, 31 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

20--- Cerveza-garita

Ole! Top off your Cinco de Mayo 20s with margaritas (I promise some 80s next year). These are the best margaritas on the planet. Hands down. No syrups or mixes required! The frothy Mexican beer adds a new dimension, and the ratio of tequila to, well, other stuff, is perfect.

Enjoy responsibly!

Serves 8

24oz Mexican beer of choice (I used Corona)
1 can frozen limeade concentrate
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup tequila of choice
Lime wedges
Ice cubes
Salt (if desired)

Slowly pour beer into a large pitcher. Add limeade concentrate, orange juice, and tequila. Stir well.

If salt is desired, pour coarse ground salt onto a small plate. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of one glass, then turn rim in the salt.

Fill glasses halfway with ice cubes, then slowly pour mixture over ice cubes. Garnish with lime wedge.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

20--- Creamy Chicken Chile Enchiladas

 This is a recipe from my past. I would prefer to not divulge the details. All right, all right. It's a recipe that I have modified from one made by my ex-boyfriend's mother. This dish is one of my all-time favorites. I've been saving it for a special occasion.

This is not a healthy recipe (even though I have health-ified it a bit), but it's so good. I needed an excuse to use my Enchilada Gravy.
Creamy Chicken Chile Enchiladas
Serves 6
6 -10" flour tortillas (I used the raw variety that you cook in a nonstick pan- they hold up really well)
2-3 skinless boneless chicken breasts (~18 oz total), grilled and cubed
1 package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
6 oz can diced green chiles
3 cups + 3 Tbsp Enchilada Gravy, heated on low on stove top
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Cilantro, as garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9" baking dish lightly with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 3 Tbsp Enchilada Gravy, and green chiles. Mix well. Add chicken cubes and fold to combine.
Fill each tortilla with ~1/3 cup chicken mixture. Place tortillas in baking dish and fold each to seal. Ladle 3 cups Enchilada Gravy over filled tortillas, then sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted. Place oven on high broil and place baking dish on top rack. Watch closely and broil for ~3 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbling.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

80--- Enchilada Gravy

 Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner! There is no better time to celebrate Mexican food!

My hubby grew up in Southern California and his love of spicy, flavorful Mexican cuisine is alive and well. He loves to try new salsas and hot sauces. The door of our refrigerator has a very special shelf just for his spicy condiments. For this Cinco de Mayo I wanted to make our own enchilada sauce. Salsas and vegetable-based sauces are a great low-calorie low-fat way to add flavor to any food!

It was so easy and so good! I am calling mine a gravy because it would be good on ANYTHING (what's not better with gravy?). This recipe makes about 8 cups, so you have plenty to store and freeze for later! I cannot wait to try it as a salsa, on eggs, over pancakes (just kidding-- or AM I?). It's the perfect amount of spice.

Enchilada Gravy

Makes ~ 8 cups

4 cups chicken broth (low sodium preferred)
1 1/2 lbs tomatillos, husked and quartered
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, pressed and quartered
1 large white onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained of juice
4 oz diced green chiles (canned)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 Tbsp honey

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and saute until fragrant. Add poblano and jalapeno pepper pieces and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Use a slotted spoon to remove ingredients from broth and place into a large food processor Puree until consistency is thin. Return to pot and continue to heat over medium heat for 20 minutes, until sauce has thickened.

Store in a container in the refrigerator for 1 week, or in the freezer for 6 months.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup: 31 calories, 1 g fat, 1 g protein, 4.5 g carbohydrates, 1.5 g fiber