Thursday, June 30, 2011

20--- Chocolate Merlot Mousse

Extremely chocolaty with a taste of red wine. Any questions?

Chocolate Merlot Mousse
Serves 3

2 bars dark chocolate (3 oz total)
2 eggs, separated
1/3 cup whipping cream, very cold
1/4 cup merlot (or other red wine of your choice)
2 tsp sugar

Place a medium mixing bowl and mixer beaters into the freezer. Place water in a double boiler and bring to a low simmer. Place the chocolate into the top pan and leave to melt.

With a hand mixer, whip the egg yolks with the sugar till it becomes light and creamy. Add the melted chocolate and wine.

Put the cream in the bowl that came out of the freezer and whip until it becomes stiff. Add the cream to the chocolate mixture and combine with a spatula until evenly combined.

Using clean beaters, whip the egg whites until they become stiff and form peaks. Fold egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

Spoon mixture into 3 serving glasses and put in the fridge overnight. Serve topped with whipped cream.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

80--- Baked Tempura Vegetables

I do like sushi. I do not like nori (seaweed), but that is another story. Admittedly, part of the reason why I like to eat at sushi restaurants is for the tempura vegetables. They are crisp and delicious, however they are also fried.

This recipe produces very similar results without all of the added fat! Use a variety of vegetables and find your favorite! Your kids will enjoy them also!

Baked Tempura Vegetables
Serves 5-6

1 yam, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
2 cups broccoli, flowerettes cut into small chunks
2 cups button mushrooms, stemmed
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed of thick stalks
1 zucchini, sliced into 1/2" rounds
4 egg whites
2 cups panko crumbs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp vegetable seasoning
Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9 x 15" baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a shallow dish, beat egg whites with a fork. In a medium bowl, combine panko bread crumbs and vegetable seasoning. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables in flour, shaking to remove any excess flour. Dip the vegetables, a few at a time, into the egg whites then dip into the panko crumb mixture to coat.

Place the vegetables in a single layer in the prepared baking pan. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil. Bake for ~10 minutes or until vegetables are golden brown, gently stirring twice.

Serve with low-sodium soy sauce or other Asian sauce of choice for dipping.

Nutrition Info per 1 1/2 cup serving: 148 calories, 4 g fat, 23 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber

Saturday, June 25, 2011

80--- Grilled Scallops with Sweet Corn Curry

Corn season is upon us! It is such a versatile grain (not a vegetable mind you-- a grain). This dish is perfect for a lazy summer night. It tastes gourmet, but doesn't force you to spend countless hours in the kitchen when you would rather be sunning yourself in your backyard.

More corn recipes soon to come as I will be visiting my family in Iowa in July and I am HOPING that some sweet corn will be ready for picking (or purchasing from a stand),

Grilled Scallops with Sweet Corn Curry
Serves 4

14-16 oz large scallops, raw
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups corn kernels, raw
1 cup lite coconut milk
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 Tbsp yellow curry powder (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat grill and coat racks lightly with olive oil.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and onion and saute until softened. Stir in curry powder and cumin seeds and continue to cook for 1 minute.

Place chicken broth, coconut milk, honey, salt, corn kernels and onion mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer mixture to a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until thickened, ~10 minutes.

Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Place onto grill (may need to skewer first if they are not large enough) and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Spoon 1/3 cup sauce onto dish and place scallops onto sauce. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

Nutrition Info per 1/3 cup sauce and 4-5 scallops: 203 calories, 7 g fat, 19 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber

Thursday, June 23, 2011

80--- Spring Orecchiette

Orecchiette are small pasta "ears". I think they look like red blood cells, only white. But maybe that's just me.

This pasta is so fresh and springy! It will give you energy for that upcoming run or surfing session.

Spring Orecchiette

Serves 4-5

10 oz orecchiette uncooked

2 shallots, chopped

1 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

8 oz fresh pea-sized mozzarella balls

1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes

8 stalks asparagus

2 Tbsp+ 1 tsp olive oil

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste

In a small skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until softened slightly, ~2 minutes. Stir in white wine vinegar, then add brown sugar. Continue to heat until mixture is reduced, ~ 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare a steam pot over a large pot of boiling water. Shave asparagus stalks into steamer.

Chop heads off of asparagus and place in steamer as well. Steam for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Remove asparagus from heat.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook orecchiette until al dente. Remove from heat and drain. Set aside in a large serving bowl and allow to cool for ~ 5 minutes.

Whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar. Add to cooled pasta, then add cherry tomatoes, asparagus shavings and heads, mozzarella balls, and caramelized shallots. Garnish with fresh chopped chives (if desired) and serve.

Nutrition Info per ~1 1/2 cups: 299 calories, 11 g fat, 16 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

80--- Salad on a Stick

My husband and I threw our annual Summer Solstice party this weekend. On the menu? Grilled pizzas! Our guests were asked to bring a pizza topping and we supplied the pre-baked, personal-size Wheat & Honey Crusts. As a dietitian, I felt the need to also include some extra vegetables as a side dish. And I wanted to do it without guests needing to use utensils.

Salad on a stick to the rescue! On some skewers I stacked chunks of iceberg lettuce, a cucumber slice, and a cherry tomato. Spinach, red onion, and strawberries adorned others. I served them with my Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing and Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette from my Harvest Salad. Some people dressed their skewer and ate it right off of the stick. Others removed the salad from the skewer onto their plate and ate it with the stick. Either way works!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

80--- Monkey's Uncle Frozen Banana Creme

I read a while back that if you whip frozen bananas in a food processor they turn into an ice cream-like concoction. Too good to be true? That's what I said. But I tried it the other day. It works like a charm! Even a chimp could do it.

Bananas often get a bad rap. They have less water content than other fruits, therefore they have a slightly higher carbohydrate content and a few more calories than other fruits. But, bananas are a great source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6. AND they come packaged with their own little handles! I say GO BANANAS!
Here is some nutrition info so that you can make a good banana serving size choice:

Small – 6-7” long – 90 calories
Medium – 7-8” long – 105 calories
Large – 8-9” long – 121 calories
Extra-large – over 9” – 135 calories

You can add ingredients to this if you wish. Peanut butter, coconut, chocolate chips, graham cracker chunks............. oh the list goes on and on! You can also keep it really simple. No added sugar!

Monkey's Uncle Frozen Banana Creme
Serves 2

3 medium ripe bananas
3 Tbsp skim milk, almond milk, or rice milk

Spray a baking dish lightly with cooking spray. Cut bananas into chunks and place into dish, allowing space in between each chunk. Place dish in freezer for 2 hours.

Remove banana chunks from freezer and place into a food processor. Process on high for 2 minutes, then scrap edges, pushing bananas down into processor. Add milk and continue to process until bananas turn into a creamy puree (this may take ~5 minutes, but be patient), stopping processing to scrape bananas down as needed. At this time, you can add any additional ingredients that you want pureed into your mixture. If you are using chocolate chips or coconut, scoop bananas into a bowl and fold in toppings.

Bananas should have a soft serve-like consistency. If you desire a firmer treat, place in a bowl in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, or until desired consistency is achieved. Scoop out into bowls and garnish as desired.

Nutrition info per 1 cup serving without additional toppings/ingredients: 165 calories, 0.6 g fat, 41 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber

Thursday, June 16, 2011

80(ish)--- Sea Salted Sourdough Burger Buns

My sourdough starter was getting out of control since I had been just feeding it without using. So, for a cookout with friends I decided to get brave. I made burger buns. They turned out light and flavorful and perfect.

These get an 80(ish) rating because where they may not be made from the most wholesome ingredients, they are homemade without preservatives or other "stuff".

Sea Salted Sourdough Burger Buns
Makes 14 buns

2 cups sourdough starter, proofed *
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup skim milk, warmed
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp white sugar
3-4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp coarse sea salt

*To proof your sourdough starter:

1. Bring your starter to room temperature and place in a bowl

2. Add 1 cup flour and 1 cup warm water to starter, mix well

3. Place in a warm place and allow starter to form a lot of bubbles on surface (anywhere from 1 hour to 6 or 8 hours)

4. Starter is now proofed and ready to use! Place any unused starter in a glass container in the refrigerator.


In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients except flour. Add flour, mixing until it comes together enough to be turned out and kneaded (add more flour as needed).

Knead dough on a floured surface until it is smooth and not sticky. Let dough rest for 15 or 20 minutes and then roll it out to 1/2" thick. Cut dough into circles with a 4" round cutter and place on a baking sheet lightly dusted with flour. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk (~1-3 hours). Lightly brush buns with water and sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake at 350°F for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack. When cool, cut in half and serve topped with your favorite burger.

Nutrition Info per 1 bun: 141 calories, 3 g fat, 4 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

80---Health-ified Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

There are not many things that do not go with ranch dressing. For many kids (and some grown-ups), it makes eating vegetables possible. So why settle for a preservative-laden store-bought version when it is so easy to make your own? Those versions can contain up to 16 grams of fat per serving!

Tell your family that you love them and that you accept that, yes, sometimes a bit of ranch does help the vegetables go down. Then make them this healthy homemade ranch dressing. It's delicious and pretty harmless-- therefore its an 80!

Health-ified Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Serves 16

1 cup low fat buttermilk
2/3 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped finely
1/4 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Whisk together all ingredients in a large glass container. Refrigerate until serving. Will keep for ~ 1 week sealed in refrigerator.

Nutrition Info per 2 Tbsp: 20 calories, 1 g fat, 1 g protein, 1.4 g carbohydrates

Sunday, June 12, 2011

80--- Pasilla Chile Albondigas Soup

We still have quite chilly days here in Montana in June. How do I deal? Mexican meatball (albondigas) soup. Three words. One simple meal. Huge impact on my spring outlook.

I used ground elk in this recipe, but ground beef, bison, or pork could also be used (but will alter the nutrition facts).

Pasilla Chile Albondias Soup
Serves 5


2 fresh pasilla chiles (if you cannot find pasilla, anaheim are fine)
1 pound ground elk
1/2 cup coarsely grated zucchini
1/4 cup finely grated onion
1/4 cup panko crumbs
2 large egg whites, beaten
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt


1 tsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed and finely minced
3 Tbsp pure ancho or pasilla chile powder (found in Mexican aisle or specialty stores)
10 cups low sodium beef broth
2 medium zucchini, sliced
1/4 cup brown rice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp lime juice


Place chiles on a hot grill over direct flame until blackened on all sides. Place in a paper bag and steam for 10 minutes. Stem, seed, and peel chiles, then chop finely.

Place chiles in large bowl. Mix in elk and all remaining ingredients. Roll mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs (~1 1/2 Tbsp each). Set aside.


Heat oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender and fragrant, ~3 minutes. Add chile powder and cumin; stir 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low, just below bare simmer, and cook 10 minutes.

Stir zucchini and rice into broth. Increase heat to medium and drop in meatballs, 1 at a time. Return soup to simmer. Cover and cook gently until meatballs and rice are cooked through, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat to avoid boiling, ~ 20 minutes. Add cilantro and lime juice and serve.

Gracias to Bon Appetit magazine for inspiration.

Nutrition Info per 2 cups soup with ~5 meatballs: 287 calories, 9 g fat, 29 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber

Friday, June 10, 2011

80(ish)--- Baked Apple Donut Holes

My dad loves donut holes. And he gets to eat them occasionally because he eats a lot of vegetables and other good-for-you things. Yes... 80/20. My dad is retiring next week after forty years as an environmental engineer. I hope that his retirement is filled with hiking, canoeing, motorcycle riding, camping, hanging out with me, and donut holes.

These are a little bit healthier that your basic donut hole (so that dad can partake in a few more). Most of the fat has been eliminated and they are baked, not fried.

I cannot claim this recipe as my own. I have made a couple of health-ifications, but Erica at Sweet Tooth created these Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes. They are delicious and easy!

Baked Apple Donut Holes
Makes ~40

Cooking Spray
3 Tbsp white sugar (for muffin pans)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 egg
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup 100% apple juice
1/3 cup plain low fat yogurt
3 tbsp vegetable oil

2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray mini muffin pans with cooking spray and sprinkle sugar on top, shaking out the excess.
In a bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, applesauce, maple syrup, egg, apple juice, yogurt, and vegetable oil.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir gently just until evenly blended. Spoon the batter into the muffin pan, filling the cavities only half way (important for the final shape of your donut holes). Bake for ~10 minutes
Topping (prepare while the donuts are baking)
Melt the butter in a bowl. In another bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.
Remove donuts from the oven and when they are still hot, dip the tops in melted butter (such a 20!) and roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture until evenly coated (bottoms will still be moist from cooking, therefore there is no need to dip them into the butter).
Nutrition Info per 1 donut hole: 70 calories, 1.8 g fat, 1 g protein, 12.5 g carbohydrates

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

20--- Minty Arnold Palmer

A traditional Arnold Palmer is a beverage consisting of half lemonade, half iced tea, named after the famous American golfer. This version has a light mint twist for summer! Have Arnold make an appearance at your next summer get-together!

Minty Arnold Palmer

Makes ~12 cups

8 cups boiling water
4 peppermint herbal tea bags
4 black tea bags
1 cup simple syrup *see below
2 1/2 cups lemon juice
4 cups ice cubes
1/2 cup fresh peppermint leaves, torn

*For simple syrup: Place 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until sugar has full dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.

Place tea bags into a large glass container and add boiling water. Allow bags to steep for 10 minutes, then remove from container. Stir simple syrup into tea, then add lemon juice and ice cubes. Place container in refrigerator and allow to chill for 1 hour.

When chilled, add mint leaves. Serve over ice cubes.

*Alternative adult beverage: add 1/3 cup gin, 1/3 cup Minty Arnold Palmer mixture, and 1/3 cup tonic water over ice.

Monday, June 6, 2011

80--- Vegetable Spring Rolls with Ginger Lemongrass Dipping Sauce

Spring rolls are such an easy healthy appetizer or light meal. You can use any vegetables that you have in your refrigerator!

I have included the wrapping photos below because my first time wrapping was not an easy one. But, once you figure it out it goes really quickly!

Vegetable Spring Rolls
Makes 12 rolls-- easily modified to make more!

12 spring roll wrappers (found next to the tofu or in the Asian aisle of your grocery store)
1 cup vermicelli rice noodles, prepared per package instructions
12 romaine lettuce leaves
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin 3" sticks
1 cucumber, peeled seeded and sliced into 3" sticks
1/2 red pepper, seeded and sliced into 3" sticks
12 sugar snap peas (optional)

Mise en place. The French term for "everything in it's place". This rule of cooking is very important for rolling spring rolls. In addition to rice paper wrappers, noodles and vegetables you will need a large bowl with warm water, a clean work surface, and a plate for rolls.

First, take a rice paper wrapper and place it into the warm water. After about 10 seconds it softens (the warmer the water, the faster is softens). Remove paper carefully and place it onto your clean work surface.

Place ~10 strands of prepared rice noodles, one romaine leaf, 2 slices of cucumber, 2 slices of carrot and 1 slice red pepper onto the left side of the wrapper.

Fold the wrapper in half, bringing the bottom edge near the top edge.

Fold in half again, bringing the right side over to the left side.

Roll upwards to encase the vegetable ingredients into a roll.

Place on a plate for serving.

Ginger Lemongrass Dipping Sauce
Makes ~1 cup

3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup honey
2 cloves garlic, pressed and finely minced
1 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
2 stalks lemongrass, finely minced

Whisk vinegar and honey together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until reduced and thickened slightly. Stir in garlic, ginger, chili flakes and lemongrass. Pour into a glass container and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until chilled.
Serve in individual bowls for dipping.

Nutrition Info per 2 rolls with 2 Tbsp dipping sauce: 142 calories, 1 g fat, 32 g carbohydrates

Friday, June 3, 2011

80--- Stuffed Artichokes

This recipe is a long time in the making. I saw a recipe in Shape Magazine a while ago for Stuffed Artichokes. Prior to seeing that I had never really considered stuffing an artichoke. But when they started popping up in stores this spring, I thought that I would give it a try. Very tasty! My husband and I debated about how to eat them. I decided that it is easiest and least messy if you stuff all of the stuffing into the center of the artichoke (after you have removed the choke), eat it, and then eat the leaves as you would an appetizer.

I have not used bulgur wheat in the past-- this time will not be my last!

Stuffed Artichokes

Serves 2

2 whole artichokes

1/4 cup lemon juice, divided

1 quart low sodium vegetable broth

1/2 cup bulgur

1 clove garlic, pressed and finely minced

1 clove garlic, pressed

1/4 cup red onion, finely grated

2 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

2 carrots, finely grated

2 cups baby spinach leaves, stemmed and chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 tsp olive oil

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Trim the top 1" off of each artichoke. Place 2 Tbsp lemon juice into a small bowl and dip cut top of artichoke into juice. Bring 1 quart vegetable stock, 2 Tbsp lemon juice and pressed clove of garlic to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and place artichokes top-down into boiling liquid. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until a knife can be easily inserted into the bottom of each artichoke. Remove from liquid, drain and allow to cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

While artichokes are cooling, place bulgur, onion and minced garlic into a glass bowl (with a lid). Add 1 cup of the boiling broth (that artichokes were cooked in) and stir. Cover bowl and allow to sit for 30 minutes, until broth has been absorbed. Stir in carrots, spinach, parsley, salt, pepper, olive oil and feta.

Once artichokes have cooled, separate leaves from center. Use a paring knife to remove inner choke (fuzzy red-tipped leaves). Spoon half of bulgur mixture into the center of each artichoke. Place artichokes face-up into a baking dish and spoon 2 Tbsp broth liquid onto each artichoke. Spoon 1/2 cup additional broth into the bottom of the dish. Bake for 15 minutes, or until heated.

Serve with a side of Roasted Red Pepper Yogurt for dipping leaves.

Nutrition Info per 1 stuffed artichoke: 322 calories, 11 g fat (5 g monounsaturated), 14 g protein, 31 g carbohydrates, 14 g fiber

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

80--- Mango Chutney

Mango chutney is sort of an interesting condiment. It's curried fruit. And it's terrific. I made mine to top a nice baked brie, and then I ended up using the leftovers to mix into quinoa for lunch. YUM.

Mango Chutney
Serves 8 -- Makes ~2 cups

3 ripe mangoes, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 large red onion, diced
1/2 tsp red chile flakes
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tsp fresh chopped garlic
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp yellow curry powder
1/4 cup dried blueberries or cranberries
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

In a nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chile flakes, onion, garlic, ginger, and red pepper. Saute mixture for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in curry powder and saute for one minute. Add mango and heat through for one additional minute.

Whisk together orange juice, vinegar, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Add this to the mango mixture and heat to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture reduces. Stir in dried blueberries, salt and pepper. Transfer to a glass container and cool in the refrigerator until ready to use. Serve over your favorite grilled meat, baked brie, or mixed into rice or quinoa.

Nutrition Info per 1/4 cup: 99 calories, 1 g fat, 1 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber