Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stuffed Tomatoes

These are great with grilled chicken or steak, and they are easy to prepare. Corey loves them because they incorporate his favorite "food group" - BACON.


Recipe Notes
I have adapted this recipe from an old Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe. This recipe is easily doubled or tripled. Serves 2.

  • Canned corn - one small can, drained
  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. chopped scallions
  • 1/4 c. soft, crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 slices cooked bacon (I used center-cut), crumbled
  • Sea salt & coarse ground pepper to taste
1. Combine canned corn, olive oil, scallions, goat cheese, white wine vinegar, bacon crumbles, and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
2. Slice top off of each beefsteak tomato. Using a spoon, hollow out the contents of each tomato.
3. Stuff with corn mixture and refrigerate before serving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Easy Cranberry Sauce

I make this for my family every Thanksgiving and Christmas. And with only three ingredients, how could you NOT like this recipe? This is great with leftover turkey on a sandwich with a little mayonnaise and lettuce....yum!

Recipe Notes
Easily doubled or tripled.

  • One, 12-oz. bag cranberries
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. orange juice


1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.

2. Bring to a boil and stir continuously, approximately 5-10 minutes. Cranberry sauce will be done when the mixture is foamy and most of the cranberries have burst.

3. Allow to cool completely before storing or serving.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lightened Fettuccine Alfredo

Corey liked this recipe so much, he had seconds (and then thirds for a late-night snack). This is another 30-minute dinner from start to finish and it is low-cost, considering that you probably keep most of these ingredients in your pantry or fridge already. Thanks Cooking Light!


Recipe Notes

I use skim milk instead of 1% because that is what I keep on hand. Four cups of cooked fettuccine equals one-half of a one lb. box (the unit of measure typically sold in grocery stores).

Nutritional Information

399 calories - 13.5 g. fat - 21.3 g. protein - 2 g. fiber


  • 1 tbsp. butter (I used light butter)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/3 c. 1% low-fat milk (I used skim)
  • 1-1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 tbsp. reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 4 cups hot, cooked fettuccine
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley


1. Cook fettuccine according to package directions.

2. While fettuccine cooks, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

3. Add garlic and cook one minute, stirring frequently. Add flour.

4. Increase heat. Add milk slowly, 1/4 c. at a time, stirring vigorously with a whisk to break up any lumps.

5. Cook until mixture thickens, about 6 minutes.

6. Add 1 cup Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir with a whisk until cheeses melt.

7. Toss sauce with hot, cooked pasta.

8. For plating: serve on four plates and top with remaining 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh parsley, and freshly-cracked pepper.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pork Loin with Roasted Shallots and Pears

Thanks to my co-worker Ruth for this tasty new recipe! It is time-consuming to prepare, but it blends a lot of fall flavors very nicely. Please note that this makes eight ENORMOUS servings. What you see pictured above is about HALF a serving, and it was plenty for me with mashed potatoes and a salad. I also halved the recipe and used a 1.5 lb. pork tenderloin (which I trimmed) instead of a 3 lb. pork loin. Then I just halved all of the other ingredients.


Recipe Notes

I was having a hard time getting the gravy to thicken, so I added about an extra tbsp. of flour to help thicken it up.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 8)

470 calories - 17 g. fat - 54 g. protein - 3 g. fiber


  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 3-4 lb. pork loin roast
  • 12 oz. shallots, peeled and halved or quartered (about 2 cups)
  • 3 medium unpeeled pears, cut into wedges
  • 3/4 tsp. salt, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 4 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 or 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • Coarsely ground black pepper to taste


1. In a large zip-top plastic bag, combine 2 tbsp. olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and pork loin. Seal bag and coat pork loin evenly with marinade. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

3. In a roasting pan, toss shallots and pears with remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt.

4. Remove meat from marinade and reserve marinade in plastic bag. Place pork in the center of the roasting pan, surrounded by pears and shallots.

5. Cut several small slits in top of pork. Insert sliced garlic and thyme sprigs.

6. Roast pork for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue roasting until desired degree of doneness, approximately 35-40 minutes more.

7. While meat roasts, melt butter and whisk in flour (this is where I added some extra flour for thickening). Add chicken broth and reserved marinade. Whisk to break up lumps and cook until thickened, 10-15 minutes. Stir in thyme and additional salt and pepper. Remove from heat and keep warm.

8. Remove pork from oven. Let stand 5 minutes, covered with foil, before slicing. Slice pork and serve with shallots, pears, and gravy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hearty Lasagna

This is a great Sunday night dinner with leftovers to eat all week! This is definitely a time-consuming meal (about an hour of prep time and another hour of cooking time), but the result is a tasty, low-fat lasagna alternative. This recipe first appeared in Cooking Light in 1995.

Recipe Notes
Instead of using a 28-oz. can of whole tomatoes (and having to chop them), I buy a 28-oz. container of the crushed tomatoes so that my work is already done for me. Watch out in hot ovens like mine - your cook time will likely be closer to one hour.

Nutritional Information (per serving - makes 9 generous servings)
380 calories - 10.5 g. fat - 33.4 g. protein - 2.8 g. fiber

  • 3/4 lb. ground round
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley, divided
  • 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5-oz. can Italian-style stewed tomatoes (petite dice)
  • 8-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 c. nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 15-oz. container nonfat or part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 12 cooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 c. finely-shredded Italian provolone cheese


1. Cook ground beef in large saucepan over medium-high heat until browned, approximately 5 minutes, stirring to crumble. Drain and set aside.

2. Return pan to heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 5 minutes. Return ground beef to pan.

3. Add 2 tbsp. parsley, crushed tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, herbs, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 20 minutes more.

4. Combine remaining parsley, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and egg white in a food processor. Process until smooth.

5. Spread 3/4 c. tomato mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles over tomato mixture. Top with 1/2 cheese mixture and 2-1/4 c. tomato mixture. Sprinkle with 2/3 c. Provolone cheese.

6. Repeat, ending with 4 lasagna noodles. Top with remaining tomato mixture.

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover lasagna with foil and bake, covered, for one hour.

8. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining Provolone cheese. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes more.

9. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Toasted Quinoa Pilaf

I had a request for a quinoa recipe from my friend Keenan. This recipe comes from my mom, which appears in The Sonoma Diet cookbook. Even my dad liked this one, and he is quite picky when it comes to "healthy food"! Sorry for the lack of pictures - my camera battery died.


Recipe Notes
You can also substitute barley for quinoa if you would like.

Nutritional Information
125 calories - 3 g. fat - 4 g. protein - 2 g. fiber

  • 2 tbsp. finely-chopped shallots or onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 c. quinoa (or substitute barley) rinsed and drained
  • 3 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme (crushed)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 c. bottled roasted red bell peppers, diced
  • Salt & pepper to taste


1. In large saucepan, cook shallots and garlic in oil over medium heat until tender.

2. Carefully stir in quinoa. Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until quinoa or barley is golden brown.

3. Carefully stir in broth, thyme, and bay leaf.

4. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender and fluffy. (If substituting barley, cook time will be between 10-20 minutes.)

5. Discard bay leaf. Stir in roasted peppers. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper and serve.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

This Cooking Light casserole was a Recipe Makeover about four years ago. It's nice and filling and would be another good, mild, low-fat casserole to take to a new mom. Weighing in at 276 calories and 8 grams of fat per serving, this dish is much better for you than the original version.


Recipe Notes
I used Hellman's low-fat mayonnaise instead of fat me it just tastes a little bit better. Also, I subbed light sour cream for the fat free sour cream called for here for the same reason. Finally, we don't keep sherry in the house, so I omitted this ingredient in my version last night.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 8)
276 calories - 7.8 g. fat - 31.1 g. protein - 2.1 g. fiber

  • 1 pkg. frozen broccoli florets
  • 3-4 chicken breasts (about 6 oz. each)
  • 12-oz. can evaporated fat free milk
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1 c. fat-free mayonnaise (I used Hellman's low-fat)
  • 1/2 c. fat-free sour cream (I used light sour cream)
  • 1/4 c. dry sherry (I omitted this ingredient)
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Bring water to a boil in large saucepan. Add broccoli and cook five minutes or until crisp-tender. Transfer to a separate bowl.

3. Add chicken to boiling water. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to bowl with broccoli.

4. Wipe out saucepan. Add evaporated milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and flour. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook one minute. Remove from heat.

5. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, soup, and 1/2 c. cheese. Stir until well-combined.

6. Add wet ingredients to broccoli and chicken. Stir gently to combine.

7. Turn into a greased 9x13 glass baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes or until mixture bubbles and cheese begins to brown.

8. Remove from oven. Let rest five minutes before serving.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Slow-Cooked Chile Con Carne

Dinner tonight is one of Corey's Cooking Light favorites: Chile Con Carne. I love it because I can leave it in the morning, come home after work, and dinner is basically done. We serve this over Tomato Rice Pilaf with a salad and bread.


Recipe Notes
I also add a dash of Cholula hot sauce for a little extra spice. This recipe originally called for chopped plum tomatoes. Using canned diced tomatoes is both easier and less expensive, so I have made that modificatino. To cut this recipe to two servings, omit one can of beans and use half of the beef broth.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 4)
291 calories - 6 g. fat - 34 g. protein - 8.9 g. fiber

  • 1-1/2 c. chopped onion (about one medium)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. sirloin, cut into small cubes
  • 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 15 oz. can pinto beans
  • 15 oz. can black beans
  • 14 oz. can beef broth
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


1. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray and add beef, garlic, and onion. Cook five minutes or until beef is browned, approximately 5 minutes.

2. Combine beef mixture and remaining ingredients (tomatoes, pinto beans, black beans, beef broth, and all spices) in an electric slow cooker.

3. Cook on HIGH for 3-1/2 hours or on low for 8 hours.

4. Uncover, cook 30 minutes more or until slightly thickened.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Let's Talk Turkey

My friend Sidney asked for some pointers to achieving a moist bird with crispy skin this Thanksgiving holiday. Because I have never myself cooked a turkey (a blasphemy I am sure), I had to consult the oracle: my mom.

She had two routes to choose:

1. Take your uncooked bird up to Goode Co. BBQ three days before Thanksgiving and let them smoke it for you.

2. If you really want to cook your own bird, the instructions on the back of the Reynolds Oven Bags work well.

She also came up with a recipe from Martha Stewart Everyday Food for Roasted Turkey (recipe here). Best of luck with your birdie battles!

If anyone else has turkey tips, feel free to Comment to post them here!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stewed White Beans with Tomatoes & Rosemary

This side dish, which is definitely reminiscent of French cooking, could be made into a meatless entree with a salad. This one takes awhile (about 2 hours total time commitment), so make this when you are home on the weekend or otherwise have a free afternoon.

I have adapted this recipe slightly from a recipe that I found in Martha Stewart Living.


Recipe Notes

This recipe calls for one 28-oz. can of whole plum tomatoes, which you must eventually puree. I skipped that step and used one 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes (such as DeCento).


  • 1 lb. dried white beans (such as Great Northern or cannellini beans), picked over, rinsed, and drained
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, cut crosswise into thirds
  • 1 celery stalk, cut crosswise into thirds
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 whole sprig of rosemary


1. Soak beans in water overnight. Drain and transfer to a large pot. Cover beans with 4 inches of water.

2. Add onion, carrot, celery, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer (covered) for one hour.

3. Drain and remove carrot, celery, and bay leaf.

4. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is tender but not browned (approximately 3 minutes).

5. Add tomatoes and rosemary. Bring to a boil.

6. Add beans and cooked, chopped onion. Stir occasionally until tomato sauce thickens, approximately 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm. Beans may be refrigerated after cooking for up to three days.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pork and Chive Potstickers

I hosted Girls' Game Night last week, and I needed some good appetizers to put out. I tried my hand at making this Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe, and it turned out quite well! All of the girls seemed to enjoy it, and the Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce had really good flavor.


Recipe Notes
I had never worked with wonton wrappers before, so I wasn't aware that they were kept in the freezer case at the grocery store. Luckily, I had enough time to let them thaw before my party. However, you might want to allow yourself ample time for them to defrost before you try working with them.

I didn't have any sherry, so I left it out. I don't think that anyone was the wiser for it, either. Recipe makes four servings (5 potstickers per serving).

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 4)
200 calories - 8.3 g. fat - 9.1 g. protein - 1.3 g. fiber


  • 1/4 lb. fresh ground pork
  • 1 tbsp minced chives
  • 1-1/2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dry sherry
  • 1 tsp. bottled minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 20 wonton wrappers
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil


1. In a small bowl, combine pork, chives, soy sauce, sherry, ginger, sesame oil, cornstarch, and 1 tbsp. water.

2. Place a heaping tsp. of pork mixture in the center of each wonton wrapper.

3. Lightly wet edges of wrapper, fold over, and press to seal. Repeat to form 20 total dumplings.

4. In two batches, cook dumplings in a large pot of boiling water until cooked through (approximately 4 minutes). Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.

5. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. In two batches, cook until browned, approximately 1-1/2 minutes per side. Serve with Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce (see recipe below).

For Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce:

Combine 1/4 c. soy sauce , 3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar, 1 tbsp. bottled minced ginger, 2 tsp. sugar, and 1/4 tsp. sesame oil. Serve immediately.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Beef & Barley Soup

This recent Cooking Light recipe has a long cooking time (about two hours total), so this might be best made on the weekend when you have a little more time to sit and wait.


Recipe Notes
This recipe calls for pearl barley, but I could only find medium barley at the grocery store. Both work just fine. This makes four VERY generous servings.

Nutritional Information (per serving - makes 4 two-cup servings)
341 calories - 11.4 g. fat - 24.1 g. protein - 8.2 g. fiber

  • 3/4 lb. boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into cubes
  • 1-1/2 c. thinly-sliced carrot
  • 1-1/2 c. thinly-sliced celery
  • 2/3 c. chopped onion
  • 8 oz. package presliced mushrooms
  • 4 c. beef broth (one box)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 c. uncooked pearl barley
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper


1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add beef and cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently.

2. Add carrot, celery, onion, and mushrooms to pan. Cook 6 minutes or until liquids have essentially evaporated.

3. Add beef broth and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1-1/2 hours.

4. Add pearl barley. Cover and simmer 30 minutes more.

5. Discard bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.

Sadie was worn out last night from all of the Halloween weekend festivities. Hope that everyone had a nice Halloween!