Monday, November 8, 2010

Herbed Cous Cous Pilaf

This recipe comes with several variations. Shown here is an adaptation of the Mediterranean variation. I added quartered grape tomatoes, feta cheese, and dill to the basic recipe. It was absolutely delicious with grilled chicken and a big green salad.


Recipe Notes

The more herbs you add to this recipe, the better! This Cooking Light recipe takes less than 15 minutes to prepare. As mentioned above, the Mediterranean version, which adds grape tomatoes, dill, and feta, is terrific.

Nutritional Information

205 calories - 3.7 g. fat - 6.5 g. protein - 2.6 g. fiber


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. finely-chopped shallots
  • 1 c. uncooked cous cous
  • 1 c. fat free chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme


1. Heat a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add oil, swirling to coat.

2. Add shallots and saute until soft (approximately 2 minutes).

3. Stir in cous cous and saute 1 minute.

4. Add chicken broth and salt, bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand five minutes.

5. Fluff with a fork. Stir in parsley and thyme.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sweet Beans

These beans are terrific with BBQ or grilled or fried chicken. We had them with some awesome pork ribs that my sister sent to Corey for his birthday last week.

Recipe Notes
I cut the bacon up into bite-sized chunks before cooking so that everyone would get bacon on their serving of beans. I believe that the original recipe just indicates to lay the bacon over the top of the casserole dish.

  • 53-oz. can of pork and beans in tomato sauce, such as Van Kamp's
  • 1/2 white onion, minced
  • 1/2 green or red bell pepper, minced
  • 6 tbsp. ketchup
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. mustard
  • 6 slices bacon, preferably center-cut


1. Drain beans and set aside.

2. Saute onion and bell pepper in a skillet until translucent. Add beans.

3. Mix ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar. Stir into beans.

4. Pour beans into 2-qt. casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with bacon.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until bacon is browned and crisp.

Ruby Fruit Salad

This Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe is gorgeous when fruit is a bit more in-season during the summer time. It's still tasty even in the fall, just not quite as vibrant and pretty.


Recipe Notes

This recipe calls for plums, grapes, blackberries, and blueberries, but you can really use ANY stone fruits (peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, etc.) and any kind of berries.


  • 3 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice (juice of one lime)
  • 3 purple or red plums, halved, pitted, and cubed
  • 2 c. seedless red grapes
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • 1/2 pint blueberries
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint (or more for garnish or to taste)


1. Stir together brown sugar and lime juice. Let stand 10 minutes so that brown sugar may dissolve.

2. Add fruit and mint, toss to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to one day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Layered Enchilada Bake

My coworker Angela recommended this recipe as one that is easily freezable. I wanted to take another casserole to my sister in law, who just had a baby, so I cut the recipe in half for serving and froze half of it for her while we ate the other half. Corey loved it!


Recipe Notes

Thanks Serve with cilantro (pictured above), chopped lettuce, and/or chopped fresh tomatoes. There is a full-fat version of this recipe and a lower fat version of this recipe. I have shown the lower fat version here.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 8)

400 calories - 15 g. fat - 39 g. carbohydrates - 6 g. fiber


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (I used 93% lean)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 c. salsa
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 c. light Italian dressing
  • 2 tbsp. taco seasoning mix
  • 6 eight-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 c. light sour cream
  • 8 oz. package 2% milk Mexican shredded cheese blend


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Brown meat and onions in a skillet and drain. Stir in salsa, black beans, Italian dressing, and taco seasoning.

3. Arrange 3 tortillas in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish (cut tortillas to fit). Top with 1/2 meat mixture, 1/2 c. sour cream, and 1/2 cheese. Repeat.

4. Cover and bake for 40 minutes or until casserole is heated through and cheese is melted. Uncover after first 30 minutes and bake final 10 minutes uncovered. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Beer Braised Beef

Five ingredients, into the Crock Pot, forget about it for the rest of the day. Enough said. I don't drink beer at all, but the beer here just serves as a good meat tenderizer. So if you don't like beer like me, don't be scared off by this recipe.


Recipe Notes

This recipe is great over buttermilk mashed potatoes.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 4)

265 calories - 8 g. fat - 25.5 g. protein - 20.4 g. carbohydrates - 1.5 g. fiber


  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 1 lb. boneless top round steak, trimmed
  • 4.5 oz. can Italian petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 c. light beer
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • Salt & pepper to taste


1. Brown steak in a skillet over medium-high heat, approximately 3 minutes per side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Layer onion in the bottom of a 3-4 qt. slow cooker. Add steak atop onions. Pour tomatoes and beer over steak.

3. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or until steak is very tender.

4. Shred steak with two forks in the slow cooker. Stir in molasses and a pinch of salt.

5. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Seared Scallops with Farmer's Market Salad

Somehow the scallops in the Cooking Light illustration looked much browner than mine turned out, but these were still very tasty! Normally I won't go near scallops because they are so expensive, but Central Market had them on sale for about $8.00 off per pound, so I bit the bullet and got some. Corey enjoyed this too, so it is guy-friendly.


Recipe Notes

I used frozen corn instead of fresh and it was still delicious. If you want to use frozen corn, just microwave per package directions prior to adding to the skillet.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 4)

251 calories - 5.7 g. fat - 31.6 g. protein - 19.4 g. carbohydrate - 3.3 g. fiber


  • 2 c. chopped tomato
  • 1 c. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1-1/2 lb. sea scallops (Cooking Light suggests dry-packed for better browning)
  • 2 c. fresh corn kernels


1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil, stirring to coat.

2. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add scallops to pan and cook approximately 2 minutes per side until browned.

3. Remove scallops from pan and keep warm.

4. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add corn to pan. Saute for 2 minutes or until lightly browned.

5. Add tomatoes, basil, and a pinch of salt and pepper to corn. Toss gently.

6. Serve scallops over corn and tomato salad.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

BBQ Pork Chops with Lemon

My siblings and I used to fight over the pork chops with the most lemon slices when I was a kid. My husband thinks we are really weird. These are easy to put together when you are short on time for dinner.

BBQ Pork Chops with Lemon

Recipe Notes

My mom says that she always cooked these at 300 degrees for two hours. The actual recipe calls for 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Since I don't typically have that much time between work and babies, I use the higher temp, lower cooking time option. This recipe is from the Southern Living Meats Cookbook (1975).


  • 6 pork chops, cut 1 in. thick
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 6 lemon slices
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar


1. Brown the pork chops in a skillet and season with salt and pepper.

2. In a glass, oven-safe dish, place lemon slices on top of each pork chop.

3. Combine ketchup, water, and brown sugar in a bowl (whisk until brown sugar has dissolved).

4. Pour sauce over pork chops and cover tightly.

5. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ham & Cheese Turnovers

Super-easy weeknight meal!


Recipe Notes

I had to reduce the baking time by 4-5 minutes in my oven. I also used just 1/2 piece Swiss cheese per turnover due to size.


  • 1 lb. package of refrigerated pizza dough
  • 8 oz. deli ham, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into thin rings


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Roll pizza dough into 14-in. circle. Cut into eight triangles.

3. Stack one piece of ham, Swiss, and onion on the bottom of each triangle. Roll dough up around filling. Note: some of the filling will stick out on the ends.

4. Transfer the rolls to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden and crisp, about 20 minutes. (In my oven, this was closer to 15 minutes.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomato, and Cheese

This Cooking Light pasta is easy to assemble and feeds a crowd. It's one of Corey's favorites!

Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomato, and Cheese

Recipe Notes

I like to double the tomato paste to add a small boost of flavor....we like it very tomato-y in our house!

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 8)

413 calories - 11.8 g. fat - 24.1 g. protein - 53 g. carbohydrate - 4.5 g. fiber


  • 16 oz. uncooked ziti
  • 1 lb. hot Italian sausage links
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • Two, 14.5-oz. cans petite diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 c. grated fresh Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta and set aside.

3. Remove sausage casings and cook sausage, onion, and garlic in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble.

4. Add tomato paste, salt, pepper, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.

5. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Combined cooked pasta, sausage and tomato mixture, and basil. Place 1/2 pasta mixture in a 4-qt casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with half of the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Creamed Corn with Bacon & Leeks

Corey loved this Cooking Light recipe. His only request was that I add more bacon next time (which kind of defeats the point of Cooking Light, right?)


Recipe Notes

I used Steam Fresh frozen corn, which I cooked in the microwave, instead of cutting the kernels myself off of corn cobs. Saved me time and money!

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 6)

151 calories - 4.6 g. fat - 7 g. protein - 23.1 g. carbohydrates - 2.4 g. fiber


  • 6 ears corn (or one package frozen corn to make ~3 cups)
  • 2 c. 1% milk (I used skim
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 c. chopped leeks


1. Cut kernels from ears of corn to make 3 cups (or cook frozen corn).

2. Place half corn kernels, milk, sugar, corn starch, salt, and black pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth.

3. Cook bacon in a large cast-iron skillet until crisp. Remove to a paper towel and crumble.

4. Reserve 1 tsp. bacon drippings in skillet. Add leeks and cook until tender (2-4 minutes).

5. Add pureed corn mixture and corn kernels to skillet. Bring to a boil.

6. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly.

7. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon just before serving.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Marinated Chicken Kebabs

These chicken kebabs are delicious on the grill. Serve over rice with a salad for an easy weeknight meal.

Recipe Notes
For the Greek yogurt, I like fat free Fage. You can get the value size at Costco for a very good price. If you use bamboo skewers like we did, you will need to soak them before use so that they do not catch on fire!

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (approximately 1 per person), cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
  • Fat free Greek yogurt
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Chopped fresh dill
  • Coarse salt and pepper


1. Combine all ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag. Mix well and refrigerate at least one hour or up to overnight.

2. Thread chicken on skewers and grill to desired degree of doneness.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Camarones Enchilados

This recipe for shrimp tacos is courtesy of a recent Real Simple Magazine. These are tasty and don't take much time!


Recipe Notes
Serve with flour tortillas, either queso fresco or feta cheese (which has a similar texture to queso fresco), lime wedges, cilantro, and avocado slices.

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro (plus more for serving, as noted above)
  • 1/2 c. dry red wine
  • 1 tbsp. capers
  • 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes in juice, drained
  • 1-1/4 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice


1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or saucepan. Add onion and bell pepper and saute until soft, 3-5 minutes.

2. Add garlic, paprika, crushed red pepper, and salt/pepper to taste. Cook 1-2 minutes more.

3. Add cilantro, wine, capers, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes. Liquid will be slightly thickened.

4. Add shrimp and lime juice. Cook until shrimp are pink and opaque throughout (3-5 minutes).

5. Serve with tortillas and toppings noted above.

Mrs. Forman's Low Fat Caramel Brownies

Many thanks to Emily Forman, Mary Forman, and their mom. I have been making this recipe for more than 10 years now, and it is still consistently one of my favorites. I have never met anyone who didn't love these brownies!


Recipe Notes

Caramels are frustrating....they only come in 14 oz. packages these days, and each of the caramels is individually wrapped. Arriving at 9 oz. of caramels is not an exact science....just guesstimate and do the best that you can!


  • 9 oz. caramels, unwrapped
  • 14 oz. can fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 box devil's food cake mix
  • 1 stick margarine, melted
  • 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Coat a 9x13 clear glass baking pan with Pam.

3. In the top of a double boiler, melt caramels with 1/3 c. sweetened condensed milk. Keep warm and set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, melted margarine, and remaining sweetened condensed milk. Beat at a high speed until very well combined.

5. Spread 1/2 dough into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake 6 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over partially-baked dough. Spread caramel mixture over chocolate chips and crumble remaining dough evenly over the top.

7. Return to the oven and bake fpr 15 minutes, or until sides pull away from the pan. Do NOT overcook.

8. Cool in pan or on wire rack and cut into squares.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

I am in charge of pick-up desserts for approximately 100 guests for a party a bunch of friends are throwing for our dear friends Gardner and Janna, who just got married in Hawaii last month. As a result, I needed to call on some of my old stand-by dessert recipes, and the easier the better (considering I've got two additional little people commanding a good bit of my attention these days). WARNING: NONE of the baked goods recipes that you will see on this site in the next week or so are good for you. Healthy baked goods are just no fun and generally, in my experience, not worth it. Enjoy this recipe - it is the easiest dessert I have in my card file!


Recipe Notes
Wait until the cookies have cooled completely in the tins before removing them. Otherwise, the cookie will separate out from the peanut butter cup and you will have a donut shaped cookie with no peanut butter cup in the middle!

  • Store-bought, premade chocolate chip cookie dough (such as Nestle Toll House)
  • Reese's peanut butter cups - miniature size


1. Spoon cookie dough into 12-cup muffin tin sprayed with Pam. Heat oven according to package directions (likely approximately 375 degrees) and bake according to package directions (likely approximately 10 minutes).

2. Unwrap miniature peanut butter cups.

3. Remove baked cookie cups from the oven and gently press one peanut butter cup into the center of each cookie cup.

4. Allow cookies to cool completely before removing to a storage tin or platter.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Something's Got to Give

I made the Pork Cutlet recipe for Corey this week that I posted last year. This is a good, easy recipe that has few ingredients and can be put together quickly. With infant twins in the house, these are important attributes. Throw in some simple roasted potatoes and salad from a few leftover ingredients in the fridge, and we had dinner!

I also bought some of the Steam Fresh Lightly Sauced vegetables available in the grocer's freezer (broccoli with cheese sauce). These are ready in the microwave in just five minutes, no preparation required. Corey informed me that these were his favorite part of dinner that night.

Of course, the one part of the meal that I DIDN'T make was the one part he liked the best. Oh well. We've got two little critters in the house that need CONSTANT attention, especially at dinner time during the "witching hour". Something's got to give, but at least we're not eating frozen TV dinners yet!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Crab-Stuffed Poblano Peppers

This is a very simple recipe that I pulled many years ago from either a Self or Shape Magazine (only six ingredients!) and it is nice and healthy, with just 209 calories and 3 g. fat per two-pepper serving.

Recipe Notes
Cooking time is pretty true to the recipe, even in my hot oven. I would suggest picking up crab at Costco....I recently got a 1 lb. tub of super lump there for $13.99!

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves four)
209 calories - 3 g. fat - 15 g. carbohydrates - 29 g. protein - 2 g. fiber

  • 1 lb. fresh lump crabmeat
  • 1/2 c. fat free sour cream (I used light sour cream - basically the same)
  • 1/4 c. seasoned dry breadcrumbs (I used Progresso)
  • 2 tbsp. minced roasted red peppers
  • 4 poblano peppers, halved and seeded
  • 8 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese (I used shredded)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Spray a shallow baking dish with Pam.

3. In a medium bowl, combine crabmeat, sour cream, bread crumbs, and roasted red peppers. Mix gently to combine, being careful not to break up the crab.

4. Spoon crab mixture into halved poblano peppers and arrange side-by-side in baking dish.

5. Top mixture with Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 more minutes, until peppers are soft and cheese begins to brown.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Stuffed Chicken Cutlets

This Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe can be prepped ahead, frozen, and eaten up to two months later.

Recipe Notes
If freezing ahead, freeze stuffed cutlets (seam side down) about one hour on a baking sheet. They should be firm. Wrap each individually in plastic and store in a resealable freezer bag (labeled and dated). Freeze for up to two months prior to use.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 8, two-cutlet portions)
384 calories - 13.7 g. fat - 58.1 g. protein - 3.6 g. carbohydrates - 0.4 g. fiber

  • 8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 c. jarred roasted red peppers (rinsed, patted dry, and coarsely chopped)
  • 1/2 c. pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 16 chicken cutlets
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 c. tomato sauce (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, combine feta, peppers, olives, scallions, and oregano.

3. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

4. Place cutlets on a flat surface, smooth side down. Spoon 2 tbsp. cheese mixture into center of each cutlet. Fold up sides of chicken around cheese, making a packet. If freezing, follow instructions above under "Recipe Notes". If baking immediately, continue below.

5. Arrange cutlets, seamside down, on baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and bake until chicken is opaque throughout (approximately 20 minutes). If baking frozen chicken cutlets, increase baking time to 30 minutes.

6. Top, if desired, with tomato sauce.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blueberry Peach Cobbler

This Cooking Light recipe makes good use of the summer's bounty: fresh peaches and blueberries. This is great with Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream!

Recipe Notes
I essentially halved this recipe and made it in an 8x8 inch glass dish. Halving the recipe easily serves 6-8 people. If you don't have turbinado sugar, you can use regular sugar (I did!).

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 12 BIG servings)
303 calories - 9.8 g. fat - 5.1 g. protein - 3.5 g. fiber

  • 5 lbs. peaches (peeled, pitted, and sliced)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/8 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1-1/2 c. flour, plus two tbsp. flour, divided
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 c. butter (one stick), softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk
  • 2 c. blueberries
  • 2 tbsp. turbinado sugar


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Place peaches in a large bowl with lemon juice, 3/4 c. sugar, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 2 tbsp. flour. Toss to coat and arrange in glass baking dish.

3. Combine 1-1/2 c. flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, and baking powder in a bowl.

4. Using an electric mixer, combine softened butter and 1/4 c. sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract, flour mixture, and buttermilk, alternating flour mixture and buttermilk when combining.

5. Turn off mixer and fold in blueberries.

6. Spread batter evenly over peaches and sprinkle with sugar. Place baking dish on a foil-lined baking sheet (to avoid spills in the oven). Bake at 375 degrees for one hour, or until topping is golden and filling is bubbly.

7. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream!

I Am Back!

If there is anyone who is still reading this blog after my long hiatus, I am back! I was put on bed rest unexpectedly in May, which meant no cooking, and then we welcomed twins Craig and Cameron in early June (again, no cooking!). Finally, thanks to our sweet friends (especially Sidney!) we have not had to cook since bringing the twins home, thanks to everyone's wonderful dinners while I've been recovering from having the babies.

But now I am back and hope to start posting regularly again, between maternity leave and continuing to work from home and caring for twins. So please forgive me if the postings are a bit sporadic these next several weeks as we adjust to our new schedule.

Now, here are a couple of photos of the little people to show you what has been keeping me busy and ignoring the blog

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

My mom's friend has been consulting with a nutritionist at the Houstonian for quite some time. She often passes my mom good healthy recipes - this is one of them. This is a great recipe to make when you grill too much chicken the night before. I had Corey grill up a value pack of chicken one night and then just saved the 3-4 chicken breasts left over for this meal.


Recipe Notes

This recipe needs just a little "something extra" - it's a tad bit dry by itself. Corey tried adding about 1 tbsp. of light champagne vinaigrette to his meal and it was just what the doctor ordered. I would think that just about any vinaigrette would compliment this nicely.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 6)

295 calories - 7 g. fat - 32 g. carbohydrates - 24 g. protein


  • 1-1/4 c. uncooked orzo pasta
  • 3 c. chopped grilled chicken
  • 1-1/2 c. trimmed arugula
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 c. chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 c. chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 6 tbsp. goat cheese


1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.

2. Combine pasta, chicken, arugula, tomatoes, red bell pepper, onion, basil, and oregano in a bowl. Toss well.

3. Combine vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle dressing over salad.

4. Toss well to coat and sprinkle with goat cheese.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Charred Summer Vegetables

Corey really enjoyed this Cooking Light side dish. The hotter it gets, the more I want to make lots of vegetables for dinner to take advantage of summer's bounty!

Recipe Notes
I used a 10-oz. package of frozen corn instead of the fresh corn kernels. It worked really well and took up ZERO time that otherwise would have been spent shucking corn and cutting off kernels.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves six, 2/3 c. servings)
102 calories - 3.2 g. fat - 3.3 g. protein - 2.7 g. fiber

  • 2-1/2 c. corn kernels (about 5 ears) or one package frozen corn kernels
  • 2 c. chopped fresh green beans, ends removed
  • 1 c. chopped zucchini (about 4 oz.)
  • 1 c. chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper


1. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.

2. Add corn kernels, green beans, zucchini, and red bell pepper to pan. Stir to combine, cover, and cook for five minutes.

3. Combine shallots and remaining ingredients in a bowl.

4. Stir well and add shallot mixture to vegetable mixture. Toss to coat.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Corn, Zucchini, and Basil Saute

This is a great, fresh summer side dish, courtesy of Martha Stewart Everyday Food.

Recipe Notes
Be sure to add the basil right before serving. As many of you know, as soon as basil gets wet for any period of time it starts to turn brown. Tastes great either way, but it will look more fresh and summery if you add it right before serving. I use frozen corn instead of fresh to save time and effort - you can just add the frozen corn straight to the skillet.

  • 6 ears corn, husks and silks removed, kernels sliced from cob OR 1 package frozen corn
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly-sliced crosswise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 c. fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar


1. Heat oil over medium high heat in saucepan.

2. Add zucchini and garlic and cook, tossing, until zucchini is bright green. (1 to 2 minutes)

3. Add corn and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing until corn is heated through (1-3 minutes with fresh corn, 5+ minutes with frozen).

4. Remove from heat, stir in basil and vinegar, and serve.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Herbs & Capers

Summertime means the grill and it also means tomatoes. This is a tasty Cooking Light salad that is worth the extra price of the heirloom tomatoes. I also LOVE the abundance of fresh herbs! Serve with a grilled steak or grilled chicken, vegetables, and any other favorite summer fare.


Recipe Notes
Don't put this salad together until right before you plan to eat. The acidity in the vinegar starts to break the tomatoes down almost immediately.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 6)

112 calories - 4.2 g. fat - 5.6 g. protein - 2.6 g. fiber


  • 2-3 lbs. assorted beefsteak and cherry heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges or in half (depending on size of tomatoes)
  • 1/2 c. (2 oz.) reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 1/4 c. thinly-sliced basil
  • 3 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp. capers, drained and chopped (I skip the chopping part for this ingredient)
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 6 slices sourdough bread, toasted or grilled


1. Combine first nine ingredients in a bowl.

2. Sprinkle tomato mixture with salt and pepper and toss gently.

3. Serve with bread.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Roasted Eggplant Spread

I love the Barefoot Contessa. Ina Garten's recipes are simple and generally healthy and just remind me of summer. I broke out her original cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa, which is still my favorite of her cookbooks. I made this VERY healthy dip/spread to take to a dinner last weekend that I thought I would share.


Recipe Notes
Serve with toasted pita wedges or as part of a Mediterranean platter with hummus, Greek olives, feta cheese, pitas, etc. I like this a bit more tomato-ey, so I double the tomato paste.

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded
  • 1 red onion, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp. good-quality olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft. Toss once during cooking and cool slightly.

4. Place vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add tomato paste and pulse 3-4 times to blend. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

This Cooking Light recipe is an easy addition to dinner, especially if you happen to be making rice to go with dinner. I put the broccoli in the steamer basket in the top of my rice cooker, so the broccoli was ready when the rice was and all I had to do was throw together the cheese sauce.


Recipe Notes

I added slightly more cheddar cheese than the recipe called for (probably an extra tbsp.) so my calorie count was probably slightly higher than Cooking Light's tally. Also, full-fat cheddar cheese generally melts better than reduced-fat (which is called for here). If you do decide to use full-fat cheddar cheese, it will likely just up the fat count slightly (but not appreciably, because there is not much that is used).

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 8)

69 calories - 2.3 g. fat - 6.2 g. protein - 2.5 g. fiber


  • 1 tbsp. all-purpouse flour
  • 1 c. skim milk
  • 1/2 c. shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1-1/2 lb. broccoli florets (about 9 cups)


1. Place flour in a medium saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk until smooth. Cook over medium-high heat or until mixture is bubbly and thickened, stirring constantly. Cook one additional minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

2. Add cheeses, mustard, salt, pepper, and thyme, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Keep warm.

3. Steam broccoli until crisp-tender (either in a saucepan with a vegetable steamer or in the top of a rice cooker). Serve broccoli immediately with sauce.

Sausage & Bean Casserole

Wow, I am a negligent blogger. Unfortunately, after more than 100 postings, I am starting to run out of "new" recipes (new to the blog, at least) to post. Some of you have sent me some great recipes, and I look forward to trying them and sharing them on the blog as well! But here's a Cooking Light casserole that we had last week for dinner. It's vaguely French, kind of like a cassoulet? Easy to throw together because lots of canned things and precooked things in the recipe.


Recipe Notes
This recipe calls for a Dutch oven, which I really recommend because it can go from the stovetop into the oven. Just be careful, because you do have to hand wash it due to the ceramic glaze.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 8)

205 calories - 3.3 g. fat - 12.1 g. protein - 4.4 g. fiber


  • 1 c. finely chopped onion
  • One 16-oz. package light smoked turkey sausage (such as Hillshire Farm), cut into 1/4 in. slices
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 14 oz. can fat-free chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • Three 16-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper (optional)
  • Three 1-oz. slices white bread
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion and turkey sausage to pan. Saute for five minutes until browned, then add garlic and saute for two minutes more.

3. Stir in chicken broth, scraping down sides of pan. Stir in brown sugar, tomato paste, thyme, pepper, beans, and bay leaf. Add ground red pepper, if desired. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes and then remove from heat.

4. Place bread crumbs and parsley in a food processor and pulse approximately 10 times until fine crumbs form. You should have approximately 1-1/2 cups of breadcrumbs.

5. Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over bean mixture and lightly coat top with cooking spray.

6. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until browned on top. Discard bay leaf and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Grilled Tomatillo Salsa

I served this Cooking Light dinner with black beans and a salad last night. It is always a hit with Corey. This recipe makes a really nice, chunky green salsa. If you are lazy like I was last night and want to skip making your own salsa in favor of jarred tomatillo salsa, you can have this meal on the table in 20 minutes or less.

Recipe Notes
You can also make these shrimp in a grill pan if more convenient than grilling outdoors. Also, save money and time by buying the smaller peeled and deveined shrimp with the tails already removed.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves four with 2 tacos per person)
252 calories - 3.9 g. fat - 26.9 g. protein - 5.5 g. fiber

  • 1/2 lb. tomatillos, husks and stems removed
  • 2/3 c. chopped green onions
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lb. medium peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 tbsp. hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco or Cholula)
  • 1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 six-inch corn tortillas
  • 2 c. shredded cabbage
  • 1 c. shredded carrot


1. Preheat grill or grill pan.

2. Prepare salsa. Place tomatillos on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 10 minutes or until slightly blackened on each side, turning occasionally. Cool and coarsely chop.

3. Place tomatillos, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, salt, jalapeno pepper, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped.

4. Prepare tacos. Thread shrimp onto six 10-inch skewers. Place skewers on grill and grill two minutes per side or until done.

5. Remove shrimp from skewers and place in a medium bowl. Add Tabasco, cumin, chili powder, and salt to taste. Toss to coat.

6. Heat tortillas either in the microwave or on the grill. Top with shrimp, shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, and tomatillo salsa. I also top mine with a dollop of low-fat sour cream.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ham, Spinach, & Rice Casserole

Corey really liked this Martha Stewart Everyday Food casserole that we tried out of the latest issue. It makes four GIANT servings and it makes you feel virtuous because of all the spinach and lean ham!


Recipe Notes

I had the deli counter slice me 1/2 lb. of honey ham. That way, I just had to make the slices into little cubes and I was ready to go.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 4)

441 calories - 18.8 g. fat - 29.4 g. protein - 5.2 g. fiber


  • Two 10-oz. packages frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups cooked white rice (I made mine in the rice cooker with chicken broth instead of water)
  • 2/3 c. whole milk (I used skim and it turned out great)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. grated Gruyere cheese
  • Coarse salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine
  • 1/2 lb. ham, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine spinach, rice, milk, eggs, 3/4 c. cheese, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and beginning to brown (about 10 minutes).

4. Add wine and cook until evaporated, approximately 3 minutes.

5. Add ham and cook until warmed through, approximately 2 minutes.

6. Add ham mixture to spinach and rice mixture and stir to combine. Transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish and top with remaining 1/4 c. cheese.

7. Bake until warmed through and golden brown on top, approximately 25-30 minutes.

Enjoy! Happy Friday everyone!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mango Parfaits

This Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe would be much prettier in a tall glass, but I wanted to have one for breakfast and what I had on hand was a tea cup, so here we are. Each mango parfait has just 124 calories!

Before you can make a parfait, you will have to make some mango puree: add two ripe mangoes (peeled and cubed), 1/3 c. sugar, and 2 tbsp. water to a blender. Pulse until well-blended. (The mixture will vaguely remind you of baby food.)



  • 1/2 c. fat-free Fage Greek yogurt
  • 4 tbsp. mango puree (from above)
  • 1 tsp. sweetened coconut flakes or toasted coconut flakes


1. Layer 1/4 c. Fage yogurt in the bottom of a glass. Add 2 tbsp. mango puree.

2. Repeat layers, topping with coconut flakes.

Lemon Tarragon Grilled Pork Chops

Corey grilled these for me last night and they were terrific. This Cooking Light recipe had great flavor, and by brining the pork chops before grilling, they really did stay quite moist and had a great lemony flavor. We served these with grilled corn on the cob, spinach salad, and Tomatoes Provencal.


Recipe Notes

Brining time is recommended for 2 hours - I would recommend brining for the recommended time or longer. I used boneless pork loin that was on sale in the meat case (instead of bone-in) and the flavor was great. I typically like to use boneless instead of bone-in, but that's just a personal preference.

Nutritional Information

174 calories - 6.8 g. fat - 25.5 g. protein - 0.1 g. fiber


  • 3/4 c. water
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tbsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 4 six-oz., bone-in, center cut pork chops
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper


1. Combine first three ingredients in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until salt and sugar dissolve. Pour into a zip-top plastic bag.

2. Add tarragon, lemon rind, lemon juice, and pork chops to bag. Seal and marinate for two hours, turning bag occasionally.

3. Remove pork from bag and discard marinade. Sprinkle pork evenly with pepper. Grill until desired degree of doneness.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Quick Crab Cakes

This is an old recipe from the "Fake It, Don't Make It" collection of Real Simple Magazine. Corey really likes them, and prep and cook time is less than 15 minutes start to finish. We had these this week with a big green salad and some leftover Cooking Light Corn Casserole.


Recipe Notes

The original recipe says to broil 1-2 minutes until browned. I was nervous about forgetting my crab cakes and burning them, so I used the LOW broiler setting and it took longer than suggested. Just make sure that you cook them until browned.

Nutritional Information (per crab cake - makes 6 crab cakes)

196 calories - 13 g. fat - 13 g. protein - 1 g. fiber


  • 2-1/2 c. crushed potato chips (I like Cape Cod Reduced Fat)
  • 1 lb. lump crabmeat, picked through to remove any shells
  • 1/3 c. tartar sauce
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. butter, thinly sliced into six pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges for serving


1. Preheat broiler.

2. Mix crushed potato chips, crabmeat, tartar sauce, mustard, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl until well-combined.

3. Form crab mixture into six patties and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

4. Top each with a pat of butter and broil until browned, approximately 1-2 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Crisp Baked Lemon Cod

Tastes better than it looks....I will never be a food stylist! Very healthy with lots of protein.


Recipe Notes

This Martha Stewart recipe uses Rice Chex (or the generic equivalent) to give the fish crunch without a lot of calories. I crushed my Rice Chex in a sandwich-sized plastic baggie. That way, there is no mess.

Nutritional Information

271 calories - 15 g. fat - 19 g. protein - 2 g. fiber


  • 2 c. toasted rice cereal (such as Rice Chex), crushed
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. chopping fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp. finely-grated lemon zest (from approximately 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 4 cod fillets, skinned


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine rice cereal, olive oil, parsley, lemon zest, and salt in a small bowl.

3. Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Press fish in crumb mixtrue, turning to coat.

4. Transfer to a wire rack. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, approximately 14-16 minutes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Barbecued Pork Chops

My mom used to make this recipe for us when I was growing up, so I have no idea where it came from. It's really easy but requires a fairly long cooking time (just keep that in mind if you are looking for a really fast dinner). I served this last night with a big green salad and Fresh Lemon Rice from Cooking Light.


Recipe Notes

I had the butcher butterfly a couple of pork loin chops for me so that they would be thin and cook faster.


  • Four pork loin chops
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 lemon, cut into thin slices


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Brown both sides in a skillet coated with cooking spray for approximately 5 minutes.

3. Arrange pork chops in a glass baking dish. Top with lemon slices.

4. Mix ketchup, water, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Pour mixture over the top of the pork chops.

5. Bake at 300 degrees for two hours for moist, fork-tender pork. Alternatively, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Asparagus with Prosciutto Chips

This Real Simple recipe is an easy, tasty side with chicken, beef, or fish!


Recipe Notes

I take the time to get the prosciutto thinly-sliced by the butcher. That way, I only buy what I need, and it saves a bunch of money compared with buying prepackaged prosciutto.


  • 3 oz. thinly-sliced prosciutto
  • 2 small bunches asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the prosciutto on a baking sheet lined with foil in a single layer. Bake until crisp, approximately 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.

2. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until tender. Drain and return to saucepan.

3. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Break the prosciutto into pieces and sprinkle over asparagus.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Green Beans with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

This recipe calls for haricot verts (French green beans). I used regular green beans, no problem.

Recipe Notes
Instead of following step 1, I put the green beans in the steamer basket of my rice cooker while my basmati rice cooked underneath it. This was a good, efficient way to do things to avoid dirtying an extra pot. Also, I didn't have either walnut oil or champagne vinegar, so I substituted 1-1/2 tbsp. Girard's Light Champagne Vinaigrette for both ingredients and it worked just great.

Nutritional Information
108 calories - 6.2 g. fat - 4.2 g. protein - 4.2 g. fiber

  • 2 lb. haricot verts, trimmed
  • 3 slices bacon (I used center-cut), chopped
  • 3/4 c. thinly-sliced shallots (about 2 medium)
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. walnut oil
  • 2 tsp. champagne vinegar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp. chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley


1. Cook beans in boiling water or until crisp-tender. Drain and plunge beans in ice water. Drain and set aside.

2. Cook bacon in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon.

3. Add shallots to drippings in pan. Cook 5 minutes or until tender. Remove shallots and rest with bacon.

4. Add green beans to pan. Cook three minutes or until thoroughly heated. Combine beans, salt, oil & vinegar (or champagne vinaigrette), and bacon mixture.

5. Toss to combine. Top with walnuts and shallots. Serve warm.

Easy Chicken Marinade

This is a great, easy chicken marinade. Just throw all of the ingredients in a gallon-sized Ziplock bag for at least an hour and then let the grill cook go to work! Many thanks to Corey for providing such a lovely finished product.


  • Skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • Italian dressing (I recommend Ken's Light Northern Italian)
  • Worchestershire sauce (a few shakes)
  • Kosher salt & freshly-ground pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon juice


Combine all ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag for at least one hour. Grill to desired level of doneness. Save leftovers and toss with salad greens, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, avocado, blue cheese, and your favorite dressing for a great "second round" dinner the next night!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Red & Yellow Pepper Gratin

This was a really delicious (and very healthy) side dish. It takes a lot of chopping and a long time cooking, but it's worth it. Corey and I both loved this Cooking Light recipe from 2007.


Recipe Notes
If you don't have sourdough bread, use any type of bread. I personally used a leftover hamburger bun!

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 6)
94 calories - 3.5 g. fat - 3.4 g. protein - 1.6 g. fiber

  • 1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes, reconstituted and cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 large red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow squash, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion (peeled), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1-1/2 oz. sourdough bread
  • 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine tomatoes and next nine ingredients (through onion) in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 tsp. oil and toss gently.

3. Spoon into a 3 qt. casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

4. Pulse bread in food processor and add 1 tsp. oil and Parmesan cheese. Pulse to combine.

5. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over vegetables and return to the oven. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 more minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ice Cream Pie

It's that time of year again, and of course I got roped into buying Girl Scout cookies like the rest of America. It's always hard to figure out what to do with them all, and an easy way to get rid of a whole box at once is to make a pie. I decided to try an ice cream pie with thin mints, Blue Bell mint chocolate chip ice cream, and hot fudge topping. It was a little messy, but pretty tasty.


Recipe Notes
Make sure to freeze the ice cream thoroughly before adding the hot fudge topping layer. I didn't wait long enough and it got messy!

  • Your favorite Girl Scout cookies (1 box) - I used thin mints, and I would think that trefoils or the peanut butter sandwich cookies would also work well.
  • Melted butter (2-3 tbsp.)
  • Your favorite ice cream (I used Blue Bell mint chocolate chip)
  • Hot fudge topping (I used Smucker's)


1. Pulse cookies in a Cuisinart until fine crumbs form. Add melted butter and pulse 3-4 times until well combined.

2. Spray a glass pie pan with cooking spray. Press crumb mixture into bottom of the pie pan and up the sides.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Let cool.

4. Spoon softened ice cream into the crust and refreeze until firm.

5. Spread hot fudge topping or other chocolate topping on top of the ice cream layer and keep frozen until ready to serve.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dijon Mustard Chicken Fricassee

I am mad at myself for forgetting my camera the night I made this chicken recipe, because it's delicious over rice with a nice big green salad. If you'd like a picture, (here) is the link to the Cooking Light recipe.


Recipe Notes
Don't forget that the chicken needs to marinate in the refrigerator overnight. This is a dinner that takes a while to prepare, so allow yourself ample time. While the chicken cooks in the skillet, throw some basmati rice in your rice cooker with chicken broth, water, and will be ready by the time your chicken and your sauce are ready!

  • 1/4 c. dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 3 lb. chicken pieces, skinned (I used only skinless chicken breasts)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1-1/2 c. chopped onion (about one large)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  • 1 c. fat-free chicken broth


1. Combine mustard, 1 tbsp. parsley, 1-1/2 tsp. thyme, and chicken in a zip-top plastic bag. Toss well to coat and chill at least 8 hours or overnight.

2. Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade.

3. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan and cook 5 minutes per side or until browned. Remove from pan.

4. Add chopped onion to pan and saute 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic to pan and saute 1 minute, stirring constantly.

5. Add wine and chicken broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in 1 tbsp. parsley and remaining 1-1/2 tbps. thyme.

6. Return chicken to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 25 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.

7. Cook sauce, uncovered, over medium heat for at least four minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp. parsley.

8. Serve over rice or another whole grain.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chocolate Meringue Cake

This recipe, which came from an old 2003 Martha Stewart Living issue, is a bit of a labor of love, but it is a nice dessert for a party. We had a small dinner party last night and I made this for dessert, and the crowd seemed to like it.


Recipe Notes
I only had enough bittersweet chocolate to cover the 12 oz. of melted chocolate required for the cake. Therefore, I improvised and added equal parts chopped bittersweet chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate for the meringue, and that seemed to work out ok.

  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus additional for springform pan
  • 1 c. hazelnuts
  • 3/4 c. firmly-packed light brown sugar
  • 6 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate (approx. 60% cacao), melted and cooled
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. rum (optional - I didn't include this)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 c. superfine sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Butter a 9x3 inch round springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment (I cut out a 9-inch circle using kitchen shears). Butter parchment and springform pan and set aside.

3. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and skins start to crack, 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and rub vigorously with a clean kitchen towel to take off skins. Let cool and roughly chop. Set aside.

4. Make cake batter. In an electric mixer (using paddle attachment), cream butter and brown sugar until pale and smooth.

5. Add six egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition until mixture is light and fluffy.

6. Add 12 oz. melted chocolate, vanilla, and rum (if desired). Beat until combined and set aside.

7. In a clean mixer bowl, combine six egg whites and salt. Beat at high speed until soft peaks form (I used my hand mixer for this job), about 2 minutes.

8. Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining beaten egg whites until just combined.

9. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 25 minutes.

10. While cake cooks, make meringue. Combine hazelnuts, chopped chocolate, and cornstarch and set aside.

11. Add four remaining egg whites and cream of tartar to clean mixing bowl. Beat at a high speed until frothy, then slowly add sugar with mixer still running, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form (approximately 8 minutes). Fold in hazelnut mixture.

12. Remove cake from oven and spread meringue over the top with an offset spatula. Return to oven and bake until crisp, approximately 25-30 minutes.

13. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let stand 10 minutes.

14. Run knife around the edge of the cake to loosen and then release the sides of the springform pan. Let cool at least 30 minutes prior to slicing and serving.

Sadie was pretty bushed after our guests left. She wanted to show us some of her contortionist tactics to take up as much bed space as possible despite her scant 40 lbs. She did a pretty good job of taking up almost half the bed before we pushed her to her spot at the foot of the bed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Italian-Seasoned Chicken Breasts with Hearty Tomato Blend

This meal came from Southern Living. Normally, I stay away from Southern Living, not because its recipes aren't delicious (they are) but because those recipes are typically highly fattening. This one seems relatively harmless, with just one tbsp. vegetable oil in the whole deal.


Recipe Notes
Recipe for Hearty Tomato Blend follows. In my skillet, the cooking time on the chicken was more like 5-7 minutes per side to get it cooked all the way through.

  • 1 c. uncooked extra long grain rice
  • 1/3 c. chopped celery
  • 4 skinned and boned chicken breast cutlets (3/4-1 lb.)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 c. Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 c. Hearty Tomato Blend (below)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley


1. Prepare rice according to package directions, adding celery with rice.

2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

3. Combine breadcrumbs with 1/4 tsp. salt in a shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg; dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

4. Cook chicken in hot oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet (medium-high heat) 3-4 minutes per side or until lightly browned and done. Remove from skillet and drain well on paper towels. Keep warm.

5. Heat 2 c. Hearty Tomato Blend in a small saucepan over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

6. Toss hot cooked rice with parsley and place on a serving plate. Top with chicken. Spoon Hearty Tomato Blend over the chicken and rice. Garnish if desired.


Recipe Notes
Sorry about the ugly jar in the picture - I like to reuse old jelly jars when I can, and I haven't quite gotten the label off of this one yet. This recipe makes WAY too much for just Corey and me, so I personally halved the recipe. For the sweet onions, I used sweet yellow onions.

  • Three 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained
  • Four 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 2 medium sweet onions, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper


1. Stir together all ingredients in a large bowl. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to seven days.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mediterranean Chicken Packets

Yet another Mediterranean-type chicken dish. I served this last night with Orzo with Herbs, salad, and Texas toast. These packets take about 30 minutes start to finish and have less than 350 calories. It's also quite convenient because it generally incorporates canned or preprepared ingredients.

Recipe Notes
In order to avoid undercooking y0ur chicken, I would recommend the longer end of the cooking time (22 minutes) or perhaps even longer. Also, you can use either parchment or aluminum foil for this dish. This is an old Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe that we've had several times.

Nutritional Information (per packet - serves 4)
344 calories - 14.1 g. fat - 44.1 g. protein - 1.8 g. fiber

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 oz. each)
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 4 canned artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 12 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 4 tsp. capers
  • 1/2 c. crumbled Feta cheese (2 oz)
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place four, 12-inch squares of parchment paper or heavy-duty foil on a work surface. Place a chicken breast on one half of each square, leaving a 2 inch border. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Top with tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, capers, and feta. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and olive oil. Fold parchment or foil over ingredients and crimp to seal.

4. Place packets on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until chicken is opaque throughout, 20-22 minutes (or maybe longer).

Monday, February 1, 2010

Easy Feta Chicken Bake

My mom got this recipe off the back of a feta cheese container many moons ago, and I make this a few times a year when I need an easy, colorful dinner. I serve this with roasted potatoes, a nice big green salad, and bread. There is no added oil, butter, or other fats in this recipe, so it is pretty healthy!


Recipe Notes
If you can't find the feta with basil & tomato, you can use regular feta no problem. I've also used light feta before and it worked out fine too. This recipe, which serves 6, is easily cut in half.

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 lb.)
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 package crumbled feta with basil and tomato
  • 1/4 c. finely-chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 c. finely-chopped fresh parsley


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange chicken in a 9x13 inch baking dish.

2. Drizzle chicken breasts with 1 tbsp. lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper. Top with feta cheese and then drizzle with remaining 1 tbsp. lemon juice.

3. Bake 35-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with red pepper and parsley.