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.