Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tomato Stack with Corn & Avocado

Well, it took me six months, but I finally made this tomato stack salad that was featured in Cooking Light over the summer.  Corey, who loves tomatoes, loves this salad.  I liked the tanginess of the dressing paired with the sweetness of the tomatoes and corn.


Recipe Notes
This is not a quick recipe.  Between grilling the corn, cooking the bacon, making the dressing, and all of the slicing, this one takes awhile.  For me, this is a good weekend dinner project when I have more time.  I couldn't find globe tomatoes at the store, so I used heirloom tomatoes and they worked beautifully.  I also skipped the olive oil at the end here and just used the buttermilk dressing, which worked well and saved some calories.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 4)
191 calories - 13 g. fat - 5.1 g. protein - 16.1 g. carbs - 4.5 g. fiber

  • 2 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
  • 1/4 c. lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp. finely-chopped chives
  • 1 tbsp. finely-chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp. canola mayonnaise (I used Hellman's light mayo instead)
  • 2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced fine
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 2 ears of shucked corn, grilled, corn kernels removed from cobs
  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes cut into 8 slices
  • 2 globe tomatoes cut into 8 slices (I used heirloom tomatoes)
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 ripe, peeled avocado, thinly sliced
  • 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1.  Combine buttermilk, chives, basil, mayo, cider vinegar, and garlic in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Stir in 1/4 tsp. black pepper.
2.  Sprinkle tomato slices with salt and pepper.  Alternate layers of tomato and avocado on four plates. 
3.  Scatter corn evenly over tomato stacks.
4.  Drizzle each tomato stack wiht 1.5 tbsp. of buttermilk dressing and 1 tsp. olive oil (if desired).  Top each salad with crumbled bacon.

Arugula, Pear, and Blue Cheese Salad

Corey LOVED this recent Southern Living featured salad.  I really enjoyed it too.  There is something fun about homemade dressing from the Cuisinart, and it had great flavor.  I served this with Lipton Onion Roasted Potatoes and grilled chicken.  Everyone was happy.


Recipe Notes
I cannot tell you how difficult it was to find pear preserves.  I had to go to THREE different grocery stores, but I eventually found them at Central Market.  The recipe calls for walnuts, but I used toasted pecans because that is what I had available.  You should have dressing left over after your meal for another night's salad.  Save it - this makes a tasty vinaigrette.

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. pear preserves
  • 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 8 cups loosely packed arugula
  • 2 Bartlett pears, cut into wedges (I diced mine instead of making wedges)
  • 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts (I used chopped toasted pecans)
1.  In a Cuisinart or blender, process 1/4 c. of the pear preserves, the champagne vinegar, the shallot, the Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
2.  With the processor running, pour oil through the food chute in a slow and steady stream, processing until smooth. 
3.  Transfer to a 2 cup measuring cup or small bowl and stir in the remaining 2 tbsp. pear preserves.
4.  Place arugula on plates or a large serving platter.  Top with pears, blue cheese, and nuts.  Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cheesy Meatloaf Minis

Somehow, I hated meatloaf as a kid but have grown to like it more as an adult.  This little Cooking Light recipe appeared in a recent "Best Of" edition of the magazine, and I decided to give it a try.  The little bits of white cheddar added to the mixture are just yummy.  Please note that I actually made mine a bit smaller than the recipe calls for - I used 1 lb. of sirloin for six meatloafs instead of 1.5 lbs. as called for in the recipe.  I thought it was just great.  The nutritional stats below are based on using the full 1.5 lbs. of meat.


Recipe Notes
Serve this meal with mashed potatoes and a simple salad.  A good simple salad to serve with this meal is just an herb salad mix with carrot ribbons, sliced red onion, and your favorite vinaigrette.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 6)
254 calories - 11.4 g. fat - 28.3 g. protein - 11.1 g. carbs - 0.9 g. fiber

  • 1 oz. fresh breadcrumbs (I used 2 slices of white bread and my Cuisinart)
  • 1 c. finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 ketchup, divided
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. prepared horseradish
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3 oz. white cheddar cheese, diced
  • 1-1/2 lbs. ground sirloin (90% lean)
  • 1 large egg
1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  My oven is a bit hot, so I cooked these at 400 degrees.
2.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray and saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes.
3.  Combine onion, garlic, 1/4 ketchup, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix thoroughly (I use my hands to make sure it is well-combined).
4.  Shape into 6 individual loaves on a broiler pan lined with aluminum foil and coated with cooking spray.
5.  Spread 2 tsp. ketchup over each loaf. 
6.  Bake for 25-28 minutes or until done.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca

This little Cooking Light recipe has appeared in several editions of the magazines, including at least one "greatest hits".  I figured it was time that we tried the recipe, especially considering that it was pretty quick and only required one pan.  I served this with rice and green beans.


Recipe Notes
Corey thought the whole sage leaves were a bit off-putting, but I loved them.  If you don't like to eat the actual sage leaves, just discard when you are cutting your chicken.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 4)
202 calories - 7.5 g. fat - 30.5 g. protein - 0.2 g. fiber - 2.3 g. carbohydrate

  • Four (4 oz.) chicken cutlets
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 oz. thinly-sliced prosciutto, cut into 8 thin strips
  • 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 c. fat free chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • Lemon wedges (optional)
1.  Sprinkle chicken with salt.  (I also added a little pepper.)
2.  Place 3 sage leaves on each cutlet and wrap two prosciutto slices around each cutlet to secure sage leaves in place.
3.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tbsp. oil to pan and swirl to coat. 
4.  Add chicken to pan, cook for 2+ minutes on each side or until done.  Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
5.  Combine chicken broth, lemon juice, and cornstarch to the pan, stirring with a whisk until smooth.  Add remaining 1 tsp. olive oil and bring to a boil, continuing to stir.
6.  Cook for one minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk.
7.  Spoon sauce over chicken.  Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Candy Bar Dessert

This is a very simple, "old-fashioned", icebox-type dessert.  It also can serve a crowd.  Allow yourself time for it to chill.  This is not a dessert that can be whipped up right before dinner.


Recipe Notes
You can do many things to make this dessert either more fattening or less fattening.  I have made this as "skinny" as possible without sacrificing too much taste.  The one note that my mom made was to not substitute skim milk in the pudding layer - 2% is as low-fat as she suggested you go.  Therefore, I incorporated 2% milk into the dessert I made last weekend.

  • 2 c. Oreo cookie crumbs (either store bought or made from Oreo cookies)
  • 1/4 c. butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. sugar, divided
  • 8 oz. low-fat cream cheese
  • 1 tub Cool Whip Light or Cool Whip Free (I used Cool Whip Free)
  • 2 packages Jell-O instant chocolate pudding
  • 3 c. milk (may be 2% but not skim)
  • 1 c. Heath bits
1.  Spray 9x13 glass dish with cooking spray.
2.  Combine Oreo crumbs, 1/4 c. sugar, and melted butter in a bowl.
3.  Press Oreo crumb mixture into the bottom of the casserole dish and chill 10 minutes/
4.  Meanwhile, beat cream cheese with remaining 1/4 c. sugar.  Fold in 1/2 tub Cool Whip.
5.  Spread sweetened cream cheese layer over Oreo crust. 
6.  Sprinkle 1/2 c. Heath bits over cream cheese layer.
7.  Beat pudding and 3 c. milk until pudding has thickened and is soft-set.  Spread over cream cheese layer.
8.  Spread remaining Cool Whip over pudding layer.  Sprinkle top with remaining 1/2 c. Heath bits.
9.  Chill at least two hours before serving.