Monthly Archives: April 2013

Black Bean Salad

I decided to make this recipe for a baby shower I was attending and the momma-to-be was a vegetarian.  I served it with tortilla chips and it was a hit.  Full of delicious flavors and colors, with a salt and lime kick.  Also, feel free to increase the seasonings, if your a big fan of lime flavor, add more lime or if you like a bit more dressing, increase the Italian dressing.  Get creative on this one, it would be hard to go wrong.   
Also, with Cinco de Mayo coming up this weekend it could be a perfect dish for the Mexican themed festivities.  Use it for an appetizer, as a filling for burritos, a side dish for a chicken meal or simply eat it with a spoon.  Either way it will be delicious. 
 


Ingredients:

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1 small lime
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • tortilla chips

Directions:
1.  In a medium mixing bowl combine, peppers, onion, corn, garlic and cilantro.  Add Italian dressing, vinegar and lime juice, mix well.  Salt and pepper to taste and serve with tortilla chips.  For best flavor, place prepared salad in airtight container and place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours before eating.

Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

Alfredo.  I can actually feel my waste band tightening just by saying the word.  Sticks of butter and cups of heavy cream, can you feel your arteries hardening?  Well, with this spin on a traditional Alfredo recipe, you no longer have to change into sweat pants after dinner.  I decided to make this with spaghetti squash to make it a bit more healthy and cut out some of the carbs.  It was delicious.  I tend to like spaghetti squash a bit crunchier when using it as a substitute for noodles, for added texture.  I finished cooking the spaghetti squash to the perfect crunchiness and by the time I poured the sauce over it and took my first bite, it had already become a bit softer.  So make sure not to over cook the squash or you will have more of a soup than a spaghetti dish.  Also, this is such a cute dish because the shell acts as a perfect bowl.    This is a great dish for entertaining, it looks like you puts hours into it by how cute it’s presentation is, when it really is quite easy and quick.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 Tablespoon light cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes and fresh parsley, for optional garnish

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds with spoon. Place spaghetti squash, cut-sides down, on the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance.  Make sure to not overcook the squash for this recipe, because the sauce will continue to soften the noodles once you pour it over it.  Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.

2.  Once spaghetti squash has slightly cooled, scrape each half loosening the strands.  Keeping the spaghetti strands in the shell.

3.  For sauce, melt butter in small sauce pan over medium heat.  Once butter is melted add garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning.  Add milk and flour, whisk until no clumps remain.  Once milk is warm, add cream cheese and whisk until smooth.  Remove from heat and add Parmesan, salt and pepper.

4.  Place one half of spaghetti squash on a plate and pour desired amount of sauce over each half.  I used about 1/3 of the sauce for each half.  Top with more fresh pepper, red pepper flakes or whatever garnish you wish. 

Adapted from: easycookbookrecipes.com

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I came across this recipe when I was looking for a spring breakfast snack.   I didn’t want it to be too dessert like, but still tasty.  I think this fits the bill.  Plus, I seem to be in this lemon kick.  I’ve been adding it to breads, cookies and even pasta dishes.  Love it.  There is something about a sweet blueberry taste with a tart lemon kick.

The original recipe called for buttermilk, but I used non-fat Greek yogurt instead.  I hate buying buttermilk at the store, you use a tiny bit for a recipe and then your left with the rest of the carton.  What am I supposed to do with that?  So, since Greek yogurt is a staple in my refrigerator, I decided to give it a whirl.  It was amazing.  One of the most moist cakes I have made in a while.  But if you are  a buttermilk fan, go ahead and substitute the yogurt for the buttermilk, using the same measurements.  Either way you will not be disappointed. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest, about the zest from 1 large lemon
  • 7/8 cup sugar (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour (set aside 1/4 cup of this to toss with the blueberries)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups frozen wild blueberries
  • 1/2 non-fat Greek yogurt (I used Fage)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, for sprinkling on top

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a 9×9 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2.  Using an electric mixer cream butter, lemon zest and 7/8 cup sugar in medium sized bowl until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, beat until thoroughly combined.  Set aside.

3.  In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

4.  Place blueberries in a small mixing bowl and toss with remaining 1/4 cup flour.

5.  Add the flour mixture to the batter a small amount at at time, alternating with the yogurt.  Then fold in the blueberries.

6.  In prepared baking dish, spread batter.  Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.  Let cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Adapted from:  alexandracooks

Chicken and Veggie Rice Casserole

I know it’s not much to look at, but don’t let looks fool you.  This dish is packed with veggies and flavor.  It’s a great casserole option when looking for a healthy meal.  I did make some substitutions when I made this to add some fiber and decrease some of the fat.  By using brown rice and substituting Greek yogurt for the cream cheese.  I think it turned out great.  Plus, we had plenty of leftovers for the next night.  Hope you enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups short-grain brown rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups zucchini and yellow squash, chopped (about 2 zucchini and 2 yellow squash)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups non-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese, divided
  • 1 cup corn, drained and rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped canned jalapenos

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 375°.
2.  Pour rice into 9 x 13 baking dish and set aside.  In a small saucepan bring broth to a boil.  Next pour broth into dish with rice and stir.  Then add in zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, green pepper, onion and salt into dish with rice.  Mix well.

3.  Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. 
4.  Remove foil add in cooked chicken, stir and continue baking for another 35-45 minutes, or until rice is tender.
5.  In a small saucepan whisk milk and flour together.  Cook over medium heat until bubbles and slightly thickens, approximately 3-4 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and add in 1 1/2 cups jack cheese and corn. Cook until cheese is melted.  Set aside.

6.  When rice inside the casserole is done, stir in cheese sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with Greek Yogurt, using teaspoon dollops to cover casserole.  Finally, sprinkle with jalapenos and return to oven to bake 10 more minutes.

 7.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. 

 Adapted from:  fitness magazine