Monday, March 16, 2009

Pasta Supreme

I adapted a Quick Cooking recipe to add a lot more veggies and yummy goodness. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it's actually not difficult to put together. I will often cook all the onion/pepper I need for multiple recipes at once. When I get a bag of chicken, I boil the whole thing and cut it up for future use. Same thing with the bacon - so most everything was already cooked and I just had to assemble it.

Pasta Supreme

2 cups uncooked penne pasta
1/2 each onion, green pepper, red pepper, orange pepper, and yellow pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp each dried basil, oregano, and parsley flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut in 1-in pieces
8 turkey bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed and pressed dry
cooking spray
2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 6-oz can tomato paste
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Cook pasta according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray, saute onion, peppers, garlic and seasoning until almost tender. Add chicken, bacon and spinach, stirring until heated through.

In a blender, combine tomatoes and tomato paste, process until well blended. Stir into chicken mixture. Simmer until slightly thickened.

Toss drained pasta with chicken mixture. Spoon half into casserole dish. Sprinkle with half of mozzarella. Repeat layers, topping with remaining mozzarella and all the Parmesan. Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes longer or until heated through.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Coconut Tilapia with Apricot Dipping Sauce

Oh, my goodness - I had a wonderful supper tonight! This quick and easy fish was absolutely fantastic. (Sorry, no picture - I was too hungry and there wasn't enough light today for a good shot anyway.) The original (from All Recipes) called for more egg substitute than was needed, so I cut back the amount quite a bit to avoid waste. I was lazy and fried it in the skillet, but you could significantly lower the fat content by baking it for 25 minutes at 350. And don't skip the sauce. It sounds weird, but is incredibly tasty.

Coconut Tilapia with Apricot Dipping Sauce

1 c. flaked coconut, finely chopped
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp Creole seasoning
4 4-oz tilapia filets
1/2 c. cornstarch
2/3 c. egg substitute
1/2 c. canola oil

Dipping Sauce
1/2 c. apricot preserves
2 tsp brown mustard
1 tsp horseradish sauce

Toss together coconut, flour and Creole seasoning in a bowl. In a separate bowl, toss the tilapia with the cornstarch. Shake off excess. Pour the egg substitute into a third bowl, and dip filets in egg. Press filets into coconut mixture, coating both sides.

Heat oil in a skillet. Fry filets 1-2 at a time on both sides until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, mix preserves, mustard and horseradish in a small bowl. Serve with tilapia.

Serves 4

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tarragon Chicken Casserole

This is a nicely mild dish that is easy to put together. It's would be an excellent choice for a potluck, because the taste should appeal to most everyone and it makes enough for 12 people. If you just don't like tarragon, feel free to substitute any of your favorite spices. One piece of advice - skip the grated parmesan that sits in the pasta aisle. Parmesan is a highly flavorful cheese, and since a little goes a long way, it's well worth it to splurge on a block and grate it yourself. There is simply no comparison in the flavor.

Tarragon Chicken Casserole

2 cans low-fat condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups evaporated skim milk
4 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp pepper
16 oz linguine or spaghetti, cooked and drained
6 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
paprika, optional

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine soup, evaporated milk, tarragon and pepper. Stir in pasta and chicken. Transfer to a 4-qt casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with Parmesan and paprika. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until heated through.

248 calories, 5gm fat, 50mg cholesterol, 373 mg sodium, 31 gm carbohydrate

Sausage & Beans with Rice

Mmmm... tasty! I love rice and beans, but it can easily turn into a very unhealthy meal. I used a low-fat turkey sausage to drop the fat and calories in this and cut the brown sugar down a bit from the 1/4 cup it calls for. You could use the Splenda brown sugar blend, but you wouldn't want to use more than a tablespoon or so - it's much, much sweeter than regular brown sugar. I really like the slight sweetness to this dish. It made for a nice change of pace from typical rice and beans recipes.

Sausage & Beans with Rice

2/3 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-in slices
1 16-oz can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 16-oz can great northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 cup instant brown rice
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tbsp. corn syrup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet, saute the onion, green pepper and garlic in oil until softened. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Serves 6.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Who says breakfast on a diet can't be decadent? Who says you can't have chocolate for breakfast? :) I love our new house - for the first time, the lighting is good enough for me to take attractive pictures of the food I cook!

Seriously, y'all - this was good stuff! I found a recipe for light waffles, and though the batter looked incredibly thin, they puffed up beautifully. I make several at a time and freeze. Pop one in the toaster and top as desired. This morning I used fresh strawberries and about two tablespoons of Hershey's dark chocolate syrup (absolutely worth the calories, I promise!).

This recipe is easily doubled - in fact, I cut the original in half because it wasn't practical for me to freeze 32 waffles! To easily make your own buttermilk, use regular skim milk and add one teaspoon of white vinegar per cup. Allow it to sit a few minutes before mixing into batter.

Light Waffles

2 cups self-rising flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 cups nonfat buttermilk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
4 egg whites
cooking spray

Combine flour, sugar, and soda in a large bowl. Combine buttermilk and oil; stir well. Add to dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; carefully fold into batter.

Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray before spooning in batter.

Makes about 16 waffles

105 calories each, 4 g fat (approximate)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cheesy Peppered Crock Pot Chicken

A slow cooker is a beautiful thing in terms of convenience. Prep time for this simple recipe is about 10 minutes, and then you're on to something else. I adapted this from the 2009 Quick Cooking book. Use pepper jack soup if you can find it, but fiesta nacho cheese will also work. You can also vary the amount of salsa to suit your tastes.

ETA: After this sat for a while, I wasn't so impressed. The taste is okay, but if I make it again, I will definitely saute the peppers to soften them before transferring to the slower cooker, because they just don't get soft enough to suit me in the crockpot. I'll probably add onions, too. It did help to add shredded cheese after reheating.

Cheesy Peppered Crock Pot Chicken

1 can condensed pepper jack soup
1/2 cup salsa
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, uncooked
1 each red, green, and yellow bell pepper
1 small onion, halved & thinly sliced

Cut chicken into 1/2-in chunks. In a 3-qt slow cooker, combine soup, salsa, and chicken. Stir in pepper and onion. Cook on low for 4-5 hours, or until chicken juices run clear. Serve with hot cooked rice.

Serves 6.