Monday, December 1, 2008

Coconut-Curry Chicken Soup

This might just be the perfect, healthy winter soup. It's spicy enough to warm your belly, but not spicy enough to scare off those who don't like spicy! It packs in a lot of veggie servings and you know what, it hardly tastes like anything remotely healthy. It also reheats quite well!
Coconut-Curry Chicken Soup
Source: Cooking Light (December 2008)


4 cups water
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
1 (5 3/4-ounce) package pad thai noodles (wide rice stick noodles)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I think I'd use less next time)
4 small hot red chiles, seeded and chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
7 lime wedges (did not use)


1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add spinach and peas to pan; cook for 30 seconds. Remove vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl. Add noodles to pan; cook 3 minutes. Drain; add noodles to spinach mixture in bowl.

2. Heat canola oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and the next 5 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth to pan, and bring to a boil. Add coconut milk to pan; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken, onions, sugar, and fish sauce to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Pour chicken mixture over noodle mixture in bowl. Stir in cilantro and chiles. Serve with lime wedges.

Servings: 7 (2 cups each, 1 lime wedge)
Nutritional Info: Calories: 315; Fat 7.8g; Protein: 29g; Carbs: 31g; Fiber: 2.4g; Cholesterol: 62mg; Sodium:841mg
WW Pts: 6 Pin It

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mashed Potato Soup

Lots of leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving or some other big meal? This soup is seriously a reason to make double a batch of the mashed spuds just to have the leftovers to make this. This is a stick-to-your-ribs type soup, so I won't shock you with nutritional values on this one, you'd rather not know, especially if you make your potatoes the full-fat way as I do mine. This got the double thumbs up from the husband as well, it's hearty and great with bread.

Mashed Potato Soup
Source: Rachel Ray (with my own adaptations)

Drizzle of EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil (didn't use)
6 slices bacon, chopped (didn't use)
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped (used 1/2 an onion)
4 tablespoons flour
1 quart chicken stock (used low sodium, low fat)
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
8 ounces shredded yellow cheddar cheese
Added 1 tsp or salt or so to taste
Added freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped chives, for garnish

In a medium pot or Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve.

Drain off excess bacon fat from the pot and add butter. When it is melted, add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour into the pot and cook with a wooden spoon for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken stock and bring to a bubble. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes.

Whisk in mashed potatoes, then stir in the cheddar cheese with a wooden spoon and cook until the potatoes are hot and the cheese is melted.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the reserved bacon and chopped chives.

Serves: 4
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chicken Enchilada RollUps

The original recipe (linked below) is a higher-fat version of these rollups. The filling alone can be a great dip or a great little sandwich. If you'd like to make this even lighter - try low-fat shredded cheddar (I didn't have any in the house) or use less of it. These are great for an app or a light meal! It's also a great way to use up leftovers of chicken breasts or rotisserie chicken! Next time, I'd cut down on the cream cheese, add corn, and maybe a slice of avocado to each rollup!

Chicken Enchilada RollUps
Source: Adapted from Sing for Your Supper

1 8-oz. packages 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened (next time I'd use 4oz... it was really rich!)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Franks Red Hot Sauce (added from original recipe) to taste, we like it hot!!
cayenne pepper to taste
salt to taste
1 cup or so of shredded rotisserie chicken (I'd add extra)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, chopped (I used onion powder)
1/2 of a 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel tomatoes)
4 whole wheat tortillas

Mix cheeses together until well blended; add remaining ingredients and mix well. Spread over tortillas and roll up. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Serves: 4 (1 tortilla a piece). For apps - cut each roll up for mini rolls.
WW Pts: 9 (for 1 tortilla with filling)

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Apple Cinnamon Coffeecake

I was planning to have my best friend, her mother and my mother over for Sunday morning coffee and wanted something sweet, not too awful for us, and easy to make. I had pulled this recipe out of Cooking Light over a year ago and thought it high time I try it. I'm glad I did. It's sweet without being overpowering and makes just enough. This one is definitely becoming a staple.

Apple Cinnamon Coffeecake
Source: Cooking Light

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup diced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 1 apple)
Cooking spray

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare cake, lightly spoon 1 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine milk, melted butter, vanilla, and egg, stirring with a whisk; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in apple. Pour batter into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.

To prepare streusel, combine brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle streusel evenly over batter. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack before serving. Serve warm.

Serves: 12

WW Points: 4
Nutritional Information : Calories: 197 (21% from fat) Fat: 4.6g (sat 2.7g,mono 1.2g,poly 0.3g) Protein:2.9g Carbohydrate: 36.7g Fiber: 0.8g Cholesterol: 28mg Sodium: 202mg
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Zucchini and Corn Summer Pasta

Usually I just don't put things I throw together in on this blog - but this one was so tasty, fast, (and healthy!!) that I couldn't resist. We have so many zucchinis from the garden this year, and I've been trying to figure out a way to use them all. This would be fantastic with a nice crisp white wine. If the overall fat content scares you, it is mostly monounsaturated fat, but could be reduced by reducing the amount of olive oil. Enjoy!

Zucchini and Corn Summer Pasta


1 medium zucchini, chopped into large chunks
1 corn on the cob (already cooked, great for leftover corn), kernels taken off cob
1/4 large sweet onion (like vidalia), sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for a drizzle on pasta
1/4 pounds whole wheat spaghetti
Salt and Pepper
Parmesan Reg. to sprinkle over top


Cook pasta according to directions, set aside and keep warm
In a large skillet, add 2 tbsp olive oil and warm until there's a sheen on the oil
Add onion, let soften for 2-3 minuts
Add garlic, cook until fragrant
Add zucchini, salt and pepper to taste and cook until about halfway tender (a couple of minutes)
Add corn near the end and cook through until all is warm and zucchini is tender.
Drizzle warm pasta with a touch of olive oil.
Toss vegetables with pasta.
Grate some parm over the top just to get a bit of the nutty flavor


Servings: 2 (but pretty large, you could stretch to 3 if you want)
WW Pts - 8 (not including parm sprinkle, add extra depending on how much you grate over pasta)
Nutritional Info - Calories: 356, Fat 14.9g (sat: 2.1, monounsat: 10g, poly, 7g), Fiber: 10g, Sodium: 16.8mg, Carbs: 54g, Protein: 10g
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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Carrot Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This came from a serious craving for carrot cake I was having. I've never attempted carrot cake before, so I was thrilled when this recipes was fabulous. I brought this into work and co-workers are asking for the recipe and when I'll make it again. The original recipe calls for too much sugar in the frosting. I reduced it. This makes a moist, fluffy cake and a great frosting. You could use 2 9-inch round pans and make a layer cake with it too, but I'd double the frosting recipe to do it. Just remember if you use a glass baking dish, reduce oven temp to 325. I used a metal one.

Carrot Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Source: Cooking Light


Cooking spray
9 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 cups finely shredded carrot

1/2 cup (4 ounces) block-style fat-free cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar, divided (NOTE!! I used just under 2 cups of powdered sugar!! I suggest for best results!)
1 tablespoon orange sugar sprinkles (I OMITTED)

Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cake, coat a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray; line bottom of pan with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; set aside.

Place 9 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 5 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until pale and fluffy. Beat in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition. Stir in carrot. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sharply tap pan once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Carefully peel off wax paper; cool completely on wire rack.

To prepare frosting, place the cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating at low speed until smooth (do not overbeat). Stir in the remaining 3/4 cup powdered sugar. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Spread frosting over top of cake. Garnish with sprinkles. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.

Servings: 16
Nutritional Info: CALORIES 309 (30% from fat); FAT 10.3g (sat 5g,mono 4.1g,poly 0.5g); IRON 1.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 52mg; CALCIUM 49mg; CARBOHYDRATE 50.2g; SODIUM 358mg; PROTEIN 4.5g; FIBER 0.9g

WW Points: 7 Pin It

Italian Creme Cake

I need a better photo of this cake, because this one doesn't do it justice. This is my go-to special occasion cake. It is phenomenal. It's actually one of the best tasting cakes I've ever had. It's delicate, sweet, and classy for any occasion. I don't have enough great things to say about it. It's great with a fruit garnish on the top, I love sweet blueberries for this!

Italian Creme Cake
Source: Cooking Light


Cooking spray
2 teaspoons cake flour
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 cups cake flour (about 8 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted (I OMIT)
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large egg whites

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup (5 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (I USE JUST UNDER 3 CUPS)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cake, coat bottoms of 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray (do not coat sides of pans). Line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray, and dust with 2 teaspoons flour; set aside.

Place 1/3 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, baking soda, and salt; stir well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in pecans, coconut extract, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat). Fold egg whites into batter; pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes on a wire rack. Loosen cake layers from sides of pans; remove from pans. Remove and discard wax paper. Cool completely.

To prepare frosting, place 1 tablespoon butter and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until smooth (do not overbeat). Add 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat well.

Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with one-third of frosting. Top with other cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.

Serves: 16
Nutritional Info: CALORIES 322 (25% from fat); FAT 8.8g (sat 4.6g,mono 2.8g,poly 0.8g); IRON 1.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 45mg; CALCIUM 33mg; CARBOHYDRATE 56.6g; SODIUM 221mg; PROTEIN 4.7g; FIBER 0.5g
WW Points: 7
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Mexican Beef and Cornbread Pie

Alright, I'm back. It's been a bit of a hiatus here, but I'm going to try to be a bit better. This recipe is from the American Heart Association's Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook. I'm working on my cholesterol, so this book is actually a really great resource. One thing about this recipe - it was good, but when I make it again, I'll be doubling the spices.

Mexican Beef and Cornbread Pie
Source: American Heart Association Low Fat, Low Cholesterol Cookbook


Meat Mixture
1 pound lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
10-ounce package frozen whole-kernel corn
1 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth or fat-free, no-salt-added beef broth
1 tablespoon very low sodium or low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

Corn Bread Mixture

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
Whites of 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon canola or corn oil


Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Heat a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the beef for 4 to 5 minutes, or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Pour into a colander and rinse under hot water to remove excess fat. Drain well. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel. Return the beef to the skillet.

Add the onion to the beef. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the onion is tender. Stir in the remaining meat mixture ingredients. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes.

In a medium bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, and baking powder, and sugar and salt if desired. In a small bowl, stir together the egg whites, milk, and oil. Pour into the dry mixture. Mix lightly to avoid overbeating.

Spoon the meat mixture into a 10-inch square baking pan. Spoon the corn bread mixture over the meat; spread lightly to cover the surface.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the corn bread is golden brown.

Serves 6
Nutritional Info: Calories, 346; Fat, 6.5g; Saturated, 1.5g, Poly, 1.5g, Mono, 3g; Cholesterol, 34mg;  Sodium, 259mg; Carbs, 51g; Fiber, 6g; Protein, 23g
WW Points: 7
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Friday, May 2, 2008

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice

I love this recipe. Honestly, these things taste like a sinful treat. Perfect for lunch or a light dinner. The cornmeal makes them a little toasty on the outside... yum. Note: they do fall apart a bit when you form them into patties. I suggest two spatulas to flip and transfer them.

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice
Source: Cooking Light


1 (3.5 oz) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup fresh pineapple
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (I omitted)
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups rinsed, drained canned black beans (1 15-oz can), divided
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
1/2 cup (2-oz) shredded monterey jack cheese with jalapeno peppers
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup cornmeal
cooking spray
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

To prepare rice, cook rice according to package, omitting salt and fat. Drain; place rice in large bowl. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pineapple; saute 4 minutes or just until pineapple begins to brown. Add pineapple mixture, cilantro, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to rice in bowl cover and keep warm. Wipe pan clean.
To prepare patties, place 1 1/2 cups beans, garlic, cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a bowl; partially mash with a fork. Place 1/2 cup remaining beans and egg white in a food processorl process 30 seconds or until well combined. Add bean puree to mashed beans in bowl, and stir until combined. Add cheese and onion to bean mixture, stir until combines. Divide bean mixture in 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch thick patty. Place cornmeal in a shallow dish. Dredge both sides of each patty in cornmeal.
Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Spoon about 1/2 cup rice onto each of 4 platesl top each serving with 1 patty and 1 tablespoon sour cream.

Servings: 4
WW Points: 6
Nutritional Info: Calories 294; Fat 8.7g; Protein 10.2g; Cholesterol 28mg; Sodium 532mg; Fiber 3.5g; Carbs 45g
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Chicken Sausage and Provolone Penne Bake

This is super tasty. My husband loved it, I loved it, and it's great comfort food. It's very easy to put together as well.

Chicken Sausage and Provolone Penne Bake
Source: Cooking Light

1 pound uncooked penne
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 (12-oz) package chicken sausage (I used trader joe's sweet italian), halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch-think slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
cooking spray
1 cup (4 oz) shredded sharp provolone cheese
1 cup (4 oz) grated fresh parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to its directions
Preheat over 350 degrees
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add on onion, bell pepper, sausage and garlic; saute for 5 minutes or until sausage is browned. Add tomato paste and next 5 ingredients (through diced tomatoes); cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. 
Combine pasta and tomato mixture; spoon into a 13x9 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until bubbly.

Servings: 8 (1 1/2 cups each)
WW Points: 10
Nutritional Info: Calories 453; Fat 15.3g; Protein 24.4g; Cholesterol 56mg; Sodium 954mg; Fiber: 4.6g; Carbs 55.3g

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

This recipe could be a lot healthier, it's adapted from a Rachel Ray recipe, and I'm still working with it so I may revise in the future, but it is tasty. :-)

Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Source: Adapted from Rachel Ray Mag

2 zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 an onion
2 1/2 plum tomatoes chopped (I used cherry tomatoes, and some leftover diced tomatoes)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
1/3 cup part skim mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a small spoon, scoop out flesh of zucchinis, leaving a 1/4 to 1/2 inch shell
Wrap flesh in paper towel to soak up excess moisture, set aside. 
Place zucchini shells face down on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. 
Meanwhile, in a large skilled heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add zucchini flesh and onion, cook until softened. Add tomato, cook until softened. 
Push vegetables to the side of the pan, and add last 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil.
Add bread crumbs and toast.
Remove from heat, add oregano and combine with vegetables. Adding salt and pepper to taste.
Flip over the zucchini shells and line with mozzarella. 
Pack in the filling.
Sprinkle the parm on top.
Bake until zucchini is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20-25 minutes.

Servings: 4 (1 boat)
WW Points: 4
Nutritional Info: (have yet to calculate)

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spiced Blueberry Muffins

This baking episode was brought to you by our new budget. Instead of hitting the Dunkin Donuts for a morning snack (my husband) or afternoon one (me)... I made a deal with him that I would bake muffins each week to bring with us. It saves money and it's healthier for us all at the same time. This is, again, a Cooking Light recipe and is very tasty for a low-fat blueberry muffin. Most of the healthy blueberry muffins I've tried tasted bland, but this is not the case with this recipe. Enjoy!

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (used a bit more)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (I used fresh and used 2 cups which I recommend)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 (8-oz) block fat-free cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat)
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk (I used 1%)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray 
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat over to 425 degrees.
Lightly spoon 2 cups of flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour and next 6 ingredients (through cloves) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture.
Place blueberries in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour over blueberries, toss to coat.
Place butter and cream cheese in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed 1 minute or until blended. Add milk, eggs, and vanilla to butter mixture; beat to combine. Add butter mixture to flour mixture; stir until just moist. Gently fold in blueberry mixture. Spoon batter into 14 muffin cups (I only did 12... 14 is silly) coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tables spoons sugar evenly over batter. Bake at 425 degrees or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pans 5 minutes on wire rack. Remover muffin from pans, place on wire rack.

Yields: 12 muffins
WW Points: 5 
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Pumpkin Raviolis with Gorgonzola Sauce

This is also a Cooking Light recipe I made after the pumpkin whoopie pies due to some leftover pumpkin I had lying around. This is very good, but several things you should know in advance about these. 1. They do NOT reheat well at all, they get very soggy. 2. The recipe below is the original recipe, but when it comes to all the spices, I would double them for more of a taste.

1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I would also add in a bit of cinnamon to this recipe)
30 round wonton wrappers 
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Cooking Spray
1 cup fat-free milk (I used 1%)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled gorgonzola cheese
3 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, toasted (I omitted)

Spoon pumpkin onto several layers of heavy-duty paper towels, and spread to 1/2 inch thickness. Cover with additional paper towels; let stand 5 minutes. Scape into a medium bowl using rubber spatula. Stir in dry breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt, minced sage, pepper and nutmeg.
Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time (cover remaining wrappers with a damp towel to keep from drying out). Spoon 2 teaspoons pumpkin mixture into the center of the wrapper, brush edges of wrapper with water and seal, pressing edges firmly with fingers to form a half-moon. Place on a large sheet sprinkled with cornstarch. Repeat with remaining wrappers. 
Fill a Dutch oven with water, bring to a simmer. Add half of ravioli to pan (cover remaining with a damp towel). Cook 4 minutes or until done (do not boil), stirring gently. Remove ravioli with slotted spoon; lightly coat with cooking spray, and keep warm. Repeat with remaining ravioli.
Combine milk and flour in a saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add butter stirring until butter melts. Gently stir in Gorgonzola.
Place 5 ravioli in each of 6 shallow bowls, and drizzle each serving with 3 tablespoons Gorgonzola sauce. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons hazelnuts. Serve Immediately.

Serves: 6
WW Points: 5
Nutritional Info: Calories 250, Fat 9.1g, Sat. Fat 4.5g, Protein 9.5g, Cholesterol 22mg, Sodium 636 mg, Fiber 3.1g, Carbs 33g
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Pumpkin Whoopie Pies - Yum.

While this blog mostly focuses on healthy, lighter recipes... from time to time I will throw in your old-school original recipes, and this is one of those times. I made these when the recipe was first published in Everyday Living with Rachel Ray back in October 2007. These are phenomenal and rank up there as one of my favorite recipes of all time. I can't tell you how many time I've been asked to make these since for holidays, birthdays and parties. Enjoy! They're not good for you, but man, they're tasty!

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, 1 stick melted, 1/2 stick softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree (not the pie filling, the one that's just pumpkin)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
1 2/3 cups flour

5 ounces cream cheese, chilled
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bow, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.
Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transder to a rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the confectioners' sugar  and the remaining 2 pinches salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on low speed until blended then beat on medium high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.

Yields: 12 whoopie pies
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These remind me of elementary school because they seemed to always be served in the school cafeteria! This is a Cooking Light recipe and beyond tasty. They're perfect right out of the oven, but they're still chewy once they cool. I'm constantly asked to make these again and again at my work.

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, beat just until combined. Shape dough into 30 balls (does seem crumbly sometimes, it's fine).
Combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small shallow dish. Roll balls in sugar mixture and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Back at 400 for 8 minutes or until tops crack. Remove from pans, cool on wire rack.

Yields: 30 cookies
WW Points: 2 per cookie
Nutritional info: Calories 99, Fat 3.3g, Protein .9g, Carb 16.9g, Fiber .3g, Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 59mg
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Oh I almost forgot, my V-day present

I can't continue on in this blog until I show you my fabulous valentine's day present from my husband. I love to bake, and every baker must have their Kitchen Aid Mixer! I got home on V-Day to find this baby sitting right next to Gabbie's crate. The color is cinnamon gloss... and it's beautiful!

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WW Beef and Broccoli

This is a recipe from WW's "Take Out Tonight" cookbook, which I have found to be a keeper in their collection.
This recipe is actually probably the closest to take out Beef and Broccoli that I've found. 
I made no modifications of this recipe, it was done as-is below.

3/4 lb beef top round, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into strips
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup low sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 lb broccoli crowns cut into florets (4 cups)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced, peeled fresh ginger 
3 garlic cloves, minced

Combine beef with 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch, toss well to coat, set aside. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch, the broth, oyster sauce, honey, soy sauce and sherry in small bowl and set aside. 
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes and drain.
Heat a nonstick wok or a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles. Swirl in the oil, then add the beef. Stir-fry until just cooked trough, 3-4 minutes, transfer to a plate. 
Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the beef broth mixture, and cook, stirring constantly until it boils and thickens, about one minute. Add the beef and broccoli and cook until heated through.

Serves: 4
WW Points: 4 (without rice, I served mine over brown rice)
(I will try and calculate the calories and the like later on)

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I've been a slacker...

...concerning this blog.

Baby girl pug Gabbie had to have surgery on her leg/hip about two weeks ago now and it's been very stressful getting her back to spunky pug status. I swear, I think I need to start a separate blog about the pugs, they have so many of their own stories. :-)
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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cherry Chocolate Surprise Cake

This recipe is adapted from one on They have a ton of recipes from different users, all WW-friendly. Only change I would make here is using one of the triple-fudge cake mixes. I used plain devil's food this time. I think another cake mix would make it a bit more rich, but this is still good to curb cake cravings :-)

4 cups mini marshmallows
1 package devil's food dry cake mix (you can also use yellow cake as well)
15 oz lite cherry pie filling (if you can find no sugar added, it drops the pts. to 2 per serving)
10 fl oz diet sprite
2 medium egg whites

Heat over 350 degrees. Coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Spread marshmallows evenly over bottom. Prepare cake using diet sprite and the egg whites. Pour batter over marshmallows. Spoon cherries evenly over batter. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Sometimes the cherries sink and the marshmallows rise, other times, the marshmallow form their kind of sweet, almost crisp layer on the bottom, very tasty.

Servings: 20
WW Pts: 3 (2 if you find no sugar added pie filling)

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

I have my own version of sauce, but I wanted one with a few more vegetables worked into it. The recipe below is adapted from CL, with some added spices. 
This is a great recipe if you have a DH or kids who aren't to much of a fan of vegetables. The shredded zucchini ends up blending into the sauce, making it chunky, but it doesn't stand out.

1 1/2 pounds ultra-lean ground beef
cooking spray
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1 1/2 cups diced green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced (I doubled this to 6, and honestly, would add more next time)
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 large)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (doubled)
1/2 teaspoon salt (doubled)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (doubled)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (doubled)
1/4 cup sugar
2 (28-oz) cans crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 (14.5-oz) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 (12-oz) can tomato paste
1 (7-oz) bottle roasted red bell peppers, undrained
14 cups hot cooked spaghetti (about 1 3/4 pounds uncooked pasta)
Also added:
1 tsp basil
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp cinnamon
Cook meat in a large dutch over over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain meat well and set aside, wipe out pan, and coat with cooking spray.
Place the pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the diced onion, diced bell peppers and minced garlic, and saute 5 minutes or until tender. Add zucchini, and saute 5 minutes. Drain vegetables. Return meat and vegetables to pan and stir in dried oregano, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Cook mixture over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Add sugar, crushed and stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, and roasted red peppers to pan, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until sauce is thick. Serve meat sauce over pasta.

Makes 14 servings (1 cup sauce, 1 cup pasta)
WW: 7 pts.
Calories: 353; Fat:4.6 (sat 1.3 g); Protein: 20.1g; Cholesterol: 30 mg; Sodium: 381 mg; 
Fiber: 4.8g; Carbs: 59g
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Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Lighter Pastitsio

This recipe is from the WW Cookbook "Take Out Tonight", I really made no other modifications other than halfing it for myself (full recipe is below) and adding a tad more garlic. It's pretty satisfying if you're looking for a creamy pasta baked dish. Next time I would add more nutmeg and more cinnamon... maybe even some ground cloves to the beef. It's not bad for a light version though!

Source: WW Take Out Tonight Cookbook
3 cups reduced fat % milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 pound spaghetti
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3/4 pound lean ground sirloin (10% or less fat)
1 pound plum tomatoes, choppws
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11x7 inch baking dish with nonstick spray
2. For white sauce: combine milk, cornstarch and eggs in saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened, 7-9 minutes. Remove from eat and stiry in 6 tablespoons of te parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and the nutmeg, cover and set aside.
3. Cook spaghetti according to directions, drain.
4. For filling: heat a large non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl in the oil, then add the onion, stirring occasionally until onion is softened, 4-6 minutes. Add the sirloin and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5-6 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic, cinnamon and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until juice from tomatoes evaporates 4-5 minutes. 
5. Arrange half of cooked spaghetti over bottom of baking dish, cover with filling, then other half of spaghetti. Distribute white sauce evenly over top, sprinkle remaining parmesan over the top. Bake until top is golden, 30-35 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

WW Points: 7
Calories (per 1 cup): 319, 11g fat (sat 4g), 103 mg cholesterol, 512g sodium, 36g carbs, 3g fiber, 19g protein
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Lunch from Leftovers, and I miss my garden

So I wasn't going to post today, but I figured the more often I do, the longer my motivation will last, right?

This is my version of bread salad, which turned out to be a quite tasty lunch. It's missing key components that make me miss my summer garden any more. Panzanella is a bread salad from the Tuscany region of Italy. It's a great way to use last night's bread. Usually it involves a huge amount of fresh basil and parsley, neither which I had on hand, so I tried to compensate with other things. Both usually grow in my garden out back, I can't wait until spring!

1 slice day-old crusty bread, drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and toasted, and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 small tomatoes, cut into bite size pieces
6 jumbo black olives, sliced
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
a sprinkle of italian seasoning (if you don't have fresh herbs on hand)
salt and pepper to taste.

Combine all together and enjoy!

WW Points: approx. 4.5 

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup

This is a modified Cooking Light recipe called Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Walnuts. I modified the recipe, didn't use the walnuts and this got a double thumbs up from my husband. The calories don't change in my modified version and are probably less than the Cooking Light version because I didn't use the nuts. I served it up with some toasted bread with olive oil. Enjoy, we loved this one!

8 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (app. 2 1/4 lbs)
1 medium sweet onion, cut in wedges
5 cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt (divided) (CL recipe has 3/4 teaspoon)
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (divided) (CL recipe has 1/2 teaspoon)
Cooking spray
4 cups warm 2% reduced fat milk (divided)
1 (14-oz) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (divided)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (added to CL recipe)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (added to CL recipe)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (added to CL recipe)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (added to CL recipe)
1/4 cup chopped walnut, toasted (I didn't use)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Combine squash, onion, garlic, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper on foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until tender. Place half of squash, broth and milk into blender, process until smooth. Pour pureed mixture into sauce pan. Repeat with other half of squash, broth, and milk. Add leftover salt, pepper, then cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves and heat contents of saucepan over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until hot.  Ladle into bowls, sprinkle a dash of cinnamon and nuts if you'd like.

Yield: 8 servings of 1 cup each. 

Calories 204; Fat 5.9g (sat 1.9 g,, mono 1.7g, poly 2.1g); Protein 7.5g; Cholesterol 9mg; 
Calcium 271mg; Sodium 370mg; Fiber 5.3g
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