Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chef Meg's Healthy Chicken Vegetable Casserole

Try this inexpensive and fresh version of a chicken casserole--no need for processed soups or sauces!

12 oz chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, poached, and cubed into 1/2 inch squares
2 T all purpose flour
2 T butter, unsalted
10 oz skim milk
1 pinch white pepper
1 t Italian seasoning
1 T parmesan cheese, grated
7 oz penne pasta, whole wheat
2 yellow or orange bell peppers, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 heads, approx. 12 ounces broccoli, chopped
1/3 c monterey jack cheese
nonstick cooking spray

Place chicken breasts in a small saucepan with a lid. Cover chicken with cool water. Place saucepan over a burner on low to moderate heat. Bring to a simmer; cover with lid and poach for approximately 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked. (This step can be done the night before.)

Prepare the white sauce by placing the butter in a small sauce pot that has been preheated over medium heat. Once the butter foams, add flour and stir for 1 minute; try not to let the mixture turn brown. Add milk to the mixture and continue to stir until it starts to bubble. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add pepper, Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese to the sauce. Stir to combine. Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees. During the last minute of the pasta's cooking, add the chopped broccoli to the water. Allow to simmer for one minute.

Drain the pasta and broccoli. Spritz the bottom and sides of a 9 X 13 oven-proof casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta and broccoli with the chicken and chopped vegetables; cover with the sauce. Place in the baking dish. Sprinkle with the Monterey jack cheese and cover with foil.

Bake for 20 minutes; remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is melted.

Number of Servings: 6

Source: Spark Recipes

Friday, January 29, 2010

Dip It Good - Hungry Girl

HG's Sweet Caramelized Onion Dip

This dip is so good it might make you shed tears of joy. The first time we tasted it, we did! BTW, this recipe's ripped straight from the pages of our #1 New York Times Best Seller, Hungry Girl 200 Under 200. Woohoo!

2 large sweet onions, chopped
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. fat-free cream cheese, room temperature
1 tbsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like Brummel & Brown)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Heat butter in a large pan over medium-high heat on the stove. Once butter has coated the bottom of the pan, add onions, salt, and cayenne pepper. Onions may be piled high in the pan, but they'll cook down. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for an additional 25 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned and caramelized.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine sour cream, mayo, and cream cheese. Whisk until smooth. Then refrigerate.

Once onions are caramelized, add mustard and vinegar to the pan. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once cool, add onions to the large bowl and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to combine.

Serve at room temperature with your favorite veggies, chips, and/or crackers for dipping. ENJOY!


Serving Size: 1/3 cup
Calories: 74
Fat: 1.75g
Sodium: 512mg
Carbs: 11g
Fiber: 0.5g
Sugars: 4.5g
Protein: 3.5g

POINTS® value 2*
Source: Hungry Girl

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sunday Breakfast Panini Stuffed with Apples and Cream Cheese

Sunday Breakfast Panini Stuffed with Apples and Cream Cheese

Sunday Breakfast Panini Stuffed with Apples and Cream Cheese

Serves 2

1 large apple , thinly sliced
1 large egg
1 large egg whites
¼ cup fat free milk
4 tablespoons fat free cream cheese, softened
4 slices whole wheat bread

1. Place thinly sliced apples in microwave dish, sprinkle liberally with cinnamon, then cover. Microwave on high for 4 – 5 minutes until apples are tender.
2. Whip eggs with milk in a large bowl big enough to dip bread in.
3. Preheat panini grill, or nonstick skillet.
4. Spread 1 tbs cream cheese on each piece of bread. Take two pieces of bread and stuff the cream cheese sides with apples to make a sandwich.
5. Dip sandwiches in egg mixture and grill 4 – 5 minutes until nicely browned and cream cheese is melted.

What’s good for me in this dish?

Apples are a great source of vitamin C and fiber. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant for a healthy heart. The flavonoids in apples also contribute to heart health. High in fiber, apples can help lower LDL cholesterol.

Whole wheat bread contains fiber, protein, niacin, vitamin B6 and several minerals. One of the biggest benefits of whole wheat bread over refined white flour breads is the boost in fiber. Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diet. Fiber is necessary to keep your digestive system functioning at its best.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 272
Total Fat: 4.11g
Cholesterol: 109mg
Sodium: 541mg
Total Carbs: 40.89g
Dietary Fiber: 5.21g
Sugars: 17.39g
Protein: 18.00g

Weight Watchers Points 5

Source: Mother Rimmy’s Cooking Light Done Right

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sweet Potato Soup Crock Pot Recipe – 2 Points

Crock Pot Sweet Potato Soup

- 2 cups fat-free chicken broth
- 4 medium sized sweet potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups fat-free half-and-half
- 2 packets Splenda or Truvia
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dry mustard
OPTIONAL: I topped mine with a tablespoon of non-fat sour cream for additional flavor and 0 points
NOTE: To make this into a vegetarian recipe, just use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth
Peel and slice the sweet potatoes. Place them with the chicken broth in your slow cooker. Cover and cook on medium for about 3 hours (or until the potatoes are tender).
Using an immersion blender (or putting the sweet potatoes and broth into a food processor), blend until smooth. Put the soup back into the crock pot. Add the half-and-half, Splenda, salt, dry mustard and allspice. Cover and cook on medium for about 1-3 hours.
Entire recipe makes 6 servings
Each serving = 2 Point Total
Nutritional Stats:
Calories: 112
Total fat: 1g
Sodium: 298mg
Total carbohydrates: 23.1g
Dietary fiber: 2.6
Source:  LaaLoosh

Buttermilk Ranch Fried Chicken Recipe – 6 Points

Baked Fried Chicken

- 12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
- 2/3 cup reduced-fat buttermilk
- 1/3 cup Fiber One bran Cereal
- 1 packet Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix
- 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
- non fat cooking spray, butter flavored

In a Tupperware container, or large Ziploc bag, mix the buttermilk, salt, pepper and dried parsley flakes. Add the chicken, and coat it well. Refrigerate overnight or at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with the butter flavored nonstick, non-fat cooking spray. In a food processor or blender, and grind the Fiber One cereal to a breadcrumb-like consistency. Pour the crumb mixture into a large bowl and add in the Panko bread crumbs and Ranch Salad Seasoning Mix. Remove each individual piece of chicken from the buttermilk, and dip it into the crumb/seasoning mixture. Make sure to coat each piece thoroughly. Lay each coated piece on the baking sheet. Give them all a quick once over spray with the butter flavored non-fat cooking spray. Bake for about 1-12 minutes on each side, or until the edges are crispy.

Entire recipe makes 2 servings
Each serving = 6 Point Total

photo credit: Food Network

Source:  LaaLoosh

1 Point Weight Watcher Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Make a Flavorful Crustless Pumpkin Pie - 1 Point

Things You'll Need:

  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin
  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated skim milk
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. alspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 Cup Splenda 
  • 9" round pie pan
  • Non-Stick Spray
  • Large Bowl

  1. Mix: Combine Pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg whites, vanilla and Splenda in the bowl. Whisk until smooth.

  2. Step 2
    Spices: Add in all the spices and the salt. At this point, if there are other spices you prefer, you can add them now.

  3. Step 3
    Bake: Spray your pie pan with non-stick spray. Pour in the mixture. Bake on 325 for 50 minutes. Then crank it up to 425 to brown it on top. Before removing from oven, insert a toothpick in the center of the pie. If it comes out clean, it's done. If not, give it another 5 minutes and test again with the toothpick.

  4. Step 4
    Serve: This pie makes 8 servings. Each serving is 1 point for those of you who count points. For a little added interest, top it off with some fat free whipped topping and some fresh berries or cranberry sauce


Friday, January 22, 2010

Chunky Apple-Cinnamon Muffins from HungryGirl

PER SERVING (1 muffin with topping): 127 calories, 2.5g fat, 325mg sodium, 24.5g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 10g sugars, 3g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

Yup, guilt-free baked goods for breakfast. Stop pinching yourself. It's TRUE.


For Muffins
1 cup peeled and chopped Fuji apples
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup light vanilla soymilk
2 tbsp. sugar-free pancake syrup
2 tbsp. fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
2 tbsp. Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
2 tbsp. brown sugar (not packed)
1 1/2 tbsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like Brummel & Brown), room temperature
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt

For Topping
1 tbsp. brown sugar (not packed)
1 tsp. Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread, room temperature
Dash salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients for topping except butter. Then add butter and gently stir until small crumbs form. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients for muffins (flour, Splenda, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt). Mix well.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients for muffins (soymilk, syrup, egg substitute, butter, and vanilla extract). Using a whisk, mix until thoroughly blended. Don't worry if butter bits do not break up completely. Add dry ingredients to the large bowl with the wet ingredients. Mix until completely blended, and then fold in the apples.

Line four cups of a muffin pan with baking cups and/or spray with nonstick spray. Evenly distribute batter among the four cups. Sprinkle topping mixture evenly over batter in the cups.

Bake in the oven for 18 - 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool slightly before eating. Demolish!


Source: HungryGirl

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

From Hungry Girl – watch those nutritional labels

Howdy, HG!

I have been hearing a lot lately that the nutritional facts on many food labels at the supermarket are OFF by around 15% and that it's totally LEGAL. I am so upset and feel betrayed (and defeated). How can we trust the labels of anything we eat? What do we do, Hungry Girl?

Gloomy in Gainesville   
Dear Gloomy,

As long-time HG subscribers know (I have been writing about this for ages), the stats on food labels can LEGALLY be off by as much as 20%. It's not great news, but it's not HORRIBLE news either. While some foods have more calories, fat, etc., than the labels say, some have less. Plus, we're way better off knowing this information than NOT knowing it. Think about it... Now that you're aware that packaged foods could have more calories than the labels say, you can make adjustments to account for it. Here are a few tips:

1. If you count calories, pad your numbers a bit. What I mean by "pad your numbers" is that you can round up -- if something says it has 280 calories, count it as 300. Small changes totally make a difference.

2. If something tastes too good to be true (especially if it's from a small mom-and-pop company), it may very well be -- so don't kid yourself. If you start eating some new treat regularly, and then you notice extra pounds creeping on when they shouldn't be, you might wanna ditch that snack or count extra calories for it.

3. The nutritional stats for all types of food -- even fruit and lean protein -- vary due to size and weight. So weigh your food once in a while to see if the actual weight matches the given or assumed amount.

The bottom line is that no matter how hard we try to pin numbers down, they're always going to be a little off. It won't help to become outraged. Just keep those tips in mind, and you should be fine!