Posted in Uncategorized

Heading out to SanFransisco…


I am really looking forward to tasting all the flavors out there and will keep you all up to date.

Until then – enjoy!

Posted in Bake, Beef, Casserole, Main Courses, Poultry, Sauces, Tips/Hints, Vegetables

Make Ahead Meal – Day 7


Tips on Making Ahead:

  1. Cook eggplant and meat and arrange in casserole.  Refrigerate until 45 minutes before serving, cook sauce and pour on top then bake.
  2. Cook entire recipe, refrigerate then reheat in oven and serve.
  3. Cook entire recipe, refrigerate, cut into individual serving sizes and heat in microwave.

Eggplant and Meat Casserole

Eggplant and Meat Casserole

Serves 6

Preheat oven 375o

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 250                        Fat: 5 grams                          Points: 4

Ingredients:

2 eggplants – sliced ¼ inch thick

½ onion – chopped

½ pound ground turkey breast meat

½ pound ground 93% lean beef

2 cloves garlic

1 cup white wine

1 cup crushed tomatoes from a can

1 tablespoon fresh basil – chopped

1 tablespoon fresh parsley – chopped

Salt and pepper

¼ cup Italian bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. Arrange paper towels on a board and sprinkle with salt.  Spread eggplant slices on paper towels and sprinkle salt on top then top with paper towels.  This can be done in layers to conserve counter space.  Allow eggplant to “sweat” for about 20 minutes then rinse well under water and discard paper towels.
  2. While the eggplant is “sweating”, heat a large skillet on medium heat, spray with cooking spray and add onion.  Sauté 2 – 3 minutes until slightly softened and browned.  Increase heat to medium high and add turkey and beef and sauté until browned.  Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
  3. Lower heat to medium low and add wine, tomatoes, basil, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer on low until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. After rinsing the eggplant, heat a large skillet on medium high heat, spray with cooking spray and add eggplants.  Cook for about 5 minutes on each side until softened.
  6. Spray a 9 X 12 inch baking pan with cooking spray.  Arrange half of the cooked eggplant on the bottom.  Spoon meat on top, then spread the bread crumbs.  Top with the remaining eggplant.
  7. Cook sauce (recipe below) and pour on top.
  8. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until top is bubbling and slightly browned.
  9. Remove from oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Sauce Ingredients:

1 ½ cups skim milk

½ cup fat free half and half

2 tablespoons flour

¼ cup egg substitute

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, whisk together milk, half and half, flour, egg substitute and nutmeg.
  2. Heat stovetop on medium heat and, while stirring constantly, cook mixture until bubbly and thickened.  Reduce heat to low and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.
Posted in Bake, Beef, Main Courses, Tips/Hints

Make Ahead Meal – Day 6


My family liked the meat pie from last week so much, they asked it to be re-created it with Italian flavors. 

Make Ahead Tip:

– Cook meat with tomatoes then refrigerate until ready to assemble and bake.

Enjoy…

Italian Meat Pie

Italian Meat Pie

Serves 6

Preheat oven 425o

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 350                        Fat: 8 grams                          Points: 7

Ingredients:

½ pound ground turkey breast meat

½ pound 93% lean ground beef

1 clove garlic – minced

2 cups crushed tomatoes

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 package refrigerated pizza dough

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ cup low fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add turkey and beef and season with salt and pepper.  Cook 5 – 7 minutes, stirring, until meat is browned and cooked through.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil and onion powder and sauté for 5 – 7 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature or refrigerate overnight if baking the following day. 
  4. Spray a large baking pan with cooking spray.  Roll out pizza dough and stretch onto a large baking pan.
  5. Mix parmesan and mozzarella cheese with meat then place in the center of the dough, leaving enough room to fold dough over the meat. 
  6. Fold corners of dough into the center of the pie first then bring sides up toward the center so the meat is completely covered.
  7. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the dough is browned.
Posted in Bake, Dessert

Dessert


My son was home with a fever today so I didn’t make dinner.  I took the opportunity of being stuck in the house all day and baked instead.

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Marshmallow Sauce

Serves 12

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 250                        Fat: 8 grams                          Points: 6

Bread Pudding Ingredients:

10 inside slices of brown sugar and cinnamon bread – cut into 1” pieces

½ cup egg substitute

1 cup fat free half and half

1 cup skim milk

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the broiler on high heat.  Add cut up bread to a baking pan and broil for 1 – 2 minutes until toasted.  Remove bread from oven and cool for a few minutes.
  2. Reduce oven heat to 325o.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, milk and vanilla.  Add toasted bread and let sit for 30 minutes until bread has absorbed the liquid mixture.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Grease a 9 X9-inch baking pan with butter.  Spoon in bread pudding and bake for 55 – 60 minutes until bread pudding has set.
  6. Remove from oven to cool while making sauce.

Sauce Ingredients:

1 cup marshmallow crème

2 tablespoons low calorie butter spread

2 tablespoons fat free half and half

Directions:

  1. Combine marshmallow crème, butter and cream in a saucepot.  Cook over medium heat until bubbles begin to form.  Remove from heat and pour on top of bread pudding.
  2. Cool bread pudding for about 1 hour and serve.
Posted in Poultry, Tips/Hints

Make Ahead Meals – Week 2


Making Southwest Chicken Skillet in advance: Cook chicken in skillet until done then remove from stovetop and place in the refrigerator.  About 15 minutes before it is time to eat, reheat the chicken on the stove for about 10 minutes or until it reaches a boil on medium heat then remove chicken, add cheese, broil and serve.

Southwest Chicken Skillet

Southwest Chicken Skillet

Serves 4

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 260                        Fat: 6 grams                          Points: 6

Ingredients:

4 bone-in skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

5 scallions – white parts only chopped

1 jalapeno pepper – finely chopped

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro

1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

½ reduced fat shredded Mexican blend cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to the skillet.  Brown for about 3 – 5 minutes on each side.
  2. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.  Reduce heat to medium and add scallions and jalapeno pepper.  Sauté for about 5 minutes until browned.
  3. Add tomatoes, cilantro, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder and bring to a boil.  Add chicken breasts to the skillet, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes (or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Preheat the broiler on high heat.  Remove chicken breasts from skillet and place in an oven safe pan.  Sprinkle a little cheese on each breast and broil for about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  5. Pour sauce into a serving platter, top with chicken breasts and serve.
Posted in Saute`, Vegetables

Garden Vegetables


Our dinner tonight is a classic Italian recipe that makes good use of our garden vegetables.  Giambotta is classically made with potatoes and I have included them in the recipe below.  However, you may notice that the picture is showing a vegetable stew over pasta.  This is because we did not have any potatoes in the house so I substituted with 8 ounces of penne.  You can do the same if you prefer. 

This is always a vegetarian meal but if your family likes to include meat at, this is a great accompaniment on top of grilled chicken breasts.

Enjoy!!

Giambotta

Italian Vegetables Stew (Giambotta)

Serves 8

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving (without bread and cheese):

Calories: 80                           Fat:  trace                               Points: 1

Ingredients:

1 large onion – chopped

1 bell pepper (green or red) – chopped

2 cloves garlic – minced

1 large (or 2 medium) zucchini – cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup white wine

½ pound string beans

2 cans (28-ounces each) diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons fresh basil – chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

2 potatoes – diced

Directions:

  1. Heat a large saucepot on medium heat, spray with cooking spray and add onion.  Sauté onion for about 5 minutes until soft.  Add pepper and sauté.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
  2. Add zucchini, wine and string beans and sauté for 5 minutes. 
  3. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano and salt and pepper, cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add potatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes longer or until potatoes are soft.
  5. Serve with Italian bread and parmesan cheese on the side.
Posted in Bake, Beef, Casserole, Pasta dish, Sauces, Tips/Hints

Make Ahead Day 4


  • Cook the entire recipe in advance and refrigerate overnight.  When ready to heat, cut into individual serving sizes and microwave.
  • Assemble the casserole and refrigerate overnight.  Either remove the casserole from the refrigerator a few hours early to come to room temperature before baking or bake for about 45 minutes right from the refrigerator (extra baking time may be necessary if you place the cold casserole in the oven).

Baked Macaroni with Meat

Baked Macaroni with Meat

Serves 8

Preheat oven 350o

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 320                        Fat:4 grams                           Points: 6

Ingredients:

½ onion – chopped

½ pound (8-ounces) ground turkey meat

½ pound (8-ounces) 93% lean ground beef

¼ cup water

½ cup wine

1 cup canned diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ pound (8-ounces) penne pasta (*)

½ cup egg substitute

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Cream Sauce:

2 cups fat free half and half

2 cups skim milk

½ cup flour

¾ cup egg substitute

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet on medium heat, spray with cooking spray and add onion.  Sauté for about 5 minutes until soft and browned.
  2. Increase heat to medium high and add turkey and beef and sauté until cooked and browned.
  3. Add water, wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, nutmeg and basil and simmer until half of the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Remove from heat, spoon into a bowl and cool.
  5. Boil water in a large pot and add penne.  Cook until al dente (about 5 minutes).
  6. Drain, rinse and add to bowl with meat mixture.  Stir in egg substitute and parmesan cheese.
  7. In a saucepot, whisk together half and half, milk egg substitute and nutmeg.
  8. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly and thick.  Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.
  9. Pour half of the sauce into the meat and pasta mixture.

10. Spray a 13-inch X 9-inch casserole with cooking spray and spoon in meat mixture.

11. Pour the remaining cream sauce on top and bake for 30 minutes until browned.

(*) Use high fiber pasta

Posted in Bake, Beef, Main Courses, Poultry, Tips/Hints

Make Ahead – Day 3


Cooking Ahead:

  • Cook the meat filling the night before then about 30 minutes before dinner, preheat the oven and assemble.

BBQ Meat Pie

BBQ Meat Pie

Serves 6

Preheat oven 425o

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 340                        Fat: 7 grams                          Points: 6

Ingredients:

1 onion – chopped

1 clove garlic – minced

½ pound ground turkey breast meat

½ pound 93% lean ground beef

1 cup ketchup

½ teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon liquid smoke

¼ teaspoon hickory smoke salt

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 package refrigerated pizza dough

½ cup Mexican blend low fat shredded cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium and spray with cooking spray.  Add onion and cook 3 – 5 minutes until soft and browned.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  2. Add turkey and beef and season with salt and pepper.  Cook 5 – 7 minutes, stirring, until meat is browned and cooked through.
  3. Add ketchup, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, liquid smoke, hickory smoke salt, Worcestershire sauce and red wine vinegar and sauté for 5 – 7 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature or refrigerate overnight if baking the following day.
  5. Spray a large baking pan with cooking spray.  Roll out pizza dough and stretch onto a large baking pan.
  6. Place meat in the center, leaving enough room to fold dough over the meat.  Spread cheese on top of meat.
  7. Fold corners of dough into the center of the pie first then bring sides up toward the center so the meat is completely covered.
  8. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the dough is browned.
Posted in Bake, Casserole, Main Courses, Pasta dish, Sauces, Tips/Hints, Vegetables

Make Ahead – Day 2


Tips for Cooking Ahead:

  1. You can cook the vegetables and pasta, and sauce and combine in the casserole dish to bake later that day or the next day.  If you refrigerate the casserole overnight, take it out for several hours before baking it so that it can come to room temperature.  This will reduce the baking time to 30 minutes.
  2. You can bake the dish just before broiling the parmesan that morning and leave out.  Heat for 10 minutes, covered, then broil for the last 5 minutes right before serving.
  3. You can bake the casserole the night before and refrigerate it overnight.  The next day, take it out several hours before baking it so that it can come to room temperature then bake for 15 minutes, covered, add the parmesan cheese and broil for 5 minutes.
  4. You can cook the entire recipe that morning or the night before then divide into individual serving sizes and microwave.

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Serves 6

Preheat oven 450o

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 320                        Fat: 4 grams                          Points: 5

Ingredients:

1 eggplant – cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt

1 zucchini – cut into 1-inch pieces

1 red bell pepper – cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large onion – cut into 1-inch pieces

Olive oil cooking spray

12 ounces penne pasta (*)

¼ cup flour

3 cups skim milk

¼ cup egg substitute

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ cup + ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese – separated

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place towels on the countertop and sprinkle generously with salt.  Add eggplant pieces on top, sprinkle more salt on top then cover again with paper towels.  Let eggplants sit out on countertop to “sweat” for about 20 minutes.
  2. Rinse eggplant well with water and add to a large mixing bowl with zucchini, peppers and onions.  Spray with cooking spray and toss.
  3. Spray a large baking pan with olive oil.  Spread vegetable mixture in a single layer on baking pan and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned and soft.  Reduce oven heat to 400o.
  4. While vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of water to boil and add penne pasta.  Cook until al dente for about 5 – 6 minutes.  The pasta should still be firm and slightly cooked.
  5. Drain penne and add to a large mixing bowl.  When vegetables are cooked, add to the penne and toss.  Set aside.
  6. In a large saucepot, whisk together flour, milk, egg substitute nutmeg, ½ cup parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.  Heat stovetop to medium low and, stirring constantly, cook until the mixture has come to a boil and is thickened.  Remove from heat.
  7. Spray a large casserole dish with olive oil cooking spray and add the vegetable pasta mixture.  Pour half of the milk mixture in and toss.  Pour the remaining milk mixture on top, cover and bake at 400o for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove cover from the casserole, sprinkle on ¼ cup of parmesan cheese and broil on high for about 5 minutes until the top is bubbly and browned.
  9. Remove from oven and serve hot.

(*): Use high fiber penne

Posted in Bake, Casserole, Main Courses, Sauces, Tips/Hints, Vegetables

Make Ahead Meals – Day 1


 Make ahead meals will be the focus for the next couple of weeks.  With our crazy schedule of camp and football practice, there is just no time to make dinner right before it’s time to eat.  Most of you probably have the same situation, with work and activities, making a meal right before dinner time just isn’t possible.  So the next few weeks are recipes that work really well for reheating or cooking those last few minutes in the oven for the least amount of time and stress. 

 You can still make delicious and light home cooked dinners even with a busy schedule.  Don’t give in to the take out!  Enjoy home cooked delicious and light meals instead.

 

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

Tips for Cooking in Advance:

  1. You can cook this for 45 minutes in the morning, keep it covered and leave it out on the counter.  For the last 15 minutes of cooking, re heat oven to 375o and bake for the last 15 minutes uncovered.  The dish will be warmed and the cheese should be browned and melted.
  2. You can cook the recipe for the first 45 minutes in the morning or the night before and refrigerate it.  Take it out an hour before, have it come to room temperature then reheat in the oven at 375o and cook for about 30 minutes (15 minutes covered and 15 uncovered).
  3. You can cook the entire recipe in the morning or the night before and refrigerate it, cut into individual sized pieces and microwave it for 2 – 4 minutes.

Serves 12

Preheat oven 375o

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 200                        Fat: 4 grams                          Points: 4

Eggplant Ingredients:

3 small or 2 large eggplants – skinned and sliced ¼” thin

Salt

Olive oil cooking spray

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 to 2 ½ cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs

2 cups egg substitute

Directions:

  1. Place sliced eggplant in layers between paper towels adding salt between each layer.  Cover with paper towels and allow eggplant to sit on counter and “sweat” for about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove eggplant from paper towels and rinse thoroughly.  Throw away paper towels.
  3. In one bowl, combine bread crumbs and parmesan cheese and in a separate bowl, pour in egg substitute.
  4. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and spray with olive oil cooking spray.
  5. Working in batches, dip each eggplant slice in the egg then press into the bread crumbs on both sides.  Add eggplant to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until the bread crumbs have browned.
  6. Remove cooked eggplant slices (try not to eat and cook or you will run out of eggplant) and set onto a large plate until ready to assemble.
  7. Continue to work in batches until all of the eggplant is cooked.

Tomato Sauce Ingredients:

Olive oil cooking spray

1 onion – chopped

2 cloves garlic – minced

½ cup red wine

2 cans crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

  1. Heat a large sauce pan on medium heat and spray generously with cooking spray.  Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. 
  2. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Increase the heat to medium high and add wine.  Let wine cook for about 3 minutes, scraping any pieces off the bottom of the pan. 
  3. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, basil and oregano and simmer for about 15 minutes. 

Filling Ingredients:

1 container (15 ounces) fat free ricotta cheese

¼ cup egg substitute

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 ¼ cup low fat grated mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese, egg substitute, onion powder, pepper, garlic powder and parmesan cheese.
  2. To Assemble: Spray a 10’X13”X 2 ½” deep baking pan with cooking spray and add a little tomato sauce on the bottom.  Place a layer of eggplant on top and spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top of the eggplant.  Sprinkle 1/5 of the mozzarella cheese on top of that layer. 
  3. Continue to layer with sauce, eggplant, ricotta and mozzarella, ending with mozzarella cheese on top.
  4. Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
  5. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes until cheese is melted and browned.