Tuesday, March 24, 2009


This was Sunday nights dinner.... and there are so many leftovers it will last for another 4 dinners and lunches! But it was well worth it. A healthy way to have lasagna and as long as you stay within the portion, it won't break your diet. I served it with a green salad so that I didn't overeat, since it's sooo good.

1 package of whole wheat lasagna noodles (13.25 oz)
10 oz. lean ground beef
1/4 vidalia onion, chopped
6 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 large bunch of spinach, about 1 cup cooked
15 0z. fat free ricotta cheese
8 oz. part skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 egg
4 cups vodka sauce

Cook the lasagna noodles according to the instructions.
Saute the onions for 3-5 minutes. Add in the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain and remove from the pan. Saute the spinach and mushrooms in the same pan until the spinach has wilted. Combine with the meat.
Mix together the cheeses and egg.
Spread a thin layer (about a half cup of the sauce) on the bottom of the pan, then alternate layers of noodles, meat, cheese and 3/4 to 1 cup of sauce, depending on how you like it.

Makes 12 servings, 7 WW points each.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Vodka Sauce

I made a new version of sauce this weekend based on one that has been going around on my local board for a while from AmyRob. I did make some changes to suit what I had and my dietary needs but it still came out delicious.

1/2 c vodka
1 tbs red pepper flakes
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 med onion, chopped
2 large cans crushed tomatoes (28 oz. each)
1 c Romano cheese
2 c fat free half and half
3 TBSP I can't Believe it's Not Butter

Soak vodka and pepper flakes for 10 minutes - the longer the pepper flakes soak, the hotter the sauce will be. Remove flakes; vodka will turn red.

Saute olive oil and onion in a pot until the onions have softened.

Add in the tomates and vodka and cook on low for 1/2 hour, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Then add Romano cheese, half and half, and butter. Cook another 20 minutes.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

This recipe came to me via email from Cooking Light. I'm always looking for a good, make ahead chicken salad and this one looked different and delicious. I did make some changes to their original recipe based on what I had on hand and my likes. So here it is.

  • 1 container Fage Total 0%
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken, seasoned with South Seas seasoning
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 diced vidalia onion
  • 3 TBSP chopped green onion
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
Mix the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the rest of the ingredients in another bowl, then stir in the yogurt mixture. Chill for 2 hours before serving.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chicken and Corn Quesadillas

It was quesadilla night again here. They are just so easy, so yummy and fun to eat. I took a couple short cuts because after working a full time job, making sure Emma gets picked up from school, finding time to work out, and take care of the pets... oh and make dinner, short cuts are what I need. I know many out there can relate so don't be afraid to make it easier on yourself during the week. I bought a roasted chicken at the supermarket and removed the skin and used that for the chicken in this meal. Much easier than defrosting, cooking and then finally shredding it myself.

3 oz. shredded chicken
3/4 cup corn
3 TBSP chopped green onions
4 oz. shredded monterey jack cheese
6 whole wheat tortillas (8 inch)

Divide into thirds each of the above ingredients and place on a tortilla. Cover with the other tortilla and broil or use your quesadilla maker. They would also make an excellent appetizer for when you have guests. Delicious!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Weight Loss Plan

Recently a fellow blogger, Ash Is Fit, started a new weight loss initiative called 20/20 and invited others to join her. I definitely need to lose the 20 lbs so I thought I'd try it out. Unfortunately I have an injured hamstring so this may prove a little harder since I can't run. So here's my plan:

Lose 20 lbs in 20 weeks with a goal of running a 10K by the time I've lost it. I tend to fall off the wagon a lot when trying to lose weight but this one I really want to stick to.

She also encourages us to give ourselves a reward for making progress. So for my reward, at the first 10 lbs, I will treat myself to a day kayak trip. I love kayaking but don't go enough so it won't only be exercising but it will be fun too.
When I hit 20 lbs. I will buy a new J. Crew tankini, my absolute favorite bathing suits but they are pretty expensive.

Wish me luck! I hope to succeed and look good by August.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Turkey and Spinach Meatballs

I was really in the mood for spaghetti and meatballs for dinner tonight. I saw in an old Cooking Light issue when I was cleaning today a recipe for Turkey Ricotta meatballs which I think I made a while ago but I didn't have ricotta so I changed it around a bit to suit my tastes and what I had on hand. I didn't really measure but here are approximates.

1.25 lean ground turkey
1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped finely
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped finely
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until well-mixed. Form into balls (I made 16 which were on the large side). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. These freeze well too if you don't think you'll be eating them any time soon.

Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

I made another batch of this soup again today to take for lunches during the week. It's just so good, I had to do it. Plus, it's very low in calories. This time I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter instead of real butter to saute the leeks and it was just fine. I also used fat free half and half as the creamer. This has definitely become my favorite soup to eat.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spinach and Beef Stuffed Manicotti

Sunday night's dinner. I thought I made way too much for 3 people but my brother was away all weekend at the Phish show in VA and was really needing some food, so it turned out I made just enough. I only have 2 left over! These were really good though. PS, sorry the picture isn't very good, I was in a rush to serve as I had a hawk eyeing me in the kitchen.

1 package of manicotti (about 14) cooking according to package directions
9 oz. lean ground beef
1 shallot, diced
2 TSP minced garlic
10 oz. package spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 TBSP italian seasoning
1 jar of sauce (yes, I cheated today)
Cooking spray
Spray a pan with the cooking spray. Heat and add in the shallots, cooking for about 2 minutes. Mix in the minced garlic and cook another minutes. Add in the ground beef and brown until no longer pink.
In a seperate bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and the italian seasoning. Blend together well with a spoon.
When the beef is done cooking, add it to the spinach and cheese mixture and combine it well.
Stuff each of the manicotti with the beef and spinach mixture.
Spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9x12 baking dish and place the manicotti in a single layer. Top with the desired amount of sauce and the remainder of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered at 375 for 25 minutes.

Avocado and Chicken Enchiladas

On Saturday night DH had a friend over and so it gave me a chance to make enchiladas. I decided on making Pioneer Woman's pico de gallo and guacamole to add to the chicken and cheese. They were delicious! I got the sauce from Colleen's blog, Cooking This and That. The boys loved them and I'm looking forward to having my leftovers for lunch!


Shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken from the store), about 2 cups
Pioneer Woman's pico de gallo and guacamole (See above for link)
1 cup of shredded mexican cheese, divided
7-8 burrito style tortillas
Enchilada sauce (see above for link)

Combine the chicken and 1/2 cup of cheese in a bowl.
Spread a thin layer of the enchilada sauce along the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish, about 1 cup.
Fill each tortilla with about 2 TBSP of the guacamole and pico de gallo and about 2 TBSP of the chicken and cheese. Fold up both end and close up the tortilla. Place it seam down in the baking dish. When you have filled all your tortillas, spread about 2 cups of the enchilada sauce over them. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream and the remaining enchilada sauce.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Broccoli, Spinach and Bacon Quiche

I'm trying to incorporate more dark veggies into my diet to increase my iron levels. Spinach, I will be eating you a lot! I love quiche and since today was a snow day for most of us here in the northeast, I was craving something warm and comforting. This hit the spot

1 premade pie crust (I use Pillsbury)
1 small bunch of broccoli, chopped
1 cup of fresh spinach, cut thinly
4 slices of turkey bacon, cooked
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese
3 eggs and 4 egg whites
1/2 cup 1% milk

Place the pie crust in a pie plate. Layer the chopped broccoli, spinach and turkey bacon in the crust. Whisk together the eggs and milk until well blended. Pour into the pie plate and top with the cheese. Salt & pepper to taste. Cook on 350 for 30 minutes.

Hummus - Round 2

Today is a snow day so I made another batch of hummus to bring to work this week to snack on. This time, I tried Katie's recipe from Good Things Catered. I love the lemon juice and the oil drizzled on it right before you eat it. It reminded me of the hummus I get in a Lebanese restaurant not too far from where I live. Thanks Katie for pointing me in this direction. The only change I made was one garlic clove instead of two and thank goodness. I think more than that would be too much garlic for me.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sundried Tomato and Mushroom Risotto

Making this has been on my mind for the last couple weeks and today I finally had the time to put the whole meal together. I didn't follow any specific recipe for it. Rather I just put together all the things I knew about making risotto from reading blogs and the last couple times I made it. This one came out so creamy and so delicious, I could have just eaten it by itself. It's easy and fun, so if you are looking for a dish to serve to company, this is it!

2 cups arborio rice
6 oz. mushrooms, sliced
10 sundried tomatoes sliced
1/2 cup of minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
32-40 oz. low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
2 TBSP I can't Believe It's Not Butter Light

Heat the chicken broth in a sauce pan until simmering. Keep it heated throughout the process. Melt the butter and add the onion and cook until it's translucent, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook another minute. Deglaze with the wine and stir together for another 2 minutes. Pour in the 2 cups of arborio rice. Coat with the wine and onion mixture and cook for about a minute. Ladle in one to two scoops of chicken broth and let the rice absorb it, stirring almost constantly. Do this for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice has become tender. I taste it throughout the process so I know if it's still too al dente. About 10 minutes into the ladling process, add in the mushrooms and sundried tomatoes. Serve immediately and top with parmesean cheese.

Mom's Meat Loaf

This is my Mom's recipe for meat loaf. I've had a yearning for it for the last few days and there's nothing better than a Sunday dinner with meat loaf. It still is my favorite meat loaf and I'm happy to post it here and tell my Mom thanks! I paired it with a side of risotto (see following post) and a spinach salad with feta cheese, raisins and walnuts.

2 eggs, beaten
2 lbs. 90/10 ground beef
2 cups fresh bread crumbs (which Emma made for me!)
3/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup ketchup
2 TBSP worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Shape into an oval loaf and place on a pan (I put it on a broil rack over a pan so the fat can drip down). Cook for an hour. 6 servings.

Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

My acupuncturist told me to incorporate more squash into my diet (orange foods are good for me apparently). Good thing I love butternut squash soup! I made a batch today that I plan to freeze half and keep the other half for lunches. I looked up a few recipes online but ultimately, I did what I wanted. The measurements aren't exact as I do a lot of eyeballing but trust me, this is one good soup.

1 butternut squash, seeded, peeled and cubed
2 leeks, washed
28-32 oz. of low sodium chicken broth (depending on how you like the consistency of your soup, less broth for a thicker version)
1/2 cup light cream
2 TBSP butter, unsalted

Preheat the oven to 350. Place the cubes of squash on a cookie sheet (I had to use two), spray with cooking spray and salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes in the oven.
About 15 minutes before the squash is done, cut the leeks lengthwise, discarding the green stems, and slice thinly. Put the leeks in a large pot with 1 TBSP of butter and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
Add the roasted butternut squash to the pot. Pour the broth over it until it just about covers all the veggies. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the squash has become very soft and begins to break down.
Turn off the heat and puree the squash with an immersion blender until smooth. Alternately if you don't have an immersion blender you can puree it in a regular blender in batches, making sure to leave the cover in the lid off and covered with a paper towel to prevent splatter.
Once pureed, add in the cream, salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Stir it all together and enjoy! My estimates are that this makes 12 generous bowls.