Monday, October 31, 2011

Homemade Biscuits

Another recipe from one of my new cookbooks. I served this with the meat sauce I made last night & these were perfect for dipping. I actually altered the recipe a little because I didnt have buttermilk & thought that these should be a little more garlic-y; mostly because they were served with Italian.

Yields 12 servings.
208 calories per serving.
Recipe from Secrets Of A Skinny Chef.

3.5 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 paprika
10 tbsp margarine, cut into 1 in pieces
1 c 1% milk
Olive oil spray
Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400.

Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, & paprika in a bowl & mix well.
Add the margarine & stir well until pea size crumbs form. (This step was a pain in the ass because I used a whisk like an idiot.)
Add the milk & use an electric hand blender until dough forms.

Form 12 balls & place on a cookie sheet greased with cooking spray.
Spray the top of each ball with olive oil spray & sprinkle with garlic powder.
Bake 15 - 20 minutes until rolls are baked through.

Spaghetti & Meat Sauce

This is another recipe from one of my new cookbooks Cook Yourself Thin, Faster. We havent had spaghetti together ever & I thought that it was rather fitting. This meat sauce was so good.

I altered the recipe a bit because my boyfriend really is not a big fan of onions & Im not a fan of eggplant so those were omitted.

Yields 6 servings.
181 calories per serving.
Recipe from How To Cook Yourself Thin, Faster.

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb 93% lean ground beef
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp oregano
Pinch of cayenne
4 c tomato sauce
Pinch of sugar
1/2 lb whole wheat spaghetti

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
Add the beef and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned.
Season with half the salt & pepper.
Remove the meat into a small bowl & set aside, leaving a tbsp of drippings from fat in the pan.

Lower heat slightly & add garlic & carrots.
Stir frequently until golden brown.
Season with remaining salt & pepper, herbs, & cayenne.
Stir in tomato sauce & sugar.

Return meat to the pot.
Stir, bring to a boil, cover, & lower the heat to simmer.
Simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile cook pasta according to directions on the box.
Serve sauce over pasta.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cauliflower Gratin

This was the side dish I served with the basil chicken. It helped the meal to be very filling. All three of us had one serving & were done. This wasnt incredibly fast but, it sure was delicious.

Yields 4 servings.
185 calories per serving.
Recipe from Eating Well dot com.

4 c cauliflower florets (about 1/2 large head)
1.5 c skim milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c dry breadcrumbs
3/4 c sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat broiler.

Bring cauliflower, 1 1/4 c milk, & salt to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat, cover & simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine breadcrumbs, 1/4 c cheese, & oil in a small bowl.
Whisk flour & remaining 1/4 c milk in another small bowl until smooth.
Stir mixture in the pan & cook, stirring until thickened.
Stir in remaining 1/2 c cheese, mustard, & pepper.
Sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture.

Broil 1 - 2 minutes.

Basil-Tomato Chicken

My darling friend Sarah was on leave from the Navy. Our original plan was to have some drinks & watch a movie; just have a mellow night. Unfortunately, time became rather limited so I decided that Id make her some dinner instead.

This is a recipe that Id meant to make earlier in the week but, didnt have the time for. So, in a way, the time constraint was a blessing in disguise.

Yields 4 servings.
170 calories per serving.
Recipe from daily emails.

1.5 lbs chicken breast
Non-stick cooking spray
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 c basil
14.5 oz can no-salt added diced tomatoes
10 oz spinach, washed
2 tbsp parmesan cheese

Cut chicken into strips.
Coat an unheated skillet with cooking spray.

Cook and stir chicken in skillet for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Add tomatoes and basil; heat through (about 5 minutes).
Remove from heat.

Add spinach; toss until wilted.
Sprinkle with cheese.

This was a fast dish, ideal for a weeknight.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Asparagus with Red Peppers

I made this as a dinner side last night. It's not my most favourite thing that Ive made but still tasty, quick, & simple.

Yields 10 servings.
56 calories per serving.
Not sure where the recipe is from.

3 lbs fresh asparagus
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lg onion, quartered & thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c red pepper, finely diced
1/4 tsp salt
1 hard boiled egg

Cut and discard bases from asparagus & set aside.

In a large skillet, combine asparagus and a small amount of water.
Bring to a boil, cover, & cook for 3 minutes.
Drain well, set aside, & drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil over.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, cook onion, garlic, & remaining tbsp of olive oil.
Stir in red pepper & salt.
Spoon onto of asparagus.

Dice hard boiled egg & sprinkle over top.
Serve warm.

I ended up tossing all of this together because I wanted the flavors to mix a little more. Next time I make this, Ill probably cut the asparagus in half to make it a little easier to eat as a side dish.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Garlic Mustard Green Beans

I actually meant to make this as a side for our dinner last night but Id forgotten about it. Instead, I made it tonight as my dinner & a side for my fella. To me, this is more than enough as a main dish because it's full of protein. I also must say that the garlic & mustard together is quite a nice taste; a new one for me.

Id call this a quick dinner for a weeknight despite the fact that trimming that many green beans are the bane of my existence. That's how much I love green beans, though.

Recipe from
Yields 12 servings.
41 calories per serving.

2.5 lbs fresh green beans
3 slices of bacon (I used center cut; less fat!)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp brown mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Wash & trim green beans.
Cover & cook in a large saucepan with a small amount of boiling water.
Drain beans, rinse with cold water, & set aside.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet until crisp.
Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings, and drain on a paper towel.
Crumble & set aside.

Cook onion & garlic in bacon drippings over medium heat for 3 minutes.
Stir in mustard, pepper, & salt.
Cook for about 30 more seconds.

Pour onion mixture over beans & toss.
Sprinkle with bacon.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Parmesan Rolls

With the kielbasa dish that I made tonight, I felt like biscuits were the perfect side dish on this cool fall evening. Ive found quite a fondness for making biscuits from scratch. I may actually try bread next, or eventually. Haha.

Recipe from
Yields 13 rolls.
143 calories per serving.

3/4 c 1% milk
2 tbsp olive oil
3 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 c parmesan
1 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Bring 3/4 c water, milk, & oil to a boil.
Combine flour & salt in a bowl.
Add liquid & stir until mixture resembles a thick paste.

When dough is cool enough to touch, add egg & knead until fully absorbed.
Add parmesan & pepper & knead to combine.

Dust work surface with flour and roll dough into a 1 inch thick log.
Slice into 11 pieces & place on a cookie sheet that's been coated with cooking spray.
Bake for 20 minutes.

Kielbasa & Bean Dish

We just got a crockpot this week so, I thought it would be suiting to take advantage of it for Sunday dinner. Im of Polish descent so kielbasa has always been part of my fall food intake. I actually wanted to visit the Polish deli that my grandfather frequents whenever he makes his kielbasa dish but, there just wasnt time this week. For Thanksgiving for sure!

Recipe from
Yields 8 servings.
195.8 calories per serving.

4 14.5 oz cans fat-free chicken broth
1 lb turkey sausage
15 oz can pinto beans, drained
15 oz can black beans, drained
4 medium carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 lg onion, chopped
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained

Mix all ingredients, except tomatoes, in a crockpot.
Cover & cook on a low-heat setting for 6 hours.

Stir in tomatoes.
Cover & cook on high-heat setting for about 20 more minutes.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stir-Fried Garlic Broccoli

Another recipe from Secrets Of A Skinny Chef. This one is much quicker but, it's also a side dish & by default, at least to me, side dishes are always faster to prepare.

I wish that this were a little more garlicky but, that could be part of my garlic addiction. Definitely delicious, especially for such a small calorie count.

Yields 4 servings.
111 calories per serving.
Recipe from Secrets of a Skinny Chef.

3/4 c reduced-sodium fat-free beef broth
2 tsp cornstarch
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 head broccoli, cut into florets

Place broth, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, & brown sugar in a medium bowl.
Whisk until smooth.

Heat a large skillet over high heat.
Add the oil & broccoli.
Cook 4 - 6 minutes, until broccoli starts to brown.
Reduce to low heat.
Add the sauce and cook 1 -2 minutes longer, until a thick sauce forms.

Serve immediately.

Just like Chinese take out!

Mac and Cheese with Shredded Chicken & Cauliflower

My best friend, Lauren, who is one of the most supportive friends ever bought me 3 cookbooks for my birthday this year. This recipe is from one of them, entitled Secrets Of A Skinny Chef. It was totally delicious and a little more involved than the past few Sunday dinners Ive made but, totally worth it.

I suggest that you use all fresh ingredients because it really adds to the flavors. This dish is definitely for cheese lovers. Let me just say that Im as big a fan of cheese as I am garlic.

Yields 6 servings.
400 calories per serving.
Recipe from Secrets Of A Skinny Chef.

8 oz whole wheat penne
2 c cauliflower florets
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp mild chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1.5 c skim milk
3 c part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400.

In a sauce pan, cook pasta for 5 minutes less than the package instructions indicate. (I did about 6 minutes.)
Drain & set aside.

Coat a large piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray.
Wrap the cauliflower in the foil.

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil & coat with cooking spray.
Place chicken on baking sheet & sprinkle with salt, chili powder, garlic powder, & pepper.

Bake the chicken & cauliflower for 15 - 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven & set cauliflower aside.
Shred chicken & set aside.

In the same pan that you cooked the pasta in melt margarine over medium-low heat.
Add minced garlic, flour, & nutmeg.
Wisk mixture in the pan until a thick paste begins to form.
Continue cooking 2 - 3 minutes until the paste starts to leave a coat on the inside of the pan.
Gradually add milk, whisking constantly, until a thick sauce starts to form.
Add the mozzarella and stir until it melts.
Turn off the heat & add pasta, chicken, & cauliflower & stir so that all ingredients mix.
Serve immediately.

Look how freakin' cheesy that is! And for only 400 calories? How can you say no to that?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bacon Mashed Potatoes

My boyfriend is a HUGE fan of bacon, as most men are. Not to mention, he always tells me that his favourite side is anything potato related so, this seemed ideal for him. This is a perfect side dish for any sort of meat entree & it's lightened up so, bonus!

Yields 4 servings.
140 calories per serving.
Recipe from Eating Well dot com.

1 lb potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 slices center cut bacon
1/3 c 1% milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 c reduced fat sour cream

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water.
Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to medium, partially cover, & let potatoes cook for 10 - 12 minutes.
Drain & transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp.
Crumble when cool enough to handle.

Mash the potatoes, milk, salt, & pepper until the liquid is incorporated but potatoes are still chunky.
Fold in sour cream & bacon.

Burgers with Roasted Garlic & Rosemary

Another garlic lovers recipe. And it's a really fast one. The only alteration I made to this recipe was broiling the patties for 7 minutes on each side instead of 5. My boyfriend likes his burgers well done. All in all, really delicious and pretty quick. I would make these on a weeknight. Also, I was starving so, I forgot to photograph these. Sorry, guys. :/

Yields 4 burgers.
293 calories per serving.
Recipe from Skinny Taste dot com.

1 whole bulb garlic
1 lb 93% lean ground beef
2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 whole wheat hamburger rolls

Preheat oven to 400.

Wrap garlic bulb in foil & roast in oven for 45 minutes.
When cool enough to handle peel away foil & squeeze cloves from papery skin into a large bowl.
Add beef, rosemary, salt, & pepper.
Mix well to combine.

Preheat oven to broil.
Shape mixture into 4 patties and place on baking sheet.
Broil for 7 minutes on each side.

Place on hamburger rolls & add condiments of your choice.


Another random few notes. I toasted our hamburger buns & we ate these with ketchup & brown, spicy mustard.

Aspargus Chicken Salad

When I got this recipe in one of my daily emails, I thought it sounded interesting. Again, this is using ranch as a "dressing" of sorts. I figured since my last experience with ranch as a "dressing" was a good one, Id try another recipe out.

Recipe from Better Recipes dot com.
Yields 6 servings.
272.5 calories per serving.

2 chicken breasts, cooked & diced
2 c asparagus, cooked & cut into 3/4 in pieces
1/4 c ranch dressing

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.

Completely easy.

Egg Salad

There's nothing super fancy about this other than the fact that it's slimmed down quite a bit. No complaints on this recipe & Im stoked to try it for lunch this week!

Recipe from Eating Well dot com.
Yields 4 servings.
289 calories per serving.

8 lg eggs, hard boiled
3 tbsp non-fat sour cream
1 tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
1 tbsp grainy mustard (I used Gulden's brown mustard)
4 scallions, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste

Scoop out egg yolks & place 2 in a bowl.
Reserve the rest for another use.

Chop egg whites & reserve in a large bowl.
Mash the yolks with a fork.
Stir in sour cream, mayonnaise, & mustard.
Add mixture to chopped egg whites.
Mix in scallions, salt, & pepper.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Broccoli & Chicken Casserole

A very filling dinner that was reasonably simple. The most time consuming thing was cooking the chicken. Personally, if Im going to cook, Im going to cook every part myself. I try to use all fresh ingredients.

Yields 6 servings.
290 calories per serving.
Taken from Better Homes & Gardens via Better Recipes dot com.

4 oz noodles (I used whole wheat angel hair pasta)
2.5 c chicken, cooked & chopped (about 2 breasts)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
10 oz broccoli
1/2 c skim milk
1/2 c cheddar cheese
1 tsp basil
1/8 tsp pepper

Cook noodles according to package.
Preheat oven to 350.

Stir together noodles, chicken, & broccoli.
In a separate bowl mix soup, milk, cheese, basil, & pepper.
Transfer noodle mixture into a baking dish & pour soup mixture on top.

Bake covered for 45 minutes.
Sprinkle with paprika.

Tuscan Style Tuna Salad

As I said in my previous post, lunches in my house were all about some tuna salad. This is a bit of a different twist, as it uses no mayonnaise at all. This dish is very protein-rich & lean. It's perfect for lunch because it's filling with a very small amount.

Yields 4 servings.
253 calories per serving.

2 6oz cans chunk light tuna in water, drained
1 15 oz can small white beans
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients & stir gently.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Really fast & again, Im a fan of refrigerating tuna AND chicken salad for a day or two. However, I did have this for lunch today & it was scrumptious!

Lighter Chicken Salad

I love love LOVE chicken salad. My best friend is actually the one who introduced it to me many years ago. I know that that sounds retarded but, in my house growing up, it was always tuna.

I havent actually tried any of this yet this week because I like to let chicken salad sit for a day or two before consumption. I dont know if it's all in my head but it always tastes better after it sits.

This is my first full week off of Nutrisystem lunches so I guess we'll see where I am at the end of the week.

Yields 3 servings.
169.4 calories per serving.
Taken from

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 chicken bullion cube
1/4 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 tbsp light mayonnaise

In a medium saucepan place chicken, half the celery, & half the onion and cover with water (I used about 2 cups.)
Add bullion cube & cook over medium heat covered for about 20 minutes.
Once cooked through remove chicken & let cool.
Reserve chicken broth.

Cut chicken into small pieces & place in a bowl.
Add remaining celery & onions as well as mayonnaise and 1/8 reserved broth.
Mix well.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Im anxious to have this for lunch tomorrow!

Roasted Red Potatoes with Bacon & Cheese

Another quick & easy side dish from This a website that sends me emails daily with recipes. They're not always low-cal/fat but, often they're easy to slim down. This one wasnt one that needed slimming, though. This was probably one of the faster sides Ive made lately.

I was actually sort of on the line about the ranch. Im really weird about using ranch as a "sauce", per say. Im a believer in ranch is for dipping or for salads. This definitely defeated that mode of thought.

Yields 6 - 8 servings.
202.9 calories per serving.

1/2 c light ranch dressing
1/2 c reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c bacon bits
2 lb small red potatoes, quartered

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix ranch, cheese, & bacon bits in a large bowl.
Add potatoes & toss.

Transfer to a baking dish.
Bake for 45 minutes.

I topped with a little bit of pepper. Just added a little extra flavor

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Oatmeal Spice Muffins

Normally Saturday morning I like to bake or just make breakfast. Unfortunately, I had so much to get done yesterday that I didnt get a chance to do anything cooking/baking wise until later in the evening. My boyfriend had a friend of his over & they were playing video games & bsing so, I decided to get my baking in then. Haha.

These muffins are delicious & filling & would probably be an amazing breakfast or dessert. They're a little too rich to just be a snack.

The only real pain in the ass wait waiting for the oats & milk to set but that's merely because Im impatient and if Im going to cook/bake, I dont want to wait around for things but, that's me.

The aroma in the kitchen while these were baking was intoxicating. It smelled just like fall & it was kind of perfect because yesterday was the first day it actually felt like fall outside.

Yields 10 muffins.
217 calories per muffin.

1 c rolled oats
1 large egg
1 c milk (I used 1%)
1/2 c margarine, melted
1/2 c brown sugar
1 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c chocolate chips

Combine milk & oats & let stand for an hour.

Preheat oven to 400.
Line a muffin tin with 10 wrappers.

Stir in sugar, egg, & margarine into oat mixture.
Pile all remaining ingredients atop the mixture & stirring until just combined.
[DO NOT stir too well or muffins will become tough; nothing worse than a bad ass muffin!]

Divide batter evenly amongst muffin cups.

Bake for 25 minutes.